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Best conventional DVD player at any price?

post #1 of 47
Thread Starter 
There seems to be pretty good deals available on used high end conventional DVD players. I already have HD-DVD (Toshiba) and Blu-ray (Sony) but am tempted to upgrade my regular DVD player (Sony 999ES and Oppo 981) too. Improved audio as well as video is key. I have a large DVD music library that will likely never be available in the new formats. For the same reason I recently upgraded my laserdisc player too.

Would you recommend one of the newer units such as Esoteric 60 or Linn or go with one of the older well regarded units such as:
Ayre D-1xe
Ayre Dx-7e
Krell DVD Standard
Krell Showcase with HDMI
EAD DVD Master with 8 Balanced Outs
Esoteric 50 or 50S or UX-1
Meridian 598 or 800
Others?

or just stick with what I have.

Ability to play PAL and Multi-region in high quality as well as NTSC region 1 would be a significant plus as I have several discs that are not available in the US. Also its nice to buy new discs when travelling without worrying about compatability. Neither of my Hi-def players play Pal. Ability to sound good on redbook CD also an advantage but primarily looking for top performance on DVD's. I am just upgrading pj to 1080P on 116 inch wide Stewart Studiotek screen. Anthem D1 is being upgraded to D2 as we speak.
Appreciate any advice. Thanks
post #2 of 47
Great choices (I upgraded my LD player last year as well to a CLD99):

Don't forget to check out the Arcam DV139; it's an excellent unit.
post #3 of 47
Some would tell you that the best conventional DVD playback you'll get is to take a good quality DVD player (a mid range Denon for example) - have it SDI modded, and pair it with a high quality video processor (Calibre, Lumagen, Algolith, etc).
post #4 of 47
Denon 5910CI without question, I just wonder how much the new Mcintosh MVP 871 has in common with denon's top of the line?
post #5 of 47
Esoteric P3 I think is better than dv-60.
post #6 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by vigga View Post

Some would tell you that the best conventional DVD playback you'll get is to take a good quality DVD player (a mid range Denon for example) - have it SDI modded, and pair it with a high quality video processor (Calibre, Lumagen, Algolith, etc).


no doubt, if you are seeking the absolute top quality video, this suggestion is the one. now if you want a one box solution then i would go for the denon 5910ci, arcm dv139. but i still think that an xternal video scaler is the best solution and you can also upscale your incoming sd channels feed. (a big plus, imo)
post #7 of 47
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the suggestions. The dv139 does ntsc and pal and has an easy multi region hack so thats definately a top contender. Also I was overlooking the Theta Compli which is available with SDI or DVI or HDMI. It would be awesome if someone had compared several of the above so I can narrow the list. For example is the Ayre 7 better than the 1. The 7 is newer but less expensive. Anyone hear and prefer some of the others to the Arcam?
Thanks again
post #8 of 47
Honestly? I love Denon DVD players, but they really have issues with DVD-R media. Which may or may not be prevalent to what you watch, but even the 3900 series has issues with it. I would expect better from their players.

I also agree that an outboard processor will help immensely.

Richard
post #9 of 47
Besides overall best SD-DVD playback - there are all of the other benefits that an external scaler will give you...
post #10 of 47
Thread Starter 
Thanks - I agree. my Anthem D1 is off being upgraded to D2. I thought long and hard about going this route or buying an out board video processor. In the end being able to (hopefully!) process the uncompressed multi channel audio thru HDMI won out for me. It does mean that I wont have the ability to leverage SDI, just HDMI, for digital video. Its definately something I will continue to evaluate.
post #11 of 47
hey good choice. last time i checked the thread on the d2 was last year and there were some known bugs that affected the processor's custom display resolution as well as overheating. not sure if anthem has cured these problems, but if so it would make a great processor/scaler "one box unit".
post #12 of 47
Denon 5910.

Some of those high end esoteric brands actually make pretty poor DVD players. I would generally stay away from them, besides the fact that they are grossly overpriced, they often aren't even very good at all.
post #13 of 47
Very happy with Arcam, but have not seen/heard their newest player...
post #14 of 47
What no one mentioned OPPO?

*puts on flame retardent suit*

Could it really be considered a high end player?

Richard
post #15 of 47
sorry, but the oppo has some serious issues and doesn't touch wither the arcam or denon 5910. it is the best bang for buck performance wise for a dvd player, but it is far from being a solid dvd player. the 970 is a great transport though if you want to use it with an external scaler. i think oppo is the best "budget" player around but, like i said, no where close to a 5910.
post #16 of 47
Thread Starter 
Thanks everyone - I went with the Arcam 139.
post #17 of 47
Meridian, why bother looking elsewhere? Yes, I'm slightly biased already owning a Meridian cinema.
post #18 of 47
cadownes-
You'll find some insteresting discussions in the video processor forum regarding HDMI vs. SDI for passage of digital video. Even though you are passing native 480i through the HDMI to a processor doesn't mean that the signal hasn't been "messed with" before that happens. A lot of those guys feel like SDI is a "purer" MPEG stream. I freely admit that I am not an expert in this area.
FYI - a properly modded SDI player will output over both HDMI and SDI allowing for passage of audio.
post #19 of 47
I would really like to see a Oppo vs all the other "super name" players. I think a lot of people would be VERY surprised at what they pay for cosmetics
post #20 of 47
Quote:


I would really like to see a Oppo vs all the other "super name" players. I think a lot of people would be VERY surprised at what they pay for cosmetics

Very true over at http://www.hometheaterhifi.com/main.html the oppo was one of the few DVD players to pass all of the tests. Much like a high end processor which uses the same parts as a receiver the high end DVD players are almost an exact re badge of name brand units.
post #21 of 47
I think the best "audiophile" DVD players are just close to the best Japanese DVD players for video purposes. It's really hard to find an "audiophile" player that has good, let alone great, video parts in it. I'd bet that the Meridian is probably the best of that list, but not *the* best at video. Seems like the Denon based on its parts exotica.

The Oppo is a pretty crappy machine sonically with a ton of noise in it. Don't know about video. Might be good as an audio transport. I had a customer bring in a $1500 modded version too and it was pretty crappy. Can't go wrong for the price, but it is foolish to spend money upgrading it!
post #22 of 47
Quote:
The Oppo is a pretty crappy machine sonically with a ton of noise in it.

I think everyone would use the digital outs so audio would be the same.

Quote:
I had a customer bring in a $1500 modded version too and it was pretty crappy.

On what? These people who "mod" factory equipment will believe anything and they almost always make the original product worse.

Quote:
I'd bet that the Meridian is probably the best of that list, but not *the* best at video.

As for video the oppo is probably the best since it passed all the tests.
post #23 of 47
http://www.hometheaterhifi.com/volum...06-part-2.html

Take the $5000 Lexicon RT-20 Universal DVD Player and it performs at a very low level.
post #24 of 47
I didn't say it wasn't a bargain as just a transport. Audiophile grade, it isn't! Of course, I don't even have a DVD player any more. It's almost like having a cassette deck at this point
post #25 of 47
i know the question here is about the best conventional DVD player.....but since the desire seems to be the best performance for SD DVD's the answer is the Toshiba XA2. the link below is to a thread about comparing an SDI modified player thru the Crystalio II VP to the HD-DVD Toshiba XA2.....the slight preference was for the XA2.

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=782887

i own the Toshiba XA2 and the Crystalio II.......the XA2 on SD DVD is awesome.
post #26 of 47
California Audio model CL2500 DVD was/is both a great audio and 480I DVD player, it had great reviews in Widescreen Review, Cal Audio is no longer in business though
post #27 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by mike lavigne View Post

i know the question here is about the best conventional DVD player.....but since the desire seems to be the best performance for SD DVD's the answer is the Toshiba XA2. the link below is to a thread about comparing an SDI modified player thru the Crystalio II VP to the HD-DVD Toshiba XA2.....the slight preference was for the XA2.

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=782887

i own the Toshiba XA2 and the Crystalio II.......the XA2 on SD DVD is awesome.

and of course the bigger upside is that the tosh also plays HD-DVDs which should wipe the floor with DVD.
post #28 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by mike lavigne View Post

i know the question here is about the best conventional DVD player.....but since the desire seems to be the best performance for SD DVD's the answer is the Toshiba XA2. the link below is to a thread about comparing an SDI modified player thru the Crystalio II VP to the HD-DVD Toshiba XA2.....the slight preference was for the XA2.

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=782887

i own the Toshiba XA2 and the Crystalio II.......the XA2 on SD DVD is awesome.

From all reports, the XA2 is indeed a great SD DVD player WRT to the video side - video processing sets it apart from the rest. How have you found the audio side for movies? Does it hold up well against other premium SD DVD players that you've tried?
post #29 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by cadownes View Post

There seems to be pretty good deals available on used high end conventional DVD players. I already have HD-DVD (Toshiba) and Blu-ray (Sony) but am tempted to upgrade my regular DVD player (Sony 999ES and Oppo 981) too. Improved audio as well as video is key. I have a large DVD music library that will likely never be available in the new formats. For the same reason I recently upgraded my laserdisc player too.

Would you recommend one of the newer units such as Esoteric 60 or Linn or go with one of the older well regarded units such as:
Ayre D-1xe
Ayre Dx-7e
Krell DVD Standard
Krell Showcase with HDMI
EAD DVD Master with 8 Balanced Outs
Esoteric 50 or 50S or UX-1
Meridian 598 or 800
Others?

or just stick with what I have.

Ability to play PAL and Multi-region in high quality as well as NTSC region 1 would be a significant plus as I have several discs that are not available in the US. Also its nice to buy new discs when travelling without worrying about compatability. Neither of my Hi-def players play Pal. Ability to sound good on redbook CD also an advantage but primarily looking for top performance on DVD's. I am just upgrading pj to 1080P on 116 inch wide Stewart Studiotek screen. Anthem D1 is being upgraded to D2 as we speak.
Appreciate any advice. Thanks


Don't forget the Cary DVD 7. It upconverts to 1080p, plays NTSC, PAL and is Region Free. If it's on DVD it will play it.

The DVD-7 will drive the following six video zones simultaneously:

HDMI.
RGBHV
Component via RCA
Component via BNC
S-Video
Composite


http://www.caryaudio.com/products/cinema/DVD7.html

I've owned the Krell DVD Standard, Ayre DX-7, Esoteric DV-50s and DV-60. In its day, the Ayre DX-7 was the best of the lot, hands down.

Technology marches on and for only $4,000.00 I find the Cary DVD-7 beats them all, in my humble opinion.

The Cary DVD-7 is also a fantastic CD player. It offers balanced outputs and the ability to turn off all video for serious listening sessions.


We are also a Cary dealer, so take what I say with a bit of skepticism and go see it for yourself at your local Cary dealer.
post #30 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thunder View Post

From all reports, the XA2 is indeed a great SD DVD player WRT to the video side - video processing sets it apart from the rest. How have you found the audio side for movies? Does it hold up well against other premium SD DVD players that you've tried?

i'm not a good one to ask about that. i run (Sony BDP-HD1, XA2, and Directv-hd) my Home Theatre sources into the Crystalio II via HDMI for audio and then send a toslink to my Lex MC-12. the 2 exceptions are the Comcast box that uses DVI output and the JVC D-VHS box that uses component video. those i run directly into the MC-12 for audio.

the Crystalio II sure makes for simple switching.

the XA2 sounds great......certainly as good as any other non-discrete hi-rez digital audio i have heard in my HT room. to me the processor is at least of equal importance....and the MC-12 is pretty good.
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