Half-baked review of Panasonic's S47 *stereo* dvd-audio player

Discussion in 'Playback Devices' started by LanceJ, Aug 14, 2004.

  1. LanceJ

    LanceJ Producer

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2002
    Messages:
    3,168
    Likes Received:
    0
    I tried to hint to a couple other members to write about this, but I guess I wasn't hint-y enough. [​IMG] And doing "reviews" of products standing in a store's demo area doesn't always engender trust in the reveiwer, but I got tired of waiting for Panasonic or a pro reviewer to write something about whether or not this player had any special stereo-oriented operating characteristics.

    Here we go..........

    I have never personally seen someone write about how the previous 2.0 player (the F65) handled surround discs as far as user interaction (i.e. do you have to pull up a menu every time you play a disc to choose the stereo tracks), so this past Tuesday afternoon I went down to my local Best Buy to find out for myself using this newer player, the DVD-S47S. An employee there that actually knows what dvd-audio is about(!) helped me do this. We dragged a S47 over to a TV with front A/V jacks & hooked up the player's video jack to it so we could see what the player was doing. I brought two dvd-audios, REM's Automatic For The People and Yes' Fragile. I would have preferred to use more than one label's discs, but I already sold off my 4 Silverlines and 2 DTS Entertainments.

    What we found: after inserting the disc and pushing "open/close" each disc immediately (after loading of course) began playing the stereo track. And here's the interesting part: even after going to the disc's audio mix menu & choosing the surround tracks, the player still played the 2.0 dvd-audio tracks. YES! You could pull up the group menu & choose a different group but guess what? They were either the DTS, Dolby, bonus video or the track menus, but never the dvd-audio stereo/surround mix choices. So at least for Warner dvd-audios, it looks like this player is a true stereo player.

    And the audio button? It would change between the 2.0 dvd-audio track......or the 5.1 DTS track and/or 2.0 Dolby track (depending on the disc). But get this: for example, whenever the 5.1 DTS track was chosen, the "D.MIX" (i.e. downmix) light in the display would turn on. BTW: since a receiver wasn't hooked up, we didn't know what was emerging from the player's digital output (downmixed DTS? 5.1 DTS?).

    Another surprising feature on this player: while poking around the player's menus we found this thought-provoking submenu in--if I remember correctly--the AUDIO menu that had this heading:

    PCM OUT W/NO DOWNMIXING

    then the following three choices

    Up to 48kHz

    Up to 96kHz

    Up to 192kHz

    [​IMG]

    Can either the coaxial or optical digital outputs handle a stereo 192kHz signal? Maybe I was reading the menu's meaning incorrectly? I'm pretty sure a disc has to be authored a certain way to allow a hi-res signal to be output via a digital output but if it was, it seems like this player will pass such a signal.

    Trivia: player looks classy (though I like black myself) and the front panel has a modern/angular shape not visible in the photos. Nothing felt overtly cheap. Loading tray was clear plastic--when in the open position it looked quite Star Trekish with its blue light shining through it. [​IMG] ; video menu had a time delay option you could set in milliseconds, I guess to fix sound/picture sync problems? And the player was on sale for I think $90.

    So it looks like for stereo playback this player might be a no-hassle way (i.e. no TV required) to listen to dvd-audio discs.
     
  2. LanceJ

    LanceJ Producer

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2002
    Messages:
    3,168
    Likes Received:
    0
    Wow, an entire thread to myself (this line sounds more effective if you imagine the reverb from saying it in a large, uncarpeted conference room).
     

Share This Page