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Upgrading an old Marantz 12S4 - Need a few DLP recomendations

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
Hi
I recommended the wonderful Marantz 12S4 to a friend years ago and now he is considering upgrading as he is finally reaching the end of his first lamp (shocking I know). His budget is no longer $10000, rather 10% of that - I guess austerity has to bite some day.

Anyhow the question is, is it possible to get a better picture from a modern day budget projector for a fraction of the price or has projector technology evolved slowly.

A DLP would be his preferred choice over Dila or LCOS, also he sits outside of the 1080p sweet spot so could consider going 720p again.

Cheers!
post #2 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by crispybacon View Post

Hi
I recommended the wonderful Marantz 12S4 to a friend years ago and now he is considering upgrading as he is finally reaching the end of his first lamp (shocking I know). His budget is no longer $10000, rather 10% of that - I guess austerity has to bite some day.

Anyhow the question is, is it possible to get a better picture from a modern day budget projector for a fraction of the price or has projector technology evolved slowly.

A DLP would be his preferred choice over Dila or LCOS, also he sits outside of the 1080p sweet spot so could consider going 720p again.

Cheers!

Although the state of the art has moved on quite a bit, I think he'd be hard pressed to find a projector with a better image for $1k today. More features and 1080p, sure, but not a more pleasing image.
post #3 of 17
If he plans on spending only $1000-$2000 on a new DLP projector I'd recommend him to keep his Marantz. The DLP projectors in that price range won't offer the kind of picture quality that the Marantz will. The Marantz will have higher native contrast and a MUCH better lens. With that said, there are a couple options he could look into if he was willing to leave his comfort zone and try a different technology. There are some nice deals to be had with B-Stock and refurbished JVC units wthiin that price range. You can snag a RS40 or RS45 anywhere from $1500-$1750. Picture quality wise the JVC units will look different. They'll have a bit softer look to them (though it may look sharper to him due to the simple fact that the resolution has become much higher), but on a pixel level, they simply aren't as defined as the Marantzs' pixels will be. How that translates to real world performance really depends on the type of content being viewed. Many will say there won't be a visible difference, but I tend to argue it depends on the material. But like I said before, the simple jump from 720p to 1080p may blow away those notions anyways. Obviously JVC is renowned for it's native contrast performance and will be the most jarring aspect of this kind of upgrade. So if he's looking for something with higher contrast JVC is the way to go at this price point.

In this price range it would be the only thing I'd recommend coming from such a high performing DLP unit. I think anything else in this price range is kind of vanilla and lack-luster in the 2D picture quality department.
Edited by Seegs108 - 4/29/13 at 1:12am
post #4 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Seegs108 View Post

If he plans on spending only $1000-$2000 on a new DLP projector I'd recommend him to keep his Marantz. The DLP projectors in that price range won't offer the kind of picture quality that the Marantz will. The Marantz will have higher native contrast and a MUCH better lens. With that said, there are a couple options he could look into if he was willing to leave his comfort zone and try a different technology. There are some nice deals to be had with B-Stock and refurbished JVC units wthiin that price range. You can snag a RS40 or RS45 anywhere from $1500-$1750. Picture quality wise the JVC units will look different. They'll have a bit softer look to them (though it may look sharper to him due to the simple fact that the resolution has become much higher), but on a pixel level, they simply aren't as defined as the Marantzs' pixels will be. How that translates to real world performance really depends on the type of content being viewed. Many will say there won't be a visible difference, but I tend to argue it depends on the material. But like I said before, the simple jump from 720p to 1080p may blow away those notions anyways. Obviously JVC is renowned for it's native contrast performance and will be the most jarring aspect of this kind of upgrade. So if he's looking for something with higher contrast JVC is the way to go at this price point.

In this price range it would be the only thing I'd recommend coming from such a high performing DLP unit. I think anything else in this price range is kind of vanilla and lack-luster in the 2D picture quality department.

I agree with Seegs, I would keep the 12S4 over any of the $1,000 DLP's. I would take a JVC RS45 over the 12S4. For the record, I still own a 12S4 and use it for HDTV. I also own a RS45 and it is what I pick for movie watching. If we can help the OPer, give us a call.
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post #5 of 17
If your friend really wants to stick with DLP and is willing to go up to $2K then the Sharp XV-Z30000 is probably the best buy. While is has MSRP of nearly $5K there are now dealers offering it for around $2K. HERE is a full review and HERE is a recent follow-up as part of a comparison of $2K and under (street price) projectors. This model if far better than the DLPs near $1K with both much better overall picture quality for such things as very good (but not great) black level, on/off contrast ratio and shadow detail. It also has much better features than all lower priced DLP projectors and better than most of the more expensive DLP models. These features include long zoom range, power zoom, power focus, power lens shift and even lens memory. Given both the iincreased resolution of the Sharp over the Marantz (1080p vs. 720p) along with the Sharp's very good black levels (with use of the dual irises) and contrast ratio combined with a great feature set, your friend probably would consider it a step up from this Marantzl Athough the Marantz was a really high quality projector and offered great performancefor its time, but it does have inherent performance limitations by current standards.

Also, as others above have suggested, if he is willing to move outside of DLP based projectors a 'B' Stock JVC DLA-RS40 or RS45 is a great buy in the under $2K price range (when they are available). Overall, these JVC models will provide a better 2D image than the Sharp but the Sharp will provide better 3D, due to its lack of 3D crosstalk/ghosting.



.
Edited by Ron Jones - 4/30/13 at 8:53am
post #6 of 17
It is a shame that DLP chip technology has not advanced any in the last six years and I don't see that changing anytime soon. frown.gif
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post #7 of 17
Thread Starter 
Thanks for your input guys!

We spent the past week demoing some of the newer budget 1080p projectors in the hope that you guys just possibly maybe could be wrong - but you weren't

I must admit that I'm pretty surprised that silicon chip technology hasn't evolved to a point where it's importance outweighs that of a decent lens, I guess those custom optics in the Marantz projectors really count for something beyond numbers on a marketing specification.

The JVC's are great projectors guys but LCOS tech is not to every ones taste, the next logical upgrade could be the Z30000. There's just something very special about DLP beamers, especially when executed well by the likes of Marantz, Sharp, Sim2 et al.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend.
post #8 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by crispybacon View Post

Thanks for your input guys!

We spent the past week demoing some of the newer budget 1080p projectors in the hope that you guys just possibly maybe could be wrong - but you weren't

I must admit that I'm pretty surprised that silicon chip technology hasn't evolved to a point where it's importance outweighs that of a decent lens, I guess those custom optics in the Marantz projectors really count for something beyond numbers on a marketing specification.

The JVC's are great projectors guys but LCOS tech is not to every ones taste, the next logical upgrade could be the Z30000. There's just something very special about DLP beamers, especially when executed well by the likes of Marantz, Sharp, Sim2 et al.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend.

I agree 100%. JVC's are nice but a well built DLP is much better.
post #9 of 17
I still miss my 12K mkII. redface.gif

Jason
post #10 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by crispybacon View Post

Thanks for your input guys!

We spent the past week demoing some of the newer budget 1080p projectors in the hope that you guys just possibly maybe could be wrong - but you weren't

I must admit that I'm pretty surprised that silicon chip technology hasn't evolved to a point where it's importance outweighs that of a decent lens, I guess those custom optics in the Marantz projectors really count for something beyond numbers on a marketing specification.

The JVC's are great projectors guys but LCOS tech is not to every ones taste, the next logical upgrade could be the Z30000. There's just something very special about DLP beamers, especially when executed well by the likes of Marantz, Sharp, Sim2 et al.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend.

z30000 is a good choice. I always liked the sharp color palate. I had the Z12000 mark II and still have the z3000. CIE and colors are all very similar. A dash of green on a snappy red makes for punch and nice facel tones. This is where the z30000 is at. I have a epson 1080ub coming on Tuesday I looked up it's CIE and it's identical to the sharps, little extra green and blue. This is a tried and true format it adds 25 mabye 30 percent more brightness and makes for punchy natural colors. Plus you can look over some 3D stuff. Look like it handles 3D very well. Expect a near 20000.1 contrast with it's excellent DI.
post #11 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaGamePimp View Post

I still miss my 12K mkII. redface.gif

Jason
I've got 800 hours on mine and still love it. It's comments like your's that settle me down when that upgrade bug hits. Seegs is also helping out by buying the used Marantz and Sharp projectors out from under me.

Cj
post #12 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by mante View Post

I've got 800 hours on mine and still love it. It's comments like your's that settle me down when that upgrade bug hits. Seegs is also helping out by buying the used Marantz and Sharp projectors out from under me.

Cj

Were you bidding on the Sharp z20K too? I was surprised I got it for so cheap. Should be here Thursday. smile.gif
post #13 of 17
What is the lens shift like on the 20k, can it be positioned at the center of the HP?
post #14 of 17
It's vertical lens shift only. The lens is center mounted in the chassis, though. It looks like the there is no offset to the lens (so optimally it should be mounted at the center of the screen) and offers shifting up to one screen height up and down.
Edited by Seegs108 - 5/5/13 at 11:14pm
post #15 of 17
You just have to be diligent in going for a "Golden Sample" when it comes to LCOS or LCD (though not a big fan of LCD anymore to be honest). When you compared your JVC to those DLP's, you really should have calibrated the gamma first (no offense meant). I spent 7 hours getting my JVC's gamma corrected the first time, it is that bad.

The JVC's OOTB GAMMA is UNIQUELY POOR and easily in the top 5 worst I've seen out of the last 20 projectors I've looked at. Gamma wholly affects the perception of contrast, the JVC's gamma causes bright scenes to be majorly washed out and dark scenes to be overly dark and lack shadow detail. The reason the Sony looks so much better in bright scenes than the JVC is because of the GAMMA curve. At first I thought it might be limited to my unit, but the fact is I've calibrated more than one JVC now and they had VERY similar problems, and I've calibrated my own JVC on a different lamp. There really is no GOOD default gamma setting on the JVC. If you pick one preset, it'll be a little better for SOME scenes, but still bad for others. The only thing you can really do in an uncalibrated A/B of the JVC, is to use the Gamma D preset which has better shadow detail, then adjust that by eye a little using the whitepoint adjustment. Even then the results are marginal at best and will not compete with a calibrated JVC. The problem is gamma curves are not one dimensional, but the appearance of contrast is also affected by color and luminance accuracy combining with the multi-point gamma as well. Even if you exaggerate brightness and contrast settings to try to "counteract" the JVC's "bad ANSI (gamma)", you are not fixing the gamma. All you are doing is making one scene possibly look better by inducing crush or blown whites, but when that scene changes any projector with a BAD gamma curve will then look even worse on the next scene.

This is why I sometimes ask people if they are good at calibrating or are planning on having their projectors calibrated, if both the answer to those questions is no, I often tell them to go for the Sony or a different projector with a FLAT gamma. Color is one thing, but bad GAMMA is just horrible and it ruins everything. The Sony has so much more accurate everything (Gamma, gray-scale, and the color triangle), that any uncalibrated JVC is going to be utterly destroyed by a Sony in a comparison. We are talking about one of the best calibrated OOTB vs. one of the worst (well there are some worse than the JVC, but if you count the default gamma of the JVC, I don't know, the JVC is pretty close to last here)..

The problem with the JVC is the gamma curve is a backwards S-curve which is curved in the opposite direction it should be. Then people compare it and immediately talk about BAD ANSI contrast, but the fact is that the JVC is one of the HARDEST projectors to A/B compare, and it really needs an expert calibrator to do it. At least as far as the gamma calibration goes, the JVC is the hardest to calibrate out of all the projectors I have ever had. Fixing the gamma issues on the JVC is no small undertaking.

I could never go back to a 720p DLP projector, for me the SDE is way too high for my seating distance (though I suppose the pixel fill on the higher-end ones was better than some). No 720p projector is going to out-weigh SDE to me.

In movies, the lens just isn't what people are making it to be for the average seating distance.if anything it matters more for me due to how close I sit. I do not think the small gain in sharpness for most movies is worth the huge loss in contrast with these DLP's. I feel differently with different content, as I guess it depends what you are watching. Though I suppose there are a couple or two Marantz / Planar / Runco that do ok, but really are we still talking about LCOS sharpness?

DLP has superior processing so that when image noise enters into the equation (even though some DLP's have more image noise), what happens is the image noise on DLP is spread out more evenly than on LCOS and it makes it easier for the eyes to absorb. The image noise almost appears to get "between" the pixels randomly on LCOS, like it is distorting the image causing it to be flatter looking. The pixel fill then causes the IMAGE to have more POP / Sharpness on a DLP sometimes, but bright-scene contrast and sharpness isn't usually that noticeable in movies (sometimes it is on reference level content). The pixel fill and image processing and the quality of the sharpening filters are usually more noticeable to me than a tiny boost in the lens. The exception is for reading text though.
Edited by coderguy - 5/6/13 at 12:00am
post #16 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by zombie10k View Post

What is the lens shift like on the 20k, can it be positioned at the center of the HP?

Just has to be within screen area, so yes.

Jason
post #17 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaGamePimp View Post

I still miss my 12K mkII. redface.gif

Jason

Spooky, I used to own that projector too and it is one of the finest projectors I have ever owned. I still regret the day I had to move into a smaller dedicated HT room and ditch it due to it's long throw lens. It's not all bad though, I'm using a Yamaha 1200 DPX which is for the money is outstanding (motorised zoom and focus, brilliant short throw, very sharp focus.....)

I did the whole 2.2/2.3 gamma thing with the JVC's coderguy, calibrated the hell out of them using a Lumagen and did my best to get on with them. They are great projectors no doubt but don't handle motion as well as DLP's so it's a no contest for me. Thanks for the info on calibration though, there are plenty that will find that very useful.
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