DVD-A SACD CD... quality universal player

Discussion in 'Playback Devices' started by DustinTaj, Nov 29, 2004.

  1. DustinTaj

    DustinTaj Stunt Coordinator

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    Hi all. I'm in need of some recommendations. I just don't have the hours it would take me to research something like this, so I figured I'd talk to the experts and get a start here.

    Ok...so basically, what I'm looking for is a new DVD player to replace my old, worn, Toshiba SD4109x. However, I want to 'upgrade' in the department of sound quality. I LOVE to listen to my music. I bought my system out of college, so got what I could afford at the time. I'm slowly upgrading / replacing components as they wear out or as needed. My most recent addition was the turn table (Denon DP-23F) my dad got me for Xmas last year. WOW what a difference.

    Presently I have the following as my system:
    Onkyo TX-DS 676 (will keep until it dies, then upgrade)
    Polk RT2000p Fronts
    Polk CS400 Center
    Polk F/X 500 Rear (bi/di pole)
    SVS 20-39 PC+ Subwoofer

    I really started noticing the difference in sounds when I got the turntable - the Vinyl version of OK Computer sounds much better than the CD version. This is either due to the fact that the vinyl is a better sounding recording, or that my DVD player (doubling as my cd player) has poor DAC's.

    So, without going into the wealth of questions I have regarding analog, DAC quality, "stereo mode vs direct mode," subwoofer useage in "direct mode," etc...I'll get to the question of THIS post:

    I would like to replace my current Toshiba DVD player with a nice, multi-function (DVD-A, SACD, HDCD...) dvd player with a focus on sound quality. I have read outstanding reviews on the Denon 5900 and it's independent high-quality DAC's and would love to own it, but can't afford a $2000 DVD player. This DVD player will be my CD player, so it MUST be able to do an outstanding job (way better than the toshiba I use now) with CD's as well as DVD-A/SACD. HDCD decoding would be nice as well.

    So, what would you all recommend. I'm trying to stay under $600 to be honest. I would like very good quality sound, but don't want to skimp out completely on the video. A big screen TV is in the future, so I'll want everything to look alright too.

    What's out there that produces excellent sound (high quality DAC's???), is multi-function, and is in my price range?

    Thanks!

    -DD
     
  2. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    The Denon 2900 used can be had below that price range, a few places may have one or two left new for around $700. Denon 2910 is just above that brand new. Both should meet your needs just fine. Vinyl will still sound better than SACD or DVD-A, IMO, but they both are definitely better than CD, though it really does vary from disc to disc.
     
  3. EricRWem

    EricRWem Screenwriter

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    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    For your budget, I have to second the Denon 2900. Worst case, you're paying $699 at Crutchfields and you get all that customer service and what not that they offer.

    Outside of that, you shop around, Ecost gets refurbs in the mid $500's and news are floating around legit in the $600's for sure if you shop around carefully.
     
  4. PaulDA

    PaulDA Cinematographer

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    If you're willing to sacrifice a bit on the video side (how much would depend on an audition--looks fine on my display, but I don't use prog scan), you might save some money and consider the Marantz DV6400 (if any are still available) or the DV6500. My choices for a universal player were down to the Denon 2200 or 2900 and the Marantz DV6400. Canadian MSRP on the Denons is outrageous (1195$ for the 2200, 1895$ for the 2900) while the Marantz was 799$ retail (all in Canadian dollars). I auditioned them and while the 2900 seemed a touch better (and the 2200 was noticeably worse--not bad, just worse than the Marantz), it certainly wasn't 1100$ better. I know US MSRPs for the Denons make them far more competitive with the Marantz than they do up here, but, as I said, if you want to save a bit of money, and satisfy yourself on your decision, if you do choose the Denon 2900, give the Marantz a whirl.
     
  5. DustinTaj

    DustinTaj Stunt Coordinator

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    So, the Denon 2900...does it have nice quality DAC's (better than my toshiba)? Does it produce a very pleasing, accurate, quality sound?

    I've been doing some listening tests and here's what I see on my system:

    Vinyl (Direct Mode): Best (depending on the album) - but no subwoofer. [​IMG]
    Vinyl (Stereo Mode): Very good, but defeats the point of an analog path - but utilizes subwoofer artificially! [​IMG]
    CD (CD DAC's, Direct mode): Very good, but no sub. [​IMG]
    CD (CD DAC's, Stereo mode): Good, but has sub at least!
    CD (Receiver DAC's, Stereo mode): Not as good as others
    CD (Receiver DAC's, Direct): No point

    So, right now I like my toshiba DAC's over the Onkyo's. Do you think I'll like the Denon's even better?

    I wish there was a way to bypass all the A-D, D-A coversions and still utilize the subwoofer. But, I'll tackle all of that when the Onkyo goes and I can get a much better receiver.
     
  6. EricRWem

    EricRWem Screenwriter

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    The Denon 2900 runs circles around your old Toshiba unit. Buy with confidence and enjoy! [​IMG]
     
  7. Mort Corey

    Mort Corey Supporting Actor

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    With the 2900 you'll get great video as a bonus.[​IMG]

    Mort
     
  8. EricRWem

    EricRWem Screenwriter

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    [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  9. Lewis Besze

    Lewis Besze Producer

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    The new 2910 from Denon looks to be a winner too.
    I have the 2900 and I can recommend it highly as an all around great palyer.Audio/Video[​IMG]
     
  10. Perry Jonkheer

    Perry Jonkheer Second Unit

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    Keep in mind the 2910 is NOT better than the 2900. The 3910 is the 2900s newest cohort. Denon just decided to change up their numbering scheme. The 2910 is equal to the older 2200 which is nowhere near the quality of a 2900.

    PS - The audio quality is superior to your Toshiba and you will notice a world of difference.
     
  11. EricRWem

    EricRWem Screenwriter

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    The 2910 is the successor to the 2200. It's a 2200 with digital video. Take that for what it's worth.

    I'd definitely choose the 2900 over the 2910 unless you really just want digital video.
     
  12. Lewis Besze

    Lewis Besze Producer

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    A step above would be a more accurate statement.
     
  13. DustinTaj

    DustinTaj Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks, everyone. I will look into getting one of these.

    -DD
     
  14. EricRWem

    EricRWem Screenwriter

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    I gurantee you, you will be shocked what $600 or so is going to get you! [​IMG]
     
  15. DustinTaj

    DustinTaj Stunt Coordinator

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    Hi guys. I'm reviving this from the dead. Some issues came up shortly after I posted this thread a little more than a year ago. My wife was no longer able to work, so the $ situation changed. I think we've recovered enough to now be able to look at this again.

    However, the original suggestion of the DVD-2900 is probably not the best option.

    From what I've read on here, the new successor to this DVD player, the DVD-3910, is supposed to be an awesome player from an audio standpoint. Is this the player you all would recommend?

    I now have a big screen TV (JVC HD-ILA), so video is now important. I don't think the macroblocking issues will bother me too much, though. Am I wrong about that?

    Is the sound quality improvement of the 3910 really worth teh extra $ over the 2910 for use with my equipment (listed earlier in this post).
     
  16. LanceJ

    LanceJ Producer

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    Just a side comment on the Radiohead CD vs. vinyl issue.

    Many CDs nowadays feature EQ choices and compression settings (compression = bringing the loud & soft levels closer together) that make the music on them sound better when they are ripped to MP3 form & then listened to through typical headphones or tinny $30 computer speakers, but when played back on a conventional system can sound awful.

    Vinyl is targeted towards a different user and most of the time mastering (EQ, compression, etc) for the vinyl version is less extreme and in turn ends up sounding more natural. And vinyl's own set of special sonic traits also contribute to the final result.

    BTW: it was revealed last year that the DSD format (what an sacd uses instead of PCM) includes an automatic system to prevent over-compression. PCM has no such system. That means as far as compression goes (which can sound really nasty*) it is difficult to make an sacd sound bad so they almost always have a more natural/liquid sound quality to them i.e. they "breathe" better. PCM - what the CD and dvd-audio formats use - can also share this quality....if it is allowed to.

    Anyway, a CD can sound (nearly) "analog" if the artist and studio engineer want it to: this can be brought about by using analog tape to record the initial performance; using tube-based processing & amplification systems or specific mastering techniques (usually a combination of these is used).

    Digital's ability to record pretty much whatever it is given is a two-sided sword: give it an unprocessed sound (say, directly from the microphone to it preamp to the digital recorder) and it will record everything.....including a mic's improper placement ("raspy" guitar strings, overly intense cymbals, etc) a certain preamp's noisy circuitry, or the studio's A/C unit (for real!). In other words mistakes as well as the music can be faithfully recorded (back in the 80s this wasn't fully understood so some real stinkers were recorded; analog is more forgiving, but not quite as accurate technically-speaking). And digital will also record the special sound qualities that analog tape and tube circuitry can generate.


    * if you want read more about this disturbing trend that has ruined the sound of many new albums (Rush's Vapor Trails being the poster child for many in the business) check out this article.
     
  17. Dan Driscoll

    Dan Driscoll Supporting Actor

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    A couple of new universal players you might want to take a look at are the Sherwood-Newcastle SD-860 and the SD-871. They have the same audio section, with very good time alignment and bass management options in both players. I have been very happy with the SACD and DVD-A sound quality on my 860. CD sound quality is good, but not great, so I'm still using my very good Carver SD/A-360 for CD playback.

    The SD-860 has a Vibratto chipset and component video outputs. The SD-871 adds Faroudja DCDi and an upconverting HDMI output.
     
  18. DustinTaj

    DustinTaj Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks for the suggestion. I'll look into those.

    What do you guys think about the $ for 3910 vs. 2910 for my system?
     
  19. scott>c

    scott>c Second Unit

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    The Yamaha dvd players have great sound and picture also. I have one for sale on audiogon. Also the Sherwood 860 which I have is definately a nice player also.
     
  20. DustinTaj

    DustinTaj Stunt Coordinator

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    These players, how does the audio portion hold up? The reason I was even considering the HUGE price increase between the 2910 and the 3910 was because I heard (read here) that the audio was far superior in the 3910.

    I'm wondering if my system (listed at top) will reveal the improvement in a dramatic way? That's why I keep asking if you all think the $ is worth it for me and my setup.

    Also, does anyone have any experience with dakmart? www.dakmart.com has 3910's as "B-stock" for significantly less price. What is everyone's opinion on "B-Stock" as well as "dakmart."

    -DD
     

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