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High End DVD Players

Discussion in 'Blu-ray & DVD Players & Recorders' started by lfletcher, Jul 31, 2003.

  1. lfletcher

    lfletcher
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    Having just been affected by the Tag bombshell, I was wondering if there are any other high end players that offer the performance and the pontential upgradability that the Tag 32R did/does?

    I have had a quick investigation and I like the look of the Linn Unidisk and especially the Meridian 800 series, but are there any other brands I should be looking into? Krell, Theta, Lexicon?

    More importantly is there anyone here with the Meridian and is it worth that kind of money (11k)?

    I have also been recently reading that with the advent of DVI all the high end players arent really going to be worth investing in, because a fairly low end dvd player with DVI is going to be as good (if not better) than a high end one without DVI. Is this true?

    How would a high end player with DVI be able to better a low end one?
    I assume (possibly incorrectly) that the high end one will only be better for CD playback?

    Thanks
    Laurence
     
  2. Spligsey

    Spligsey
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    Laurence

    I dont know a huge amount about the players you've mentioned, although i am familiar with Meridians 800 series.
    Being a 'card' based architecture, the Meridian should be able to offer you an upgradeable path as & when new implementations are introduced. Naturally, these will, in general, be quite expensive. The player itself is a formiddable source player.
    Depending on what version you get/specify, will largely depend on what your base unit will begin life as, and how much it will set you back in £££'s / $$$$'s
    It is a fantastic CD player, DVD-Audio player & DVD-V player.
    To really get it to perform the high end fireworks, it's connection to it's twin brother (Meridian 861 processor) would ensure many a happy / euphoric moment. The benefits of digital DVD-A replay are then available. (awesome)
    The Meridian players do suffer from the chroma bug (if that's an important factor). There is no SACD support on the player.
    I do know a chap who uses the 800 as a CD player only.
    (very technically minded person - who's a galaxy beyond my knowledge)...I do think the Meridian is an outstanding audio accomplishment, perhaps the video isn't as mesmerising (it's still very good!!!)

    http://www.softronix.com/cgi-bin/Ultimate.cgi?action=intro&BypassCookie=true

    Have a browse on that forum. It's an unofficial Meridian Forum, but has plenty of knowledgeable people who own 800's & can give you advice...


    Is it worth 11K?

    That will depend on you & your wallet. It is right at the top of the digital engineering tree & is a force to be reckoned with.

    A few gurus round here are very taken with the Linn Unidisk.
    It certainly looks a superb player.
    Multi-disc capable is a great addition. Looks massively impressive.

    Hopefully, the guys who have seen this will fill you in more.


    Adzman
     
  3. Gordon @ Convergent AV

    Gordon @ Convergent AV
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    All hi-end DVI out units will NOT be of sam equality picture.

    DVI doesn't support interlaced digital picture output at 480i or 576i. This means that the DVD player will have to de-interlace and there will be differences in performance in that respect for a start.

    HDMI outputting DVD players, that are still to come, will have a digital interface that will be able to chuck out a 480i/576i digital video signal that is native to the data on the disc. At this point the quality of the mpeg decoder in the player and it's implimentation may well be a determining factor

    Gordon
     
  4. marck

    marck
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    Another idea could be to buy a top transport and then use the processors DAC's (so would have to be a high level processor). I currently use the Theta Carmen - which has superb picture and music abilities. The new version, Carmen II is meant to be even better. Likewise, you could go further up the scale in terms of prices - David etc but that depends on how much money you want to spend.
    I did a lot of investigating, and I found for the money, Theta was the best choice (IMO).

    If you are looking for a seperate cd player then go listen to the new Audio Resolution Opus 21 cd player - meant to be amazing!
     
  5. Nic Rhodes

    Nic Rhodes
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    Laurence

    Interesting question. I have written some thoughts on this in the big Tag thread if you haven’t seen it already. Gordon cuts to the crunch on this and the ability to go from interlaced to progressive with the minimum of DA / AD conversions (something the Tag isn’t too hot on). There are some good MPEG chipsets out there now and some good ones with chroma bugs (which I think is an overrate issue)

    I have no doubt that the future will be HDMI taking 480i / 567i to a deinterlacer / scaler for processing (don’t forget the whole of the chain will need to be HDMI). This will include high res DVD A (and possibly SACD as well) sound. Waiting for the latter to comes means that we are probably talking 2 years away still. Currently we have DVI players which output digitally but deinterlacing is done in the player and can be bad or as good as a SIL504 can be. You are limited by the players deinterlacing capability.

    The high end players (which I am already a member of the club with a Tag) are likely to be the end of the era IMHO. Perhaps the reason Tag is in serious difficulty at the moment

    There are two ways that you can get quality digital signals out and may be better for you until HDMI hits the streets. HCPCs and SDI (either in HCPCs or video processor).

    We now have video processors that can take DVI (HDCP) and SDI and these aren’t silly money, this might be a far better route for you funds now. My £400 SDI player is better than my Tag. Patience might be worthwhile here. Cheap player, better video processor?

    Don’t forget that the future may well be much higher than resolutions 576i and therefore any SIL504 solution ‘might’ not fulfil all future requirements for a video processor.
     
  6. John Dawson

    John Dawson
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    A couple of points here -

    Firstly whilst HDMI can support 480i and 576i it is not mandatory for the transmitter device to do this. IIRC the only mandatory outputs required are 480p and 576p.

    Secondly I am surprised that high end is still equated with high price - surely it should be high performance? Not all high end (read very expensive) players are truly high performance, and vice versa. Given that you might want to consider an Arcam DV27A Laurence? Just my 2p, as they say!

    John Dawson (Arcam)
     
  7. NicolasB

    NicolasB
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    If a DV27A really was just 2p, that'd be good....
     
  8. Nic Rhodes

    Nic Rhodes
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    Good plug John! I think my point is that spending £5k at the moment might not be the best solution but I for one would be interested if you could persuade a 'third party' to do an SDI mod on a 27a, might get you another sale :)

    He waits for a PM........:)
     
  9. lfletcher

    lfletcher
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    Thanks for all the responses. They make for some interesting reading.

    Spligsey - you say the video isnt the greatest on the Meridian. Is this due to the chroma bug or something else, and do you think the picture is better that the Tag?

    Anyone know of any Theta dealers in the London/Soth East area?
    How much is a Carmen 2 or David transport likely to cost?
    Also do Theta have any upgrade policies, because DVI/HDMI are pretty important to me if I get rid of the DVD32R?

    Beekeeper, thanks for the advice. Im fiddling with a HTPC at the moment so will see what sort of results I can get with it.

    Im really not very keen to invest a large amount of money into a transport that is somewhat redundant (in terms of technology) in a few years time. I thought I had done this when I purchased the Tag, but as it doesnt have (and will never have) DVI or HDMI its no longer the best solution for me.

    Thanks for the response John. I looked at the DV27 before I got the Tag, but decided to go for the Tag because I could upgrade it. John are Arcam you likely to release a DVI and/or HDMI upgrade for the DV27A anytime soon?

    All I now need is a crystal ball to see into the future, so I can work out the best player for my future needs.
     
  10. lfletcher

    lfletcher
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    Following up my own post.
    Does anyone know how good the picture quality of the Linn player is (say in comparison to the Tag or Meridian)?
    From what I have read the DVI/HDMI output isnt enabled yet but will be at a later date, does anyone know if this is correct and when it might be enabled?
     
  11. Spligsey

    Spligsey
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    Laurence.

    I think the TAG DVD32R has one of the best video performances i've seen. The Meridian 800 IS a great video performer.
    I think that what i was trying to say was that the audio side of the 800 is so god damn impressive, it perhaps, overshadowed the video performance.
    The 800 uses the Faroudja DCDI interlacer, which some people have suggested helps to 'mask' the bug.
    (Some people dont have an issue with the bug, some do...)
    I'll leave the technicalities to someone who knows his onions.

    Meridian are fully behind the digital platform & to their credit, have been pushing the barrier for quite a while now.

    Adzman
     
  12. Nic Rhodes

    Nic Rhodes
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    Linn is better than the Tag IMHO but they are ignoring my emails at the moment. Bass management is therefore basic, HDCP DVI isn't working but could give a SIL504 ps signal to a scaler at a later date. It will NOT do HDMI and therefore high res digital DVD A and SACD is a no no. Analogue only but it does work really well.

    Well worth a demo IMHO
     
  13. marck

    marck
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    Call Acoustic Arts in Watford - speak to either Kingsley or Fraser - they will tell you all you need to know about Theta - prices, upgrades etc. They will probably tell you a lot more too!

    I would def recommend demo'ing the Theta equipment - not many people on this forum talk about it, but it is superb equipment.

    If you need the numbe let me know and I will forward it on to you.
     
  14. lfletcher

    lfletcher
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    Had a quick demo of the Unidisk and Kisto at the weekend. Most impressive.
    The prog scan picture quality from the Linn was definately better than my Tag (but in theory it should be), didnt have a chance to test the interlaced picture.
    Did notice one issue with it though.
    What decoding chip does the Linn use and does it suffer with the Chroma bug?
    I saw jagged lines when watching Gladiator, so unless there was an issue with the Pana 5 plasma I was watching it on, there was an issue with the output from the player.

    Laurence
     
  15. marck

    marck
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    Go try the Theta...
     
  16. Gordon @ Convergent AV

    Gordon @ Convergent AV
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    Lawrence. They use the Sil chipset that TAG/ARCAM etc use. What was the scene? Was it R1 or R2 disc? We can check this out to see whether it was a configuration issue

    Gordon
     
  17. NicolasB

    NicolasB
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    The Silicon Image chipset is a deinterlacer, not a decoder, and it's the decoder that is responsible for the chroma bug (or not). In Arcam players, for example, it's the Zoran Vaddis processor.
     
  18. Gordon @ Convergent AV

    Gordon @ Convergent AV
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    Guess what Nicholas. I know that....

    The artifact he described may well be a chroma bug but i've never seen it on that film. That is why I asked for scene and region of disc so I could confirm exactly what the issue was, ie incorrect setting on SIL chipset, plasma, DVD or indeed.....chroma bug....Together we'll get to bottom of it

    G
     
  19. lfletcher

    lfletcher
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    Marc, I will go and try the Theta (prolly in a couple of weeks). The Meridian 800 is next up. Out of interest do you know if the Theta power amps are any good?

    Gordon, it was the R2 (non superbit) version of Gladiator. I noticed the jagged effects fairly often, but the other half didnt notice it at all.
    I cant give you the scene number until I get home but I can describe it :)
    Its was the gladiator fight where Mr Crowe is having a tussle with the lions. When he wins the picture pans out and a bunch of guards run in. The jagged effect was pretty prominent ni the guards legs when they were running towards him.
    I also noticed it during the main fight at the beginning.

    To the best of my knowledge the Unidisk was connected using component cables. The plasma was the silver consumer Panasonic series 5. I dont know whether it has the media box attached, but I assume it did.

    Hope thats of some use.
    I would like to get to the bottom of the issue, because apart from the jaggies the picture quality really was exceptional. I liked the Kisto as well.
     
  20. marck

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    Are Theta poweramps any good - the Dreadnaught is considered as probably the best multi-channel amplifier there is, bar none! If you have the cash it is well worth going for it. Alternatively you could look at Krell - or even my Copland amplifier (still for sale) - very good value fo rmoney - I was usig it with my Theta Carmen so can vouch as to how good it is.

    Chips also heard it - so feel free to ask him about it too...
     
  21. daninthemix

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    lfletcher - FYI the only transport Theta currently make is the Carmen II. It actually replaced both the David II and the Carmen - although this may not be obvious from their website (which is seldom updated!). Rest assured - Theta themselves no longer have any stock of either David II or Voyager.

    Carmen II has an excellent stab at de-interlacing digitally prior to D/A conversion. Connect through VGA to a progressive display and you have a great picture. You can have an SDI output board added to it if you want (at extra cost). Beyond that the main reason to go with these high-end players is the PCM performance. Carmen II is exceptional in this area particularly if using AES/EBU. Theta are no longer pushing their own Laser Linque digital interface because they have got the AES/EBU output board to such a high standard they themselves admit it is redundant...
     
  22. lfletcher

    lfletcher
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    Cheers for the info Dan, dont suppose you know how much the Carmen 2 costs do you?
    And what is AES/EBU?

    Gordon, I have some updated info regarding Gladiator. Its chapter 19, and the effect occured between 1:48:25 - 1:48:28. Having had a quick scout round the net, the effect looked like it could have been combing. If it is, how do you get it and better yet how can you get rid of it?

    Thanks
     
  23. daninthemix

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    I believe Carmen II retails for 4K on the nail (perhaps a little more actually). AES/EBU is the 110ohm balanced digital interface (cables with XLR connectors, etc).
     
  24. cameronl

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    hi there, another good scene for jaggy watching is in the 'barbarian vs romans' fight. There is a scene where one of the 'barbarians' gets a spear through his chest, the emperor laughs and then it pans out to see the chariots racing around the collusiem.

    On a lesser dvd player there will be jaggies on that panning shot - my dv88+ doesn't have them but it pans quite slowly. Once I had the Sil503 board installed there are still no jaggies but it now pans at a faster rate.

    thanks

    CaM
     
  25. HouseofMu

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    Should your next 'High-End' DVD player be WM9 capable (HD-DVD on red laser) , using DVI (De-interlacing issues aside) ?

    Would such a player be a better short term match for todays DVI (non HDMI) HD2 DLP projectors ?

    Have a read here

    Just a thought.

    n.
     
  26. Gordon @ Convergent AV

    Gordon @ Convergent AV
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    Not all current DVI equipped projectors can accept, or will be able to accept copy protected DVI output. As I am sure the article will mention it's never as simple as it looks. We are in a period of transition from analogue to digital pictures. There are going to be compatability issues all over the place for the next few years.

    Gordon
     
  27. lfletcher

    lfletcher
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    Working on the assumption that a 6.5k DVD player doesnt come under the lesser dvd player category I would hope that it wouldnt suffer from the same issues as one. What I find surprising is that no one else has noticed this when demoing, hence it might not be the player but the screen that caused the issues. Just a thought.

    Would anyone know of the Unidisk is multi-region or if it can be hacked?
     

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