Absolute Sound pans Denon 2900

Discussion in 'Playback Devices' started by ReggieW, Dec 3, 2003.

  1. ReggieW

    ReggieW Screenwriter

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    Well, I just picked up the new issue of "Absolute Sound" and the thread title says it all. Now I own the 2900 and couldn't disagree more with Mr. Buettner's review of the 2900. He considered the 2900 a sonic departure for the company. He writes:

    "The 2900, however, is lean and almost skeletal with all three formats. When I fired the 2900 up, it was apparent that either the low end was anemic, or the midrange was just plain bright."

    I could go on but you get the point. I remember when a TAS reviewer wrote he couldn't tell a difference between SACD/Red book CD playback on the Marantz 8300. Having heard the Marantz, I thought this was plain ridiculous coming from someone with golden ears. Buettner gives no figures or hard data to back up his impressions (terms such as bright, forward, are commonly used) just his plain opinion which is fine. As a 2900 owner, I have experienced none of the things he pointed out, though the 2900 can be a bit "bright" on redbook CD. Unlike many others, I often attribute this to the quality/style of the recording, than the player itself.
    Anyway, just thought I'd share this in lieu of the fact that EVERY other review I've read of the 2900 in the press has said just the opposite of Absolute Sound including Stereophile, What Hi-fi, Sound and Vision, and the online audio sites as well. I guess this just goes to show how subjective good sound really is.

    Reg

    BTW, Neil Gader panned the Sony SCD-C222es which I also own and find outstanding, but Gader found "Though competent, didn't fully make the case for SACD." It appears that we are seriously at odds this month!
     
  2. Kevin C Brown

    Kevin C Brown Producer

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    SGHT didn't like it either, remember.
     
  3. alan halvorson

    alan halvorson Cinematographer

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    My long time opinion is that if The Absolute Sound and/or Stereophile dislike a component, it must be a good one. Remember, these publications are not looking for neutral sound - they like things formatted so that they can use all their buzzwords.
     
  4. ReggieW

    ReggieW Screenwriter

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    Kevin,

    I wasn't aware of the SGHT review. Thanks. I just find it interesting that reviews can differ so greatly among so called professsionals so highly. I mean, you have one publication praise it in everyway and another one pan it outright. Perhaps its the equipment used? I am not wise to know the answer. In fairness though, Absolute Sound did like the video quality of the 2900 but that was about it. They thought the Yamaha 2300 (which absolute sound made player of the year) was MUCH better than the 2900 in audio, an opinion in the minority on this forum who usually instead tend to somewhat prefer the Faroudja based video on the 2300 to the Silicon based 2900's. I've heard the Yamaha as well and honestly did not really find it all that different (better or worse) than the 2900's. If someone told me that one blew the other away, I would probably be surprised (especially since both carry the same msrp).

    Reg
     
  5. Charles Gurganus

    Charles Gurganus Supporting Actor

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    I just would not sweat it at all. What matters is how much you like the product, not what some clown from a audio mag spouts.
     
  6. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    What Alan said.

    Remember, TAS has a vested interest in perpetuating the unscientific, "subjectivist" assessment of audio electronics. Now that the so-called "high-end audio" ruse is fast waning, the magazine must promulgate and project its fantasies on the ever-growing world of home theater equipment.

    I used to fall for this magazine's religious views, but no more. And I have a complete set of the first forty issues in mint condition if anyone's interested. [​IMG]

    The Denon 2900 looks to be a fine machine. Ignore TAS's rants.
     
  7. Stephen M

    Stephen M Stunt Coordinator

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    Or, you could form your own opinion based on personal experience. If specific problems with a component are set out in the review, that could give you a basis to compare to your own listening experience and determine if there is a problem, and if so, how minor or serious it is to you. Such a review makes it possible to listen for the specific problem noted by the reviewer with a specific disk saving time. I find Jack's rant regarding "subjective" assessment troubling. The specs on the vast majority of DVD players are identical, but many people can hear differences between players. According to Jack's apparent position, just buy any player based on features and you're done. I disagree. I find TPV helpful and enlightening even when I do not agree ( re; the B&K Ref 30 for instance). The point is to let your own experience be the ultimate factor in a buying decision. Such a "subjective" decision makes all the sense in the world since the only person you have to satisfy regarding the sound quality of a component is yourself.
     
  8. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    No, Stephen, you're misinterpreting my post. Assessing a DVD player in terms of its video performance is necessary. Though PQ differences among players are relatively minimal, there are differences. Not so in the audio department, though. When a "subjectivist" publication can offer undeniable proof that differences in audio performance can actually be heard among different models, then I can take its claims and observations seriously.
     
  9. Jim Rakowiecki

    Jim Rakowiecki Stunt Coordinator

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    The only one that needs to be happy with your setup is you. So forget what Mr Gader says about the 2900 and think about what you have to say.
    I think critics or reviewers of all types like to thumb thier noses at the rest of us sometimes. They like to show us how cool or enlightened by tellings us were idiots for one reason or another.
    I used to read Stereophile and TAS but it's pointless. I'll never be in a postion to spend $40,000 on speakers or $18,000 on a tone arm for my $30,000 turntable. I think sometimes those guys get light headed becasue they spend too much time in the in the rarified atmosphere of the $200,000 stereo world and dimiss products that are very good pieces as less than adequete because the price tag doesn't have enough zero's in it or it's not hand built by bhudist monks in some cave in Thailand that some egghead has proclaimed to posess some kind of funky condition that makes it ideal for manufacturing this gizmo therefore produces better sound.
    I really like the feedback on forums like this because it's honest and it comes from real people who have setups similar to mine and just want the best value for the money.
     
  10. Brian L

    Brian L Cinematographer

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    RE:The 2900 review in TAS

    Can someone tell me what "skeletal" sounds like?

    I am OK with words like "bright", "dark", "recessed treble", etc., but skeletal alludes me.

    OK, never mind. I don't really want to know...just being a bit of a wise-ass!

    I have to say the overall reviews of ALL the hi-rez players was sorely lacking, regardless of you view on subjective vs. objective measurements.

    BGL
     
  11. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    I wonder, Brian, if "skeletal" is the same thing as saying something sounds "thin." [​IMG]

    Remember "liquid midranges"? I kept wondering what a solid midrange might sound like.
     
  12. ReggieW

    ReggieW Screenwriter

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    One correction guys:

    The reviewer of the 2900 was Shane Buettner NOT Neil Gader. Neil Gader reviewed the Sony SCD-C222es, and pretty much panned it. Apparently, being an entry level ES model, it just didn't live up to its multi-thousand dollar counterparts in Gader's view.[​IMG]

    Reg
     
  13. CurtisC

    CurtisC Second Unit

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    Yep,lots of buzz words around,I'll just stick with "sounds good" or the more common "sounds like sh!".I never really noticed too much inbetween,the 2900 is a good player at its price,as good as any in its price range,imo.
     
  14. Douglas_H

    Douglas_H Stunt Coordinator

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    Just for the record, Kevin Brown is mistaken. The SGHT review of the 2900 was not negative, just not a rave.
    I've read all of the rags extensively from one time or another.
    One thing to remember, only one reviewer gets to write it up. It's only one person's opinion. I've agreed and virulently disagreed with all of the rags.
    Sometimes their reviews are ridiculous.
    Remember, SGHT gave the Madrigal CRT a "platinum" award some time back.
    Nobody in their right f*ing mind bought that hideously over-priced thing.
    IMO, Denon is the only company making universal players that do all formats well.
     
  15. Kevin C Brown

    Kevin C Brown Producer

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    Yeah OK, I am mistaken. READ the review and then compare it to the other universal, DVD-A, and SACD players that they have reviewed. They didn't like it.

    I find this amusing, in that I have the 47ai, and every time someone trashes that player, I just sit back and smile. And now a magazine has actually dared to trash the high and mighty 2900, and everyone gets pissed and says that the reviewer must be wrong.

    Yeah OK. Believe what you want.

    BTW, in all the reviews I've read over the past 12 - 18 months, it is the Yamaha 2300 that gets the most *consistently* high marks for all the audio formats and for video in its price range. Sorry Denon owners... [​IMG]
     
  16. Lewis Besze

    Lewis Besze Producer

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    Kevin, there must be 2 different reviews[SGHT]out there my friend.[​IMG]
    One of the reasons why I dropped WSR from my magazine subsriptions,is Shane Buettner.He's one of those reviewer who just "irritates" you.There was that typical "audiophile" affectation to his reviews at many times.The oly reason I've read his stuff because he really got the equipment to review I wanted to learn more about,so I kinda stuck with him.
    He got a lot of criticism in the readers feedback section from readers.I wonder why?
    The fact that he ended up at TAS is really not surprising to me.No his negative review don't bother me at all,or any other people's in that fact.I'm perfectly happy with my own ability to evaluate a product for my self,and Im sure many can do the same as well.
     
  17. Scott Wong

    Scott Wong Second Unit

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    Wow. I've heard the 2900 is supposed to be nothing short of a phenomenal DVD player. I would have gotten it but couldn't spare the additional $500 or so. I ended up getting the 2200... it'll be here today along with my Samsung HLN-567W. [​IMG]

    Scott.
     
  18. Stephen M

    Stephen M Stunt Coordinator

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    Kevin, I have the 47ai too and I think it does great. My only gripe is the bass management for DVD-A which fails to put out enough output for my sub even at its top setting.BTW the SGHT review of the 2900 was a pan At best, it was damned with faint praise regarding its audio performance. Considerng the fact that most review in this mag are positive, I think the review in question qualifies as a pan.
     
  19. ReggieW

    ReggieW Screenwriter

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    I just read the online Stereophile Guide to Home Theater review of the 2900 (I had never seen this one personally) and it was very positive. In fact, the reviewer preferred its SACD playback to that of the Sony 999es, but thought the video on the 999es was slightly better - something we all know contested by the very objective "Secrets" testing. I know that most of the objective (meaning, where they just measure hard data) testing that has been done on the 2900 has been pretty consistent across the board from those who've bothered to do it, and has revealed the 2900 to be quite outstanding in nearly all respects. Again, it wasn't the 2900 review alone that botheered me in TAS, but the Sony SCD-C222es as well. I have heard a few people tell me that the Sony 999es was a better SACD player, though it also plays DVD as well, but I own the 222 and have heard the 999es, and couldn't disagree more. Honestly, I heard no significant difference between the two. Matthew Anker from SACD Mods has opened up both and has said that the 999es certainly wasn't better than the 222es, and was nothing special in the build quality department. I guess to each his/her own.

    Reg
     
  20. Bhagi Katbamna

    Bhagi Katbamna Supporting Actor

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    Speaking about subjective reviewers, It was funny to see that Art Dudley when he had his own magazine (The Listener) couldn't hear the difference between power cords and now that he writes for Stereophile, he can.
     

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