Question for John Dawson of Arcam

Discussion in 'Blu-ray & DVD Players & Recorders' started by uncle eric, Feb 25, 2002.

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  1. uncle eric

    uncle eric
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    John,
    Are there any plans in the near future to launch an SCAD or DVD-A player? Or even both?

    Best Wishes
    Eric
     
  2. John Dawson

    John Dawson
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    Hi Uncle Eric -

    DVD-A is absolutely on our road map (with all existing Arcam DVD-V players being upgradeable to incorporate it).

    HTH.

    John Dawson (Arcam)
     
  3. uncle eric

    uncle eric
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    John,
    Thanks very much.
    In the past, when two competing formats have been around together, one usually goes away. CD v Vinyl or even VHS v Betamax. Like many, I'm not sure if SACD and DVD-A will coexist together.
    I think the winner (if any) will be the one with the most software suport. Mainly due to this reason, SACD looks to be in front.

    I'm therefore more than a little puzzled that you didn't mention SACD.

    Best Wishes
    Eric

    N.B.
    Vinyl lovers, I know your beloved acetate disc is still alive but its now too posh for most. There, thats made you feel better.
     
  4. PeteM

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    I'm tempted by the FMJ27, as a high quality do it all DVD / CD player.

    However the fact that the FMJ27's hardware is incapable of being upgraded to support SACD - should that format win puts me off, due to not wanting to find myself being potentially forced into a premature and expensive upgrade in the near future due to having incorrectly chosen the wrong audio format. The price of the FMJ27 makes this too much of a risk to bare.

    I wonder how many other people are put off buying high end DVD players, due to not knowing what is going to happen with DVD Audio / SACD - not taking into account the many incompatible flavours of recordable DVD you need to be compatible with??!!
     
  5. marcoeser

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    Pete, I am total agreement with you. I'm also wondering aobut upgrading my dvd player but am concerned that ARCAM is not supporting SACD.
    marc
     
  6. uncle eric

    uncle eric
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    My thoughts exactly guys. Maybe John would like to comment a little more re this matter.

    Eric
     
  7. lmccauley

    lmccauley
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    Exactly.

    I just went for a cheap Pioneer recently - I'll get something better when I have a projector and the formats have been sorted.

    Cheers,
    Liam
     
  8. John Dawson

    John Dawson
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    Thanks for your views guys, they are noted.

    I plan to come back on the SACD/DVD-A debate another time; suffice it to say that IMO the issues are far from clear cut and many people are hyping furiously to defend their particular points of view.

    What we have done with the DV88/DV27 is provide our customers with a platform that can be kept up to date in terms of video performance, provides outstanding CD replay and which will be able to support DVD-A in due course - all for a relatively modest additional cost. No other company on the planet is doing this AFAIK.

    Unfortunately we would have to throw away everything in the design (transport, main DSPs, software and audio circuitry) to add SACD, where the only discrete transports you can buy are from Sony and where they currently actually don't want directly to support companies like us.

    This does not of course rule out Arcam offering SACD products at some time in the future, should the market demand be clearly there. In the meantime we will endeavour to keep our current offerings competitive. As a token of such support you might like to know that they will replay the red book layer of dual layer SACDs, (drive firmware numbers LO14 or LT18 or higher), so you can buy such discs now and use them satisfactorily in stereo if you want to.

    John Dawson (Arcam)
     
  9. Couch Potato

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    John,

    Sorry to challenge you but is this not exactly what TAG offer with their DVD32R/FLR

    Steve
     
  10. Matt F

    Matt F
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    Couldn't agree more. The new "do everything" Pioneer 747A is tempting as it got a very good review in HiFi Choice and I would always trust their judgement. However, as a Tag AV32R owner I kind of feel I would like an even better front end than the 747A.

    So, there are two choices as I see it - an Arcam FMJ (£1,600) or the new Tag DVD32FLR (£3,000) but neither of these can support SACD which (from what I've read) is the better of the two formats (although this is possibly a software issue).

    There is also another issue - as I understand it, certainly Tag and possibly Arcam are keen to "transmit" DVD-A digitally from the DVD player to the processor and to decode it in the latter (I appreciate there is no standard way of doing this and that the software people are not keen). So, what happens if I get an FMJ because (like many) I can't stretch to a Tag and then Arcam and Tag start using different "digital transfer" methods for DVD-A - presumably I'd be stuck with the analogue 5.1 inputs method?

    And (sorry to go on) what if a digital transfer method for DVD-A is never devised i.e. I buy the Tag or the Arcam and use the 5.1 inputs on the AV32R (if I get these fitted) and then SACD really takes off - I'd then have to get a separate SACD player with its own 5.1 outputs but only one set of 5.1 inputs on the AV32R - enter some sort of nasty QED switching unit!

    I'm sure these are the questions that many of you have asked yourselves. The more I think about it, the answer does seem to be the Pioneer 747A but who knows what's around the corner - after all, if Pioneer can build such a player then why can't Denon, Sony, Toshiba, Arcam or TAG build one?
    :confused:
     
  11. Noman

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    Why SACD. Imho SACD suck!. DVD-audio is a better format... although the material released so far dosen´t use it´s potential...
     
  12. Lowrider

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    Why SACD, why DVD-Audio...

    First you don´t get image, I much prefer to watch the artists, even if the sound would be a little worst...

    Second, I want to get the best possible sound of my hundreds of CDs, wich I am not going to replace by any new format, without image...

    Third, I defenetly am not going to buy any player, just because it plays new formats that no one knows will survive, and get worst image and sound from the current formats...
     
  13. Nic Rhodes

    Nic Rhodes
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    Right I can resist contributing here. The FMJ is an EXCELLENT player, although I am a Tag owner I would recommend the ARCAM to anyone and do. The fact neither of these great players don't do SACD is a big plus in my book. It doesn't play compact cassette, LASERDISC, md or vinyl either but it doesn't stop people from buying them. SACD is a totally different format to DVD. Other than the fact they both use an optical 5cm disc, they have nothing in common. DVD A is very close to DVD V however and therefore given a suitable transport (I think the Arcan might have this already) then there is little that needs to be done to make it DVD A player other than some board changes (yes I know it's not quite that simple but in comparison to SACD it is simple, hence the upgrades for both firms).

    A player that does everything sounds really good. Well let look at the SACD players that also do DVD. They do neither very well at all. I have done much experimentation with combi SACD and SACD player and quite frankly you have to pay >£1k for a dedicated SACD player (no DVD at all) to get a performance that is decent. My CD player or my DVD player playing CDs better all I have heard and this is only when you use SACD layer in the SACD player. SACD hybrid discs are very rare (Rocking Horse **** comes to mind)! I suspect the Arcam is the same and my players. i.e take a hybrid disc and my CD and DVD player playing the CD layer are comfortably bettering what the SACD layer can do with most SACD players. Yes I know the very expensive SACD performance can be pretty decent but this is not what we are talking about. I have yet to demo a SACD player that can touch a Linn CD12 or Audio Synthesis Transcend+ Dax. If you want SACD buy a dedicated SACD player (no DVD to cock things up) but leave the FMJ (Tag) to what they do well, DVD and CD. They do it very well.

    Sony 9000 and the new Pioneer 747 are convenient yes but have you heard these players guys, they are not cutting edge by any means. There is a big price to pay IMHO and for me it not a compromise I am willing to take (I mean BIG). Buy yourself quality and this means the FMJ / Tag.
     
  14. PeteM

    PeteM
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    Ok,

    Firstly I have no intention in the short term of buying any SACD - or DVD-Audio disks.

    Secondly in a perfect world, I would have a seperate DVD player, seperate CD player, with seperate DVD-Audio or SACD players as appropriate, each of which is specifically tailored to its individual role.

    However in the real world issues such as space conciderations and connectivity come into play, put simply I would have nowhere to put a seperate specialised SACD or DVD-Audio player, without removing another component from my setup.

    I currently have the following all hooked up around an Alpha 10 / Dave setup:

    Sony DVPS-715 DVD player
    Marantz DRM6000 CD Burner (Main CD player using DACs on DAVE module)
    JVC SVHS VCR
    Denon DRM800A Cassette deck
    Sony 777ES DAB Tuner (Sorry John)
    Videotron Analogue cable box
    Sony SLV90ES VCR

    All inputs on the Alpha 10 are used, and there is no shelf space to add new components. If I add something new, something needs to be swapped out in its place, unfortunately each bit of kit is used, some actively, others for legacy purposes.

    I would like to replace the Sony DVD player with something like the FMJ27 - for quality CD replay, however my dilema is that **should** SACD actually take off, I will need at somepoint in the near future add another player for SACD, which would have to replace something, this would mean I now had 3 devices capable of replaying CD type disks (assuming I kept the FMJ27) - I'd really like to keep it to 2 if possible.

    Hence I would have prefered the design of the FMJ27 to be more flexible, so that should SACD take off, the possibility would have existed to produce an appropriate output add on board.

    As things stand Its like being asked to make a VHS / Betamax type decision!
     
  15. alpha10

    alpha10
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    PeteM,

    One thing to watch with your proposal, the DACs on the DAVE are very good, I would try the FMJ27 very carefully against the DAVE's DACs for CD replay. I recently had a friend round with a relatively expensive player and spent an evening listening to all sorts of CDs, he went away extremely fed up as the DAVE on most music was more enjoyable (note I didn't say better, that's TOO subjective...).

    The limitation with the DAVE which a few of us on this board have mentioned before is the lack of 6CH input for DVD-A/SACD, so you would always be restricted to 2CH anyway.

    Cheers
     
  16. PeteM

    PeteM
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    Yes its true, the Alpha 10 / Dave is effectively a dead end product as far as multichannel music is concerned - although a very good dead end. I don't regret buying it and have had 2.5+ years of enjoyment from my setup, although I wouldn't buy one today due to its upgrade limitations.

    At somepoint I may be forced to change my setup if Multichannel music does take off, that will be a sad (and very expensive) day.

    My only small complaint about the DACs on the DAVE, is that they are a bit hissy in operation (very low level hiss, you only tend to notice if everythings quite).
     
  17. alpha10

    alpha10
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    I must admit I haven't heard any hiss, do you mean with the volume up loud inbetween tracks?

    I also am not looking forward to the day I have to upgrade as everything is matched so everything would have to go, probably, I am really disapointed with Arcam for not supporting the DAVE owners, they pride themselves on making their products future proof and then leave us with nowhere to go....
     
  18. PeteM

    PeteM
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    I wish I hadn't mentioned the hiss - its only something you notice, if you already know about it! Before I discovered the hiss (by accident) I was immune to it!!!

    Its independant of volume, but is related to the DAVE module - whether analogue or digital.

    As an example select a source that isn't doing anything (e.g. component selected is switched off), now toggle the alpha 10's mode between analogue stereo and analogue prologic, you will get the hiss when prologic is selected.

    The same thing happens with digital sources - e.g CD player -> analogue stereo no hiss, digital stereo hiss.

    You may need to move close to a speaker to notice this!!!

    Oh this is my second Alpha 10 / Dave, the first one did exactly the same thing (the first went back as it had an unusual fault in that occasionaly the DAVE cooling fan would run when in standby - and run forever).
     
  19. Reiner

    Reiner
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    With all respect to being 'future-proof' and having the latest kit, but what do you want with SACD or DVD-A right now where there are hardly any 'true' SACD/DVD-A titles around?
    Should either or both kick of in, say, 5 years you can still replace your existing player with whatever is available then. In 5 years blue laser technology and/or HDTV on DVD may also be available, any current SACD/DVD-A or other DVD (and perhaps CD) player would be useless then.
    I would not worry and buy now some equipment which performs best in it's main areas, like the ones recommended already.

    If you want SACD+DVD-A now then it's a different thing, but just for the "but maybe in x years one of the formats kicks off" is not a really good argument to buy a universal player now and to compromise on it's overall performance.

    Else you can also go and buy a mini/midi "I can do it all" system, c/w radio, MD, tape and amplification even ... :eek:
     
  20. PeteM

    PeteM
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    I'd accept a 5+ year lifespan for an FMJ27 or simmilarly priced player before being forced into an upgrade, but if it was significantly shorter I wouldn't be too happy - too much of an investment write off!

    Hence the problem - noone really knows what is going to happen, and over what timescale, hence I'd be taking a gamble - 5 years -> no problem, 2 years -> very annoyed obsolete equipment owner!

    Basically the more I spend on a piece of equipment, the longer I expect it to last before obsolesence forces an upgrade. Ideally I'd like to upgrade my equipment as and when I am no longer happy with its performance, but the way things are going nowadays, obsolesence of formats appears deliberately engineered in to keep you buying!

    I personally blame Phillips and Sony for launching a rival audio format, if SACD did not exist, things would be so much simpler!!!

    I guess I'll be sticking with my old Sony 715 for a little while longer - until such time that I feel happy with the way things are going.
     
  21. Nic Rhodes

    Nic Rhodes
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    I am not unaware of the issues about multiple boxes. I have a box limited system myself for just such reasons however there is a big price to be paid for this. Quality. People should be aware that even modestly priced components will comfortable out perform the integrated player (£160 Toshiba 210?). It is the price you pay for a ‘lifestyle’ product and the reasons why the standard recommendations for anyone interested in quality has always been separate boxes (say a CD player and a DVD player). If people are looking the Arcam FMJ, which they were in this thread, then the performance difference between say the FMJ and a Pioneer 747 is huge. We are talking chalk and cheese here. If you are interested in the quality FMJ why are you considering the 747? The FMJ does (from memory) DVD, CD, VCD, CD R, CD RW, MP3 and will have a DVD Audio update, how much more do you want a player to do and still do it well? Arcam ahve a reputation better than most re upgrades.

    If you really want future proof, buy a Tag:D
     
  22. Matt F

    Matt F
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    Nic, I guess the answer to the above is that (to my surprise) the 747A got a cracking review in HiFi Choice (if it had been What HiFi then I wouldn't have taken much notice but HiFi Choice is a different matter).

    They compared the 747A's CD performance with their reference £1200 Sony SCD-555ES and said the 747A is "a fine player, as fine it seemd in nearly all resplects the the reference Sony. The latter has the march on it in terms of bass resolution and solidity but when it comes to dynamics, low level detail, imaging et al the differences between the two were marginal". So according to them it's a bloody good CD player and they don't rate many DVD players as being good with CDs (they certainly didn't think much of the CD playing skills of the Marantz 4100OSE or the Arcam DV88 for example).

    For 2 channel SACD or DVD-A they compared it with the Sony agan and the Pioneer DV-939A and although not quite as good as either of the dedicated machines it was a pretty close run thing. With multi channel SACD (using the Sony 333ES) and DVD-A it was pretty much the same story i.e. not much in it.

    I agree with you that the Arcam FMJ is a different matter but then it's £700 more than the Pioneer 747A. Compare the 747A with the similarly priced Arcam DV88 and things aren't so clear cut because, according to HiFi Choice, the 747A offers better CD replay than the DV88 and, of course, caters for DVD-A and SACD right now. The 747A also appears to have very good picture quality, if not arguably as good as the DV88.

    So, although the Arcam FMJ is undoubtedly the business, the Pioneer 747A is a very tempting proposition because it does everything and it does it all very well.
     
  23. rigman

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    As far as I know the TAG does not support SACD. They plan to release a DVD audio upgrade but even Dr Zucker is doubting that the format will be around for long judging by some of his replies to people on the Tag forum.

    I have a DVD32R but all I use it for is DVD as I have a separate hifi for CD's. I cannot even try the Tag on my hifi system as it does not have an analogue output to enable it to be connected to the 2 channel amp. I have it connected to a Lexicon DC1 which sounds crap with music but great with movies.

    I have yet to listen to SACD but I am not buying a mulichannel music format until the digital interface come along. IMHO the analogue compromise at the moment is a complete waste of time and money.

    Darren
     
  24. Nic Rhodes

    Nic Rhodes
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    Matt

    I have read the reviews, I think three now. I was VERY interested in this player so I demo'd it. I am now no longer interested.:D

    It is a lovely idea that doesn't quite do the quality thing. Just pick it up and you will know what I mean.

    I placed an order for the first ever DVD A player. I am glad it all fell apart now, it was a mistake on my part.

    The Tag DVD32R is a DVD player it is not a SACD player, it also doesn't play vinyl, md or laserdisc either. I am glad. It does DVD and it does it very well. I hope Tag will not make it SACD. I doubt it will. I only know of one manufacturer that might make it's CD transport upgradable to SACD but then it will only be 2 channel but I am at least siting pretty.:D

    When will people accept that DVD and SACD are TOTALLY different, they have little or anything in common?:confused: The 747 is two players in one box and guess how much each costs?
     
  25. akash

    akash
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    i have to put my two cents forward.

    first and foremost the arcam dv27 is the best player out on the market, maybe the TAG maybe better but it is way too expensive. if you have the money then the camelot roundtable is the player to have, available from USA only, awesome picture quality.

    my dv27 is such an excellent piece of machinery, it palys MP3's well, CD audio sonically brilliantly, DVD playback is unparalled.

    when you watch the picture you get a 3dimensional effect from the movies and if you only knew what the unreleashed real capablities of this machine are for the future, you would be amazed, eg VGA output capability, true DVD-A capablity, VERY easy upgrades whether it is hardware, firmware or software.

    AND last but not least the AMAZING customer service support from arcam. hands down winners
     
  26. uncle eric

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    Akash,

    I think the incredible Ayre D-1 would throw a spanner in the works of your above statement.

    Also, even with the Chroma Upsampling Error first discovered in 1999 by Stacy Spears and Don Munsil (which is inherent in most progressive scan players including your DV27), the Pioneer DV-AX10 is amongst the best players ever built.

    The best 'Budget' players available at present are the R1 Pany RP91 and the R1 Phillips Q50.

    Eric
     
  27. Reiner

    Reiner
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    Well, I am on player 4 now in ... calculate .. 4 years. That makes an average of ... calculate :blush: .... 1 per year. I am happy that I did, initially there wasn't any model that would have offered any upgrade possibilities and since I usually go along with mid-range players I found them to deliver the performance I expected. Maybe if I would have a pre-power combo and big screen it would be different, but with my current setup (incl. 29" TV) I have no complaints.
    If I find the player is dated I just replace it - and still have a lot of buffer before I reach the price regions of Tag McLaren or Proceed, allowing me to update by replacing.

    Some bullets from a review of the Arcam DV-27:

    + Excellent picture
    + Very good DAC (makes it an excellent CDP)
    + Excellent build quality
    + Upgradable

    - Noisy drive
    - Poor OSD/Menu
    - Lousy remote
    - "Humble" display
    - extremely expensive

    They claim the Marantz DV-17 (interlaced), Sony DVP-S9000ES (interlaced and PS), Pioneer DV-737 and Onkyo DV-S939 (interlaced and PS) match the video performance at (much) less cost.
    Especially the Marantz is said to rival the Arcam in terms of video and audio (CD) performance and beats the build quality, too.

    BTW: The Arcam costs DEM5500 in Germany, that makes GBP1700 - so no more threads about rip-off Britain, please. :D


    Source: http://www.area-dvd.de/hardware/arcamdv27.shtml
     
  28. Halcion

    Halcion
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    I wouldn't count much on the Hifi Choice review of DV747.

    All the biggest German magazines have reviewed DV747 (Audio, Stereoplay and Stereo).

    ALL of the concluded the same:

    - cd playback is mediocre (any £300 player will rival it)
    - SACD playback is below average (almost any SACD player will best it)
    - DVD-A playback is ok (it's on the level of Panasonic RA-71, not exactly a top notch performer)

    To be blunt, Hifi-Choice did almost no measurements and I'm not even sure they listened to it under blind conditions.

    I would love to think good of Hifi Choice staff, but unfortunately I can't.

    I'd rather trust three mags that measure diligently, listen under blind conditions and then all come to the same conclusion.

    If you're into audio, stay away from Pioneer DV-747A unless you want to start modifying it heavily for better sound quality.

    cheers,
    Halcyon
     
  29. Matt F

    Matt F
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    I must confess that the only problem I had with the HFC review is that they didn't do blind listening - they normally do this when they are comparing a number of units and, to me, this is the main strength of their reviews compared to the likes of What HiFi i.e. you get the opinions of some pretty experienced listeners who have no idea of what player or speaker they are hearing so you get unbiased results.

    I guess the only test is your own ears so if I do pursue this I'll demo the 747A against the Arcam DV88 and FMJ for CD and DVD-V replay - and if I do this I will of course report my findings back to the forum.

    Matt.
     
  30. Nic Rhodes

    Nic Rhodes
    Well-known Member

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    Halcion

    This is exactly what I have been warning about, it isn't a great performer. The above findings tally almost exactly with my own. A Tosh 210 was it's peer re cd performance, SACD was the worst I have heard and there are many better DVD A players at cheap prices out there.
     

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