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Denon v Pioneer v Arcam

Discussion in 'Blu-ray & DVD Players & Recorders' started by Brogan, Oct 13, 2003.

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  1. Brogan

    Brogan
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    I spent some time looking at a new DVD player at the weekend which is intended to replace my existing separate DVD and CD players.

    My requirements are:
    - Universal capability (DVDA, SACD, MP3, JPG, etc.)
    - PAL & NTSC progressive scan
    - Multi region
    - Component video ouputs
    - Coaxial output
    - Not interested in recording as I have Sky+

    My local hi-fi specialist was very keen on the Arcam DiVA DV88 Plus - to the exclusion of all others.
    I wasn't at all impressed however. For a start it's not DVDA capable (which the dealer kept ignoring) and it's downright ugly.
    I know, I know, don't judge a book and all that but still...

    Then I read about the Denon DVD-2900 which seemed to fit the bill and looks pretty good too.
    I have since read a lot of negative reports concerning performance and reliability from this forum which has put me off.
    Shame because it looks like a nice piece of kit.

    I have however just "discovered" the Pioneer DV-757Ai which would appear to fulfil all the requirements.
    An added bonus may be related to additional compatibility with the Pioneer MXE/HDE plasma displays although this is conjecture at this stage.

    So, in summary:
    Have I correctly summed up the 3 players?
    Is there any reason why I shouldn't go for the Pioneer?
    Is there anything else which will do the same job in a similar price bracket (up to £1,000)?
    Does the Pioneer playback JPG?

    TIA
     
  2. davidwatsonok

    davidwatsonok
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    Pioneer 868 adds digital HD video output, should you need it in the near future, as well as iLink/Firewire and all the usual trimmings.
     
  3. Brogan

    Brogan
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    Thanks for the info'.
    That one doesn't even appear on Pioneer's UK homepage so I guess it must be fairly new?
    It seems to support all the features of the 757 but with HDMI and JPEG.
    Doesn't seem much for an extra £200 but then if HDMI turns out to be the future, it makes the 757 pretty much redundant. :confused:

    Agghhhh! Decisions, decisions. :mad:
     
  4. slingshot

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    You said you wanted to replace separate DVD and CD player, the 757AI is useless as a cd player (using analog output's) to be honest.

    I'd suggest the Arcam may be the best DVD player.
     
  5. Brogan

    Brogan
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    Useless or just not audiophile standard?
    As long as it's better than my existing player which is a Technics SL-PG490 then I'm happy.
    Surely it's better than that?

    Unfortunately the Arcam is not a true universal player so it's no good to me.
    I need something that can play all formats.
     
  6. nathan_silly

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    I wouldn't bother trying to get a DVD-Audio/SACD function- I reckon they're both gonna fail miserbly (like HDCD) so I would just look for the best picture and sound, with the video outputs you might need in the future (Progressive Component, DVI/HDMI etc)
     
  7. slingshot

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    Sorry I should have been more specific, using it's analog outputs it really doesn't get anywhere near my 400 quid Rega Planet, funnily enough I used to have an SL-PG which was OK. If I had to guess i'd say the Technics may still be slightly better, but I never heard them side by side.

    Obviously if your just connecting via coax then a lot of the sound will depend on the amps DACS, so these may be better.

    Unless your P-Ex your Technics may be worth comparing.

    Hope that helps.
     
  8. NicolasB

    NicolasB
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    The Arcam DV88+ won't play DVD-Audio, but the DV89 does. (Not SACD, though). Either version is likely to do a better job of playing CDs than the 757, IMO.
     
  9. slingshot

    slingshot
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    Yeah I said that about DVD aswell (who was ever going to buy a replacement for VHS that you can't record on ?)

    Oh yeah and VHS, how could it ever succeed when betamax was so much better ?
     
  10. Brogan

    Brogan
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    What about DVD's which is after all their main purpose?

    Which would be better; the Arcam DV88 or the Pioneer 757?
     
  11. slingshot

    slingshot
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    Obviously I prefer the 757 (cause I bought one), the Pioneer seems to be a bit bolder and in your face i.e. red's where redder and so on.

    But it probably depends on personal preference so get a look at both.
     
  12. bedders

    bedders
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    Having last week just bought the Arcam DV88 Plus from RS in Brighton, and having gone through the same considerations, all I would say is...

    - Arcam has the best DVD picture than either Denon or Pioneer. My test DVD's were T2 (region 1) Moulin Rouge (region 2) and the THX demo disk to test sound qualities.

    - Arcam does do progressive scan for NTSC and PAL.

    - Local dealer was far more positive about Arcam support then Denon, so in case of problem, Arcam will support you better.

    - Too many negative comments about Denon, inc from a friend who is far more techo than me.

    - Arcam DV89 does DVD-A, and for £350 I can upgrade my DV88 Plus to DVD-A, or which ever format wins the war. NB that Arcam will never support SACD i'm told (?).

    I really was amazed at the picture quality I get from the Arcam. Which is component connected to my Hitachi 42PD3000 plasma :)
    For me, the extra money was worth it, with the killer being that the Arcam's CD replay was =+ to our Arcam CD72 existing player and my wife would never have let me get the DV88 Plus if her CD's didn't sound as good :)

    Regards,

    Nik
     
  13. Brogan

    Brogan
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    Useful feedback Nik.

    £350 to upgrade is not an insignifcant amount though.
    Added to the cost of the original unit, that makes it a relatively expensive player (about £1,250).

    And don't you agree the Arcam is pig ugly? :eek:
     
  14. Nobber22

    Nobber22
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    Nope. :D If you wanna see ugly, check out Arcam's previous generation of disk players.
     
  15. bedders

    bedders
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    My hope is that by the time I need to buy the upgrade, the SACD DVD-A standards will be unified and the upgrade gives me the benefit of the doubt. For £1,300 you can already get Arcams DV89 which includes the DVD-A ability already, but this really was too much money!

    The DV88 Plus looks just like our CD72 (which we traded in to bring the cost down) so looks weren't an issue for us.

    However, the Denon is how high? So I saved about 2" in height which meant it was a better fit in our hifi cabinet.
     
  16. Brogan

    Brogan
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    I just can't get into the whole Arcam thing.
    I know it shouldn't be about looks but for £1300 I want something that looks better than that.

    True the Denon is a bit chunkier than most other designs and at first that put me off but now it's grown on me (kinda defeats the object of getting rid of 2 players and replacing it with a single player which is the same overall size though...:rolleyes: ).

    I'm not after audio/videophile performance so if the Pioneer playback (video and audio) is good enough for my ears/amp/speakers then I'm probably going to go with that.
    The 757 is only £600 and the 868 is going to be around £800 so they're a whole lot cheaper than either the Arcams or the Denon too.

    Plus they've got Firewire which means less interconnect cables although I've yet to investigate whether there is any loss in quality using a firwire connection and letting the amp do the DAC as opposed to phono cables with the DVD doing the conversion.
    I guess it depends on how good the DAC stages are in the amp and DVD relative to each other?
     
  17. Dak

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    Not really sure that you want another two penny worth of unsubstantiated opinions but I never could resist telling other people what to think (!!!!!). Blimey, I'll become a politician if I keep on like that....

    Anyway, I saw the Arcam 89, the Pio 757 and the Denon 2900 at home through a pj, a plasma and my normal tv. Verdict? Well, a lot of beers and arguing later we agreed to disagree. This was not a commercial test as such, just 3 mates all bringing their gear to sway me towards their player etc (altho one is an av sales person who set them all up for us). Arcam man refused to be swayed but thought the Denon a close second on dvd, Pio man wished he had gone for the Denon (but not enough to sway him after the fact) and Denon man is convinced he triumphed on the day, altho had to agree that Arcam was way ahead on cd....

    My verdict was:
    Arcam - best cd replay and good dvd-a. Excellent picture and good movie sound. I agree it is ugly though. No sacd and too clinical on sound though.

    PS you can get the Denon for about £750 multiregioned.....

    Pio - pretty average CD replay. Dullish picture but very clear, movie sound was a bit disappointing on atmospheric stuff but good on 'in yer face' effects. Also pretty ugly.

    Denon - Goodish CD replay, the best dvd-a and of course sacd. Very clear picture, a lot brighter than the other two so tweaked the display controls down a little. Excellent sound both on atmospheric stuff and on the big noises. Not exactly pretty (or small!).

    So I am going for the Denon and will keep my Linn cd player. On dvd I would say that they were different more than better / worse, if you know what I mean. I just preferred the Denon. As for the problems and complaints about the Denon, well Pio man is the av guy and had to admit that they had not had any returns on the Denon - but they supply them multi regioned and promised me a full refund if that did screw up the player. Would not tell me where they got the firmware from but I expect there is a reason for that....

    Like all opinions this is just mine and was in my lounge through my speakers and amps - I just preferred it on the day and wanted the sacd and dvd-a.
    Good luck!
    Dak
     
  18. Matt Horne

    Matt Horne
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    End of the day its your choice anyhow... but that does sound a great way to decide.. demoing is the only way to go :)

    Matt
     
  19. Brogan

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    Sounds like you approached it in the best way Dak.
    And as far as opinions are concerned, the more the merrier :smashin: but if you say something I don't like I'll just ignore it...;)

    I'd like to trial the 3 units at home but the local dealer doesn't stock the Pioneer DVD's so I'd only have a choice of the Arcam or Denon (plus I haven't got my plasma or amp yet).
    However, as I'm sure I've mentioned before ( :boring: ), the Arcam is a dog so no matter how good it is, I just wouldn't buy it.

    So that leaves me with the Denon to trial which is not going to be much good if I have nothing to compare it against...:rolleyes:

    Interesting that the av sales guy went for the Pioneer and now regrets it based on the "laboratory test" results. ;)
    You'd think he would have done this before buying it...
     
  20. NicolasB

    NicolasB
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    You might want to consider a second hand Arcam DV27 too, btw.
     

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