Originally posted by Penton-Man
I'm glad you decided to go for it. Rob knows his stuff regarding the 59avi. If you get a chance, try to do an A/B (best to rent two copies of the same DVD and toggle the inputs) between the Sony and Pio on inputs 6 and 7 before you return it.
I pulled the Sony and dropped the Pioneer into it's place. No time yet to do a direct A/B, but here are my first impressions after spending about an hour eyeballing the basic settings. This was done with "The Fifth Element", as I know the film backwards and forwards and use it often as a reference. As with the Sony 975, I'm feeding the Pioneer signal into my Qualia 006 at 480i over HDMI.
First, the Pio has slightly exaggerated color saturation as set at the factory. I turned "chroma" down one click, which seemed to fix things nicely. Once I have time I'll go back and change the settings on this input of the Qualia to compensate more accurately.
Second, though the Pio didn't initially seem to have more fine detail resolution than the Sony, certain things are more noticeable on the Pioneer. In "The Fifth Element" (in the desert at the beginning) there are some shots of the sky that really show every flaw in the film master. These really seem to jump out on the Pioneer. This is somewhat analagous to the resolving power of the Qualia (though not to the same degree), where you tend to see every little flaw inherent in the source material. One test for me is the Nucleo Lab scene in "The Fifth Element". General Munro appears several times in this scene, and one great test for resolving power is to look at his shoulder patch. If "sharpness" is too elevated you'll actually lose detail in the patch. On the Pioneer I can read the letters on the patch more easily than on the Sony.
I am happier with the Pioneer in my system. Though the improvement so far is slight it is much more enjoyable to use, much nicer to look at in my "stack", and beautifully built and reliable. It should be a formidable piece when paired with the Algolith Dragonfly/Mosquito combo (and once I have the time to properly tweak things with DVE)...
Finally, guess what happened when I pulled the Sony out of my system? The dreaded tray lock reared it's ugly head (for the first time) and I nearly lost my newly acquired "Big Fish" DVD! After cycling the power several times the player finally regurgitated, but that alone may be reason enough for me NOT to put it back into the system for an A/B...