Toshiba vs Pioneer: PQ & fan noise

Discussion in 'Blu-ray & DVD Players & Recorders' started by Rico2, May 20, 2005.

  1. Rico2

    Rico2
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    Hi all. I am about to take the plunge and purchase my first DVD recorder. My essential criteria are: good picture quality, hard drive, ilink in (so I can transfer footage from my Sony camcorder), the ability to view JPEGs from a CDR, and low fan noise. My budget is in the region of £300-£350.

    After a fair bit of research, I have narrowed it down to two main contenders - the Toshiba RDXS34 and the Pioneer DVR520H.

    All the reviews and comments I've read regarding the Toshiba XS34 (and it's predecessor the XS32) seem to concur that picture quality is excellent, but a number of people seem to have had problems with excessive fan noise. The majority of reviews I've read of the Pioneer seem to agree that picture quality is very good, but a handful are of the opinion that it is relatively poor (this month's What Hi Fi Sound&Vision for example). On this forum, Rasczak - who clearly knows his stuff! - seems to be of the opinion that the Pioneer is the lesser of the two machines in this respect.

    At the moment though, I'm tending towards the Pioneer, because of the fan noise issue. One or two people have mentioned that fan noise can be a problem with this machine as well, but it doesn't seem to be as significant as with the Toshiba. This is a major factor for me in making my decision.

    What are people's views as to the relative merits of these units? I'd be particularly interested to hear from owners of the Pioneer 520 (and 320/420) and their views on picture quality.
     
  2. eddyad

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    Pioneer 420 PQ is excellent on my Sony 32" WEGA CRT TV using RGB right through the system.
    Editing and program management are a piece of cake and flexible record modes mean you can tailor DVD recordings to best quality that will fit your prog on a DVD.
    Scart has all-pin pass through even when recoding from internal tuner.
    If you are in Freeview area, have you thought of waiting a few months for integrated freeview tuner machine selection to improve?
    Using a separate box is a pain however you do it.
    You could download manuals and see what you think about usability etc from them.
     
  3. knotpc

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    I had the same decision last November 2004. I have a Pioneer 545 dvd player and the picture is exellent. However the Tosh 32 was cheaper than the equivalent Pioneer at the time and had more features. The Tosh is very good and I must admit even then some people had problems with fan noise and I was hesitant, I've got the Picture frame Tosh tv set and have had good experiences with Tosh video recorders in the past. Fortunately my fan is whisper quiet (thank god :smashin: ) I also have a Panny E30 recorder and although it has no hard disk there is little difference in recorded quality. My Pioneer beats off both recorders for playback picture quality, but I suspect the Pioneer recorders playback may be equivalent to the cheaper Pioneer dvd players. Difficult choice!
    Find a dealer that stocks both machines and compare yourself. :beer:
     
  4. Rasczak

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    The Pioneer is the 'weakest' of the 'big four', i.e. Panasonic, Sony, Toshiba and Pioneer, with regards to the quality of the recordings. That's not to say they aren't good though - it's just the others are better. At the 1 hour per disc (XP, HQ, Fine) setting the difference is minimal. But at 2hrs (SP) the difference becomes noticeable with increased blocking visible on the Pioneer compared to the others. Post 2hrs 20mins (the Pioneer resolution drop) the quality tails off dramatically. The Toshiba can avoid this with intrim resolutions (but not in DVD compatibility mode).

    Regardless the Pioneer range feature quite badly when it comes to connectivity - the other three brands all sport component output. And DVD-RW only support has bitten previous purchasers before (the Pioneer 5100 DVD-RW recorder is incompatible with 4x DVD-RW media for example). However the Pioneer does have some useful features: namely PAL60 recording and (own) disc backup.

    I'm not saying don't go for the Pioneer - but, on balance, there is better available.
     
  5. Rico2

    Rico2
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    Thanks for the info - much appreciated. Saw the Pioneer in Dixons whilst in town today, so think I will ask for a demo to see how it performs for myself. Will keep an eye out for the Tosh so I can do likewise with that. Cheers
     
  6. MarkhamPete

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    I had a bad experience with two Toshiba XS32 before deciding on a Pioneer 520. The Toshiba is way too picky with media and takes an excessive amount of time to load a disk. This alone was enough for me to give up on it, not to mention the "black level bug". The Toshiba did have better disk menu options though. My only gripe with the Pioneer recorder is the disks do not load automatically to the menu on playback.
     
  7. Rasczak

    Rasczak
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    The RDXS34 is better in this respect - although it still won't like all cheapie media (probably a good thing IMHO).
     
  8. sinclair

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    My XS34 hasn't choked on any x2 or x4 media so far. Won't record onto datawrite x8 though.

    AFAICT the "black level bug" doesn't exist on UK or european machines; purely a US phenomenon.
     
  9. Struan

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    I haven't had any experience of Toshiba recorders, but, in light of some of the posts you have received, and just to prove how subjective it can be:- I had a Panasonic E95, and now have a Pioneer 420H, and I definitely prefer the Pioneer. I find the Pioneer more pleasant (i.e. less frustrating) to use because of it's smoother/quicker operation, and, in contrast to Rasczak's opinion, in my subjective opinion, the Pioneer has noticeably superior AV performance too (I only use SP). It also has additional features over the E95 that I find useful e.g. 5 second switch on compared to 25 seconds for the E95, open/close and standard DVD buttons (angle etc) on the remote, 8x drive etc. The downsides are that it is nosier in operation than the E95, and it has even worse picture search than the E95 (I'm not a fan of the non-linear search of DVD/HDD). I'm currently waiting for the next range of Pioneer recorders, as the 80Gb HDD of the 420H is too small for my needs.

    HTH.
     
  10. Rasczak

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    :eek: The Pioneer 420/520/720 use a similar MPEG encoder to that included in the 2002 DMR-HS2...
     
  11. MarkhamPete

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    I certainly hope so. The two Toshibas I tried didn't even like Taiyo Yuden which is the recommended media according to the manual. I heard a firmware upgrade was available for the XS32 which addressed this issue. Users have reported quicker loading and more acceptance of media after upgrading. Too late for me, but might be useful for others.
     
  12. redsox_mark

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    My XS32 is quiet. I haven't compared the fan sound against the Pioneer in my sitting room, but I have no issue with the XS32. If I have the audio off or very low yes I can hear it, but any fan will make some noise. In normal viewing I never notice it.

    Mark
     
  13. bernie_pt

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    Agreed. Also, I noticed that in US/Canadian forum (AVS) someone said that XS34 fan was on even on standby. My machine doesn't make ANY noise (with the ear very close) in standby. Maybe this is a US market issue (models seem very different). Regarding the media, initially the machine accepted very few brands/types of media. Now is getting more 'open'. Strange phenomenon, but...
    It takes ages to start/loading, though.
     
  14. redsox_mark

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    Agreed, in standby the XS32/34 (or any of the HDD recorders) should not make any noise.

    Mark
     
  15. dvdnoddy

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    Have you thought about play back of Disc's recorded on other machines?

    I don't have either of these machines but just thought I would follow on from MarkhamPete's comment on reply #6 that the Toshiba XS32 (don't know about XS34) is fully about media and also won't play DVD+RW disc's and DVD-RW VR Mode disc's either.

    http://www.homecinemachoice.com/cgi-bin/displayreview.php?reviewid=4786

    The Pioneer isn't so fussy and should play back most disc's except RAM. However I have read that the pioneers half-resolution PQ isn't as good as others. However this won't be a problem unless you try to put more than 2hrs 20mins on Disc. Normally recording on the HDD you would use full resolution anyway. The Pioneer has the best Backup of DVD feature however it is shortly being replaced.

    http://www.homecinemachoice.com/cgi-bin/displayreview.php?reviewid=4785
     
  16. knotpc

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  17. MarkhamPete

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    Yes, the "Backup Disk" feature is something I love and don't think is available on other recorders. I first thought it could only make backup copies of finalized disks it created, but I was able to make copies of disks created on a Panny E30 and some others from unknown sources. Fast and simple way to make multiple copies of burned disks.
     
  18. sinclair

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    Won't record on my Datawrite x8 yellows but over the weekend took a punt on Titanium x8 and have burned 6 in a row without a problem. As Raczak says the machine's taste for better media is probably a blessing in the long run.
     
  19. Bob Todd

    Bob Todd
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    load of ******** its a flaw, simple as that, anything else is pure snobery.

    dye's change with all Disc manufacturers including Verbatim and Yuden, eventually the disc type Toshiba wrote the firmware to use with their crappy dvd drive, will be extinct and will be replaced by a disc with a newer dye.

    so it makes sense Toshiba write properfirmware updates atleast twice a year.

    The Tosh 32 makes more coasters then the rest of the DVD recorder world put together.

    its a great specced machine witha poor drive simple as that.
    The amount of errors and F8ckups I get using G05 Riteks (the most comon brand of DVDR in the world right now) is a joke, out there are cheapshyte 99 quid recorders with better writing and readability then this P.O.S
     
  20. AlbaMeccanica

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    So that basically means I can forget about my beloved RitekG05 discs... :eek: :rolleyes:

    Was it high-speed dubbing? I was considering getting those discs, Datawrite Titanium 8X (CMC MAG. AE1). :)
     
  21. Bob Todd

    Bob Todd
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    nah not really flip a coin lad u have a 50% chance

    I have been trying to get European cup final onto DVD for me Da, I have 2 TDK DVD-RW's I bought when I got the machine and worked well, now this POS wont even see em.

    I wonder what chance I have of getting toshiba to swap for an xs34
     
  22. AlbaMeccanica

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    I have the RD-XS34, but no Riteks at the moment. Anyone tried? :rolleyes:
     
  23. sinclair

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    Yep high speed, I've burnt a load of them and no coasters. Interestingly, yesterday morning all I had left was a fresh pack of Datawrite x8 yellows and I thought I'd try again and hey, 5 burns and a total success! Maybe the last batch were dodgy or indeed dirty as the machine said. I've had no problems with any x4 disk I've used. For RW I've only used Verbatim x4 and Datawrite x2 and have had no probs. The only probs I've had were with a few Datawrite yellows and now I have no explanation why they didn't work. :confused:
     
  24. knotpc

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    Hi Sinclair,
    Have you checked all your disks from start to finish? cause I skipped through about 30 disks through chapters etc and all seemed ok.
    It was only when I watched the films all the way through that sometimes it either stuck or started juddering. Not all but some, enough for concern. If I record a film often I am watching at the same time so I don't really want to watch the whole film again straight away to test it's ok. :beer:
     
  25. sinclair

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    All apart from the last 3 Datawrite yellows have been watched through by either myself or others and so far so good. Because of my experience with the few disks from the old yellow batch I'd hesitate to recommend them until I get safely to the end of this roll, but the Titaniums and Verbatims seem like quality disks and have been faultless on my machine at least. I haven't noticed a load of complaints about media with the XS34 but I've probably gone and jinxed myself now. :oops:
     
  26. AlbaMeccanica

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    Excellent, then! I'll get some now. :) How about Memorex? :cool:
     
  27. sinclair

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    Sorry I've never seen Memorex never mind used them. Assuming the titaniums are ok on your recorder then you're sorted.
     
  28. kdp99

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    I have a Pioneer 5100, a Tosh X32 and a Panasonic HS2, the only big down on the Tosh is when the frame rate drops ( with recording times over 2h20mins ish) the picture quality is much worse on the Tosh than the other 2, I tend to use the Tosh for under 2h20mins and the other for longer.
     

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