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Tag DVD or SDI modded player

Discussion in 'Projectors, Screens & Video Processors' started by X3ELS, Jul 28, 2002.

  1. X3ELS

    X3ELS
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    What do people think, will a tag dvd32r fed into a scaler (i.e. the new key digital HD leeza) look better / equal / worse than an SDI modded pioneer player (or other brand?)

    I read an old post with interest in which Gordon was saying that the differences were not that great while using a S&W interpolator gold? Is this only relevant to high end scalers?

    Yes i am aware of the tags potential upgrades to digital, but i also know how far away these are :) i am needing to do something at the back end of this year when the cinema is built. :)

    Thanks

    Elliot
     
  2. Charlie Whitehouse

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    The only real answer is to try it. I have just had my Theta David II upgraded to output SDI which I am feeding to a Rock+ scaler. Having done some comparisons between component and SDI feeds (it's actually quite messy to switch back & forth), there is not a huge difference, it has to be said. There is perhaps marginally more detail apparent, but bear in mind I am watching this through a Barco Cine 7 whose image is a little soft so I'm probably not seeing the full benefit. An 8" or 9" unit may show more difference.

    The other thing I notice is there is no grain to be seen via SDI, whereas in some scenes via component there used to be quite a lot, particularly noticeable in sky & clouds. I reckon this has to be down to the fact that a whole D/A and A/D stage has been eliminated. These conversions are bound to degrade the quality to some extent. With a high end DVD player like the TAG and a high-end, nay reference scaler like the S&W, the degradation will be minimal but still there.

    If you decide to go the SDI route, it's probably advisable to find a DVD player that is chroma-bug free as SDI may make this more apparent. Jeff has a modified Denon and there are a few others that are chroma-bug free and can be SDI modded easily. My own David II is based on a Pioneer mechanism and therefore suffers from the bug, though I can't really say I've noticed it even now with SDI.

    Having looked at the specifications of the Leeza briefly, does it only deal with refresh rates of 60Hz and 72Hz? If so, you may find the Rock+ more flexible as it can do 75Hz which suits PAL material better IMO. Also, the Rock is about to have a major facelift/upgrade to become the Rock Pro using an entirely new de-interlacing algorithm. Suspect that this will involve hardware as well as firmware upgrade though, and probably quite costly. HTH. ;)
     
  3. X3ELS

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    Hi Charlie,

    Who sells these SDI players in the UK?

    I can't decide which route to go down, picture quality is my ultimate aim.

    Best

    Elliot
     
  4. Gordon @ Convergent AV

    Gordon @ Convergent AV
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    Elliot,

    As you noticed the last time I did the dem for folk it was so small that I stopped after first second session.....

    Having said that I've done the dem of SDI out and component out of a Pioneer737 to an SDI Rock with an 8" EMF crt. Lowering of video noise, superior colour saturation and greater detail were all pretty obvious. The reason that the Interpolator showed little improvement was that it has THE REFERENCE for component analogue inputs.....so it's pretty good at dealing with them....and the TAG has pretty much reference analogue component outputs....

    The bigger issue you may have is that the audio from the TAG DVD is so much better than you are going to get from a modded Denon/Panasonic/Pioneer. Having been used to it you may feel cheated.

    See Hear distribution in UK supply the Vigatec modded units. Speak to Giles and tell him I sent you!

    Cedia is going to be interesting. There are going to be many new video processors appearing. TAW, KEY, VIDEON, FOCUS and goodness knows who else....

    Gordon
     
  5. Jeff

    Jeff
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    Hi Elliot,

    The DVD player is the cheap bit even when talking about TAG and SDI players. What other AV hardware did you have in mind? For example if you will be using a CRT projector you might want a video processor that will do 72 & 75 Hz well, but if you go for a panel projector it won't matter. If you have a really high end audio setup then as Gordon says the SDI modded players might not be up to the task.

    Jeff
     
  6. X3ELS

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    Hi Jeff,

    Gordon knows my system but to fill you and other in who may not know me or my system here is where i am at.

    I currently have in my living room the following system:

    Tag DVD32R
    Tag AV32R
    Tag 5x100R (x2)
    Panasoinc th42pwd3 plasma
    Linn Kelidh Fronts (bi-amped)
    Linn AV 5120 Centre (bi-amped)
    2 x Passive Subs
    Linn Kaber replicas on rear
    Other sources but pretty irrelevant here.

    Now, i have just got planning approval to convert my garage, this starts on the 2nd September and i am going to rack all the kit out there, therefore i was going to change my DVD for the Tag front loader. I am also changing all my speakers amps etc. to go for Genelec active monitors.

    I will be running a 9inch CRT (NEC10PG from Gordon!) on a 6ft Stewart studiotek 130 screen. So i have been looking into scalers, the Tag is a LONG way off in stand alone form so i have been looking elsewhere and i have seen a great deal about SDI modded players into the next gen scalers so i was wondering if this was going to be a better option.

    Hope this give you a better idea of why i asked the question, the reason i kind of need to decide quickly is i have a buyer for my current Tag top loader, and i was immediately going to buy the front loader to stick under my telly while the building work goes on, however it looks like i might have to hold off.....

    Gordon, do you think then that the image from component into a lower end scaler like the Key Digital will be comparable to an SDI modded player? i.e. will the component inputs be pretty good?

    I know it's a tricky question ;)
     
  7. Charlie Whitehouse

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    Elliot,

    Gordon's point about the sonic downside of using a non-TAG player with the TAG processor is mainly an issue if you're using it for playing PCM Stereo CD's. Using DD & DTS, the increased jitter is much less likely to be a problem. There are some outboard jitter reduction boxes that you could put between the two to help as well if you find the stereo performance unacceptable.

    If out and out video performance is your goal, and it should be with a 9" CRT for god's sake, I would strongly advise going the SDI route. However brilliant the TAG's component outputs are, they stand a good chance of being compromised by the A/D conversion in any mid-range scaler. Feeding that same scaler SDI will give it its best chance to perform. Short of going the HCPC route, this is the best you're going to get to drive your PJ together with the convenience of a stand-alone DVD player.

    Good Luck,
    C.
     
  8. X3ELS

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    Thanks Charlie,

    I will never listen to a CD in there, It is purely for cinema use.

    Has anyone got any idea of the cost of these SDI modded players, i guess they are pretty expensive though.

    Also which of the current modified players suffer form the chroma bug issues, or does this no longer apply to SDI players? I have seen the Pioneer 737 and 747 are around.

    I assume its a bit like the days of sticking an RF output on LD players, just finding a point on the board and extracting the signal before it hits any of the D to A's.
     
  9. Jeff

    Jeff
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    Elliot,

    I agree with Charlie, unless you are thinking of getting an Interpolator or a Terranex, SDI is the way to go. There are plenty of SDI scaler options coming available. I also think sound won't be too much of an issue. What does your DVD collection mostly consist of? if you have mainly R1 DVDs like myself you should look for a scaler that supports 72Hz. I don't think I could go back to 60Hz judder. Where abouts do you live? If you are near Basingstoke you are welcome to come and take a look at my SDI setup. Its a bit of a work in progress but it should give you an idea of the quality.

    My equipment consists of;

    Barco Data 1209s 9" CRT projector
    Denon 1600 SDI DVD player
    SDI based HTPC running DScaler
    Denon AVC-A1SE amp
    Celestion C series speakers
    B&W ASW2500 sub


    Jeff
     
  10. Charlie Whitehouse

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    Elliot,

    I think Jeff's Denon 1600 was 1540 euros from Germany (about £1000) and is chroma bug free. I'm the wrong person to advise you about best prices for gear, but Gordon gave you a suggestion earlier of somewhere else to try for Vigatec-modified players. Most of these SDI upgrades are provided by third parties because I don't think it's allowed for DVD player manufacturers to provide an unencrypted digital video output. Strangely my Theta David II SDI output modification is a standard Theta option installed at the factory. Not sure how they get away with this - better not to ask! It wasn't cheap either - £1500 modification to a £6000 player! Hence the reason I'm not best qualified to advise you on keenest pricing! :eek: :rolleyes:

    Look here for details about the chroma bug and some players to avoid. SDI output won't cure the bug as it occurs in the MPEG decoder chipset, but it might make it even clearer to see, hence my advice to steer clear of chroma-bug-ridden players. HTH. ;)
     
  11. Gordon @ Convergent AV

    Gordon @ Convergent AV
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    Well,

    I am waiting to hear how a colleague gets on with a mod circuit he's getting that should work on many DVD players to provide SDI out. At present there is no such thing as a cheap SDI player...even the 1600 was a bit of a wedge as Jeff can tell you.

    I supplied Nick Beecham his and ended up buying a kit and a 737 seperately and doing it that way.

    I am afraid that I am one of those sad folk who can tell the difference with DVD and a TAG with and without the sync link....and between different DVD players digital outputs to an AV32r.

    Got to agree woith Jeff and Charlie that using digital in to one of these mid range scalers is almost definately going to give the best image with the 10PG.

    Gordon
     
  12. X3ELS

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    Thanks for all your replies, i have had a chat to vigatec and thought i would let you know pricing:

    Pioneer 444 (called a DVD IX) - £1261
    Pioneer 737 (called a DVD Max) - £2231
    Pioneer 747 (called a DVD Max +) - £2813

    Quite pricy then!!

    I would love to come and have a look at your system Jeff, i'm only in Guildford so a trip would be no problems and it would be great to see an SDI player, shame i can't plug my Tag player into your HTPC as we could do an A/B.

    I am thinking that the way i might do things is to buy a good scaler (around November time when the cinema is ready) which will support SDI and DVI (i think the new key digital does this) and then i can wire in my Tag dvd and invite Jeff down with his SDI player and do a direct comparison
    :D

    Jeff permitting of course!!

    I do agree with Gordon, there will be a sound difference, and yes on music i can also hear the with or without sync link, but can you honestly say that you have heard the difference on films???
     
  13. X3ELS

    X3ELS
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    Just been browsing AVS and see that there is a new processing card on the way.

    Now i know nothing about HTPC but i always wanted a card that had component inputs, and was easy to use / stable. Is it possible to get this, or am i better aiming at a stand alone scaler.

    I did quite fancy the HTPC route at one point but don't know if i can be arsed if it will cause me loads of probs, would rather pay a bit more money and have it stable.

    http://www.hometheaterhifi.com/newsflash/holo-card-7-2002.html
     
  14. Jeff

    Jeff
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    Hi Elliot,

    If you go direct to Uwe Sperling (Mr Vigatec) www.spatz-tech.de , very nice chap by the way. He sells the Denon 1600 for 1540 euros including taxes and delivery. The good thing about this particular Denon is that it is one of the few chroma bug free players. All the Pioneer and the other Denon players have the bug. It also has DVD-A support which is not bad if you want to show off the musical credentials of your setup, its worth a play anyway. I'll send you a PM about setting up a demo time.

    Jeff
     
  15. Jeff

    Jeff
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    That is indeed a VERY interesting card, I wouldn't quite jump yet since there are too many unanswered questions, but the potential is huge.
     
  16. X3ELS

    X3ELS
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    Thanks Jeff, i'll look forward to it.

    Did the Denon 3300 have the chroma bug? i had a feeling that it is ok and the advantage is that it has a coaxial output as well as optical.

    I have always tried to stay away from optical due to its bandwidth limitations
     
  17. Jeff

    Jeff
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    The only Denon not to have the Chroma bug is the 1600. The 1600 is Panasonic based. As for optical vs coax, my own opinion is that one of the main issues with optical is cheap optical cables. With a £60 optical cable I couldn't really tell the difference between that and a £40 coax one. With a cheap £15 one I could.
     
  18. X3ELS

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    Hi Jeff,

    Are you going to either of the mini-events of Gordons?

    I am up on the 11th, just wondered could have been a good chance for a chat.

    After a lot of research and speaking to various people it turns out that the Denon 3300 also does not have the chroma bug. Uwe at Spatz sells these as well so i think i may well just take a flyer on it.
     
  19. Branxx

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    X3ELS,

    This has been a very interesting thread. It points to a pricing anomaly between high end DVD equipment (£5,000+) and a modestly price HTPC (<£2,000).

    I firmly believe that no combination of traditional DVD+mods+scalers will outperform video quality of HTPC on a large projected screen for any sum shorter than £10K.

    What you are left with in terms of further uncertainty is the audio part of an HTPC setup. I was not able to find the exact technical data re Tag DVD32R audio section so I don't know what need to be achieved with the HTPC to match that, but you will certainly be within the audiophile range if using RME (around £300) or Lynx (around £600-900) audio cards. What one needs to bear in mind that 80% of all music recorded now days is done using the PC cards like the above or cheaper, so this equipment, for practical purposes, represents the ceiling to a audio quality.

    If you can satisfy yourself that HTPC can do good job for your video and audio, that you can start thinking about other convenient features that would become available, like playing music/DVD's by pointing and clicking, creating your own play lists and not having to insert a disk to a player after every 45mins.

    Similar to Jeff, I use HTPC to drive my JVC D-ILA projector onto 7ft wide screen. I have seen many well set-up CRT projectors controlled using the traditional equipment, and they do have deeper blacks than mine, but I haven’t seen anything that would come close to the clean detailed image that HTPC would produce. My HTPC is the DVD player, and I didn't choose it because if was cheaper but because it was better.
     
  20. X3ELS

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    Hi Branxx

    I am very tempted by the whole HTPC thing, but only on a scaling basis, i would not use one to play back the discs. I have worked in the hi-fi / home cinema industry for 7 years (like Gordon) and the differences in audio quality are massive, especially on high end kit like the Tag.

    I am prepared to take a drop in quality to that of a good transport like the Denon players can be used for, using SDI out and Dig coax out into other kit.

    Tell me something, is it possible to build an HTPC that can be used purely as a scaler, i.e. you dont have to touch it other than for changing inputs?

    The new card that is generating a great deal of interest on AVS looks superb, i am only going to need a couple of inputs SDI from DVD and RGB sep sync (or Component - i'll just use a transcoder) for Sky and S-video.

    I would be willing to pay for someone to come up with a stable solution that will scale for what i require, and make it transparent to use (i don't think this is possible), otherwise i will be looking at spending 3-4K on a scaler at X-mas time.
     
  21. X3ELS

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    Hi Jeff,

    I have been trying to send you PM but it's saying that you can't recieve mail at this time, just e-mail me direct at :

    X3els@yahoo.co.uk

    Thanks

    Elliot
     
  22. Branxx

    Branxx
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    X3ELS,

    In another thread I was looking for someone with the high end CD/DVD player who would want to assist me in a comparison with HTPC. I wanted to find out just how much I am missing by feeding my Lexicon MC-12B and active M&K's with audio signal originated from HTPC.

    We are not that far from each other and maybe we can organise a little get together and enjoy our hobby.

    I think your Tag DVD32R easily qualifies as high end.

    As for the HTPC acting solely as scaler, Jeff should have much better advice. I use HTPC as source for music, DVD and Digital TV (terrestrial).
     
  23. Jenz

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    Yes it is using a locked down O/S, DScaler and a suitable Input card. The problem (until this new Immersive card) has been that there hasn't been a single suitable card.

    Like most of us.

    I will be doing this. I already have a fault free HTPC which is transparent to use. This card will make it easier on the input side, and I am keen to resolve the tiny useability issues my kids have :rolleyes:

    Personally I would not plump down the scaler money just yet. Jenz
     
  24. X3ELS

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    Hi guys,

    Branxx,

    Sure i'm quite happy to meet up at some point, i am going to see Jeff at some point to have a look at his SDI modded setup, and i would be more than happy to provide any kit you like.

    Again like Gordon i'm in the industry so have access to most things :) unfortunately though i also have a habit of having to buy it for myself :( and this is not a cheap hobby, fun though!!

    Jenz,

    When you say you are going to be doing it does that mean you will be building machines to actually sell?? Do any have HQ output cards with 75ohm connections? I think i recall seeing a radeon modded card somewhere stateside but i could be wrong.

    HTPC is the one area i would love to be more knowledgable on.

    Best

    Elliot
     
  25. Charlie Whitehouse

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    Hi Branxx,

    I am also not far away in Watford. I would be quite happy to bring over the David II, and the Rock+ if you're interested to compare with your HTPC. For myself, I would be interested to see what HTPC can do and also to hear what the MC12B/M&K active combo sounds like in a decent setting. All the times I've heard these components so far have been in less than ideal conditions. If you're interested, drop me a PM or e-mail.

    Cheers,
    C.
     
  26. Branxx

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    X3ELS, Charlie,

    Thanks you for positive response. I suggest that we pencil in Saturday 17th August for a get together. By then I should be getting the new RME high-end sound card so we should have good base for comparison.
     
  27. Gordon @ Convergent AV

    Gordon @ Convergent AV
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    Jenz HTPC is the device that made me decide HTPC may be the way forward. It was outstanding for picture quality on DVD playback. I have yet to see a HTP that can outperform a stand alone scaler with external source like Sky, VCR, Games etc. My own one is actually at a point where it's annoying me how poor it is with these sources. Hopefully this new card may change all that!

    Mike Parker's filter mods for Radeon cards are the thing you are thinking of Elliot. Once my PC is actually functioing I think I'll mod mine!

    Gordon
     
  28. X3ELS

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    Hi Jeff,

    Being the idiot i am i've lost your phone number, would you mind e-mailing me again or ringing me if you have my number. I did leave it with you in the reply to your e-mail.

    Best

    Elliot
     
  29. Branxx

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