Denon A11, Denon A1 or Marantz S2??

Discussion in 'Blu-ray & DVD Players & Recorders' started by colin2305, Dec 12, 2004.

  1. colin2305

    colin2305
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    Would some good samaritan take the time to tell me which of the 3 players I have listed above will give me the best DVD performance in conjunction with a Projector and/or respectably sized LCD display?

    I already have a SONY 7700 and a SONY 999, and want to make absolutely sure before I blow more than what these two players cost combined, that I am getting the best player that I can at around the 2 Grand-ish mark.

    If this question has already been answered elsewhere, could you tell me where this has been done?

    Thanks in advance,

    Colin
     
  2. Bruce1310

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    Hi Colin2305

    If you are not in a hurry you may want to figure this into you possibles??
     
  3. Jules

    Jules
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    I have a Denon A1, and although it's a nice machine it ain't worth £2000.
    You can probably now get very near its performance for considerably less money.

    Denon also seem to have problems with their DVD players. Mine skips alot playing some discs, and locks up!
    As I Denon owner, I'd steer clear of them. Over priced and insufficently tested before being released to market.
    Fabulous sounding player though... especially when using Denon link.

    Remember that HD DVD / Blue Ray will be with us in the next couple of years, and your £2000 is alot to pay for a technology that will then be out of date.

    I wouldn't spend that much on a player if I were you, its not worth it!
     
  4. colin2305

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    Good Chr*st. Have we any idea what it will cost?

    Will it be significantly better than the A11/A1/S2 trio? Judging by the specs, the answer is yes. I suppose the real question I want to ask, is whether this new player will be the new standard in this category. If the answer is yes, then I'll wait.

    Thanks for getting back to me.
     
  5. colin2305

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    Sorry, Jules - my comments above were in response to the previous posting. In terms of the new technology you're talking about, I don't know whether or not it will be applicable to my situation. The player I want to buy now will be used to connect to a Marantz VP S3 projector only, and I'm spending a fair bit on a dedicated cinema - so I want to make sure that I buy something that will not be a weak link in the chain, and will give me several years of reliable service.

    I want a DVD player that plays everything, and delivers a second to none picture to my projector. It should also be capable of 'talking' to the sound system in a way that delivers cinema quality sound.

    I have had fantastic experiences with the Sony DVD players I've owned, but was hoping to trade up to something that would deliver a standard of performance above and beyond what I'm used to. Most of those in the know seem to deride SONY as strictly middle-of-the-road gear. So I'm anxious to make sure that whatever I buy actually delivers something for the extra money it is going to cost.

    Allied to everything else, I'm reluctant to buy something from a brand I don't know or recognise. The unit will be used in Ireland, so I'm reluctant to look at something that no-one will have ever heard of (let alone be capable of servicing) at home.
     
  6. colin2305

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    Mmmm.....

    I've been thinking about this, and have decided to rephrase my question...

    Given that I can pick either the Denon A1 or the A11 up for around 1100 - 1300 Sterling, which one should I go for.

    I don't think I'll wait for the DVD A1 XV after all, and will wait to get one of the new technology machines (to complemet the Denon that I decide to go for now) in a couple of years. I have well over 1000 DVDs, so will need a decent current technology/format machine anyway. Unless the new Blu Ray machines are going to play current DVD formats as well. And even if they do, I'm not going to wait. It will be ages from the sound of things.

    So what's it to be - A1 or A11?
     
  7. Jules

    Jules
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    If your projector has a DVI input, then the A11.
    If not, then the A1. The A1's component output is probably one of the best you can get, but it doesn't have a DVI or HDMI output.

    However, you said you wanted a player that plays everything.... in that case I again would not recommend Denon DVD players. I'm speaking from experience, and you should perhaps do a search on here to see why I am not alone.

    If your projector has a DVI or HDMI input, then I'd look at the Pioneer 868.

    If you do decide on a Denon, then I can only add that the A1 does sound fabulous. If you get one, then just make sure its build date is not earlier than 11/02. That was when they fixed the Chroma bug, used 2nd Edition Denon Link, and also used a drive with fewer problems.
    DO NOT buy a Denon A1 built before 11/02..... You will seriously regret it.
     
  8. Messiah

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    Also check out the Denon 3910 before you make your decision. Should give equivalent or better quality for less dosh.
     
  9. hornydragon

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    having seen a 12S3 perofrm better via component (TOSH SD9000 Was it) than a fully specced HTPC via DVi i would reconmend you go with component rather than DVi/HDMI at this point there will be loads of kit that requires use of the DVi/HDMI port soon enough.........
     
  10. Lighty

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    colin

    i'm just about to put my A1 onto the sale board if you're interested......
    with a nippa due in March next year i'm afraid sacrifices have to be made!
    i agree with the above, as far as film playback is concerned -
    picture quality thru component is superb
    sound thru my amp via coax is also superb
    not had probs with any discs - i guess its a later model

    box / remote / multi region and about a year old

    cheers

    sean
     
  11. gandley

    gandley
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    If your serious about the best, then buy a A11 (or a 3910)get it SDI modded. then get an External scaler that has SDI input.
    This will deliver an awesome picture, and good sound quality. But if your happy to spend some cash SDI is the way forward.
    As for the marantz and DVI it is superior to its component output but it takes carefull calibration for it to realy shine.

    If you dont plan on getting an A11 SDI modified you run the risk of it displaying Macroblocking which isnt nice.
    Be advised that the 3910 uses the same MPEG decoder as the A11 so would be a cheaper option to SDI modify but would result in pretty much the same quality for visuals.
    the 3910 is a little weaker than the A11 audio wise.

    Or theres the Arcam dv29 which you could feed its interlaced HDMI signal into an external scaler.

    But the best current DVD player is definately the ONKYO DPs1000, absolute blinder of a unit but costs around £2000-£2500 if you can find one.
     
  12. MAW

    MAW
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    Onkyo 1000. None before Xmas now I'm afraid, but in the new year no problem.
     
  13. gandley

    gandley
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    realy want to compare the new onkyo Integra dv-sp1000 with the new denon A1xv
     
  14. Audionyx

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    Also consider the new Marantz DV-9500. This is based on the Pioneer 868 video and transport subsection with a Marantz audio section. Early reports suggest that this is on a par with the Onkyo SP1000 and provides greater audio flexibility (Bass management, time alignement etc).

    The Marantz does not include Firewire (IEEE1394) but I suspect that the industry is headed for HDMI which is supported to V1.1 spec.

    Some reports from Asia rate this as the DVD player of the moment!

    I currently have an A11 and have been very happy with it save for a bit of blocking and operational quirks but will soon audition the Marantz or even the Arcam DV29 to match the rest of my FMJ electronics :D

    Darren
     
  15. gandley

    gandley
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    Hey darren how you doin,

    Maybe wrong but kriss of secrets has been making it clear that the new marantz is not based on the pioneer 868 and is marantz`s first--all own tech, will look again to confirm
     
  16. colin2305

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    Thanks to everyone for the suggestions. I'm paying close attention to what I'm being told. But for the observant amongst you, I now have a list comprising the

    Denon A1
    Denon A1XV
    Denon A11
    Denon 3910
    Marantz 9500
    Onkyo 1000
    Pioneer 868
    Arcam DV29

    I'm loath to blow two and a half grand on an Onkyo. I usually see piles of their lower end stuff gathering fluff in the local discount electrical stores. Ownership satisfaction on this one wouldn't be the greatest. Not at 2 and a half grand.

    I don't really want to wait for the A1XV unless you guys are fairly unanimous that it will be worth waiting for.

    Out of the others that I've mentioned, is there no concensus on which is the best one? Leaving aside the really technical aspects as to what one will do that another won't in terms of connectivity etc..... And forget the price for the moment. The money per performance argument clouds the issue as to which player is qualitatively the best one.

    Hooked up to a good projector or plasm/lcd screen, allied to a decent amplifier/receiver and surround sound kit - which one is going to be the best performer in terms of picture and sound?

    Anyone care to go out on a limb and declare a winner here?
     
  17. MAW

    MAW
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    You are doing the onkyo a grave injustice, and I doubt you will see any Onkyo in your local discount store ever. If you'd like to see one in a projection/plasma dual display install it can be arranged.
     
  18. Audionyx

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    Gandley,

    Hi there - doing fine thanks mate, you?

    Regarding the Marantz, I remember a post in the AVSforum linking to a preview on the chinese AVBUZZ website. A photo clearly showed the Pioneer video chips (T-REX).

    I guess Marantz licensed use of the Pioneer technology but implemented to their own spec.

    I know a guy who has the Onkyo 1000 and it is a superb piece of kit, although very pricey at £2800 MSRP. Exceptional build quality and a funky tray mechanism! The biggest reason to spend money of this kind is to get the best jack-of-all-trades. I still advocate a seperate CD/SACD source if music is very important unless you want to spend stratospheric sums (Linn Unidisk 1.1 anyone - awesome BTW)
     
  19. Audionyx

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    Colin,

    Denon A1 - Obsolete and can suffer disk freezing
    Denon A11 - Jack-of-all-trades, can be stunning in the right environment
    Denon A1XV - Bleeding edge though would YOU spend this much on coaxing the last drop from DVD?
    Denon 3910 - Picture as good as A11, lacking in the audio department
    Marantz 9500 - Technically excellent, unknown until demoed
    Onkyo 1000 - Technically excellent, a few issues with iLink and audio management
    Pioneer 868 - Superb picture, future proofed though CD is only average
    Arcam DV29 - Lacks advanced de-interlacing technology though will be a superb CD player

    If I had to pick one (I own the A11) it would be a tough call between the DV29 and Marantz 9500 once I have auditioned it. I would discount the Denon A1XV as HD-DVD/Blu ray is a coming....
     
  20. colin2305

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    Thanks for the summary, Darren.

    Looks like it's the Marantz 9500 or the A11 then.

    That sound about right?
     
  21. Audionyx

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    Colin,

    One caveat with the Denons is the "macroblocking". This is a noise artefact as a result of an error in the Faroudja de-interlacer. You MUST demo either of these players to see if it manifests on your display device. Also, please note that the A11 is out of production now pending the A1XV

    I can only comment on the technical specs of the Marantz and from early reports so again please demo this - should be available from the end of the week as Marantz expect their shipment on Wednesday.

    I don't believe there is any such thing as the perfect DVD player as today's market has shifted the balance from picture first devices to the ubiquitous "Universal" devices.

    Regards

    Darren
     
  22. gandley

    gandley
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    Must admit having also owned the A11, i would not swap back the 3910 for it. Its pic at 720p via HDMI exceeds the A11 for sure, with zero macroblocking. But as said audio with regular CD is sligtly behind. Infact any unit with HDMI in this kinda price range seem to have a pic that are of similar quality, so it comes down to personal preference and feature count..
    I also had the pio 868 and i felt the 3910 was a small improvment in overall quality.
    Unless you plan to SDI mod an A11 i would steer clear TBH

    I know im giving the A1xv serious consideration.
    As it is supposed to be that good
     
  23. colin2305

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    Right. I know a lot more than I did before, though I'm not necessarily closer to a decision. The more I hear, the less certain I become. A lot of my previous convictions seem to have been based on shaky foundations. I'll pop in to Marantz to see how the 9500 looks connected to a Marantz projector. It also seems I should check out the A11 and if possible, the AV1XV.

    Nothing less than a back to back comparison will tell me what I need to know, though. Are these three top-end players due to be compared to eachother in magazine test any time soon?

    And does anyone know where in the UK I could grab a look at these machines and watch them in action?



    To Gadly, thanks for the advice. Given your concerns with macroblocking on Denons, are you not worried about the A1 XV?
     
  24. gandley

    gandley
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    Its the faroudja chip that causes the macroblocking. in the new A1xv it uses the new realta chip(which is getting alot of praise in the states at the mo) for deinterlacing and it uses a scaler from DVDO, much like is used in the ISCAN HD.

    Macroblocking wont be an issue with the realta chip.
     
  25. Audionyx

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    Colin,

    If I were in your position, considering you want a VIDEO first device, I would audition Denon 3910, Marantz 9500, Pioneer 868 and an Arcam DV29. You may be surprised just how good the Arcam is - you would also get a first rate CD player thrown in with the bargain!

    I have been able to play with many DVD players fed into high end projectors and plasmas (a close friend just happens to be manager of a well known AV specialist) and at this upper end of the price range, the differences become personal. You will find that enthusiasts vehemently defend their purchasing decision (though not to the insane degree that certain across-the-Atlantic fanatics do!). I can not stress enough the importance of a well calibrated and unbiased demonstration - this is a lot of anyones money!

    Denon have had a recent run of developing technically excellent devices which for some unknown reason have harboured operational quirks - macroblocking, disc freezing, incompatibilities etc. If you get a good one then chances are you will be delighted. I remain unconvinced regarding their soon to be released (March '05) A1XV - I feel that the limit of DVD technology has been reached hence the investment into R&D of higher resolution formats. Think 2006 before affordable players are available not to mention the uncertainty of format (HD-DVD, Blu-ray, H.264 vs WMV-HD codecs :confused: !!)

    You seem serious about making the right decision NOW and while one could wait forever for the next latest and greatest, as history will always prove - tomorrow never comes!

    Good luck

    Darren
     
  26. gandley

    gandley
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    couple of sites in the US are reporting the A1xv will support
    WMV-HD, Denon is yet to comfirm though so might be mad rumours
     
  27. colin2305

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    Thanks for all the great responses. It's been very helpful. My video device does indeed support HDI, so this will be important. Equally, the attention given to the freezing issue associated with Denon's A1 and A11 machines is worth knowing about - My Sony ES999 does this a bit - initially I thought it was a glitch associated with the DVDs I was playing.

    If I spend twice what the 999 cost on something that behaves the same way, I will not be a happy bunny.

    Incidenatally, the Sony 7700 that I have never gave me a moments bother in over 5 years of intensive use. Are we going backwards or forwards with some of this stuff? It's great to have a player that will do everything, and will cook you a nice, evenly browned slice of toast whilst it's doing it - but it all seems pretty pointless if the machine isn't relaiable. I'd have thought that with two grand to spend, I'd be effectively guaranteed a plug-and-play machine that would never give me a moments hassle. This doesn't seem to be the case. If I buy the A11 I have to modify it, if I buy the A1 I have to put up with macroblocking and freezing, if I buy the Arcam I won't have a minute's peace worrying that it will go wrong (where to get it serviced), I've seen no reviews on the Marantz 9500, the Pioneer 868 by all accounts isn't as good as some of the stuff I've already mentioned, and I can't bring myself to spend over two grand on something called an ONKYO (which despite earlier protestations from another poster does indeed regularly offers its lower end wares at big discounts in my local MediaMarkt) - it sounds like something you'd buy at a pound shop.

    I didn't expect this purchase to be such a challenge in the art of compromise.
     
  28. Audionyx

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    Colin,

    The A11 suffers macroblocking (sometimes) - not an issue with the A1 though this unit is quite dated in AV lifetime. The 3910 has been tweaked to reduce noise artefacts.

    Funny you should mention the ONKYO as sounding odd. It certainly does no justice to the superb electronics within!!

    Arcam DV29, Pioneer 868, Marantz DV9500 would be on my audition list.

    Darren
     
  29. awhb

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    Be aware though that the DV29 doesn't up-scale and doesn't play SACD (only DVD-A). Just FYI, may or may not be an issue for you.

    Also, by all accounts the Onkyo SP-1000 is an excellent bit of kit and is very well built. From other forums though, it appears that it does currently have some issues with lip-sync to be ironed out.
     
  30. MAW

    MAW
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    I can only repeat what's already been said on Onkyo, it's Japanese, how do you expect the name to sound? FYI they are the biggest Hi Fi maker in japan. If you can handle a trip to Weybridge, you can see one run.
     

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