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iScan Pro with Sanyo Z2?

Discussion in 'Projectors, Screens & Video Processors' started by Bert Coules, Mar 20, 2004.

  1. Bert Coules

    Bert Coules
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    Having recently acquired a Sanyo Z2, I must say I'm enormously impressed with the results when fed from the (up-converted for some sources) component output of my Denon 3803 amp.

    But now I wonder if I could make an already excellent picture even better by using an iScan Pro between the amp and the projector. Is this technically feasible? The Z2 inputs are component, s-video, composite and DVI-I (labelled "RGB/component") so how would the iScan be connected? And would I get an appreciable difference in quality, especially in perceived crispness or sharpness?

    Oh and is the AVT3800 Imagemax Plus video scaler (as sold by Keene) essentially comparable to the iScan Pro?

    Apologies for all the questions. And thanks in advance.

    Bert
    www.bertcoules.co.uk
     
  2. MAW

    MAW
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    Bert,

    I'm running a Z2 with an ultra at the moment, DVI connected. But DVI carries analogue signals too, it's all wired up for it, you just buy a sort of gender bender, and tell the projector to look for analogue, or maybe it even autosenses, I have never tried. The picture with the ultra is seriously good. The pro can probably put out YUV as an alternative, the Ultra can. A D sub 15 - 3 phono lead you do the biz for you then.
     
  3. Bert Coules

    Bert Coules
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    MAW,

    Thanks for the reply. According to the manual, the Pro can indeed output a component signal (via, as you say, a VGA-3 x RCA cable).

    I hadn't considered the iScan Ultra; is it a significant step up from the Pro?

    Bert
    www.bertcoules.co.uk
     
  4. MAW

    MAW
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    Bert, the ultra has a number of new features, and of course is about to be sidelined, if not superseded by, the iscan HD. That's £1000 or near enough. The ultra is around £530 ish current price. It has a few issues, most notably that it outputs pAL as 572p on it's digital interface, which most displays get indigestion with, but not the brilliant Z2. It has 2 composite, 2 s-vid, and 2 YUV inputs, a simple remote, and more picture tweaks than I am qualified to speak on. The inputs have revolutionised my system, giving single cable connection to the PJ, a 10m DVI. I highly recommend them to many of my customers, especially if they have a lot of components to display, and no highly expensive DVD.
     
  5. Bert Coules

    Bert Coules
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    MAW,

    Thanks for the reply. I use my Denon 3803 amp for video switching, which gives me a single (component) cable to the projector and very straightforward source selection with the Denon remote.

    Under those circumstances, and given the difference in price, it sounds as though an iScan Pro would be a reasonable choice for me over the Ultra. Do you agree?

    Bert
    www.bertcoules.co.uk
     
  6. MAW

    MAW
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    I am sure it would do a fine job. Depends on price difference, the ultra is a better performer, and the digital connection that actually works is worth a bit, I don't suppose you are much of a console player, so zillions of inputs are not a selling point. The upconverted output of the denon will be nicely cleaned up by the pro certainly.
     
  7. Bert Coules

    Bert Coules
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    MAW,

    Again, thanks for the reply. As always, there's the choice between more expenditure and (perhaps only slightly) better results. Sounds like the Pro for me...

    My regards to Paw, by the way.

    Bert
    www.bertcoules.co.uk
     
  8. Gavin_Hall

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    Bert, I'm using an Iscan Pro with my Z2. It works a treat :) I feed the Iscan unit S-video from Sky and Component from DVD. It then does it's magic and outputs to Component via the VGA connector to the Z2.

    I made my own VGA connector to 3x Component cable, it was really very easy to do.

    cheers

    Gavin
     
  9. Bert Coules

    Bert Coules
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    Gavin,

    Many thanks for the information. It sounds as though your setup is almost exactly what I'm contemplating, though I was thinking in terms of using my amp for switching between sources and using the amp's component output to feed the iScan Pro. It's good to know that you see a worthwhile result.

    Bert
    www.bertcoules.co.uk
     
  10. pacemaker

    pacemaker
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    sorry to put a spanner in the works guys but i owned a iscan ultra for a couple of weeks and think there is one thing your not consideing...lipsync
    i agree the pq is excellent via dvi it was up with the best htpc ive seen but the lipsync really was an issue, unless the 3803 has correction, my 2802 hasnt
    im currently using a htpc i must say reluctantly having tasted the benefits of th ultra but hope to soon own the new hd model
    if it lives up to its spec( scaler/lipsync/custom res) then it will well be worth the money and with future upgrades including sdi could be the only black box youll need
     
  11. Bert Coules

    Bert Coules
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    Pacemaker,

    Did you find that the lipsynch problem was consistent from source to source? If you'd had a means of adjusting it, could you have set a fixed correction period and then not have had to adjust it again?

    I take it that the iScan processing puts the picture behind the sound. The Denon 3803 has an audio delay feature, adjustable from 0 - 200ms, presumably to deal with this very problem.

    Bert
    www.bertcoules.co.uk
     
  12. MAW

    MAW
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    I don't have this trouble
     
  13. pacemaker

    pacemaker
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    sorry bert only used dvd source
    did intend on buying freeview and adding sky but problem put me off
    some people can see this problem and others cant but it is always there
    more noticeable on music dvd's( youd hear a cymbal crash before it was hit )
    if my amp had the option of adding delay i would have kept it as the pq improvement was excellent
    i would have thought you could settle on a delay that would more or less do all
    ive heard rumours of a delay unit coming onto the market with variable inputs and delays at around £200, certainly if it had been available at the time i would have gone down that route
    bearing in mind that the forthcoming hd unit has this capability plus scaling for around £1000 that now seems irrelevent
    i know that may sound expensive to some but the end result should be worth it when you consider say the cost of some pc systems(and there hassle) or high end dvd players which should prove no match for this unit(reviews are starting to filter through on avs forum and are very favourable)
    could also check out used iscans as people upgrade to new model
    hope this helps
     
  14. Bert Coules

    Bert Coules
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    Pacemaker,

    Thanks for the added info. I'm hopeful that the audio delay feature on my Denon amp will get round the lipsynch problem; as you say, with a bit of luck I'll find a single setting which will do the job and not need adjusting. The new iScan HD looks like a very impressive piece of kit, though, I agree.

    Bert
    www.bertcoules.co.uk
     
  15. MAW

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    As you can see from my tag, I do this for a living, and am used to spotting such issues. The problem is quite bad with some plasmas, I will agree, but I am unable to find any consistent delay with the ultra/Z2 combo. Obviously there are the odd broadcasts, but as a rule I have no trouble. I have freeview, NTL and DVD as sources.
     
  16. Bert Coules

    Bert Coules
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    I've just bought a used iScan pro; when it arrives I'll report back on whether there's any lipsynch problem with my Z2/3803 setup.

    Thanks once again to everyone who chipped in with thoughts and information.

    Bert
    www.bertcoules.co.uk
     
  17. Bert Coules

    Bert Coules
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    I've now had a chance to try the iScan Pro between my Denon amp and Z2 projector. An initial reaction is that, with all the picture controls on the iScan at their central (presumably "off") position, there's a definite improvement in picture quality from my Sky + box and separate HDD recorder.

    What I didn't think of though is that the output from my DVD player, which was already switched to Progressive, doesn't sit well with the iScan: I get a curious split-screen effect, with the complete display squeezed into each half of the projected image.

    Turning the DVD's Progressive Scan output off cures this effect; but - to my eyes, at least - the "iScanned" picture is not as good as the direct-connection prog-scan-output image. Certainly the picture through the iScan from the several DVDs I've sampled doesn't look anything like as good as the iScanned Sky output, which has far more vibrancy and crispness.

    More experimentation is clearly in order...

    Bert
    www.bertcoules.co.uk
     
  18. MAW

    MAW
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    Beret, the prog scan thing is normal, if you have a good player it could outperform the iscan. Connect it straight to component if so, and connect the iscan to DVI with a VGA dongle for the rest
     
  19. Bert Coules

    Bert Coules
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    MAW,

    Thanks for the reply and the advice. My DVD player isn't anything particularly high-end: it's a Yamaha S540.

    The only slight drawback of connecting it separately to my Z2 is that I'd lose the convenience of having all the AV source routing done via my amp. Not really a problem, but not as nicely neat and tidy as my present setup.

    Mind you, I could get round it by programming a universal remote with a macro to switch both the projector (for the picture) and the amp (for the sound) simultaneously, I suppose. As I said, more experimentation is the order of the day...

    Bert
    www.bertcoules.co.uk
     
  20. Bert Coules

    Bert Coules
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    MAW,

    ...connect the iscan to DVI...

    Ah, so is there a lead which would connect the iScan's output to the Z2 DVI input?

    ...with a VGA dongle for the rest.

    I'm sorry, but you've lost me there. I don't understand the term "VGA dongle". I thought a dongle was a sort of security key.

    Bert
    www.bertcoules.co.uk
     
  21. MAW

    MAW
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    The DVI port contains the VGA connections, the Dongle is an adapter, DVI male to plug into the z2, has a female VGA plug at the end of a 20cm or so cable.
     
  22. Bert Coules

    Bert Coules
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    MAW,

    Thanks for the explanation. I'm probably being very dim, but I don't see why what you're describing is anything other than a straightforward cable, albeit with a different connector at each end. What makes it a "dongle"?

    Bert
    http://www.bertcoules.co.uk
     
  23. MAW

    MAW
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    Dunno mate. That's what it says in the catalogue. www.lindy.com
     
  24. Bert Coules

    Bert Coules
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    So they changed the definition and didn't tell me? Damn cheek.

    Thanks again. I'll give it a go.

    Bert
    www.bertcoules.co.uk
     
  25. Bert Coules

    Bert Coules
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    I just looked again at the iScan Pro. It actually needs a male VGA plug, so I'll need the male DVI - female VGA cable plus a female-male VGA adaptor. As far as I can see from a quick search, nobody makes a male VGA - male DVI cable (or dongle, come to that.)

    Bert
    www.bertcoules.co.uk
     
  26. Bert Coules

    Bert Coules
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    I've now had a chance to play around with the iScan output into the Z2's DVI input.

    It might well be my eyes, of course, but I have the impression that the iScan-to-DVI image isn't quite as crisp as the iScan-to-component one. The difference - if there is a difference - is very small, but I'm pretty sure there is one.

    Is this actually possible? Do the two inputs process the signal in a significantly different way? Or am I imagining it?

    Bert
    www.bertcoules.co.uk
     
  27. MAW

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    I do wonder if Sanyo didn't try too hard with VGA, after all it has digital, they may have thought. Anything can and does happen, Pioneer did this with YUV and HDMI on the HDE plasmas.
     
  28. Bert Coules

    Bert Coules
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    MAW,

    Thanks for the thought. It's not necessarily my eyes playing tricks, then...

    For what it's worth, another iScan/Z2 observation: the iScan seems to affect the contrast of the image. With a straight connection into the component inputs (and follwing lots of advice on the forums) I had the projector's contrast setting turned way down, almost to the minimum, and the picture was still crisp and contrasty. With the iScan in the circuit I've had to take the setting back up to zero for the same sort of contrast range.

    Bert
    www.bertcoules.co.uk
     

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