UK Exclusive: Denon DVD-A1UD Universal Blu-ray Disc Player Review

Tech News

News Supplying Robot
<a href="http://www.avforums.com/reviews/Denon-DVD-A1UD-Universal-Blu-ray-Disc-Player-Review.html" target="_self"><img src="http://www.avforums.com/reviews/includes/displayimage.php?s=reviews/81/main.jpg|140|0|0" width="140" border="0" align="right"></a>Reviewed by David Mackenzie
The Denon DVD-A1U is an incredibly comprehensive, incredibly expensive optical disc player. Its slow speed of operation is not enough to stop it from receiving a Highly Recommended badge based on its extensive feature set and performance.
Read the full review...
 
Last edited by a moderator:

kingfats

Distinguished Member
Cheers David :smashin: another very good and detailed review.
I'm also glad you found no big advancements with Blu-ray PQ either,as this players just a bit (well a lot :D) out of my budget range i'm afraid.
 

Vipers

Well-known Member
Another excellent in depth review, thanks.

I have to say though when viewing the A1UD against the Pioneer LX91 and Denon 3800 on my KRP 600A I found there to be a definate improvement in image quality, it was very difficult to pin point but there was more apparent depth and clarity to the image, without it looking false, to the point that another forum member who owns a 3800 was really suprised at the improvement, if its worth £4500, well thats another story and really takes some justifying, but after spending some time with the A1UD its definately moved onto my future upgrade list.
 
Thanks for the comments.

All the players I've tested are passing full resolution on the Luminance Multiburst patterns so any differences you see would have to be due to the edge enhancement controls or something caused by the display device, surely. Did you have any of the "Enhancer" or "Sharpness" controls on?
 

Avi

Distinguished Member
Thanks for the comments.

All the players I've tested are passing full resolution on the Luminance Multiburst patterns so any differences you see would have to be due to the edge enhancement controls or something caused by the display device, surely. Did you have any of the "Enhancer" or "Sharpness" controls on?

It would be interesting if a test could be designed to help identify the "affect" of the more sophisticated detail/contour enhancement processing features. The Spears & Munsil disc was one of the first to show that some players appear to perform differently with regard to basic chroma resolution even with 1080p/24 source over HDMI. Interestingly some of the players who's owners claimed to perceive more colour detail appear to objectively show less based on this test (£ placebo?). Maybe we will see similar tests that show differences in other areas as new more sophisticated test material becomes available.

From my own observation using different video processors it is possible to create the illusion of increased "depth" , "dimensionality", "crispness", "clarity" with HD material by adjusting detail/contour enhancement features. Of course this then becomes a matter of taste rather than technically better image I guess.

AVI
 

Timbo21

Well-known Member
Great review on the picture side of things David :).

However, seems a great pity that the audio has been so woefully neglected on the analogue side. Isn't this an area a prospective buyer would be considerably interested in?

I think an in-depth audio review would be most welcome, also.

Some tests with CD's, DVD-A's, & SACD's by someone who has decent experience using various universal players and standalone CD/SACD players, especially against something like Arcam's DV139. Also, comparisons between it and a standalone CD player at a certain price point, and comparison of sound from balanced XLR to unbalanced RCA would all be welcome.

T
 

Phil Hinton

Editor
Staff member
Some tests with CD's, DVD-A's, & SACD's by someone who has decent experience using various universal players and standalone CD/SACD players, especially against something like Arcam's DV139. Also, comparisons between it and a standalone CD player at a certain price point, and comparison of sound from balanced XLR to unbalanced RCA would all be welcome.

T

As this is unscientific and based on subjective assessment and opinion, those kinds of tests are best performed by prospective owners of the said players. Our reviews are designed to give you an unbiased and objective as possible overview of the performance for both video and audio. It might be that for items like the Denon where people want some subjective comment, we do two reviews when possible, with Russell handling the audio performance side in line with his subjective audio based reviews. This needs to be considered and we will look at that feedback and see if it is going to be possible.
There are dealers who have the facilities to do that kind of thing and if you are dropping £4.5k the advice will always be to demo any product and do your own testing with a home demo if possible, using the reviews as a guide of what to look for and expect.
 
Last edited:

RipMaster

Active Member
Thanks for the review David. Quoting from the review:

Unlike in the days of SD DVD where we had to contend with video DACs, deinterlacing, and later, scaling, a 1080p/24 Blu-ray Disc source connected digitally to a 1080p/24 display device poses almost no room for mishaps. .....

The DVD-A1 doesn't meddle (unless you tell it to) and as a result, its output quality at 1080p is every bit as good as other BD players I've tested. It doesn't crop any pixels from the image, so it delivers the full 1920x1080 pixels to the display.

I'm puzzled by these two statements though, as the technicalities of the former would suggest that the latter was not possible - at least as far as Blu Ray 1080p output was concerned.
Another excellent in depth review, thanks.

I have to say though when viewing the A1UD against the Pioneer LX91 and Denon 3800 on my KRP 600A I found there to be a definate improvement in image quality.....

So if the DVD-A1 is simply pumping out "full" 1080p without meddling, then how can it be doing so, so as to improve the picture over any other non-meddling quality player?
 
Last edited:
Ripmaster: if I understand your question correctly, you're asking how it is possible that some players can crop pixels from the image? Good question. You would have to ask the designers.
 

eddgreen25

Active Member
Why no video review David We got a LX91 video review?
At £4500 overpriced a mistake
A good review of the A1
Went over my head at the tech terms
 

MJeeves

Well-known Member
Great review David! :thumbsup:

So, on Bluray (not DVD), the A1 is comparable to the Pioneer LX91?

On DVD, would you say the A1 is better than the LX91 or similar?

Cheers again! :smashin:
 

Turlough

Active Member
As this is unscientific and based on subjective assessment and opinion, those kinds of tests are best performed by prospective owners of the said players. Our reviews are designed to give you an unbiased and objective as possible overview of the performance for both video and audio. It might be that for items like the Denon where people want some subjective comment, we do two reviews when possible, with Russell handling the audio performance side in line with his subjective audio based reviews. This needs to be considered and we will look at that feedback and see if it is going to be possible.
There are dealers who have the facilities to do that kind of thing and if you are dropping £4.5k the advice will always be to demo any product and do your own testing with a home demo if possible, using the reviews as a guide of what to look for and expect.

CD maybe, but SACD should be easily reviewable between machines on identical kit. For that matter a run-off between Denon SACD and digital streaming DACs would be illuminating. It's a universal player with a shedload more than BD & DVD-V to play with and as you host audio forums then perhaps they should be serviced as well?
 
Great review David!

So, on Bluray (not DVD), the A1 is comparable to the Pioneer LX91?

On DVD, would you say the A1 is better than the LX91 or similar?

Cheers again!
Yes, BD playback is the same. The A1's DVD playback is better than the LX91: from memory, scaling is cleaner. And it passes a few extra tricky cadences too.
 

Jon P

Active Member
Thanks David.

I enjoyed reading your review. I must admit I'm in the same camp as vipers regarding picture quality. I believe I percieve extra detail/ a cleaner image from the A1ud although it's now a while since I've seen it running since first Vipers then you have had it;) The audio side of this player is where this unit really shines so hopefully forumites will take you're advice and get along to their local dealers and have a listen.

Jon P
 

KenB2

Active Member
Hi David,

Thanks for the review, it was very informative.

I would also have liked more impressions on the unit's performance with basic stereo CD, and SACD as well, but I understand that can be hard to arrange without it becoming very subjective :)

You made a good point about not investing in this unit if you're not going to use many of the outputs - as I'm already a Denon link user (Denon 3930). It looks like I'll have to wait to the 'digital only' version appears later this year (40xx series looks like it will fit the bill - still pretty expensive though).

Does anyone know much about the new mid-range model yet - I assume it will be based on this one, but with most of the analogue circuitry removed or downgraded?

Ken B.
 

kingfats

Distinguished Member
Does anyone know much about the new mid-range model yet - I assume it will be based on this one, but with most of the analogue circuitry removed or downgraded?

Ken B.

Hi Ken. :)
That would be the Denon 4010 :smashin: out October (i think) priced about £1900.
All the best.
 

NW3

Active Member
Have to say I agree that some more detailed review of it's audio performance would be extremely useful. Whilst I understand that the audio performace is subjective many Hi-Fi magazines do a lot of factual performance testing on audio products so this is surely also possible too?

I would argue that ultimately the video performance will also be subjective when a potential purchaser comes to audition the product themselves but this doesn't diminish the value of your excellent review of it's video performance.

I think there is quite a big market for universal disc players that can acquit themselves to a high standard across all formats. Forums both on this site and elsewhere are full of people looking for these products.
 

Smurfin

Distinguished Member
£4500? Crazy money imho. Good review David and I'm glad you don't get carried away with the whole "it's so expensive so the BR video must be better" mistake :thumbsup:

Interesting comments from people about video improvements over other players, all a bit of a moot point unless both sources are ISF'd on the comparison display though....
 

MJeeves

Well-known Member
Hello,

I have a couple of questions regarding the Denon Link 4th cable...

Does it come with the Denon A1UD? :confused:

Is there a basic cable and a "upgraded" cable? :confused:

Do they come in 2 metre lengths? (1.5m isn't long enough!) :confused:

Also, can someone use shielded STP CAT6a cable instead, and get the same high quality without compromise? :confused:

Thank you! :smashin:

Cheers, M.J. :thumbsup:
 

MJeeves

Well-known Member
So... can anyone confirm if the DENON LINK 4TH signal is primarily passed via the HDMI cable or the DenonLink CAT cable? Is it worth me buying a better HDMI cable or a better CAT6 cable? :confused:

Anyone? :lease:
 

Avi

Distinguished Member
Is it worth me buying a better HDMI cable or a better CAT6 cable? :confused:

Anyone? :lease:

How long is the cable run from player to the processor ? Also can you define what your mean by better i.e. more expensive, HDMI cat 1 v Cat 2 etc ?

The answer for HDMI is that unless you're running longer distance any functioning cable that is properly certified to the appropriate standard for that length/bandwidth will produce the same result be it £10 to £1000. I keep an open mind on this and welcome any evidence that shows a objective measurable difference in image attributes from a calibrated display due to HDMI cable.

AVI
 
Last edited:

The latest video from AVForums

Oculus Quest 2 VR headset + Rotel A14 MkII Amp Reviews & Best of the Month
Subscribe to our YouTube channel

Latest News

KEF adds Ci160ES to Architectural Speaker range
  • By Andy Bassett
  • Published
Hisense increases Laser TV sales following Euros
  • By Andy Bassett
  • Published
Samsung Smart Start offer grants access to premium TV apps
  • By Andy Bassett
  • Published
DS Audio launches third generation DS003 optical cartridge
  • By Andy Bassett
  • Published
JBL announces L52 Classic speaker and L75ms all-in-one
  • By Andy Bassett
  • Published

Full fat HDMI teeshirts

Support AVForums with Patreon

Top Bottom