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Philips DVD-963SA: SACD, DVD, and 24/192 upsampling of CD, for $400?!


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#41 of 107 Eujin

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Posted October 31 2002 - 06:58 AM

Rich,

I don't think it's possible to determine from the specs alone, whether or not the 963SA will sound better than the ES players for redbook--upsampling or not. For example, the Panasonic RP-82 which I owned until recently, was no match for the modified Sony 775 which I own, despite the former's ability to upsample. That said, the 963SA supposedly has 6 DACs, which I read somewhere were the same ones used in the Classe SACD player. Still, a lot of the final audio output will depend on the implementation of the DACs, circuit design, isolation, etc. I think we'll have to hear one before being able to decide on the audio quality of the player. Problem is, the funky distribution that Philips uses is going to make in-person auditions difficult to say the least.

#42 of 107 Craig W

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Posted October 31 2002 - 09:22 AM

Why all the comparisons to the RP82? The RP82 is a great piece in its price range. For about $200 more I would expect the new Philips to be a more advanced player.

Does anyone remember the Q50 from Philips? That model had tons of problems that required multiple firmware updates. Was the 962 any better in that regard?

I know that the new version of the FLi2300 is supposed to scale, but are these features turned on? Philips may have a winner here, but it will be very interesting to see how this model performs when finally released.

SACD and DVD-A are both floundering as far as I can see in the US. Neither one of these formats is going to enjoy the quick acceptance that DVD-Video enjoyed over the last five years. My new player does DVD-A but I have not had the urge to plunk down money on these new discs.

#43 of 107 RichardH

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Posted October 31 2002 - 11:20 AM

Sorry if I missed it somewhere in the thread, but will this thing scale non-anamorphic DVD's for a 16x9 TV? (like the Panny RP91)??

Thanks,

#44 of 107 KeithH

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Posted November 01 2002 - 01:03 AM

Rich asked:

Quote:
Does anyone think the SACD playback of this model will be on-par with the current Sony ES series?


Hard to say. Are we comparing the '963SA to an ES SACD/CD player like the 'C555ES or 'XA777ES (the latter is hardly fair) or to an ES DVD/SACD/CD player like the 'S9000ES or 'NS999ES? It may be too much to expect a $500 DVD/SACD player to compete with a more expensive non-DVD SACD player like the 'C555ES. Time will tell, however.

Given that Philips co-invented SACD with Sony, I expect Philips to get it right with the '963SA. That does not mean that the '963SA will best the 'C555ES. I am merely stating that I expect the '963SA to be a quality SACD player for the price and given that it is packed with features. That said, I will be interested to see how it compares in SACD mode to the Pioneer Elite '45A and '47Ai, as well as the forthcoming Onkyo and Yamaha universal players.


Lee,

I guess I will have to get to Asia. Posted Image In any event, I don't see Matsushita supporting SACD anytime soon. However, as I said, there could come a time where SACD could gain such marketshare that Matsushita could no longer ignore the format. Likewise, the same could still happen with Sony and DVD-Audio.


Eujin,

Excellent post about the potential capabilities or shortcomings of the '963SA. The player looks to be loaded with features for the price. However, with poor implementation, which one cannot rule out given the $500 retail price, the player could be a disappointment. Hopefully Philips will be setting a standard with this player.

Regarding Philips distribution, my local Tweeter store has the '962SA, which I could audition. Hopefully they will be getting the '963SA as well. If you have a Tweeter store in your area, which you should in or around Boston, check it out once the '963SA is released.


Kevin said:

Quote:
I'd give my left nut for a 20 lb ES universal player.


Now you know why Sony is not producing universal players. Do you really think Sony wants your left nut? Posted Image Posted Image
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#45 of 107 Eujin

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Posted November 01 2002 - 01:34 AM

Keith,

There are plenty of Tweeters in and around Boston. Unfortunately, I've never seen the 962SA or even the old Q50 at any of them. Curiously, I live down the street from the Virgin Megastore in Boston and they actually have 3 models of Philips DVD players sold there. They're all pretty low end (I think the 763 is the most advanced one they have), but it's really odd that Virgin is a retail partner/channel for Philips.

#46 of 107 Rich Malloy

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Posted November 01 2002 - 02:14 AM

Eujin, I bet I pass you on the sidewalk all the time! I live on Mass Ave in the building across from the Christian Science Center (just before you get to Symphony Hall if you're coming from Boylston St). I guess the Boylston St. Tweeter will likely stock this unit whenever... hope they allow in-home demos (or a generous return policy).

If this unit is hackable, then it's probably worth the $400 just for DVD playback (I'm presuming that it'll best the Malata in this regard). Honestly, the perfect DVD player for me would do all that, plus have DVD-Audio, so I could pair it with a standalone SACD/CD player with a switchbox. But if this puppy can come within a very short distance to the performance quality of the Sony 555ES, then I don't see how I could possibly not buy it! Posted Image
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#47 of 107 KeithH

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Posted November 01 2002 - 03:04 AM

Rich said:

Quote:
this puppy can come within a very short distance to the performance quality of the Sony 555ES, then I don't see how I could possibly not buy it!


I'm with you! Actually what has me most intrigued by this component is the upsampling of CDs. I'm O.K. with SACD, and I have no need for a progressive-scan DVD player at this point. That said, I am intrigued by the overall feature list and the design elements (power supplies, DACs, detachable power cord) for just $400.


Rich also said:

Quote:
Eujin, I bet I pass you on the sidewalk all the time!


I can see it now. Rich and Eujin meet by getting into a fight over the last copy of some SACD at the Virgin Megastore. Posted Image
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#48 of 107 Aaron H

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Posted November 01 2002 - 03:09 AM

Someone in Holland seems to have a 963!

http://www.avsforum.....hreadid=185126

Aaron

#49 of 107 KeithH

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Posted November 01 2002 - 03:13 AM

Well, Philips is a Dutch company.

Note this commment from "soundman38", the individual who started the thread on AVS Forum:

Quote:
First thing we open the machine and see : A FLI 2310 chip


That's a good start!
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#50 of 107 Rich Malloy

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Posted November 01 2002 - 03:29 AM

Quote:
I can see it now. Rich and Eujin meet by getting into a fight over the last copy of some SACD at the Virgin Megastore.
Perhaps when that Virgin megastore used to be a Tower! Posted Image

But I don't think Virgin stocks any SACDs (at least, they didn't as of two weeks ago... except for the Stones). In fact, they stock very little of anything. Big wide aisles and clean racks filled with next to nothing. I usually find whatever I can't find at Virgin (but, again, not SACDs, except for the Stones) at the itty-bitty hole down the block called Newbury Comics (and for a few dollars less).

I don't recall if it was in this thread or another one, but apparently Sony hasn't discontinued the 555ES yet, after all (or maybe they have - all seems very confused). At any rate, hopefully we'll have an opportunity for comparison once the Philips hits the street. Though the SACD upgrade bug only infected me a few short months ago, I'm gettin' a real bad itch - don't know how much longer I can wait!
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#51 of 107 KeithH

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Posted November 01 2002 - 03:54 AM

Rich, I'm surprised that your Virgin Megastore doesn't have SACDs. I've seen an SACD section at the Virgin Megastores in Miami and New York City. Note that I am not talking about the Stones discs, which are in the CD department in the New York store. I was at the Miami store back in April, so the SACD section is not a new phenomenon. Also, I was at the New York City store about a month ago, and the selection of SACDs was quite good. They did not merely have Sony titles. They had SACDs from many labels and even had a couple Virgin import titles (Human League Dare and Simple Minds The Best of Simple Minds). You ought to talk to the manager and find out what gives.
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#52 of 107 John Kotches

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Posted November 01 2002 - 04:47 AM

According to my US Philips contact, the 963SA will not be available in the US until the 1st quarter of 2003.

Don't complain to me, I'm just passing along the information I received.

Regards,
Surround Music Enthusiast / Curmudgeon in Training
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#53 of 107 StaceyS

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Posted November 01 2002 - 05:23 AM

Some info on the 963SA.

The "Truelife" is the same technology that the 2220 offers in current DVD players. I find the image to look better with this feature off.

The 2310 has the ability to offer aspect ratio control.

There will be one or two 23xx based DVD players out before xmas, but they will be over $1k.

The 963SA, like all Philips SACD players, convert DSD to PCM to perform bass management. This was mentioned by Philips at the same AES (Actually that had the entire flow of the player displayed) that Sony/Philips added a lossy codec to the SACD 1.3 spec. So like DVD-A, SACDs have the option to use lossy instead of lossless compression with all new discs.

Before a DVD forum licensee can release a DVD player that outputs anything >480p, the CSS agreement needs to be updated with these new resolutions. I will warn you know that when these new resolutions come, it will be over DVI(HDCP)/HDMI only. There will not be any analog >480p that is allowed. Does not mean one will not be able to hack or that a non-licensee will OEM and offer something.

#54 of 107 KeithH

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Posted November 01 2002 - 05:24 AM

John, if we complain to you, will you complain to your Philips contact? In case the answer is yes, let me officially complain here.

*in a whining tone* I want my '963SA now! Posted Image
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#55 of 107 Rich Malloy

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Posted November 01 2002 - 05:28 AM

Stacey, it sounds as though you have some key information to add to the discussion... unfortunately, I'm not smart enough to follow what you say. Can anyone translate that into straight dummy, or, even better, North American moron? Thanks! :b
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#56 of 107 KeithH

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Posted November 01 2002 - 05:53 AM

Stacey said:

Quote:
This was mentioned by Philips at the same AES (Actually that had the entire flow of the player displayed) that Sony/Philips added a lossy codec to the SACD 1.3 spec. So like DVD-A, SACDs have the option to use lossy instead of lossless compression with all new discs.


Can you elaborate on the lossy codec issue? My understanding is that DVD-Audio uses MLP exclusively, which is a lossless compression scheme. Also, I have never heard of SACD using a lossy compression. Why would the backers of DVD-Audio and SACD want to introduce lossy compression when these formats are supposed to offer higher resolution than CD? We already have Dolby Digital and DTS for lossy compression.
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#57 of 107 Eujin

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Posted November 01 2002 - 06:03 AM

Quote:
The 963SA, like all Philips SACD players, convert DSD to PCM to perform bass management.


Stacey,

If I'm understanding this right, isn't this a very undesirable way of performing bass management? I mean, if the DSD is going be converted to PCM, and thence to analog, wouldn't the whole purpose of DSD be negated? Please correct me if I'm wrong in my supposition. If I'm correct, I guess this means going with an ICBM is still in my future. Or maybe the new H/K 525 receiver (any idea how their bass management is supposed to work for the multi-channel input?)

#58 of 107 Eujin

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Posted November 01 2002 - 06:11 AM

Rich,

I bet we've passed eachother on the street before! Or maybe while browsing at Virgin or Newbury Comics Posted Image
I'm on the other end of Mass. Ave, at the corner of Beacon.

Actually, Virgin does stock SACDs but they CONSTANTLY move the display around, which is extremely frustrating. The other annoying thing is that they have a definite bias toward DVD-A, with lots more titles than SACD. I actually like Virgin more than Tower, especially with that Virgin Frequency Card; but I do make it a point to check in at the latter to see what SACDs they've got in stock.

As for Tweeter, it'd be nice if they stocked the 963SA--their return policy is something like 60 days for store credit and 30 for your money back.

#59 of 107 KeithH

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Posted November 01 2002 - 06:12 AM

Eujin, I would think that bass management performed in the PCM domain would be most undesirable for SACD. It's a real bummer that the '963SA will do it via PCM. I would think that it is possible to do bass management in DSD. Perhaps the next generation of players will do it. For now, it may be better to use an ICBM or the H/K receiver, though in either case, additional processing is applied to analog signals, which also concerns me.
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#60 of 107 StaceyS

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Posted November 01 2002 - 06:30 AM

It was two AES ago, I believe, when the 1.3 spec added lossy as an option. The keyword is option. DVD-A has DD as an option.

Why? They could fit more info on a disc. I doubt you will see any high end music company use it, but others had requested it for mainstream use.

It was at this same AES while Philips was presenting, they had the flow of their player in the slides. It clearly showed DSD->PCM->BM->DSD. I speak with one of their engineers on a regular basis and he tells me this is how it has to be done. The new Pioneer 49TXi does the same thing with DSD when it comes over 1394 from the 47Ai. They convert to 88.2/32-bit for BM.

The James Taylor Hour Glass SACD is considered a great sounding disc and it comes from a PCM master. PCM is not a bad thing.


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