Originally Posted by tbird8450
Show me proof that hand-selected parts = deeper blacks. Find just one example that proves this. There are many members here who have owned both. It shouldn't be difficult to find an example if it's true. My speakers are THX certified to offer high quality sound. Would they sound any different without that certification? Of course not.
And again, the 500M/600M are built with the same guts as the respective Signature panels. Head on over to Pioneer's parts website and see for yourself. The only remote difference possible in terms of PQ would come from the "hand selected" parts, and I've never seen any evidence whatsoever that such parts reveal any differences in quality. I labored over a 141FD and 151FD nearly a year ago while I was shopping for my next display. Both were in a dark room right next to eachother. There wasn't a scant bit of difference between them in terms of blacks. Zip. Zero. Nada.
The only improved black levels found on ANY 9G panels are those of the 101FD/500M. ALL other 9G panels offer completely identical black level performance - differences in bright rooms due to various AR coatings notwithstanding (the 101FD/500M use the same coating).
Once more, the 500M you saw almost certainly had its RGB levels incorrectly set. They are set to "Auto" from the factory, which will turn blacks grey when using certain source equipment. Peruse the 500M owners thread and you'll find several panicked people who ran into the issue.
The service manual for the 6020 details, in the panel replacement procedure, the process of setting default high and low values for four color sweeps and then, while displaying each sweep, adjusting the values higher and lower until sparklies are seen and then backing off a fixed amount after they are gone.
It can be fathomed that certain panels are better than others and have more linear range. Those panels may not have deeper blacks, but certainly will be brighter and more linear than other panels. So set to set variations can and do exist. I gave two PRO-151FDs. One was made in June 2008, the other Feb 2009. They are not the same set. A black screen on the 2009 set is almost invisible in a totally dark room. The 2008 set has just enough light to be able to discern the bezel, again in a totally dark room. Either Pioneer changed something or it is set to set differences.
As part of the procedure, you zero out the panel hours and serial number.
What I found interesting was that apparently these values (I assume they relate to voltages) are changed by the main board as the panel ages (apparently they age in a predictable manner with hours). Thus, it would be highly unlikely to ever keep a PDP in calibration if a panel with lots of hours was ever used to replace, say a new set with a cracked or defective panel.