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Can't seem to make a decision

Discussion in 'Blu-ray & DVD Players & Recorders' started by gilesm, Feb 4, 2003.

  1. gilesm

    gilesm
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    Dear all

    My DVD player is giving up the ghost, it's playing less and less DVDs now. So I really do have to make a decision now. I've been planning on getting a DV88 / DV88+ for the last 6 months. I've seen a demo and it looks and sounds fantastic, and it really would compliment my setup. Done deal then....

    Unfortunately there a voice in my head (and its not my partner for once) thats suggesting its rather expensive (£1200 with DVD-A upgrade). I don't have a plasma / projector and don't plan on getting one anytime soon so prog scan for me is useless. Also it doesn't include SACD and by all accounts it will never. And the market seems to be changing monthly - new tech, new standards.

    So I've been looking around. Knowing that things are fluid should I go for a much cheaper player like the Pioneer 656A that currently does everything and pretty well by all accounts, knowing that I could change it in 18 months or so. Or maybe a slightly cheaper player (than the DV88 that is) like Denon 3800 / Pioneer 757A that already does DVD-A and/or SACD.

    My big worry is spending lots on something that will need to be replaced in 2 years or so. Also the SACD / DVD-A argument is weighing heavy on my mind, especially as Arcam can't support SACD.

    Are any of the models I've mentioned and good? Is there anything else out there comparible? Will someone come and make the decision for me!!!!

    Thanks
     
  2. vee_cee

    vee_cee
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    757 gets my vote ......its an excellent bit of kit

    Cheers
    VC
     
  3. John Dawson

    John Dawson
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    Hi Giles,

    Thank you for your interest in Arcam DVD players.

    I will leave it for others on this board to comment on their experiences of the DV88 Plus but I thought I would try to address your concerns over the lack of SACD replay on our DVD players.

    We believe that the most important property of any player should be that it is optimised for the major uses to which it is to be put. In the case of DVD players this means outstanding picture quality, including interlaced video as well as progressive.

    In the case of CDs - and in my experience most people have a lot of CDs - this means outstanding CD audio replay, especially through the analogue outputs. Why the anlogue outputs? Because the digital decoding sections of just about all receivers and AV preamps are inferior to a DV88 Plus here. In the 88 Plus we have used a great deal of specialist audio technology, including separate audio and video master clocks and synchronous power supplies locked to the audio sample rate, to name but two. Our competitors do not or cannot, and you can hear the difference! As you might imagine, by doing CD properly, to the standard of a very good separate CD player, we also enable the 88 Plus to give you the best possible signal through both its analogue and digital outputs when playing out the audio content of DVDs.

    To summarise - we believe the DV88 Plus's overall performance in both video and audio is better than any other player on the market, right up to the price of our own DV27. Of course others may choose to disagree, but I think you have already discovered for yourself that this is not an idle marketing claim :)

    The next stage in our players' evolution will be to support high resolution DVD Audio in the upcoming DV89. To do this we add extra DACs and audio output circuitry to the DV88 Plus platform, which has thoughtfully been designed to accomodate them. The necessary audio decoding is already supported by the excellent 32 bit audio DSP built into the Zoran Vaddis 5 decoder. Of course there is a lot of software to add too; usefully this can be done via CD-ROM if required, so existing DV88 Pluses can be upgraded in a plug and play operation.

    Unfortunately we are not able to add SACD so simply - in fact this would require a new and different DVD transport (because SACD watermarking is verified on the transport), and a whole side chain of chippery to decode SACD. Also the navigation would have to be integrated into the main operating system and currently this would mean a new (and in several respects inferior) MPEG decoder/audio decoder chipset from another vendor. So it is not something we can currently offer nor, to be frank, do we really want to, as it would to some degree compromise the ultimate quality of the main purposes of the player as described above. The description "Jack of all trades, master of none" often comes to my mind when considering the present crop of universal offerings.

    Having said that, you can still buy SACDs if you want to! The DV88 Plus recognises the CD layer of hybrid SACD discs (which most are these days) and replays these with exceptional fidelity. IMO you can certainly favourably compare the DV88 Plus's replay quality on CD with the replay quality of 2 channel SACD obtained from many of today's universal players.

    As you have already noted, Arcam is fully committed to DVD-Audio and will be supporting this on the DV89 in the near future. We believe strongly that this format will be the most popular and thhus most successful of the two high resolution audio formats long term for a number of reasons.

    Firstly, DVD-A will have support from all of the major record companies by the end of this year (Warners, BMG and EMI are there already, Universal is already preparing titles and I understand Sony officials have privately said they will not be the last to commit. Draw your own conclusions).

    Secondly the installed base of home DVD-Audio players is much higher than SACD, and is growing much faster. Additionally this already includes support in-car and on the PC.

    Thirdly, every DVD-A disc carries a DVD-V part that will replay on all 80 million DVD-V players out there in both stereo and, where applicable, multichannel. So no-one buying such a disc is unable to play it.

    Fourthly, DVD-A discs can and do carry still video content, such as slide shows, lyrics etc - which can be pretty useful - as well as dedicated DVD-V content such as interviews with the band, "making of" documentaries and so on. This adds value and desirability over a plain audio disc.

    Finally, new hybrid DVD-A discs, which also include a red book layer on them for complete backwards compatibility, are soon coming to market. This in principle can mean single inventory stocking for music retailers and compatibility with all existing CD players.

    I haven't commented on the technical merits of SACD vs DVD-Audio for reasons of space; however I am certain we have backed the right horse here!

    So, please consider exactly what you need your new DVD player to do - and use this to help you make up your mind. If I have to make it up for you - then don't delay - go and buy the DV88 Plus. I doubt you will regret it :)

    Sincerely,

    John Dawson (Arcam)
     
  4. Costas

    Costas
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    A highly respectable response from John at Arcam with excellent and valid arguments. However, I think you need to check on both decks and make up your mind. With everything said the 757Ai from Pioneer remains the winner for me. It is simply truly magnificent and awesome beyond Arcam's current reach. Check on the money you spend and the designs and features you acquire!
     
  5. gringottsdirect

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    Pioneer PQ is fine through your Loewe television, you will find hybrid discs, both DVD-A and SACD you'll want to buy.
    Whichever hi-res format prevails, or even if both are winners, not impossible with hybrid plan, the 656 will playback efficiently.
    Technology changes real fast, universal all-format players with firewire or whatever digital interfaces plus Pal-Progressive scan are not far away, no reason why they should cost £1000 either.
    You could buy a Limit 9900SE with Multi-Region, Pal-Progressive and DVD-A @ £149 from www.richersounds.com and Philips DVD-963SA with Multi-Region, Pal-Progressive ( simple hack ) and SACD @ £308 from www.robertsonsonline.co.uk , if you are determined to spend £1000 you could buy the Philips and a Denon DVD-3800 with MR / PP, DVD-A from www.discounttv.co.uk
    Personally, buy the 656 it is enough to pay to use with your Aconda.
     
  6. gringottsdirect

    gringottsdirect
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    Maybe not so funny for Arcam, the Zoran Vaddis 5 having DVD-A capability is fine, but plenty of folks are shortly going to see their favourites popping out on multi-channel SACD so there's the rub.
    Arcam have the best customer support in the business, now all they have to do is slip a Sony DSD chipset, a 4mb buffer to reduce layer changes, a Faroudja DCDi alongside Zoran ( too many Limit comparisons ) into their players.
    While we are at it, a full 24 / 96 capability with 192khz into AV8 and nobody will be able to have a pop at them :zonked:
     
  7. ASH1

    ASH1
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    gilesm,

    Why don't you go to your dealer and ask for a demo of all the players your interested in, and when you've narrowed it down to one or two ask if you can have a home demo for say a week.
    This should hopefully clear up any doubts you may have, and could save you a few hundred quid. Buy in hast repent at leisure.

    ASH1;)
     
  8. gilesm

    gilesm
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    ASH1

    Doing exactly that, Sevenoaks are lining up a Pioneer 757, Denon 2800 Mk II, Arcam DV88+ and Tosh 520 - bit a of a line up there, but hopefully from that I should be able to make my mind up. Unfortunately they don't have a DV89 to demo.

    Not sure if they'll lend me any of them for a week, but I'll give it a go.

    Giles
     
  9. ASH1

    ASH1
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    gilesm,

    If there a decent dealer they should let you have them one at a time for a few days, things are always different at home.
    The DV89 is out at the end of the month, and is well worth waiting for if your going to go down the Arcam route. After all the DV88+ is probably out of production now the DV89 is out. Make sure you check out all the pros and cons on the different players on this forum, so you know what might or might not happen.

    P.s If you decide to go for the DV88+ wait for the end of the mouth and you may get it cheaper because of the release of the DV89.
     
  10. John Dawson

    John Dawson
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    To clear up some apparent confusion here, the Arcam DV88 Plus will not go out of production when the DV89 is released. The two models have different price points and will continue in tandem for the foreseeable future. It is possible to do all video and CD evaluation on a DV88 Plus in the knowledge that the DV89 is similar in performance in these areas. The 89 supports DVD-A as well (2 and 6 channel) and decodes DD5.1 and DTS 5.1 signals too.

    HTH.

    John Dawson (Arcam)
     
  11. ASH1

    ASH1
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    John,

    Thanks for the info and clearing a few things up. But I wouldn't be surprised if the DV88+ was found a lot cheaper when the dealers start getting the DV89 in stock. Most people always want the latest technology and If I were choosing between the two I would go for the DV89. That said If I found a really good deal on the DV88+ (and I don't think I would have to look to hard) than I may consider the DV88+.;)
     
  12. Bernard Barnett

    Bernard Barnett
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    Giles, do let us know how you get on with your demo-ing. I for one am not convinced by the 757 - I bought one recently in the belief that if it's Pioneer it must be the best - and have found it inferior to the 717 I had previously. The picture is not as bright or as sharp. (Please don't ask why I changed - long boring story!)
     
  13. mutley

    mutley
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    i too bought a 757 to replace a 717 and having them both, i truly have to say that the 757 is far superior to the 717! In cd replay maybe the difference it's not that noticeble, but in picture quality is far superior IMO...
     
  14. Costas

    Costas
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    I had both the 717 and the 737 which came out before the 757.
    I still have the 737 in the bedroom. There is no way in my view that the 757 is inferior in picture. Just the opposite. Extremely much better!! Even if you look at specs you will easlily see that the 757 has a higher resolution. The 717 can never be better. If you really think so, I suggest you check that everything is OK in your 757 set up and nothing is faulty.
     
  15. Bernard Barnett

    Bernard Barnett
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    Good suggestion, thank you. I shall do so.
     
  16. gilesm

    gilesm
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    Bernard

    Well I went for the demo and very revealing it was too. First of all I'm not a real hi-fi buff, so this is just down to personal preference. I looked at Pioneer 656 & 757, Denon 2800 Mk II (sounds like an old escort!) and the Arcam DV88+.

    First of all in terms of picture quality on a Loewe Aconda TV they were all pretty much the same I'm affraid, they were all sharp and streets ahead of my panasonic.

    In terms of movie sound, I'd have to give it to the Denon, then Arcam then Pioneers. There was a marked difference in the sound in the Denon and Arcam compared with the Pioneers, I think the Denon just edged it slightly (and only slightly) especially in deep rumblings of Star Wars.

    In terms of CD sound, wow, now this was when each showed their true colours. Played Radiohead and Polyphonic Spree. The Arcam was by far the best, the sound was much clearer and detailed than the Denon, and the Pioneers just pailed in comparison.

    Finally in terms of build quality again the Arcam edged the denon and pioneer not by much just felt more solid.

    I watched them all on a Plasma too but I don't have one so didn't really pay much attention.

    My final decision was none of these however, I plumped for a DV89 :) based on the DV88+ performance with normal music CDs. I didn't hear it but I'm hoping the addition of DVD-A will be worth it. Just waiting for the player to come in now - and some DVD-A's to be published :p

    Giles
     
  17. ASH1

    ASH1
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    Giles,

    I think you have pick a good machine though I haven't seen or herd it myself. I don't know what you paid but the retail is about £1,300 and if your paying that sort of money I'm surprised you didn't give the Denon 3800 a look as it's only £999 at full retail.
    Still I hope you have a trouble free player and many hours of enjoyment. :)

    ASH1
    P.s one month on and my 3800 still working fine (hope I haven't spoke to soon):cool:
     
  18. Goverias

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    To John Dawson,

    I have a question for you. What type of crystal clock is provided in the Arcam DV 88/88+ 89? Is it A the standard ones put in almost all cd/dvd players up to 3000 Pounds or B a more acurate one?

    Regards,
    Armand
     
  19. John Dawson

    John Dawson
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    The answer I think you are looking for is that all Arcam DVD players use a proprietory asynchronous 3 clock system in which the audio clocks are deliberately not derived by phase lock loop from the video clock. This produces better (usually much better) jitter figures than the normal method employed in nearly all other DVD players and hence allows Arcam players to deliver improved sonic performance from both their analogue and digital outputs.

    As to clock accuracy - I would normally understand this to mean precision. In Arcam's case we use crystals with 30 ppm (parts per million) tolerance which is substantially better than the class A clock requirements for a CD player as specified in the red book standard.

    HTH.

    John Dawson (Arcam)
     
  20. Goverias

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    Thanks for the explanation John. The clocks normally used for red book standard are 200 PPM if I remember correctly. Clockupgrades provided by for instance Trichord are in the order of 5 PPM. So it's nice to hear that your clocks are 30 PPM, which should considerably improve the soundquality due to decreasing jitter.

    I am looking for a high quality cd/dvd player and I am considering several Brands. I heard and read some good things about the Arcam players and will definitaly audition them.

    Besr Regards,
    Armand
     

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