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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi there fellow members,


A couple of months ago, I toyed with the idea of adding a Plasma setup to my home. The one year anniversary of the DIY custom building of my dedicated cinema room was approaching, and I thought what a better way to cap it off than with another separate HT system for my living room.


While I have enjoyed and continue to enjoy my HT room almost daily (DILA projector shooting through a Panamorph lens to a 100" wide Stewart perforated Greyhawk screen, making use of a modified SDI Denon DVD player fed through a Vigatec 1280 scaler for DVD playback, and an RCA DTC-100 for HD), I felt the need to upgrade my 30" Sony monitor, which was frankly beginning to show its years. I immediately thought of a Plasma display, as I felt the technology was coming of age and was ripe for prime time. I searched the forum through a myriad of choices. First came the Panasonic, then the Pioneer, then finally the Fujitsu. I weighted in all the pros and cons of each, and the final choice was not too difficult to make, albeit time consuming (it took me months to commit).


On a side note, a forum member who lives not too far away from me, who has had both the Panasonic and the Fujitsu, provided significant input on the subject. It was easy for me to demo both extensively. I am also proud to say I have made a wonderful friend in him and thank him kindly for so, for all the time that I have spent at his place and the fun times we have been having since. His handle is Aviators99, and his name is Ron. Yes, he is also a pilot, and a heck of one at that to boot!


Then sometime last fall I became aware that Peter Cineramax had opened shop in Miami, and so contacted him to schedule a viewing of his store. Peter had previously sold me a mount for my DILA last summer, and that is how we met. He told me he had the Fujitsu on display, along with the Revox line of electronics which was a much better choice for complementing the audio side of things than my then preferred candidate, Bang and Olufsen.


I am happy to say that I am the proud owner of what I consider is the top performing, visually stimulating, audio/visual combination available in the Plasma/compact category. I could not be happier with the Fujitsu. I had it calibrated by Cliff Plavin, who has done a great job at perfecting the best gamma and greyscale the set is capable of delivering. Colors look vivid, punchy yet clean, with absolute lack of artificial enhancements and video noise, which I terribly despise. HD looks glorious, there really are no words to describe how detailed and precise the images flow before your eyes. Liquidity is the word that comes to mind readily. To my surprise, SD satellite looks amazingly clean too. I have been accustomed to a lot of garbage feeds coming from overly compressed DSS signals. These feeds are very very detailed on the Fujitsu. The best SD feeds look undistinguished to my naked eyes from the worst HD material on HBO. Of course, there is still a lot of bad material which is irreparable even through a fine set as the Fuji. But mostly, I am very pleased with the quality of SD channels. I have never seen them so clean with the use of the AVM as through this set. One noteworthy observation: I briefly hooked up an old Crystal Image scaler to process these signals, just for fun and comparison. There was absolutely no comparison! The AVM won hands down. Granted, the Phillips chip in the CI is way too old technology, but I was pleasantly surprised at how much cleaner and better defined the AVM did its thing. Amazing piece of technology it is!


NOTE: I must report one big disappointment in Cliff Plavin. He had promised to deliver to me a written report with all the settings and corresponding values, in a nice letterhead paper of his company a few days after the calibration was performed. It has now been a couple of months and that promise is nowhere to be seen realized, despite three emails and one phone confirmation that he was going to. All I have that testifies of his $500.00 calibration services is a few hand written numbers on a blank piece of paper which he handed to me minutes before I handed him the check. One minor but significant blemish to his otherwise impeccable calibration, which did not score well with me on a professional, business-like level. Not a big deal. I can live with that. But I would have to reconsider recommending him to anyone if case proves itself to be such one day, based on this simple gesture.


Peter proceeded to introduce me to the Revox line of products. I was taken in equal amounts by the built quality and fine display of these electronic boxes, and by the sound that they managed to produce. Swiss-engineered technology and beauty. These electronics both look elegant and sound clean, clear, with plenty of undistorted power. I managed to secure the M51 DVD/Multichannel Audio Processor, along with five slim, sleek, good looking speakers for 5.1 audio reproduction, labeled A1s. Note: A subwoofer was missing because it was not available from the factory at the time yet.


The audio quality of these pieces is superb, as I said. One note of worthiness is for the M51. It is built like a tank. It has a very enjoyable tactile feel to it. The front panel is very elegant, and the unit is upgradable as it is modular, for future implementation of new technology. Also, and this struck me as very much a surprise, the video capability of this DVD machine is simply spectacular. I am not exaggerating, as I am particularly picky and demanding. Without any outside deinterlacing or scaling needed, the job this player's circuitry achieves alongside the AVM is nothing short of inspiring. My reference DVD is The Fifth Element, as I have probably watched it in critical viewing hundreds of times on different systems. The DVD looks very very nice. Absolutely little to no edge enhancement and artificially created contouring. Amazingly smooth video playback for a standalone player. Sharp without being fastidiously noisy, if you know what I mean.


Peter sold me on the idea of presenting such nice, elegant pieces of technology on an equally elegant and pleasing to the eye stand. The Callisto stand is truly a beautiful piece of engineering. The combination of wood, aluminum and glass on this thing is very pleasing. The plasma and the three front speakers mold to it like liquid molten glass and embrace it like its own skin. When you slide the M-51 and the STBs in its wide slots on the front, the complete look is truly a superbly elegant one. I must thank Peter for the recommendation of using such a pretty, fancy display for these electronics. I think it adds considerably to the experience.


I include a picture of my setup. I hope you guys like it as much as I do.


Thank you Peter for a very enjoyable experience in your store. And thank you for the professional consultation you provided, in the suggestions given and integration of the whole conceptual layout and scheme. I recommend anyone in the Miami area to visit Peter's store. And I recommend Peter to anyone here, if to simply listen if interested in a second opinion, from someone who is always keen and willing to go beyond simply talking the talk by following through with a genuine disposition of sincerity in the need to always look quality first in all your endeavors.


Cheers,


Luca
 

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Luca,

Very nice post.

Peter IS a high quality fellow unlike some of his power buying detractors...


A few questions:


50 or 61?

Which DirecTV HD STB?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks, tmitchmd!


I bought the 50. At the time I bought it, the 61 had not come out yet obviously. Although, even if it had been available, I would have still purchased the 50. I have not seen the 61 yet, but the price difference alone (about 10k if I am not mistaken) does not justify it for me considering it has the same resolution as the 50.


As far as STB, I am using my good ol' RCA DTC-100 which I have temporarily borrowed from my dedicated projection room, while I await to purchase a substitute for the Zenith STB. The Zenith was my original choice, but it has been turned out to be heavily backordered through Peter's distributers.


Thanks again.


NOTE: I have bought new furniture and re-arranged the room since the pic was taken. So, for the sake of completeness, perhaps I will borrow a digital camera and take another picture one of these days.
 

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Luca, very nice set up and thanks for the write up. I am definitely going to see Peter if I ever find myself in his neck of the woods. It is also good to get another view on the gear that he recommends.


Tmitch:
Quote:
Peter IS a high quality fellow unlike some of his power buying detractors...
Learn to let it go. You can do it, I know you can!
 

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propeller_beach,


Two Thumbs Up on your set-up. It looks very professional as well.


One question, what is that behind the Fuji on the wall and what is it for?


Since your handle is propeller_beach does this mean you own a boat?


Thanks.


Dave
 

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Cheridave,


I can't see what you're referring to. There are two pictures on the wall above the Fuji, could that be what you're referring to (I'm just pulling your chain, of course)...


I think you're referring to the mount. It looks like the mount is composed of a flat block (which attaches to the plasma) which looks like it's made of wood.


There are two vertical mounts that hold it up and look like they're part of the table's frame.


It's a very nice and clean design. I wish I only had 3 units that would fit in a setup like that. However, I'm now struggling to figure out how the heck I can fit in a DVD recorder into my setup without toppling the whole thing over (I think I found a way...) ...
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks, Divvy and Ofer!


I love this forum. I have been participating in it for a long while now and I can tell you that one of the things that make it so appealing to many is the nice, knowledgeable folks that visit here day in and day out, for the most part just seeking to just have a bit of fun while at the same time learning something new, all as part of this great HT hobby that we share.


As long as everything is kept on a polite, respectful level, I am game and will always be. It is those times when things get out of hand that I usually pull away for a while and let things cool off on their own. Good clean fun and information exchange is what I have come here for and will continue to. There is enough crap going on in this world that the last thing you need is to come to this forum and let it be a mirror image of all the bad things you already encounter and have to deal with in day to day life.


Just take everything with a grain of salt anyway. Go ahead and share your own view on the subject at hand. Just as you do in life itself, day in and day out. And hopefully, just as in life itself, the message will always be shared by others in the proper light and context it was intended, and will not be misconstrued. If not, then tough luck. You gotta have that too. It's part of life too that people will always be there who will understand just what they want to understand out of life and always be ready to go against you and the whole world no matter what you say.


Peter has been pleasing to talk to and an all around nice guy. I can't really speak for anyone else but me, but at least that has always been the case with me.


Regards,


Luca
 

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Thanks Ofer,


A wall bracket of sorts makes sense. I guess PRO only wants to acknowledge you and Divvy- oh well?


Dave
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks, Dave!


I assume you are referring to the stand? That is the Callisto stand Peter is selling to house the Plasma and the components. The Plasma attaches to a steel mount which itself is attached to the wood board which is attached to two big steel posts which hold the unit together and give it some counterweight so that it won't topple over.


I find the stand very elegant. It looks very nice in person too. The combination of wood, steel and glass makes a solution that is very pleasing to the eye (as opposed to the same old standard way of hanging a Plasma on the wall).


The side speakers were positioned like so on an idea from Peter which has proven to be very practical. The speakers snug to the sides of the Plasma like they were actually made for it. The aluminum texture the speakers complement the aluminum frame of the Plasma very nicely. And I was surprised that the darn height measurement for the speakers when positioned that way is the same exact one of that of the Plasma! They really look made for one another.


Ofer, I can only fit two or three components in those front holes, you are right. But on another great idea from Peter, I can always start strapping other electronics to the back of the wood board. And they will not be seen at all, thereby creating no clutter. Which is the original point of going with such a clean setup, to not jam too many components in there to make it look unpleasant to the eye. Actually, the slot next to the main aluminum finished M51 unit to its right is to be taken by the matching aluminum finished STB (Zenith or equivalent), with any black components I may end up using (one is a Dish Network receiver) moved and strapped to the back of the board. That includes an HTPC which I have laying around which I had built for HD recording purposes and which I will come to finally install one of these days.


Cheers,


Luca
 

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Thanks Pro,


The lamps also compliment your setup as well. CINE likes the Zenith STB and I myself am very interested in the new models coming out later this year. Are you thinking about the Zenith STB for your HT?


Dave
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Hi Dave,


Sorry about that. What happened is that I actually typed the post addressed to Divvy and Ofer before your response, and then got a phone call from overseas in the middle of it which took a while and so my typed post, as yet unsubmitted, was put on pause for the moment being. When I finally submitted it, you had submitted your post in the meantime and I could not see it in time to make any additions to my own. Again, sorry about that! I have submitted another post, in reply to yours above, but not before I had a chance to read your post.


Hope this makes sense. It has been one hectic morning, phone-call wise for me.


Cheers,


Luca
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Hi Dave,


Thanks. The lamps look nice. However, they have been replaced along with new furniture that I got for the room. They are no longer on the front of the room. Two tall plants in nice terracotta vases are in their place, one on each side.


The Zenith looked very nice when I saw it over at Peter's. I don't think it performs any better than my good ol' faithful RCA. But it certainly looks nice as far as complementing the aluminum look. As the Zenith seems not available anymore, I need to find a replacement for it. I need an aluminum faced STB though, which may narrow my choices a bit. The new Zenith PVR/STB is very very nice, albeit not having DSS capability. Also, I have heard about the Samsung being a nice unit. Do you have any ideas of your own you can throw in?


As for the Propeller handle, no I don't own a boat. I chose that handle because it is a song title from a little group you may have heard about called Tangerine Dream, which put out some of my absolute favorite music ever. Also, because of my passion for piston-induced propeller airplanes.


Regards,


Luca


EDIT: The Zenith I make mention of above is not a PVR. I must have mistaken it for some other unit I have read about, perhaps the JVC unit (which is for Dish NEtwork though, not Directv).
 

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PRO understood- no problem here.


Both Zenith and Samsung will be offering new models. Why I am interested in the Zenith and I guess the Samsung too is that they will offer 720p which will compliment our Plasmas nicely. Also they will have DVI (don't know about HDCP/HDMI though). I will want it for both DSS and OTA although some say get seperate STBs (one for DSS and one for OTA). I don't have a PVR and don't know if I ever will, but I am thinking about the Panasonic EM-30 DVD Recorder due out in about a month here in the states.


There is talk on these STBs in the Hardware Forum with some links if you want to get some additional info.


Dave
 

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Luca you are too kind.


I think that the best way of feeding DSS to the AVM is definetly 1080I. The zenith proved that and your trusty RCA seems to confirm it.


While 720p for High Def may have a .05 edge advantage on these plasmas is not worth it due to the artifact created by the filtering and temporal mode anomalies associated with SD upconversion.


Guess what Luca? Our SUBs arrived just now.


Come and get yours whenever you like, it's very very heavy.


Cheerio


P.D.

Remember that the older REVOX sub used to move around the floor, yours wont be. :)


http://www.groveplasma.com/SW-001.jpg
 

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Yeah so much for unobstrusive elegance.


However it passed the 1812 DTS with honors.


Like they say in Germany: Sehr Velodynisch!
 
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