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Pioneer DV-563A Review


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#1 of 587 OFFLINE   Brajesh Upadhyay

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Posted July 17 2003 - 02:03 AM

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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...
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#2 of 587 OFFLINE   Brian L

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Posted July 17 2003 - 02:12 AM

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 of 587 OFFLINE   Brajesh Upadhyay

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Posted July 17 2003 - 02:43 AM

Quote:
Also, I assume you are set to all speakers small/sub on?
Yes.

Quote:
The only comment I can make is that you might want to run an audio calibration with Avia, VE, etc.
The 563A can generate its own test tones for all channels, except the sub, so that's what I used (along with the RS sound meter) to calibrate.
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#4 of 587 OFFLINE   Brian L

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Posted July 17 2003 - 02:49 AM

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 of 587 OFFLINE   MikeSRC

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Posted July 17 2003 - 03:38 AM

Does this player actually have digital bass management as rumored?
Enjoy!

Mike
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#6 of 587 OFFLINE   ChadLB

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Posted July 17 2003 - 03:37 AM

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...

#7 of 587 OFFLINE   Carlo Medina

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Posted July 17 2003 - 03:59 AM

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!).

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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)?

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#8 of 587 OFFLINE   MikeSRC

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Posted July 17 2003 - 04:21 AM

To my knowledge, the RP-91 plays all DVD-A tracks.
Enjoy!

Mike
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#9 of 587 OFFLINE   Brajesh Upadhyay

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Posted July 17 2003 - 04:28 AM

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.

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#10 of 587 OFFLINE   Guy Robinson

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Posted July 17 2003 - 04:31 AM

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".

#11 of 587 OFFLINE   Danny Tse

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Posted July 17 2003 - 04:29 AM

Need to control hand from reaching wallet and credit card....
SACD not listed at sa-cd.net (updated 8/26/2009)

#12 of 587 OFFLINE   Brajesh Upadhyay

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Posted July 17 2003 - 04:34 AM

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.
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#13 of 587 OFFLINE   Brian L

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Posted July 17 2003 - 04:49 AM

Quote:
Maybe someone can do a test to see if Pioneer has finally squashed the chroma bug.


I nominate YOU!

Cue up Toy Story from the UTB set, chapter 4. Look at the Tinker Toy box cover and/or the Microphone. Compare to test shots on Secrets.

As for testing BM, you will need some test software. Avia has some tests, but I actually prefer the Chesky Ultimate DVD for BM testing.

Quote:
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".

I have a 45A as well, and find that bass "oomph" is pretty much program dependent. For DVD-A, Hotel California is pretty good, and for SACD, Bowie's Heathen has pretty good bass. Keep in mind that I use an ICBM for all BM duties.

BGL

#14 of 587 OFFLINE   Brajesh Upadhyay

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Posted July 17 2003 - 05:44 AM

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"?
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#15 of 587 OFFLINE   Brian L

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Posted July 17 2003 - 06:00 AM

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 of 587 OFFLINE   Carlo Medina

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Posted July 17 2003 - 06:07 AM

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

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#17 of 587 OFFLINE   ChrisPATT

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Posted July 17 2003 - 06:41 AM

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 of 587 OFFLINE   Angelo.M

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Posted July 17 2003 - 07:09 AM

Quote:
I've owned more than a dozen DVD player since 1997...


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#19 of 587 OFFLINE   Brian L

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Posted July 17 2003 - 07:10 AM

Quote:
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!


Unknown on the question of PCM conversion, but you might want to try a listening test with your own ears to see whether or not the sound is degraded.

I know there is a poster here (Rich, I think) that has stated repeatedly that he hears a degradation when using BM in another player, but I don't think anyone corroborated what he was hearing. That does not in any way say its not true, it just appears that not everyone feels that they hear a difference.

I run my 45A all large/sub on, and then use an ICBM. I think it sounds great, but YMMV. Don't know whats happens inside the player in that config. And I went with the ICBM simply because I feel a 100 Hz crossover is too high, nit because I thought the BM degraded the sound.

It will be very informative once a bunch of users get their hands on 563's and run some tests.

BGL

#20 of 587 OFFLINE   Brajesh Upadhyay

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Posted July 17 2003 - 07:36 AM

Quote:
I've owned more than a dozen DVD player since 1997...
:b Glad to have friends who buy my old players, plus eBay of course.
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