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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi!


In these day's when most talk is about HDTV and what future format we will be using it seems a bit crazy to talk about Laserdisc and even more crazy to spend money on a dead format. But then again, there are a few people that want the best players for their original Star Wars trilogy or other movies/music/etc that are still not on DVD. I'm one of them.


Before the internet grew as big as it is now, the reference laserdisc players was the Pioneer CLD-97, or CLD-99 depending on what person you talk with (yes, I know about the Runco & Theta, but they where still Pioneer/Panasonic player with mostly "better audio"). But with forums like this, we got to know that Pioneer in Japan made even better machines for the Asian market. The players most talked about was/is the Pioneer LD-S9, HLD-X9 and the HLD-X0. All three players gave a better picture than the US reference's, CLD-97/99.


So some people with big collections or simply wanted the best from the dead laserdisc format got a LD-S9 (around 1350$ new) or even a HLD-X9 (around 2600$ new). A very few did even look at the 80lb, single sided monster HLD-X0 (around 7000$ new). And a even fewer have a chance to compare these monsters, to see if there is any difference, and what one prefered. Now, I have made this.


The test was made like this; I used a Monster 3 s-video cable to a PDI Deluxe Card and captured the signal with the huffyuv program. According to knowledge people on this forum the PDI card is one of the best on the market, and the huffyuv capture the ld signal without any loss in quality (lossless, 1 min captured LD are 600MB avi!).

Then I used virtual dub to copy the exactally the same frame from both HLD-X9 and HLD-X0. I used the Ep1 japanese LD, it's one of the reference disc's on LD (but have some EE), and first Star Wars in the Definitive set (not reference quality), to see how it handles a little worse picture.


I also didn't write which player is which, just so we can have a "blindtest". So please look at the pictures really close, make up your mind what player you prefer the picture from and vote. In one frame maybe one player is better than the other and the other way around next. People with non-CRT monitors maybe also give another answer than people with CRT monitors, this have been the case with the 7-8 people that have looked already (the 2 that prefered one player had a non-CRT monitor).

I also know that looking at some frames is not the 100% story, but in this case it's really close. The frames are exactally what the players send out, I have not change anything. So download the pictures, look and make up your mind.

**NO talk about copying and ripping, this is just a test between two laserdisc players**


So, let the party get starting :p

Ep 1 we used the s-video "standard" mode on both players for these frames

Player A
http://www.2l8.nu/dholm/test/A1.bmp
http://www.2l8.nu/dholm/test/A1.bmp

Player B
http://www.2l8.nu/dholm/test/B1.bmp
http://www.2l8.nu/dholm/test/B1.bmp


Player A
http://www.2l8.nu/dholm/test/A3.bmp

Player B
http://www.2l8.nu/dholm/test/B3.bmp


Player A
http://www.2l8.nu/dholm/test/A6.bmp

Player B
http://www.2l8.nu/dholm/test/B6.bmp



For the Star Wars frames I used the s-video mode "sport" mode on both players. The Standard mode should clean up the picture a little more.

Player A
http://www.2l8.nu/dholm/test/A4.bmp
http://www.2l8.nu/dholm/test/A4.bmp

Player B
http://www.2l8.nu/dholm/test/B4.bmp
http://www.2l8.nu/dholm/test/B4.bmp


Player A
http://www.2l8.nu/dholm/test/A2.bmp

Player B
http://www.2l8.nu/dholm/test/B2.bmp

Player A
http://www.2l8.nu/dholm/test/A5.bmp

Player B
http://www.2l8.nu/dholm/test/B5.bmp


So now, what player do you prefer?


/Mattias
 

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These bitmaps are taking forever to load via my dialup connection so I've only loaded the first two tests for each movie.


Viewing on an LCD monitor, I preferred:


Phantom Menace Test 1 - Player B has a more detailed picture with crisper colors.

Phantom Menace Test 2 - Player A seems to win this one.


Star Wars Test 1 - Player A again has better fleshtones.

Star Wars Test 2 - Player A has deeper blacks but less shadow detail. Still, I prefer it over the washed out look of B.


If indeed you have kept the players consistent from test to test, the results I see are inconclusive, but with an edge to Player A in 3 out of these 4 shots.


I'm not sure that using S-video output is the fairest test, since the X9 is known to have a more advanced comb filter than the X0, while the X0 is often stated to have better composite video output than the X9.


In either case, the results are similar enough that I would choose the X9 regardless, because a single-sided player is useless as far as I'm concerned.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hi Josh!


Well, I agree with you on the first test on Phantom Menace.


On the second Phantom test I find more details on the B player. For example the ground on the B have more detail IMO.

I also find the roof on the first building on the left side having more detail and shaper. I also find the color better.


On SW test one I would say that I prefer the B over A. The B have a little too much red but I would say that I believe that it's the transfer that is so. The A have a little too much green. But this is a close call. The B have little better contrast IMO. I would say that the third Star Wars test proves to me that the B player have more contrast ratio and more detailed and sharper picture (for example, look at the little silver thing on the guys right side)


On the second Star Wars test I find you comment strange. What I see is that the B player have deeper blacks and better shadow detail. So this I don't really follow you :)


I will try to test in the future with a external comb filter for the X0 to see if I can make it give a even better picture. But I'm happy with the S-video output already!


Thanks for your comment's


/Mattias
 

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It's very hard to say! Both are good for different reasons. I guess that why I have both of these players like you do! If I had to choose! Based on a quick compare...


Viewing this on Apple PowerBook 17" wide LCD. I'm mostly a CRT user, so... not sure if that will change things.


TPM

BBA


ANH

BBB
 

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21" CRT, *reasonably well color-calibrated*


At first glance so far, all the B images are slightly darker. And IMHO that can give the perception of more depth.


in test 4(star wars test 1) The fleshtones are better in A, and the white of the interior of the battlecrusier looks more naturally white than the blue/green tinge the interior walls have in B, but B seems to have slightly better details in the background. Perhaps in that shot due to less white saturation...


To me the colors seem just slightly off in teh B player. FOr example, in test6(A6, B6), the blue lights behind jar-jar, look correct colorwise in A, like flourescent LEDs, they have more green in them in the B shot.


B is slightly more detailed looking but with poorer color balance to me.


A has much better color balance.


If these were my players, I would probably prefer watching my LD's on A...


BTW I loaded all these shots into PSP so I could quickly a/b them, so thats why I was critical of the colors.


Both of these players puts my old Philips CDV-400 to shame, I guess for the price they should have...


;)


Thnx for sharing...
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
What one should think about is, is it the player that makes EE or is it the player that shows what's on the disc? When we get better and better PJ and DVD players, we can see EE on movies we didn't see before. So is it the PJ fault that it shows EE? Just a thought.


I will in a couple of weeks make an even better test, stay tuned!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
There will be a LOT better test soon. I will use more players (CLD-925, DVL-909, CLD-97, R7G, etc) more movie clips and also the dvd version to compare. These two movies are really too little to make up one's mind. I will also take the VE disc and see what player shows the most resolution. So before the end of this year I will have a lot better test to show.


/Mattias
 

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I really wonder what the background noise levels are with DVNR "OFF", which one is smoother? This cannot be seen on still pictures on a computer. As for the detail, the X9 has frequency response adjustments inside the unit so I can make it look softer or sharper. The sharpness of the X9 depends on where the technician happened to set it. The black levels are also adjustable inside the unit, who adjusted them. I've seen this vary unit to unit.


I don't have the X0 service manual to know what adjustments are available. I know the LD-S2 did not allow frequency response adjustments but the CLD-97 does. Take the CLD-97 and tweak the frequency response for a sharper picture and it looks much better than a factory CLD-97.


In my opinion you should turn "OFF" all DVNR and 3D processing and see how clean and stable the players are. After that when you go into the different modes you add the effect of how good the DVNR and 3D processing is for each machine. Then the "HR" mode is where the X9 has a sharper picture than it's other modes. Both answers are good to know. I still wish I had a X0 to evaluate on an Analog Monitor, I'd like to see the background noise myself


Kurtis
 

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Kurtis just tweaked my X9 and the normal and C-wide modes are nearly as sharp as HR. I actually prefer normal over HR because with Kurtis' tweak of the frequency response you get the sharpness of the HR and have the ability to adjust the 3D processing level, which you can't do in HR. I get superb black levels from mine with the D-EXT on but am not sure if Kurtis had to adjust mine or not. I know the black level is really good though. That was one area where I was most impressed with the X9 over my CLD 79.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Kurtis Bahr, I will do it with DVNR off for the player too. I'm thinking of sending one of my HLD-X9 players to you for tweak and compare it to "stock" HLD-X9.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by NIN74
Kurtis Bahr, I will do it with DVNR off for the player too. I'm thinking of sending one of my HLD-X9 players to you for tweak and compare it to "stock" HLD-X9.
I'd be happy to help you, you can write me at [email protected] if you are interested in me tweaking your unit.


Kurtis
 

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Kurtis, I think you need to get some t-shirts printed up as part of your service.


"I had my unit tweaked by KB"


;)


Just kidding....


"Dad, shes worried about your unit"


Anyone?
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by NIN74
I will use more players (CLD-925,
Is that the same as the CLD-99? I'd like to see the 99, S9, and X9 side by side for comparison to see how much difference the comb filters make.
 

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It's not just the comb filter that makes players like the X9 better. I have a CLD 79 that I use it's composite output to my Pioneer Elite 530 RPTV, which has the same comb filter as the X9, so essentially my 79 is a 99 with a better comb filter than the 99 had. I also have a Pioneer HLD-X9 and use it's S-video output. I have compared the two side by side and the X9 is clearly the superior player. Now the comb filter in the X9 is more flexible than it is in the Elite RPTV, but I think it's more than that. I think the X9's comb filter excels with it's flexibility, it uses the Red laser, it's clamp is optimized for LD use only, and it is a overall better design than the 79/99 series. I also personally love the D-EXT feature. I think it's the combination of all these things that makes the HLD players the best.


I've heard that the S9 is good, but it's only real advantage over the 99 is that it uses the X9's comb filiter and it's clamp is for LD only. Other than that, it's basically the same as the 79/99.
 

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Josh nailed it:

"...a single-sided player is useless...".


Unless, of course, you're going to record the movie onto a dual-layer DVD for viewing.



I'd like to see how the CLD-97 compares stock and after Master Kurtis Obi-wan Bahr tweaks it!
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Quote:
Originally posted by Joe Murphy Jr
Josh nailed it:

"
...a single-sided player is useless...".


Unless, of course, you're going to record the movie onto a dual-layer DVD for viewing.



I'd like to see how the CLD-97 compares stock and after Master Kurtis Obi-wan Bahr tweaks it!


Well, for some, better picture is more importent. Then again, I change sides almost as fast with the X0 and the slow X9 turns sides. :D


A CLD-97 will be in my big test, not sure if it's a Kurtis tweaked one.
 
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