Considering the purchase of an inexpensive DVD-Audio player. Comments?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by KeithH, Dec 20, 2001.

  1. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Now that I have learned how to play DVD-Audio discs without a TV, I am considering the purchase of an inexpensive DVD-Audio player for my second stereo system. I have a Technics DVD-A10 in my main system that I am very happy with, and J&R Music World had been blowing them out at $300 recently. So, for $300, I would consider buying another 'A10. Unfortunately, they are gone forever, as I just got off the phone with J&R. Another consideration is the Panasonic DVD-RA60, which is only $230 from J&R and Crutchfield (Crutchfield is out of stock, but J&R has it). It's available in black or silver, and I like the look of the silver unit in looking at pictures on Crutchfield's web site. I haven't seen this player in person to judge the build quality. Can anyone comment on the quality of this player? Does anyone own it?

    I noticed that bestbuy.com and circuitcity.com show the black version of the 'RA60 available for $230, but not the silver version. I don't know if it is available in the stores or online only.

    Another option I have seen for an inexpensive DVD-Audio player is the JVC XV-SA70BK/XV-SA75GD, which Crutchfield sells for $280 and OneCall has for $251.10. These players offer progressive-scan video output, while the Panasonic unit is an interlaced model. However, since the DVD-Audio player would go in a system with no TV and I don't have an HDTV in the house anyway, the point is moot. The JVC is more expensive than the Panasonic, and I just don't like JVC when it comes to DVD players. Also, I favor the Panasonic since I have been so happy with the Technics 'A10, and Panasonic DVD players seem to be well regarded overall. So, the JVC is out.

    Then there is the Toshiba SD-4700 and '5700. OneCall has the '4700 for $250, and I can get it at my local Best Buy for the same price. However, I was not impressed with the build quality of the '4700 when I saw it at Best Buy the other day. Granted, it is not an expensive player, so I probably don't have a right to expect much. However, I am concerned as to whether the player will hold up.

    OneCall has the Toshiba '5700 for $300, which is more than I would like to spend when I can get the Panasonic player for $230 (again, I'd spend $300 for the Technics 'A10 if I could get it). Also, I don't need the HDCD decoding capability offered by the '5700. Is the '5700 built any better than the '4700? With the Toshiba players, I would be paying for progressive-scan output, which again, I don't need. The Panasonic player looks to be a good value.

    In the end, of course, I want as good an audio component as I can get for under $300. Has anyone compared the Toshiba '4700 to the Panasonic 'RA60 in this regard? How do they compare in terms of build quality? I will say that another reason I am leaning to the Panasonic unit is the user interface. I am very comfortable with playing DVD-Audio discs on the Technics 'A10 with no TV, and I would expect the Panasonic player to be just as easy to operate. I read somewhere the other day that the Toshiba SD-9200 is not too user-friendly (just one opinion, I suppose), and I wonder if that carries over to the '4700 and '5700. How easy would they be to operate without a TV?

    Let me add that I don't care how these players sound playing CDs since I have dedicated CD players in the second system. DVD-Audio sound quality, build quality, and ease of playback of DVD-Audio discs without a TV are the main concerns.

    Any comments here would be appreciated. Thanks in advance.
     
  2. John Tillman

    John Tillman Supporting Actor

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    Keith,

    I use the RP-91 and love it. However, I've just heard that it has been discontinued. Speculation has it, that Panasonic will be offering a new unit within a couple months but we have no indication as to whether price will be higher or lower or what the changes will be.

    Maybe when we know what Panny's intentions are, people will trade up and sell some 6 month old 91's in the $300 range. Who knows?
     
  3. Michael_T

    Michael_T Second Unit

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    Keith,
    Since you don't plan on using a TV with the player, my feeling is to stick with Panasonic, since the menu system and remote layout/use might be similiar if not exactly the same to that of the Technics DVD-A10.
    I remember Michi on audioasylum mentioning that her JVC remote for her 723 didn't include a Group button, strange? But if she is correct how would you select the stereo mix or group 2 without a TV.
    And others on audioasylum also indicate that the set-up on the Toshiba players seem to be a logistical nightmare.
    I know that you really like to purchase top-quality components rather than go the less expensive route, even when you might already have the cream of the crop in another system. But my recommendation would be to go with the less expensive Panasonic - since you might have to guage how often are you really going to use this player? But then you know my stance - especially with the SACD players I own. The 333ES satisfied my need for a quality SACD component, so when I went multichannel I opted for the CE775 instead of waiting and getting something like the 555ES as you did when the price moderated downward. So take my opinions however you want - and if you choose not to follow them - no harm done. As you probably gather from my posts to you and others here and on audioasylum I am pretty fair and respectful (unlike a few on AA - even though overall they are all a real good bunch of people).
    Maybe if you could find a dealer that has the units you are considering you can play around with them to see which would be the most user friendly to selecting the 2-channel mix without a TV monitor.
    Good luck in your search - and let us know what you decide. It very well could be that the new DVD-Audio players might even be more refined than the 1st-generation DVD-A10. Which might even send me out looking for a new DVD-Audio player. [​IMG]
     
  4. Stephen Teffner

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    There was thread around here a couple of days ago about an Apex DVD player that plays every format available. DVD-A, SACD,MP3,CDRW,CDR, etc... Now I dont know about the quality of this unit but J&R had if for only 299. Also there was mention of a Pioneer unit that is coming out in the next couple of months with the same features. Just my .02.

    Stephen Teffner
     
  5. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    John,

    At present, the 'RP91 sells for far more than I am willing to spend for a DVD-Audio player for the second system. I only spent $380 for the Technics 'A10 back in February, so that is my benchmark, so to speak. I too have heard rumors of the 'RP91 being discontinued, so maybe dealers will blow out remaining stock similar to what they did with the 'A10. For now, however, the 'RA60 is more practical.

    Michael,

    John Kotches posted on this site a couple of days ago ways to switch between the stereo and surround-sound tracks on players without the "Group" button. On some players, he said the "Title" button works, for example.

    Yes, I do like "top-drawer" components, as the British like to say, but in this case, I would be happy with a budget player. I'd love to have a higher-end DVD-Audio player in my main system (Toshiba '9200, Onkyo 'S939, Integra, Rotel, or Pioneer Elite), but I am very pleased with the 'A10, so I am hopeful that a budget model will do the trick in my second system.

    I am approaching a DVD-Audio player here much like you have approached multi-channel SACD with the 'CE775. With budget SACD players, it seems that most people observe excellent results with SACD playback, but lackluster CD playback. That's fine if SACD performance is the overriding concern, as it is for you with the 'CE775. One possible reason that many people may be so high on the SACD performance of these budget players is that more effort has gone into designing the SACD section and the CD section was an afterthought. Alternatively, people who rave about SACD playback on the budget players could be doing so because owning the component represents their first extensive experience with SACD. They may then complain about CD playback on the budget SACD players because they have had longer-term exposure to high-quality CD players. If these people were to replace the budget SACD player with a flagship model, their impressions of the budget player in SACD mode would likely change drastically. Still, my thinking is that the budget SACD players seem to make SACD stand out over CD by a large margin. I am hoping that the budget DVD-Audio players like the Panasonic 'RA60 similarly make DVD-Audio shine. I don't care how the 'RA60 performs as a CD player (and it's probably mediocre in that role at best), but hopefully, it makes DVD-Audio sound like DVD-Audio.

    In the end, I will probably go with the 'RA60 if I do anything. I am pondering my options, which admittedly, include buying nothing for now. I might wait to see what DVD-Audio players are announced at the CES. For example, I might wait to see if Pioneer will offer a budget DVD-Audio player because I really like their budget DVD players. On the other hand, the issue of a familiar user interface, which the 'RA60 provides, is very important to me.

    Stephen,

    I posted here a couple of days ago that J&R Music World had finally gotten the APEX AD-7701 "universal" player in stock for $300. The player intrigues me, but I am not going to spend $300 on an APEX product. Besides, all I am really looking for is DVD-Audio. I have an SACD player in the system along with several CD players. Also, since I have no TV in the room, DVD-Video features are inconsequential. Finally, HDCD and MP3 playback are unnecessary because I have a Harman/Kardon CDR 30 CD recorder with those features in the system if I am ever curious to play with those formats.

    Pioneer released the DV-747A DVD-Audio/SACD player in Europe recently, and there is talk that they will release a similar, if not identical, player in the Elite line next year for the North American market. However, an Elite component will certainly be outside my budget.
     
  6. Stephen Teffner

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    Keith: Sorry, I forgot who exactly posted that thread since it didn't last too long. The apex intrigues me somewhat. Just trying to get up the nerve to order it and risk the wrath of the SO. Again, sorry I reposted your initial post (is that right).

    Stephen T.
     
  7. Chip E

    Chip E Screenwriter

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    "Pioneer released the DV-747A DVD-Audio/SACD player in Europe recently, and there is talk that they will release a similar, if not identical, player in the Elite line next year for the North American market. However, an Elite component will certainly be outside my budget."
    I'm telling ya, this is going too be all me [​IMG] It's gonna look nice sitting under the VSX-49TX receiver in the rack... Keith, you know how i feel about looks as well as performance, it'll be an Elite....has too look good,lol.. [​IMG]
     
  8. Jim Thor

    Jim Thor Extra

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    I bought a Denon dvd 3300 which plays dvd audio and cd's awesome. I paid $500 for it from www.sounddistributers.com
    The retail is $1100.
    I love it, ya have to hear Hotel California on it.
    Th remote is kinda crappy, but if you have a universal its academic.
     
  9. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Stephen,
    No need to apologize. If you do "break down" and buy the APEX player, please do post your thoughts.
    Chip,
    The Elite components definitely look very nice. I have the Elite PD-65 CD player, and it is a sweet-looking component. Unfortunately, Pioneer leaves off the rosewood side panels on some of its lesser expensive Elite components (DV-37 and DV-C36 DVD players, for example). Ya gotta have the rosewood. [​IMG]
    Jim,
    The Denon '3300 may very well be a nice player, but it is outside my budget. If I were to buy the '3300, I'd probably put it in my main system and move the Technics 'A10 to the second system. If I got into that mode of thinking, I'd probably get the Toshiba SD-9200 for around $700 from OneCall for the main system. That's not going to happen, though. The 'A10 will stay in the main system, and I'll buy something like the $230 Panasonic 'RA60 for the second system.
     
  10. ReggieW

    ReggieW Screenwriter

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    Hello Keith.

    From checking my research, I cannot think of a better/cheaper DVD-A unit at this price. You can probably pick it up at J & R for around $200.00 now. It resembles the RP-91 a great deal. I told you my JVC 721 was clunking out for the third time in six months, well, it's clunked. JVC should be ashamed of themselves - how many times must you send a unit in before they just simply replace it? I've never owned such a pathetic electronic device in my life. I too will likely be picking the Panny up, and when I move next summer, I will likely pick up the latest CES audiophile quality DVD-A/Progressive player (whatever that may be). I currently don't have a 16 x 9 set, so the progressive feature on the JVC was overkill for the moment. I will at least have the satisfaction of owning a nice unit without having to (hopefully) dump it in for repair every other month.

    Reg
     
  11. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Reggie, sorry again to hear of your peril with the JVC unit. It should have been replaced, but at least now that it died, you are rid of that headache altogether. If you do get the 'RA60, do post your thoughts. J&R quoted me $229 for it before Christmas, which is the same price I saw on Best Buy's and Circuit City's web sites. I noticed last night that www.etronics.com has it for $186. Etronics is not said to be an authorized dealer, but many people here speak highly of them. They have a 30-day no-nonsense return policy.
     
  12. Joe_H

    Joe_H Screenwriter

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    I just picked up the RA-60 a few days ago.. DVD-Audio wasn't exactly a big concern for me (i was looking only to get a player that had dts), but i was looking at the RV-31, and since the RA60 is only a little bit more expensive i got the RA60. Mine is in silver since the wiz was sold out of black. It seems to be a quality unit, as it is built as well as (probably better than) my few years old panasonic dvd player that still works today. It comes with a Barenaked Ladies DVD-Audio disc, as well as Meet the Parents on video. I played the Barenaked Ladies disc and well, now i'm very glad i got the DVD-Audio player, even if it isn't my style of music. I'm not sure how well i answered your question since i don't exactly know how to judge build quality, but hopefully i helped. Also, if this factors in your decision at all, the RA60 also has (very limited) support for MP3s burned onto CD-R/W.
     
  13. Matt DeVillier

    Matt DeVillier Supporting Actor

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    Keith,

    I sent you a private message about the RA60.

    -Matt
     
  14. Keith Mickunas

    Keith Mickunas Cinematographer

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    Keith, I've got an RA60 and am very happy with it, however I haven't used other DVD-Audio players so I have nothing to compare to. Do a search on my name and Panasonic and you'll find my review. One of these days I'll add it to the review section, I promise.

    I think you'll be able to play alright without the TV. And if you intend to do it in stereo mode only, all you got to do is adjust things in the bass management and it will either downmix or force it to the stereo track as appropriate.
     
  15. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Joe and Keith,

    Thanks for posting your thoughts on the 'RA60.

    Keith,

    I will have to look for your review. Since I have no problems using my Technics 'A10 without a TV, I'm sure the 'RA60 be easy to use that way also.
     
  16. John Kotches

    John Kotches Cinematographer

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    For JVC DVD-Audio players, the key sequence {Top Menu}, {2}, {Play} starts playback of group 2 (usually stereo).

    In my couple of days back home (I'm on the road again) I've been playing with the JVC XV-S75GD and it's a bit better sonically than the XV-D723GD.

    Not bad, and for its price point (under US$300) it's a pretty good selection for both DVD-A and video quality.

    Not the RP-91, and not the same price either.

    Regards,
     

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