Epson Cinema 720 -vs- Sanyo Z5 - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 52 Old 01-15-2008, 02:10 PM - Thread Starter
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A few people in other threads are curious how these two projectors compare. They are basically head-to-head rivals and I'd like to know if anyone who has seen both in action can comment!

Comparisons of black level are high on the list.

Projector Central said the Epson had better blacks, but Art over at Projector Reviews (who tends to be very diligent) said the Epson was average in this repect; while he has not compared these two units directly, his review of the Z5 raved about it's black level and shadow detail.

If anyone is familiar with both, please offer your opinion!
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post #2 of 52 Old 01-23-2008, 01:40 PM
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IMO Art has fallen victim to the privilege of being able to view an onslaught of big dollar, high end units. It becomes hard to look at an entry level product the same way after that happens.

Imagine if you test drove a Porsche for a week, then a Ferrari, then a Roll Royce. After that could you really give a fair test drive to a Honda Accord?

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post #3 of 52 Old 01-23-2008, 02:11 PM
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post #4 of 52 Old 01-23-2008, 02:23 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for that link! A great comparison.

Although after Art at Projector Reviews posted the image comparing the black levels of the Epson 720 to the 1080UB, it's hard to imagine ANYONE thinking the 720 still has good black levels.

If anyone wants good blacks, it seems like it's worth it to save a little extra and get the 1080UB.

Of course, that's what Epson wants us all to do!

The question is if they'll release a 720p model with this new generation of LCD panel. I doubt it.
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post #5 of 52 Old 01-23-2008, 03:02 PM
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The 1080UB is double the price of the HC720. I am awaiting delivery of my 720 as I type this. I just couldnt see myself spending $2600 knowing full well I will still want to upgrade every 2-3 years anyway. By the time I am ready to upgrade next time $1250 will buy me better than the 1080UB. Maybe I am just patient this way. Who knows?

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post #6 of 52 Old 01-23-2008, 03:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by biglyle View Post

The 1080UB is double the price of the HC720. I am awaiting delivery of my 720 as I type this. I just couldnt see myself spending $2600 knowing full well I will still want to upgrade every 2-3 years anyway. By the time I am ready to upgrade next time $1250 will buy me better than the 1080UB. Maybe I am just patient this way. Who knows?

I agree...same approach here too. I'll be setting up my 720 tonight!

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post #7 of 52 Old 01-23-2008, 06:13 PM - Thread Starter
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Actually I've found the opposite to be true... by spending more and buying the best when it's available, I enjoy my projector more (knowing there is very little out there that beats it) and I actually have a GOOD picture longer.

What's the point of spending $1500 every three years if when you buy that $1500 projector you already know there are lots of them out there that beat it?

I couldn't spend $1300 on the Epson 720 when I know that for $2700 I could have the UB, which basically kills it.

On top of that, in a way the 1080UB is a "final" purchase; it's full 1080/24, the black levels are just about as good as they can get and the image is stellar. You can't even SEE the reason to upgrade!

With the 720, you know you will want 1080 and better blacks right from the moment it arrives in your home.

I wind up spending about $3,000 every 4 or 5 years, and I wind up getting what is, more or less, state-of-the-art at the time. So I have the BEST picture for a while, and one that is hard to beat the rest of the time.

The UB seems like it's that magic "top of the line 3 grand projector" right now.

True, there is always something better, but at the moment, the UB offers pretty much everything people would want to upgrade for.

Upgrading from the UB will require a person who is VERY anal about picture quality or some sort of new technology that transforms picture quality.

And THAT isn't even a glimmer on the market yet.
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post #8 of 52 Old 01-23-2008, 06:25 PM
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1440p projectors are coming next year.
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post #9 of 52 Old 01-23-2008, 09:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mojo_LA View Post

You can't even SEE the reason to upgrade!

As long as you buy the projector, then stay away from this forum for 2 or 3 years, then that might hold true.

Have an Onkyo 805 receiver and having trouble setting up Audyssey? HERE is a mini how-to.Click HERE to check out my comparison review of 5 different projection screen fabrics.
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post #10 of 52 Old 01-24-2008, 04:40 AM
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Mojo,

I fully understand your point. But, (theres always a but LOL)

I like the piece of mind associated with buying new every 2-3 years. This way I always have a fully warrantied unit, a new bulb, and a unit that isnt showing any signs normally associated with PJ aging. I know if I spent $3000 now I would still want to upgrade in 2-3 years anyway. I cant wait 5 years for something new. I just dont have it in me.

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post #11 of 52 Old 01-24-2008, 08:40 AM
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So Mojo - why are you even asking about the differences between the 720 and Z5 if you plan to buy a 1080UB now?

The perceived VALUE is a big variable that is hard to discern from person to person. I could put a $6k projector in my living room, but I just don't value the difference between the $1500 PJ and the $6k PJ for my intended use. Now, in my future dedicated theater it will be a different story. But my living room isn't for critical viewing and this will act as my "learning" projector, to be handed off to my son for gaming within a year or two.

So again, why did you start this thread?

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post #12 of 52 Old 01-24-2008, 11:47 AM - Thread Starter
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I started this thread BEFORE we started hearing about the UB.

Originally, the only 1080 I was interested in was the RS-1, but at the moment I just can't afford over 5 grand. So, a cheap 720 to tide me over seemed to be a good idea when my bulb goes.

But the UB gives nearly RS-1 performance for $2700. True, $2700 is a considerable step up from a $1300 720p, but it's a number I can afford and when you look at the difference in quality (the black levels alone!!) I can't imagine getting anything less.

No way I'm getting a projector that I *know* doesn't do it for me when what I really want is actually within reach.

On top of that, anyone buying either the Z5 or Home Cinema 720 pretty much does so with the intention of upgrading to 1080 before too long, so why not just spend the money now and get what you really want?

Yes, there is always something better on the horizon, but getting the best now gives you something you are REALLY happy with at least for a while.

On top of that, the UB (and RS-1) are the kind of "holy grail" projectors that are so close to what we ALL want you really can't think of an immediate reason why you would WANT to upgrade?

I mean seriously, if you have full 1080, 24 frame display, near-CRT black level, good color and low fan noise, what are you going to be upgrading to?

A projector like that has a shelf life of many, many years. There will always be something better, but the UB is going to have a very solid image no matter what comes next.

At least solid enough to not make you envious!

A low end 720 is going to make you want something else right from the start, so I don't think it saves you anything in the long run. And it doesn't make you entirely happy.

I agree with the concept of perceived value, and when comparing a $1500 unit to a $6,000 unit, it's hard to justify. But at $2700, the UB clearly gives you a very tangible extra value for the money. Based on the reviews, it would be harder to justify the jump from $2700 for the UB to $6,000 for the RS-2.
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post #13 of 52 Old 01-24-2008, 11:57 AM
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Why would you want to upgrade the 1080UB? Simple, because in 3-4 years it will most likely begin have polarizer issues like every other LCD PJ.

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post #14 of 52 Old 01-24-2008, 02:20 PM
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And - I chose the 720 specifically because I knew I would be giving it to my kid for gaming in a year or two. Does he need 1080p and silky blacks? He's 10 years old! So, why should I spend another $1000 when I'm not really concerned about the difference between the two PJs?

When I'm ready to upgrade he'll get the 720 and I'll get a replacement at whatever cost level I decide.

Mojo - it sounds like you should go for the 1080UB. But it is very shortsighted to assume everyone is pursuing the same thing you are. And in another post you stated the exact opposite regarding 720p vs 1080p models - I smell a troll. You've been posting about the 1080 models for almost a year now...

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post #15 of 52 Old 01-24-2008, 03:30 PM - Thread Starter
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You smell a troll? Are you out of your freaking mind? That's a hell of an accusation. Either you don't know what that means or you haven't read my posts, until recently I've almost NEVER posted about 1080 stuff.

And in response to another thread I did agree that a HIGH END 720p was better than a cheap 1080, but the Epson UB has brought hi end 1080 to a very low price point. This has changed the playing field.

And you have one lucky son, must be nice to be 11 years old and get your very own 720p video projector!
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post #16 of 52 Old 01-24-2008, 03:52 PM
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Maybe I confused you with someone else - sorry. It just didn't make sense to me that you asked this question comparing two "low end" projectors, then blasted folks for choosing one of these low end projectors over the 1080UB.

At any rate, yes I have a lucky son. But mostly because he survived a fatal genetic blood disorder and bone marrow transplant at 16 months old. The toys are simply that...toys.

Are you still interested in the comparison between the 720 and Z5, or have you decided to go with the 1080UB?

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post #17 of 52 Old 01-24-2008, 06:16 PM
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I thought the Z5 was not being made anymore ?
Last time I checked no one had them in stock.

If the Z5 is no longer available whats the point in the thread question ?

Just wondering.

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post #18 of 52 Old 01-24-2008, 06:22 PM - Thread Starter
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Well like I said, when I started this thread a week ago, I was seriously interested in one of these, but after seeing the reviews of the UB, it seems like a no-brainer.

And I wasn't looking to blast anyone, I was just sharing the thought process that led me to realize that buying a Z5 or Epson 720, while cheaper, just didn't make sense with a nearly perfect 1080 unit within reach. If it weren't for the UB, I'd still see plenty of reason to consider a good 720 (although based on the latest reviews, it sounds like the Epson 720 edges out the Z5).

Even better, I would have gone with a used BenQ 8720 or Sharp 12000 MK2 - both of these top-of-the-line 720p units go for around $1500 on the used market and would offer a picture far superior to the Z5 or Epson 720. True, you don't get the full waranty, but depending on when the original owner picked it up, you'd still have a year or two of protection.

Besides, I'd rather have a great picture now than settle for a lesser projector because I was worried in three years I might need to send it in for service!

Dayvo: The Z5 can still be found online and there are plenty of them for sale in the used market...
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post #19 of 52 Old 01-24-2008, 08:01 PM
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Just a thought. (If this even means anything). I have two epson printers circa 2001 still going strong. One pumps out about 100 8.5x11" photos monthly.
If Epson engineers PJs in the same fashion...you get the idea.
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post #20 of 52 Old 01-24-2008, 08:53 PM
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You can get an Epson 720 for $1100 + a free upconverting 1080p DVD player + a free replacement lamp ($350 value).

That brings down the functional price to somethng like $650 for a solid 720p that has good black levels for a projector in it's class.

Personally, I think it's idiotic to invest in a $2,700 projector now, when I can get a $650 projector that is at least half as good if not better knowing full well in 2-3 years, I can spend $2,700 and get something twice as good as what $2,700 buys me today.

If all you care about is having the best image all the time, then spend the $2,700 and get the UB - if value plays any role in your decision - the 720 is a no brainer.
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post #21 of 52 Old 01-25-2008, 04:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Big_D View Post

Personally, I think it's idiotic to invest in a $2,700 projector now, when I can get a $650 projector that is at least half as good if not better knowing full well in 2-3 years, I can spend $2,700 and get something twice as good as what $2,700 buys me today.

Once properly calibrated, in a light controlled room the difference would be less than 10%. People read these forum and think the difference will be night and day as a result. The real world differences are far, far smaller than that. My current 480p Optoma H31 looks excellent and most people would never know it isnt real HD. The only reason I am switching is because of my seating. The 720 will allow me to sit about 4-5 feet closer to the screen without seeing any SDE. Everything else will most likely look exactly the same.

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post #22 of 52 Old 01-25-2008, 09:43 AM
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Any interest in a low hour (<300) ISF calibrated (Dave Harper) Z5. Works well, but I've upgraded to the AE2000. PM if interested, price would be better than what I've seen listed.

Don
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post #23 of 52 Old 01-25-2008, 11:13 AM - Thread Starter
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Give me a break, the idea that an Epson 720 will perform within 10% of the new UB is laughable, I don't care how much you callibrate it! Did you SEE the side by side comparison of black level between these very two projectors on Projector Reviews??

Also, I'm not sure how anyone can say $2700 is not a huge value for what you're getting. Just a few months back, the RS-1 was released and, for the unprecedented picture quality it gave you, every single reviewer on the planet said the $6,000 price tag was a steal.

Now, less than a year later, a projector that everyone agrees comes within a hair of the same performance is released for HALF the price!! How is that not value??

There is no doubt that the Epson 720 is a good projector and a good price (although I have not seen the free bulb offer anywhere, are you sure)? But by your reasoning, you're not going to spend a grand now on a decent unit and $2700 in a year or two on a great one, you're going to spend a grand now on a mid-level projector and a grand in two years on another mid-level projector and so on.

I spend 3 grand every 4 years and get top of the line. I always START OUT looking to buy mid-level for cheaper, but all that leads to is wanting to upgrade much sooner. Instead, I am 100% happy for at least a few years, which is what it's probably going to take for new projectors to significantly beat the performance of the UB and RS-1.

So, you can either have the best picture money can buy for a few years, and then enjoy a really good picture for a few more years before a "quantum leap" is released that gives you good reason to upgrade, or you can always save money, buy mid-level and spend you entire life as a projector owner knowing what you've got is always "ok."

My point is that I think in the long run, the money you spend evens out; the reason it's taken me 4 or 5 years to want to upgrade is the projector I bought was so damn good! I spent 3 grand then, but if I had bought something cheaper, I would have wound up upgrading much sooner and ultimately spent the same money.

Of course everyone has their own style, but give me a break, don't start trying to convince anyone that your 480 projector looks as good as hi def or the Epson 720 is nearly as good as the UB.

That's just crazy talk.
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post #24 of 52 Old 01-25-2008, 11:16 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Big_D View Post

You can get an Epson 720 for $1100 + a free upconverting 1080p DVD player + a free replacement lamp ($350 value).

That brings down the functional price to somethng like $650 for a solid 720p that has good black levels for a projector in it's class.

Please show me where you get a free DVD player and bulb with the 720 - it's a crime to tease people with a deal like that and not give details.

Even so, let's not get so creative with the math and say the 720 is a $650 projector; if you pay $1100 for it, unless it comes with money, you still paid $1100 for it.
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post #25 of 52 Old 01-25-2008, 12:10 PM
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from epsons own website (free lamp and $100 rebate. I have no idea where he got the free DVD player from)

http://www.epson.ca/cgi-bin/ceStore/...egory=Products

"Purchase an Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 720 and receive $100 USD + a free lamp (1451739) by mail.
From 21/12/07 To 31/01/08"

As for the side by side reviews on PJ central, I did better. I saw both a 720 and 1080ub in action. Both calibrated, in a dedicated room. Side by side, the UB had clearly better blacks. If you left the room and came back a minute later and only one was playing, you wouldnt be able to tell which was which because you no longer had a frame of reference. Both were exceptionally sharp, with excellent color. My decision after viewing was easy. I bought the 720 for less than half the price of the 1080. With the money I saved I get a whole year of fully open Bell Expressvu HD satallite service basically for free. I also get a free lamp so I can have no fear of using bright modes when I have people over for a game.Or I can sell it 2-3 years from now with a brand new bulb and probably get about 1/3 of the price I paid now for it. Not bad for 2-3 years of viewership.

If you think the 1080UB is top of the line you are kidding yourself. Its a great PJ, but it iisnt even close to top of the line. In 2 years there will be a lot better out in the market for about the same price as a 720 now.

My 480p pj is calibrated, and from 2x screen width away, with HD, looks every bit as good as a 720p or 1080p pj from the same distance. Resolution is only a small piece of the puzzle. With the 720 I can now sit about 11 feet from 102 inch screen with no SDE. I have no desire to get closer. So the added benefit of resolution is not a big deal.

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post #26 of 52 Old 01-25-2008, 12:27 PM - Thread Starter
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I'm very surprised you don't see the difference between HD and SD from 2X distance from the screen. That is sad news indeed. Why upgrade then? I understand wanting to avoid screeen door, but if you can't see the resolution difference between 480 and 720, I'd guess you were far enough away not to see the effects of screen door.

Considering that they are both fairly new and that manufacturers share a lot of parts in their own models, I'd be willing to bet the Epson 720 and UB have a lot in common as far as picture quality goes. And with a free bulb and rebate, it is an attractive unit. I guess I'd have to see one in action myself; as long as it had better black levels than what I have now, it still might be a possibility (but if the blacks truly look anything like the comparison picure at projector reviews, they really aren't all that great).

Still, I'm not sure how you can argue the UB isn't top of the line; it clearly has the best picture of any LCD on the market and comes very close to what is generally regarded as the best projector at the moment (the RS-1).

What factors are you considering when you say the UB isn't worthy of being called top of the line?
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post #27 of 52 Old 01-25-2008, 12:40 PM
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The RS-2 has replaced the RS1 and is regarded as the best sub $10,000 pj. It as well though is not top of the line. You want top of the line, your looking at dropping $25-$30K.

The reason I am upgrading is for the added brightness (for certain occasions) and that I want to sit closer. I know exactly where I want my seat, and I can achieve that with a 720p pj. Having the extra resolution at 1.3x screen width is not necessary. The human eye just cant see a difference. Its like people who insist on buying a 42 inch 1080p plasma, yet will be sitting 12 feet away in their living rooms. At that distance, all other things being equal, it would look no different than a 480p set. Our eyes just arent good enough to notice.

In regards to the blacks on the 1080ub. In person the difference is far less than the pics on the web will lead you to believe. What the camera picks up and what we can see are 2 very different things. It had better blacks for sure, but unless they are side by side, your perception when viewing a movie will not see this difference. Black will appear black on either machine, even though neither are really black. I could afford either machine, I just couldnt justify it based on what I saw.

Lyle

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post #28 of 52 Old 01-25-2008, 12:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mojo_LA View Post

Please show me where you get a free DVD player and bulb with the 720 - it's a crime to tease people with a deal like that and not give details.

Even so, let's not get so creative with the math and say the 720 is a $650 projector; if you pay $1100 for it, unless it comes with money, you still paid $1100 for it.


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post #29 of 52 Old 01-25-2008, 01:01 PM
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The free DVD player is from ProjectorPeople.com. It is for real, I have it sitting in my living room. I can post a pic, but hopefully we are not that petty. Just visit PP.com and see. The free lamp is for real, too. I sent my rebate form in on Tuesday.

Mojo, I tend to think that you and biglyle (and I) are looking at the same issue from two different perspectives. Both are making compromises. $2800 hardly gets you into the "best available" category. What about the RS2, SIM2 PJs, Projection Design, Vidikron, etc. Just think of all those people who bought Qualia 04s for $35,000, when a year later you could get as good of a picture for $5K to $7K.

Or lets come down from the stratosphere and look at the release of the Mits 5000 a year ago for $5K. Now the 4900 is out for about $1500 with rebates. You pay a big price to be on the bleeding edge. $3000 is not that big of a price, and itself represents a compromise from those 'bleeding edge' PJs (I mean really, who doesn't want a 10K lumen 3-chip Runco). But when I can buy next year's model for $1500 that beats the UB (and mind you, it will), then I think I might have made the right decision. There may never be a place where we truly get off the merrygoround, but I think there are benchmarks that just about everyone is waiting on in PJs. Here is my list: 2K+ lumens, 3-chip DLP, with lots of lens shift for under $1500. Pipe dream? Not a chance. Just look at what was selling for $1500 two years ago.

And in the meantime I will enjoy my Epson 720 with two bulbs.

I get to watch a lot of movies on my in-laws calibrated RS1, and I can tell you that most people cannot tell the difference unless side-by-side. I am sure you will think I am insane, but I have come to learn that the minutia that we prattle on about in these forums is generally irrelevant to most viewers. It only becomes relevant because we lose perspective on the incremental nature of product improvements. That is why I stopped subscribing to so many of the magazines, because ultimately they are marketing materials for new products that must be sold to us. The same is true for amps and speakers. I am not saying that I don't prefer Wilson WATT/Puppys to my own middling hifi stuff, but compromises must be made. The difference there is that PJs come down in price and hifi goes up.

Alright, enough ranting.
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post #30 of 52 Old 01-25-2008, 01:05 PM
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Excellent post. What I wanted to say, but didnt know how too.

"The only reason you're still conscious is because I don't want to carry you" - Jack Bauer
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