Anyone have experience comparing Pio 47ai vs. 59avi vs. Denon 2900?

Discussion in 'Playback Devices' started by Nick V, Jul 18, 2004.

  1. Nick V

    Nick V Second Unit

    Joined:
    May 7, 2002
    Messages:
    421
    Likes Received:
    0
    Well, to make a long story short my RP-91 died on me last week and I've been without music and movies for WAY too long now. I'm buying a new DVD player and I'll make my decision between the three players in the title, probably within a few days.

    Basically I know the 2900 and 59avi are much better players video-wise than the 47ai, and I am well aware of all the features and specs of each unit. My goal with this thread is to try and obtain some objective/subjective sound quality comparisons from those lucky enough to have had the chance of comparing these three players.

    Also, I'd like to hear what you ended up with if you did compare one or all of these players to something else out there.
     
  2. Kevin C Brown

    Kevin C Brown Producer

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2000
    Messages:
    5,712
    Likes Received:
    0
    I can come at this from a slightly different standpoint. [​IMG]

    I've had Pioneers for years (414, 333, 05, 45a, 47ai), and I'm looking for what to do next. My default choice would have been the 59AVi, except that the deinterlacer isn't good enough, and Pio still has a too noticeable layer change.

    (You know about Secrets, right? [​IMG] )

    The 2900 is almost obsolete in that the 3910 and 2910 are due in Aug and Sept respectively. (Lots of info over on AVS.)

    I personally am also keeping an eye out for the Marantz 9500 (supposed to have much better video than the 8300/8400) and the successor to the Yamaha 2300, whenever it shall arrive.

    Also, personally, I really like the audio from the 47ai, just the video that's subpar.
     
  3. Rob Kramer

    Rob Kramer Second Unit

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2004
    Messages:
    435
    Likes Received:
    0
    Ive read a couple of good 59avi vs 2900 audio reviews on the net (do a search, they are worth reading). Basically, the 59avi came out on top. Price is about the same (900-1000), and you get the benefit of firewire and dvi outputs.

    I have not seen a direct comparison between the 59avi/2900 and 47ai. Video, as we all know (secrets), sucks on the 47ai, but I assume that audio is right up there with the 2900 (as the 2900 has a few SACD flaws). The 47ai also gives you firewire for full pass through of DVDA and SACD (something Denonlink never will). Price is now around $500. Definately worth a look for your audio (only) needs.

    I am completely underwhelmed by Denons new offerings (audio wise). Im sure video will be great, however audio is a direct carryover from last year's models. The 2910 is an exact reproduction of the 2200 (same limited BM, same DACS). The 3910 is a slightly improved 2900, but at $300 more that the 2900 list (however, you will get firewire on the 3910).
     
  4. Rob Kramer

    Rob Kramer Second Unit

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2004
    Messages:
    435
    Likes Received:
    0
  5. Kevin C Brown

    Kevin C Brown Producer

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2000
    Messages:
    5,712
    Likes Received:
    0
    One thing that Rob reminds me of.

    Since I do really like the audio from the 47ai, sometimes I think about keeping it, and just picking up one of cheap-o (but goody) video DVD players. Panny XP-30, or a Denon 1600 or something.

    But I don't want to have to put up with a layer change anymore either. [​IMG] Need a newer Denon for that.
     
  6. Nick V

    Nick V Second Unit

    Joined:
    May 7, 2002
    Messages:
    421
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks for all the opinions.

    Unfortunately I can't really wait any longer (3910, Marantz, Yammy)to make my purchase as I am currently without music and movie reproduction, and I will be buying probably friday this week.

    Also, I am very well aware of Secrets, and I was actually very surprised to see how well the 59avi performed keeping in mind the performance of the 47a. My main thought regarding PQ is that I'll take it if I can get it, but if I'm skimping anywhere, it's not gonna be on sound quality.

    I will be doing some comparisons (hopefully in the same room) with these players before I make my final decision, but I was just hoping to get some feedback from people who have already done those comparisons.

    Thanks for the link on that review, I had read it before, but it's been awhile and I had forgotten about it. It's also unfortunate that there aren't any professional reviews of the 59avi as it would have been nice to hear what they have to say.

    Anyways, Thanks for the thoughts, and keep 'em coming...
     
  7. Kevin C Brown

    Kevin C Brown Producer

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2000
    Messages:
    5,712
    Likes Received:
    0
    Some more extremely random thoughts:

    1) I think there is an issue with the LFE signal level on the 2900 for SACD. Maybe audioholics has it mentioned somewhere? Something like that it's missing the 10 dB boost that's there for DVD-V (and DVD-A).

    2) Every says that the 2900 is the "best" player at its price point. But ... SGHT and The Perfect Vision gave it less than stellar reviews for audio. You might want to try and dig up those reviews.

    3) The 2900 doesn't have a perceptible layer change. That's a real plus IMO. But it's also been said that its video quality is "soft" in comparison to the Pioneers.

    If you're open to new input. If *I* was going to buy right now, and if you didn't care about the digital interface to the TV, I'd take a look at the Yamaha 2300 Mk II. Out of all the universal players out there near $1000, the Yamaha seemed to get the best *overall* reviews. Video, audio, the whole shebang. Based on Panasonic.

    4) If you're set on the 59AVi, look around in that I've heard that you can find it for around $800.

    5) For the 2900, there have been refurbs available on ecost (I think) for around $500. I almost moved on one of these myself. [​IMG]

    6) The 2900 has an Eeprom upgrade disc floating around. Audioholics I think for this too.
     
  8. Rob Kramer

    Rob Kramer Second Unit

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2004
    Messages:
    435
    Likes Received:
    0
    Kevin

    What is the crossover freq on the 47ai? I know the Yamaha 2300 uses 100hz so there is no way I would recomment it (unless you are using tiny little 4" speakers. Ive also read that pioneer's audio beats the Yamaha.

    I do like the 59avi. Havent seen it for less than $950 though.
     
  9. Kevin C Brown

    Kevin C Brown Producer

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2000
    Messages:
    5,712
    Likes Received:
    0
    Rob- The 47ai's crossovers are also something like 100 to 120 Hz. It's different for DVD-A vs SACD, but I don't remember off the top of my head what they each are. (I *might* have this home. I'll take a look tonight.)

    Another extremely random thought: [​IMG] Yes, most people believe that 80 Hz is the line above which localization can be a problem, and below which it isn't. But I don't think it's that cut and dried for *real material.* I had a Yamaha RX-V793 receiver (as a pre/pro) for a while, and it's crossover was spec'ed at 90 Hz, but was actually measured by S&V to be about 92 Hz. I never noticed a problem with any localization. Real movie soundtracks, CDs, etc.

    But with that being said, depending on your speakers, I'd recommend just running full range anyway. Since DVD-A and SACD are *mostly* music formats anyway, it's not like there are explosions, depth charge blasts, etc, with a lot of content below 40 Hz. There's some, but not as much as you might think. Even the 2900 has the same problem of the seemingly too high crossovers. They all appear to do it the same way anyway: using the intrinsic BM of Sony's DSD chip, at least for SACD.

    Right now, the 5900 is the only one that has any real flexibility in this regard. But ... the 3910 is rumored to also use the 5900's method.

    Could always get an Outlaw ICBM. Not too much money and very flexible analog crossovers.
     
  10. Drew_W

    Drew_W Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2003
    Messages:
    1,718
    Likes Received:
    0
    I just finished comparing both in my, and in my friend's (much higher end) setups. The 2900 wins sonically. The 47Ai compares sonically to the 2200, which was also present for testing (you could say we did our own little shootout). The 2900 was just in a different league. Much smoother sound, noticeably so in redbook and SACD. The sound quality of the 2900 compared to a Sony SCD222ES in SACD stereo playback, which was extremely impressive, at least to me. I think my friend was a little worried that my less expensive system had a better sounding source. [​IMG]

    On the issue of bass management, both of us run our systems full range all around, so that was not tested.

    2900S is $529, 2900 is $529 right now at eCost. My 2900S is a refurb, as was my 2200. Nothing to complain about at all.

    Some other notes:

    On remote controls:
    The entire Pioneer remote glows in the dark. Only the arrows, play, pause, stop, and menu keys glow on the Denon. The rest of the remote doesn't, and that includes the next track button, which you have to feel for in the dark (or turn on the lights).

    On seeking (when playing CDs...fast forwarding/rewind while Play is still engaged):
    The Pioneer does it smoothly. The Denon does it in bursts, and has three (1x, 2x, 3x) speeds that it does it at. The sound is heard in bursts too. Annoying as hell, but rarely do I use this feature, so it's ok.

    I'll think of more, it's just late...I should start taking notes at these experiments.
     
  11. Drew_W

    Drew_W Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2003
    Messages:
    1,718
    Likes Received:
    0


    Hmm. My testing says different. Unless there are marked differences beteween the 47 and the 59. Can anyone comment on this ?
     
  12. Kevin C Brown

    Kevin C Brown Producer

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2000
    Messages:
    5,712
    Likes Received:
    0
    Here are some quotes from the SGHT review (Sept 2003):


    Here's a preview of The Perfect Vision review (you have to pay for the whole thing though):

    http://www.avguide.com/product/Playe...-2900/2673.jsp

    For ~$500, still might be a good deal though.

    Did find the crossovers for the DV-47ai: 100 Hz for both DVD-A and SACD. Also found that for the 2900: 80 Hz for both DVD-A and SACD, so that is an improvement. I don't know for the 59AVi.

    Not much here, but maybe worth a look:

    http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...ght=2900+59avi

    Here's one comparing the 5900 and the 59AVi:

    http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...ght=2900+59avi

    If you actually go through the entire thread, I was surprised that the Pio got as much respect as it did. But also remember, the 5900 is not the 2900, and the 5900 retails for $400 more than the Pio, but you can find the 59AVi for up to $600 cheaper than the 5900. The 5900 is sort of a benchmark right now.

    Not to make the decision any easier of course. [​IMG]
     
  13. ReggieW

    ReggieW Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2001
    Messages:
    1,571
    Likes Received:
    1
    I own a 2900 and have no problem with its audio quality in my setup. Regardless of what those who flaunt the TAS and SGHT review may believe, I have read FAR more reviews to the contrary from other reputable publications that go far more in depth than the TAS review did on the 2900. I also tried the Sony 999es, and frankly, did not find the SACD playback any better than the 2900's. If the 2900 works in your setup Drew, who cares what SGHT, TAS, or any other reviewer has to say. If you take all the reviews and measure the pros and cons, the 2900 has FAR more positive ones than negative ones. I also liked the redbook playback on the 2900, though I use my Arcam 73T for this. I also owned a Sony SCD-C222es, and found the 2900 every bit as good with SACD playback, and even better with redbook. My receiver is a NAD T762.

    Reg
     
  14. Rob Kramer

    Rob Kramer Second Unit

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2004
    Messages:
    435
    Likes Received:
    0
    The 47ai (and the 59avi) have the added benefit of ilink. DACs and BM are irrevalent in this case. The cheapest Denon with ilink is (will be) the 3910 (two months from now) at $1300.

    For $1300, you could get both the 47ai ($400 on ebay) and the 55TXi receiver ($900 on ebay), then connect them via ilink.
     
  15. Bob*S

    Bob*S Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2003
    Messages:
    97
    Likes Received:
    0
    One thing I find interesting about the Pioneer players is that the 47Ai has Mosquito NR and Block NR while the flagship 59AVi lacks these controls. Are they called something else on the 59AVi or have the controls been made redundant by improved hardware?

    Bob
     
  16. Rob Kramer

    Rob Kramer Second Unit

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2004
    Messages:
    435
    Likes Received:
    0
    Video wise, the 59avi is far better than the 47ai.
     
  17. Bob*S

    Bob*S Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2003
    Messages:
    97
    Likes Received:
    0


    Rob-

    Thanks!! I kinda thought that might be the case but it's nice to have it confirmed. I can't find anyone in my area who actually has a 59AVi on the floor.

    Bob
     
  18. Rob Kramer

    Rob Kramer Second Unit

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2004
    Messages:
    435
    Likes Received:
    0
    You just gotta keep looking (or go online). Sometimes dealers have hidden gems. A large dealer here still has a Denon 1600 on the floor ($250). I laugh everytime I see it cause I know people are (were) paying twice that on ebay.
     
  19. Nick V

    Nick V Second Unit

    Joined:
    May 7, 2002
    Messages:
    421
    Likes Received:
    0
    Well I got a chance to listen to the 47ai yesterday, and I have to say I wasn't all that impressed. They didn't have time to set it up on a system that I was familiar with (my exact speakers) so they just set it up in a room with a $100000.00 two channel system. McIntosh Mono amps, and the XRT-30 speaker system. I'm not sure if it was the speakers that I wasn't blown away by, or the source, or just the system as a whole, but doing comparisons, the cd layer using the McIntosh dvd a/v player sounded almost as good as the SACD layer with the Pioneer player. The Mac player acutally sounded more musical, but it was just slightly lacking in the detail category. Less information on the disc.

    I'll be going back next week to listen to the 47ai and 59avi on a system with the same speakers I currently use, so that will be a more valid audition, but right now, I'm not that impressed with the 47ai.

    I'll report more next week.
     

Share This Page