Originally Posted by plasmatics
I'm considering the BDP-53FD to replace a BDP-23FD.
I currently have Pioneer Elite SC-07 Receiver AVR connected to a PRO-1110HD Display fed by (among other) a BDP-23FD Bluray Player and DV-58AV DVD/SACD/DVDA Player.
Would the 53 be a worthwhile upgrade for the 23?
I'd most like to get some of the streaming features of the 53. I wouldn't mind the quicker load time although its not critical. If I can get SACD and DVDA that would be great to but I already have the 58 which does a very nice job there.
Thoughts? Any performance increases, PQ, etc. any other reason to pick up the 53 over the 23? How would build quality compare?
I upgraded to the BDP-53FD from the BDP-23FD for the QDEO VP, the faster BD load times, the SACD support, and the streaming features.
The load times are better. One of the Star Wars BD discs loaded in 1:18 on the 53, 1:51 on the 23. But, I must admit, as much as I love the picture and sound quality of BDs, I hate the java overhead! I will only ever be truly happy when I can get to a menu on a BD in less than 30 seconds. I guess I'm just going to have to learn more patience.
I must say I was very pleased with the picture and sound quality of the 53.
When I got the unit to work.
The first unit I bought refused to load SACDs at all (and I tried 10 different discs). It would grind for a like 30 seconds and then display "unknown disc". I took it back and tried a second unit. The second one played SACDs without a problem, but that one frequently locked up loading BDs.
Other major annoyances: front display only shows elapsed time, no track or chapter info or pause/play indicator. When listening to music this is especially annoying. No pause or skip buttons on the front of the unit. Disc tray is too thin and seating discs is clumsy. Remote control sensor not very responsive. Even pointing directly at the unit many times having to press buttons again to get the unit to respond.
Could not get PQLS to work with SACDs with my SC-27 receiver. The SC-27 does DSD > PCM so seems like this should work with the player set to bitstream mode over HDMI. But, PQLS only works on SACDs when the player is set to PCM over HDMI. To my ears the player's DSD to PCM conversion doesn't sound as good as the DAC on the SC-27.
When I set the SC-27 to "pure direct" mode I notice when displaying "status" on the receiver that the sampling rate shows 176 vs. 88 in just "direct" mode when receiving a bitstream from the 53. I'm guessing the 53's internal DSD > PCM converter does it at 88 or lower.
From what I can hear, the sound quality is distinctly better with the player set to Bitstream over HDMI and the receiver set to "pure direct" mode than with any other settings I tried. With the player set to PCM the PQLS does not offset the apparent reduction in processing.
However, with CDs in "pure direct" mode the PQLS feature does work and to my ears anyway brings a subtle but noticeable refinement in clarity and sound stage depth which I really enjoyed.
From some other reading online I'm gathering that there are different levels of compatibility and functionality with PQLS and HDMI control depending on the generation of receiver and player you have. I have no way of confirming this, but PQLS may work for SACDs with bitstream output from the player to the newer generation of Elite receivers (i.e. SC-5x).
In any case, the BDP-53FD didn't seem to always play nice with HDMI control with the SC-27. It would frequently change the source on the receiver from BD to TV/SAT. This may be due to the dual HDMI connections on the 53 (i.e. HDMI1 video only direct to the display, HDMI2 audio only direct to the receiver). As the manual suggests, this configuration does seem to yield more optimal picture and sound quality, but this seems to come at the price of HDMI control problems, at least with my receiver anyway. If I turn off HDMI control the source select problem goes away, but then I lose PQLS. Exasperating!
I didn't notice any of the networking or SACD playback issues other owners have been complaining about, but I honestly didn't spend too much time with that.
The disc reading and lockup issues were problems enough for me to be a deal breaker for this unit in spite of the picture and sound improvements and the faster loading. That combined with some of the HDMI control issues and the annoying loss of front panel display and controls prompted me to return the 53 for a refund.
I'm still OK with my 23FD for now, but definitely feeling the need to regroup on upgrade options.
Like many other Pioneer fans I must add my lament to the decline in the brand, especially inexcusable in the Elite line given the price points.
It's clear from reading the forum that many AV enthusiasts have written them off.
With so many years of enjoyment with great Pioneer Elite products in the past, I hate to give up on them.
But unless Pioneer gets a lot more serious in the next year about their comeback strategy and put some real effort into re-establishing the design and manufacturing quality customers have come to expect from them in the past, their prospects are grim.