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Pana E95 - Problem or Feature!

Discussion in 'Blu-ray & DVD Players & Recorders' started by Natmich, Apr 21, 2005.

  1. Natmich

    Natmich
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    Need some views and advise people.

    Bought a MR Panasonic E95 from RS yesterday, and once home and set-up, I was pretty disappointed with the operation of the Transport. Firstly, on opening and closing the drawer, the noise it makes is quite dreadful, with it "grawnching" its way in and out. The units on the Panasonic E50 and NVNP35 DVD/VHS combi we have are smooth and quite - even a £24.95 Pacific from Asda is quieter!

    Then there's the operation and the noise the transport makes with RAM disks. Place a "old" White-faced 2x Panasonic RAM disk in it, the unit spins-up, quietly and without fuss. Start recording / playback and all is peaceful. However, insert a newer 3x Gold-Faced Panasonic, a Verbatim RAM or Maxell RAM in the unit, it makes, what I can only describe as a "hissing" sound. This noise continues as the disk remains idle. Go to play or record and the noise decreases as the laser tracks its way to the outside of the disk. OK - so back I go to RS with a 35 mile round trip and exchanged for another which - you guessed it - is exactly the same as the first! All the RAM disks play and record without a problem on the other two Pana units, so it's not the disks. For a unit which has/had a £600+ RRP, this seems like a really cheap transport assembly.

    Anyone else had / have similar issues with this model?

    Look forward to your views / comments

    Regards... Natmich
     
  2. bonzobanana

    bonzobanana
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    I don't have any DVD RAM discs but have not found my drive that noisy so far on a E85. All I've used is uber cheap Hyundai 4x dvd-rs which worked out at about 12p each (well £15.00 for 100 with a free rugby ball type disc holder worth about £3). Maybe its one of those things where it depends on how level the surface is or if its a hard or soft surface. Where is the E95 made? I think some of the newer models are made in Slovakia but my E85 is made in Germany and I have to say seems very well screwed together.
     
  3. Natmich

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    Cheers bonzobanana,

    The E95 unit is actually "Made In Japan" which used to be THE sign of quality and is pretty rare nowdays. The E50 was made in Germany too, and is defo better quality than the E95. The really odd this is that it does not make the "hissing" sound with the older Panasonic RAM disks - just everything else! :confused: How's the noise level on the E85 when opening / closing the drawer?
     
  4. guylj

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    I had almost identical problems with two E55s earlier this year. Very noisy tray (I could live with that), constantly very noisy after insertion of any Panasonic DVD-RAM media (2x, 3x, cartridge, non cartridge) whether recording, playing back, or stopped. Whole top of unit resonated - this could be partially damped by judicious placement of DTTV box. Even so it was still very much noisier than my E50 and quite unacceptable.

    The second example was equally noisy but also pumped out interference on every UHF channel which made it totally useless. I had by now done the 36 mile round trip to the shop three times and I insisted on a refund which was given graciously after a token show of resistance.

    I now have an ES10 which I bought from my local Panasonic dealer (walking distance.) I paid the full whack of £239 but they are a Panasonic service centre and I spent a lot of time trying out their demo model which was very quiet. They promised that if the one I bought was noisy then I could exchange it for the demo model (which they had only had a week.) However the exchange wasn't necessary, the ES10 is even quieter than my E50 and I am very happy with it. So perhaps you could consider the EH50 which I would guess is using a similar DVD transport to the ES10 but which has the HDD as well.

    Be prepared to stick up for your rights and if they can't or won't swap the E95 then demand a refund.
     
  5. bonzobanana

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    Opening and closing the tray is a little noisy but its a satisfyingly nice solid sound from the whirr of the tray to the clunk noise of the flap opening and closing. This is definitely the player at its noisest. Other dvd-r and hdd activity is pretty silent generally.
     
  6. guylj

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    The two E55s I had were not too noisy playing DVD-R discs.

    It was DVD-RAM media that the units were very noisy with. Just inserting a RAM disc started it off and even if the unit was in the STOP state it was still noisy. Ejecting the media or going to Standby were the only ways of regaining peace and quiet.

    I found that the white top Panasonic 2x bare media DVD-RAM was more or less just as noisy as the gold 3x Panasonic cartridge DVD-RAM. I also tried some Mirror bare media DVD-RAMs which are actually Panasonics (the giveaway is if you place them in a PC DVD-RAM drive the volume label is PANA_UDF) and these were also noisy. JVC and TDK DVD-RAM likewise.
     
  7. bonzobanana

    bonzobanana
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    Perhaps its not a bad thing then that I have no intention of ever buying a DVD RAM disc. I suppose its the fact they operate in a random access type way means the laser is moving faster and more often. When you write a dvd-r the laser itself moves very slowly across the surface of the disc all in the same direction. I would imagine DVD RAM use would represent much greater wear and tear on the mechanism than a dvd-r. Personally all I want to do is record stuff to hdd and if I want to keep it create a dvd-r of the material that can be used on any dvd player. Absolutely amazed by the Panasonic so far. I would have liked the E95's bigger hard drive but was too tight fisted to cough up the difference.
     
  8. guylj

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    You're right - the DVD-RAM is much more like a HDD in terms of supporting random access. Still, in a DVD Recorder a great deal of the access will be serial just like a DVD-R, particularly if you tend to delete all the clips on your DVD-RAMs fairly regularly so the free space is not too fragmented.

    However I do think there is an issue with the two E55 drives I experienced and it sounds as if this E95 is very similar. Maybe there is a particular batch of units affected because many E55 owners reported perfectly quiet DVD-RAM operation when I posted on this topic a few weeks back although one person had also had the same problem.

    As I mentioned both my ES10 and E50 are very quiet on DVD-RAM. On my PCs I have two Panasonic DVD-RAM drives (LF-D521 and LF-M621) and these are very quiet and also I have a Toshiba SD-W2002 DVD-RAM drive which is quiet except for having a noisy tray load/unload mechanism. But to be fair I've got several HDDs in the PCs' cases and a number of cooling fans as well so the background noise level is much higher.

    Until I hit the problem with the E55s DVD-RAM noise had never been an issue for me and it seems that with the ES10 Panasonic are back on track. I've heard it said that there is an argument in favour of buying a brand new model because quality control is often at its highest then, and as a model ages there is increasing pressure from the bean counters to cut production costs which can mean substituting cheaper components which may not perform as well as the originals. It's pure speculation but just possibly that has happened here with the tail end of the E55/E85/E95 production run. Certainly all the quality manufacturers have been under great pricing pressure - my E50 cost £450 two years ago, and the new ES10 not much more than half of that. However the ES10 feels much closer in terms of general quality to my E50 than the E55s did.
     
  9. Natmich

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    Thanks for the input people. I would appear that the transport for the 55, 65, 85 and 95 are all the same, so even downgrading to a 65 (I need DV In) could still leave me with this problem. I plan on speaking to Panasonic about this issue.

    I went to RS and we tried two other E95's - they all made the same noises, so it does seem to be an issue with this particular transport. And it is a problem for me as I use RAM disks all the time, as I edit / burn -R's on the PC and, of course, I will be using recorded RAM's in the E50 / E95 and the NVNP35. Perhaps I'm one of the odd peaple that use these as a Video machine and view progs on different units then erase them - you can't move the hard drive!

    Anyway, I'm going to give the machine a good thrashing over the weekend to see if it improves. And if I'm not happy, the RS Manager has said they'll give me a full refund, so either-way I'm in a "no lose" situation.

    Any idea what the model number is of the replacement for the E95 - if one exists?
     
  10. bonzobanana

    bonzobanana
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    I'd have to disagree on this it seems the complete reverse of what I believe in. My experience of being in the electronics trade is first generation hardware is full of problems. For the following reasons;

    A. They change the production line for a a new model and this is improved with time.

    B. They initially source components from a supplier and then change supplier later due to problems.

    c. User feedback complaints about certain features/faults are used to improve a specific model.

    d. warranty repairs cause redesigning of the electronics. Often a model that spans 10 months to a year of production can have 3 or 4 generations of pcb. The last pcb almost always is the best version but there are exceptions.

    The thing about new models is they often benefit from newer circuitry and a more radical redesign. Sometimes 3 or 4 integrated circuits can be replaced by 1 newer design. This improves performance and reduces costs. However this has to be weighed up against the continuing pressure on costs that mean thinner and thinner plastics are used and generally production is moved to less skilled countries.

    I don't think you ever see posts where people say how much better the build quality is on the newer model. Its always thinner, lighter and generally cheaper looking.

    The quality of my Panasonic E85 is extremely high and noticably better than any chinese made model I can think of. Of course you can't tell by looking at it how reliable its going to be. However some of the current crop of Toshiba and Pioneer standalone dvd players have appalling build quality.
     
  11. guylj

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    I believe the only HDD model currently available from the new range is the DMR-EH50 which was in stock where I bought my ES10. Compared with the E95 it only has an 80 GB HDD but against that you have a number of improvements (eg 12 bit processing & fast start up) and, providing my experiences with an admittedly small sample of two ES10s are representative of the EH50's transport, a very quiet DVD-RAM drive.

    I believe there are models planned for later this year with higher capacity HDDs and also built in Freeview tuners. However, if you have PC transfer capability via DVD-RAM where you can than edit/author/burn to DVD-R then maybe 80 GB is an adequate HDD buffer on the DVD recorder?

    You could regard my way of working as having a HDD size of zero. I have two identical Freeview tuners so I can record a long program (with adverts and news breaks) unattended across 2 DVD-RAMs (1 on ES10, 1 on E50) typically in SP mode. Then import to the PC, edit to remove adverts etc, author menus, and if result is still too big for a DVD-R then transcode it to just fit (maybe I will upgrade to dual layer DVD+/-R capability on the PC one day if it becomes economic). With a bit of practice you can judge the timings/recording modes not to need a transcode and you can also allow for the slightly higher effective capacity on DVD-R over DVD-RAM. You don't have to worry about moving the recording from the recorder's HDD to the RAM as it is already there which saves time and trouble.

    Please don't take the above to mean that I don't like the idea of combined HDD/DVD recorders. But I don't think you necessarily need to worry overmuch about the difference between a 80 GB HDD and a 160 GB HDD. However the E95 does have some other connectivity that the EH50 doesn't (DV and card input) and if that is crucial then the EH50 is not going to be for you.
     
  12. Natmich

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    Just a quick update. I have been contacted by Panasonic UK and the Gent I've spoken to does genuinely seem to be interested in getting this sorted out if that's possible so here's hoping.
     
  13. Natmich

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    OK - time to update.

    Following my call to Panasonic last Friday, I visited their H/O in Bracknell on Monday and met with the guy from CS.

    He had a new ES10 machine and a DMRES30 to compare with my E95. These were our findings: -

    All three machines performed without a problem with 2x RAM disks.

    All three machines showed the same characteristics with 3x RAM disks - they all had the same noise and vibration. To try and describe this noise better, it is as if the drive begins to spin twice as fast as normal. Panasonic have stated in their view, this is NOT normal NOR acceptable. Over the last couple of days, they have tested another E95 and an E500 with the same results - no problems with 2x, but the same issue with 3x. They have been discussing this with QA and they believe it to be an issue with the firmware, which they will now discuss with Japan. However, they cannot tell me when, or indeed, IF the firmware will be changed! Great!! :(

    Incidentally - this problem does not appear to affect the older E20/E30/E50/E100 models.

    So - are there any other Panasonic owners out there with the E55, 65, 85, 95, EH50, ES10 or E500's that have this problem with 3x RAM disks? If so, I think we need a collective request to get this sorted.
     
  14. Natmich

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    No one other than me and the machines in Panasonic HQ have these problems then???
     
  15. ben223

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    I have an E85 and while there is some noise when the disc tray opens/closes it is not excessive.

    I have used numerous 3x Panasonic DVD-RAM discs and other than a slight whirr as the drive spins up, there is no further noise.
     
  16. Natmich

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    Cheers Ben - When did you purchase your 85?
     
  17. ben223

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    Nat, I bought my E85 in October 2004.
     
  18. oldjohn

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    I have the E 55 and apart from the noisy tray opening and closing there is no problem with the 3x Panasonic RAM discs. Quite pleased with the machine overall.
     
  19. Natmich

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    Cheers - when did you purchase this? I'm trying to work-out if there's a pattern in terms of age.
     
  20. oldjohn

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    Bought it from Grattan the catalogue people eight weeks ago.
    I thought it strange unpacking it from the box,the box was plain brown and with no Panasonic markings on it at all, the machine was sealed in shrink wrapped polythene.

    My first thoughts were that it was a return from another customer,but on close examination I could not see any signs that it had been used.

    Hope this helps.
    John.
     
  21. Natmich

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    Cheers oldjohn

    Anyone else with this problem people???
     
  22. Xerstead

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    Just taken back my E85 to RS as it got stuck in 'Self Check' mode when coming out of stand-by. As I bought it in December 2004 for £399, and the price has now dropped £100 they exchanged it for a new E95H
    :clap: :thumbsup: They even produced a screwdriver to reclaim my cd which was stuck in there. (the open button didn't work).

    Never heard one of those, but I'm surprised a unit of this cost makes so much noise. To be fair, it is only the tray opening/closing that makes far too much noise.

    I tried it with the 3x Maxell RAM discs, (I don't have any 2x to compare them to) they make more noise than a standard dvd playing, I'd compare it to a PC cooling fan. It's annoying, but I'm not sure whether I would class it as a fault.
    Recording to the HDD is very quiet though.
     
  23. TL0

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    I have an E95 & it suffers from the whirring sound with 3x RAM discs.

    Hopefully Panasonic will sort this out at some point if it's affecting all their newer models.
     
  24. pwood

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    My ES-10 of 3 days old has started to make the whirring sound described earlier. Its only with RAM discs. After insertion and not playing anything it will be noisy for about 5 min or so then silent most of the time. Then I'll play something and the noise will start up again or sometimes it wont! Currently I'm recording in LP mode to see if that makes any difference and it so far seems quieter. Would TRY -RW disc but RAM is the attraction of the Panny in the first place as I can delete chapter in any order to free up space.
     
  25. Sisisisisisi

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    Me too.
    2-3x Panasonic RAM.
    Hissing noise louder than usual - not that loud but would prefer it wasn't there at all.
    So - change to 2 x RAM as a solution I take it?

    Firmware updates - are they usually 'downloadable' or is it a thing that'd need the machine being looked at?
     

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