Arcam DV88 Vs Denon 2800II Side by Side review, My thoughts.

J

juboy

Guest
Originally posted by sounddog
Ahhh ... but a MPEG-2 decoding chipset does not a (good or otherwise) DVD player make ...

True, but if that MPEG-2 decoding chipset is known to have the chroma bug problem, it ain't gonna get better just because you change the badge and charge more...
 

Bish

Active Member
Vikki

If you dont ask you'll never learn...so

I have an 88+ connected up to my Panny W5 and i have to say i have never ever noticed the "Chroma Bug"...??....noticed it, i dont even know what it is....can you catch it from the toilet seat??

Can you shed some light on this please?
 

Branxx

Standard Member
THX1138,

Thank you for excellent post. For me it was a particularly interested reading as I do not use stand-alone CD/DVD players and ‘am always on the watch to see if I am missing on a good product.

I heard a lot in the past about the audio qualities of DV88 and your test confirms previous assertions. However, it was your comparison between the two player’s sound qualities for AC3/DTS that caught my eyes. For Denon 2800 MKII you said: “The sound was also very good, with a little more bottom end than the Arcam, which was tight and fast.”

Considering that both of these sound formats are compressed and transmitted in packages, I would suspect that neither of the players would interfere with the data stream before being sent to your Tag AV32R processor. Formats are also less susceptible to jitter induced by SPDIF interface.

It would be interesting if you can further qualify the difference between the two players in this particular respect. You are certainly pointing that even for AC3/DTs bits-are-bits argument does not hold and that the sound quality is coloured by the digital interfaces used.

This is a question frequently asked in HTPC forum where many find strange that different sound cards can make AC3/DTS data streams sent to an external decoded sound different. My own experience in this respect confirms your findings.
 

Bish

Active Member
Thanks for the links guys and girls, makes for some interesting reading, especially the section in which they actually dont recommend buying any DVD player thats equiped with a Vaddis 5 chip set.

Im off to check the Toy Story logo for chroma issues.... (not)

on a side note, why is arcam using the vaddis 5 chipset in a £1000 high end player??, you can get this chip in a cheap and nasty richer sounds job for £150.....

The article clearly states that the Froudja and Sil504 are far superior and they are available in sub £400 players...

Still, i did demo the Philips's, Dennons and Tosh's and the progressive image on the 88+ was the best i saw so i bought it.
 
N

nathan_silly

Guest
on a side note, why is arcam using the vaddis 5 chipset in a £1000 high end player??, you can get this chip in a cheap and nasty richer sounds job for £150.....

Profit.:D
 
J

juboy

Guest
Originally posted by Bish
especially the section in which they actually dont recommend buying any DVD player thats equiped with a Vaddis 5 chip set.

That's maybe a little harsh :devil:

It's not a bad chipset, it's just not considered to be among the leaders in the field.

And to be fair, I went from a Toshiba 510 (Vaddis 5) to the Denon 2800 Mk II (Sil504) and the difference in PQ is very, very small... especially when you consider that the Denon costs at least twice as much as the 510.
 

stevelup

Distinguished Member
Excellent review but I have one question?
Originally posted by THX 1138
First thing i noticed was the sound quality. It was a big leap ahead of the pioneer and opened up the sound stage by quite some margin. There was plenty of fine details in the sound which was dynamic and smooth.
How can the player affect the sound quality of DD or DTS? This is impossible as all the player does is output the bitstream. As the processor is doing all the error correction and decoding, there is simply no way it should sound different.

I would go as far as saying that - on movies, and through a digital connection - a £65 supermarket special should sound the same as a £3K reference player.

Perhaps I'm missing something? I'm sure others will enlighten me!


Steve
 

Matt Horne

Well-known Member
Well I can hear the difference.. even when I change digital interconnects.. and hell my LD player sounds better than DVD for DTS soundtracks IMHO.

Don't ask me why (I have no idea).. buts it all good !

Matt
 
R

ricdiggle

Guest
Originally posted by Matt Horne
Well I can hear the difference.. even when I change digital interconnects.. and hell my LD player sounds better than DVD for DTS soundtracks IMHO.

Don't ask me why (I have no idea).. buts it all good !

Matt

I agree, sort of, about the digital interconnect. You can hear a difference between a £20 QED from Richer Sounds and a £150 Van Den Hul the First. Not a big difference though.

Richard
 

StooMonster

Well-known Member
Originally posted by stevelup
Excellent review but I have one question?

How can the player affect the sound quality of DD or DTS? This is impossible as all the player does is output the bitstream. As the processor is doing all the error correction and decoding, there is simply no way it should sound different.

I would go as far as saying that - on movies, and through a digital connection - a £65 supermarket special should sound the same as a £3K reference player.

Perhaps I'm missing something? I'm sure others will enlighten me!

Steve

One word: jitter.

StooMonster
 

John Dawson

Novice Member
In response to some of the above - I would say a little knowledge is a dangerous thing :)

If you know something about what makes DVD players good (and I do) then you will know that the Zoran Vaddis 5 is one of the most powerful DVD chipsets in the market and is considered a market leader in the field. And I am very familiar with the Secrets reports - they are smart guys but you should remember they only concentrate on a limited number of things and are not gospel. There have also been numerous updates to the Vaddis 5 system microcode since Secrets published its reports on Toshiba's original players, which in my book invalidates its results.

BTW, the Vaddis 5 comes in more than one version - Arcam uses the BGA type which has a digital video output bus and 6 DACs on it rather than the QFP type which is cheaper but (for example) lacks 2 video DACs in real terms and has no digital video bus to connect to a Silicon Image type external deinterlacer or other interesting device. The chroma upsampling error present in the Zoran part is relatively mild and has not been the cause of material customer complaint worldwide. Of course it would be better if it weren't there but there are many other things the Vaddis 5 does really well and IMO better than its competition, including its video filters, DACs, deinterlacer (the best built-in one of any part on the market), screen blending, excellent audio DSP performance (32 bit), its near-unique ability to run asynchronous audio and video clocks and so on. We have no intention of changing believe me!

You can find the Vaddis 5 in a few Chinese players despite its expense, but that alone does not make a great player. It does make those players pretty good value though if they are otherwise adequately executed (though regrettably not many are). I have published before on this forum and AVS Forums on some of the things we do in an Arcam DVD player to make it (much) better than a run of the mill unit - those who doubt our engineering ability should read these notes first.

John Dawson (Arcam)
 
R

ricdiggle

Guest
John, Great post. I'm more than happy with my DV88.

I'd really love to hear your comments on the pricing for the upgrades from DV88 to + or DV89 Spec.

Your customer service department told me it would not be possible to upgrade to anything other than DV88P spec. Is this correct?

Many thanks,

Richard Smith.

DV88 owner
previous owner of:
DT81 DAB Tuner
CD62T
Alpha 7 amp
 

Phil Hinton

Editor
Staff member
Originally posted by stevelup
Excellent review but I have one question?

How can the player affect the sound quality of DD or DTS? This is impossible as all the player does is output the bitstream. As the processor is doing all the error correction and decoding, there is simply no way it should sound different.

I would go as far as saying that - on movies, and through a digital connection - a £65 supermarket special should sound the same as a £3K reference player.

Perhaps I'm missing something? I'm sure others will enlighten me!


Steve


There are clear differences in the sound quality of both players, The denon certainly has more in the bottom end area, where the Arcam is more fluid in its response. If you couldn't tell the difference between a £65 machine and a more expensive one, i know which one i would buy. But there are differences, each player does things differently even the audio, yes it is up lifting the same bitstream so to speak, but each player will add its own thing to it. I am not technically minded enough to sit and read up on WHY, i will just enjoy the final result.
It is surprising the difference between the two players really.

Just got the PJ warming up now and the componant leads attached (which i have been informed are £210 a metre)
 

Matt Horne

Well-known Member
I also would like to hear the finalised pricing on the DV88 / + upgrade paths.. though I have to say the current DVD-A range of albums does not lead me to believe its worth doing... yet.

John, got any link to the avsforum threads about the DV88 I would be interested to read what goes into it :)

cheers

Matt

A happy DV88 (+) owner
Current owner of Ricdiggles DT81 DAB Tuner :)

Oh Ric... my (+) is a DV88 on the outside - so it can be done!
 
R

ricdiggle

Guest
Originally posted by Matt Horne


Oh Ric... my (+) is a DV88 on the outside - so it can be done!

How much was that then my friend?

Richard.
 

gringottsdirect

Active Member
Originally posted by John Dawson
If you know something about what makes DVD players good (and I do)...
John Dawson (Arcam)

I've never been troubled by Chroma Upsampling Error bug, Zoran Vaddis 5 ( BGA type ) may be different to version ( QFP type ) found in £150 Chinese players, valid point.
My opinion is having tried an FMJ-DV27 and DiVA 88 ( + and earlier non+ ) I definitely preferred the picture quality of the Arcam with Silicon Image 503 / 504. I decided this made a worthwhile benefit.
A £1000 player utilising a Zoran Vaddis 5 is fine but why not a FLI-2300 / Sil-504 inside too without having to pay £1600.
I have a ( Made In China ) Denon DVD-3800 and a ( Made In Hungary ) Philips DVD-963SA, I'm very pleased with both of them, no doubt where they are assembled allows the more expensive components despite lower price tags.
Neither will benefit from Arcam's unrivalled in-house customer support.
 

Matt Horne

Well-known Member
Well I hope JW does not mind.. I've grabbed the message from the avsforums about the construction of the DV88/DV27, it was in a thread about using DVD players as Cd players...

I quote :

"Since someone has mentioned Arcam's name I'll come in with our point of view, which is based on actually developing and listening to real products, and monitoring their success in the marketplace.

To do proper D/A conversion in audio you need, among other things, a very clean crystal generated clock signal, with as little jitter on it as possible (we are talking very small numbers, sub 200 picoseconds for good results, as measured at the output of the DAC by the Paul Miller/Julian Dunn technique). It helps to have the master clock physically right next door to the DAC chips too.

There are many other factors involved of course, including the DACs themselves, the digital filters, post conversion analogue filters and so on. The layout of the PCB, especially with respect to ground currents is also critical and mistakes and less than optimum layouts here are definitely audible, even though the obvious measurements may not really change.
4 or 6 layer boards help. We've done lots of listening inside the company and are absolutely certain of the huge amount of attention that needs to be paid to these things. It's reflected in our sales too.

It's not too difficult to do all of this inside a CD player, where you only need one master clock and where the transport is slaved to this. DVD players need multiple clocks however, to get 27MHz for video and integer multiples of both 44.1 and 48 kHz for audio, as a minimum. In nearly all DVD players I have seen, the master clock is 27MHz and the audio clocks are derived from this via additional phase locked loops. Now this can be done well or badly - there are a couple of pretty good if somewhat expensive parts out there - but mostly it is done using the on-chip PLL of the MPEG/DVD decoder chipset (the lowest cost solution) and the jitter results are from mediocre to horrendous. As you might imagine this compromises the audio DAC's performance, even if all else were perfect (which is usually isn't by a long way). It also affects the SPDIF digital output stream.

At Arcam we overcame this in our house designed DV88 and DV27 DVD players by using 3 separate master clocks, one for video and two for audio, the latter being adjacent to the audio DACs. The Zoran MPEG/DVD processors we use support asynchronous clocks, AFAIK most others do not and it was one very good reason why we chose to use Zoran parts in our DVD players. We do a lot of other stuff too, including phase locking our power supply switchers to the audio clock running at that time, but I am sure you get the idea.

It is interesting to note that Perfect Vision magazine rates Arcam's DV27 as "one of the few DVD players that is truly a reference quality CD player in audiophile terms, and is the best combination of absolute performance with DVDs and CDs this side of the Ayre's mighty D-1". (March/April 2003 issue, page 46).

Back to jitter. In practice the SPDIF sysytem is not very good at transmitting the master clock signal and most receivers and many AV processors are not very good at recovering the DAC clock from this stream, so you get jitter on the DACs inside the receiver/processor. The standard SPDIF receiver chipsets are definitely not good enough here if you want the best results. This limitation can be overcome, for example by fitting a crystal based PLL clock recovery circuit (as used in the best processors - Arcam, Meridian, Lexicon, TAG; this list is not exhaustive) - which is quite expensive and difficult to do. But the results are clearly audible and speak for themselves. To prove my point another way, we initially tried to avoid doing this in the Arcam AV8 processor on the grounds of expense and time to market, until we did the auditioning - then we rushed back to the drawing board to implement the circuitry!

I don't know if the Krell Showcase has this circuitry or something similar (I suspect not but am happy to be corrected). What I can say with some confidence is that if it does not then (IMO of course) you will be better off with an analogue connection using the DACs inside a good CD player or that rare beast, a properly implemented - in audio terms - DVD player. Of course if a processor doesn't have a true analogue bypass then all bets are off again.

HTH.

John Dawson (Arcam)"

Makes intersting reading.. and makes u realise that a chipset does not make a player !

Cheers

Matt
 
N

nathan_silly

Guest
AFAIK Jitter only affects PCM. It does not effet DD/DTS.

And anyway, I don't care about the quality of the DVD player DAC's- never use 'em.

For AV- digital out to processor

For CD- I've got a seperate CD player/high quality DAC.

Only reason I would want high quality & a good sounding DVD player would be for SACD/DVD-Audio 5.1 out. Which I'm not bothered with.
 
J

juboy

Guest
Originally posted by Matt Horne
and makes u realise that a chipset does not make a player !

I don't think anyone is argueing that the chipset defines any player it's in, but it's undeniable that if the chipset has problems that even it's manufacturer admits, simply putting it into another machine isn't going to suddenly make those problems disappear completely.

As the Shootout people stated quite sensibly, Zoran had said that their fifth generation Vaddis would not have the chroma bug... when it was released, it did. So the question, and a very sensible one in my eyes, is 'Why did they release it with the chroma bug still present?' and 'Why do manufacturers still specify components in the knowledge they have inherent, fundamental problems?'.

As I understand it, the Vaddis V was always intended to be a decent Jack of all Trades at a very low price... which is why £200 players are able to use it.
 

John Dawson

Novice Member
To reiterate - jitter affects DD and DTS SPDIF streams in the same way as PCM streams - to get back the master clock signal in the receiver/processor, which ultimately is a main factor in determining the quality of the final D/A conversion, you need to refer to the incoming SPDIF signal. If that has source clock jitter on it you will get most of that on the final clock too, unless you use expensive tricks like quartz crystal PLL recovery circuits.

Juboy - Zoran have never to my knowledge formally said they had fixed the CUE in the Vaddis 5 - don't believe everything you read in reviews!

The many advantages of the Vaddis 5, which is a top of the market part and arguably the best overall DVD decoder currently on the market, outweigh the presence of any CUE in my opinion. These parts are incredibly complex special purpose computers with megabytes of supporting code, which takes years for a design team to get familiar with and require lots of supplier support. It is naive to suggest that one would pick chipsets without taking all of this into account - a bit like saying a manufacturer would change an OS from Windows to Mac or vice versa because there was one feature you didn't like in one OS (this is obviously not a perfect analogy and also a gross oversimplification, but I hope you get the idea!!).


John Dawson (Arcam)
 
J

juboy

Guest
Originally posted by John Dawson
Juboy - Zoran have never to my knowledge formally said they had fixed the CUE in the Vaddis 5 - don't believe everything you read in reviews!

John, I did say that Zoran had said that the V would not have the bug when released... not that it didn't have the bug. A subtle difference but a big one :)

I take your point about the V though, I would tend to agree that it's a very high quality, capable product. As I've mentioned before, the Toshiba 510 I have can more than hold it's own against my Sil504 equipt Denon 2800 MkII.

If/when the Vaddis VI comes out without the bug, it'll be hard to beat.
 

John Dawson

Novice Member
Don't think the Vaddis 6 is a replacement for the 5 - it's not. It is a complementary lower cost part with a simpler and cheaper PS engine (for example) but because it also does the front end in DVD jargon (i.e. the drive servo stuff) it is a very attractive solution to manufacturers like the most budget conscious Chinese.

John Dawson (Arcam)
 

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