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Marantz VP-12S4: help needed in choosing an alternative

Discussion in 'Projectors, Screens & Video Processors' started by Kax, May 22, 2005.

  1. Kax

    Kax
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    Hi,

    yesterday I saw the Marantz VP-12S4 in action: WOW! I wasn't planning on spending this kind of money, but boy it looked good! After a lot of tossing and turning I decided to treat myself :)
    Since we're talking a lot of money I'm trying to find out if perhaps there is an alternative. Be it a better one for the same kind of money or an (almost) as good one for less.
    After some surfing I'm left with 9 alternatives:

    BenQ PE7700
    Faroudja FDP-DLPHD20
    InFocus ScreenPlay 7210
    Sim2 DOMINO 30H
    Sim2 HT300 E
    Sim2 HT300 E-LINK
    Toshiba TDP-MT700
    Yamaha DPX-1100
    Yamaha DPX-1200

    See also: http://www.projectorcentral.com/projectors.cfm?mfg_id=any&res_id=8&ar=2&td=&is=&met=1&bll=any&bul=any&cll=any&cul=any&wll=any&wul=any&prll=any&prul=15000&an=0&hdtv=1&component=1&dlp=1&dvi=13&trig=1
    On "paper" they look almost the same. Some even look better whilst being considerably less expensive. Since it is very unlikely that I will be able to compare these projectors myself (I live in the Netherlands) I hope you can help me to shorten this list AMAP. Are any of these as good (or perhaps even better) as the S4? Or are some of them not even in the same league?
    Any help will be highly appreciated,
    TIA

    Kax
     
  2. Edgeyboy

    Edgeyboy
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    You should shorten your list to:

    Yamaha DPX1200
    Sim2 300E
    Marantz S4

    Any of them would be stunning. Marantz is a bit more expensive in the UK at £9000. Rest are £8000.
     
  3. Kax

    Kax
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    Thank you Edgeyboy for your reaction,
    that was a very clear and short answer. These three have now been bumped up in my list. Would you mind elaborating a bit more (specifically on the reasons for scratching the other ones)?
    Thanks in advance,

    Kax
     
  4. Edgeyboy

    Edgeyboy
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    Simply that having seen the DPX1100 (previous model) , S3 (previous model) and 300E (current model) alongside many cheaper models, these units present a fantastic image that do most things very well. There are fewer compromises at this end of the market.

    Of course they are expensive but if you want the last degree of image quality and have the funds to pay for one then go for it !
     
  5. Kax

    Kax
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    Fair enough,

    I don't really have the funds for it, but I'm going for it anyway! :D
    Thanks,

    Kax
     
  6. Gary Lightfoot

    Gary Lightfoot
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    Try and demo an Optoma H78 which costs £3495 and see how it compares to the £8000 projectors. You may find it produces a reasonable and comparable image that isn't considerably worse. Don't use a Denon DVD player with it though. :)

    The pjs Edgyboy recommended are good choices though.

    Gary.
     
  7. Kax

    Kax
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    Eeehh... I have a Denon DVD-2910, is that going to be a problem?
    Thanks,

    Kax
     
  8. Eddy Boy

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    Don't forget to get them calibrated, either via a test disk (DVE essentials) or get someone in to do it.

    As for the player make sure you have the latest firmware installed and take it with you to the dealer and try it with your PJ shortlist. As far as i know it should be fine with the Marantz.
     
  9. Edgeyboy

    Edgeyboy
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    From what I saw of a Denon 3910 with an H78, I wouldn't use a 2910 with one. Lots of visible artifacts.
     
  10. Kax

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    The shop I'm (maybe) going to buy it, installs it and calibrates it and then checks every 200 hrs. if recalibration is needed. So I suppose that base is well covered.
    They also recommended replacing the lamp after 1500 hrs. This is an important reason why I'm hoping the Sim2's look as good as the Marantz. After all the Sim lamps have a life expectancy of 8000 hrs. vs. 2000 (1500) for the Marantz.

    Is there anybody out there who has had the privilege of comparing the Marantz VP-12S4 with the Sim2 HT300 E ?

    The shop owner suggested the same.
    Thanks for the help,

    Kax
     
  11. Kax

    Kax
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    In your opinion, is that because of the Denon or the Optoma? Or are they just one of those "mismatches". Meaning, they are both good machines, they just don't like each other?

    Thanks again,

    Kax
     
  12. p.booth

    p.booth
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    Hi Gary,Don`t mean to hijack the thread,but I`m considering the H78 .I also have the Denon A11 dvd player .Therefore I`m concerned because you suggest not to use a Denon dvdplayer with the H78. Why ,and does that include the A11?
    Thanks Peter
     
  13. Metric

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    I think the H79 is a 3rd gen chip too.. but I think you would need to import.
     
  14. Gary Lightfoot

    Gary Lightfoot
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    Hi Peter,

    The only reason I mentioned Denon is because a recent pairing of a Denon 3910 player with the H78 revealed some odd pulsing effects as well as some other image artefacts that neither I nor others seem to have. If possible, I would take your player along to demo it with the H78 to make sure it is compatable with it. As it stands, I wouldn't recommend the H78 with a 3910 or vice versa.

    Gary.
     
  15. p.booth

    p.booth
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    Thanks Gary,
    Having now read the related discussion I understand the concern with the Denon dvd player in question.I appreciate your input and advice .
    Regards Peter.
     
  16. Kax

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    If I may be so bold as to return to the original subject, the S4: I'm having difficulty finding info on its audible noise. I'm trying to find out if it is more silent than the 300E.
    Or the DPX-1200 for that matter.
    Anyone?

    TIA,

    Kax
     
  17. kurtz

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    Whilst searching for experiences with the S4 on the American avsforum I found this post describing an edge-ringing anomoly , which doesn't appear to be resolved :( .
    Dale Adams wonders whether it could be from the Gennum scaling engine. Its definitely something to look out for on a demo.
     
  18. Kax

    Kax
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    Djeez Kurtz! Thanks for the warning. I'm definitely following up on this! The Sim2 HT 300E is starting to look better and better (at least on paper). I'm going to demo it this afternoon. I will also keep an eye out for this kind of artefacts.
    Thanks again, I appreciate it,

    Kax
     
  19. venezolano

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    Kax,

    it's only a suggestion. There is no HD digital projector which doesn't have any artifact. Keep in mind, that when playing PAL sources you INVENT each the half of the pixels. So the half of the image is real time created. When all of those projectors will be superb is when you feed them with native HD content through digital (HDMI/DVI) connections.

    I think that inthis price range, there can't be great image bugs. But still, they won't be perfect. I will focus the decision in other way. Compare on the base of which likes you most, looking at the color, contrast, image deepness, good gray scale, brightness... and be alert for the known artifacts to see if anyone bothers you too much. But don't start looking for subtle imperfections, or minor defects. Many of the problems showed on the forums are not so visible in real auditioning. The S4 issue with the rings is very hard to find on normal viewing. The photo is taken from a pattern, and very amplified.

    I hope this words would serve you to take the best choice.

    Cheers

    Juan
     
  20. Metric

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    Actually, the topic is 'help choosing an alternative' :)
     
  21. Kax

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    You're right. But to choose an alternative I need data to compare. ;)

    Kax
     
  22. Kax

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    You know how it is: you're about to spend a big chunk of dough, so you want the best possible bang for your buck (euro, in my case). Whilst searching for perfection, every little detail tends to get way too much emphasis, so it's good to take a step back from time to time and realise what it is you're making such a fuss about. The goal here is to find something I really like (and I like the S4), so you're absolutely right: time to put my feet back on the ground and look at the whole picture, instead of some tiny detail.

    Thanks, I appreciate it,

    Kax
     
  23. Geezer

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    Bear in mind that Sim projectors arent very bright at all. The brightness in no where near the Marantz or Yamaha
     
  24. venezolano

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    Marantz Vp-12S4: In the web states that 29db (high lamp mode)-27db(low lamp mode)
    Sim2 HT-300E At heimkino they measured 42db/50cm.
    Yamaha DPX-1200 30-28

    I'm guessing if the noise levels of S4 and 1200 are measured at 1m

    Cheers

    Juan
     
  25. Kax

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    You know, I saw a Sim (domino) some time ago and I did like the picture, but now that you mention it, it was not very bright. 300E demo yesterday fell through, so I don't know if that will still be the case. On the other hand, the 300E has a Darkchip 3, and is stated to have a contrast ratio of >3500:1. Will see next week.

    Thanks Geezer ;)
     
  26. Kax

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    Thanks Juan, especially for the Sim data. I could not find it (which makes me think Sim doesn't want us to know, ergo: it probably is a noise-bucket).

    Also (I was never any good at math), what would 42dB/0.5 m. be at 1m.?
    Thanks again for the input,

    Kax
     
  27. Gary Lightfoot

    Gary Lightfoot
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    I have to say I've not seen a dim Sim2 personaly, and I've seen a few. :)

    RTFM has all the product range on demo, and he fills a 104 inch wide screen without them looking dim. In the past, some have said the Sims were dim, but I wouldn't say that was necessarily the case now, at least, not in my experience. It also depends on what you class as dim - if you're after tv or plasma levels or brightness, then most pjs will be dim in comparison when projecting onto a reasonable screen size, but if you're after cinema levels, then most pjs will fit the bill I would think

    The 300E is very bright as it uses the DC3 chip, and if that is comparable to the Optoma H79 (also DC3) which produces more lumens in low lamp mode than the DC2 H78 does in high, then you may need a much larger screen if you prefer cinema levels of brightness (or an ND2 filter until the lamp ages and it can be removed).

    To be sure, as these things are personal issues, try to get a demo as it's the only way to know for certain.

    Gary.
     
  28. Kax

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    Am I right in concluding from this thread so far that there's not much difference between the DC3 one-chippers?

    Kax
     
  29. Gary Lightfoot

    Gary Lightfoot
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    IMHO I would say there is - The Infocus 7210 is quite a bright projector with comparatively elevated black levels, the Sim2 300e much less so, and the Marantz S4 has a variable iris which can achieve market leading levels of CR for a digital pj.

    After resolution, the next means of extracting more detail is contrast - the more you have the more detail can be resolved. CRT owners may have comparatively dimmer images, but due to higher CR they have more depth and this seems to give the impression of more brightness. I have found that an image returning just 4ft lamberts very watchable compared to a brighter image with less contrast. The eye does like brighter images when compared directly, but without the comparison, the higher CR will be returning more detail and depth.

    It's all down to implementation, and I think the Marantz has the edge due to it's self calibration and variable iris. The Optoma H79 with DC3 can achieve 2900:1 CR @D65, and the S3 was getting 2707:1 with the iris in F5 position IIRC. How much can the S4 achieve? The 7210 returns 2800:1 @D65 I believe. The Yamaha 11/12k (DC2) was achieving 3600:1 to 4200:1 Cr, and the newy Yammy attained 4300:1 CR @ D65, so that might be worth a look too.

    CR aside, image processing can also make or break a pj, and I've always liked the Sim2s ability to produce a natural colour, especialy in skin tones. Images always appear smooth an natural in motion too, and I think they make a lot of effort in getting it right. They are also continuously trying to improve the product further with firmware upgrades which is a good thing IMHO.

    I haven't seen the S4, but I would think that other than the ringing artefact, it has a great deal going for it. How obvious is the ringing in normal viewing material?

    Gary.
     
  30. Kax

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    As Venezolano pointed out earlier in the thread (post #19): "The S4 issue with the rings is very hard to find on normal viewing. The photo is taken from a pattern, and very amplified." And, to be honest I hadn't noticed it in the demo (wasn't looking for it either, but that says something about its visibility too, I guess. I did see some judder, though, but I was told that was a problem with the - cheapo - DVD player) So, I can't speak from experience (yet) but it looks to me to be a bit of a non-issue in real-life viewing.

    Thanks for that overview. I'm trying to find a dealer that can demo the new Yamaha. Otherwise the battle between the Sim and the Marantz is still on. Any ideas on Gennum vs. Faroudja?

    Thanks again,

    Kax
     

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