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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Here is my original post to “RP91 or else†from earlier this week:


“Last Thursday I received a DVD-1600 and a RP-91. I am demo'ing the two units for 30 days trying to settle on one. I'm displaying on a Sony 10HT projector and I haven't optimized the projector for either player. So far - after a couple hours of viewing the jury is still out. The performance of both players is stunning when compared to my vintage 1997 Sony DVP-S500D but the video quality on either player is too close for me to assess. I haven't done any true A/B testing yet. I'll need another copy of several DVDs first. I want to repeat some of the tests the DVD shootout performed to give me better sense of what the failure mode is. I haven't viewed any discs that I've made from miniDV yet and apparently that is where I'll see the biggest difference. I need to look at the reliability issues with the RP91 since there seems to be some question about it.â€


Here is my update from this morning:


It took a little longer to build up some cables and route them through the walls than I had expected but last night I finally was able to performance my initial A/B testing. I configured to two inputs to the 10HT the same to minimize any effects due to the projector. I configured the RP91 to cinema mode, Auto 1, darker and configured the 1600 to cinema, Auto, darker. I used two copies of Monsters Inc and I had the players syncronized to the same frame. I paused several scenes and switched back and forth between the players.


Using this disc, these players are very close. The detail (sharpness), edge pixelization, and contrast are nearly indistinguishable. The color performance was the only place where I could really detect any difference at all. The Denon's red was more red whereas the panny's white was not nearly as yellow as the Denon's. I adjusted the 10HT to conpensate for the color delta and the outputs were again indistinguishable.


I put in a copy of a DVD that I created from miniDV and reconfigured the deinterlacer to video for both players. This is where I had hoped the 1600 would exibit better performance. Unfortunately, the players were very close again. I haven't been able to perform any of the tests from the DVD Shootout that the RP91 failed. I'd like to, but I need to get a test disc first.


One problem common to each player is that during "Mike's New Car" several motion artifacts show up in the white of Mike's eye during the sequence. I would like for someone to verify that they see this as well.


I should have a second copy of Gladiator tonight so I'll look into this a bit more and report back any findings.


If anyone else has done any A/B testing please give me your impressions as well.


As for my current overall assessment, there is something about the panny's picture that I seem migrate back to repeatedly. That said, I prefer the ergonomics of the Denon. The 1600 reacts much more quickly to operator commands which is probably due to a faster processor. The Denon also carries a longer warrantee. The only thing holding me back from getting the Denon at this point (if I don't find a clear cut winner in terms of PQ) is that the Panny has coax digital out and the Denon does not. I am concerned the adding a converter between the 1600 and my processor may be problematic.
 

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Thanks for the feedback! I ordered a 1600 yesterday and will compare it to my RP91/HS10, as well. If it doesn't show any significant advantages I'll send it back to Crutchfield and exchange it for another RP91 as a backup.


One thing I would suggest: while I, too use freeze frames for many comparisons, I also find you need to compare moving images too, to see if there are motion artifacts imparted by the player. They are probably the most obvious difference, to my eyes, between my XP30 and RP91.


I also find the XP30 has a little higher output than than my RP91, and will crush whites if the contrast is set at the same level. This makes the image go yellow in a 100 IRE window; maybe the 1600 is doing the same thing to you.


I know exactly what you mean about migrating back to the RP91. It just seems smoother, more filmlike than the others I've tried. Maybe it's the 12 bit video processing, as the others are mostly 10 bit...
 

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If you open the two up, arent both using the same main board desing with the panny adding a few things to it like a coax out?


If you open the Denon would you find the holes on the main boad for this connection, just noting filled in for it?


Is this maybe why the video is the same?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Quote:
Originally posted by Kevin Korom
One thing I would suggest: while I, too use freeze frames for many comparisons, I also find you need to compare moving images too, to see if there are motion artifacts imparted by the player.


I know exactly what you mean about migrating back to the RP91. It just seems smoother, more filmlike than the others I've tried. Maybe it's the 12 bit video processing, as the others are mostly 10 bit...
I failed to say that I had viewed the DVDs playing in real time. But again it was really difficult to say that one player was markedly better than the other. It seemed easier to pinpoint color and sharpness differences in freeze-frame.


As far as the PQ on the RP91 have you ever been dissatisfied with the performance. The DVD Shootout documents it fails several of the benchmark tests but in my limited testing I've seen nothing that I've been unhappy with. I want to repeat some of the benchmark tests that it failed though.
 

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Kirkvolk: My new RP-91 is still in the box. (I purchased my first one in the summer of 2001 and paid a premium for it then...almost $600.00). Do you still have to center the picture?...or did they correct that issue in later production?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I did not have to center the picture. I need to see what firmware version I have. I assume its 2.50.
 

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The 1600 and 91 are extremelly similar. Both use the exact same Panasonic MPEG decoder which has been the benchmark of all of the tests we've done at Secrets. The main difference between the two players is the de-interlacer. The Denon uses the Faroudja solution which will perform much better with improperly flagged material. This will result in little to no combing, which the Panasonic will do quite frequently. The Denon will also provide less jaggies on video based material.


I couldn't tell you what will perform better on the audio side as I have never heard the 1600. Both will most likely be satisfying though. If I had to pick one it would definately be the Denon as the Faroudja processing is quite a bit better then the old Genesis solution in the Panasonic. Most of the tests we did at Secrets reflect this difference in the players.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Quote:
Originally posted by Kris Deering
The Denon uses the Faroudja solution which will perform much better with improperly flagged material. This will result in little to no combing, which the Panasonic will do quite frequently. The Denon will also provide less jaggies on video based material.


... Most of the tests we did at Secrets reflect this difference in the players.
What percentage of major Hollywood releases exhibit improper flagging? Would I encounter combing in the RP91 on nearly every DVD? Have you noticed the aberation during "mike's new car" in Mike's eye? (I saw several occurances of severe but brief pixelization in the white of his eye related to rapid motion on both players)


The only reason that I am even considering the RP91 is the absence of a coaxial output on the 1600. What audio performance hit would I take by adding a toslink to coax converter or is this a non-issue?
 

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Almost every Hollywood DVD being put out today has improper progressive flags. Some aren't as sensitive to combing as others are similar to the rainbow problem with DLPs. I had the 91 for quite sometime and noticed combs every once in awhile but it wasn't overly distracting.


I am not familiar with toslink to coax converters, sorry. I couldn't tell you what that will do to the audio stream. But as long as the bits get there it shouldn't be a problem. All your doing is converting optical to voltage. Shoudn't be a big deal.
 

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i was trying to decide between the rp91 and the 1600 as well, was originally leaning towards the rp91 based primarily on physical looks but ended up purchasing a 1600 instead b/c of the faroudja


how easy woudl it be for me to purchase a rp91 as well from crutchfield and return either one later? woudl i need to pay anything out of pocket for demoing the two units?
 

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Quote:
As far as the PQ on the RP91 have you ever been dissatisfied with the performance.
The only areas I don't like are the oft-mentioned deinterlacing issue with video-based material, and the layer changes.


I don't see many combs on most movies; I do occasionally see one here or there, but very minor. But when it's video, it's a problem. Watch a concert video with lots of fast pans & it'll drive you nuts! In that case I either switch the RP91 to interlaced output & let the PJ do it, or use the XP30.


And Panasonics always have slow layer changes; I'd love to be able eliminate or at least shorten them. But all in all, that's a pretty minor issue.


Other than that, I love it! As I've posted before, I preferred the RP91 to the Samsung 931 via DVI. And the video adjustments can be a godsend for lousy transfers.


If I could find a player better overall than the RP91 for under $500, I'd buy it. I haven't seen or heard of one yet. We'll see how the 1600 looks, but I'm not expecting a miracle.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by kirkvolk
As far as the PQ on the RP91 have you ever been dissatisfied with the performance.
Yes, I have. I watch a lot of interlaced material and replaced my RP91 with a RP82/XP50. The RP91 doesn't handle poorly flagged and interlaced material nearly as well player equipped with the Faroudja chip. If you need the scaling features of the 91, you're stuck, but if you don't, the Denon 1600 is the way to go.
 

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Any comments on the performance of the video section when the 1600 is outputting interlaced? Does it still have a good, flat response?
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Quote:
Originally posted by Kevin Korom
Thanks for the feedback! I ordered a 1600 yesterday and will compare it to my RP91/HS10, as well. If it doesn't show any significant advantages I'll send it back to Crutchfield and exchange it for another RP91 as a backup.


One thing I would suggest: while I, too use freeze frames for many comparisons, I also find you need to compare moving images too, to see if there are motion artifacts imparted by the player. They are probably the most obvious difference, to my eyes, between my XP30 and RP91.


I also find the XP30 has a little higher output than than my RP91, and will crush whites if the contrast is set at the same level. This makes the image go yellow in a 100 IRE window; maybe the 1600 is doing the same thing to you.


I know exactly what you mean about migrating back to the RP91. It just seems smoother, more filmlike than the others I've tried. Maybe it's the 12 bit video processing, as the others are mostly 10 bit...
Kevin,

Have you received your 1600 yet. What do you think? I am waiting on a copy of the AVIA disc to look into this some more.

Kirk
 

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Kirk, I got mine yesterday (east coast weather delayed it), but was unable to do anything with it last night. Barring a lightning/meteor strike, I'll be doing some heavy-duty comparisons between them tonight;)


I did some more comparisons between the 91 & XP30 this weekend, in preparation of the 1600's arrival. There's no doubt, the RP91 just has a smoother, less digital-looking image to my eyes. The more I compare them, the more I prefer the RP91.


Yubyub, obviously I haven't looked at the interlaced output of the 1600, but the RP91 has long been considered one of the best interlaced units made.
 

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OK, I've spent about 2 hours with the unit, not a tremendous amount, but enough to form 1st impressions.


Want the abbreviated version? RP91 still wins in my system.


The details- the 1600 looks & feels exactly like my RV80, I bet they are essentially the same chassis. Front display is the same, only the faceplate is different. Remote codes, onscreen menus, etc, are all the same. The only thing I can find different is the lack of the "DVD VIDEO" screensaver the Pannys all have; the Denon has a solid blue screen.


Performance-wise, it looks very much like the XP30; it has the same digital haze/panning artifacts present on the XP30 that annoy me. They appear to be slightly less on the Denon, as the 1600 seems slightly less sharp than the XP30 or the RP91; this would coincide with the freq. response numbers Secrets listed in their tests. (NOTE: again, these are all very minor by normal standards, and this is on a 116" wide screen. I'm sure they would be much less obvious on a smaller display, or at greater seating distances (>1.5x screen width))


I'm sure with some tweaking I could make the XP30/1600 indistinguishable; there are very minor differences in the tint/color/white level settings, nothing at all major. I had to, at times, look at the switchbox to see which player (XP30 or 1600) was actually playing. (I only compared them two at a time)


Layer changes, something that I was looking forward to, are no better than the Panasonics.


So at this point, I still prefer the RP91 for film-based material. It just looks smoother, more filmlike to my eyes, on my system. Between the better image and much greater flexibility via the video menus, it's a no-brainer for me.


However, someone who needed a player excellent at both video and film-based material might well be willing to sacrifice that x% better picture of the 91 for the simplicity of a single player adept at all DVDs. The differences are certainly slight; I bet I could bring over non-videophile friends & try to get them to see the difference & they'd never see it.


I will let the player burn in the rest of the week & try some more over the weekend, but given it's obvious Panasonic roots, I'm pretty sure what you see is what you get...
 

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What's amazing is how well the 91 still holds up considering how old of a model it is. No ones even mentioned it's scaling ability yet!
 

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I played with the units some more after posting, and watched from a greater distance (my rear row of seats, approx. 1.75x screen width). At that distance, it is extremely difficult to see the artifacts I mentioned, so take that into consideration if anyone's basing a decision on my results!


Kirk, I reread your original post and wanted to make a suggestion before you make a decision. I noticed you were using Cinema mode on the RP91. I've found better results with U1 mode, and manually bumping the Gamma to around +3, give or take. You might want to try this, since we have similar PJs. The gamma control can really help out murky-looking DVDs with a LCD PJ.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Quote:
Originally posted by Kevin Korom


Kirk, I reread your original post and wanted to make a suggestion before you make a decision. I noticed you were using Cinema mode on the RP91. I've found better results with U1 mode, and manually bumping the Gamma to around +3, give or take. You might want to try this, since we have similar PJs. The gamma control can really help out murky-looking DVDs with a LCD PJ.
Kevin,


I'll give that a shot. Have you done an a/b comparison between the two? Have you seen combing on the RP91 that is not present on the 1600? Do you have 'Monsters Inc.' If so, check out 'mikes new car' on the bonus mat'l and let me know what you think.


I am leaning towards the RP91 but pretty much everyone else prefers the 1600 except for you and I. Do you have some suggestions on some material that is easy to distinguish between the players. What is a good video-based source film-based source, Avia tests, etc to highlight the differences. I just want to know what the perfomance hits are. I am buying this player to use as my only player although I primarily view film based DVDs. Could you recommend your optimal settings for the RP91 for film and for video? Have you optimized your projector inputs for either player?


Kirk
 
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