DVD player conundrum

Discussion in 'Blu-ray & DVD Players & Recorders' started by fraggle, Feb 14, 2003.

  1. fraggle

    fraggle
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    Ah, how do you choose? You're spending between £500 and a grand and want to get it right and get the best match for everything else you've got.

    Anyway, my short (long) list is this:-

    Arcam DV88Plus
    Cons : Had loads of firmware updates, still got problems, Arcams rather unreliable "upgrade" paths, not as good build quality as others, local shop not doing discounts, no DVD-A, no tunable options on the progressive chipset, no simultaneous progressive & interlaced output.
    Pros : Matches rest of gear. gets loads of firmware updates, built in selectable prog audio delay

    Denon 2800MkII
    Cons : firmware problems, no DVD-A, no searching MP3, can't find anywhere local to borrow & demo.
    Pros : Cheapest. Good build quality, MP3, video/progressive mode

    Denon 3800
    Cons : firmware problems, dodgy laser assemblies on S/N < xxxxxxx1000, can't find anywhere local to borrow & demo.
    Pros : good build quality, picture CD, DVD-A, 2 x SCART, video out/mode, squeeze, prog mode, built in prog audio delay, good gamma adjustment

    Toshiba SD9500E
    Cons : Expensive, prog only 3:2?, not much else known about it - is user manual online? can't find anywhere local to borrow & demo.
    Pros : doesn't have firmware problems, good build quality, DVD-A

    Toshiba SD900E
    Cons : pseudo PAL prog (what is this?), not much else known about it - is user manual online? can't find anywhere local to borrow & demo.
    Pros : doesn't have firmware problems, good build quality

    Onkyo 939
    Cons : expensive multi region, no PAL prog?, does the prog work on flags only?
    Pros : good build quality, DVD-A, THX Ultra, adjustable Y/C correction, prog 4:3 size, local shop has one in for £1100.

    To go with this lot:
    Arcam A32 + DAVE + 2 x P25, Philips 9763 32" w/s TV, Sony VPL VW-10HT pj connected directly to DVD via component and to AV amp via S-Video.

    Any comments on my observations? Any help? Aaaarrrggghhh! I hate doing this! :suicide:
     
  2. nathan_silly

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    What aboot the Pioneer 7xx and 9xx range?

    I've heard the Onkyo is a Toshiba transport, so possibly could have similar problems? I've heard Onkyo/Toshiba has Chroma bug, you mentioned fault with progressive. Also some problems with DVD-Audio (been fixed?), RCE can cause problems.

    Pioneer. Some have lip-sync problems.

    Do the expensive Onkyo/Toshiba's have a noisy transport? Noticed the lower end ones are to noisy for me (my DVD player is near to my seat)

    Why is my 1st gen Sony DVP-S500D flawless in playing back films, when newer ones with wider firmware compatibility (Matrix etc) are worse? I'm not complaining- but's putting me off buying a replacement if my player dies on me.
     
  3. S H A D O

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    Just a couple of points on the Toshiba SD900E. Pseudo PAL Progressive means that the player converts PAL to NTSC for Progressive Scan output. Only thing is it doesn´t do it very well. Normal NTSC Progressive playback is excellent. As is the interlaced playback of PAL and NTSC.

    It also has DVD Audio playback but no bass management so sends full range signals to all channels despite you selecting all speakers small, all bass to sub in the setup menu.

    No noisy transport on mine (some of the first american players had a few problems though, which was rectified), plays everything including RCE discs.

    Available for 699 quid from www.leconcepts.com so makes it a bit of a bargain.:)
     
  4. philipb

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    For either side of £800 you can have the Denon 3800 or Arcam DV88+. I opted for the Denon but in all honesty in picture terms there's little to choose. If you're buying a DVD player primarily for its performance with DVDs and don't need to play everything that comes on a 12cm disc, then I believe that these two models are the best performance per pound you can buy.

    I see the Arcam matches the rest of your gear. In which case a no-brainer, go for it. That's what tipped me over to the Denon, to match it up to my amp.
     
  5. fraggle

    fraggle
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    Update 1

    Went to local store and had a little play with the Arcam DV88 plus and Onkyo 939.

    Viewing both on what looked to be a SIM 200 (more about that later)

    Arcam :-
    Loved the way it fades one scene into the next when you press the forward/backwards chapter buttons :)
    The Avia resolution pattern was a lot better than the toshiba 510.
    The moving resolution pattern was still dire.
    Did PAL prog fine (although the projector did not)

    Onkyo :-
    After we got the remote working finally...
    Superior picture quality.
    Very good Avia resolution pattern display, no twitter at all.
    Moving resolution test :- still bad, but better than the Arcam.
    Problems with menus on Avia.
    Bloke in shop said Onkyo has problems on RCE discs - they play fine but menu doesn't work, I think this is what I saw but is Avia an RCE disc?
    Definitely no prog scan PAL.

    So I plonked for the Arcam and now have it at home to try for a week.

    After watching SPR reg 2 first impressions are it does not show any colour shading banding at all. Set to progressive output it shows no jaggies on any diagonals at all. Very nice picture. Just got to do a side by side comparison between the Arcam in prog and interlaced mode (using the sony pjs deinterlacer) and see if prog scan is worth it, and if the player is worth the money overall.

    Re. the SIM 200 projector : it does not have truly black blacks. They're only very slightly blacker than the Sony 10HT with a filter sellotaped onto the lense :) ????
    And the SIM *really* likes NTSC material, giving a vastly superior picture to a PAL image - the PAL image looked pretty dire, I certainly would not be happy if I'd bought one and seen its PAL output. It also doesn't accept prog input. I'll give it one thing, the sharpness is better than my Sony (only on NTSC though) - very nice picture. PAL is a lot worse.

    So if I find progressive output on the 88 Plus doesn't offer any significant improvement over the Sony pjs internal circuitry I'll probably go for the Onkyo, or at least try them both side by side and see which is better.

    Whats the latest 88 Plus firmware and how do I find out which version I have?
     
  6. chips

    chips
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    I'm a bit puzzled here, I have a Sim HT300 and previous to that an HT200. Both play PAL Prog just fine :confused:
     
  7. gringottsdirect

    gringottsdirect
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    Try Philips DVD-963SA if you can too.
    I haven't tried the Onkyo but compared to the others 963 is my preference.
    £308 @ www.robertsonsonline.co.uk
    If you don't mind paying £799- ish, admittedly a lot of money for a DVD player these days, the Denon DVD-3800' s layer change buffer is worthwhile.
    www.discounttv.co.uk

    I have both and so far have none of the " issues " :clap:
     
  8. gringottsdirect

    gringottsdirect
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    See 963 if you can.
     
  9. fraggle

    fraggle
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    Oh... odd. The staff said it couldn't handle progressive and sure enough when I enabled it I got two duplicate images side by side.

    It definitely looked like the Sim HT200, silver coloured, sloped front and lense on RHS.

    I'll ask em what it is when I go back.

    But regardless of wether it could accept prog scan, its PAL performance was dire. It looked as if the res was half in both directions (i.e 1/4 overall res). They were using AOTC to demo it, a region 2 PAL disc, and all scan lines were really really obvious.

    If you completely muck up the Sims menu settings can you get it looking like that?

    Oh, they said whatever it was had a line doubler. I suppose I might have mis heard and this was an external line doubler?

    Whatever, they ain't doing themselves no favours with it set up like it is!
     
  10. chips

    chips
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    Looks like they used the wrong input setting on the Sim2 :rolleyes:

    Yes I think you can if you try hard enough :D

    No, and they probably can't provide very good advice to their customers either :rolleyes:
     
  11. Matt Horne

    Matt Horne
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    Regards to the dv88+ firmware..

    2 ways to check.. watch quickly when the machine powers up..
    or do stop, setup 4792 on the remote.. you should get a menu, choose version.

    I have xxxxxx.34 and driver firmware LT76

    Please let us know if its any later.. I'll have to try the chapter fade in outs not seen that yet.. though I rarely change chapter :)

    Cheers

    Matt
     
  12. fraggle

    fraggle
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    Oooh, ta... <goes to check...>

    x.x.x.16.0/Lt75/02/FF

    (why did I blank out the first three digits? tell me? :) )

    It has locked up when I've went into the Mem and tried to come out again. Needed to power off and on again to get any life.
     
  13. fraggle

    fraggle
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    Ok, I've played with it for a week. Haven't watched that many films but watched a few favourites.

    I've just bunged my old Tosh 510 back on (no prog scan worth mentioning and cost ~ £200) and I honestly can say I must be well into the realms of diminishing returns here.

    Setting the Arcam to interlaced there is basically no difference. I was expecting a reduction in the "banding" but I have DVDs that have absolutely no banding on either player so I guess thats just a problem with the way some DVDs have been mastered. One thing of note is the Arcam is mismatched to the connecting leads I'm using between the player and the projector because I'm getting horrible repeat images of bright -> dark and dark -> bright vertical edges. The Tosh has none.

    Ok, sod it. If prog scan is the only thing I'm going to benefit from I can get that from a Phlips 963SA at a third of the price of the Arcam. Its going back.

    At this point I have to wonder if I've wasted my money buying the Arcam A32, DAVE and P25s? They certainly don't have as much transparancy and clarity as the Audiolab Q & MXs I demo'd.

    <sigh> :( :thumbsdow :(
     
  14. nathan_silly

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    I have to agree with you about Arcam v Audiolabs. Arcams are good for background music- but the Audiolabs grabs you by the goolies and brings out every bit of detail from a CD.


    I would also settle for a cheaper (but good quality) Pioneer/Toshiba- why bother spend £1500 on a DVD player and then find out it's got faults that cannot be fixed, or no new firmware?
     
  15. dts_boy

    dts_boy
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    i wold have to say for the money the onkyo is a fabulous player. having owned one, the only major gripe is the rce thing - put in an ntsc (standard region 1) disc and then the rce will play, otherwise i can't really fault the machine. otherwise, what about the arcam dv27 and hunt down the local Primare dealer and have a look at the V25, another bargain at a grand:)
     
  16. Dimmy

    Dimmy
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    Don't know if this is worth mentioning but you can get a Toshiba SD900E for £399 from hyperfi (and yes they have it in stock). Bargain!
     
  17. fraggle

    fraggle
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    Yup.

    The Arcams going back. I'd love to buy a used Q and 2 or 4 MXs, only problem being how do I get the speakers to auto switch between the amps outputs? And even if I use a manual switch where do I get one of a high quality? Its really annoying having £2800 main speakers and knowing they can do *so* much better than they are ATM. :(

    And regarding the Tosh 900E, thanks for the tip Dimmy but it doesn't do PAL prog scan - it does "Pseudo PAL prog scan" which sounds like it converts the signal to NTSC and then makes it progressive. Also the Onkyos out because that doesn't to PAL prog either, and the Denon 2800 Mk II cause all round it sounds as if its Denons attempt to patch up a pigs ear of a player.

    So, ideally what I'd like to do is :-
    Sell Tosh 510
    Sell Arcam A32 + Dave + 2 off P25s (1 tri amped, 1 black)
    Buy Audiolab Q + 4 off MXs
    Buy Philips 963SA or Pioneer 757Si (that right?)
    Buy best integrated AV amp or processor + three mono amps (using audiolab amps for mains)

    Digging round in the second hand bit of TagMc's site I see I can get the Q + 4 x MXs for £2k. The Arcams have got to be worth £2.5k at least which leaves me £500 to get a Yammy A1 or something.

    Or for about £3.5k I could get an AV32R and a 100x5R (used).

    Nah, sod it, I fell in love with the Audiolab/Epos combo when I first demo'd it. I thought Arcams best would be as good but its not. I'll get the Audiolabs and an A1 and fiddle around with passive line level volume pots feeding the mono blocks :)

    <wanders off to see what decent AV amps are in the hardware FS forum>

    :suicide: :zonked:
     
  18. S H A D O

    S H A D O
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    Good price, but its for an Ex-Display unit according to the Offers PDF from their website. Not sure if its multiregion either.
     
  19. nathan_silly

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    Fraggle

    The MX's and PX's are much better than the Tag poweramp.

    If you find the MX's are a bit expensive, you could go for two PX's with a Q, approx half the price. ~£2000 for four MX's, £1000 for two PX's.

    The Q has a variable gain input.
     
  20. Nic Rhodes

    Nic Rhodes
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    nathan_silly

    Not sure what you mean here, MX and PXs better than the 100x5R amp? If so than I have to disagree strongly, as do Tag! Is that what you ment?
     
  21. nathan_silly

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    I know someone who has owned everything by Audiolab and Tag, starting from the 8000A, LX, C, S, Q, SX, PX, MX, DAC, DAX- and the Tag equilvant.

    He's also got the Tag multichannel poweramp, and he said the PX/MX and Tag 100P/125M are much better- he's sold the multichannel off. Think he said the standlone amps have higher current and bass control than the Tag multichannel.
     
  22. Nic Rhodes

    Nic Rhodes
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    so you have no experience of them then?

    This is the first time I have heard anyone say the old audiolab is better than the equivalent Tag, let alone the new designs which are pretty serious amps. A simple question on the Tag web site would generate an interesting answer I think.
     
  23. nathan_silly

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    No. I haven't got the money to buy both, then sell the inferior ones.

    Sorry mistyped that. He said the Tag 60P/100 P poweramps (are) slightly better than the SX/PX- but not worth the price increase.

    He doesn't think much of the multichannel poweramp- the Audiolab PX/MX's are better

    Nathan
     
  24. camlogan

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    I have a arcam dv88+ with a sim2 and the progressive is fantastic on it - when you get a split screen on progressive it just means you selected the wrong input mode on the remote.

    The interlaced image though is virtually no different from my toshiba 210sde and I guess if you aren't going to use it as a cd spinner then you might be better off with something else.....

    that said I'm sooooooo glad I have one

    CaM:laugh:
     
  25. fraggle

    fraggle
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    Hi Cam,

    I agree the progressive mode is good. Makes films look filmlike removing jaggies left right and centre.

    But it occured to me if the Philips does progressive well, and the fact that in interlaced mode there's little difference showing that the rest of the players circuits nowadays produce much the same output, then the Phlips should be very close to the Arcam.

    I'll see anyway :)
     

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