Back from Arkansas where I was designing and pre-wiring a new home. The Compli Blu now has about 350 hrs on it. This thing has surprised me.
First understand that I am a dealer for the following BD players: LG, Samsung, Panasonic, Pioneer, JVC, Sharp, Pioneer Elite, Denon, Marantz, & Oppo so with the current state of affairs Theta has certainly been on a back burner. I've installed a lot of BD players, and this will be the
first Theta. We are running an Elite BDP-09FD in our reference system at this time, and have been very pleased with it. There have been no
problems, and it bested an Oppo BDP-83 in an earlier shootout (of course it costs 4+ times more than the Oppo.) I've installed Five Oppo SE's,
but didn't have them long enough to put them in the reference system so I can't say much abouth the SE. Now to the Compli Blu:
Out of the box it sounded terrible, strident, thin, flat, no air. I put in a MC SACD, set it to Repeat, and went on to Arkansas with it running.
After I returned I changed the disc every day, Classical Symphony one day, Hard Rock the next, and so on for 6 days, 24 hours a day. At this point things had greatly improved. The unit had fleshed out in the low & mid bass, a sense of air and dimension appeared, and the stridency was gone replaced by just a bit of top end edge. I put in some DVD-As on repeat for 4 days, and went back to life. Now at 250 or so hours we got down to some serious evaluation. The following descriptions apply to the Analogue outs to a Theta Six-Shooter playing SACD (both Stereo & MC,) DVD-A, and Redbook CDs: First it was extremely Dynamic. It seemed to be very fast in that it had a very quick, clear leading edge on transient attacks. It was very airy and had a real nice three dimensional image. FR was sweet on top and nice natural mids with a tight fast bottom end with no wooliness. It was far more musical, sweeter, and dynamic than the BD-83, which I find less than ideal with its Analogue outs. It was also more musical and Dynamic than the old Compli and our Denon DVD-5910CI Universal Player.
On BDs the Theta bested the Oppo in every way in audio, which it should for the difference in $$$$. Compared to the Elite 09FD the Compli Blu was more dynamic, open and airy. The Pioneer is very sweet and musical, but lacks the Dynamics and Transient response of the of the more lively Compli Blu. It also doesn't have the depth of image compared to the Theta. This was shown most succinctly on the magnificent two episode import version of John Woo's "Red Cliff." It is a beautiful pair of films with great acting, history, sets, cinematography, and sound. The battle scenes are among the best I've ever seen on film. The Compli Blu rendered this a fabulous Cinematic Experience, one of the best I've ever enjoyed in my theater. The sound was ultra dynamic and drew the viewer into the story more than I'm used to, edge of your seat stuff. The sound field was completely enveloping, and the bottom end was crushing without beeing bloated. Simply amazing stuff. It just blew me away.
The picture seemed better than I remembered from the Oppo. More three dimensional with better color saturation, and less artifacts, but this is more from the fact that it had slightly more of these qualities than the Elite 09FD which had bettered the Oppo head to head by a small margin (via HDMI directly into a JVC-HD750.) The moveable sub-titles allowed for perfect placement with our Panamorph 240:1 system, somthing the Elite cannot do.
Sadly I did not get to evaluate the Theta as an HDMI Audio Transport, lacking an HDMI SSP in our theater. That will have to wait for another day.
It would seem that Dave Reich's work on the new Power Supply, along with the reworked and much more rigid Transport Mechanism has done wonders for the Compli Blu compared to its OEM Cousin. It would seem that this has improved clock performance, thus reducing jitter and allowing for more clarity and dynamics. I would favor it over the Elite 09FD as well, and also the big Denon. As for the Marantz UD-9004 I can't comment not having heard or seen it in action except at RMAF in an unfamiliar system. The only negative I found was that the Power LED was a damn light cannon in the room which lit up a whole wall across from the gear. It would require a cover if it's in the room.
This is definitly not simply a re-badged Oppo like the Lexicon, but a new High End entry into the BD Player wars that is worth an audition. I really didn't expect this level of performance from this unit. A pleasant surprise, and a Universal to boot. Regards, Norm