Disclaimer: I want to first ask everyone not to get offended by any judgments or opinions. This comparison study is based on my takes and someone else may prefer something else. Do not take any comments personal. Especially when pertaining to the big 3. Each would make any home theater better and would easily take MVP honors.
Quick statement: Even if you "only" bitstream the 09FD is more than worth it.
Let's get started... For the majority of the comparison I (we) focused on the big 3 (09FD, Denon 3800 & Sony S5000ES). All have the latest firmware updates. For some "light" comparisons I used a 51FD (my bedroom unit), Panny BD35, PS3, Sammy 1500 and Insignia Blu ray unit.
Analog Audio... I (we) only compared the big 3 here. I was not surprised in the least when all scored well. Each have good to great build Q which I am certain played an integral part. I had help from my guests and we spent a good part of the day listening to these players. Each guest had their own clipboard to write notes and score each player. We judged them in a few categories and of course had an overall score for each category. Of the 6 "judges" 3 liked the 09FD, 2 the 3800 and one the S5000ES. What does this mean? We all agreed they are all damn good and anyone would be thrilled to have either or. The analog sound was exceptional going into my 886 PRO. I am now going to be torn between using analog and going my usual bitstream route. The insides of each unit are state of the art and I hate the thought of letting them go to waste! Seriously... If you are able to bitstream then you won't be disappointed either. If you are an analog fan then you will be rocked!
CDs in all three units sound very good. It was very hard picking a favorite but everyone had one. I was shocked when we had a three way tie.
Sorry, no definite answer there... Speaking of my guests I held them prisoner for awhile today but released them with gift cards to BB and Marshalls (for the two ladies). I also raffled off the BD35 which the winner gave to the other guest since he already had one. That was a gentleman move!
I appreciated them taking this serious.
For my personal taste in Audio I preferred the Pioneer 09FD. Not by a lot. It was close and the Denon 3800 was only a point away. The S5000ES was only a point and a half away! There really is not a loser here. Bottom line, they all create ear candy.
Pic Q... My favorite category. I have said many times before we have reached the pinnacle in terms of pic Q. The 09FD has now become the new joerod standard (
). I know I let the cat out of the bag early but it deserves to be free. The Denon 3800 and S5000ES are still top notch performers but the latest 09FD has them beat. I think the 48 bit color upconversion and 16 bit video are the key players. Of course the Marvell Qdeo chip doesn't hurt either. For Blu ray and regular SD dvds. The Sony S5000ES and Denon are both still to close to call. If I had to take one I would go for the S5000ES (between it and the 3800). The Superbit Mapping feature is cool and does give it a slight edge. And it is very reliable. Of course without doing any tweaks the 3800 and S5000ES are a dead tie. At least that is how I would call it. In my intro I mentioned about how these latest higher end models are coming with more and more pic adjustments. That is what separates them from the middle pack. Being able to calibrate them definitely gives them the edge. They have more adjustments than the majority of displays on the market. Especially th 3800 and 09FD! As for the middle pack they are all close but not on the same level. Of course depending on your display the difference could be from slight to significant. And smaller screens make it even harder. I am mainly referring to 1080p/24 Blu ray. The middle pack players do not come close with SD dvds. The 09FD, 3800 and S5000ES are at least a level or two higher. My pick is the 09FD. My guests were literally blown away with the SD dvd quality. You could easily argue that some of the better SD dvds look like real HD! And again all of the big 3 are very good with SD dvds and anyone would be more than satisfied with either or. And again (I know I just said that) there are absolutely no losers here. I for one am excited to see such amazing pic Q these days. I can't imagine how much better it can get from here!
I don't use stop watches. As for load times they are all pretty much nearly the same these days. The king is still the beloved PS3. The next closest player I have seen (and own) is my Oppo Blu ray player. I won't say anything else about it due to the NDA I have with them. As for the other players (including middle pack) they are all not as bad as it used to be. I remember the days of doing a comparison and being able to have a full conversation or an akward silence break while we waited. Now those uncomfortable silences are over!
Conclusion: I had a lot of fun doing this comparison study. In the next couple of days I will give more details. I am exhausted and am struggling not to sleep. I usually only sleep 4 to 5 hours a night to begin with but when you are actually doing homework (
) it is more straining. I will gladly answer any and all PMs (except hate ones) or questions here. Thanks again for everyone's support here.
Finally... A couple of picks of the Dark Knight from the 09FD with 48 bit color upconversion going and of course at 1080p/24.. If it looks over-saturated blame my camera. In person there is more depth, detail and overall natural eye candy that blew everyone away! The first pic is a scary close up of the joker. The last is a scary close up of Batman. The second (probably most important) is one I (we) used for one of our comparsion studies. The building had slight noise or moire' on nearly all the other players. The 09FD handled it like a champ. As it did the Professional Benchmark Blu ray disc I used for testing. The 09FD is the real deal. Congrats are in order for Pioneer starting off 2009 with the Blu ray/SD dvd player to beat... Test drive one!