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Tag McLaren DVD Player ! Whats so good?

Discussion in 'Blu-ray & DVD Players & Recorders' started by DaBuzz, Feb 1, 2001.

  1. DaBuzz

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    Ok right no i dont have £4000 to spend on a DVD player. I wish i did, but I am really curious. How on earth can you get benifit from a £4000 DVD player like this?
    http://www.tagmclaren.co.uk/products/dvd32r/intro.asp

    In my view, once you obtain the level of display that the source(DVD) outputs, then you cant beat it. I believe with current players, we have already obtained that with Top DVD players like Toshiba's 900E.

    Somebody please expain and justify how a £4000 DVD player can beat a £1000 Toshiba Player. How can the Picture be really that much better?

    In my view this TAG McLaren Player is just a player desgined for people that have too much money to spend on AV and want to feel like they have bought something really special.

    I bet if you put the TAG DVD and a Top Toshiba DVD on a CRT TV you wont be able to notice the difference between them!

    Can somebody prove me wrong?
     
  2. Gordon @ Convergent AV

    Gordon @ Convergent AV
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    Funnily enough I'vejustset up a dem for a cinema presentation night we're doing tonight in the shop. One of the dems is an Arcam DiVA88 to a TAG DVD32r. I'm using a SaNyoPLV30 projector at this stage.

    Just did the dem to check all was OK. Bit of a shocker.... I saw a VERY big difference and the audio improvement was substantial too. Whether it's worth £4000 of course entirely depends on whether you would have put up/enjoyed the first one and whether you could afford it!

    If you are ever up our neck of the woods then pop in and get someone to show you. It really is rather good.

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  3. Nic Rhodes

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    You obviously have not seen a DVD32R working. The audio destoys the competition (especially when sync linked to av32r). The video is astonishing. Will be upgradeable to DVD A and progressive (like ARCAM) plus loads of extras. I regularly recommend Toshiba player but the TAG leaves even 900 / 9000 standing way in the distance.

    The one thing that owners seem to agree on is what good value the Tag system for the performance. I am just an ordinary guy without silly money to throw around but trust me when I say the TAG is awesome. I woundn't commit this money otherwise. It is one of the most influential products I have ever come across.

    Why the unanimous praise and huge waiting list?

    Did I mention the awesome sound as a CD player?

    Go and listen for yourself and you will realise. The Tag is in a different league. This player is not for the super rich. It is for the people who care about quality.
     
  4. DaBuzz

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    Ok Ok, I can understand how it might be amazing to projector owners but what i really want to know is: Would the difference be so great when using it with a standard 32" Flatscreen CRT?


     
  5. Nic Rhodes

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    I am a CRT owner / user! Looking to upgrade soon because of the Tag. I expect I will see even more benefits when I do but I do believe there is a difference now.
    My only problem is I've just bought a DVD32R so funds are currently not so plentiful!



    [This message has been edited by Nic Rhodes (edited 01-02-2001).]
     
  6. Nuno Santos

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    Gordon:

    I believe that the TAG is probably an astounding product, but unfortunately I cannot afford it :-(. I'm interested though in purchasing a DVD player having in mind it's video performance only. My budget goes up to around £1500. What options do you advise as the ones with the best video performance?

    Thanks,

    NS
     
  7. Gordon @ Convergent AV

    Gordon @ Convergent AV
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    So far the units I've seen that I liked are, in no particular order.

    Pioneer Elite DV09
    Sony7700
    Denon DVD5000
    Arcam DV88

    We lent an Elite owner a DV88 while their unit was being fixed. They noticed a superior picture and sound. This client has a Meridian system and Seleco CRT projector.

    I think the Arcam is currently great value for money. Their FMJ progressive scan one will be shown at the Bristol Hi-Fi show and should be avaialable, hopefully within your budget, sometime in Easter. I'd hang around for that.....

    Gordon

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  8. Guest

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    Like DaBuzz I think whilst this dvd player is no doubt fantastic,the name could have a lot to do with it's price differential rather than the gap in performance,if I was rich I could go for it.
    I have visions of me saying to the wife about a £4000 dvd player..I have a notion she may make me into the first disc to play in it.

    martinc
     
  9. Steve J Davies

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    Nuno
    Musical Fidelity have a set of AV products due out Q1 this year. spec looks v.impressive
    and it looks like it will be in your price range.
    Its detailed in the mag they sent their hi-fi customers in Q4 last year.
    I think the hi-fi is pretty good so i am hoping their AV will match it for ability.
     
  10. Matt F

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    Gordon, just out of interest, have you ever had a chance to check out Rotel's RDV985 DVD player? The reason I ask is that I was asking about the Arcam in Audio Excellence and the chap in there didn't reckon there was much between the Arcam and the Rotel.

    If you're wondering, I do own the Rotel and am very happy with it (great picture, very good with CDs and region free out of the box) but, given that I have never seen an official review of it, it's nice to hear what others think of the unit.
     
  11. Rob

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    I also had my doubts about the quality vs price of the tag player, but after seeing it , I have no doubt it is a fantastic player. It was fed to a Barco 808G via a quadscan on component. The difference compared to the other player used (pioneer 737- considered a good machine) was unbelievable. If I had £4000 for a player I would certainly be tempted. The problem is that there is always something better on the way. Products that can be upgraded via downloading new firmware seem to be coming more popular. This helps, but only up to a point. Where does it end??

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  12. Gordon @ Convergent AV

    Gordon @ Convergent AV
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    Yes,

    We've supplied Rotel DVD players and I can say that in my opinion the difference in audio over a Rotel is significant with the Arcam. The video, on a normal tv, is still better but not as noticeable I'd think.

    Also, the Arcam plays The Patriot and the Rotel doesn't, nut maybe that's actually a good thing ;-)

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  13. Matt P

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    I can't help feeling there is somthing of the kings new clothes in all of this. Or perhaps I am not cursed with the ability to notice the minute differences. Indeed the Tag may be better than moste but it is the law of diminishing returns, you are paying more and more for less and less. give it a few years and some people will be paying every thing for nothing.

    I recall reviews many years ago re Hi-Fi when the adjectives used to describe the lates MF amp were used to describe the lates Krell only last year.

    Can things really get that much better? I think not when the best tuners and amps are all based on circuits developed years ago. The point is things change. TVs change and there's the need for an easier life style so technology changes to meet it. That is all. IS the TAG better probably, is it worth it? Only you can say. One thing is for sure tomorrow the king will have new clothes.
     
  14. Nuno Santos

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    Steve:

    Indeed a few months ago MF led me to believe it would be an excelent option for those who consider also the performace from an audio point of view. MF products have been praised a lot of times but their debut in the HT league wasn't that good. The capabilities of their new HTP600 processor are minimum to say the least and the price/performance is a bit low. HCC trashed completely their 5xpower amp, so my initial impression isn't that good. I read they're lauching a DVD player. Let's see how they make. I wish them the best.
     
  15. Nic Rhodes

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    I think it is a shame that when a supreme product comes along like the Tag DVD player that some people, with no hands on experience, seem to want to take a little swipe / jibe at it. The law of diminishing returns always applies to any equipment. Do we all have £150 Chinese players, no, but they are great value and have made the DVD format the success that it is but Tag have done an amazing job with this player. Whether you think it worth £4k is up to you to decide, after a demo, but technically the Tag is awesome. This is the player, that many players will aspire to beat / better in the immediate future, just like Tag’s AV32R on the processor front. Can't we accept it for what it is, the current ultimate player and learn from this. (The only serious competition is from either the DaViD 2 at £6k or the Meridian 800 at £9k. The Tag at £4k starts to look good value!) When was the last time when there was a huge waiting list for such a high priced DVD player. Tag cannot make these things quickly enough, delivery to other counties has had to be staggered. I have not compared it with the top Meridian (though some have, 9 to 1 in Tag’s favour) but I did prefer it to the DaViD. Both are excellent units but sync linked to a AV32R, the DVD32R wins for me.

    Please don't assume that you will not be able to see a difference in picture quality. It is there for everyone to see. The jump from a Pioneer 626 (the better RGB interface) to (any) Toshiba to the Tag (only on a S-Video interface) is substantial and visible. We haven't even covered the better component outputs yet. This was on a 28 inch Philips wide screen, basic model! Put a bigger and better screen device on the end of the DVD player and the differences are magnified. A projector is the new project!

    The Toshibas are excellent players and I recommend them to all who ask my advice on what to buy. (I auditioned many, too many of the competition. I wasted allot of time doing this.) This goes from the excellent 100 through the range up to the 900 / 9000 players. Picture and sound are excellent but they are not being upgraded quickly enough re RCE, despite their easy CD reprogramming capability. The 9 series are gorgeous players and the older one is currently available for £400 multi region?, awesome value. The Arcam player is good (Toshibas are better on sound and picture, even the <£200 100). There are DVD Audio upgrades planned as well as progressive scan upgrades planned (PAL and NTSC?) which I think is very good planning by Arcam. The Tag has all of the above and more. It has the BEST sound and picture quality. The machine is beautifully built, great styling and is a pleasure to use / own. The Tag bus allows easy DVD32R upgrading. The latest software version was launched this week on the Tag web site. Just connect your programming cable and flash the upgraded software, which you have previously downloaded from the Internet. If that sounds confusing just ask the dealer to do it. Simple. Then there is the DVD192 upgrade package planned. Tag have only currently hinted at all that will be available but this included progressive scan and DVD Audio as well as some other rather juicy extras. Currently there are various standards issues that need to be resolved that prevent their implementation now, despite Tag willingness to give this to their customers. The Tag web site (the best one I've seen) will carry news of updates over the next few months on this. Tag are the best company in the audio field re listening to what their customers want and supplying a solution. Look at the Tag forum. How many 2 year old processors have been upgraded from 5.1 to 7.1 and will have Pro Logic 11 launched this month? Will Sony add PL2 to the processor you bought yesterday? I don’t think so.

    For the record, these are my recommendations at various price points from my personal demos:

    £200 Toshiba 100
    £400 Toshiba 9000 (the older model)
    £600 Pioneer 737
    £900 Arcam Diva
    £1300 Toshiba 900 (or an upgarded Arcam)
    £4000 TagMclaren DVD32R

    If some one had told me that I would spend £4k on a DVD transport 6 months ago, I would have laughed at them but I am thrilled I did. Even my wife thought it worthwhile. This must be the ultimate test. Do we really want to connect a £200 DVD player to our latest Denon super receiver at £2.5k? If we do then I suggest the balance is wrong in the system unless it is a short term, say cash flow measure.

    The Tag player is exceptional. In the future there may well be better but at the moment it is top of the pile and Tag have done everything I know to keep it at this position for a significant period of time. Please if you are going to make a comment about it's performance or potential, first go and have a listen and then comment. You will see what we are all raving about.

    Please don’t take this as a justification for my purchase but a realisation that Tag have managed to do something different and unique with this player. Now this result would be even more impressive if Tag manage or any competition manage in the futre to get 90% of what Tag have achieved in a £1 – 1.5k player. Perhaps a tray loader rather than the better top loader but personally I think the Tag DVD32R will be a the top for several years to come yet. But if someone managed to do it at £1.5k I would be really impressed………..

    Did I mention the 135ps jitter values recorded in the latest Hifi choice? This is a two box DVD system. Very few if any TOP single box CD players reach to these low levels, no wonder it sounds so good for CDs as well. In fact to better it's CD performance you would need to buy something like the Marantz CD 7(£3.5K). Now surely that is unique for a DVD player? In fact why have a CD player when the DVD player can complete on equal playing field with top stand alone CD players? Isn’t that good value?
     
  16. Gordon @ Convergent AV

    Gordon @ Convergent AV
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    Nic,

    I would comment that the only CD player we've heard that outperforms the DVD32/av32 combo is the Linn CD12

    Gordon
     
  17. Nic Rhodes

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    Gordon

    From memory I think the CD 7 might but I have never done a 1:1 demo. My Audio Synthesis does and I know the CD 12 does. I have heard nothing else I thought was in the DVD32R league. As the CD12 is £12k and the AS is £8K it makes the Tag look seriously good value for money at £4k and is also a DVD player. I expect there are some other mega CD players around but I don't get to listen to them too often. Surely this makes the Tag DVD exceptional value?

    For the record, It was listening to the Linn that made re appraise my thoughts about digital.

     
  18. Stuart Wright

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    Nic - interesting and somewhat convincing argument. I hope HCC do a review of the Tag soon.
    I wonder how the output of the TAG compares to a decent Home Cinema PC. I guess a lot would depend on the quality of the drive, but given the high quality progressive scan output of a HCPC, I would like to see a 1:1 comparison.
    All I have to do now is talk to TAG at Bristol and convince them to donate a full system for us to do our DVD reviews with [​IMG]
    Whatever happens, we'll be reporting what we see at Bristol and hopefully that'll include the DVD32R.
     
  19. Charlie Whitehouse

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    Nic Rhodes said:-

    Out of interest Nic, where did you see a comparison of the Tag v Meridian 800 ?

    In what ways did you prefer the Tag over the DaViD. I am probably going to be in the market for a DaViD 2 at some point to partner my Casablanca II so the sync link is not relevant, but I'm interested whether your reservations about the DaViD were in relation to its Video performance or Audio?

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  20. Nic Rhodes

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    A dealer for both Meridian and Tag was reporting back his experience in his shop. This was reported on the Tag web site forum, which is actually fairly un biased. Another dealer has privately reported similar findings to me but off the record!

    I has no reservations about the DaViD, I thought it excellent and would have happily become an owner. I thought it the best there was until I saw the Tag. I don't know how to describe it but there was that better control, less fizz, less fuzzy edges with the tag, especially when blown up large. Sound was better controlled esp with sync link. Contol and Purity is what I am trying to say, I think. If I hadn't seen the Tag I probably wouldn't have noticed it. I don't know whether this is lower distortion or greater separation but there was better definition / resolution to the Tag. The Tag is built to a different class however, built from scratch rather than being a modified Pioneer transport. I would audition the Tag, despite the potential great compatability of the DaViD with your Casablanca just to put your mind to rest. You could always demo with the AV32R and Casablanca, that would be interesting.
     
  21. Nic Rhodes

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    One final thing to think about, I promise:

    Did I mention the progressive scan upgrade is mainly in the software and therefore can be easily upgraded. Hey these guys are planning the upgrade to the upgrade. Long term thinking or what. To explain this a bit further, most other progressive scan / de-interlacer solutions are coded into silicon (like most DD / DTS implementations). The DVDO IScan pro uses the new Sil 503 chip set (as do many other solution including the Arcam upgrade). Most people speak highly of this chipset as an excellent product. The DVD player takes a digital signal and converts it to an analogue one. The IScan takes this analogue signal converts it to digital, does it’s wizzy processing, and then outputs an analogue signal. This probably goes to a LCD projector or similar (which basically can be driven as a digital device!!) This does sound really screwy but every one I have spoken to recognises the Sil 503 chipset is an excellent implementation. If implemented in the player, like Arcam, there are some advantages like removing an AD and DA stage prior to the Sil processing.

    Now take the Tag approach where rather than coding in silicon they use software program (exactly the same reason that the AV32R has managed to keep so up to date). When the next generation of algorithm turns up, you just modify the software and it is bang up to date. Cutting edge technology and a very high quality implementation for years. The algorithms change regularly, certainly within a year for DVDO silicon implementations. All The modified DVD32R / DVD192R will need to do is flash the software upgrade, a 10 minute job. This is what I call future proofing.

    This opens up some additional interesting questions like can the player output a high quality scaled signal as well as de-interlaced signal. In theory, a signal might be able to be outputted in resolutions of the display device. This by passes the often compromised internal electronics. LCD / DMD panels using SVGA (800 x 600), XVGA (1024 x 768) resolutions, Plasmas (852 x 480) and wide-screen panel resolution of 1366 x 768 (Plasma, DMD, LCD) or what ever other device may turn up in the future. A high quality Tag solution is likely to better than most if not all the external box solutions (Snell and Willcocks excluded off course!). I will ask Tag as see what they say. Intersting thought however
     
  22. Guest

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    Many appologies if this has been covered before. But the only thing worrying me about the DVD32R is playing R1 discs!

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    Get back soon....
     
  23. Nic Rhodes

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    Tag adhere very strictly to the rules. They only supply R2 players to R2 areas and R1 players to R1 area. In fact religiously stick to the letter of the law. They wanted to output RGB on BNC but the DVD forum wouldn't let them (ARCAM do this), so they didn't do it. The bending of the regulation is common place elsewhere, particualrly with Chineese players, and everyone knows their major limitations. Tag do not bend any regulations. Tag however are about the best company for listening to what customers and dealer want AND DELIVERING IT. In fact they are exceptional in this respect (Pro Logic 11 in a couple of weeks!!). I bought DVD32R as a region R2 player and I am very happy with this decision.

    Last night I watch MIB DTS R1, it was great fun........


    Speak to your dealer......no chipping here. You have to read a bit between the lines on this one.
     
  24. Guest

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    Nick
    Thanks for the response. I bet MIB was good, but I could not read between the lines and still cannot get the joy of R1 playback.
    --------
    I have now added email replies to my profile on this forum
    --------
    I hope you can read between the lines and make me a happy man, I too want to watch MIB.

    Thanx

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    Get back soon....
     
  25. Nic Rhodes

    Nic Rhodes
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    I want to wish you happy birthday but still no email profile

     
  26. firmware

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    Hi Guys,

    Meridian 596 is going back, the TAG blows it away, but now we are also on the hunt for the sacred region swap, any help greatly appreciated.
     
  27. Guest

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    I am waiting for the delivery of my DVD32R in a couple of weeks.
    How good is it, as I also opted for the TAG over the 596?
     
  28. Black 5

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    Nic,

    Just to let you know you're not alone here in supporting the tag. I can endorse everything you've said and when it's being compared to £12000 cd players and £8000 dvd players, there can be no questions as to its value for money, imo.

    Tag do have a great website, where enthusiasts can have input on some of the design features of future software releases. With the promised hardware and software upgrades, keeping things up to date will no longer mean trying to flog off some old equipment before moving forward. That is a hidden cost that a lot of early adopters (typical forum members?) end up paying. As you say, upgrades being worked on include dvd audio, progressive scan, digital video output(?!) as well as various upgrades for the processor (PLII out already, DTS discrete and DTS Neo to follow).

    When I went for a demo, I quite expected there to be a marginal improvement, after all, I have also learned of the law of diminishing returns. What I discovered was a not at all subtle improvement, and I was supremely impressed particularly by the audio side (the dealer didn't have a great projector setup so that gem hasn't been fully explored).

    One very telling point - I listened to the dvd player on the top set of B&W CDM NT speakers which the dealer has on permanent demo, with a tag processor and amp. The dealer's rep, in whom I have gained a lot of faith over the years, listens to the B&Ws all the time with a variety of sources (Arcam included), but had never heard them with the tag player. He was taken aback, immediately recognising the ability of the tag. This wasn't being done to impress me, as I'd already placed my order 2 weeks before!

    For me, the experience was sublime [​IMG] Now I'm back home and waiting for my upgraded AV32R to come back so I can let rip here!

    I know it's a lot of dosh to spend on anything, but there is no doubt I have put off the law of diminishing returns for quite a while longer - sell the car, sell the kids, sell the wife and just buy one [​IMG]
     
  29. firmware

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    Hi guys,

    Well I know you can definately see my email, any chance of some info on that region change.

    On the meridian we had the region change capability through the serial port working fine, but still no luck on locating information on the TAG, though it is referenced on their forums and you can see they have been edited so it does exist.

    I suspect the read between the lines hint was too cryptic for us also.

    It's my colleage who indulges in this expensive habit, so I have not seen the comparison myself, but take it from me, he has been a meridian man for a long time, and came in the morning after trying the TAG a changed man, leaves the meridian and a lot of the issues he was having with it out in the cold.

    So meanwhile how about an email on that region thingy...

     
  30. Peter

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    I have to agree that the DVD32R has to be seen to be believed. I went into the dealer showroom only intending to buy a new power amp for my hi-fi, and they had a Tag AV setup running. To cut to the conclusion, after initially intending only to buy a £1,000 power amp I ended up buying the DVD32R, AV32R and 100x5R, plus a Panasonic 43” plasma TV and spent a huge pile of cash I never intended to spend!

    I saw the Panasonic screen and couldn’t believe the clarity or detail – I didn’t know plasmas were that good, and the dealer assured me that it was the DVD32R bringing it all out. “Nuts…” I said (or words to that effect) “… players are all similar – it’s digital, after all – must be the telly”, and so we set up a demo. I brought in my own DVD player (piece of Philips rubbish, which I previously thought was fine), and we went through a range of other players – Arcam Diva, Cambridge Soundworks, Toshiba, and Meridian. We put Gladiator, Heat, Fifth Element and Bladerunner through them all, and with most of the players the differences were marginal (but my Philips was dropped out of the game very early on!). Exception was the Tag – the difference was jaw dropping. The opening scene in ‘Heat’ suddenly wasn’t just dark, it had detail – lots of it. The crowd scenes in ‘Gladiator’ were suddenly made of individual people, not blurs of colour, and never has ‘Bladerunner’ (a very dark movie) been seen in so much detail. I brought in the ultimate arbiter, the wife. Told her that I was thinking of spending this huge amount of cash on a DVD player (“…but we’ve already got one…”), and left her with the dealer for an hour. When I returned, she said “Just buy it”.

    The picture difference between the Tag and the others was very considerable, but the audio was also stunning – none of the others came close. The dealer also shoved a load of different audio CDs through varying setups, with some transports costing two and three times the DVD32R, but again the Tag won out.

    When I got it home I got a better surprise – the dealer was using Tag Calliope speakers, but at home I have B&W Nautilus 802s in the front and 804s in the rear (HTM2 in the centre) and the sound was fantastic – way better than the Calliopes, IMHO. I was a bit concerned that the 100x5R wouldn’t be powerful enough for the fronts (I bi-amped the sides and single-amped the centre with the 100x5R, and used two ‘old’ monoblocs for the rears), but there was no such problem; it is excellent.

    I would never have dreamed that I could spend so much on a DVD player – before seeing it I would have been prepared to bet my house that I would never spend so much, but the difference really was that great. That trip to the dealer cost me a load more than I ever planned, but even my wife agrees that we got value for money.

    As a footnote, after I made the purchases someone showed me a review of the setup in T3 magazine, and it concluded “…to try it is to buy it. You have been warned!” Very, very true.
     

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