Best DVD Player with Audiophile CD Sound for under $1K? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 30 Old 09-04-2006, 05:14 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi All,

I'm in the market for a new DVD player and am hoping to find something that does both video and audio great. I'm an old hat audiophine on a budget and am hoping to find one player vs. going with two vs. going with something that is so prohibitively expensive. I'd like to stay in the $1K range.

I don't need 1080p since I have a Panasonic 9UK which only goes to 1080i. However, HDMI output would be nice.

My existing player is a Rotel RDV-1080. It does a good job overall (and I like the audio), but it's aging and not as well suited for my new Plasma. I also have a Rotel 1098 pre/pro. It's DACs are decent (very good for 5.1 and DTS), but not the best for 2-channel audio.

To give you an idea of the rest of my system, I have a Perreaux 2350 for fronts, Rotel 1095 for center/sides/backs, combo of B&W Matrix 3s and Dynaudio speakers, Velodyne ULD15 sub, PS Audio power products, Straightwire and Cobalt audio/video cables. I'd say all together it's a very solid mid-fi setup.

Is there a DVD player out there that's reasonably priced which will satisfy my video and audio desires?

Thank in advance for any advice you may have.

All the Best, Steve
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post #2 of 30 Old 09-05-2006, 03:04 AM
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The Pioneer DV-79AVi, now being cleared out at Magnolia Hi-Fi stores has pretty good audio.

I've heard much better, but not if you want something that's both (1) new and (2) under $1K.

If you're willing to go used or raise your price level, your list of players to consider widens considerably.
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post #3 of 30 Old 09-05-2006, 10:29 AM
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The Pioneer 79ai and the Denon 3910 are excellent for both audio and video (the latter is likely being discounted to your price range to make room for the new 3930). There's also a Denon 2930 in your price range.
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post #4 of 30 Old 09-05-2006, 12:10 PM
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It's not an easy thing to make a great DVD player that's also a great CD player. There are lots of tricks such as using two separate lasers to read CDs and DVDs, each at the proper frequency for each medium, or separating out the video and audio chain, or allowing one to turn off all video applications while engaging only the audio components. Alot of 'em sound pretty good. Personally, I've been very impressed by a friend's mid-price Denon (forget which model) on both DVDs and CD-audio.

But I wonder if you might get more bang for your buck with separate players? One of the Oppo DVD players (priced at about $150 and $250, respectively) should provide you all the video processing you need with your current setup, leaving $750-850 to drop on a CD-only player. At that price range (and even for much less), you have a wealth of options in CD land, including a whole bunch that would likely appeal very greatly to an "old-hat audiophile"!
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post #5 of 30 Old 09-05-2006, 05:01 PM
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I had a few DVD players that played DVD-A that sounded pretty good. I also have a deadicated CD player, Cambridge Audio 640C, while not exspensive, still sounds better than any DVD unit I've had ( on CD's) .
I had read that the CA 540 D DVD player was it's equal on CD's.I bought the CA 540D, and it wasn't.
Recently purchased a Marantz DV7600 that plays everything, DVD-A, SACD ,HDCD, It is the best DVD-A player I had yet, but still the CA 640C sounds better on CD's( analog) .
Buying a deadicated CD player works for me. While the CA 640C wasn't the most exspensive CD player buy a long shot, it's DAC's are a bit better than those in my HK 635 AVR, better than the HK 31 DVD player, better than the CA 540D and better than the Marantz DV7600..
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post #6 of 30 Old 09-06-2006, 12:48 AM
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I recently got the Denon 2930. I have had nothing but pleasure from this beauty.
The PQ is incredible via both component and HDMI (both at 480P into my 50" 8UK).
The sound of everything I've put in it (DVD-A, SACD, CD, Dual-disc, etc.) has been remarkable.

I can't recommend this player enough.

Good luck in your quest.

shane

"Yes Eve... I like to watch." - Chauncey Gardener.

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post #7 of 30 Old 09-06-2006, 11:49 AM
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Forget about it. Buy a good video DVD player that suits your display (Oppo 971?) and that has both coax and optical out and run one or the other to a $900 Benchmark DAC-1 for your CDs. Run the other digital connection to your AVR. I guarantee you will get better sound from the DAC-1 than from any $1K DVD player.

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post #8 of 30 Old 09-06-2006, 01:00 PM
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I read somewhere that the Toshiba HD DVD player was audiophile quality. It was somewhere on engadget and I could never find it again. You might want to look into that.
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post #9 of 30 Old 09-07-2006, 12:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dsmith901
Forget about it. Buy a good video DVD player that suits your display (Oppo 971?) and that has both coax and optical out and run one or the other to a $900 Benchmark DAC-1 for your CDs. Run the other digital connection to your AVR. I guarantee you will get better sound from the DAC-1 than from any $1K DVD player.
I think an external DAC is a great idea. The Benchmark may be a bit pricey... didn't Music Fidelity have a DAC with a tubed output in the $400-or so range that got rave reviews in the last year or two?
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post #10 of 30 Old 09-08-2006, 03:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kaze0
I read somewhere that the Toshiba HD DVD player was audiophile quality. It was somewhere on engadget and I could never find it again. You might want to look into that.
The Toshiba does not have audiophile quality sound, mid-fi at best. The Toshiba is not much better sounding than the Panny S97. I've had both of these players in my system for a period of time this summer and they never really grooved. The Pioneer DV-79Avi that I just picked up crushes these two players in sound and the video with the Pio is much better (SD DVD) than both above. The Pio is very smooth with very good tone and jump factor.
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post #11 of 30 Old 09-08-2006, 07:26 PM
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Arcam DV78.
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post #12 of 30 Old 09-09-2006, 07:04 PM
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Pioneer DV-79AVi.

I was in the exact same boat, wondering if I could get a DVD player that can do both, or just get a $200 DVD and spend 1-2K on a redbook cd player. I home-demoed a Rega Apollo and a Musical Fidelity A3.5CD and neither impressed me over my existing Denon DVD2800 + Anthem AVM20 (using Anthem DAC).
The Pio is built like the MF and miles beyond the Rega. The analog RCA jacks on the Pio are of a different design (I'm not used to seeing these) and are sturdier than both cd players. Pure Audio allows you to shut off all display and video circuitry to maximized sound quality. The standout quality is the sound is smooth and has "air" to it, unlike anything else I've heard. It's not bright or fatiguing and it doesn't do anything wrong. The bass is adequate and definitely not tubby. Video quality is also superb via HDMI to my BenQ 8720. It is user friendly, the transport is fast, dead quiet, and scan/search functions are intuitive (unlike older Denons). The fact that it can also do DVD-A and SACD is the icing on the cake. And it's beautiful to look at. Maybe more seasoned audiophiles with their A+ recordings can pick apart the Pio and say how a 2K cd player is better at this and that. I had two highly regarded cd players for a weekend, and neither made me excited to go home and fire them up. And for half the price of the MF A3.5, it was a no brainer.

I used to be so analytical when it came to choosing gear. I later learned that the best gear is the one that allows me to forget I'm demoing. I won't be able to say how it sounds better. It just does. And the 79 does that for me.
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post #13 of 30 Old 09-10-2006, 08:56 AM
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I hate to ask a stupid question (cue Mr. Garrison: There are no stupid questions, just stupid people), but I must: What does a $1,000 cd player do that a $100 doesn't? With dvds I understand that high end players have better scaling, but a cd player is just reading a bunch of 1's and 0's, aren't they? I am asking this question out of ignorance.
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post #14 of 30 Old 09-10-2006, 09:43 AM
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Of course, DVD players are just reading a bunch of 1's and 0's, also. But I know what you mean. Some things that contribute to the higher cost: overall better build quality, better Digital-Audio Converters, beefier power supply which is better isolated from the rest of the unit, the digital portion of the player may be better isolated from analog portion of the player.

These factors and others can make an expensive CD player measure better than a less expensive one. Whether you can actually hear those differences is another question.
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post #15 of 30 Old 09-10-2006, 12:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jb00007777
I hate to ask a stupid question (cue Mr. Garrison: There are no stupid questions, just stupid people), but I must: What does a $1,000 cd player do that a $100 doesn't? With dvds I understand that high end players have better scaling, but a cd player is just reading a bunch of 1's and 0's, aren't they? I am asking this question out of ignorance.
The higher priced players use better audio DACs and so sound better (assuming you are using the player's DACs rather than your receiver's), which is more important if you are into SACD/DVD-A..
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post #16 of 30 Old 09-29-2006, 11:25 PM
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I've been looking at this player, I've seen reviews that indicate that it tops out the Denon 3910 and the Pio 79avi. I also read that it has some useability issues. Is it true that you cannot set up the player to automatically play the DVD-A track on a DVD-A through the analog multichannel outputs and to prioritize the different options for SACD play? The revviewer said that to go from DVD to DVD-A to SACD requires one to mess with settings and menus each time.

Is this the case, or did this guy just not know how to set up his player?

I am in the same boat as the OP, but would like to keep it below $850, below $800 if I can manage it.

Thanks,

Chris

Quote:
Originally Posted by BMO
I had a few DVD players that played DVD-A that sounded pretty good. I also have a deadicated CD player, Cambridge Audio 640C, while not exspensive, still sounds better than any DVD unit I've had ( on CD's) .
I had read that the CA 540 D DVD player was it's equal on CD's.I bought the CA 540D, and it wasn't.
Recently purchased a Marantz DV7600 that plays everything, DVD-A, SACD ,HDCD, It is the best DVD-A player I had yet, but still the CA 640C sounds better on CD's( analog) .
Buying a deadicated CD player works for me. While the CA 640C wasn't the most exspensive CD player buy a long shot, it's DAC's are a bit better than those in my HK 635 AVR, better than the HK 31 DVD player, better than the CA 540D and better than the Marantz DV7600..
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post #17 of 30 Old 09-30-2006, 08:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blindcat7
I've been looking at this player, I've seen reviews that indicate that it tops out the Denon 3910 and the Pio 79avi. I also read that it has some useability issues. Is it true that you cannot set up the player to automatically play the DVD-A track on a DVD-A through the analog multichannel outputs and to prioritize the different options for SACD play? The revviewer said that to go from DVD to DVD-A to SACD requires one to mess with settings and menus each time.

Is this the case, or did this guy just not know how to set up his player?

I am in the same boat as the OP, but would like to keep it below $850, below $800 if I can manage it.

Thanks,

Chris
This is the player I have (Marantz DV7600), and I'm very pleased. It produces beautiful sound from hi-rez disks as well as CD's - excellent DAC's; no need for a dedicated CD transport if you've got this baby. You've been getting some bad information; you're correct that "this guy" didn't know how to set it up.

Because of the quality of the DAC's in this unit, I use it to decode everything and set my AVR to multi-channel input essentially making it a dumb amp (and disabling video and digital functions; quiets any possible "crosstalk"). Since I have disabled the digital output on the unit, whenever you put in a DVD or DVD-A, it will automatically select the multi-channel track and send it out over the multi-channel analog outs. The only set-up change you will have to do is with SACD. When one of those is inserted, the player defaults to the stereo output (does this with CD's too, of course), and you'll have to select the multi-channel output - one button press on the remote; no menu navigation required. That's it; no biggie.

The only "con" with this unit is the lack of a screen-saver, very puzzling in this price range as even entry-level DVD players have them now. It does a superb job with video as well, especially upconverted thru the HDMI output. Can't recommend it highly enough. :)
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post #18 of 30 Old 09-30-2006, 08:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blindcat7
I've been looking at this player, I've seen reviews that indicate that it tops out the Denon 3910 and the Pio 79avi. I also read that it has some useability issues. Is it true that you cannot set up the player to automatically play the DVD-A track on a DVD-A through the analog multichannel outputs and to prioritize the different options for SACD play? The revviewer said that to go from DVD to DVD-A to SACD requires one to mess with settings and menus each time.

Is this the case, or did this guy just not know how to set up his player?

I am in the same boat as the OP, but would like to keep it below $850, below $800 if I can manage it.

Thanks,

Chris
This is the player I have (Marantz DV7600), and I'm very pleased. It produces beautiful sound from hi-rez disks as well as CD's - excellent DAC's; no need for a dedicated CD transport if you've got this baby. You've been getting some bad information; you're correct that "this guy" didn't know how to set it up.

Because of the quality of the DAC's in this unit, I use it to decode everything and set my AVR to multi-channel input, essentially making it a dumb amp (and disabling video and digital functions; quiets any possible "crosstalk"). Since I have disabled the digital output on the DV7600 (don't need it since I'm sending everything out analog), whenever you put in a DVD or DVD-A, it will automatically select the multi-channel track and send it out over the multi-channel analog outs. The only set-up change you will have to do is with SACD. When one of those is inserted, the player defaults to the stereo output (does this with CD's too, of course), and you'll have to select the multi-channel output - one button press on the remote; no menu navigation required. That's it; no biggie.

The only "con" with this unit is the lack of a screen-saver, very puzzling in this price range as even entry-level DVD players have them now. It does a superb job with video as well, especially upconverted thru the HDMI output. Can't recommend it highly enough. :)
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post #19 of 30 Old 09-30-2006, 10:39 AM
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What exactly is a DAC, and what is the purpose of it?

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post #20 of 30 Old 09-30-2006, 01:39 PM
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Thanks for the info, I have a few more questions.

1. Just to be clear, on the DVD-A setup, it will default to the DVD-A multichannel track and not the DD or DTS multichannel tracks? I don't remember which player this was, but I was checking out a new DVD-A I got on a friends player and thought it sounded pretty good, then my friend came in and changed the setting and it sounded spectacular. The player was defaulting to the DTS track. So, I just want to be sure I am understanding correctly since I have no interest in the DD and DTS tracks on DVD-As

2. On the SACD setting, with hybrid SACDs will it default to the SACD layer or the CD layer? I am guessing that, if the latter, this can be switched by hitting the same button, so I just need to know if I also need to hit the button for hybrid stereo SACDs to get to the SACD layer.

3. Does this player have a button on the remote to allow me to cycle through the different soundtracks on a DVD? I really like having such a button, it makes my life so much easier.

4. How well does this player's settings to handle anamorphic, non-anamorphic, and 4:3 material work?

5. Is there a multiregion code for this player as with the Denon 3910?

The last two are not so important as I am mostly looking at this player for audio, but I figure I should know what it can do.

Thanks,

Chris


Quote:
Originally Posted by archiguy
This is the player I have (Marantz DV7600), and I'm very pleased. It produces beautiful sound from hi-rez disks as well as CD's - excellent DAC's; no need for a dedicated CD transport if you've got this baby. You've been getting some bad information; you're correct that "this guy" didn't know how to set it up.

Because of the quality of the DAC's in this unit, I use it to decode everything and set my AVR to multi-channel input, essentially making it a dumb amp (and disabling video and digital functions; quiets any possible "crosstalk"). Since I have disabled the digital output on the DV7600 (don't need it since I'm sending everything out analog), whenever you put in a DVD or DVD-A, it will automatically select the multi-channel track and send it out over the multi-channel analog outs. The only set-up change you will have to do is with SACD. When one of those is inserted, the player defaults to the stereo output (does this with CD's too, of course), and you'll have to select the multi-channel output - one button press on the remote; no menu navigation required. That's it; no biggie.

The only "con" with this unit is the lack of a screen-saver, very puzzling in this price range as even entry-level DVD players have them now. It does a superb job with video as well, especially upconverted thru the HDMI output. Can't recommend it highly enough. :)
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post #21 of 30 Old 10-01-2006, 09:48 AM
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Ultimate AV Mag preferred the 79AVI to the 9600. Goes into good detail here.

http://www.ultimateavmag.com/dvdplay...marantzdv9600/
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post #22 of 30 Old 10-01-2006, 12:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rocko1290
What exactly is a DAC, and what is the purpose of it?
This will be more to the point than the last one I gave you about aspect ratios.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital...alog_converter
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post #23 of 30 Old 10-02-2006, 09:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blindcat7
Thanks for the info, I have a few more questions.

1. Just to be clear, on the DVD-A setup, it will default to the DVD-A multichannel track and not the DD or DTS multichannel tracks? I don't remember which player this was, but I was checking out a new DVD-A I got on a friends player and thought it sounded pretty good, then my friend came in and changed the setting and it sounded spectacular. The player was defaulting to the DTS track. So, I just want to be sure I am understanding correctly since I have no interest in the DD and DTS tracks on DVD-A's.
Remember that I said I disabled the digital output in the DV7600's menu settings (or it would default to that). First thing I did when I set up the machine. So, the only output is happening with the analog multi-channel and stereo ouputs. When you put in either a DVD-A or "regular" DVD the player will then default to the hi-rez multi-channel track on DVD-A's and will use its internal DAC's to decode the "regular" DVD's DD5.1 soundtrack, sending it out over the analog multi-channel outs.

Quote:
Originally Posted by blindcat7
2. On the SACD setting, with hybrid SACDs will it default to the SACD layer or the CD layer? I am guessing that, if the latter, this can be switched by hitting the same button, so I just need to know if I also need to hit the button for hybrid stereo SACDs to get to the SACD layer.
Yes - on SACD's it defaults to the hi-rez stereo track. There is a button on the remote (called "smode") that cycles through the soundtracks. One button press gives you the hi-rez multichannel track, a second press brings up the redbook CD layer.

Quote:
Originally Posted by blindcat7
3. Does this player have a button on the remote to allow me to cycle through the different soundtracks on a DVD? I really like having such a button, it makes my life so much easier.
Yes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by blindcat7
4. How well does this player's settings to handle anamorphic, non-anamorphic, and 4:3 material work?
Seamlessly. Just shove a shiny disk into it's maw and it knows what to do. That said, I've only played anamorphic DVD's thus far, 'cause that's all I have.

Quote:
Originally Posted by blindcat7
5. Is there a multiregion code for this player as with the Denon 3910?
That I can't answer. I only have R-1 disks and have never even seen one from a different region.
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post #24 of 30 Old 10-02-2006, 01:12 PM
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Thanks for all of the input, this player goes to the top of my short list, and may be in my system within the next couple of weeks.

To the OP of this thread, have you made up your mind yet? I think the problem once you hit the $500+ range is that you get a lot of big performers to look at all with their own quirks and bells and whistles. Most seem to do a great job on all formats, but shine in specific areas. Makes for a really hard choice.

I wish I could audition the Arcam players. They, as a company, kind of remind me of Tag McLaren before they sold, with a serious dedication to audio quality above all else. Unfortunately, they are all out of my price range and there are no dealers that I know of in my state.

Thanks,

Chris

Quote:
Originally Posted by archiguy
Remember that I said I disabled the digital output in the DV7600's menu settings (or it would default to that). First thing I did when I set up the machine. So, the only output is happening with the analog multi-channel and stereo ouputs. When you put in either a DVD-A or "regular" DVD the player will then default to the hi-rez multi-channel track on DVD-A's and will use its internal DAC's to decode the "regular" DVD's DD5.1 soundtrack, sending it out over the analog multi-channel outs.



Yes - on SACD's it defaults to the hi-rez stereo track. There is a button on the remote (called "smode") that cycles through the soundtracks. One button press gives you the hi-rez multichannel track, a second press brings up the redbook CD layer.



Yes.



Seamlessly. Just shove a shiny disk into it's maw and it knows what to do. That said, I've only played anamorphic DVD's thus far, 'cause that's all I have.



That I can't answer. I only have R-1 disks and have never even seen one from a different region.
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post #25 of 30 Old 10-02-2006, 01:16 PM
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Don't get the toshiba HD A1 for CD audio. It was so disappointing in that area I kept my Pioneer 79 avi just for cds.

Kaboom.
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post #26 of 30 Old 10-03-2006, 03:32 PM
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Originally Posted by BillP
The higher priced players use better audio DACs and so sound better (assuming you are using the player's DACs rather than your receiver's), which is more important if you are into SACD/DVD-A..
Huh....I did not know I can do that! How do I turn off the receiver's DACs and use the DVD's DACs? There is no such setting on my receiver Yamaha RX-V2095
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post #27 of 30 Old 10-03-2006, 06:18 PM
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If you use a digital audio connection between your player and receiver (such as an optical cable), you are using your receiver's audio DACs. If you use analog interconnect cables between them, you are using your player's audio DACs.
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post #28 of 30 Old 10-06-2006, 09:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BillP
If you use a digital audio connection between your player and receiver (such as an optical cable), you are using your receiver's audio DACs. If you use analog interconnect cables between them, you are using your player's audio DACs.
But I thought using analog interconnect cables has less sound quality then when using an optical cable? Seems like I would be taking two steps backwards in order to take one step forward....
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post #29 of 30 Old 10-06-2006, 12:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BKSinAZ
Huh....I did not know I can do that! How do I turn off the receiver's DACs and use the DVD's DACs? There is no such setting on my receiver Yamaha RX-V2095
The multi-channel inputs on your receiver are analog, as are the stereo inputs. So, if you send out the data from your DVD player via those multi-channel or stereo interconnects, you will be bypassing the DAC's in your receiver. The way you force that, at least with the Marantz DV7600, is by turning off the digital output in the settings menu. Thus, everything leaving the DVD player is decoded by the player and sent out in analog form via those multi-channel or stereo interconnects.

Only the digital audio inputs on your receiver are, well, digital. Thus, only data going thru them can be decoded by the receiver's internal DAC's and manipulated by the DSP modes (concert hall, jazz club, Dolby pro-logic, Dolby Digital, DTS, etc.).

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Originally Posted by BKSinAZ
But I thought using analog interconnect cables has less sound quality then when using an optical cable? Seems like I would be taking two steps backwards in order to take one step forward....
Not at all. You don't hear "ones and zeros", you hear in analog. Somewhere in the chain you've got to convert those ones and zeros into analog sound your ears can interpret. Doesn't really matter where in the chain that conversion occurs, but it has to occur somewhere. And any decent quality analog cable is going to transmit that sound just fine (although the obscenely-priced-cable companies will try to convince you otherwise. That's called "marketing". ;) )
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post #30 of 30 Old 10-06-2006, 03:24 PM
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This is a common misconception. All audio has to eventually be converted to analog for speakers to be able to reproduce the sound. The conversion can happen in the source (player, DVR, etc.), the reciever or pre-amp/processor, or post-amplification as in with digital amps like the Panasonic digital recievers and Red Dragon amps just to name a couple. Where best or worst comes into play is in which component does the conversion best. D/ACs are a big part of that equation, but not the only part.

So, one cannot difinitively say that the digital out or analog outs are best. One has to look at all the hardware being used and figure out where the conversion is likely to be done best.


In my case, I am now using a digitally amplified reciever, so I am mostly trying to keep things digital from source to amp and letting the amp do the conversion. But I have been told that, even in this case, it may be worth using the analog inputs on my reciever even though the signal will go from digital to analog in the source, be converted back to digital in the reciever, and then back to analog post amplification. Very confusing, but I figure that whatever sounds best is the way to go.

I know that there some guides out there that can explain all of this better, but I don't know specifically where to find them.

Regards,

Chris

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But I thought using analog interconnect cables has less sound quality then when using an optical cable? Seems like I would be taking two steps backwards in order to take one step forward....
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