Pioneer 434/504 Settings Request


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Feb 3, 2004
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I am looking to make my first plasma purchase fairly soon. I intend to get a demo of the Pioneer 434 once again this weekend (it is on my shortlist with the Panasonic 42PW6 at the moment). I like the idea of the higher resolution this screen provides (despite its' poorer performance with blacks in relation to the Panasonic). Unfortunately I believe I have never seen this screen at its best, despite having two fairly in depth demonstrations.

During these demo's I spent most of the time trying to set up the picture, and although I get it close to what I think is good, it's never what you would call astounding. and certainly below what I think the screen should be capable of!

I would like to ask any owners out there (many of whom I know, after searching this forum, have spent sleepless nights setting up their own sets), and any other specialists to share their settings and expertise, such that I might see this set at it's best, and thus help me make my purchasing decision.

I know this has been discussed previously, and after searching through previous posts it seems that the following settings may be close to ideal:

CONTRAST +26 to +30
COLOUR -8 to -10
TINT +3 to +5
SHARPNESS -1 to +1

Can anybody comment on these settings, or does anybody have any specific recommendations. Also, does anybody have any inputs on the Pro adjustments available for this screen, particularly colour temp, CTI, DRE and colour management (including any manual adjustments)?

Do any of you use different settings for NTSC as opposed to PAL (DVD's), as I will be trying, and using the set with both. And then again are the settings different for analogue/freeview TV? If so could you tell me what you have set for these also? (The screen will be used for freeview digital TV about 60% and DVD 40% - no satellite).

I welcome all inputs in my quest to extract the best from this panel, and ultimately make up my mind about a purchase.

I'm a relative new-comer to this, having decided to buy a 434 in only the last few weeks. I took delivery of it a week last Saturday.

However, I'm a dyed-in-the-wool audiophile and take the same approach on picture quality- albeit with considerably less knowledge.

From a week's playing then I'd recommend.

1. In the Pro menu, turning everything to 'off'. I couldn't get a good picture with any of these turned to 'on'

2. Ensure you're going in on the very best connection you can - ie. HDMI, progressive, component, rgd, s-video etc etc. This is critcal too.

3. Use the best cable available - cheap cables are noisy and you'll end up blaming the monitor.

4. The panel needs a run-in time. My picture continues to improve.

I'm now a very satisfied owner, and the picture is stunning by anyone's standards. SKY included - on RGB. Sony DV camcorder looks amazing on S-Video. But, if you're a purist, then you'll get nowhere - absolutely nowhere, with all or any of the noise reduction systems, etc switched on. I hated them.

My only disappointment is the contrast levels, but overall it's a definite thumbs up. But I could so easily have walked away from it in the early hours .... and I now realise that would have been a tradegy.

Given the above (including DRE off) , I run on:

Contrast: 35-40
Brightness: 0

With other enhancements off, the sharpness control gets really noisy above +1

There, an audiophile newbies guide!

While I agree for the most part that the screen looks a lot better with everything set to "Off" in the PRO menu, I would encourage you to try setting DRE to mid, and reducing the contrast to the 26-30 level. You may not like it, but it's worth a go. I've seen a few users here report that they have to ramp up the contrast for HDMI input. This may be true, but since I don't have such a player (yet?) I can't comment.

The rest of the settings are all in the region of what I'm using for DVD, although I found that analogue TV was a whole different ball game. I don't have any settings cos I don't use it any more, but for the brief period that I did, it required a *very* low colour setting.

Grrrrrrr :mad: :mad:
I typed out a reply and attached a file but because it was "too big" I lost my reply.
Can't be bothered to re-type it so here are my settings.


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Good Lord, Brogan, that's impressive stuff :eek:
I have tried to take the DVD HDMI picture settings (720x480/576P) and make them as generic as possible for all other inputs excluding PC. These are as follows:


DRE, Colour Temp, MPEG, DNR are all at MID. CTI is On and Colour Management is as originally set.

Yes, a lot of sleepless nights... as reported in other threads.
Occasionally I will switch DNR to low when watching things like football.

I think having checked with everyone I can recall here, the only main setting difference I disagree is with my dear friend Brogan where I find his contrast settings rather high. Still this is most likely down to a very personal preference.

Finally, a comment on the Panasonic... As mentioned before... If you really like blacker blacks that's fine! Otherwise, I do not see what it really means with people saying Pioneer's black is poorer.
A blacker black is not necessarily a more correct black!?
Thanks for all the great inputs. They are all much appreciated.

I will experiment with the settings in the PRO menu, trying out each of your settings in turn, and progress from there. It gives me a much better starting base compared to where I was previously. I am now looking forward to trying out this display again.

I won't be using the HDMI input initially (should I purchase it). I will be feeding it from a Denon DVD-A1 on the component input (using QED cables). The digital TV will be RGB.

I agree with you Costas as regards the blacks. I still believe the Panasonic has a blacker black, but I think the Pioneer shows a much greater level of detail in the dark areas, which offsets what I think is a slightly "poorer" true black.

Once again - Thanks!
Originally posted by Costas
I think having checked with everyone I can recall here, the only main setting difference I disagree is with my dear friend Brogan where I find his contrast settings rather high. Still this is most likely down to a very personal preference.

Costas, the contrast was set using THX optimiser and DVE.
I've run through it several times and that is definitely the setting, according to the instructions on both disks. My wife agrees with the setting so I can only assume it's something to do with the player, panel or environment (very dark wall, lights off).
I will be running through the set-up again soon just to see if anything's changed, although the panel had already been run in for several hundred hours last time I did it

Edit: I've just realised what it probably is - you've got DRE set to MID which really brightens up the picture.
when running the THX optimiser on my 434 I find the contrast setting is rather high, 56
Hi Brogan et al

Does you set remember those settings unique to each input or do you change them each time you change inputs?

My settings seems to be global throughout all inputs.


Rich :hiya:
Hi Stumpy,

The USER option can be set differently for each input, from what I can tell. I don't think the rest of them can.

Hi Si

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, that makes sense. I'll go give it a try. Cheers m8!!

Rich :hiya:
My settings for the 504 / SKy / 868 using DVE
Maunual Colour setting where primarily for HDMI / 868 but found these better than any mannual settings for SKY also.


CONT: 38
BR: +6
COL: -2

COL TEMP: Manual (All Zero except G High +5)
DRE: Mid
COL MAN: (R-4, Y0, G0, C+3, B-3, M+2)


CONT: 38
BR: +7
COL: -7

PURE CINE: standard
DRE: Mid
COL MAN: (R-4, Y0, G0, C+3, B-3, M+2)
Lumpsucker, I am interested in your manual settings (particularly for DVD). When I last had a demo of the 434, to my eyes the picture was probably a little low on the red side (or perhaps too blue and green). I can't remember what my settings for brightness, contrast etc. were, but everything in the PRO adjust menu was at MID or Default.

Studying your settings (achieved using DVE), it would seem that I was at least partially right, in that some kind of colour balance is desireable.

Is DVE easy to use. For instance, if I purchase a copy and take it with me to my Demo this weekend would I be able to use it straight out of the box to calibrate the picture (even if it is not finely tuned) in a relatively short space of time (1 hour or so), or is this expecting too much?

I appreciate everyone's feedback so far. I feel I am better prepared to extract the best from this display when I sit down with it again.


An hour should just about do it if you go straight to the Video callibration section. The Colour manual settings were set with the glasses that you get with the DVE DVD. I was suprised at the level of tweaking needed to get the colour right. Green was absolutley way out until I followed the DVE guidlines.

Be aware though that ambient lighting should be similar to what you have in your own home and I found I needed to concentrate really hard and it was very draining on the eyes.

Good Luck.

What would be the start point settings? Would I need to switch all the picture processing options off before I start to do the set ups?
I've just recieved my DVE disc. I'm planning to use the RGB passthrough for my sky+ box.
Also has anybody worked out what the best setting is for the 868 dvd player when connected to the 504. Ive read lots of posts on here but nobody seems to have come up with the defacto dogs doodahs optimum setting when using HDMI.

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