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This weekend I'm auditioning the Arcam DV88 Plus progressive DVD player. Although it's expensive at MSRP $1599, I have to say I'm extrememly impressed. I currently have a Marantz DV7100 (about $800), but the Arcam clearly blows it away.


My TV is a Samsung 61" DLP (HLM617W). My audio consists of the Arcam AVR200 receiver and Dynaudio Audience speakers (72/62/122C/Sub30A). Interconnects and speaker cable are Transparent Cable.


Last night Spiderman was on HBO HD, so I decided to compare the HBO HD version of Spiderman (via DVI input, not calibrated) with the DVD (via Component, ISF calibrated). Although the HD version had better detail and was more three-dimensional, the DVD in the Arcam was very impressive and looked almost as good.


I've also tried several other DVDs so far (Star Wars II, LOTR I). One of the things I've really noticed is how much better the Arcam displays black levels. The dark scenes in Spiderman and LOTR looks much better than I've ever seen them on DVD. I also noticed that certain scenes with solid colors (skies, walls, etc) that looked pixellated or badly dithered with the Marantz didn't with the Arcam. This is a big bonus I didn't expect.


The sound is also very impressive. DD and DTS soundtracks are much better balanced and the surround effect is far more full and realistic than that coming from the Marantz DV7100 or DD material from my Samsung TS160 DirectTV/ATSC tuner.


I also tried a CD: Bach Sonatas and Partitas for Violin by Sigiswald Kuijken. It sounded about as good as I've heard on a CD player, but still not nearly as good as the analog LP on my Linn LP12 turntable. The Arcam does a nice job with all the harmonics of double and triple violin stops -- proper reproduction of this kind of sound (along with harpsichord music) has always elluded the digital domain. But the Arcam gets about as close as any CD playback I've heard. I still miss the warmth and natural woody timbre I get from the analog LP.


Anyone else have experience and thoughts on the Arcam DV88 Plus? I'm seriously thinking about springing for this.


Dean
 
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