DVD-A in the car?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Doug_H, Apr 5, 2002.

  1. Doug_H

    Doug_H Supporting Actor

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    I am thrilled with DVD_A at home and I have a large collection of discs as well as DTS music discs. I am considering getting a Panasonic in dash DVD-A deck and I was hoping someone here might have one or know something about them.

    I know I will never get the same sound as my home system but the idea of playing these discs in the car has me thinking. At $450 I think this is a solid player. How do the menus work without a screen though?

    Any thoughts would be great.

    Thanks
     
  2. CameronJ

    CameronJ Stunt Coordinator

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    Doug,

    I didn't realize that anyone made an in-dash DVD-A player. I did a quick search on the panasonic website, and couldn't find anything.

    I'm curious though, do you have a model number / link / etc.?
     
  3. Doug_H

    Doug_H Supporting Actor

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    cameron
    I was gone this weekend so I am just getting back to this.
    The model is 909u and can be found here http://www.prodcat.panasonic.com/sho...ategoryId=2479
    I found one at Fry's for $450 so the prices are getting pretty reasonable. This looks like a killer player and should do what I wan't but I was hoping someone had some experience with it.
     
  4. Adam Krogul

    Adam Krogul Stunt Coordinator

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    it retails for $1399 but you said you saw that one on sale for 450?

    whats the link to fry's website for that one?

    l8rz,

    adam
     
  5. Doug_H

    Doug_H Supporting Actor

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    Adam

    Fry's doesn't have a website that I know of, I saw it in their store. I have found it on Ebay for $500 as well. I figure they are getting rid of their stock so I want to make a decision soon.
     
  6. CameronJ

    CameronJ Stunt Coordinator

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    Doug,
    Thanks for the link. Don't know why I wasn't able to find this on their website initially [​IMG]
    My only question on this type of player would be how it handles the distribution of 6 channels to how ever many speakers you have in your vehicle (I think the average new car has 4 or 6??). The specs say that it includes "speaker management", so maybe you can specifically direct where the channels go?
    Also, I'd imagine that the existing bass management problems with DVD-Audio would be compounded in a car.
    While I would love to have a DVD-Audio player in my car, personally I won't be an early adopter on this one. I'll wait until I hear from some folks with first-hand knowledge of how this sucker works.
    Edited to add: OK, so I looked at the specs a little closer. It seems that this unit includes an additional center speaker that flips-out from the face. It also states that all you need are a monitor and a subwoofer (I would guess that the monitor is truly optional). This leads me to believe that the unit expects you to have four existing speakers, and that it has some form of crossover to direct the lower frequencies to the subwoofer.
     
  7. Doug_H

    Doug_H Supporting Actor

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    I agree, it will be intersting to see how things work. From what I have been able to gather you can set the speakers the same way you do at home. I would bypass the center channel however because I don't see any way a 5 watt center would help any. Because the unit is built into a receiver there may not be a bass managment problem but I am not sure yet.

    The primary reason I like the unit is that I can play all my DTS and DVD-A discs. I have to buy the redbooks to play in the car now and that is a waste.

    Speaker set up in my car should be pretty simple though. I have a 2 seat roadster so I only have to worry about 2 seats and really only one since I don't have passengers in the car very often.

    You can also hook up an LCD to it and it has 2 zone playback so for those who have a larger car you can play a movie in the back for the kids and listen to the radi up front. This isn't something I need but many folks out there would use it.
     
  8. CameronJ

    CameronJ Stunt Coordinator

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  9. Doug_H

    Doug_H Supporting Actor

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    If you bypass the center channel in the set-up, IE: telling it there is no center channel it should place the data into the front channels. This is of course all in theory.
     
  10. Doug_H

    Doug_H Supporting Actor

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    FYI: I ordered the unit this weekend and I hope to have it installed by the end of the week. I will do a short review after a day or 2 and a longer, full review after I have had time to learn it and really test it.

    I think I am going to like this unit, at least I really want to.
     
  11. Dmitry

    Dmitry Supporting Actor

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  12. Jeff Adams

    Jeff Adams Screenwriter

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    This unit has actually been around for quite along time. Over a year. I am interested in it due to I have a good collection of dvd audio discs. But I have been waiting for another company to come out with something newer, or even a different model from Panny. I know Crutchfield has this unit on sale for $500 or something close to that. If I bought this unit I would definately invest in a center channel speaker. I have never actually heard dvd-audio in the car environment, I am very curious to hear opinions of how good it sounds. I am also trying to hold out for a combo sacd and dvd audio player but I think I could be in for a very long wait for car audio.
     
  13. Doug_H

    Doug_H Supporting Actor

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    Fry's is out of the units. I found mine on Ebay for $489 which was the lowest I could find online. I have a friend helping me install it Friday so I should have something up Sunday afternoon on the unit.

    There are a couple of things about the unit I was not aware of until yesterday.

    1.This unit comes with an external amp for the front and rear channels which means you have to find room for it. I have a few options but will make a final decision when I see the exact size of the amp.

    2. A salesman at a local store told me that the small swing out speaker is not he center channel and that you get a small center you can mount on your dash or wherever you can find. I HAVE NOT BEEN ABLE TO FIND DATA TO BACK HIS CLAIM UP but the lack of knowledge the salespeople show with this unit is amazing. Not one of the 10 or so I talked to ever mentioned the amp.

    3. The cd changer controls only work with a couple of panasonic changers. Again one salesperson told me this and there is no documentation in the owners manual that talks about any changers but the panasonics. I won't be able to test this one because I don't plan on getting a changer for some time if at all.

    More to come!
     
  14. CameronJ

    CameronJ Stunt Coordinator

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  15. KevinMorrell

    KevinMorrell Auditioning

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    Hi guys,
    I have had the above car DVD-A/DVD-V for the last four months now and I figured I would help you guys with your questions. This is my first post, so it might be a little long, so bear with me. First, let me say this is the best head unit I have ever owned. [​IMG] I love the fact that not only can I take my collection of DVD-A's in the car, but I can also play concert DVD's, and CD's all with one unit. I only currently have two speakers, like Doug, but the unit has a downmix mode that sounds great. DVD-A's/V's sound great in this mode and I have not noticed any real loss of fidelity. This includes both Dolby Digital and DTS titles as well.
    One of the best things about this unit is the dual Dolby/DTS decoder that is built in. As for whether or not there is a center speaker is built in, yes the speaker on the front is the center speaker. But, the unit also has an output to use an external center speaker if you have one. There is also a subwoofer output jack, video out for the screen, and an aux input jack for an external CD player, etc.
    I know Doug was asking about the external amp, yes there is one but it's smaller, but taller, then a pack of cards. I put my easily under my front passenger seat. Another cool feature I forgot to mention is DVD-A's are autoplay! Once inserted, the unit automatically plays the 96/24 surround track, no menu's required!
    [​IMG]
    I have a screen installed, for passengers of course, and there is a lock out if you do not have the parking brake on. There is a way to disable this though, so your passengers, can watch movies on the go. All you have to do is ground the parking brake wire, and you are all set. Just don't watch the movies yourself when your driving.[​IMG]
    If you guys have any more questions, post a reply, and I will try to answer them. If you guys would like a review of the unit, Mobile Entertainment Magazine reviewed the unit in their December/January 2001 issue. Here's a link to the online review: http://www.m-emag.com/reviews/reviews.html?reviewID=41
    I hope this helps. My rating of unit:[​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  16. Doug_H

    Doug_H Supporting Actor

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    It's here, it's installed and it's FANTASTIC!

    I installed the player Friday night so I have about 4 hours of driving time that I have been able to play with it. I will cover the basics of installation and general set up along with my thoughts on the sound quality as well as any additional thoughts that cross my mind.

    The Beginning: I raced home after finding out UPS had left the package on my porch. Finding it well hidden behind a chair I opened the box. The packaging is larger than a standard stereo and once I opened it I was somewhat intimidated by the unusual array of plugs, wires and a manual that at the time seemed as thick as the bible. I immediately called a friend with experience who happily came over to assist, OK he did the bulk of the work and saved my butt.

    The Install: The mass of wires, assorted harnesses and amp seemed very confusing however the instructions were pretty good. Good enough to tell me I needed help. This install is a mix of home theater know how and car audio know how. My buddy Dwinn knows the Hondas inside and out. He does the engine upgrades and general maintenance on my Del Sol. He had already wired power locks and few other options that were unavailable as options. in other words he knows his stuff.

    The unit comes with an offboard amp you will have to install along with the head unit. The amp is a little larger than a pack of cigs so it isn't difficult to mount. On my car it fit nicely beneath the center console.

    You don't use a standard wiring connection on this unit. That means you have to cut the original wires, identify them and make connections to the new harness. This was the part I wasn't going to do myself and Dwinn already knew the Honda wire color coding system and made quick work of it. The actual time required an hour and a trip to RS for 30 connectors of which we needed 20. There are a ton of connections on this unit so be prepared and make sure you do it right.

    The center channel sticks out a good inch from the main unit. I don't think this is a problem in most cars but mine has a cover that slides over the head unit. It keeps the radio out of sight when you have the top off. This had to go but no other modifications were needed.

    If you are using your own amps you simply need to plug into the plethora of RCA jacks in the back of the unit. Very simple and easy. the video out is also located in this bundle.

    Speaker set up: Dwinn had the unit in and the fun was about to begin. First I had to pay up on my part of the bargain, as payment for helping I hooked his PS2 up to my front projection system. If you haven't played Grand Theft Auto on a 110" widescreen you have no idea what you are missing : )

    The unit lights up like a Christmas tree on speed and had me utterly confused for a few minutes. I pulled the manual out and began to tweak the speakers. The manual shows how to do everything with both the head unit and the remote. This lead to additional confusion but it didn't take long to figure it out. My car set up was very simple. The car is so small that there was no need to adjust the speaker levels and the delays were right on.

    The center channel needed to be bumped up quite a bit but I was able to blend it easily. I have no sub at this time so I can't comment on it.

    In short, your knowledge of HT will see you through this part without a problem. The most difficult part will be navigating the menu system.

    How does it sound: In a word, incredible. Now understand I am comparing this to car stereo and not your home theater system.

    The first disc to go in was the DVD-A Hotel California. As anyone who has read my comments on DVD-A in the past will know I much prefer the 192 stereo tracks. The system defaults to the 96k surround group and I sat back and was amazed at how much more I enjoy the surround tracks in the car. I believe this is in part because car speakers just can't handle the 192 tracks so there is very little difference in the sound quality. * THIS IS ONLY MY OPINION WHEN USING CAR SPEAKERS AND DOES NOT TRANSLATE TO MY EXPERIENCE WITH MY HT *

    The sound was incredibly clear, unlike any redbook release I have ever heard and was very consistent with what I expect from DVD-A. Great highs, deep lows (as low as the speakers would go) but always crystal clear. you can hear the finger begin it's motion on every acoustic guitar note on Hotel California.

    I now hit the group button and switched to the 192 tracks. The sound was possibly a very slight bit better however the stereo tracks were playing through 4 speakers which just didn't sound quite right. I tried to push it into just the front speakers but I haven't figured that out yet. The surround sounded so good I wasn't inclined to waist too much time on it.

    Next came a DTS 5.1 disc, In my opinion the best released yet, Steely Dan Gaucho. The DTS Logo lights up and the car comes to life. I again was floored by the clarity of sound I was hearing. I was grinning from ear to ear by now and began pumping in my 30+ DVD-A and DTS discs. All of them sounded better than I expected, not as good as most HT systems but I have listened to many poorly calibrated home systems that couldn't sound this good.

    General thoughts: The remote is difficult but I think it will become second nature after a little practice. The display is terrible during the day, useless altogether when I take the top off. You have to operate the unit blind if you have a convertible.

    The center channel was a big surprise, I didn't think there was anyway it could be anything but a hindrance to the system. Once I adjusted it the vocals came out and added to the overall experience, not to mention it looks really cool when it opens and closes by itself : )

    The display can be tilted at 3 three different angles. I chose the most severe angle because my stereo sits low in the car. The center channel tilts with the unit so this gave me much better sound at ear level instead of my belly button. This also makes operation easier but everyone will have their own preference on this.

    At this point I am still finding the unit a bit daunting to navigate while driving but this only applies to more advanced functions. The volume and track controls are very easy to use however the mute and group buttons could be larger.

    I will update this in a week or so with any other thoughts I come up with. I will also answer any questions as soon as I get to them so ask away.

    I hope this is not just long winded but helpful for those considering one of these systems.
     
  17. Jeff_E

    Jeff_E Extra

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    What if you have a center speaker installed in the dash, is there a way to bypass the speaker withing the unit and hook it up to my systems center speaker?
     
  18. Doug_H

    Doug_H Supporting Actor

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    Jeff

    You can use an amp and drive your own CC and I haven't decided if I want to hack up my dash and do this yet. The small speaker was really surprising, the 5 watt output made me think immediately that it could never blend with the rest of the system. I figured out that the speaker is so small that 5 watts is enough to make it work. If you already have a CC you will just need to amp the output.

    The range of this speaker is pretty sad but it does a great job with vocals which is what is carried by most music tracks. If you are going to hook up a LCD and watch movies I am sure you will find it unable to handle effects very well.

    There are RCA outputs for every speaker including the CC and sub so you won't have a problem running your own CC.
     
  19. CameronJ

    CameronJ Stunt Coordinator

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    Aaargh!!!!

    I was hoping for a bad review, so that I wouldn't need to buy this thing. Add one more item to the list.

    Thanks for the review though. One question, what about bass management functions (assuming you have a SW)? Can you set crossovers for individual speakers or just one for all?
     
  20. Doug_H

    Doug_H Supporting Actor

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    Cameron

    You can select speaker size which determines how much bass is sent to the sub. I haven't caught anything about changing the crossover but I will see if I can find anything. Because I don't have a sub installed yet I haven't spent much time with the bass management.
     

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