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WHICH review - Denon 500SD tops

Discussion in 'Home Cinema Buying & Building' started by dunamis, Aug 29, 2005.

  1. dunamis

    dunamis
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    Thought you might be interested. This month WHICH magazine have done a review of Home Cinema kits and the Denon 500SD comes out on top. Highly recommended is the Panasonic SCHT530 which they reckon is very close to Denon on sound quality (but not as loud) for around half the price.

    I haven't had time to read the article and it's at home so I don't have further details to hand. I'll look up more if people are interested.

    dunamis
     
  2. Anim

    Anim
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    You couldnt do me a PDF scan of the SCHT530 review could you? Im looking at buying this kit and can't find any reviews anywhere!

    Thanks
    Anim
     
  3. chimpmagnet

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    I didn't think that the Denon 500 would be compatible with Sky+ (in terms of producing best possible output). Perhaps the WHICH reviews aren't looking at the future!
     
  4. Anim

    Anim
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    I've just ordered the 530 from soundandvision, its for DVD playback. Hope it all goes smoothly!
     
  5. paulhazell

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    Did they review the SONY DAV-DZ700FW or the wired 500 version?
     
  6. pallison

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    Here's what they say.......


    The Panasonic SC-HT530 pushed the Denon DHT-500 SD all the way, matching it for sound quality and surround-sound effect.

    Remarkably, it's less than half the price of the Denon and, while aesthetically it's not so appealing, it delivers where it matters — picture and sound quality and surround effect.

    Where it does fall down is in power output. It can't be turned up as loud as the Denon, although it should be sufficient for most living rooms.

    The amplifier comes with an in-built RDS tuner and DVD player. The tuner does its job well but has only 15 presets for storing your favourite stations, which may be too few choices for the more avid radio listener.

    The DVD player works well; picture quality is good and it's fairly easy to use. It can play back discs recorded in DVD-R/-RW and DVD+R/+RW formats together with Jpeg discs of digital photos.

    The kit is fairly easy to set up and use, too. The power amplifiers for all the speakers are in the subwoofer cabinet so you plug the cables into this rather than having a spaghetti of wires going into the main unit. Like the Denon it's very frugal with its standby power consumption.

    The satellite speakers are small, 9cm wide, 20cm high and 10cm deep, the centre speaker is larger, at 32x9x10cm, and the subwoofer a chunkier 20x37x49cm.

    In short, this kit may not quite have the same class or the good looks of the Denon, but if you're looking for an introduction to home cinema for not much outlay, it's worth buying.
     
  7. pallison

    pallison
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    and the rest............

    A couple of the all-in-one systems were good but not quite Best Buys.

    The Panasonic SC-HT880 was a worthy runner-up but it didn't have the surround-sound quality to match our two Best Buy kits.

    The Sharp HT-X1H, while easy to set up and use, had mediocre surround-sound quality and effect.

    The rest of the kits weren't brilliant. The Denon D-M51 DVS is a 2.1 system, so it has only three speakers, and we've found these can't deliver the surround-sound effect in the same way that a 5.1 system can.

    The Sony DAV-D150 stood out as having the worst tuner on test.

    The Teac MC-DV250 is another 2.1 system lacking a decent surround-sound effect and our experts found it was also hard to set up.

    The Sanyo DC-TS780 didn't sound too bad but it was a pain to use.

    Bringing up the rear were the final three kits. The Hitachi HTDK180 UK isn't a disaster once you've got it going but it was hard to set up and use.

    The Acoustic Energy Aego P5 MkII is the only kit to come without a DVD player, which is good if you already have a DVD player, but its amplifier did poorly in our technical tests and isn't easy to use.

    Last (and least) was the Goodmans HEC 17, with a distinctly underwhelming surround-sound experience — and it was tricky to use.
     
  8. andrew markwort

    andrew markwort
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    The Panasonic 530 also lacks the vast range of connections available on the Denon and it doesn't have the capability of explanding to 6.1. This may or may not matter, depending upon your circumstances. However, if you're on a budget or perhaps looking for an interim solution until blu-ray et al sort themselves out before really committing yourself to a more expensive piece of kit, then it may be worth considering.
     
  9. Anim

    Anim
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    Excelent thanks Pallison.

    It also support DVD-Audio so I will try getting some from play/amazon and see what the 5.1 version sounds like :D

    I also found the PDF and it got 5 star rating BEST BUY award so for £156 thats a cracking deal IMO.

    Cheers
    Anim
     
  10. Uridium

    Uridium
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    Am I right in thinking that the SCHT530 doesn't have an Optical input though?

    The SCHT530 is on my shortlist at the moment but I want to connect a Sky+ box and the lack of Optical input was putting me off this and towards a JVC system (TH-S66 I think from memory) .

    Question: Would I notice much difference in Audio quality connecting Sky+ via analogue input with the SCHT530 converting to 5.1 than I would using a system with an Optical input for 5.1

    there is anothe review of the 530 here by the way.

    http://www.homecinemachoice.com/cgi-bin/displayreviews.php
     
  11. daddyp

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    No Optical, just two analogue inputs, but the pro logic II does a decent enough job. This box really comes into it's own when playing DVD's though as it sounds and looks awesome
     
  12. Uridium

    Uridium
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    thanks

    Would go for the Denon but tied to Currys for the purchase as I have a voucher from insurance company.

    Can't find anyone with anything bad to say about the 530 so think I'll go for one of those then.
     
  13. Uridium

    Uridium
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    Got my 530 all installed last night and must admit I'm pretty impressed, am I right in thinking that Pro Logic II is only available when playing back DVD's though?

    When I press the Pro Logic II button on the remote while watching TV it just says "Error" on the display?

    Also is it better to connect it to the L+R audio outs on the Sky Receiver than the Audio outs on the TV?
     
  14. Anim

    Anim
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    I would attach it to the Sky box as there will be less chance of signal degradation.
     
  15. Anim

    Anim
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    I also read somewhere that you have to hold a button in (few seconds) to get surround 5.1 from standard CD's
     
  16. andrew markwort

    andrew markwort
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    I endorse this 100%. I think if I watched Sky movies in 5.1 a lot of the time I'd probably miss the lack of the optical link, but to be honest, this was never an issue for me and the pro logic II does a good enough job for my purposes.

    Happened to me as well, but there is a way out of it! I connected up the Sky box to the TV audio in sockets. Assuming you've done the same, press DVD/CD on the remote, select Prologic II and choose whether you want music, film or off. Now press TV on the remote. You should now get prologic sound coming through. However, if you want to alter the prologic setting, you have to go back into the CD/DVD menu.
     
  17. Uridium

    Uridium
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    This doesn't work on mine, have my Sky+ box audio outs plugged into the "TV" audio inputs on the 530 as you suggested. PLII works fine in DVD mode but as soon as I press the "TV" button PLII switches off
     
  18. andrew markwort

    andrew markwort
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    Sounds like it could be a difference between different batches of the same model, which is a bit of a nuisance.
     
  19. PBN

    PBN
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    Glad I came across this thread - I was going to purchase the Denon 500 but, based upon the Which review and other comments, decided to pop down to Currys and grab a Panasonic 530. They price matched their website price of £168 which I was happy with and 30 mins later I had it all set up at home and watching Galdiator. First impressions are extremely good - the sound seems wonderful and picture quality is great. I haven't fiddled around with the setup yet so it may even improve when I spend some time there. Whilst I would have liked to purchase the Denon, it was difficult to justify the extra £250 especially at this time of year. Half the enjoyment has been reading the reviews and trying to decide what to get - originally I was looking at a set of Kef 2005.2, a Denon amp and player, but I think I'll wait and see how much usage this Panasonic gets once I set it up to a projector and convert the garage into a little room.
     
  20. Uridium

    Uridium
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    Mine's been in use now for about a month and not disapointed in the least. Fantastic system for the price.

    Just a shame about those missing Optical connections.. ah well can't have everything i guess.

    Also have a netgear MP101 Wireless music player hooked up (on the VCR in!?) streaming my 50Gb Audio library from my PC and this sounds fantastic.

    Would recommend the 530 to anyone after an all-in-one in this price range
     
  21. PBN

    PBN
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    One other observation on the Panasonic 530..it doesn't seem very loud. I had Monsters Inc on full volume tonight to test it out and whilst there was no distortion, I could have done with a bit more volume. I'm not saying it is quiet - far from it - just could be a little louder.
     
  22. jesse James

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    Interesting thread...
    I really want to get the 530's but there's no optical input and i wanted to use them partly for x-box surround sound. Is there a way round this, like an adaptor?
    Or would something like the logitech Z5500's be a better option anyway as they are around the same price...however i am also interested in getting the best home cinema experience i can for film and i think the Z5500's are mainly for PC's. Any pearls?!

    :lease:


    cheers

    JJ
     
  23. Uridium

    Uridium
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    Afraid not as the 530 doesn't have digital COAX either (you can get optical to digital coax convertors)

    Don't let it put you off though, the 530 has it's own "Super surround" mode that simulates Dolby PLII when you convert external sources
     
  24. Rokkster

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    Hi - Panasonic recently took the decision to remove the ability for any external source to have prologic or even virtual (super) surround sound applied to it (by literally removing the chip). This may have been the case in older models, but I am only familiar with the current stock. You can only get this from an internal DVD now :( This is the case for ALL their all-in-ones (330, 530, 830) and is stated in the manual as being the case. Not so on their separates though.
     

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