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Transport options feeding DAC and old TV

Discussion in 'Blu-ray & DVD Players & Recorders' started by AlecF, Feb 15, 2005.

  1. AlecF

    AlecF
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    Hi all,

    Please point me to the most-economical/bang-for-the-buck DVD transports for my intended usage.

    My main concern is 2 channel redbook CD playback, so I'm thinking of getting a Bel Canto DAC2 or Benchmark DAC1 to take care (bigtime) of the audio side of things

    Hence I'm not fussed about the DVD's onboard converters, so much as having a well-made, reliable transport to feed the DAC optimally with its digital output.

    Re: video quality, I've only got an old, old Sony Widescreen with SCART and S-Video inputs - so I've not got any projector needs or anything like that, but obviously I would still like to get the best video quality as I can.

    Also, I'm not fussed about SACD or DVD-A.

    MP3, DivX, and good DVD media compatibility would be nice, though.

    What would you recommend at different price points? Say up to about £500?
    Also, what's the cheapest I could get away with?

    Presumably, I won't see much benefit in going above that price range?

    TIA. :thumbsup:
     
  2. CJROSS

    CJROSS
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    Toshiba

    SD-900
    SD-9500

    Stunning devices. For a number of reasons, Not sure about DIVX support though.
     
  3. AlecF

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    Er, the SD-9500 appears to be > £1500, jeez!
     
  4. CJROSS

    CJROSS
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    Rrp was £2000 for the SD-9500, a boatload of us recently (at Xmas funnily enough) bought end of line stock from Toshiba for £299 (Not MR unfortunately) these are all gone now but there is an outfit on Ebay DVD players called MK Televisons selling them for £399 (Buy now) the only aspect is to buy one new & MR from LEConcepts @ £699.

    Second hand wise SD-900s go for £300 and if your lucky enough you may catch a SD-9500 second hand (only ever seen one and that was someone who could not live with the R2 state of his £299 machine).

    ATB.

    Do a search on the forum for SD-9500 for more info - plenty of posts
     
  5. dynamic turtle

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    Christ on a bike CJ, you only paid £300 for it!! Bargain or what?

    Alec, there are other options at this price point (Denon 2900, Sony DVP NS999, Pioneer 747/757, Arcam DV78), but the 9500 would probably be the best fit for you.

    Technically, if you are after the absolute highest perfomance, you should look at less well-built/cheaper players that have been modded to increase clock accuracy.

    In this case, £3-400 would buy you a Trichord or AudioCom modded Pioneer 656/565, which should have SPDIF audio jitter of less than 10 picoseconds, which is extremely low.

    OK, so build quality isn't as good as the Toshiba or Denon, but they will read the disc more accurately. Depends if you think its worth sacrificing the build quality for absolute performance?

    DT
     
  6. AlecF

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    Damn da damn damn damn. Why do I always miss out on these deals?
    They're never on when you need them. :suicide:

    How would a Pioneer DV-668 do? Or an older Arcam like the DV78?
     
  7. dynamic turtle

    dynamic turtle
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    You haven't missed out. £410 seems like a very fair price. Looking at the stats, its still up there with the best of today's players (14 bit 108mhz video dac - tasty!)

    You might find that the DV78 is good enough with cd's to save you buying an offboard dac. It has a good reputaiton in this regard. Depends how fussy you are!

    You might not use a 668 to its fullest given that it has digital outputs and prog scan etc. The 747 or 656 would fit your needs better and be several hundred pounds cheaper.
     
  8. CJROSS

    CJROSS
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    DT not only me but a whole busload of others :

    http://www.avforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=56705

    Alec as I said there is an outfit selling that player on Ebay for £399 - £100 more than I paid but one of the dudes in the SD-9500 paid £499 for it happily before the price went down. As DT says you've not missed out - still available.

    Not only is it a great transport, but it feature XLR output & can also be used as a DAC itself with 2 digital inputs, its rigged up for pretty stunning PAL PS image work too and its S-Video performance is noting short of stunning to these RGB eyes (I think its better than RGB from my old Pio 717), and as a small bonus its plays DVD-A (very well). SD-9500 Images :

    http://www.wvip.co.uk/images/hardware/DVDPlayers/Toshiba/ToshibaSD-9500.jpg
    http://www.homecinemachoice.com/reviews/wvreviews/DVDPlayers/Toshiba/ToshibaSD-9500_rear.jpg

    This is where I disagree with DT (not very often as he’s planted well into the terra firma) data is read off a disc pure and simple, if its not error protection will kick in, this does nothing to the datastream until the error correction cannot handle the errors any more, thus gaps or skips will appear. If you have a transport that reads data without sign of error detection failing I fail to see how it can read it more accurately (no-one has ever measured this “accurate” reading as its virtually impossible to do – if it can be done I would love to read about the tests done). Thus we have to concern ourselves with jitter, and from what Ive read from Benchmarks own data & tests of the DAC-1 its impervious to incoming jitter. As was the Chord 64 with full RAM buffering.

    All IMHO of course.
     
  9. dynamic turtle

    dynamic turtle
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    Yes CJ, you're right. In saying "read the disc more accurately" I meant that a transport rated at 10ps should deliver a bitstream with lower overall timing error than one rated at 100ps.

    The lower the jitter, the better the transport (technically speaking). Build quality and ease of operation are of course very important. Hence why I said that a modded 565's might not be the answer.

    DT

    PS, I had no idea the 9500 was £300 - I thought it was still £1000+. Would've had second thoughts about the 2900 had I known :rolleyes:
     
  10. AlecF

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    Both the DACS I'm looking at are meant to have (the same) capability of reclocking and dealing with jitter from the incoming stream, so I'd rather buy a current model that's better made.

    The 9500 from Ebay still looks like a go-er, but it's not got a Scart connector?
    My old Sony CRT's only got Scart and S-video inputs - what'd be the best connection to optimise video quality I'm going to get out of the 9500? S-video to Scart? Component to RGB Scart?

    The TV's s-video input is on the front! Visions of horrible leads are entering my head.
     
  11. dynamic turtle

    dynamic turtle
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    You'll have to use S-video. Although technically inferior to RGB, most folks (including myself when the 2900 is being tempremental), get along fine with it.

    One of your scart sockets will be wired for s-video (most sony wega's are), so just buy an s-video to scart cable. Note that you'll have to make seperate audio connections because s-video doesn't carry audio signals.

    You can't use component to scart I'm afraid - they're totally different video systems (though you can use a converter, but good ones are expensive).

    DT
     
  12. AlecF

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    With Scart, the telly automatically change channels to the DVD when playing a disc. Will this still be the case with s-video?

    Also is there any particular s-video to scart cable you'd recommend?

    So I need to be running s-video to (s-video) scart? Is there such a thing as s-video to RGB Scart?

    Thanks for the help and sorry for being an interconnect numpty.
     
  13. CJROSS

    CJROSS
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    Alec

    Im currently using the S-Video connection of the SD-9500, from S-video to Scart (S-Video) An old Sony CRT (Has one RGB Scart & 1 Composite/S-Video Scart) Your is probably similar, I can easily say the S-Video output of this device is better than my old Pioneer 717 in RGB mode. Then upgrade to a display with component input at some point (like Im hoping to do soon).

    Auto-switching happens on RGB scarts but not S-Video AFAICT, You simply need to change the TVs AV inputs (Ie Scarts AV1 – RGB, AV2 – Composite, AV2S – S-Video). Not a major hassle, I use a 2m Vivanco S-Video – RGB scart cost £15 IIRC. Picture looks stunning. Heres one for £8 :

    http://www.unbeatable.co.uk/CatalogueItem_3032.html

    ATB
     
  14. Nic Rhodes

    Nic Rhodes
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    9500 makes a great transport (and DAC), not much wrong with this player IMHO
     
  15. AlecF

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    FWIW, I got the SD9500 off MKA TVs on ebay. It's big, black, and MR! :clap:

    Great PQ from s-video to scart. Onboard DACs not so super for redbook, but I just teamed it up with a Meridian 563 and it's an awesome combo! Cheers for all the advisements, esp CJROSS :hiya:
     
  16. CJROSS

    CJROSS
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    Cool my fellow SD-9500er. Im just waiting on my Toshiba 36"ZP48P CRT set to be delivered this weekend.
     
  17. MarkP80

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    Er, did AlecF just say MR? - Have I missed something? Are you sure about this Alec, as IFAIK, everyone else is R2 only!

    MarkP
     
  18. AlecF

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    MR! For real. Loaded my B5 Season 3 - display popped up saying "RESTRICTED NOT PAL" or something. I was bummed. Then changed Region in setup menu to AUTO. Popped the disc back in and booyaakaaah - MR! :clap:
     
  19. CJROSS

    CJROSS
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    Hooooolllllllllllllllllleeeeeee shhhhhhhheeeeeeettttttt !!!!! :eek:

    Edit : Nope still Region 2 :(
     
  20. MarkP80

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    AlecF,

    What version of the firmware is your machine running - I'm sure lots of owners would love to know! FWIW I got my 9500 from MKA not that long ago, and it's definitely R2.

    To check the version, press zoom 606 zoom.The latest version we've seen is 2.7-R2, displayed on the front panel. Also on the TV, it displays the following:

    ***SD9500TE625P-R2 Info***
    Firmware Version: 02700 R2
    Chip Version: 0x30154c0
    ADP Version: 0x9cbb006
    BPU Version: 0x9070000
    Core Version: 09.04.68.00
    API Version: 0x4090303
    NAV Version: 0x5090301
    SRV Version: 0x81090097

    Maybe MAK can do a mod?!?!

    MarkP
     
  21. AlecF

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    I'll check tonight! I've not visited this forum for several months!
     
  22. CJROSS

    CJROSS
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    Alec if we all agree it would be a boring world my friend.

    I currently use the XLR balancec outputs for stereo use towards my Primare A30.1, I cant say what I hear is bad. In fact I don’t even think the sound I hear is bad from RCA is bad either, once voulme is corrected to suit 4.0 XLR output it sounds pretty stunning too. Those RCA sockets that are machined from solid billets by the look of it, I don’t think Ive seen as substantial a RCA socket as is on the SD-9500, low quality how do you think they are low quality ? If they are low quality then every piece of hifi Ive ever seen with RCAs on them is low quality then.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    PS why do you wish to mod a transport that has been measured at 40 spec of jitter ? That’s the same as a Theta David FWIW.

    http://www.thetadigital.com/upsampling.htm
     
  23. AlecF

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    Hi CJ,

    I got the parts list so I found out the component inventory.

    Running balanced, the differential output from the DAC is sent to some NJM4580s; the NJM5532s are taken from them to form the single-ended output. Maybe you like the sound of these chips - I'd have to say, good, fair enough.

    But I'd also say the sound quality can be improved IMMENSELY with better sounding op-amps. The JRC chip designs are about 20 years old and cost about 50p each; personally, I HATE them!

    How MF can get away with charging 1 grand and using these in their amps and CDPs is truly shocking. Basically, the parts cost of their analogue sections is about £10. :eek: Don't tell me the rest of the gear comes anywhere near to £990.

    The RCA connectors may look nice but they're very cheap PCB units, I can give the part number later. The XLRs are good, though, being Neutriks.

    Why mod this? Well, the analogue stage can be improved as described above. As a transport, the RCA connector needs replacement as explained above, the clock could be improved, probably parts on the power board can be better, too. Clean power is essential for good sound. Measured jitter isn't all there is to a good transport.
     
  24. CJROSS

    CJROSS
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    Ah Alec you’re a modder and a tweaker then, that rare breed never happy until a unit is tweaked within an inch of its life. Im a simple man, who generally likes a stock version or not.

    So I do like the sound of these chips, I compared them directly to my old TAG DAC 20, and felt the SD-9500 gave the TAG a real runs for its money thus I sold that on. Also using the LP12 as a benchmark Im more than happy with CD, DVD-V & DVD-A from this machine. In fact I just took hold of Fleetwood Macs : Rumours on DVD-A, 24 Bit 96 Stereo and frankly I was stunned what I was hearing. That’s comparing it to the CD version. But I have plenty of material CD, HDCD, DVD-V & DVD-A that lets me hear what a stunning machine this is – from its own DAC & Anlg outputs. I also think the SD-9500 is very special at downmixing a 5.1 mix to stereo too.Mind you I also think a £500 Sony NSV-900 is a stunning CD player, so I think we possibly diverge on “quality”.

    As for jitter not be all there is for CD transports, well Ive had plenty of discussions with audiophiles thru the ages to tell you that is not the standard gun toting opinions of audiophiles Ive met on my travels, but mind you now that DVD deck like this give spec measurements @ 40 and sub 200 spec jitter DVD players are available, Ive had this mentioned to me elsewhere recently that something elusive makes a better CD transport than say the SD-9500. No-one knows what “something” is from what I can see.

    Anyway good luck bro in whatever you do to your SD-9500, some of us are very happy with it in stock form though.

    PS here is a good test review that is worth running through babel for translation :

    http://www.area-dvd.de/hardware/toshiba_sd9500.shtml
     
  25. AlecF

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    Hi CJ,

    That's a good link.

    Think I should add my comments were strictly based on the redbook quality - I've not got any hi-rez material. Regardless, I would definitely recommend turning the upsampling on in this unit.

    Myself, I'm just starting out in tweaking but basically I'm highly skeptical of most commercial hi-fi gear now I know a bit more about electronics and component selection.

    Tell you what, I'll keep on with my mods and report back how I get on. I'm pretty confident this bird can be improved....a lot! For not much cash!


    Cheers.
     
  26. dynamic turtle

    dynamic turtle
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    No, but the cost of all those full page ads and boozy lunches with audio journalists aren't cheap!

    There could be 101 reasons why Tosh chose those components. Maybe their golden ears couldn't tell the difference between the two. Maybe Toshiba Corp owns the IC manufacturer! Maybe the former has better reliability? Maybe they had lots of them stored away in a warehouse and were ordered to use them by the "component director" :rotfl:

    Who knows?

    If they can be replaced with "superior" components, great. If they genuuinely do sound better, and can be changed/upgraded at reasonable cost, then maybe CJ should consider doing so, if it bothers him (rightly so, it clearly doesn't).

    DT

    I am going down this route with one of my budget universals (Pio 565) as I feel its performance could be improved in certain areas with the addition of superior components. Most importantly, I feel the upgrades offer value for money (£150).
     
  27. CJROSS

    CJROSS
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    Hey Alec Ive got a fair collection of hi-res CDs in HDCD format, also a couple of gold sheffield labs CDs (Kodo Drummers), I also specialise in high quality stereo DVD-V recordings, ie check out Dave Gilmours Meltdwon DVD – 24 Bit 48Khz stereo, got a couple DAD 24/96 stereo DVD-V discs (Chesky), and a few 24 Bit 96 & 192 Khz DVD audio stereo mixes (Paul Simon, George Benson * Fleet MAC. Redbook wise I have a few standard CDs (AAD/ADDs and a ) that equal the best HDCDs I own. I take recording quality quite seriously.

    I also think using the upsample circuit gives this CD player a real lift in its higher frequencies (more decay of notes & shimmer on cymbals), one thing to note though that the upsmapler circuit really only works to my ears with redbook 16/44.1 CD, As 20 Bit HDCD & 24 Bit DVD-V/A based stuff is not that different with the circuit on/off during playback (make of that what you will).

    Sceptical, your talking to the right man dude. I do feel though that this player gives many £1000+ CDPs a run for their money, and in some cases would outperform them. But its only a DVD-V player so its hards to convince people to even try them.

    PS I recommend getting Fleetwood Macs DVD-A or Rumours, it lets you see what this player is capable of in stereo. I also hear that with a few of my CDs it should be said.

    Regards

    PS ever heard how much it cost in parts for Audio Notes £18,500 DAC 5 ?

    DT : I see your enjoying your NSV-900, pretty nice eh ?
     
  28. Nic Rhodes

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    But the AN DAC is that price because of what they leave out, rather than what they put in ;)
     
  29. AlecF

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    Cheers, I'll go to the library to try and pick up some SACDs and DVD-As.

    Please don't misunderstand me, it's the sound that counts above all things. Fact is every piece of MF gear I've heard sounds like pants. It's just harder to stomach when you then factor in the mark-up it feels like a rip-off, to say the least! Bending over a barrel and having a branding iron stuck....

    These damned NE5532s are chosen solely because they're cheap to buy and cheap to implement. The problem is they're chosen by engineers following datasheets rather than evaluating the sound quality.

    Re: Audio Note, no argument here; the prices are obscene, the prices are insane. One thing I don't like about AN (UK) is they ripped off the original design/name from AN (Japan, now Kondo).
     
  30. AndrewB

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    Perhaps slightly off topic (now) but I use a Benchmark DAC1 into a fairly serious 2-channel system (EAR864 preamp, ATC SCM50ASL active speakers) and have compared several DVD and CD players as transports into it. There is no difference between the best-engineered transport I own (a Meridian 206B) and the worst (an old Pioneer 535 DVD player with a tray that is so bent that you need to physically ease it out with a finger in order to eject a disk!).

    Also, the any transport + Benchmark DAC1 combination replaced my £7k Naim CDS2 CD player, and was not a downgrade, which is frankly amazing for the money.

    Andrew
     

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