Thinking of buying Arcam DV27 - please talk me out of it

NicolasB

Distinguished Member
Okay, so, yes, I'm thinking quite seriously about buying an Arcam FMJ DV27, and I need people to tell me why I should buy something much cheaper instead. :) Please feel free to disagree with any or all of what follows, that's the whole idea, to make sure I have my facts straight....


Possible reasons for getting DV27

1) It's unusually good at playing CDs by DVD player standards. Arcam's own John Dawson reckons it is comparable to Arcam's own CD92, which is reckoned to be not bad value at £900 or so.

2) General opinion seems to be that it's probably as good as any other player that costs less than ~£2500.

3) Arcam has demonstrated a desire to offer useful upgrades for their DVD players, so it may not be a dead end purchase.

4) Will hopefully be able to be upgraded (for ~£200) to make a good quality DVD-Audio player in the New Year.

5) I'm likely to be buying a reasonably good quality sound system to go with it, perhaps Arcam AV8 and P7 into B&W Nautilus 803/HTM1/SCM1 plus Velodyne HGS-18. (Or perhaps not). So it makes sense to have a really good quality (e.g. low-jitter) player to go with it.



Possible reasons for not getting DV27

1) I'll not be upgrading my TV (Panasonic TXW32D4DPC) for another year or two. As three-year-old 32" widescreen TVs go, it's quite good, but it doesn't offer progressive scan (other than its own internal "100 Hz" and "flicker reduction" system, which is independent of the player) and it's not exactly a high-end projector in terms of sharpness.

2) If we ignore the DV27's CD playing ability for a moment, is it really that much better than players costing half the price? (E.g. Arcam DV88+, Denon 3800). For the difference in price between it and them I could very nearly buy a £900 CD player in its own right.

3) By the time I do start to get the full benefit of its video capabilities, will we have already reached the point where blue-laser discs have fundamentally overtaken DVD?

4) Even if they haven't, will there at least be digital-video-output players available by then?

5) Maybe I really ought to go the Home Cinema PC route instead.

6) £1600, man. That's a lot of pizza.




Thoughts?
 

StooMonster

Well-known Member
I've just demoed two DVD players my hi-fi dealer lent me:
Denon 3800
Arcam FMJ AV27

Tested both (and my old £500 player) on my new Panasonic TH-50PHW5B plasma screen.

PAL progressive testing was my goal, and both these players performed very well. However, the DV27 provides higher levels of detail, and has a noticeably sharper picture.

I wondered how considering that both run the SiL504 chipset, so I phoned Arcam. Their engineers tell me that it's because the prog-scan board is made exclusively for them; and it's higher spec than usual but won't go into any details.

However, they did say that if you are buying a new DV27; make sure that it is the latest build with LT75 mech. Apparently they have recently upgraded the player but are keeping quite about it (although wouldn't go into details again); so you should only get a new one, not an older one from stock. How you can tell is by pressing "Setup 4792" and then select "Engineering" to tell you all version numbers and transport details. Latest firmware is 1.81, but could be older kit if dealer has upgraded firmware; so check the "Engineering" menu.

CD sound is fabulous too, but it's mainly DVDs in PAL progressive for me (with good masters, it beats the pants off NTSC progressive) and this player is outstanding.

Of the two I think I'm going to buy Arcam FMJ DV27, even though it is considerably more expensive than the Denon 3800.

StooMonster
 

John Dawson

Novice Member
Hi Nicolas -

Just in from the USA is another reason not to buy a DV27 :)

Arcam DV27 Wins Abso!ute Sound’s Golden Ear Award

In the December 2002 issue The Absolute Sound announced their annual Golden Ear Awards. A huge picture of the DV27 dominates page 67 and is accompanied by the following text:

Arcam’s FMJ DV27 took me by surprise. Not only was it one of the best two or three DVD players I’ve heard, it blew my doors off as a CD player. High-resolution digital is a reality now, but we’re all going to be spinning our hundreds of CDs for years to come. So if you’re looking for a killer CD player to get you through, why not buy the one that’s also an extraordinary DVD player? The Arcam’s sound is highly detailed but remarkably natural, especially on vocals. This player will take much more expensive players to the mat—spending much more on a dedicated CD player might buy you a little more performance, but the DV27 gets its licks in. The FMJ DV27 is a significant achievement.

Just thought you'd like to know!

John Dawson (Arcam)
 

RimBlock

Active Member
Married ??

If yes;
Think of the minutes of pure happyness you will get by choosing the cheaper player and spending the rest on her (with fingers crossed and a preveiling wind it could even last a whole hour).

If no;
Think of the clothes, drink and fun you could have trying to find a wife with the money you would save, who if you spend most of it on her may (with fingers crossed and a preveiling wind) take your mind off the differences in quality (for a few minutes atleast). ;) :D

Either way you are better off giving the money to her (or so my wife tells me)...

Si
 

NicolasB

Distinguished Member
Beware of Dawson: he'll pour a honeyed potion in your ear and you'll wake up one day and all you'll say is "Arcam, Arcam, Arcam..."
 
J

Jenz

Guest
Here's a reason not to:

I have an FMJ DV27. It's just over a year and a halfish old. It has failed twice and whilst repaired under warranty is still exhibiting some quirks (locking on discs at irregular places) that I have not been able to track down.

Worth noting though is that a) my FMJ DV27 has *ahem* some bits in it not in the normal ones and b) it's had 1000s of hours usage ;)

Jenz.
 
L

Lowrider

Guest
I had the DV88 and upgraded to the FMJ27, much better image and sound, and I mean MUCH...

I also have a TV that doesn´t accept PS...
 

jont

Well-known Member
Not much use for the 'don't do it' brigade ;-)

Took a couple of goes to get an OK one ... early mech & software problems but is a stunning player of both cd's and dvd's ... I'm able to make good use of picture being fortunate to have a panny plasma and a good amp/speaker combo (Arcam and B&W - but a lower level setup - hoping to get a good trade in and upgrade to Av8/P7) ...

John, Mick and the rest of the folks at Arcam have always been very helpful and are often held in envious awe by some posters to these forums with problems with their kit and no comment from the manufacturers ...

DO IT !!

Jon
 

Edgeyboy

Well-known Member
I compared a DV27 to a Denon DVDA1 and thought the DV27 had a sharper picture also. Much better overall picture in my opinion.

I would go so far as to say the Denons are "soft". Buy the DV27.
 

Jase

Distinguished Member
NicolasB

There´s one for sale in the Hardware/Classifieds Forum, good price as well.:)
 
H

harry_thx

Guest
Hi,

I have also the DV27 and I am quite happy with it, but ist has some problems ( John, I am still waiting for an answer to my e-mail).

But what do I have to read:

However, they did say that if you are buying a new DV27; make sure that it is the latest build with LT75 mech. Apparently they have recently upgraded the player but are keeping quite about it (although wouldn't go into details again); so you should only get a new one, not an older one from stock. How you can tell is by pressing "Setup 4792" and then select "Engineering" to tell you all version numbers and transport details. Latest firmware is 1.81, but could be older kit if dealer has upgraded firmware; so check the "Engineering" menu.
What was upgraded?

Please John let us DV27 Owners know...

Best regards

Harry
 

gringottsdirect

Active Member
Originally posted by StooMonster
I've just demoed two DVD players my hi-fi dealer lent me:
Denon 3800
Arcam FMJ AV27
... the DV27 provides higher levels of detail, and is a sharper picture.
I wondered how considering that both run the SiL504 chipset.
/QUOTE]

That's interesting, I thought FMJ still used SiL503, not that it is important ( apparently ).

NicolasB,
When I was deciding between a Denon DVD-2800 and a DV88, I preferred the Denon. The sales assistant told me it was because of the " awesome " Silicon Image chipset, until then only used in such as the $4000 Camelot player.
I was then able to compare the Sil503 in the DVD-2800 against the FMJ, I thought they were both fantastic. Had they been the same price I would have bought the Denon because I preferred it's ergonomics, so as it was less than half the Arcam price it was an easy win for the DVD-2800.

Since then I have witnessed the value of having a serious engineering team here in the U.K.
Whereas such as Denon has little facility of solving frustrating problems, Arcam has the benefit of being based here and even offers feedback through this forum.
So if you are happy with the performance and price, you should buy one :) .

I would try out the Sony DVP-NS999ES ( if / when U.K ? ) , Philips DVD-963SA and ( gulp ! ) Denon DVD-3800 before deciding.

I would have mental anguish because I prefer the Denon DVD-3800 but would really appreciate the benefit of Arcam's after sales support. In the real world I know I would buy Denon ( again ) and save the money, wish I could say differently :blush: :(
 

ReTrO

Well-known Member
Originally posted by harry_thx
Hi,

I have also the DV27 and I am quite happy with it, but ist has some problems ( John, I am still waiting for an answer to my e-mail).

But what do I have to read:



What was upgraded?

Please John let us DV27 Owners know...

Best regards

Harry
I think the upgrade is a new mainborad that uses the Vladdis V chipset rather than the Vladdis IV. I think it allows better OSD and cheaper DVD-A capabilty with daughtercard.

(Please correct me if I'm wrong John.)
 

StooMonster

Well-known Member
The "Apparently they have recently upgraded the player" is something I read somewhere on the net. :devil:

Arcam would not confirm or deny this, which is why I guessed they are "keeping quiet about it"; however they did admit that some things had changed in the player recently, but wouldn't say what. Moreover, they did strongly recommend that I get the latest build.

Since posting the above, I have also read speculation that latest DV27 players now have Zoran Vaddis 5 rather than Vaddis 4 (see thread "Arcam DV88+ vs FMJ DV27") for the AV decoding, use Silicon Image’s SiI504 PureProgressive Scan rather than SiI503, have a new motherboard design, include additional OSD options including PAL-p as standard, and utilises a new transport mechanism. Could almost be DV27+ :clown:

This could all just be conjecture, perhaps they even use the new Vaddis 6 chipset!

I've ordered a DV27 this afternoon anyway; and my dealer rang Arcam to make sure that it is absolutely the latest model. ;)

Therefore I will soon be able to see for myself as it should be sat on my racking along-side my lovely silver FMJ processor and power-amps, and plugged into my brand new 50" Panasonic plasma, on Friday. :D

StooMonster
 

StooMonster

Well-known Member
Originally posted by Jenz
Here's a reason not to:

I have an FMJ DV27. It's just over a year and a halfish old. It has failed twice and whilst repaired under warranty is still exhibiting some quirks (locking on discs at irregular places) that I have not been able to track down.

Worth noting though is that a) my FMJ DV27 has *ahem* some bits in it not in the normal ones and b) it's had 1000s of hours usage ;)

Jenz.
What does "some bits in it not in the normal ones" mean? DIY upgrades? ;)

StooMonster
 

ReTrO

Well-known Member
Originally posted by StooMonster
What does "some bits in it not in the normal ones" mean? DIY upgrades? ;)

StooMonster
Would that be an SDI digital video output by any chance?
 
N

Nick Morrow

Guest
Here's a good reason not to buy the DV27 -

Meridian 596...........

Oh yeah, one more thing

the 596 works reliably

and it's a much better cd player

and it's not arcam
 

Edgeyboy

Well-known Member
Yes!

The guy is just plain rude.

The Denon does have a softer picture. It is so obvious.

I have seen it and so have 2 different reviewers.

Anyway, each to his own...

Regards

Tom.;)
 
M

MRJAZZ

Guest
The Denon does have a softer picture. It is so obvious.
I have seen it and so have 2 different reviewers.
reviewers?? LOL! Sorry.. but you said reviewers! :D

Your "rude guy" made a good point though. By the way, there seems to be many people who find Arcam's picture not good at all on AVS forum.

Testing for "sharpness" and ability to see "details" on a DVD based source is pretty meaningless. Any 480p+ device should be able to show every single conceivable bit of "detail" on a low-res source such as DVD. Because of scaling, each "pixel" as stored on the DVD is going to represented on the screen with more than one pixel of the panel itself.

If a projector can't be counted on to show all the detail available from a DVD source, what would be the point of even bothering to use it with HDTV?


So.. yeah like you said each is own, I guess.
Honestly, I for one, find Denon smooth and razor sharp "without introducing noise".
 

Edgeyboy

Well-known Member
Mr Jazz

Sorry, I have to disagree with you here.

I conducted very detailed comparisons into both players before commiting to purchase. The Arcam, in my opinion, has the better picture.

Have you been able to compare both on a quality display? I have.

Of course the differences are demonstrable. How else can you make a judgement call?

The Denon is not razor sharp. I disagree. Read the "The Perfect Vision" review of the 9000 and the "Secrets of..." review of the 9000 if you don't trust my opinion.

BTW: There are a lot of people on this forum who consider the DV27 to have a very good picture.

Regards

Tom.
 

StooMonster

Well-known Member
When I was comparing the Denon and Arcam players on my plasma, Arcam had a noticeably "sharper" picture.

Two examples were Gladiator and SW:E2 on PAL progressive.

How this "sharpness" manifested itself in Gladiator were the cityscapes and crowd scenes were clearer, it did look more detailed. In SW:E2, there is scene near the beginning where spaceships are leaving spaceport (after Anakin and Padme leave the train) and the building have antennae sticking out at acute angles and the large spaceship has diagonal lines in it’s hull, this is where there was a big difference in clarity evident; the antennae just looked better defined on the Arcam whereas they looked a blurred on the Denon. In the following scene with camera panning down to the diner, diagonals appeared to have a better resolution with the Arcam: any of the cityscapes had the same kind of clarity as in Gladiator; the detail on faces and clothing (e.g. Yoda) was better; clone factory scene again was sharper; text, from copyright messages though introduction scrolling into space into perspective looked finer.

As I’ve just read what I typed above, I’ve noticed a commonality: CGI stuff looks better on Arcam. IMHO ;)

However, Denon was better in one area: large pans. In the clone factory scene there is a fast pan across a white corridor, Denon was superior to Arcam (which stepped and had colour definition trouble).

I spent several hours with Denon and Arcam players plugged into my plasma, and went though a whole load of discs in different formats (PAL, NTSC, film, video, etc), and my conclusion was that I preferred the “sharpness” of the Arcam; so I bought one today.

StooMonster
 

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