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Pioneer DV-563A Review

Discussion in 'Playback Devices' started by Brajesh Upadhyay, Jul 17, 2003.

  1. Brajesh Upadhyay

    Brajesh Upadhyay Well-Known Member

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    [​IMG]

    Background
    Got my 563A from Crutchfield yesterday. For the price ($160 w/$20 MasterCard coupon), this is one of the best home theater purchases I've ever made! I've been aching to have an affordable universal player for a while, almost getting the pricier Yamaha 2300 or Denon 2900 when they came out. Glad I waited! I've owned more than a dozen DVD player since 1997, including two that played DVD-A. The 563A replaces my Panasonic CP72. My review equipment is the Panasonic 53" (ISF-calibrated) HD RPTV, Onkyo SR600 receiver & Acoustic Research HC6 6.1 speaker system.

    Here's my mini-review...

    Build Quality & Setup
    The 563A is only available in silver. I've always preferred black components, but silver is slowing growing on me (& my wife likes it better). The player is fairly lightweight & sleek-looking (nice, slim design). The remote is light & flimsy-looking, but I use a universal remote anyway.

    I made all the connections (power, optical digital & 5.1 multichannel analog) & powered the 563A on. The setup includes an 'advanced' area & a 'guided' area. I went through both to cover all the bases. The 'advanced' area is where you choose how content on DVD-Audio & hybrid SACD should behave. (I set it up so that DVD-Audio & the multichannel portion of SACD play automatically.) The video setup has "Memory 1" & "Memory 2" to save your custom settings; I left mine at standard & 480p output. The final setup I did was with my RadioShack sound meter in the 'advanced' area, adjusting all but the sub to the correct levels (the 563A doesn't let you adjust the sub level).

    Audio Performance
    I've been dying to hear Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon" SACD, so that's what I popped in first. Went to track 4, "Time". Wow! This is the first SACD player I've had so I can't compare, but it was like hearing DSOTM like I've never heard it before (& believe me I've listened to this album countless times). Great clarity, depth & surround effects. I was so thrilled, I called my wife to listen. She isn't a Pink Floyd fan, but concurred the SACD sounded great. She however does like the Police, so I popped in the "Every Breath You Take: The Classics" SACD. Also terrific, although not as "wow" as DSOTM.

    Next, I tried the Blue Man Group DVD-A. While very good, the 563A's DVD-A quality didn't quite match that of the Panasonic RP91 & CP72 (my previous DVD-A players). It's still terrific, but the RP91 & CP72 produced slightly fuller audio. The 563A had a little less 'oomph'. Need to listen more when I get some time.

    The 563A's Dolby Digital & DTS quality is as good as the best DVD players I've owned. I tried several reference DVDs & they all sounded great.

    Video Performance
    This I haven't yet evaluated critically yet. I was so interested in the DVD-A/SACD capabilities of the 563A, that's what I played around with most last night. To test the 480p video, I tried "The Fifth Element" (SuperBit) & "Narc" (a DVD I just rented). Both looked excellent. Sharp/detailed & artifact-free. Colors seemed a tad muted, but I may need to recalibrate with Avia. I haven't checked to see if the 563A suffers from the infamous chroma bug yet.

    Conclusion
    These are my impressions after only 2 hours of playing with the 563A, but so far I'm very happy with this player. It's an awesome universal player, a steal for the price! Can't wait to get home tonight & play around with it some more...
     
  2. Brian L

    Brian L Well-Known Member

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    Brajesh,

    I expect that your thread will generate about 10 million views be the end of the day!

    Seriously, great to see a real user evaluation. The only comment I can make is that you might want to run an audio calibration with Avia, VE, etc.

    Your comment about Blue Man Group leads me to suspect that the 563 probably has the low LFE deal that pretty much every universal player has.

    A proper balance will answer that question.

    Also, I assume you are set to all speakers small/sub on?

    BGL
     
  3. Brajesh Upadhyay

    Brajesh Upadhyay Well-Known Member

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  4. Brian L

    Brian L Well-Known Member

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    Brajesh,

    No problem. My concern was WRT sub level, which as you said, there is no test tone internally.

    FWIW, on some Pioneer players (the 45A) there is a sub tone, but it is incorrect, which requires expernal tones to get right.

    BGL
     
  5. ChadLB

    ChadLB Well-Known Member

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    Brajesh,

    Nice to see that someone got this product finally since it was suppose to be released in June. Hopefully others will review soon and hopefully you can give us a Better video review once you have some time. Enjoy the new toy...
     
  6. MikeSRC

    MikeSRC Well-Known Member

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    Does this player actually have digital bass management as rumored?
     
  7. Carlo Medina

    Carlo Medina Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Brajesh, please keep us informed as you find out more! I'm thinking this might just be the "quick fix" until someone out there finally straightens out all the issues (bass management, no DSD to PCM conversion, DVDA+SACD in one affordable package). For under $200 I think this can be considered a throwaway (or more likely a hand-me-down) unit once a nicer model comes out with all the issues addressed (hah, fat chance! DVD players are still buggy in their 6th year!).

    [​IMG]

    EDIT: Oh, and I'm not so concerned about its video quality as I will keep my RP-91 for now as my primary player. You did mention that the Pioneer didn't have as much oomph as your RP-91, but as far as I know we can't play DVD-Audio on an RP-91 (well, not the MLP track anyway)?
     
  8. MikeSRC

    MikeSRC Well-Known Member

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    To my knowledge, the RP-91 plays all DVD-A tracks.
     
  9. Brajesh Upadhyay

    Brajesh Upadhyay Well-Known Member

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    Yes, I was always able to play the high res DVD-A tracks on my RP91.

    Mike, how do I check if the 563A does bass management? I know there's lot of talk about many players lacking this, but i haven't paid much attention to it.
     
  10. Danny Tse

    Danny Tse Well-Known Member

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    Need to control hand from reaching wallet and credit card....
     
  11. Guy Robinson

    Guy Robinson Active Member

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    I have a 45a and I actually find that the DVD-A is better than the SACD. More bass at lower levels. Although neither of them lack "Oomph".
     
  12. Brajesh Upadhyay

    Brajesh Upadhyay Well-Known Member

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    I only tested one DVD-A last night. I'll test more tonight. My co-worker just got his 563A as well, so it'll be interesting to hear more on this player. I'm no expert on video performance. I can evaulate how good the picture looks to my eyes & the 563A produced beautiful pictures. I got a bit annoyed when I started noticing combing on my RP91, so I got a CP72. I didn't notice any combing or similar artifacts on the 563A. Maybe someone can do a test to see if Pioneer has finally squashed the chroma bug.
     
  13. Brian L

    Brian L Well-Known Member

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  14. Brajesh Upadhyay

    Brajesh Upadhyay Well-Known Member

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    Looking here, it looks like I'll need to check the "Toy Story" DVD menu. Brian, do you have a link to the Secrets' test on chapter 4 of "Toy Story"?
     
  15. Brian L

    Brian L Well-Known Member

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    Brajesh,

    That is also a good test. Not sure where I got the chapter 4 info.

    What you are looking for is the red box lid. It will show streaks of white in the red if you have it. FWIW, I have not been able to see it with my 45A, but there may be a display issue.

    BGL
     
  16. Carlo Medina

    Carlo Medina Well-Known Member

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    Okay so color me an idiot. The RP91 does indeed do DVD-A and it has only taken two years of ownership for me to figure that out.

    So now, rather than deal with the imperfect solution of the 563A I'm considering if I should just wait for the new SACD solutions from Sony which, hopefully, will address bass management as well as keep the DSD decoding pure rather than converting to PCM?

    Off to Rat Shack to get 6 RCA gold interconnects...

    Thanks
     
  17. ChrisPATT

    ChrisPATT Well-Known Member

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    Does any know if this player still converts to PCM if BM is not used, or do these have nothing to do with each other? Either way, would it be better not to us BM as I heard that it could degrade the sound? Thanks!
     
  18. Angelo.M

    Angelo.M Well-Known Member

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  19. Brian L

    Brian L Well-Known Member

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  20. Brajesh Upadhyay

    Brajesh Upadhyay Well-Known Member

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