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Question to Dr. Zucker.

Discussion in 'TAG McLaren Audio Owners' Forum' started by tedy, May 30, 2004.

  1. tedy

    tedy
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    If I remember correctly , a few weeks just before IAG bought TMA , Dr. Zucker had posted a thread regarding a comparison he made between DVD 32R and Samsung with DVI output.If my memory serves me right , he never told us his results concerning differences in picture quality.

    Theodor
     
  2. Dr Udo Zucker

    Dr Udo Zucker
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    Hi Theodor, your memory serves you well. I conducted the following experiment a few months ago:

    Foreword

    The Samsung HD935 is a great performer, offering also Progressive Scan, some scaling and most importantly for my experiment a DVI output.

    The Samsung is significantly cheaper than the DVD32R (approx. GBP 200 vs approx. GBP 5000). I bought it and now use it daily when my 2.5 year old daughter wants to see the same DVD over and over again. It’s a real endurance test for the player and I was worried about the servicing of the DVD32R if it would go down. Bear in mind my DVD32R is from the very first production batch, i.e. 1999.

    The comparison, described below, was done in order to evaluate the potential picture improvement when using an all digital video link - sound quality was evaluated as a side experiment only.

    The Video Chain

    DVD32R [interlaced YPrPb Component output] -> RGB Switcher -> PSM192->VSM2048->Barco Cine 9 on Stewart screen

    versus

    Samsung HD935 [DVI output @ 576p or 480p] -> VSM2048 -> Barco Cine 9

    P.S.: The RGB Switcher, PSM192, VSM2048 are all part of the AV192R



    The Audio Chain

    DVD32R's coaxial SPDIF + Sync Linc

    versus

    Samsung’s coaxial SPDIF -> AV192R -> 250Ms -> Wilson Audio Grand Slamm (left/right), Wilson Audio Series V (Centre), Definite Technology BP2000 (surrounds/rears)



    audio quality
    The DVD32R's sound quality is significantly better - both with CD and DVD. The DVD32R’s sound is smoother albeit more precise, all in all cleaner and less" brittle" - you would just leisurely call it "less digital". I suspect this is simply a refection of less jitter. Not the way I would like to watch a movie (but good enough when feeding the LCD TV my daughter is using).

    Video quality

    When comparing the maximum video resolution of both video chains using the Avia test disc, it can clearly be seen that the Samsung offers a higher resolution. The DVD32R stops at above 5MHz whereas the Samsung resolves the highest test bar which is (if I remember rightly) at about 6.75MHz.

    Therefore, looking at the "paper performance" one should expect a better picture when watching a DVD disc using the Samsung’s DVI output. Unfortunately the reality is different: the picture is grainy, showing all imperfections. It’s just like overdoing the Sharpness filter when manipulating a digital picture. There was also a lack of colour saturation but that can be adjusted using the VSM2048 picture control.

    The higher video resolution seems great on a suitable static picture, but its bad for the real world. I remember, when working at TAG McLaren Audio, John Mulcahy and myself spent considerable time to set the video output filters of the PSM192 in order to find a balance between "good looking" and "looking digitally enhanced". We were clear that the test disc performance would be affected, but we were after movie and less magazine measured performance.

    I do not know if the grain/imperfections seen were caused by the original film material, the MPEG decoding or the recording engineer using the sharpness control too heavily whilst watching the result using a standard video resolution chain. I guess it is a combination of all these factors. However, it showed me (again) that filters have their valid function and that the school of thought which bans "everything in the signal path" might be simply overambitious. I rather have a picture which is pleasing to my eyes (despite the 3.2m wide screen I use!) than being so "sharp" that it shows me all the imperfection in source material.

    At present, I need to conclude, the DVD disc sources are not made for a video chain which can resolve finest details above 5MHz as the sources seem to contain too much unwanted noise/rubbish there. This might change over time?

    The way of conquering the unwanted grain was to adjust the horizontal and vertical sharpness in the VSM2048 or indeed use the DVD32R which provides in my eyes and ears a better picture and clearly sound, despite its interruption in the digital data flow. Of course an all digital DVD32R with adjustable DVI output would be better...

    Finally, the observations made are more a reflection of the problems associated with an unfiltered (insufficiently filtered) all video link than an issue with the Samsung player. However, it showed that there was little potential gain in an all digital link if an analog one was well implemented.

    Above is the result of an investigation privately made. I apologise for the long contribution, but you asked ;-)
     
  3. GrahamMG

    GrahamMG
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    :D :D :D

    I'll sleep soundly in my bed tonight ;)

    As an aside Udo, does your DVD32R have a PSM fitted, if so do you prefer (purely personal taste here) using that into the AV192R/VSM2048 (via DVI) or the RGB/component (interlaced) into the AV192R RGB switcher? I am also curious if you use the DVI out or RGB out (via the switcher) to the Barco? I've found that the DVI inputs on most if not all display devices is a bit of a minefield and the RGB/Component inputs on the best kit give little or nothing away to the "digital" path and it certianly is easier to get a result with good old analogue......

    Of course a better source file may well show Digital connections to be worthy but as you say a well implimented analogue solution is easily good enough for current material.......
     
  4. Kenny Glasgow

    Kenny Glasgow
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    Udo/Graham

    This is just like the good old days, brings a tear to my eye! My good lady wont be happy if I spend all my time reading these wonderful posts but she does appreciate the my TAG equipments performance, that's from someone who thought it was all a lot a nonsense a few years ago!
     
  5. Bogi

    Bogi
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    Udo

    A very nice comprehensive review. Always very informative to read the input from knowledgeable people!

    Cheers!
     
  6. Dr Udo Zucker

    Dr Udo Zucker
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    Hi Graham, the PSM192 is inside the AV192R and I am using the analog interlaced output of the DVD32R. I hope this clarifies matters.
     
  7. GrahamMG

    GrahamMG
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    Hi Udo.

    Yes it does thanks and is the same way as we prefer to do it :D

    I assue you run RGBHV/Component out to the Cine9?
     
  8. life sucks

    life sucks
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    interesting thing
    how does it compare in video terms to sdi modded player (more and more arcams are modded recently) into good deinterlacer/scaler

    Pedro
     
  9. GrahamMG

    GrahamMG
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    Hi Pedro.
    Does having an SDI output actually make a silk purse out of a sows ear (does it "cure" croma bug etc.)? If the raw data isn't that wonderful an SDI link isn't going to improve it. All these mods are there to try and make sure that whatever comes off the internal chipset gets to the processor/display without further degredation which might well be better than what was output from the standard outputs but as I've not seen an Arcam DVD show a TAG player up regardless of SDI mods or not (and I've seen a few). I keep an SDI equipped Deplhi Plasma in our office for such things and the component output from the DVD32R is still pretty impressive. Time will come when it is beaten fair and square but when you consider that we have had out TAG DVD getting on for 5 years or so that ain't bad going in this game.....
    SDI mods may make a reasonable player good but greatness doesn't come cheap yet......
     
  10. jbm007

    jbm007
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    Dr. Zucker

    Will the TAG scaler drive the new Sony Qualia 004 projector?

    At what resolution 1080i?

    Or will the Sony only take 720p and try to upscale by its selp to 1080p?

    PS: I wish you would have had the HDMI switcher output for the AV192

    Now we may wait months if not years for this feature.
     
  11. Dr Udo Zucker

    Dr Udo Zucker
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    Hi Pedro, the actual digital interface is of no relevance in that comparison, assuming we don't refer to device filtering/modifying the signal. Therefore, if the Samsung had a SDI interface, which is forbidden by DVD regulations, the result would be the same, apart from the fact that the output would be interlaced, hence requiring external deinterlacing before entering the VSM2048.
     
  12. Dr Udo Zucker

    Dr Udo Zucker
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    Hi JBM, if you refer to DVI (+HDCP? - assuimg the Sony has such input) I simply don't know and even if I had a data sheet of that projector I wouldn't trust it - the only save way at present is to make a test. However, RGBHV, the analog output, will surely drive almost every projector - often better than via the DVI input (but that's more down to the current type of many DVI inputs which are made to connect basically PCs {which do not run at 480p@60Hz or 576@50Hz). Sorry...
     

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