Denon DVD-A1UD/DVD-A1UDCI Blu-Ray/DVD/SACD/DVD-A/ Universal Player - Page 52 - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1531 of 3664 Old 06-28-2009, 09:43 AM
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Originally Posted by jomark911 View Post

Ithink you are wrong, i have a 3910 player , with a dl3 update installed , and it outputs dsd over dl3 fine.

Uhh, if you had actually read what I said and what I was responding to, you would see that I was talking about HDMI output. The theme of these posts is SACD audio output over HDMI.
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post #1532 of 3664 Old 06-28-2009, 09:46 AM
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Originally Posted by moonhawk View Post

Again, what about for those of us who wish to use the analog outs?

Is DSD converted directly to analog, or is there an intermediate conversion to PCM?

TIA


Ha here is the question? I think , since it uses sony's dsd chip it has to be dsd to analog , without intermediate pcm.That's the way avp does it also.

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post #1533 of 3664 Old 06-28-2009, 09:57 AM
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Originally Posted by MSmith83 View Post

Uhh, if you had actually read what I said and what I was responding to, you would see that I was talking about HDMI output. The theme of these posts is SACD audio output over HDMI.

Sorry i misunderstood your post.
I thought you ment completely.

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post #1534 of 3664 Old 06-28-2009, 09:59 AM
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Originally Posted by jomark911 View Post

Sorry i misunderstood your post.

I could have been clearer. Looking back, I sounded like a bit of a **** in my response. I apologize for that.
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post #1535 of 3664 Old 06-28-2009, 10:00 AM
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Doing this review made me realize a couple significant things. First off, it represents the 15th Blu ray player I have reviewed which means I am either sick/crazy or just have to much time on my hands. The other (which is huge) is the total MSRP is over $10,000 with the players involved. Of course do the DVD-A1 makes up almost half of that. In the grand scheme of things I realize both probably mean nothing but I thought they were worth noting. Especially since most publications usually do not have this much fire power on hand when they do their reviews. I would like to personally thank Robert of VE and the many AVS members who appreciate my efforts. Part II (The Comparison/Super Shootout) is for you. Let's get started with the DVD-A1.

So what does a MSRP of $4500 buy you? Besides a hernia repair if you don't use your legs when lifting quite a bit. This "Blu ray player" almost weighs 42 pounds! This is more than the Denon 4310CI receiver below it (pic 2). I seriously doubt anyone can find fault with me calling it a tank or battleship. If there was ever an argument against build Q advantages don't bring it up with the DVD-A1. It is built solid for a reason.

Let's jump into the Features, Pic & Soud Q. The last couple Denon units I have reviewed (3800 and 2500) have had plenty of picture adjustments. Same with the DVD-A1. You get DNR (reduces noise in the entire picture which is useful for SD dvds), Contrast, Brightness, ENHANCER (strengthens the contours of the picture- you have 0 to 11 and I will say it really does help emphasize the picture without hurting it), Gamma Correction (this time this adjustment gives you a cool graph that allows you to tweak it perfectly), Sharpness Mid (which is only for analog outputs), Sharpness High (this adjustment is works over HDMI), Hue, White Level, Black Level, Chroma Level, H position and V positions (these allow you to move the picture left/right or top/bottom). I was able to dial in a very impressive image. I took plenty of screenshots and will post them even though I know they don't do the DVD-A1 justice. Since I just got the 4310CI Denon receiver (wanted to pair it with the DVD-A1) I was interested in trying the Denon Link 4th mode. I have been very impressed with the sound I am getting in my theater. I actually have a few sample SACDs and was impressed. I don't usually listen to CDs in my theater but they sounded very clear. The concert Blu rays I watched were also excellent using the 4th over HDMI connection. Speaking of HDMI the DVD-A1 has Dual outs. If you are sending one to your TV and the other to your AMP it is optimal to set them to Independent. TIP> if you are going to Bitstream hit the MODE button and change it to BD HD Audio Out. I spent awhile playing around with the different settings. Analog sounds amazing as expected. I am glad the 4310CI can add the PLIIz Height sound to it as well. I won't go into that here but all I will say is my theater has never sounded more alive during a movie. Accurate placed sound can really make a difference. Especially during a chase scene (Friday the 13th 2009). My last pic shows them walking in the woods. The amount of detail is astounding. The HDMI 1 I set to Deep Color and the Color Space to YCbCr. And yes I as using 1080p/24. Even the SD dvds looked great. I put in some of the less than average titles and they were tolerable. You can't make chicken salad out of chicken sh*t but the DVD-A1 comes pretty close. It is the best SD dvd player I have seen. The DVD-A1 has passed all tests. Of course the most important one is REAL time viewing. It handled everything easily. The opening scene in The Dark Knight (pic 4) looked perfect. Not a hint of artifact, moire' or distortion.

Other... The remote (pic 3) is very nice. It lights up (very bright) a nice blue. I did not have any sluggish issues with it. I had to go in slow motion, pause, FF and RW a lot to get my screenshots. I will say it is very heavy. It is also nicely laid out. More important buttons are Picture Adjust, Display, MODE, and of course HDMI mode and resolution. There is also a cool Disc Layer button option that lets you select whether you play the Multi, Stereo (2 channel of HD layer) and or the CD layer. TIP> be careful not to hit the Source button unless you have a SD card in. This will completely the stop the movie and make you have to start over.

Load Times... I will say if you change the Power On mode to "quick" you will be able to get the movie inside the DVD-A1 within 2 seconds. That does make a difference since a lot of time when you power on the other players you have to wait a little while before you can put a disc in. This quick start allows you to get the movie in and do "other" things while it is loading. Other meaning popcorn and or drinks. Loading movies seems about on par with the latest gen of players. It does move a little faster if you have it connected. Speaking of connected it did a firmware update this morning. It only took one try so I feel lucky in that regard. The 4310CI was a challenge to get updated over the Ethernet connection but it did. Anyway, the DVD-A1 is not as fast as my JVC, Oppo or PS3 but in the end it is the pic Q and sound Q that matters most. How will it stack up against the 09FD, 3800, S5000ES and others? I am doing that now so give me a little more time to post my final Overall 0 to 100 rating scale.

Blu ray discs... So far it has played every title I have put in it except one. You guess it. The T2 Skynet disc will load and go to the start up menu. It then will play with only the sound. I consider that not a deal breaker since other players won't even load the title. Other than that it has loaded and played over 150 titles (yes, I spent a lot of time testing).

Conclusion... I will end this Review since I really want to get to my comparison report. I will say that the Denon faithful have a winner on their hands. Besides the beautiful cosmetic finish this player plays! And before the Oppo-gang starts throwing stones I would like to warn them against embarrassing themselves. If you had the chance to get either or straight up for free I am pretty sure 98% would take the DVD-A1. This Denon Flagship is going to be tough to beat in terms of overall pic and sound Q. And I am pretty sure it won't be beat in terms of build Q. The BIG question has to be is it worth the extra coin? Will I keep it as my starter over my 09FD? I will post my views on that and more in Part 2.
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post #1536 of 3664 Old 06-28-2009, 10:08 AM
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post #1537 of 3664 Old 06-28-2009, 10:08 AM
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post #1538 of 3664 Old 06-28-2009, 10:09 AM
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post #1539 of 3664 Old 06-28-2009, 10:09 AM
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post #1540 of 3664 Old 06-28-2009, 10:19 AM
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Thanks Joe, great read and most appreciated it. So far so good sounds like a great player.

150 titles, you are a crazy man and that's why I love your reviews because you really put the time and effort to put the players through their paces. Excellent job.

Can't wait for your comparison.


The pics looks great.

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post #1541 of 3664 Old 06-28-2009, 10:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe View Post

And before the Oppo-gang starts throwing stones I would like to warn them against embarrassing themselves.

What would be the penalty?... getting whipped with a DL4 cable?

Seriously though, you say it produces the best dvd PQ you have seen. It also uses the same processor as the OPPO player. I'm curious to find out what you think makes a noticable difference between the two.

I assume also that you are useing the DL4 connection for SACD, since apparantly the player can not properly send the DSD signal over HDMI?

Do you actually have you speakers set up for PLIIz? You think it really sounds that much better?(<-not that it relates to the player, just curious.)

Thanks Joe!
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post #1542 of 3664 Old 06-28-2009, 10:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Smarty-pants View Post

What would be the penalty?... getting whipped with a DL$ cable?

Seriously though, you say it produces the best dvd PQ you have seen. It also uses the same processor as the OPPO player. I'm curious to find out what you think makes a noticable difference between the two.

I assume also that you are useing the DL4 connection for SACD, since apparantly the player can not properly send the DSD signal over HDMI?

Do you actually have you speakers set up for PLIIz? You think it really sounds that much better?(<-not that it relates to the player, just curious.)

Thanks Joe!

Dolby PLIIz Height sound is my first choice...
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post #1543 of 3664 Old 06-28-2009, 10:32 AM
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Originally Posted by gsr View Post

You can't transmit the new Dolby and DTS lossless audio formats over the DL cable. For those formats, the audio comes over the HDMI cable and the timing info goes over the DL4 cable. For older audio formats (including DD, DTS, CD, DVD-Audio, SACD, etc.) you can transmit audio over the DL cable and only need HDMI for video.

On my unit, the lossless compressed audio formats are decoded on the player side when the Denon Link 4th is on (even when "bitstream" is selected). And that makes sense, if the goal is to provide a single synchronized clock between the two pieces of equipment.
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post #1544 of 3664 Old 06-28-2009, 10:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Smarty-pants View Post

...

Seriously though, you say it produces the best dvd PQ you have seen. It also uses the same processor as the OPPO player. I'm curious to find out what you think makes a noticable difference between the two.

...

I'm obviously not Joe but I thought I would comment on that question. The A1 actually uses the Realta chipset whereas the Oppo uses the ABT chipset. It was reported earlier in the thread that the A1 may use the ABT chipset for component video as reported from a spec list on a German Denon site but that has been the only listing of the ABT chipset so it's not confirmed as of yet. My bet is that the ABT chipset is not used just based on the fact you would think Denon would have the appropriate logo on the front of the player.

So the differences in quality could be atributed to the different chipsets, amoung many other variables. I'm sure Joe will comment further.

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post #1545 of 3664 Old 06-28-2009, 10:35 AM
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Originally Posted by markrubin View Post

I am still struggling to get the clock control light to come on: tried everything

any other ideas?

Still no luck? I wonder if it is because you have the HDMI matrix or possibly multiple displays attached? Maybe a HDMI handshake screwup? Does it work if you attach just a single display to the HDMI output on the AVP?
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post #1546 of 3664 Old 06-28-2009, 10:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Rod#S View Post

I'm obviously not Joe but I thought I would comment on that question. The A1actually uses the Realta chipset whereas the Oppo uses the ABT chipset. It was reported earlier in the thread that the A1 may use the ABT chipset for component video as reported from a spec list on a German Denon site but that has been the only listing of the ABT chipset so it's not confirmed as of yet. My bet is that the ABT chipset is not used just based on the fact you would think Denon would have the appropriate logo on the front of the player.

Rod beat me to it.

I don't want to get into comparing players yet. I will post what I differences I see whether they are slight or larger in Part 2.

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post #1547 of 3664 Old 06-28-2009, 10:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moonhawk View Post

Again, what about for those of us who wish to use the analog outs?

Is DSD converted directly to analog, or is there an intermediate conversion to PCM?

TIA

This issue doesn't apply to us who are using the m/c analog outputs of this player, but I myself wonder why that capabilty can be had in the Oppo player at 1/8th the price and not the A1. One of my favorite things lately to do with this player has been listening to some good 2-channel sacd's along with some well recorded cd's.

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post #1548 of 3664 Old 06-28-2009, 10:42 AM
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Originally Posted by gsr View Post

It strikes me as a bad design choice on Denon's part as it limits the market for this player even more than it already would be given the price.

Yes, it is a disappointing state of affairs, but unfortunately the fact is that there is currently no other way to eliminate jitter over HDMI. This has been one of the main reasons why audiophiles have not embraced HDMI and BD audio. My listening tests have confirmed this for me at least.

What are the alternatives? I am sure that someone will figure out how to reclock and properly synchronize audio and video streams in the pre/pro, possibly by buffering the whole lot. But that would require a lot of storage, and lots of complications due to all the possible permutations of configurations. In the meantime, at least Denon has attempted to solve the problem on Denon equipment. Since I have a Denon pre/pro with DL4, it works for me.
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post #1549 of 3664 Old 06-28-2009, 10:47 AM
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Originally Posted by mt14942 View Post

This issue doesn't apply to us who are using the m/c analog outputs of this player, but I myself wonder why that capabilty can be had in the Oppo player at 1/8th the price and not the A1. One of my favorite things lately to do with this player has been listening to some good 2-channel sacd's along with some well recorded cd's.

I am certain that the DVD-A1 converts directly from DSD to analog (as long as you don't have bass management etc enabled). The AVP-A1 does with the DSD direct modes, as explicitly stated in the manual.
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post #1550 of 3664 Old 06-28-2009, 10:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Rod#S View Post

I'm obviously not Joe but I thought I would comment on that question. The A1 actually uses the Realta chipset whereas the Oppo uses the ABT chipset. .

An interesting point.. I have a DVDO VP50 Pro, and the A1 (both the DVD and the AVP) does a far superior job over the DVDO. It is not even close.
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post #1551 of 3664 Old 06-28-2009, 11:05 AM
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Originally Posted by joerod View Post

I am glad the 4310CI can add the PLIIz Height sound to it as well. I won't go into that here but all I will say is my theater has never sounded more alive during a movie. Accurate placed sound can really make a difference. Especially during a chase scene (Friday the 13th 2009).

Nice review Joe, and it seems as if you like the 4310 as well.... It looks to be a great receiver for the money.

I'll make a nit pick, though.... There is nothing accurate about IIz.. It is a completely fabricated "pseudo" effect...

When you use PLIIx or the like to extract 4 channels of sound from 2 that exist on the same plane, all the spacial and steering cues are part of the content...

It's fine to like IIz as a preference, but there is nothing "accurate" about it.


BTW.. I mixed Friday the 13th.
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post #1552 of 3664 Old 06-28-2009, 11:06 AM
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WOW - a $4500 player only passes 16 of 24 HD audio bits over HDMI

To Shamus' point, I guess Denon figured they wouldn't be missed

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post #1553 of 3664 Old 06-28-2009, 11:20 AM
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Originally Posted by FilmMixer View Post

Nice review Joe, and it seems as if you like the 4310 as well.... It looks to be a great receiver for the money.

I'll make a nit pick, though.... There is nothing accurate about IIz.. It is a completely fabricated "pseudo" effect...

When you use PLIIx or the like to extract 4 channels of sound from 2 that exist on the same plane, all the spacial and steering cues are part of the content...

It's fine to like IIz as a preference, but there is nothing "accurate" about it.


BTW.. I mixed Friday the 13th.

I agree with you FilmMixer. I just like how it "adds" to the effect when waching movies and sports. Rain and helicopters sound great. Not to mention the roar of a crowd during a football game. I do like the 4310CI and plan to get the 4810 when it hits.

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post #1554 of 3664 Old 06-28-2009, 11:34 AM
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Rod beat me to it.

I don't want to get into comparing players yet. I will post what I differences I see whether they are slight or larger in Part 2.

Thanks joe appreciate it , i'm still waiting for mine to arrive.

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post #1555 of 3664 Old 06-28-2009, 11:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Unherdable View Post

Still no luck? I wonder if it is because you have the HDMI matrix or possibly multiple displays attached? Maybe a HDMI handshake screwup? Does it work if you attach just a single display to the HDMI output on the AVP?

this may be the case:

Gefen has introduced a new crosspoint switcher for release in August that may resolve this

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post #1556 of 3664 Old 06-28-2009, 12:45 PM
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Originally Posted by joerod View Post

Doing this review made me realize a couple significant things. First off, it represents the 15th Blu ray player I have reviewed which means I am either sick/crazy or just have to much time on my hands. The other (which is huge) is the total MSRP is over $10,000 with the players involved. Of course do the DVD-A1 makes up almost half of that. In the grand scheme of things I realize both probably mean nothing but I thought they were worth noting. Especially since most publications usually do not have this much fire power on hand when they do their reviews. I would like to personally thank Robert of VE and the many AVS members who appreciate my efforts. Part II (The Comparison/Super Shootout) is for you. Let's get started with the DVD-A1.

So what does a MSRP of $4500 buy you? Besides a hernia repair if you don't use your legs when lifting quite a bit. This "Blu ray player" almost weighs 42 pounds! This is more than the Denon 4310CI receiver below it (pic 2). I seriously doubt anyone can find fault with me calling it a tank or battleship. If there was ever an argument against build Q advantages don't bring it up with the DVD-A1. It is built solid for a reason.

Let's jump into the Features, Pic & Soud Q. The last couple Denon units I have reviewed (3800 and 2500) have had plenty of picture adjustments. Same with the DVD-A1. You get DNR (reduces noise in the entire picture which is useful for SD dvds), Contrast, Brightness, ENHANCER (strengthens the contours of the picture- you have 0 to 11 and I will say it really does help emphasize the picture without hurting it), Gamma Correction (this time this adjustment gives you a cool graph that allows you to tweak it perfectly), Sharpness Mid (which is only for analog outputs), Sharpness High (this adjustment is works over HDMI), Hue, White Level, Black Level, Chroma Level, H position and V positions (these allow you to move the picture left/right or top/bottom). I was able to dial in a very impressive image. I took plenty of screenshots and will post them even though I know they don't do the DVD-A1 justice. Since I just got the 4310CI Denon receiver (wanted to pair it with the DVD-A1) I was interested in trying the Denon Link 4th mode. I have been very impressed with the sound I am getting in my theater. I actually have a few sample SACDs and was impressed. I don't usually listen to CDs in my theater but they sounded very clear. The concert Blu rays I watched were also excellent using the 4th over HDMI connection. Speaking of HDMI the DVD-A1 has Dual outs. If you are sending one to your TV and the other to your AMP it is optimal to set them to Independent. TIP> if you are going to Bitstream hit the MODE button and change it to BD HD Audio Out. I spent awhile playing around with the different settings. Analog sounds amazing as expected. I am glad the 4310CI can add the PLIIz Height sound to it as well. I won't go into that here but all I will say is my theater has never sounded more alive during a movie. Accurate placed sound can really make a difference. Especially during a chase scene (Friday the 13th 2009). My last pic shows them walking in the woods. The amount of detail is astounding. The HDMI 1 I set to Deep Color and the Color Space to YCbCr. And yes I as using 1080p/24. Even the SD dvds looked great. I put in some of the less than average titles and they were tolerable. You can't make chicken salad out of chicken sh*t but the DVD-A1 comes pretty close. It is the best SD dvd player I have seen. The DVD-A1 has passed all tests. Of course the most important one is REAL time viewing. It handled everything easily. The opening scene in The Dark Knight (pic 4) looked perfect. Not a hint of artifact, moire' or distortion.

Other... The remote (pic 3) is very nice. It lights up (very bright) a nice blue. I did not have any sluggish issues with it. I had to go in slow motion, pause, FF and RW a lot to get my screenshots. I will say it is very heavy. It is also nicely laid out. More important buttons are Picture Adjust, Display, MODE, and of course HDMI mode and resolution. There is also a cool Disc Layer button option that lets you select whether you play the Multi, Stereo (2 channel of HD layer) and or the CD layer. TIP> be careful not to hit the Source button unless you have a SD card in. This will completely the stop the movie and make you have to start over.

Load Times... I will say if you change the Power On mode to "quick" you will be able to get the movie inside the DVD-A1 within 2 seconds. That does make a difference since a lot of time when you power on the other players you have to wait a little while before you can put a disc in. This quick start allows you to get the movie in and do "other" things while it is loading. Other meaning popcorn and or drinks. Loading movies seems about on par with the latest gen of players. It does move a little faster if you have it connected. Speaking of connected it did a firmware update this morning. It only took one try so I feel lucky in that regard. The 4310CI was a challenge to get updated over the Ethernet connection but it did. Anyway, the DVD-A1 is not as fast as my JVC, Oppo or PS3 but in the end it is the pic Q and sound Q that matters most. How will it stack up against the 09FD, 3800, S5000ES and others? I am doing that now so give me a little more time to post my final Overall 0 to 100 rating scale.

Blu ray discs... So far it has played every title I have put in it except one. You guess it. The T2 Skynet disc will load and go to the start up menu. It then will play with only the sound. I consider that not a deal breaker since other players won't even load the title. Other than that it has loaded and played over 150 titles (yes, I spent a lot of time testing).

Conclusion... I will end this Review since I really want to get to my comparison report. I will say that the Denon faithful have a winner on their hands. Besides the beautiful cosmetic finish this player plays! And before the Oppo-gang starts throwing stones I would like to warn them against embarrassing themselves. If you had the chance to get either or straight up for free I am pretty sure 98% would take the DVD-A1. This Denon Flagship is going to be tough to beat in terms of overall pic and sound Q. And I am pretty sure it won't be beat in terms of build Q. The BIG question has to be is it worth the extra coin? Will I keep it as my starter over my 09FD? I will post my views on that and more in Part 2.

Thank you for that excellent review! Thank you also for really taking the time to do some serious testing, using many many different BD titles. Knowing that it played all without a hitch except for that one problem title (T2 SkyNet Edition) says a lot for this player.

I was already on board in getting this player, but now I know with even more certainty that this is the player for me.

Thanks again!


Seth
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post #1557 of 3664 Old 06-28-2009, 01:02 PM
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Originally Posted by markrubin View Post

Firmware update succeeded!

the third time is the charm as they say: the front panel display was indicating it is downloading the update and showing its progress rather than locking up as in the first 2 attempts

That is excellent news Mark! Glad to hear that it "finally" worked. Hopefully when I get my A1 it will have the new firmware pre-installed (getting mine from the second batch, end of July).

And I'm sure that you'll get that blue light to come on. When you do, please share what you needed to do to get it on, this way "if" anyone else experiences the same issue we'll know what to do.

On the A1 I will have one HDMI out going direct to the TV for video and the other going to the AVP for audio. The only other HDMI sources I will have connected to my AVP are 2 Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD players, and a Denon 2500BTCI Blu-ray player (for Region B playback).

In my configuration I shouldn't have to worry about CEC HDMI issues should I?


Seth
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post #1558 of 3664 Old 06-28-2009, 01:16 PM
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Thanks for the review. I hope to get mine next week.
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post #1559 of 3664 Old 06-28-2009, 01:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shamus View Post

The Denon reads and rereads the data to ensure bit for bit accuracy, The Oppo throws away bits it feels you won't miss (like mp3) to get it's high speed.

Congrats to all the Denon DVD-A1UDCI owners! This unit is way over my pay grade

shamus,

How do you know that the Oppo throws away bits?


Respectfully,
Willie

Home Theater - LG OLED65E6P, Sony UDP-X1000ES, Cambridge CXUHD, Arcam FMJ BD300
Denon AVR-X8500H, Furman Elite-15PFI, Emotiva XPA-2 & XPA-3 (both GEN3)
Revel Performa3 F208, C208, M105, S206, SVS SB13-Ultra (Dual)
Office - Sony BDP-S5000ES, Denon DVD-5910, Revel PerformaBe M126Be
Family room - Oppo UDP-203, Sony BDP-S790
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post #1560 of 3664 Old 06-28-2009, 01:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markrubin View Post

Firmware update succeeded!

the third time is the charm as they say: the front panel display was indicating it is downloading the update and showing its progress rather than locking up as in the first 2 attempts

How bizarre, I had exactly the same experience as you.

After I read the above post, I attempted firmware update number two. No cigar. Same symptoms as above, red power light, two blue leds, setup on display, non responsive.

But then I powered down and immediately tried a third time, and this time it worked. EXACTLY AS YOU SAID.

Just a coincidence I am sure. Unless others report that they have to try the process three times before the charm.
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