fmj DV139 - my first impressions

NonPayingMember

Previously Liam @ Prog AV
Hi guys,

I've got my DV139 into the home system, as promised here's a quick account of my first impressions before I get stuck right into a movie. As we're all Arcamites around here I've saved on mentioning all the usual reasons that Arcam gear is so brilliant (!) and concentrated purely on performance differences from the DV137 which it replaced and to my best memory the DV29. This level of performance is already very high so the DV139 has some work to do...

My system currently is Meridian 561 audio processing, Genelec HT206 fronts, Genelec HT205 rears, Velodyne DD-12 sub, Panasonic plasma, Lumagen VisionHDQ video processor. My Domino D80 only just turned up and I haven't the time to get that in nor do I have the old H79 anymore. So i've used the SD plasma for most tests and quickly rigged up a HD LCD for the upscaler to be 100% sure.

Video Performance

- video deinterlacing is excellent. No jaggies nor any significant loss of detail in HQV video deinterlacing tests (where the Lumagen will flicker a jaggy on the top of the flag test, and will also just fail the moving bar test in the green area).

- film deinterlacing is also very quick and on most material exactly the same as the Lumagen for 3:2. 2:2 I haven't tested yet as I managed to forget my discs. Should have Thursday afternoon to get a play but given the 1 frame delay it took on the racing car test I'm guessing it will be ABT102 level (which means not as heavy a film bias as I would have liked). However this is a £1800 DVD player not a £1600 dedicated processor. In other words for the price it's amazing (easily betters the Denon A1 for example).

- scaling for a DVD player is exceptional. The Lumagen is sharper mind (will get proper play time when the projector is in). Again though, for DVD player internal processing this has got a ridiculous amount of power.

- no other advanced video features, just the raw deinterlacing and scaling of the ABT technology (which is does brilliantly).

Audio

My test CD today is something I doubt anyone here has ever heard of. Jimmy Barnes Live - an Aussie rock singer with a truly amazing voice (former Cold Chisel lead singer). He can do the kind of range Axel Rose can and just turn it on and off at will. He also has a brilliantly gravelly 40-a-day voice which is a real delight when done well. What can I say? It sounds brilliant so far albeit a little held back. Would like to run her in because there is definitely more to come and we can see just what level of performance it can do compared to say a dedicated CD deck. But already I can tell the seperation is far better than the DV137 and a DiVA CD player would struggle to keep up. From what I remember of the DV29 the DV139 is a definite improvement

SACD I just had to crack on Pink Floyd Dark Side of the Moon the only SACD I've ever used for comparisons. As Meridian fans will know, I am unfortunate enough to have no bloomin 6ch input on this system so I've just done 2ch (come on Arcam - gimme an AV9 for Christmas I've been ever such a good boy!). The only dedicated SACD deck I have heard up close and personal this year was one of the Marantz ones lower down in the food chain, otherwise haven't messed about with SACD much. Apart from the Linn unidisc which is in it's own league, I've only heard it on the likes of Denon, Pioneer, Primare. This is the best I have ever heard Pink Floyd without doubt. And still not run in yet...

Unless running in proves to go nowhere further I think it's safe to assume Arcam have just built the last DVD player you will ever need to buy. Unfortunately for this review I have always been a huge Arcam fan but I really don't think I am being biased here. Will follow up with 2:2 tests hopefully Thursday otherwise over the weekend.

P.S. I've kept listening to Pink Floyd while writing this and flicked back to "Time" (one of my favs), it's getting better and better by the second. I am one incredibly happy bunny tonight :D

P.P.S sorry for the briefness but I just have to put a movie on now!!!
 

Crustyloafer

Distinguished Member
My demo machine arrived today too.

I concur with everything he just said. Absolutely stunning.

Come and see it, it has to be seen to be believed.
 

push

Novice Member
Thanks for the thoughts guys. Mine should arrive tomorrow ... I really can't wait to go and pick it up!!! :D

//edit - btw, if arcam give you info on a region hack, would really appreciate if you could post it.
 

dexter

Standard Member
Arcam suggest "near HD" quality with the 1080p scaling. Liam - what is the picture like compared to blu-ray/hd-dvd?
 

leon

Active Member
ive just been told 2 weeks till i get mine :thumbsdow :thumbsdow :thumbsdow
 

Matt Horne

Well-known Member
I expect the region hack will probably be the same as the current one ?

So no issues then.. all been ironed out with the DV137 release ?
 

shade_of_meta

Novice Member
I can confirm the region code hack is still the same....works fine on all region disks i have, as expected ;)

I was having a weird issue at the start with the output...if i didnt select HDMI as DVI there was a lot of interference....seems to have sorted itself out but very odd none the less!

Looking good so far! The remote is quite nice actually, i wont use it as i have a harmony that does the lot but its a great substitute!

cant comment on the audio as i have a dedicated sacd player...i wanted this purely for my current DVD collection until Arcam get their HD player out in 2008....maybe :D
 

Clem_Dye

Distinguished Member
Hmmmm - the interference thing doesn't sound impressive, but I suppose it could be a one-off.

I want one of these boxes but I'm happy to wait a while in case there's a repeat of the DV137 debacle - I hope not, but with anything new I think that it now pays to wait a bit. That said, I'm pretty envious right now .....:rolleyes:


Clem
 

Jonesthegas

Active Member
What is the cost of one of these? Will it be SDI moddable?

Martin
 

shade_of_meta

Novice Member
Martin,

they're £ 1800...

i'll admit to not having a baldy about SDI....whats it going to do for me? :D
 

iandb

Novice Member
Martin,

they're £ 1800...

i'll admit to not having a baldy about SDI....whats it going to do for me? :D
An SDI mod would convert the parallel BT656 digital video signal generated by the player's MPEG decoder into an SDI signal (Serial Digital Interface). You can then feed an external scalar/processor with the SDI signal avoiding any unecessary digital/analog conversions with associated quality loss. So, its only any good if you're planning to use an external video processor which would of course bypass all the snazzy upscaling and de-interlacing technology already built into the DV 139.
 

NonPayingMember

Previously Liam @ Prog AV
What the Arcam does purely in terms of deinterlacing and scaling is right up there with dedicated video processor levels. Of course a VP gives you so much more and I could never take mine out of the loop, but it is still very impressive in that it can do VP like deinterlacing and upscaling. It's still not quite as good as running a VP in the system (and the scaling is obviously only useful for 720p and 1080p displays), but what keeps amazing me is my VP is £1,600 just for processing, this player is £1,800 for DVD/CD and deinterlacing/upscaling!

Having watched a couple movies and spun a few more CDs, I am even more bold in saying that no other player up to a budget of say £3,000 could stand up to this. In fact I'm racking my brains for what could...

SDI would be another level again, only for video processor users, however the interlaced HDMI out on these is really very good as it (and is what I use).
 

Crustyloafer

Distinguished Member
Having watched a couple movies and spun a few more CDs, I am even more bold in saying that no other player up to a budget of say £3,000 could stand up to this. In fact I'm racking my brains for what could...
I would agree with that statement. I can't wait until mine arives, I'll have to make do with playing with the shop demo model until then.
 

shade_of_meta

Novice Member
The most worrying thing about this player is how crap it makes bad transfers look lol...

My first few discs into the machine looked terrible so it has no mercy! ( And theres me thinking they had remastered Pulse for its 10 year over due re release onto DVD lol )

Most discs look fantastic however, a big step up from my DV79 was was pretty damn good anyway!

Very happy with mine...does exactly what it says on the tin :thumbsup:
 

Greggles

Active Member
Having watched a couple movies and spun a few more CDs, I am even more bold in saying that no other player up to a budget of say £3,000 could stand up to this. In fact I'm racking my brains for what could....
How would you say it compairs to, say, Naim DVD5. Linn Unidisks, Meridian players?
 

mcguiganp

Novice Member
Hi Liam, good review! I'm thinking of upgrading my cd player from a CD72 to a CD192, but I'm also on the lookout for a new DVD player as well. Would you say the DV139 is a match CD wise with the 192?
 

Crustyloafer

Distinguished Member
Having listened to it I would say the DV139 would give the CD192 a good run for its money and even better it.
 

mcguiganp

Novice Member
Having listened to it I would say the DV139 would give the CD192 a good run for its money and even better it.
Cheers Crusty! I think I'll have to see/hear this beast for myself! Having listened to the DV137 with CD I wasn't as impressed as I expected. The 139 must be a good step up from the 137 then?
 

newbie265

Active Member
I am definately interested in this I have my cd 72 biamp amd run through my power amp too , I take it this dvd player would make both cd player and power amp redundant? also I take it this has the layer changes blending seamlessly in?
 

NonPayingMember

Previously Liam @ Prog AV
The DV139 would replace just your CD player. How you process the audio signal and amplifiy it is untouched

Layer changes? What layer changes!!!
 

NonPayingMember

Previously Liam @ Prog AV
Haven't used a NAIM deck personally, but have played with a few Unidisks and they are the exception that proves the rule. Absolutely lovely machines, perhaps the best disc-spinners in the world. I'm afraid the DV139, as good a fight as it puts up, is not going to be a Linn beater. Of course, you do need three times the budget for the Linn....
 

Crustyloafer

Distinguished Member
Haven't used a NAIM deck personally, but have played with a few Unidisks and they are the exception that proves the rule. Absolutely lovely machines, perhaps the best disc-spinners in the world. I'm afraid the DV139, as good a fight as it puts up, is not going to be a Linn beater. Of course, you do need three times the budget for the Linn....
Yes, I think the DV139 is only bettered by the Unidisk 1.1, and even then only from an audio point of view.
 

sneill

Active Member
Hi Liam,

Glad to hear your 1st impressions on the DV139 are as Arcamites would expect.:thumbsup:

When you get a chance could you post a review on the Domino D80 in the DLP forum. Sorry to go off topic on this Arcam thread but would love to hear you opinion.

I just traded in my 2 yr old DV29 against a Wadia 581 cd player last Sat & am now trying to decide what to buy as its replacement for 2007 until Arcam bring out their HD played in 2008 (i hope)
 

leon

Active Member
on a percentage scale how much better is the pq better than the dv137 ??

is it a worthy upgrade for the extra £500.00 increase ? from a 137 to a 139

thanks
 

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