Algolith Dragonfly owners thread - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 247 Old 06-30-2006, 02:23 AM - Thread Starter
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EDIT: The purpose of this thread is to collect iinformation (bugs, features, feature requests, etc.) about the Algolith Dragonfly. This first post in the thread will be an ongoing work used to summarize features, issues and findings related to the Dragonfly. Please feel free to contribute!

General notes and Issues:
  • Fan Noise (post #1)
  • Fan can detach during shipping (post #26)
  • Lip Sync discussion (post #59)
  • Black level clipping with a HD-A1/X-A1 HD-DVD (post #114). Note this is due to a known problem with the Toshiba HD-DVD using HDMI and not a Dragonfly problem. There have however been several reports about HDMI and component->hdmi black level (or contrast) issues - see below.
  • Interfacing with a Mosquito (post #121).

1.09 SW Release
The purpose of this release is to add new functionality which I've agreed to keep secret until after CEDIA. Unfortunately none of the listed SW bugs have been addressed in this release.

1.08 SW Release
From Release notes:
  • Improved menu, many OSD bugs fixed
    Format shortcut on remote control offers 720p50/60 1080p50/60 A&B in
    addition to 480p60 and 576p50.
    format + 1 = 480p60
    format + 3 = 720p60
    format + 5 = 1080p60 A (this is huge for us HD2K users. Thanks Algolith!)
    format + 6 = 1080p60 B
    format + 7 = 1080p24
  • HDMI A/B now considered as two inputs for parameters saving
  • All user's parameters will be lost while updating
  • Auto-repeat feature of remote control may freeze video. Workaround:
    reboot Dragonfly by pressing the power off /on key on the remote.
  • Test patterns works for input resolution 480i, 480p and 720p only
  • HDMI video may take a minute to appear after booting.
  • External clocking not working for input resolutions 720p and above.

From user comments:
  • Improved menus for e-warp and some of the other adjustments
  • Realta chip temperature (in the info screen)
  • New field control menu which allows the user to correct the 480i combing problem.
  • 1080i combing problem is completely gone.
  • Improved Judder (post #89)

Bugs:
Note that the full list of reported bugs is this list and the list under v1.07, unless it is specifically mentioned that those bugs have been closed out.
  • 1.08 updater can fail if the unit is processing HD. Disconnect all video inputs before attempting the update.
  • There is still a failure to resync if a device changes resolution from say 480i to 1080i
  • Some menu items are still not grayed out like they should be (gamma for HDMI inputs for example).
  • CNR can no longer be adjusted for either HD or SD.
  • Unable to get a stable picture via HDMI from the new Samsung blu-ray player (BD-P1000). This problem also occurred with v1.07. The picture works fine via component but on HDMI only a blue screen and an occasional "snapshot" of video is displayed. (possible sync issue vs HDMI issue).
  • An occasional glitch with analog inputs where the luninance seems way off and bright objects like white lettering are haloed/hollowed out.
  • The flicker on the bottom left of the screen is still there for full screen 16x9 material.
  • Some of the menu settings don't "stiick. For example the gamma on component defaults to 2.2 and must be set to 1 each time.
  • Sometimes the OSD menu will crash and stay on. Pressing buttons on the remote doesn't seem to do anything other than causing the front led on the DF to flash. Performing a soft power cycle via the remote is the only way to restore normal operation.
  • Sharpness setting doesn't seem to match the OSD at times and instead a low sharpness setting is used. Adjusting the sharpness will cause the mismatch to go away and the picture will snap to the sharpness setting on the OSD.
  • The picture aspect ratio feature doesn't seem to work.
  • 480i via HDMI from Pioneer Elite DV-59Avi does not work (post #138).
  • S-video issues. The menus are unstable and are barely readable (post #89). Note: This can be corrected by switching the clock OSD selection to external. This also enables the aspect ratio control. (post #156)
  • Possible black crush (post #89).
  • HDMI audio problems. Does not pass Dolby Digital from HDMI sources (SA8300HD Cable DVR, Toshiba HD-A1) (post #135).
  • Will not "transcode" audio from one connector type to another (say from HDMI input to Toslink output) (post #135).
  • Toslink audio input doesn't work (post #135).
  • Component output: 1080i60 -> terrible judder (frames dropping) (post #135)
  • component output: 1080p24 -> does not work (post #135)
  • Component -> HDMI seems to have loss of contrast or blacks (post #135).
  • HDMI input also has elevated black levels (post #196).
  • Blue screen when PAL disks are played (post #186).
  • Red push to the image when component is used all the way through (post #193)

Initial (shipped) 1.07 SW
Bugs:
  • 1080i combing problem w/ HDMI (Post #16) can be disabled by turning CNR mode on (post #17) - Note this was fixed in v1.08.
  • Bottom left flicker problem (Post #16)
  • nonfunctional OSD Menus not grayed out (post #17)
  • Some user settings don't "stick" between power cycles (post #17).
  • Raised black level (post #18)
  • HDMI handshake issues (post #24)
  • Necessary component OSD items such as Gamma and Color Temp are sometimes greyed out (post #35)
  • Occasional luminance problem w/ compoonent (post #35)
  • severe 480i combing (post #35) - Note this was fixed in v1.08
  • Resync problems - especially 480i->1080i (post #35). Note resync can be forced as a workaround by selecting an unused input and then reselecting the original input (post 44).
  • picture wobble w/ composite and s-video (post #42)
  • Some pic enhancement and noise reduction options are disabled (post #46)
  • BCE settings not currently enabled (post #46).

Unexpected feature:
Component to HDMI transcoding on product launch (v 1.07)

-------------- original post below---------------
I received my Dragonfly today (thanks Jason!). I haven't had a chance to try it out with multiple sources yet, but I can provide some initial feedback for those of you who are interested.

The unit was packed well and arrived in great shape (sent from AVS via Fed Ex 2nd day air). The unit has a relatively small footprint and it looks nearly identical to the Mosquito.

I knew that out of the box, it wouldn't display 1080p60 without navigating the OSD (which wouldn't be possible on a 1080p only HD2K) so the first thing I did was plug it into a Samsung multisync flat panel which allowed me to set the timings properly for my HD2K (I'm using the stock DF 1080p60 A timings). Hookup and setup was a breeze. I then plugged it into the HD-A1 via HDMI and there were no HDMI issues whatsoever (using the latest Toshiba HD-A1 firmware). Setup and operation was a complete breeze. No issues whatsoever.

The first material I displayed was a poor quality SD DVD that was converted from really grainy super8 film from the 1970s (this is my "ugly reference" DVD). I've never seen this DVD look so good. The HD-A1 will only output 480p (I plan on checking out 480i via HDMI with my Pioneer DV-59Avi tomorrow). So I was surprised that the image was noticeably improved via the DF even though the deinterlacing was performed in the HD-A1.

After my ugly DVD, I put in Serenity in HD-DVD. Fine detail seemed improved over my old scaler which "bob's it's way to 1080p. To be honest though, I was expecting a bigger improvement in detail. This probably has more to do with my own expectations rather than a knock on the unit. It also could be a reflection that even bobbed 1080p from HD-DVD still looks great. I plan to do a lot of A/B testing tomorrow between the two scalers though so please keep in mind that this is just a preliminary comment.

The design of the remote is really cool and it is a bit amusing that Algolith went the complete opposite direction with the DF remote than the Mosquito remote. The Mosquito remote is a big, heavy but very solid feeling metal remote with a lot of direct keys. It's reminescent of a lot of high-end audio remotes (I'm thinking early Meridian). The DF remote on the otherhand is a very small, very light (plastic) unit that works with both the DF and Mosquito (it can replace the heavier remote). I actually like both remotes, but I'll probably end up only using the smaller one.

Now for the bad. The fan on the Realta is *EXTREMELY* bothersome. The fan itself is pretty small and is barely visible when looking through the top grill. It reminds me of some of the fans that are commonly seen on cheaper video cards and motherboard chipsets - short on heat sink surface area and big on RPM to compensate. The DF is definitely the loudest piece of equipment in my HT and is even louder than either my HTPC or my office PC (which uses no less than 5 fans). Worse yet is that the fan has multiple speed settings which are automatically set based on load (talk about overkill) and on some of the higher settings it sounds on a par with a CDROM drive spinning up. Why not simply design a quiet solution for the max heat load rating? The timber of the fan is also a bit objectionable - it's more of a "whirring" sound rather than a "whoosh". I'm also being generous calling it "a bit objectionable" as it's very fatiguing after awhile.

While the fan was running I also played around with different orientations to see if that affected the fan noise. It didn't really change the volume of the sound that much but the fan did seem to change pitch as the orientation was varied. One possible reason for this is poor quality bearings in the fan. I may be wrong, but the net effect gave me the impression that fan reliability is suspect. On the other hand I just went through an ordeal replacing the power supply and motherboard (Asus A8n-SLI Deluxe) on my office PC because the small chipset fan died (an endemic problem affecting many Asus owners) so I may be more concerned about fan reliability than most. Algolith/SO please learn from Asus's mistake and avoid fans altogether if possible or use high quality components with large heat sinks and fans and low RPM's.

I am a bit surprised that in this day and age of high quality, reliable and quiet fans that a fan like this has made it's way onto a production unit. I'm not sure if it's Silicon Optix or Algolith that is responsible for this, but whomever it is is it possible to offer a retrofit? As it stands now though, I'm not sure if I can live with the noise.

At any rate, I'll write more tomorrow after I've had some more soak time with the unit. I'd also like to hear other user reports especially about fan noise. Perhaps I have a bad fan that is going south.


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post #2 of 247 Old 06-30-2006, 04:20 AM
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Mark, thanks for your report! Fan noise was one of my primary fears, because it's known that the Realta gets very hot and the DragonFly case is quite small, so there is a lot of potential for a problematic cooling setup... :(
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post #3 of 247 Old 06-30-2006, 04:48 AM
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Mark,

In your opinion, how hard do you think it would be to retrofit a different fan into the unit? Can you tell if it's an integrated fan like those found in PC power supplies, or is it a bolt on unit like a CPU cooling fan or something? It might be worth investigating if something from www.endpcnoise.com could be retrofit into the chasis. Maybe a nice Papst fan? can you tell what the diameter of the fan might be?

Jason
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post #4 of 247 Old 06-30-2006, 09:40 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MalHavoc
Mark,

In your opinion, how hard do you think it would be to retrofit a different fan into the unit? Can you tell if it's an integrated fan like those found in PC power supplies, or is it a bolt on unit like a CPU cooling fan or something? It might be worth investigating if something from www.endpcnoise.com could be retrofit into the chasis. Maybe a nice Papst fan? can you tell what the diameter of the fan might be?

Jason
Hi Jason,

You're reading my mind. I think it's a simple bolt on unit that should be fairly easy to retrofit assuming of course that a person doesn't mind voiding the warranty by opening the case. This whole exercise is similar to what I used to go through in the past getting PC's to be quiet. There are a lot of really good products on the market now that are quiet, efficient and reliable so I'm a bit mystified that something quieter wasn't used for a HT product. If I keep the unit I would definitely retrofit it myself after the warranty runs out.

On another note, after thumbing through the manual I noticed that the noise reduction and picture enhancement algorithms are missing on this version of software which is a big issue in itself that will hopefully be corrected in a update. To make it worse though, the OSD menus for these features aren't greyed out so a user could spend a lot of time futzing with controls that do nothing. I've seen this same thing on the Mosquito so it's something that Algolith needs to address.


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post #5 of 247 Old 06-30-2006, 09:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Petersen
On another note, after thumbing through the manual I noticed that the noise reduction and picture enhancement algorithms are missing on this version of software which is a big issue
What do you need those for? I thought you had a Mosquito?

FWIW, according to the Algolith homepage the DragonFly with built in noise reduction costs USD 500 more than without.
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post #6 of 247 Old 06-30-2006, 11:01 AM
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Does the unit allow custom aspect ratio control??

Are you saying there is no sharpness control for HD content:(

Thanks!!
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post #7 of 247 Old 06-30-2006, 11:59 AM
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How long is the warranty period, anyway? It does seem like a shame to live with the fan until the warranty runs out. I don't suppose Algolith reads this thread :)
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post #8 of 247 Old 06-30-2006, 12:48 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by madshi
What do you need those for? I thought you had a Mosquito?

FWIW, according to the Algolith homepage the DragonFly with built in noise reduction costs USD 500 more than without.
Some of the NR in the DF is supposed to be superior to that in the Mosquito. The $500 upcharge for the NR reduction is an interesting point in that this was never mentioned to those of us in the powerbuy when we purchased the unit a year ago and we assumed that we would get the full Realta HQV algorithms in the purchase price. The agreement didn't explicitly state this, but it does breach the spirit of the agreement. I'm assuming that the R&D costs for releasing a workable HQV are bigger than Algolith's original assumptions.


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post #9 of 247 Old 06-30-2006, 12:55 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alan Gouger
Does the unit allow custom aspect ratio control??

Are you saying there is no sharpness control for HD content:(

Thanks!!
Hi Alan,

The unit will do basic aspect ratio control (letterbox, pillar box, anamorphic stretch, etc.) but it won't do custom ratios. Hopefully custom aspect ratio will be something that will be released later when custom output timing is supported.

The sharpness and detail enhance controls work fine. It's the settings under "advanced" that seem to be disabled (although they aren't greyed out).


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post #10 of 247 Old 06-30-2006, 12:55 PM
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Mark -

I think you do get the NR in a firmware upgrade. My recollection is that Algolith was only going to be offering the non-NR unit first and that was all they offered to AVS members.

-kraig
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post #11 of 247 Old 06-30-2006, 12:58 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MalHavoc
How long is the warranty period, anyway? It does seem like a shame to live with the fan until the warranty runs out. I don't suppose Algolith reads this thread :)
The warranty is one year. Yeah this is a long time to wait :( I would hope that someone from Algolith would jump into this thread and offer some info. I'd also like to hear from other DF owners and see if they have the same issues.


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post #12 of 247 Old 06-30-2006, 01:00 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kraigk
Mark -

I think you do get the NR in a firmware upgrade. My recollection is that Algolith was only going to be offering the non-NR unit first and that was all they offered to AVS members.
You may be right, but I don't recall the discussion - was it on the forum?


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post #13 of 247 Old 06-30-2006, 01:04 PM
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I'm getting my DF tomorrow. Interestingly, my TheaterSync (OEM HQV box) with the May firmware has CNR (mosquito noise reduction) disabled. CNR was enabled with the original firmware. It's possible that SO is taking a step back to stabilize the essentials before adding the NR back.
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post #14 of 247 Old 06-30-2006, 01:06 PM
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Mark / kraig,

The original 'Special Buy' was a discount based on $3495 msrp, ie the Dragonfly including the NR option. My recollection was that Jason was asked if there was a further discount if one wished to purchase the non-NR Dragonfly and Jason had said that no further discount was available as it was only the Dragonfly including NR that was part of the offer.

I have the original sheet that states that the discount was from the $3495 msrp starting point, however, as Mark says, NR is not explicitely mentioned in the wording.

Perhaps we need Jason to chime in here?

John
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post #15 of 247 Old 06-30-2006, 01:16 PM
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Just found this:

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...&&#post5577347

This sounds like the combo was with the 3k model.
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post #16 of 247 Old 06-30-2006, 01:19 PM - Thread Starter
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Update:

I hooked up my SA8300HD DVR to the DF and ran through the HDNET test patterns. Something is seriously wrong with the deinterlacing on this unit. On text and test patterns I'm seeing severe combing (on a HQV of all things). It looks like the two fields aren't aligned properly when they are combined and one field is offset vertically. The net effect is to create severe horizontal banding. I'm also seeing some weird flicker at the bottom left of the screen. The flicker doesn't go away when the video on the DVR is paused so it's not source related and it's not something I've ever seen with other VP's and this DVR. I thought that something might have glitched when I changed sources so I powered down everything and brought it back up and it has the same exact problems. The interesting thing about the combing problem is that when I freeze the screen on the DVR, the problem goes away. I assume that what is happening is that the SA8300HD does some sort of internal field combining during freeze frame and then outputs the result as identical interlaced fields that the DF recombines properly. I also ruled out Detail Enhance and Sharpness settings as the source of the problem (the defaults for both are way too high out of the box and can create some additional ringing and EE when set too high). Time to put in a trouble call to Algolith and see if they can help...

:eek: :( :mad:


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post #17 of 247 Old 06-30-2006, 03:24 PM - Thread Starter
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After further futzing with the unit it looks like the combing bug can be eliminated by turning the CNR on. I assumed CNR was disabled with this version based on the information in the manual, but it could be that there is a bug that interacts with the OSD menus (even if CNR is disabled but the menus work). Another bug that I ran into is that the gamma and color termperature settings don't seem to have any effect and in fact, once in a great while those menu items mysteriously appear greyed out (another bug). Oh yeah and sometimes a few of the settings (HDMI input, CNR settings) don't stick between power cycles.

I haven't found a way to get the flicker on the bottom left portion of the screen to go away. It isn't visible on a letterboxed 2:35 or pillar boxed 4:3 material (I'm using a 16x9) so I didn't notice it until I watched some 16x9 material. It appears to be taking whatever edges it detects in that portion of the screen and then intermittently displaying them back but offset vertically by roughly 10 pixels or so. So the flickering is source dependent (actually edge dependent) and the severity varies based on the material. I tried setting the detail setting to 0 as it is edge related but this didn't accomplish anything other than softening the picture.

Ending on a high note though, once the combing problem is turned off and the sharpness and detail settings are adjusted, the fine detail in the picture really is amazing. The image is noticeably crisper and sharper than the bobbed image that I was seeing before out of 1080p. I'm seeing stuff in movies now that I've never seen before! Oh yeah and as others have reported, the colors look better. I'm not sure why but the colors are richer looking.


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post #18 of 247 Old 06-30-2006, 05:54 PM
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I received my Dragonfly today. Interestingly enough the firmware is version 1.07. There is no word on what is different in this version. I am also connecting to an HD2K but through a Gefen Cat 5 DVI extender. I had a hard time getting the initial sync to the projector to occur. It would loose connection anytime the source HDMI connection changed. I will try the Gefen DVI Detective to see if this helps the problem.

I also think the picture is sharper. I have tried the Toshiba XA1 and the Samsung BluRay unit. One issue I am having is that the black level is elevated compared the the JVC scaler that came with the HD2K . I have tried both 0 and 7.5 IRE and that was not the issue. Tomorrow I will try connecting directly to the projector skipping the Gefen extender to see if that fixes the issue.

That is my one minute review. I will post more as I get more time to play over the long weekend.
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post #19 of 247 Old 06-30-2006, 06:29 PM - Thread Starter
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mauricef,

I'm very interested in hearing if you have the same combing and corner flicker problems as I've got. I would also like to hear how loud your unit is. Also, fwiw I also have v1.07 firmware.

Even though it's a holiday, I got a very quick response from Algolith (thanks Daniel!):

"Hi Mark,

Today is an holiday in Canada (1st of July).

I can only answer a couple of questions right away:

a) The fan is Silicon Optix recommended fan for the Realta chip.

b) The noise reduction package was included for people that had place long
time order with us. The Noise Reducton option was included No Charge with
your order.

c) CNR, Silicon Optix Codec Noise Reducer only works at SD resolution input.

d) There are bugs with the OSD reporting initial state values after a power
on. These have been addressed in the upcoming release that will be
available on our web site shortly.

Regards,
Daniel Collin
Algolith


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post #20 of 247 Old 06-30-2006, 06:37 PM
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I can't say that I noticed the combing. I will look closer tonight. One thing that was cool it that now when I pause and HD DVD the picture is rock solid. When I did that with JVC scaler it would shimmer badly.

BTW I noticed in the manual that gamma is only available when the output is set to RGB HV.
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post #21 of 247 Old 06-30-2006, 06:39 PM
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There are two versions of the Dragonfly. One with some of the stuff in the Mosquito (SD noise reduction but not HD) for $3495 MSRP. And one without it for $2995. The suff in the Mosquito is superior to that in the Dragonfly and if you have a Mosquito (like I do) there is no need to spend the extra $500.

Mark Haflich

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post #22 of 247 Old 06-30-2006, 06:39 PM
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I forgot to answer about the fan. It is noticable and is about as loud as th XA1. Fortunately all my equipment is in a closet.
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post #23 of 247 Old 07-01-2006, 06:43 AM
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Sorry for the cross-post from the other thread, but the following is important information for all Dragonfly users setting up for the first time. I had great difficulty setting up initially because of lack of front panel display.

I received tech support response back from Algolith. Since the Dragonfly does not have a front display, you can get lost in a unsupported resolution. Algolith advised me that to reset the resolution back to 720x480p60 with the remote press "format" then "1" (for PAL users it is "format" then "2" for 720x576p50). Algolith also advised that a resolution change can take up to 20 seconds, so one should not go and press remote button repetitively.

I have a SONY "Ruby" 1080p projector. Last night I spent a lot of time trying out different resolutions and inputs into projector. I will post a recap later of my progress including successes and failures in the review thread. Let's just say for right now at the end of the night I was pleased. :)

Dennis
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post #24 of 247 Old 07-01-2006, 06:44 AM
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So I had more time to play this morning and here is what I am seeing. First the good news, the picture is very sharp and detailed. Also I did not see any combing issues or noise around the edge of the screen. Now the bad:

1) My unit has an elevated black level that I cannot figure out how to get rid of. I have tried the Dragonfly on an HD2K, a Samsung DLP, and a Sony Bravia LCD and all show the same problem. Everything is washed out.
2) HDMI issues. I wish the CE industry had never gone to this. I have never had an HDMI device that did not have at least one issue. In this case I cannot the Samsung BluRay player to work at all. The startup screen displays fine but when the movie loads things go crazy. The picture will show for a few seconds then flash and disappear. It will return again and do the same thing over and over. The Toshiba HDDVD works fine but not the Samsung. I have tried several HDMI cables and several displays and all have the same issue.


As of now my unit is unusable. Hopefully I can get some answers next week.
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post #25 of 247 Old 07-01-2006, 07:26 AM
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I must update my post. I discovered that the analog to HDMI is enabled. So I was able to use the Samsung BluRay player with the component out and it looks great. Also in this mode all off the menu items are enabled. The gamma was set too high so I was able to change it and get a very nice picture. Still no solution for my HDMI issue but I have a workaround that is very good.
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post #26 of 247 Old 07-01-2006, 07:16 PM
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Got my DF today. UI is fairly buggy. I'm surprised they shipped the unit. With the combing and all, the HQV firmware must be a good 1 or 2 rev behind the latest SO's. I'm sticking with my TheaterSync for my projector and experiment with DF with my LCD.

Also, my unit was packed upside down (relative to the box). The DF arrived with the heatsink fan detached. I had to open up and re-attach it.
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post #27 of 247 Old 07-01-2006, 08:46 PM
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I have given up on the HDMI headache and switched everything to component. In this mode all of the Dragonfly options are enabled. You can modify gamma, IRE, color temp, etc. This alone makes it more useful than the HDMI connection. I have tested the Toshiba XA1, JVC DVHS, HD Cable, and Samsung BR through component and all look great. The possibly better picture quality of HDMI is not worth the problems so component will be my solution for the foreseeable future.
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post #28 of 247 Old 07-02-2006, 06:04 AM
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with what version of the firmware the DF is coming?
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post #29 of 247 Old 07-02-2006, 07:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wjchan
Also, my unit was packed upside down (relative to the box). The DF arrived with the heatsink fan detached. I had to open up and re-attach it.
This is interesting. What sort of fan was it? Any idea how easy or hard it would be to swap in a quieter one?

Jason
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post #30 of 247 Old 07-02-2006, 08:19 AM
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The fan is rather small and snaps nicely onto the heatsink. The heatsink is firmly attached to the Realta chip.
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