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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok.... please "school" me... :)


What makes a really High-End DVD player, like the Tag McLaren, so much "better" than a mid-level DVD player?


I guess a different way to ask the question is: why is the $6,000 Tag McLaren (if that is the price) so much more expensive than a $500 Toshiba or Sony DVD player? Will the higher-end players actually delivery better DVD video and audio performance? I've read some of the marketing info on the Tag McLaren and it mentions how it produces superior sound:


"Best Sound

The DVD32R uses a top loading transport, allowing its drive motor and servo electronics to be mounted to a heavy, mass loaded sub-chassis. Advanced interface circuitry reduces rise and fall times whilst preventing waveform discontinuities, reducing the demand on the digital interconnects. When used with the AV32R T2L allows the AV32R to fix its clock to provide a low noise, ultra low jitter reference. The result is improved data integrity, reduces jitter and better sound. "

(Here is hte source of the above quote: http://www.tagmclaren.com/products/...tro.asp?readin= )


Is this info techinically correct? Or is digital audio and video digital and the above is mostly marketing rhetoric?


Peace.....
 

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I consider the TAG McLaren a lunatic fringe player. Lunatic fringe means way to the right on the asymptotic doller vs. improvement value curve.


As an example, the horizontal-sliding door on the TAG that covers the opening where you place the disk has a micro-processor controlled automatic opening mechanism that compensates for wear so that the door continues to slide open at the same rate over the years as the bearings and surfaces wear.


Is this esoteric lunatic fringe or what?


I'd rather have 14bit, 108MHz delta-sigma video DAC's to move D/A conversion artifact noise out past the video channel bandwidth upper cut-off. You can keep your constant velocity door.
 

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I appologize if this reply is a bit obtuse.


What makes the high end players "better" is a good question. Each individual, IMHO, has unique requirements, likes and dislikes regarding any piece of equipment.


Fundamentally, I believe we all participate, to the degree we do, in this hobby becuase we love music and/or film/video -- for simplicty: the recorded arts. To paraphrase Mark Levinson, if the material we are listening to and/or watching does not move us or touch our hearts or minds, then it is not art but noise -- background stimulation. With this in mind, I think the "true" high-end companies attempt to remove whatever barriers exist between the recorded media and that heart/mind involvement.


Maybe in no other corner of AV manufacturing (with the exception of cables) is the price vs performance curve more parabolic than with DVD players.


That being said....fundamentally, one would expect higher performance standards from the high-end. These standards can take many shapes and forms. They can be strictly electronic in nature. (e.g., better power supply systems, DACs, resistors, multi-layer circuit boards, etc.) They can also be architectural. (e.g., built like a tank vs. built like a tin-can) They may also be aesthetic. (e.g., the sexy as hell Krell gear vs the typical pedestrian look/feel of average consumer gear.)[*]All of these factors contribute to an end product that will, at various price points, enhance your expericeces to a greater or lesser degree. None among us is 100% satisfied with every-single aspect of their AV environment. Rather, we are constantly on the look-out for affordable equipment upgrade options or room/accoustic enhancements. Those audio/videophiles who truly have the "utlimate" in AV equipment (by their standard -- i.e., tube vs solid state) systems in their homes go to great lengths to build dedicated rooms to further enhance their (often-times) 6-figure investment in equipment. They are trying to inch out every last drop of performance from their equipment. I have read speaker reviews where the reviewer assumes that somebody who purchased the speaker in consideration would actually build or modify a room to accomodate some of the setup quirks -- I'm definitely talking about the 6-figure range now.


The high-end DVD players on the market do everything just a tad bit better than their mid-end cousins. Setting aside the chroma-bug issue for the moment because, with few exceptions (e.g., Krell, Ayre, Camelot, EAD, CAL), this is something that has not been adequately addressed by many of the high-end companies.


Also, the display devices used to actually provide the information read from the DVD to you, the listener, are critical. Somebody with a teranex/G90 setup will certainly benefit more from a "high-end" DVD player than another fellow utilzing a 55" Samsung RPTV. The amps and speakers are another analogy. Somebody with ultra-revealing speakers (e.g., Wilson) will certainly derive more benefit from a pair of Levinson Monoblocks than me with my Paradigms. I may not notice much if any difference between the $50K Levinsons and a $5K Krell stereo amp but I bet I would notice a difference between the Krell and, oh lets say, a $500 Sony amp.


So... I know my answer was way philosophic, but I know there are others much more adept at communicating the sheer technical aspects of various DVD players.
 

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Elmitz makes a good point. Also, many of the high end players feature significant improvements in the 2 channel analogue playback to satisfy those people who prefer one player for DVD and CD playback. The video aspect is another story. The picture quality of a mid level DVD player is so good that I feel that it takes a fairly high end display device to appreciate the somewhat subtle differences. This is not to say that if you use a high end player thorough an "average" TV that you won't see a difference, but that with big screen projection the differences are more pronounced. There is a factor in enjoying high end audio/video that for lack of a better term I will call "inner ease". After spending much time and money it was only this month that my audio system reached that point where my body relaxed, my ears weren't "defending" themselves and the soul of almost every performance was coming through and affecting me emotionally. Strangely enough this happened after installing an Osiris isolation stand under my CD/DVD player. When I have seen high end DVD players ( Ayre, Camelot's "Roundtable") on a big screen they achieved similar results, my critical facilities would suspend themselves and I could become involved with the content more easily. Someone once said that "grace is when someone makes you comfortable in their presence". Some higher end players have a touch of "grace".
 

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"I consider the TAG McLaren a lunatic fringe player.

Lunatic fringe means way to the right on the asymptotic doller vs. improvement value curve. "

WELL PUT!!!!!!!

I doubt that this player's measurable performance is much

if any better than a 200-300 $ DVD or CD player. I notice that

make a big deal about the players mass but don't mention

the electronics used in it...
 

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Tammes, a can agree with you and still understand that there are some customers who prefer to know that every little detail is accounted for even if it means only a small increase in A/V quality because they plan to use a product for a long time. A product like the Tag McLaren is clearly not for everyone.
 

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Well tammes, I doubt you’ve seen it in action in that case! I wouldn’t say that it’s more then 10 times as good as a the 300$ machine which the price unfortunately is though, but it’s clearly an impressive player. To squeeze the last bit of performance out of the equipment increase the price exponential. This kind of gear are produced in very small quantities, which results in that the R&D cost per unit is very high.


Please admit that you rather sit in the new BMW 7-series, noticing that the door is closed by an electronic motor the last centimeters, giving it a nice sound, then here the noisy “donk†while the same procedure is done in a Daihatsu. The 7-series is not for everyone, nor is TAG’s DVD players.
 

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Well I took another look at the specs on their web site.

Many features do look good, BUT,,,,

it doesn't appear to be prog-scan and while they have

a possible upgrade for fire-wire, no clear mention

of DVI?
 

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I do want to mention that a high price tag will not

automatically guarantee many trouble-free years of use.

The TagMclaren does give the impression of being a

very well made unit, but take a look at audioreview.com

and look at Meridan's 800 - a 10K$+ unit. If anyone has

any experience with this unit, I would be interested in hearing

about it. I am not anti small specialty makers of high-priced

audio-video gadgets, but you do have to be a bit more

careful.
 

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WELL........................

I read the WHOLE Tag page about their DVD player....

Prog-scan and PROBABLE DVI upgrade

( when copy-right issues settled).....

Still not sure about some of the features, but this sounds interesting!!!

How much is one of these?

Anyone own one???
 

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Tomdkat:


I think ELmitz summed it up masterfully.


Although not as exotic or expensive as the TAG McLaren, I have a McIntosh MP831 DVD/CD player, which some people would probably consider “high-endâ€. I kind of bought it on faith because I already had a McIntosh home theatre, before deciding to upgrade the DVD/CD component. The MP831 replaced a Pioneer combo LD/DVD/CD player for movie watching, and an EAD DSP 7000 Series III DAC/T1000 CD transport, with the AT&T glass interface, for CD listening. The Pioneer was a run-of-the-mill unit but the EAD combo was pretty decent and performed well.


The MP831 video outperformed the Pioneer, as expected, but it was also superior to the EAD system for CD listening, which surprised me. I did a lot of A/B comparisons while I still had the EAD, just to make sure it wasn’t my imagination. The EAD also had HDCD, which the MP831 doesn’t, but HDCD disks sounded better on the MP831 than on the EAD.


Just after buying the MP831, I was in my dealer’s store, which was demonstrating a new high-end Denon DVD/CD player. I don’t recall the model, as this was just over 2 years ago. The Denon had HDCD and a few other features the MP831 lacked and it really passed the weight test. It seemed to be built like the proverbial “tank†and weighed quite a bit more than the MP831. The Denon was priced at about $3,500 (Canadian), while the MP831 was $4,000, so they were also close in price. I asked the dealer if I could take the Denon home and evaluate it. They said sure, and that they would take the MP831 back and refund me the price difference if I decided to keep the Denon.


To make a long story short, there was absolutely no comparison between the MP831 and the Denon, for either audio or video quality. The MP831 won hands down in every category. I can’t say why this is, but it seems high-end manufacturers, such as McIntosh, do some things better than the mass market guys. Just over 2 years later, I’m still very happy with the MP831. For DVD’s, I’m using it with a 50†plasma connected via S-Video through a Faroudja NRS. For CD listening, it’s connected to the McIntosh pre/processor with decent Cardas analogue cables.:D:D:D
 

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"Somebody with a teranex/G90 setup will certainly benefit more from a "high-end" DVD player than another fellow utilzing a 55" Samsung RPTV."


If you pair an SDI modified RP56 versus an SDI modified Tag McLaren (if such a beast existed), then you would have nearly identical video, even on a G90. The Teranex will only accept SDI.


Presumably, the audio components would be similarly "standard", but I have found it otherwise. I could tell the difference among all the DVD players I have owned, even with my inferior sound setup and tin-plated ear.


Go figure.
 

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IMHO the difference between a $6500 DVD player and my $300 DVD player is the right to brag to friends, family, and fellow forum members. Don't get me wrong, I'd love to have one, but in that price range, it should come with a voice activated robot who will physically go pick up the DVD and insert it into the machine while getting me a beer and some popcorn. :)


One other thing, for those of you who can justify this type of investment on a DVD player, Please let me know the next time you upgrade and need to get rid of some old equipment. :D
 

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Guys,


Regarding the TAG DVD32R, please note that I believe it comes in at least two video versions:


1. The "standard" version uses the Mediamatics deinterlacing chip which offers some superb features, if the player manufacturer implements them in their design - such as very good PAL or NTSC convertible output and superb X-Y dimension pixel level scaling and this chip's integrated-in MPEG decoder DOES NOT have the chroma upsampling design error. HOWEVER, TAG McLaren missed a big opportunity in using this chip because they did not design into their circuit board use of the scaling capability, ........... unlike the the $350 Malata N996 does with it's use of the Mediamatics deinterlacer chip. Also, the Mediamatic chip's deinterlacing to progressive scan methodology with video-based or poorly flagged DVD disc's is very basic and way below par to that accomplished by the Faroudja and DVDO deinterlacing IC solutions. Both of these short-comings, IMHO, should not be acceptable in a DVD player aiming as high as the ~$7K price point would suggest. Also a DVD player's design with respect to interlaced output when using the Mediamatic'ss chip is easy to compromise as many designs use the chip's deinterlaced output to "derive" the interlaced output for the player. The chip has a direct interlaced output port (as well as it's deinterlaced port), but for some reason some DVD player designers compromise interlaced output by secondarily deriving it from progressive output of the Mediamatics chip.


2. The DVD32R with the video upgrade I think uses the superb DVDO deinterlacing chip........ however watch out - as this option MAY have the chroma upsampling design error which if it does, again should not be acceptable at ~$7K.


Homework is required here as audio and mechanical prowess notwithstanding, the video may not be quite at the perfection point it could or should be.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by SUTTONHT

... but in that price range, it should come with a voice activated robot who will physically go pick up the DVD and insert it into the machine while getting me a beer and some popcorn. :)
You know what? It would have to a heck of a lot more than that! Use your imagination :)


In the audio world, higher end gear tends to sound better than mass market gear. I say "tends" because I've heard expensive systems that do not impress me in the least, so it takes work to put together a synergistic system. Projecting to the video world, a high end DVD player would have to offer both better video and audio quality. Seeing how good the video is these days from a $500 DVD player, I'd offer that a $6000 DVD player has its work cut out on the video side. Someone above said it best that DVD players really push the price/performance curve. I totally agree.


I recently upgraded from a $700 Linn CD player to a Sony XA777ES SACD player. I'm going to categorize the Sony player in the high end not just because of cost (around $2000) but because the sound quality of this thing just blows me away! And this is when playing CDs! You can throw every audiophile term at this thing, and if you're not into that, imagine the foot-tapping and air guitaring/drumming quotient going through the roof! It's musical. And from Sony, too. I wasnt' sure I wanted to spend this kind of $$ on a Sony product but now that I have, it's worth every penny.


Moral of this story (and from previous experience)? The "high end" can be hit and miss. Worth is very personal. YMMV applies.
 
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