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Laser Disc mods

post #1 of 58
Thread Starter 

I could not figure out a correct forum for my topic. I figured that the CRT forum was the best as it has the most analog loving people.

Over the past 2 weeks I have been modding a Pioneer CLD-99 laser disc player. Replaced 61 parts. The results have been pretty shocking. Hard to believe that a composite video source can look great, but it does.

Ive used a lot of tantalum caps and some key caps in the signal path are polypropylene. Ive found that not only the video path can be improved but also the A/D, the D/A, the FM demodulator and surprisingly even the servo stuff made the picture look better.

The CLD-99 was a nice player to begin with but the additional mods have just been breathtaking. I would have never thought a composite signal could look good, but mad, it does...

I was wondering if anyone else out there has played with a laser disc player ? In fact I was wondering if anyone even has a player left, hehehe....

The surprisingly nice aspects are a complete lack of digital compression artifacts. The blacks are just inky black. The color rendering is just amazing.
post #2 of 58
I got a beat demo Yamaha Laser disk player back when they were still big money and never looked back till DVD's came out and within a year all the laser disk players and movies were basically gone.
I now have a Pioneer 504 and a Panasonic LX-900 that I really don't use anymore but I wanted a much better player to play the cheap disks I was finding. I even got a surround decoder for the panny that works with my DTS receiver and was able to watch a few movies with much improved 5.1 sound.
They are now a niche market with some hardcore folks still using, repairing, and modding them. Seeing how no new movies will be released and the ones available are probably over 10 years old doubt most folks care.
I did learn to love widescreen and the much improved video quality with no copy protection but DVD killed the format because it was small and eventually dirt cheap, plus Hollywood wanted the copy protection.
post #3 of 58
still use a Pioneer HLD-X0 LD player.

great picture!


I personally wouldn't mess too much with a CLD-99 player, as the video noise is pretty bad with this player.
post #4 of 58
Originally Posted by LaserDiscModder View Post

Hard to believe that a composite video source can look great, but it does.

I thought s-video was the superior connection for the older video stuff?
post #5 of 58
Originally Posted by draganm View Post

I thought s-video was the superior connection for the older video stuff?

depends on the comb filter.

On the CLD-99 , there's a 3D type one which in theory is supposed to be supperior to all the US players. BUT and there's a B I G but, the CLD-99
has a 2d noise reduction circuit that comes before the 3D comb filter which
makes it useless. I still have an Asian type CLD-99 player here which is much
worse than even medium priced US players.

There was a big discussion on AVS about 1 1/2 years back

post #6 of 58
In the Video components forum, in the 'DVD Players (Standard Def) section, there is a ongoing LaserDisc thread.

Originally Posted by LaserDiscModder View Post


I could not figure out a correct forum for my topic. I figured that the CRT forum was the best as it has the most analog loving people.

Over the past 2 weeks I have been modding a Pioneer CLD-99 laser disc player. Replaced 61 parts. The results have been pretty shocking. Hard to believe that a composite video source can look great, but it does.

Ive used a lot of tantalum caps and some key caps in the signal path are polypropylene. Ive found that not only the video path can be improved but also the A/D, the D/A, the FM demodulator and surprisingly even the servo stuff made the picture look better.

The CLD-99 was a nice player to begin with but the additional mods have just been breathtaking. I would have never thought a composite signal could look good, but mad, it does...

I was wondering if anyone else out there has played with a laser disc player ? In fact I was wondering if anyone even has a player left, hehehe....

The surprisingly nice aspects are a complete lack of digital compression artifacts. The blacks are just inky black. The color rendering is just amazing.
post #7 of 58
Thread Starter 
Indeed I find the comb filter in the 99 not as good as a external one for the reasons stated above. In fact I can grab the video before any processing and any A/D D/A... Im going to look at the raw video this week. The rather remarkable increase in S/N that I inadvertently produced in the FM demodulator has produced a picture that I just must see before any processing.

The mods have been just remarkable. The picture has leaped a number of steps forward.

Before I began it looked, well, like laser disc. It had a nice analogness to it but not remarkable. Now the picture is just stunning. Im using 2 A Sony Standard Def BVM to look at the picture mostly.

Its just gotten crazy good. I just cannot believe the picture. How can Composite look so good. Its mind bending to watch.

Ive clearly noticed things I can say are digital related. There seems to be a lack of digital noise, like mosquiteo noise. A lack of macro blocking seems to also be evident in scenes with high detail and random motion.

You know honestly im just stunned. How can this be...

I played with a cap in the output circuit for 4 hours. I kept trying different types and they ALL looked different. Tant looked worse, Polyprolene surprisingly did not look that good, a NP electrolytic looked pretty good, but by gar the best was a polystrene. I just could not believe I could see these differences in a composite video signal.

Ive also now made a number of improvements to the really nasty noisy switching power supply. The way it drives the spindle motor with accelerate and brake pulses creates tons of noise in the supply. PLUS the supply itself has really noisy switching. No suppression of harmonics. No real regulation on the outputs. Mesy mesy mesy... Ive cleaned up the outputs and supply lots more reserve current and this has further cleaned up the pic...

Ive done ALOT.. Its addictive cuz each thing I mod seems to make a difference.

I need to get a WBT connector for the video !! hahahaha... Composite video thru a WBT... hahaha.. wow... Just kinda insane..

Does anyone have any links on the laser disc standard ? Like the full standard. I cant seem to find it now on google. Any good juicy technical writings on the technology would be good too...

Ive watched a lot of discs now doing my testing. Im very happy with LD.. I seem to prefer it over my Oppo.. CRAZY as that is...

The really big thing for me is dark scenes. LD seems to just do them far more effortlessly then DVD or BluRay. In a completly darkened room the dynamic range from 0 IRE to fully 100IRE is kinda amazing. I swear I can clearly see 1 IRE. I swear I bet I could clearly see 1 2 3 IRE steps down at 1 IRE.. I think the bit depth of DVD, or maybe the compression ? seem to get the bottom 10 IRE all messed up...

How do you measure video S/N on a composite signal ?

This is great fun...

Oh by the way,,, C23 ( 1000uF at 10V ) on the power supply board is 100% gonna fail on all 97's and 99's. Its right next to a hot zener and I have seen 2 players with exactly the same issue. I measured one at 300uF and the other at 400uf. So less then half value. This cap effects LOTS of things in the power supply. The noise from the spindle motor driver can end up in all the power supplies as noise. This can be safely replaced with a 2200uF 10V cap. A 105c hi temp cap is best. Also its good to get that zener up off the board and replace it with a much larger 5W version... The symptoms of this cap failing are bands of brightness that move top to bottom of the picture when the spindle motor is spinning fast. The problem goes away as the cap heats up during play.

Of course the right thing to do is just replace ALL the caps in the power supply.

I love reengineering this stuff.. Too much fun...
post #8 of 58
I have a Pioneer Elite DVL 91 and a DVL 909. I have been thinking of upgrading the caps etc on this as well.

Do you have a general list of Caps on Boards you could post? Or even Pics?

post #9 of 58
The very first DVD player I bought about 99 was a Pioneer 525 basic player. it didn't do MP3, play SVCD, jpegs, nothing, but it sure had a picture free of all the artifacts and noise most of my later Chinese built cheapies had after it.
After seeing it first and thinking that DVD wasn't near as bad as I thought it took a LONG time to find better players that are as artifact and noise free as that Pioneer was.
I really missed the clean video of my first laser disk player after I sold that Pioneer and got all those other cheap players.
Of course now we all have HD video and life is pretty good but for a while there that was as good as it was ever going to get.
It is fun to whip out a HUGE CD looking thing and tell the kids it's a movie disk...
post #10 of 58
Hello. I still use my Pioneer CLD 97 through composite connection to my Faroudja scaler and NEC 6 plus projector and picture is comparable to dvd. I have a lot of LD with concerts and opera. I do it for audio quality of the LDs. I would be interested also with changing some capacitors due to age of the unit. Some pictures would be great. Keep them spinning guys. Robert.
post #11 of 58
Thread Starter 
Well I get a second round of parts from Mouser tomorrow ( today in some places ).. This will be fun..

I will do some pics of A Video Standard showing performance once im done with this next set of mods.

Watched another movie tonight on it. Its the black.. That inky dead black. Its how 10IRE can rise up outta that black so cleanly. In color. With resolution.

The other thing I think really effects this whole thing is he has the same resolution in every part of the picture weather the scene is in motion or parts of it are in motion. MPEG can macroblock and reduce resolution on items in motion and borrow bits as needed from other section of the picture... Laserdisc has none of that... Its just always full resolution. Also the color resolution seems quite good. DVD being 4:2:0 there is loss of color resolution vertically and horiz in DVD. There are also tricks played with color in reducing bitrate in motion with color. Again Laserdisc is simply the same all the time.

In the mods I also extended the stability of the lower frequencies in the video path by increasing the coupling caps values and having better caps in both the path and the supplies made for a low output impedance video circuit. SO sync is cleaner and more stable. Plus the sync generation is more stable and clean. This produces a very LOCKED picture. The image is VERY stable frame wise. I think this also contributes to a more appealing picture.

Yes I will do a video for youtube showing all the mods with the player all apart.

A parts list would be really extensive. A general "replace all the electrolytic caps with tantalum" is a good start. Increase or even double power supply rail caps. Resolder ALL the solder joints with 2% silver bearing solder.

Its quite a bit of labor. More a labor of love really. Its a hobby thing. Ive prob got around 50 hours of labor into currently with a day or 2 more of labor to go with this new set of parts. Im sitting at like $120 in parts from Mouser.

I have not touched the analog audio section. Im not sure there is much point to that. However the DAC, Parts and circuits look quite nice and a nice DAC chip and really killer analog output section could be modded into it. However I cant imagine why anyone would want that. Everybody will use digital out or RF. This unit even has the MSB output mods from back in the day. The digital audio should benefit from improvements in the servo ( jitter ) and from mods to the RF path ( noise and jitter reduction )..

I gotta tell ya. Im enjoying this project. Great fun...
post #12 of 58
LDM, If you go over to the CurtPalme.com home theater forum I started a thread on upgrading and modifying Electrohome/VDC Marquee CRT Projectors. We do much of you probably have done. One thing you might to do is replace all diodes with Soft recovery types. I posted a paper in that Marquee thread on the noise regular diodes create.


It has over 86,000 views. I never thought it go as far as it did. I added a step by step of maintenance that Mike Parker started here on AVS, others have added ideas and it took off from there. have a look, you'll want to buy a Marquee i'll bet after!!

Its a lot of fun and an Old CRT with a Video Processor like a lumagen looks amazingly good with laser disc via composite.

Now you have me thinking of P.O.O.G.E ing my source gear from LD player to BD player.

post #13 of 58
Thread Starter 
Well my modding has continued. 2 more Mouser binges..

I will have a much more complete update shortly.. Things have improved further..

Nashou66, soft recovery diodes are a good idea for this nasty noisy switcher in the player. That should reduce reduce some of the noise...

I have some pics and a video of the work.. I dont talk about all the mods in the video as I dont want to give everything away

General pics..

The main board with the servo, RF, FM Demod and tracking stuff is the most annoying to get to and requires complete disassembly to get out. Its annoying and is like 50 screws and take 20-30 minutes..

Vid of SOME of the mods.. I really only talk caps here and there are of course other things I change out Not to mention lots of little things I have discovered along the way like leaving certain shields off, isolating certain grounds from the chassis, exact types of caps and they exact type and model of cap has turned out really important in key spots.. I would be happy to share this info but just not in a public manner as a post on the forum

I have a few technical questions on the technical aspects of laserdisc that i cannot find anywhere on the net any more.. Ive now got so much resolution I can see a very fine grain in the picture. Like film grain but its the same on all discs. You have too look very closely and get right close to the picture but it is there. Its the same size on all discs. Its not normal laser disc noise or film grain. I think I reached the bottom of the format and this has brought up questions for me..

I cant find anything online to help me. What is the resolution of the laserdisc itself ? Not the video signal but the RF on the discs. How fast can a disc modulate a signal ? That's the first limit... The second limit is the FM. Its a frequency modulation on the disc. So amplitude of the video signal depends on the frequency of the RF. So what are the upper and lower limits of the frequency AND what are the minimum steps in the frequency that are recorded. This frequency stepping turns out to be level steps in the signal. So for example a 1Hz step in frequency would equal some small step in voltage on the output. So there is a minimum low frequency for 0IRE and a max high frequency for 100IRE and the difference in between is the FM range, then the question is how fine a steps can a laser disc reproduce in this range and this likely is determined by by the RF resolution that the laser can demodulate off the disc itself. I think I might have hit these limits on the player.. These parameters are the ultimate limit of what a Laserdisc can reproduce and I think these steps in frequency might look like grain.. All this seems to have been lost in time. I cant find it on the net nor can I find good tech specs or books on the laserdisc spec..

Although the resultant signal being reproduced is a analog signal the laser simply deflects either on or off at some rate so there is a digital nature to this modulation and there are math related outcomes of this sampling rate and FM modulation.

Anyone seen any info on any of this ?
post #14 of 58
Thread Starter 
BTW... I think im done for now with mods. I am now going to lets things burn in and do lots of testing...

I did discover that there are lots of stray eddy curresnt that run thru case parts and shields. This was annoying to isolate but I did isolate some stuff from chassis grounds. This turned out to be far more critical then i would have thought it would be. Im not sure if it was RFI or ground loops/eddies. But isolation is critical.

The last set of mods were to the RF stages and tracking / servo.

The RF mods made a small difference in video but made a real difference in sound reproduction. This is interesting. Its the first mods to effect sound. Maybe less jitter ?

The tracking / servo mods were interesting. The squeeks the optical block makes as it tracks when changing tracks got way more precise sounding. Also quieter. It seems a tad faster. Not sure it effected video or sound tho. Maybe.. I can now track a warped laserdisc that did not play at all before the mod tho. So obviously the mods helped tracking.. The most interesting effect is the change in the squeeks the optical block makes while doing its thing. Its clearly more precise sounding..

I am going to get a second CLD-99 monday/tuesday. This will allow me to do direct A/B and maybe do some videos of this.

ANYWAY... I am awaiting Video Essentials to arrive and I will do lots more testing and post some shots and some waveforum captures..

Looking at the video output waveform is interesting. Its incredibly flat and perfectly square. It almost looks digital in its precision. The front porch, back porch and color burst as very clean. The color burst is super clean and very square, a very nice block.

I wish I had the equipment to properly evaluate the video signal performance.
post #15 of 58
Thread Starter 
A friend suggested its kinda like Sony's DSD format. The length of the "pit" or deflection determines the resulting frequency which, after FM demodulation, determines the level of the signal. This seems to me to be a pretty clean way to reproduce a waveform actually. No sampling artifacts. Much like DSD.. Its kinda like DSD for composite video.

However there must still be a upper limit in frequency and to how small a "pit" can be resolved off the disc. I think rather then "pit" a more proper term is deflection. But then a pit on a modern cd/dvd/bluray disc does deflect. You know the laserdisc really is very much like today's modern descendant discs. In fact its use of variable length "pits" and FM modulation made it much like DSD which is close to lossless below its "RF" frequency of 2.8Mhz. Well lossless to 50khz..

Very interesting. Laserdisc is in fact a interesting storage format. Too bad they used composite.

If im understanding this correctly laserdisc is really a PWM with a very high RF clock. Right ? Thats a pretty advanced system actually. Completely free of digital compression or traditional sampling.

Of course there were plenty of limits on the composite video. But the laserdisc system is a pretty advanced cool format..

On a separate note there is some good info on measuring some parameters of a composite vid signal here http://www.eetimes.com/design/indust...se-Part-1-of-2

Man I need a waveform/vector scope.
post #16 of 58
Thread Starter 
post #17 of 58
Thread Starter 
In developing these mods I found that using high quality transfers was not the best way to do this. I used CLV based poor quality transfers as my biggest guide to developments. I found that bad transfers were far more difficult to make look good. Good transfers actually make it harder to see subtle improvements. A good transfer tends to make things look good. Its really hard to make a bad transfer look good. I think thats one of the coolest things is that bad transfers suddenly have new life.

One thing that I have become more aware of is how much film dirt/dust there was on transfers. Single frames of a bit of dirt/dust/junk are now visible. Not distracting, but now its visible as are tiny white single pixel size specks now and then. Each frame seems more clearly defined now so these artifacts are easy to discern. Old black and white movies have lots of this single frame dust/junk.. The musical 42ND Street is a example. Just filled with tiny specks of dust and scratches. Its funny cuz its no big deal and its awesome to watch, but its interesting.

Ive noticed that black level can very between discs. In a fairly defined 2 different levels for some reason. Sometimes this can vary between sides even. Startrek Next Generation ep 5 & 6 for example.

24 hours of burn-in has made a difference. My last set of mods did indeed make a difference in picture. Everything is just so good. Its awesome to watch. Its addictive. Every disc seems new again...

I just watched Fiddler On The Roof.. WOW.. Just great. I saw The Wizard Of Oz earlier, such a stylized look. Black and white is awesome, just gorgeous. Casablanca is just wonderful. A little noise, some dust and junk, but just great. The Maltese Falcon is a great transfer..

Im in love with Laserdisc... DVD & Bluray are boring...
post #18 of 58
Thread Starter 
Well 48 hours of burn-in. The picture and sound are improving. Gotta love burn in...

Im thinking about a few more mods...

There is a cable assembly that bring the raw video up from the bottom board to the video board. This video cable is crappy. So im thinking about replacing it. The problem is finding the connectors. I think I found them in Mouser.

I want to replace the switching power supply diodes with soft recovery fast diodes. The amount of RF noise coming from switching is really bad. So these diodes should really clean that up. Im thinking about replacing the bridge rectifier on the input as well. I might also raise the switching frequency and see if that moves any of the noise around so the fundamental and harmonics are moved around compaired to the primary LD freqs like the 7.15909 and its X2 and of course its /2 3.579545 the NTSC color burst freq. I also want to use some ferrite on the ribbon cable that briongs over the power from the supply.

Ive been thinking about replacing the 14.31818 Mhz xtal with a precision osc chip. Besides being more accurate it will also drift far less with temp changes. However im not sure what effects occur when this freq drifts ? Maybe its no big deal.

Ive been thikning about seeing if I can clock the mechisim controler ship faster. Its got a 9Mhz xtal now and maybe I can over clock it some. This would simply make the system more responsive. But I dont know if I can do that at all.

Im going to buy a waveform monitor / vector scope. This is a better way to monitor and adjust the output levels and also to look at various aspects of the composite video signal.

Ahahaha... I think I could go on forever doing mods to this stuff.

Id like better wiring to the power supply, I might could get a newer more modern supply into the chassis, I could figure out better lubricants for the various stuff maybe molybdenum based, Better wiring to the spindle motor... Then really larger mods.. Like pulling the raw video signal from the FM demod and making a really high end video circuit to amp and buffer it and feeding that out to use. Maybe use a better amp chip for the focus/tracking.

I wasl also thinking about adding a high quality comb filter then RGB and then HDMI scaler so it would add HDMI to a LD. However this really misses the point of doing analog. However if the LD HAS to be hooked to a plasma or DLP projector I would want to make sure the composite to HDMI was done best rather then leaving it to the TV set's yellow jack to do it all...

My list just seems endless..

The question is of course diminishing returns and just how much effort I want to put into it ?

And thats just playing with the CLD-99... There are of course other players. SOme really good ones..

And of course I could do all these same things with DVD or BluRay players. Not to mention the scaler/comb filter device like a Faroudja.
post #19 of 58
Some might say say its not worth it to polish a turd but the fun factor takes over and who gives a turd about the fact it is only 480i.

If you enjoy it then keep doing it.

post #20 of 58
Thread Starter 
Some might say that a Marquee is a turd, or that all things analog are turds. But there are others who feel things like Vinyl and Tubes are better then any digital format.

Count me amongst the Vinyl, tube, Marquee camp.

Of course there is always MUSE... HD Analog laserdisc.

Yea I dont see laserdisc as a turd. Ive been doing high end video a long time and I currently work with the very highest end digital gear and pictures. While yea, Bluray looks good, especially when done with say a Ayre Bluray player and a Sim2 Teatro. That combo is my digital reference. My analog reference is a Marquee 9501LC with a LONG list of mods with a illegal HDMI 1.3 DAC card I made myself in the second input slot and a HD-SDI input card I also made myself that hooks to various fun things. I have a Faroudja 100, 200 and 400.

So I have access to some pretty good analog and digital reproduction gear.

From where im sitting, this laser disc picture looks awesome. Some aspects like its reproduction of black is just obviously beyond what a digital device can reproduce. Its lack of digital processing/compression/artifacts is obvious in the picture. While sure it has issues I feel these issues are easier to watch then the digital issues like macroblocking, bit rate reductions on scenes with lots of motion and a host of digital stuff. Now I gotta say clearly tho, and its why im posting, is that before the mods it looked like a turd IMHO. But somehow mods just really made a huge difference... I was in fact shocked and wanted to let everybody know what I saw so others could mod and see this. i think its quite a find.

BUT I admit, I love restoring vintage gear. Its completely addicting..
post #21 of 58
What you need to do is get a properly adjusted CLD-97 or LD-S2 to compare this to when finished. I used to do Audio mods, upgraded resistor, capacitors, replacement of cheap diode bridges and definitely improved sound, took some digital edges away from the picture on DVD players, spent numerous hours and money. Then I bought a higher end units and found it was a little better than my modified unit.

With that said I am not a fan of the CLD-99, Pioneer used DNR to reduce noise levels where the CLD-97 and to a better extent the LD-S2 had lower noise levels due to special board layout designs. The CLD-99 has the same amount of noise as the CLD-D704. The 97 and S2 have separate analog and digital power supplies and they have more beef but they do not have the better Diode bridges or caps etc. But their layout of the boards and internal shielding allow for a better picture you are trying to get from the CLD-99. The 97 and S2 will not be as sharp as the 704/99 but the viewable noise is much lower.

I gave up and started buying the better unit to start with. If you want a properly working CLD-D704, CLD-97, CLD-99, CLD-D704 let me know as I have ones all adjusted and ready for sale. I suggest you switch to the 704 if you want to mod a unit with the 99 picture as the only difference is part positioning on the boards to get the video module on top for the 99 and on the side for the 704 but the picture are similar.

post #22 of 58
Thread Starter 
Yes I remember this debate about the 97 vs the 99 back in the day. Interesting. Maybe we should get together I have a nice list of mods already worked out and a understanding of what mods produce the best results.

So the 97 has separate rails from the power supply for analog and digital ? That was what i spent time on doing the mods to the 99. Using resistors and caps to more isolate the video analog stuff from the main rails.

Hmmm.... Noise was what seemed to vanish after all the mods. SO maybe the 99 is still a contender ?

Does the 97 still do A/D D/A and have a frame store and DNR ? I admit I dont like the entire concept of A/D D/A... I am thinking about grabbing the video before all that. There is a completly usable video signal that feeds the A/D and with some amplification should work just fine. Of course a loss of features like still and jog on CLV and on screen display would occur but it would be a pure feed.


Im completly new to this. Well OK not completly new to this but new to which esoteric LD is the very best one. You are completly correct tho that its best to start with the best player. I will have to go get the service manual for the 97 and look it over.

Sound is also important, this 99 has that MSB mod for digital audio and RF.. I presume the 97 is as good at digital audio as the 99 ?

You made all great points and I bow to your expertise in players.

Im not doing this for myself. A client of mine asked me to see what I could do with his players. I really had no idea what was going to happen with the mods. Its been a really fun experience.


On another note...

I got the clients second 99 today... I have them stacked on top of each other and can do a A/B. I still gotta wiat for night so I can get 100% darkness but...

The stock 99 sux. Colors look kinda VHS like. Not much graduations in color or levels. Kinda pastel like or maybe a little cartoony. Noise is just completely ridiculous. Chroma noise is the most apparent. It does not have those inky blacks im so used to now. Its like there is velum paper sorta in front of the image to a small extent. A much lower resolution in both luma and chroma. You can actually watch chroma change ever so slightly frame to frame kinda very slightly wobbling around. Flesh tones just are not flesh tones.

The sound is interesting.. The imaging has kinda collasped. It also sounds kinda flat and boring. Its missing presence.

Overall it just how I remeber laserdisc to be compaired to DVD. While it has some nice analogy features its got a lot of things wrong too and is noisy. The mods seem to clear all that up...

Im going to try and take some pics with my camera or maybe do a video. But im not sure it will really work out well on a digital camera. I wish I could do a frame capture of the 2... Its not subtle..

I dont have a Video Essentials yet. Any day. Once I get that I am hoping I can take some pics of the results from that to show differences. Also I will be getting a waveform monitor / vector scope and maybe I can see some differences there too I can put up here.

Wow im watching the stock player as i type and I was just looking at a fully saturdated red shirt. It had ALL SORTS of chroma noise. Well "all sorts" compared to digital or the modded player. I suppose its acceptable to most people but it was still very obvious if you know what to look for...

This is gonna be fun... Playing with a stock player vs a modded one..

You guys really gotta play with mods on these players. If someone wanted mods I am thinking about doing that on the side. Mostly as a labor of love..

Ive stuffed about $100 in Mouser parts into it. Not sure on labor. Now that I know exactly what to do and replace it will be WAY less labor then doing all the R&D. With all the alignment and parts replacement and mechanical stuff not to mention the assembly and disassembly I think its like 2 full days of labor. But i now have a second unit to do so i will know more on labor shortly. Each player would require new R&D however and absolutely a service manual.

You know. I really enjoyed doing this. I love the technology. I think I would enjoying hooking up other people with modded players..
post #23 of 58
Thread Starter 
And then there is MUSE... OooOOooooo.....
post #24 of 58
Thread Starter 

Jurrasic Park Box set....

This is a hellava transfer... Ive got it on DVD as well. With a Oppo...

The CAV varies smoothly in quality getting better as it gets further out on the disc obviously.

I like the LaserDisc better in a direct A/B on a directv view CRT. COmponent on the DVD vs Composite being decoded by the TV for the LD.. SO really this display system should favor the DVD.. But no...

Some things the DVD does win on. Resolution. There is seemingly more resolution. Its close tho.

Where the LD wins handily is gamma. The low end of the gamma is amazingly more accurate. Its like the MPEG runs of bits at the bottom of the gamma curve. I think tho that the whole range of gamma is better on LD ( Composite ).. I will have to explore this more.. Composite was sorta made for the orginal gamma curves. I think MPEG might have trouble with the gamma at the bottom.. The was the LD just has so perfect transistion into black. Your never funbling for a remote to play with black level with LD. Once set it just works perfectly.

I also have Terminator 2 and True Lie.. All are demo material I knew back in the day.

I need to order parts for this second player...
post #25 of 58
Thread Starter 
Terminator 2 CLV...

Slightly different black level.. I would guess 5 IRE different.

I understand what video noise is and at my correct viewing distance for SD material I just dont see any.

Its more like watching 35mm displayed on a small screen. Obviously less resolution then 35 of course, but its got a very film like quality.

Again its all about gamma, black and the bottom 20 IRE. When you have that right it makes everything above stand out correctly. Its a interesting thing that I didn't know I was missing until I started watching LD. Somehow in the digital age I kinda gave up good black back there someplace.

After watching the CAV Jurrasic Park its hard to follow. T2 was not nearly as good, but at times I said wow to myself.

I think its also the lack of digital ****.. You know starting with telecine now-a-days even at 4K it does some digital math to losslessly compress the data. Then you have post, and a range of reprocessing of the data. Eventually Bluray/DVD compression. Then the bluray player and/or the TV might scale it but for sure both will do some digital math on the signal. By the time a picture reaches your eyes its been thru ALOT of math. Lots of cascading "lossless" and most likely at least some cascading lossy compressions. These all add various artifacts, blocking and video frame changes like MPEG. I think it all adds up and while we cant easlily measure it our brain can percieve it.

Thats all gone with LD... While sure its got its own chain of issues, they arnt digital.

SO I think the better gamma, better black, Better bottom IRE's combined with a complete lack of digital grunge/jitter/blocks/etc all combine for a very pleasant picture.

Now the down sides....

OMG I hate getting up to change discs. CAV is just horrible.

Its not as good as the best digital HD I have seen. There was/is a version of Avatar on HBO Video on demand on DirecTV that is a much better transfer then the current bluray. That played thru a Sim2 HT5000E was so far the best video I have ever seen outside of post facilities off D5 or a hard drive. But oh yea, those beat the pants off laserdisc. Even in black. I admit a CRT is better at the bottom then any digital projector still today but IMHO Sim2 is as close as you can currently get.

Would all this analog wonder translate when hooked to a digital display ? Hmmmm... Ive seen damn good blacks and gamma from a Panasonic plasma. Ive seen good blacks from a Sim2... But would the yellow jack have good decoding ? In fact would a current scaler have good enough decoding for composite. Snell & Wilcox makes a nice box that does wonders with composite, it spits of SDI.. It cost 5 figures. So honestly I dont think any consumer display is gonna really be as good as a S&W golden gate.. So this kind of modded LD might be wasted on a modern display device.

The line aliasing is annoying. The dust/scratches/white dots I can live with..

If I had my choice of Bluray and LD for every movie today I would choose LD. However they are never gonna make more discs. They will never make more players. Its a completely dead format. This is a serious limitation. Its a collectors novelty. Its a fun bit of vintageness.

On another note... A friend today pointed out that LD's are the ultimate form of copy protection. Its not like you can make a copy of the disc. Its analog PWM so you can copy it into any digital medium... It has great copy protection features..

Oh yea... The analog sound really really improved for some reason. I assume it was the mods to the RF....

I order my mouser/newark parts to mod the second player. Its 103 parts mostly caps. Im gonna go ahead and make up video cable jumpers to replace the crappy ones inside now. Im going to use a good Audioquest video cable..
post #26 of 58
Thread Starter 
Great online book with just tons of good tech info on composite video..

post #27 of 58
Thread Starter 
True Lies is a killer clean transfer...

The player has been burning in playing something in a loop for days now. It sure has settled in nicely. I keep being shocked at how noise free and clean the picture is.

The sorta bad rap the 99 player has for being noisy I think was justified. The stock one is just noisy as can be. So with all the mods I think I killed off the noise and I think it was in 2 places. The FM demodulator and the A/D stage. I think this noise came from poor grounding, eddy currents bring in noise and noise on the power supply rails especially at high frequencies. The electrolytic power supply bypass caps local to those circuits had no effect on the high frequency noise. Those circuits are hyper susceptible to this kind of noise on the rails. The noise was generated by all the noisy digital processing chips on that same rail and on the same grounds and adjecent to the same circuit components.

SO I think I know where the noise comes from, how it seems in and importantly how to kill it off..

ALso I dont *think* that the frame store A/D D/A is that bad a thing. I dont know that for sure as I have not looked at the raw signal, but overall the pic looks awesome. I think the whole problem was the noise on the input to the A/D had lolts of noise and this caused all sorts of havoc including making the DNR far less effective. I also think that a noisy vid output is harder to decode properly into RGB for display. So this noise reduction had good effects in decoding as well.

I have not found ANY disc that I preferred any NR..

I have purchased a Tektronix 1740A Waveform monitor / Vector scope. In addition to proper calibration of the LD player I am hoping I can use it to see the differences between a stock and modded player. http://www2.tek.com/cmswpt/psdetails...7&cs=psu&lc=EN ... I will get it hopefully by weeks end or maybe first part of next week. I am expecting my Video Essentials any day...

Im looking forward to getting the connectors and crimp pins to make up a much better video jumper from the demodulator section to the A/D section using some Audioquest high end video cable rather then the almost zero bandwidth cable they used.

I do have a lot of normal work that I have to do in the next 5-7 days so I will have to put my laser disc modding hobby aside for now.. Needless to say I will revisit it next week...

You know,,,, I know picture quality,,, and this has just been amazing for me.. One thing for sure, MPEG sucks...

We need a lossless video format. In HD digital you gotta reach at least 50Mb/s before its perceptially lossless for most people. I would argue more like 100 or 200Mb/s is a better number. Thats WAY beyond current BluRay... The maximum is about 48Mb/s for Bluray but there is audio and a bunch of other stuff that drops that way down..HDMI can handle the bitrates, and post production uses 1.5Gb/s with a 4:1 reduction for most things. So the only thing thats the limiting factor is Bluray. However I think the 10 bits is more the issue. ALso I think compression is doing things I cant quite pin down that is effecting the quality. The way the gamma is just so perfect from analog laserdisc shows something is wrong with the current systems.. Maybe MPEG uses less bits and bitrate for darker scenes ?

That reduction from 1.5Gb/s in post to 48Mb/s on Bluray might be where the flaws are. Our understanding of what is ok to reduce based on visual perceptions might need revisiting.

Maybe we need a PWM HD medium rather then a sampled 10 bit one.

On a whole separate note.. One thing ive been noticing are metallic colors. Silver and chrome, gold and bronze. All these "colors" are better off of LD then off DVD and maybe Bluray. On cars I am for the first time in maybe 10 years very aware of the difference between gray and silver on cars for example. Brushed metal finishes. Highly polished surfaces like cars. All this stuff seem to be standing out more then I remember from any sorce device in 10 years. Of course these "colors" are more texture and finish that make them look silver VS grey...

This sure has been eye opening for me. Kinda reset my whole understanding of what makes good video....
post #28 of 58
Thread Starter 
The mother load of how to test a video device for performance...

post #29 of 58
Originally Posted by nashou66 View Post

Some might say say its not worth it to polish a turd but the fun factor takes over and who gives a turd about the fact it is only 480i.


Wasnt laserdisc more like 425i with some of those lines reproducing the black bars (non anomorphic). I think typical vnr was 51 or so. Nice to see ld alive, ive still got 2 working pioneer players and 2 dead sony 605 and about 140 titles non valuable except the star wars stuff?
post #30 of 58
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