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Pioneer 420 - well impressed !

Discussion in 'Blu-ray & DVD Players & Recorders' started by markie, Aug 23, 2004.

  1. markie

    markie
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    Just a quick note to anyone who is considering buying a dvd recorder. I've just got one of these and I'm well impressed. Easy to use, nice remote, sturdy build, relatively quiet fan, great pictures, ntsc on pal tv, etc. I tried the toshiba rxs32, but much prefer the pioneer, due to it's ease of use. Obviously this is only my opinion, but there is is !
     
  2. ben223

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    Thanks, markie. That's very interesting. I am considering getting one, but a recent review remarked on how soft the PQ was <like looking thru a camera lens smeared with vaseline> or words to that effect. Then I decided the Tosh was the one to go for.. or even the Panasonic E85. In your opinion, is the PQ better than the Tosh.. is it more quiet?
     
  3. Rasczak

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    The Toshiba PQ is effectively more or less the same as the Pioneer - at least that was my experience trialling the Toshiba RDXS32 and Pioneer 520 on a 50" plasma - both offer very good PQ. However the Panasonic range has the slight edge due to more advanced MPEG encoders especially as they offer up to 3hrs full resolution as opposed to the 2hrs 20mins of the Pioneer/Toshiba range.

    :confused: Any recorder that outputs RGB can do this.
     
  4. Lyricman

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    I have had the Pioneer 420 for 2 weeks now and I continue to be impressed. PQ is excellent. Have recorded some 8mm at LP (4hrs) and quality is very good. Easy to use quiet and copies discs very quickly.
     
  5. markie

    markie
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    @ben223

    I think the picture quality is better on the pioneer, although probably not that much difference. The fan is definitely quieter on the pioneer - you can hear it if the room is quiet with no noise, but it's not obtrusive. With the TV on, you can't hear it at all ! I think the tosh is better if you want to fiddle with settings as there are more of them, but I don't. The pioneer wins hands down (in my opinion) for ease of use and the remote is so much more sensibly laid out and appears more sturdy, with no flap like the toshiba has ! If I remember rightly the delete key on the tosh is under the flap, which you will need to use often. From my experience, flaps wear out or get broken by your kids or when they're dropped, etc. Put it this way, the wife found using the tosh hard work, but can cope with the pioneer ! (no offence intended ladies !).

    @rasczak - re: ntsc on pal tv. Correct me if I'm wrong, but only if your tv has rgb input, some older ones don't, so the tosh won't work playing ntsc with that?

    If anyone is interested, got mine from discountaudiovision - multiregion with free shipping - now £378.99 - £4 cheaper than last week when I got mine - typical ! My only gripe was they promised next day delivery but took 3 days and their attitide was curt when I phoned to enquire why it wasn't delivered as promised !
     
  6. mike72

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    When you refer to PQ, are you talking about:

    1. playback
    2. recording from rgb/s-video source
    3. recording from composite (vcr)
    4. recording from the internal tuner

    ??

    I´m waiting for delivery of a DVR520, and have analogue cable tv, so I´d like to know if somebody have experience in PQ from (4) - and perhaps can compare it to other recorders.

    Regards,
    Mike72
     
  7. phelings

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    Come on Mike-keep up with the times.Analogue cable is wasting the picture quality of your Pioneer.Get Sky+.
     
  8. mike72

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    phelings, I wish I could - but I live in Denmark, where we don´t have Sky, Sky+ or freeview (not 100% sure about what it is). There are two alternatives to cable:

    1. Put up a dish on the roof and get canal+ or viasat digital
    2. Get digital cable (is that the same as Sky?)

    Since I´m not crazy about more wires in the house (the main tv is on the 1st floor in a house with 2 floors), I am considering (2), but I´m not sure that all channels are transmitted digitally from the source...

    Besides I like being able to change channels directly on the tv instead having to turn on another box and using another remote...
     
  9. IBP

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    I got my 420 on Friday and I'm very happy with it. Picture and sound quality are excellent as is the build quality.

    Although this unit may not be as flexible as the Toshiba XS32, I feel it's ease of use is it's major bonus point. I was even able to edit my first recordings without even picking up the manual. The interface is easy but also intuitive.


    I got mine for £378.99 from 'Discount Audio Vision'. It took just 23 hours from when I ordered it to it arriving on my doorstep. That price included Vat + Delivery and it's Multiregion too.


    Fan noise? What fan noise! You almost have to sit on top of the thing to hear it. This is a much smaller unit than the Tosh and, to be honest, the design looks better too IMO.


    Thanks to Lyricman, Barzo & Rasczak for your views. They really helped.
     
  10. Lyricman

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    Glad you are happy with your purchase IBP. I have copied a few 8mm tapes now and burnt them to DVD, all very easy and good quality. Can't imagine how we put up with the old VHS tapes for so long. I take the points on here about the Tosh's editing flexibility, it would be nice to have a few more options on the menu and thumbnails on recorded disks to give your home movies a bit more of a professional feel. Only a very small negative. I did go into the quality menu to look at all the options but will leave that experimenting to later.
     
  11. RJW2

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    Have to agree with all the positive comments on the 420 -read a lot of reviews and couldn't quite decide but after the plunge it has all been good. There were a few negative reviews about high fan noise and difficulty of use but none of these seem relevant. Very pleased! :D
     
  12. mike72

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    I have now been the owner of a Pioneer DVR520 a few days.

    Without having tried out all the options I think it has great features, good PQ (I´m using the internal tuner with cable-tv) and a user-friendly interface - In fact it´s almost the perfect recorder for me.

    However I´m one of those people (I have now realized) who find the noise-level pretty high, and I am considering exchanging it for a Panasonic E85/E95 for this reason alone (or maybe I just have to get used to it).

    The features of the E85 are sufficient for me, but the E95 has a bigger fan, and is possibly the quietest dvd/hdd combo out there. I have heard that the E85 is silent the first couple of hours, and then 'revs up'. Is there any truth to this ? (if the machine is quiet for maybe 3 hours before emitting serious noise I guess I can live with it), or is the E95 even more quiet - from the moment it´s turned on ?

    All opinions are very welcome!
     
  13. Rasczak

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    Have you thought about enclosing it in a new cabinet?

    :) I should do more of that! Looking at some of my posts recently people must think I illiterate.
     
  14. mike72

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    Hi Rasczak

    Thank you for an - as usual - prompt reply.

    Would a stand with glass doors eliminate the noise completely ? My tv sits on a matching stand (with open shelves), and I´m not that keen to replace it, but it could be an option...

    Any opinion on noise levels between the 520/E85/E95 ? (I´m thinking that perhaps you have heard them all)

    - your typing is not that bad, and when having problems I can usually deduct what you mean from the context :)
     
  15. Rasczak

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    Obviously it depends on the stand but a good solid build cabinet with glass doors will muffle the sound to such an extent it becomes inaudible. My units are enclosed by a 5mm thick safety glass door and I get no sound through that whatsoever. And even if I did the front right speaker is next to the cabinet and the loudest fan in the world couldn't really compete with that :)

    Fan noise is always going to be subjective and I've never compared the models side by side for fan noise - I'm also fairly tollerant due to the setup I described above. They all make a little noise but I can say definitively one way or the other whether the Pioneer was louder than the Panasonics.
     
  16. markie

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    Just an update to my earlier statements. Had the Pioneer for over a month now. Still very impressed with the unit - great recordings, easy to use, etc. Am using it more and more as well. Always sceptical when buying something for nearly £400, but have not thought once I have made the wrong choice and thoroughly recommend the unit for anyone considering buyig a HDD recorder. IMO, much better than the Toshiba, which I didn't take to at all.
     
  17. kathy_parsons

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    ive almost certainly decided on getting the 420 myself after a month or so of looking, reading, testing etc :)

    id love the 160gb 720........but at the end of the day i guess 40 odd hours at SP on the hdd is enough to keep me happy....and i just know that this time next year or sooner, there'll be 250gb models out there for probably less money than i pay for this......grrrrr!!!!

    my only hesitation was seeing the new sony..the hdx900 or something like that - i know its about £150 more, but with the 160gb hdd and the rave review i saw in a magazine, and having a soft spot for quality sony stuff it made me pause - but seeing the comments on here and elsewhere it appears that its a bit of a turkey for the money..and definitely not a better machine than the 420?

    so i think another week or so of scouring all the info i can find just to make sure im not missing a much better machine for the money....my mind will be made up - hopefully a good choice with about 400ish to spend?


    kath :)


    ps - just as a side point, if i use the s-video output from this machine rather than RGB, via the scart socket on the 420, with a fully wired cable to the TV......will it still carry the aspect ratio switching signal?
     
  18. Rasczak

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    Not a Turkey - the Sony models are good machines. The Sony HDD/DVDRs will come into their own when they incorporate Freeview tuners where the HQ+ and 2pass re-encoding will reduce the impact the lack of a Flexible Record option has on the machines capabilities. Unfortunately Sony doesn't currently have the courage to go down this path and so the current models are left a little high and dry.

    Have you tried the Toshiba RDXS32? It's superior in most respects to the 420 - although is around £20 more.
     
  19. kathy_parsons

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    thanks for your comments - yes the toshiba was one i considered a lot...but a couple of things went againt it.

    fiddling around setting a satellite monitor button whenever the player is switched off, for the RGB loop through, would annoy me no end after a week or two.

    more importantly, i have a lot of NTSC vhs i need to archive onto dvd, and the toshiba cant handle the PAL60 signal that my vcr sends out - the pioneers can.

    but in its favour, it is actually slightly cheaper than the 420 right now having had a quick look around the price comparison sites!
     
  20. Barzo

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    I sincerely doubt you would be disappointed with the Pioneer 420 series of recorders. I've had it for a couple of months now, and remain very pleased indeed. It has yet to record a frisbee/coaster, and has played everything I have put in it (unlike, I have to say, the Tosh X32, but I do think my drive was defective).

    I've seen some magazine reviews suggesting that playback and recording PQ through RGB are not as good as others, notably Panny recorders. I wonder if the review units were malfunctioning, as this is not the case at all. One series of reviews suggests that images are drained of colour, have fuzzy edges and look as if the screen has been smeared with vaseline. Nothing could be further from the truth. The only real PQ issue is, of course, that the Pioneer recorders do not have component outputs (a shame), and therefore are not prog scan capable. However, to suggest that the RGB picture is deficient in the ways described is just plain wrong. I owned a Panny E55 and a Tosh X32 before finally ending up with the Pioneer recorder, and would argue that the RGB picture of the Pioneer is at least as good as either of those machines, and, indeed, better than the Panny (both machines were connected RGB). I know that reviewing is a subjective issue, but this sort of misinformation is really quite worrying. A reasoned preference for one unit over another is one thing; this is quite another.

    Sorry about this last bit - this may not be the thread for such a rant - but it needed to be said. :devil:
     
  21. eddyad

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    I have found the 420 s-video playback indistinguishable from RGB on a 32" Sony CRT TV.
    If your main use of the HDD is time shifting then LP mode (68 hrs on an 80GB HDD) is perfect satisfactory - streets ahead of VHS. For permanent DVD copies then you would probably want SP anyway - the Pioneers will give 2hrs 20 mins on a DVD-R in a mode called MN18 - the longest before dropping to LP quality, and will do high speed copying of all program material at this setting. I think there are certain limitations to high speed copying of 16:9 source material at LP settings that seem to apply to all DVD recorders
     
  22. Rasczak

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    This concurrs exactly with my findings. I test units on a 50" PHD6 Plasma, Toshiba 36" CRT and a SIM2 HT300 projector. Generally I have found the Pioneer playback to be quite low quality. I'd rate the E85/95 Panasonics as 'average', Toshiba and Sony between 'average' and 'good'. To be fair though all these units are bargain basement - if you really want decent DVD playback you need to pay for the heavyweights - the Panasonic E500 or Pioneer 920.

    Eddyad - I would suggest upgrading your screen when feasible. Not being able to distinguish RGB and S-Video sources is not a good sign. Are you using good quality Scart cables - it is very easy to loose the RGB advantage.
     
  23. eddyad

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    Rasczak - my previous TV lasted 18 years (27" Sony) - I doubt this one will last as long, but one can hope. :laugh:
     
  24. Rasczak

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    Well you'll certainly get good value out of it if it does ;) Seriously though you may find investing in some quality Scart cables (QED for example) beneficial. For a small outlay (around £30 is a good compromise between cost/quality) these cables can potentially improve your picture dramatically. Certainly on most modern sets you should be able to distinguish between RGB and S-Video - however if the RGB signal is being 'degraded' by poor wires you will quickly loose the RGB advantage and the quality difference will be noticeable - so ensure you upgrade the whole circuit.
     
  25. eddyad

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    I have a consistency problem between composite and s-video/RGB. My freeview box only delivers composite to the 420, but RGB to the TV. So switching from watching the TV to a recording gives an immediate and unavoidable downgrade. The picture tweaks on the 420 help a little however.
    The only possible improvement is a Freeview box with 2 RGBs (none around) or 2 s-videos or 1 s-video + 1 RGB (Sony and Pioneer).
    I'm almost happier with the STB set to composite for the TV. I use the best scart I have (came with the TV) from the 420 to the TV.

    Actually, would I do better with a scart splitter plugged into the STB so I could get RGB to the 420, and forget the STB's video out scart?
    It would still be s-video from the 420 to the TV though, as that only has one RGB scart. I haven't tried this because both the 420 and the STB have scart loopthroughs, and the TV also sends signals out of its scarts and I don't want mess anything up with all this stuff flying around in unpredictable directions.

    Current wiring is: Antenna looped through STB>420>VCR>TV
    STB TV scart > TV scart 1 - RGB
    STB video scart to 420 in scart - composite
    420 out scart > TV scart 3 - s-video
    VCR out scart > TV scart 2 - composite (and the TV scart 2 outputs a loopthrough from its scart1 when it's switched on!)
    If I get to copying any VHS tapes to DVD I can use a separate set of composite RCA leads from the VCR to the 420 - I've tried this and it works OK allowing for the VHS source.

    I sometimes think the USA is pretty bright with its almost exclusive s-video approach. At least you know where you are!
     
  26. Rasczak

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    Try a connection setup more like this:

    STB TV Out >>> Input on the 420 and the Output >>> TV EXT1
    STB VCR Out >>> Input on VCR and the Output >>> TV EXT2

    This will allow you to watch Freeview (?) in RGB and record in RGB. It will also allow you to benefit from the Timeslip/Chasing Playback offered by the 420. The only real limitation is if you are recording from the internal tuner of the 420 then you will need to watch Freeview through the VCR (in composite).
     
  27. eddyad

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    Thanks for reply - I'll try it.
    The STB has TV format choices - 4:3 with assorted screen options and 16:9. I've checked and the TV format switching works correctly with the STB set to 16:9 or 4:3 Fullframe. I'll have to check that recordings are OK too.

    Do you know of any technical/electrical reasons whay a scart splitter would be inadvisable?
    Actually Lektropaks do a 2 way scart control http://www.lektropacks.co.uk/product/technical.asp?dept_id=112&sku=147 which looks as if it would do the job without the TV potentially feeding anything back. If so it'd be worth upgrading the cables.
     
  28. Rasczak

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    Well your splitting the signal - not exactly the end of the world but I would try to avoid it if I were you. Cterainly most users here go down the route of looping the STB TV out through the DVD recorder as it's the cheapest and best solution.
     
  29. eddyad

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    I tried this Rasczak (I left he VCR out ot the loop completely to avoid moving too many scarts. Here is what happened:
    1. I could record the RGB signal from the STB OK, and replay in RGB. Good!
    2. All TV picture autoformatting stopped for the STB (signal now passing thru 420), regardless of STB TV screen setting.
    3. Selecting EXT1 on the TV without the STB turned on resulted in a fairly loud, low pitched stuttering noise on the TV; blank screen as expected. Turning on the 420 stopped the noise (with 420 tuner on L1 - the STB channel).
    4. Turning on the STB when the TV was tuned to a terrestrial channel did not autoswitch the TV to AV1, as it usually does when the STB is connected direct (to any of the TV's AVs)

    I suspect this lot was due to an assortment of things. The 420 doesn't seem to include format switching in its loopthrough. The STB has a power-off loop through just like the 420, and I suspect a conflict somewhere.

    So it was worth trying, but the odd knock on effects were more annoying than the video/RGB difference. I didn't get round to checking the if the 420 external timer on from the STB worked.

    Thanks for the advice and time anyway. I'll have a go at the scart leads in due course.
     
  30. eddyad

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    The above should have said MN19
     

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