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Spectracal DPG-1000 Signal Generator Impressions


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#1 of 29 OFFLINE   elwaylite

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Posted October 29 2011 - 05:07 AM

Was curious about this thing, especially since it is half what the closest device costs, and you can automate it with Calman (I have Chromapure though). I ended up with a 1000, not the new 1400, because the deal was too good to pass up. When looking into these things, I heard a lot of varying comments, but Ill try and sum up what I learned.
  • It comes with a lot of patterns, including windows plenty small for plasma and just about everything an amateur needs.
  • Many said it was very slow, and it is compared to an Accupel, but not to AVS709. You need to jump 3 patterns, you just hit the remote button 3 times and give it a sec, and it jumps. No need to press/wait, press/wait, and so on. Once I figured this out, it worked much faster.
  • This is basically a WD Live player, with an IR rcvr and remote, along with the reference test patterns. Spectracal put it together, and IMO its a bit overpriced, but if you want a cheap all in one generator, its not half bad.
  • Big key, and I mean a BIG key, is that once you get one, do not install the updates put out by Western Digital. This is an off the shelf item, so when you get it, it works the way it is supposed too, but folks have had issues with the proper HDMI output properties after some wonky WD updates. I repeat, do not update it whenever WD releases new FW :) (Thanks Ray Coronado for a nice 40 minute phone conversation today :) )
I used it tonight on my Dads set, and I was plenty happy with it, and its speed, so Id recommend it to anyone who cannot afford an Accupel at $1200. Posted Image Posted Image Power cable WD Live Device USB stick with test patterns Remote Ir rcvr
Video: TC-P65GT30 / UD5007
Audio: Marantz SR6005 / Klipsch RF-82 II (2) / Klipsch RC-62 II / VTF-15H

#2 of 29 OFFLINE   Gregg Loewen

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Posted October 29 2011 - 07:54 AM

hi Jason Awesome review...thanks! On a side / related note. The Accupel 5000 is now at $1499. It this price point it comes with the Deluxe stuff, and then add 3D patterns and "just out' motion patterns. You can still buy a bare bones Accupel for $1200.

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#3 of 29 OFFLINE   Joshua Quain

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Posted October 30 2011 - 08:34 AM

Hi Jason, thank you for the review of the CalMAN DPG-1000. The biggest differences between the DPG-1000 and the DPG-1400 is the speed improvement of the WD Live player and quality of HDMI output. If anyone has a DPG-1000 and would like the upgraded speed improvements not only in the player but the macro commands sent from CalMAN, you can simply purchase the WD live from anywhere online like Amazon.com, etc. for just under $150. it doesn't need to be purchased from SpectraCal to receive the added benefits of the new player. Also, WD made many improvements to the player's HDMI issues that the DPG-1000 firmware updates had with select displays.

#4 of 29 OFFLINE   elwaylite

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Posted October 30 2011 - 08:39 AM

I did not even look at it that way. For a small price once could just get the newer unit, but continue to use the USB stick with the patterns as well as the IR/Remote combo? Are the HDMI improvements between the older WD unit and the new one strictly handshake related? Nothing to do with quality of output for calibration purposes?
Video: TC-P65GT30 / UD5007
Audio: Marantz SR6005 / Klipsch RF-82 II (2) / Klipsch RC-62 II / VTF-15H

#5 of 29 OFFLINE   Joshua Quain

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Posted October 30 2011 - 09:12 AM

Yes, we purposefully kept the command sequences in CalMAN and on the patterns inside the USB stick the same. We did this so customers could upgrade hardware without having to spend more $ on the entire package. The only thing we did in CalMAN was give you a new drop down for the DPG-1400 and improve the delay speed between the commands when controlling the DPG-1200/1400 because the new hardware had a faster response time. The HDMI improvements between the old and new player were handshake related. In the first generation WD player (DPG-1000) we found that depending on the display the unit would sometimes output different levels (PC/Video) because of what the display tried to predict the source was. The new WD player doesn't appear to have this issue. I will talk with the team tomorrow to see if their is anything else I'm missing between the old WD unit and new WD unit.

#6 of 29 OFFLINE   elwaylite

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Posted October 30 2011 - 09:18 AM

Thanks Joshua. I assume something like a brightness test pattern would be an easy way to see if it was outputting the wrong level. IIRC, pc level would be washed out, correct? Thanks for the great info. I hope to try it out on my Samsung 2011 plasma next weekend, it worked OK with my Dad's Insignia LCD.
Video: TC-P65GT30 / UD5007
Audio: Marantz SR6005 / Klipsch RF-82 II (2) / Klipsch RC-62 II / VTF-15H

#7 of 29 OFFLINE   elwaylite

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Posted October 30 2011 - 10:21 AM

Joshua, one more thing. If something happens to the USB stick, do you guys sell replacements?
Video: TC-P65GT30 / UD5007
Audio: Marantz SR6005 / Klipsch RF-82 II (2) / Klipsch RC-62 II / VTF-15H

#8 of 29 OFFLINE   Gregg Loewen

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Posted October 30 2011 - 10:47 AM

Actually the DP1000 had correct video levels but was slow. The DP1200 offered speed improvements but did not consistantly output the correct video levels of PC or Video. Gregg Loewen

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#9 of 29 OFFLINE   Michael TLV

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Posted October 30 2011 - 03:51 PM

Greetings Jason, The USB stick with the patterns on it ... just make a copy of the files on your computer as a back up. If the stick goes down ... put the patterns onto another stick and keep going ... or carry two sticks in the bag ... When you bought the entire unit, the bulk of the cost of the unit goes to the creation of the patterns and the intellectual property that it is. They've made the sale on it ... hence the suggestion to buy an off the shelve WD Live plus unit and use that as the DPG1400. Make back ups of the patterns ... just don't give the patterns away ... and you can't resell them (and keep a copy for yourself). Regards
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#10 of 29 OFFLINE   elwaylite

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Posted October 31 2011 - 12:06 AM

Actually the DP1000 had correct video levels but was slow. The DP1200 offered speed improvements but did not consistantly output the correct video levels of PC or Video. Gregg Loewen

Thats what I was initially told, about the DPG-1000.

Greetings Jason, The USB stick with the patterns on it ... just make a copy of the files on your computer as a back up. If the stick goes down ... put the patterns onto another stick and keep going ... or carry two sticks in the bag ... When you bought the entire unit, the bulk of the cost of the unit goes to the creation of the patterns and the intellectual property that it is. They've made the sale on it ... hence the suggestion to buy an off the shelve WD Live plus unit and use that as the DPG1400. Make back ups of the patterns ... just don't give the patterns away ... and you can't resell them (and keep a copy for yourself). Regards

Man, I way over thought the the stick. Occam's razor applies :) Thanks Michael.
Video: TC-P65GT30 / UD5007
Audio: Marantz SR6005 / Klipsch RF-82 II (2) / Klipsch RC-62 II / VTF-15H

#11 of 29 OFFLINE   elwaylite

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Posted October 31 2011 - 02:47 PM

I used the 1000 tonight to calibrate my D7000 from scratch. Pretty happy with how the small windows reacted with the display, they seem to be a great size for plasma. Results look good too.
Video: TC-P65GT30 / UD5007
Audio: Marantz SR6005 / Klipsch RF-82 II (2) / Klipsch RC-62 II / VTF-15H

#12 of 29 OFFLINE   Gregg Loewen

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Posted October 31 2011 - 02:59 PM

Results look good too

thats the important part...too many people focus on the graphs and not the image.

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#13 of 29 OFFLINE   elwaylite

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Posted November 01 2011 - 12:36 AM

I agree. What I find funny is, if you use the wrong patterns, or do not have something set properly, you get very nice patterns and an ugly image. Twice I've tried calibrating with the APL patterns some folks like on AVS709, with the Oppo 93 in Source Direct. While I agree they avoid ABL on a plasma kicking in, something does not look right (except the charts ;) )
Video: TC-P65GT30 / UD5007
Audio: Marantz SR6005 / Klipsch RF-82 II (2) / Klipsch RC-62 II / VTF-15H

#14 of 29 OFFLINE   Joshua Quain

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Posted November 01 2011 - 06:38 AM

I used the 1000 tonight to calibrate my D7000 from scratch. Pretty happy with how the small windows reacted with the display, they seem to be a great size for plasma. Results look good too.

Greetings Jason, The USB stick with the patterns on it ... just make a copy of the files on your computer as a back up. If the stick goes down ... put the patterns onto another stick and keep going ... or carry two sticks in the bag ... When you bought the entire unit, the bulk of the cost of the unit goes to the creation of the patterns and the intellectual property that it is. They've made the sale on it ... hence the suggestion to buy an off the shelve WD Live plus unit and use that as the DPG1400. Make back ups of the patterns ... just don't give the patterns away ... and you can't resell them (and keep a copy for yourself). Regards

Yes, this is true. Thank you, Michael. Jason - As Michael said, simply backup your pattern files in case something goes wrong with your USB memory stick. Then if something happens simply upload the folder on a new drive and you should be good to go.

#15 of 29 OFFLINE   elwaylite

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Posted November 01 2011 - 06:40 AM

Thanks Joshua. I have a Kingston on order to do just that.
Video: TC-P65GT30 / UD5007
Audio: Marantz SR6005 / Klipsch RF-82 II (2) / Klipsch RC-62 II / VTF-15H

#16 of 29 OFFLINE   Joshua Quain

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Posted November 01 2011 - 06:41 AM

Thanks Joshua. I assume something like a brightness test pattern would be an easy way to see if it was outputting the wrong level. IIRC, pc level would be washed out, correct? Thanks for the great info. I hope to try it out on my Samsung 2011 plasma next weekend, it worked OK with my Dad's Insignia LCD.

Using the patterns will quickly help you know if your display is in the right mode.

#17 of 29 OFFLINE   Joshua Quain

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Posted November 01 2011 - 06:41 AM

Thanks Joshua. I have a Kingston on order to do just that.

Great, let us know how it goes! :-)

#18 of 29 OFFLINE   Joshua Quain

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Posted November 01 2011 - 06:44 AM

I used the 1000 tonight to calibrate my D7000 from scratch. Pretty happy with how the small windows reacted with the display, they seem to be a great size for plasma. Results look good too.

Wonderful, do you have any before and after screenshots? How was the movie experience after the video calibration?

#19 of 29 OFFLINE   elwaylite

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Posted November 01 2011 - 07:16 AM

I did not take any. I'll take some time over the next week to evaluate, but my target was what Ive used both the AVS709 and an Accupel in the past (2.2 gamma). I seemed to be able to get the Gamut chart a little tighter with the small color windows, but I've seen variances in how this chart looks depending on whether one uses the Accupel 75% windows, the AVS709 100% and 75% windows, and the AVS APL color windows. I also know window size affects gamma, and up until now anyting larger than the Accupel pattern (9% IIRC) was too large IMO. I could easily see a nice gamma drop after 80% Stimulus. Being that this DPG window is like 3%, I'm curious if that has on PQ affect on gamma vs the Accupel, or the color. Up to this point, the Accupel produced the best looking (to me) calibration and those are the settings I default back to if I am not happy with an experiment. I'm hoping this DPG result will be another winner. Also, IMO, the AVS709 calibrated colors were saturated when using the APL color windows. As far as charts, I did not snap shot them because the end result is usually the same with these sets, especially with a Cell of 20 and Contrast in the 90-95 range. Gamma ranged from 2.21 to 2.24, so pretty darn flat. Grayscale dE reported of under 1 :), and a color temp of 6525.
Video: TC-P65GT30 / UD5007
Audio: Marantz SR6005 / Klipsch RF-82 II (2) / Klipsch RC-62 II / VTF-15H

#20 of 29 OFFLINE   Gregg Loewen

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Posted November 01 2011 - 07:24 AM

Gamma ranged from 2.21 to 2.24, so pretty darn flat. Grayscale dE reported of under 1 , and a color temp of 6525.

go go go !!

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