Got my 563A from Crutchfield yesterday. For the price ($160 w/$20 MasterCard coupon), this is one of the best home theater purchases I've ever made! I've been aching to have an affordable universal player for a while, almost getting the pricier Yamaha 2300 or Denon 2900 when they came out. Glad I waited! I've owned more than a dozen DVD player since 1997, including two that played DVD-A. The 563A replaces my Panasonic CP72. My review equipment is the Panasonic 53" (ISF-calibrated) HD RPTV, Onkyo SR600 receiver & Acoustic Research HC6 6.1 speaker system.
Here's my mini-review...
Build Quality & Setup
The 563A is only available in silver. I've always preferred black components, but silver is slowing growing on me (& my wife likes it better). The player is fairly lightweight & sleek-looking (nice, slim design). The remote is light & flimsy-looking, but I use a universal remote anyway.
I made all the connections (power, optical digital & 5.1 multichannel analog) & powered the 563A on. The setup includes an 'advanced' area & a 'guided' area. I went through both to cover all the bases. The 'advanced' area is where you choose how content on DVD-Audio & hybrid SACD should behave. (I set it up so that DVD-Audio & the multichannel portion of SACD play automatically.) The video setup has "Memory 1" & "Memory 2" to save your custom settings; I left mine at standard & 480p output. The final setup I did was with my RadioShack sound meter in the 'advanced' area, adjusting all but the sub to the correct levels (the 563A doesn't let you adjust the sub level).
I've been dying to hear Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon" SACD, so that's what I popped in first. Went to track 4, "Time". Wow! This is the first SACD player I've had so I can't compare, but it was like hearing DSOTM like I've never heard it before (& believe me I've listened to this album countless times). Great clarity, depth & surround effects. I was so thrilled, I called my wife to listen. She isn't a Pink Floyd fan, but concurred the SACD sounded great. She however does like the Police, so I popped in the "Every Breath You Take: The Classics" SACD. Also terrific, although not as "wow" as DSOTM.
Next, I tried the Blue Man Group DVD-A. While very good, the 563A's DVD-A quality didn't quite match that of the Panasonic RP91 & CP72 (my previous DVD-A players). It's still terrific, but the RP91 & CP72 produced slightly fuller audio. The 563A had a little less 'oomph'. Need to listen more when I get some time.
The 563A's Dolby Digital & DTS quality is as good as the best DVD players I've owned. I tried several reference DVDs & they all sounded great.
This I haven't yet evaluated critically yet. I was so interested in the DVD-A/SACD capabilities of the 563A, that's what I played around with most last night. To test the 480p video, I tried "The Fifth Element" (SuperBit) & "Narc" (a DVD I just rented). Both looked excellent. Sharp/detailed & artifact-free. Colors seemed a tad muted, but I may need to recalibrate with Avia. I haven't checked to see if the 563A suffers from the infamous chroma bug yet.
These are my impressions after only 2 hours of playing with the 563A, but so far I'm very happy with this player. It's an awesome universal player, a steal for the price! Can't wait to get home tonight & play around with it some more...