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Best DVD Player for Audio?


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8 replies to this topic

#1 of 9 OFFLINE   MikeNagy

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Posted July 20 2003 - 09:14 PM

Please help me locate the best player for $500. I'm looking for a dvd player that is more like a CD player that also happens to do DVD's, as opposed to being the other way around. I would buy a seperate CD player, but the cost of both a CD player and a DVD player is prohibitive. Most of all, I'm looking for good audio quality, with an accurate-across-the-board-but-not-flat sound (something with a little pizazz and dexterity). SACD would be nice, but I don't NEED it. I also have no use for progressive scan. It doesn't need to be able to play MP3's, but CD-R is a must.

I've been looking at NAD and Denon, but a lot of people say the NAD is too flat and not "exciting" enough. Denon looks okay except that in reviews, the reviewers almost always say that it doesn't sound as good as "the competition"...I wish they'd actually go the next step and give an example of a better sounding one in the same price category.

Anyway, any and all help would be greatly appreciated.


#2 of 9 OFFLINE   Scott Oliver

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Posted July 21 2003 - 01:02 AM

Probably the best audio players for less than $500 would be used older generation models, in particular the Sony S7000 & S7700.

I have a S7000 and have always been very happy with its picture quality. Secrets of Home Theater always had it testing very high for what it tested for back then. Audio wise I am currently using it as my primary CD player in my $25000 system and am very happy with its performance. It costs under $300 on the used market, and if you ever wanted to there are quite a few companies that offer mods for these Sony models to bring their audio performance to even higher levels (I know Empirical Audio does).

The S7000 doesn't do DTS however the S7700 does. Neither are progressive scan capable as well.

#3 of 9 OFFLINE   ManW_TheUncool

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Posted July 21 2003 - 05:07 AM

I don't know how the old Sony flagship players compare to current players, but a lot of people rave about the Philips 963sa's audio capabilities, particularly its upsampled CD playback -- it also does quite well w/ SACD. It has some quirks primarily on the video side and also w/ control responsiveness, but is generally a great all-around player beyond those quirks (and also offers some nice bonus features). Definitely deserves a try for anyone w/ your criteria.

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#4 of 9 OFFLINE   gregD

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Posted July 21 2003 - 06:35 AM

Assuming you already have a DVD player... how about an outboard DAC?... your $500 will likely get more from a dedicated audio-only product such as this... MSB's start at around $500... and I spied a couple interesting items at Audiogon http://buy.audiogon....fsb.pl?dgtlconv

If you don't already have a player, I've found the audio performance of Pioneer DVDs to be rather good... but that's pretty much in the context of a player which is required to do double duty.

If you're fairly critical when it comes to music listening, you may not hear a significant improvement til you move up to something like an Arcam, or one of the better universal players, like Denon 2900 or Yamaha 2300, or the DVD-A-capable Rotel 1060... unfortunately, any one those nearly doubles your budget.

#5 of 9 OFFLINE   MikeNagy

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Posted July 21 2003 - 07:20 AM

When using an older player like those Sony's, will playback of newer dvd audio formats (DTS-ES or whatever) not work? Or does it not matter because I'll be passing the signal to my receiver anyhow?

So far the 7700 looks like my top choice, but I haven't started reading about that Philips yet...gotta at least appear to be doing work :-P


#6 of 9 OFFLINE   Steve_D

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Posted July 21 2003 - 08:55 AM

After doing a ton of research, I second the Philips DVD963SA. In fact, as long as you don't mind potentially having to flash a firmware upgrade, it meets all of your criteris to a 'T'.

#7 of 9 OFFLINE   MikeNagy

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Posted July 21 2003 - 09:56 AM

I can't find any reviews of the DVD963sa in any HT mags online... Can you tell me where you did your research?

#8 of 9 OFFLINE   MikeNagy

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Posted July 22 2003 - 04:44 PM

Does anybody know if playback of newer dvd audio formats (DTS-ES, etc) will work even if a DVD player does not "support" it? I mean, theoretically, shouldn't the player just send the unaltered digital ac3 stream to the external decoder through a digital toslink or coaxial connection? If that is the case, I would think that even though a DVD player is not "compatible" with DTS-ES, it should still work with a digital connection. Is this reasoning correct?

#9 of 9 OFFLINE   Phil Tomaskovic

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Posted July 22 2003 - 06:43 PM

Probably handles DTS-ES only if it handles DTS (just guessing). I have an old Sony dvd carousel (their first model) which does not play DTS. It doesn't know how to look for the DTS soundtrack, I believe. It will play a DTS-CD (music only) however since that is the only "track" on the CD.