HiFi World UK shootout of universal players from Marantz, Pioneer, Denon, Onkyo

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Sach, Jan 12, 2003.

  1. Sach

    Sach Stunt Coordinator

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    A post on audioasylum.com has the following information about HiFi world's shootout between Marantz 8300, Denon 3800, Pioneer 757Ai (47Ai) and Onkyo SP800:

    In this month's UK 'Hi-Fi World' there are extensive tests of the Marantz DV8300, the Onkyo DV-SP800 and Pioneer DV-757Ai, with detailed lab measurements by Paul Miller (THE top tech-head).

    The Pioneer is apparently considerably better than it's 747 predecessor both sonically and measurement wise, and this is prefered over the Onkyo. The reviewer is particularly enthusiastic about the Pioneer's i-Link which can send DVD-A and SACD digital signals to a multi-channel processor without undermining the watermarking or copy-protection systems.

    DVD-A performance is slightly better than SACD but SACD is still very good.

    In the UK the Pioneer is priced at £800 so you can usually convert that directly to $800 for the US.

    The Marantz (£1,400 UK) is judged to be "comfortably above Denon's DVD3800 in term of sound and video quality - making it well worth it's price - it still faces tough competition from the likes of Pioneer's £500 cheaper DV-757Ai".

    From the review;

    "....the Denon was poor with CD (Denon DVD3800), so poor that I chose not to use it as a CD player. Measurment shows the Marantz is far more linear in it's replay section, born out by it's decent CD sound which is clean but a little bright, well detailed and with nicely portrayed depth perspective. Bass was a little mellifluous perhaps, but entirely satisfactory all the same. Violins in both digital and analogue recordings of Wagner highlights came over as vibrant and well separated, but also smooth too. Drums and bass in Angelique Kidjo's 'Agolo' had all the power you normally get from a decent player.
    ........SACDs were generally easiers on the ear and more fluid than DVD-A discs which is how the two formats generally pan out sonically. The Marantz changed nothing here, getting equally good results from both."


    What I think you should consider here is that this is not a Ken Ishiwata modified player and relies heavily upon Piuoneer's first generation DV-747 player as it's foundation, and "..it also shares the same pattern of ultrasonic noise which, typically, is worse on SACD than DVD-A. Of course, SACD's increased noise does serve to camouflage any distortion harmonics of signals above 15kHz or so, although this amounts to just 0.0125% at 40kHz with DVD-A."


    Reading between the lines of all three separate reviews in the current issue (and references to the earlier Denon review), it's the Pioneer DV-757Ai that is the most highly rated, basically because it is considerably better than the earlier 747A which the Onkyo and Marantz are based upon.

    From Paul Miller's lab report;

    "This player (the 757Ai) represents a significant advance on the DVD-747A, not least with the change from Crystal to the combination of Burr-Brown's PCM1738 (front) and PCM1702 (centre, Sub and rear) DACs. The A-wtd S/N ratio is now some 108dB and while midrange distortion is broadly unchanged at ~0.0009% there's a worthwhile decrease in high frequency distortion to 0.002% (CD, 20kHz/0dBFs) and 0.009% at 40kHz with DVD-A.
    The 40kHz plot not only demonstrates a marked improvement in dynamic range across the 20Hz-20kHz audioband but also reveals a substancial reduction (~40dB) in ultrasonic noise with DVD-A software.
    .....it's the reduction in ultrasonic rubbish that will ensure the DVD-757Ai is the more consistent performer with different amplifiers."
     
  2. Dalton

    Dalton Screenwriter

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    If Pioneer has not addressed the chroma bug then this player is not worth squat IMO. If it has fixed the chroma bug then i would be very interested in giving this unit a demo.
     
  3. ReggieW

    ReggieW Screenwriter

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    The Denon 3800 is not a universal player, nor do I agree with this reviewers conclusion on its audio performance. I've heard the 47ai but haven't heard the Marantz, but find it hard to believe the 47ai sounded that MUCH better than the 3800. To my ears, CD playaback was very good but nothing to write home about. I guess this goes to prove that all sound is subjective.


    Reg
     
  4. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Reggie,
    Of course we have to take any of these reviews with a grain of salt. I have a hard time accepting that the Pioneer player beat the Marantz unit, given that the Marantz unit is more expensive and because Marantz usually makes excellent audio components. However, I haven't done the comparisons. I'd like to though. [​IMG] From everything I have read and heard, the Elite '47Ai sold here in the US is much better than the old '47A. A salesman at my local high-end dealer told me there is no comparison.
    Sach,
    Thanks for sharing this information. [​IMG]
     
  5. Bryan Guth

    Bryan Guth Agent

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    Video-wise,the Marantz DV8300 is a rebadged Pionner Elite DV-47A, and it does have the chroma bug--though it is much less obvious than in other players I tested. Audio-wise, I adored the Marantz player, preferring it to the Pionneer due to its sonic clarity and resolution. I have yet to hear good redbook CD playback from any Denon uniy, though I have not tested their 9000 DVD unit, mostly because I refuse to pay that much for a DVD player, as I'm sure many other do.
     
  6. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Bryan, from what I have read, the weak point about the Denon '9000 and its European counterpart, the 'A1, is its CD playback. It apparently doesn't handle CDs as well as comparably priced CD players, and I am not surprised.
     
  7. Dave Moritz

    Dave Moritz Producer
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    Sometime this year Denon will be releaseing there DVD-A/SACD player to the public. This should be available around summer time. I am trying to remember the model number but I remember it being demonstrated at the CES show on Jan. 11th. Adcom will be releaseing a DVD/DVD-A player around the same time with very impressive progressive scan video. And will play DVD-A disc's as well. The Adcom will sell for apox. $1,000 US and has a refined face plate that gives it a high end look. Also at the CES show was a multiplayer from Zenith.
     
  8. ReggieW

    ReggieW Screenwriter

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    Bryan,

    I'm sure many Denon 1600-9000 owners on this forum would beg to differ. I own a Denon DVD-1600 and compared it directly with The RP-82 which I had been considering and preferred the sound of the Denon audio-wise despite the 82's upsampling function. However, I wouldn't exactly call the Denon 1600 audio nirvana, but it is fine with redbook playback. Again, we all hear things differently, but from the posts I've read on this forum, many seem to think quite highly of their Denon DVD players when it comes to redbook playback. Also, hasn't the 3800 won numerous awards in the British and American press for audio/video performance? This also makes the whole thing all the more bizarre that reviewers can be so far apart in opinion.

    Reg
     
  9. Brian Fitterman

    Brian Fitterman Stunt Coordinator

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    Home Theater Mag's latest issue reviews the Onkyo, Marantz and Pioneer (the one without the ilink). The Marantz recieved the highest, but for some reasone they did not compare the three units in a single test????? Very puzzling.

    SGHT also just reviewed the Marantz, and gave it high marks as well.

    I would have been nice to see either one of these mags compare them, but I guess not.
     
  10. Dave Moritz

    Dave Moritz Producer
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    The Denon multi platform model that was used and displayed at the CES show was very nice. It will be released to the consumer sometime this year. The Denon rep used it to play SACD and DVD-A and the audio performace was breath taking. I may be mistaking but I belive the retail for this model is $1000 - $1200? This model also had a very good video section on it. It was routed thru a Denon 5803 and they used a $35,000 projector to display the video on a 110" Stewert Firehawk screen. If I did not have my Sony DVP-9000ES I would buy the Denon in a heartbeat! Heck I still migh buy it anyway, lmao.
     
  11. Mike_Ch

    Mike_Ch Stunt Coordinator

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    Keith,

    I know of a person on audioasylum who thinks the Denon 9000/A1 is an advance in CD replay to that of the Sony XA777ES, so MMV.

    Cheers,
    Mike
     
  12. Sach

    Sach Stunt Coordinator

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    now this is interesting. I just read the latest Widescreen review where they have a review of Denon 9000, the flagship Denon player.

    The reviewer says that he noticed the chroma bug (albeit slightly) on the firmware upraded Denon 9000. The reviewer also notes that Denon would have completely newer fixed mpeg decoders from September manufactured dates.
     
  13. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Mike said:
     
  14. Mark LP

    Mark LP Agent

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    Just a few comments:

    One, in the UK 800. is really worth USD $1200.00. When you travel there you quickly remember everything costing 50% more.

    Two, I think that all these players have set a new benchmark for compatablility and quality. We have only begun to scratch the surface of integrating all these formats. What one of the posters before has mentioned, I disagree with(CUE). This CUE is only present on a few dvd's in a few select spots of dvd's. Go ahead buy a dvd player that doesn't have CUE. But try putting it head to head sonically with any of these others. That leads me to my third point.

    Three, What is more important for me personally is the audio quality. Trust me, any of these dvd players mentioned above will sonically outperform any lesser priced dvd player. Even if your using a fiber optic cable, the audio signal must still be pulled off the dvd and processed before it leaves the player. Not DD or DTS, but the original sampling and timing is still done. That is why high end cd- transports are made. Most noticable improvement when I bought my Integra 8.3 was the overall quality of the audio. The audio is present 100% of the time on 100% of everything I will ever drop in that loading tray. That is where accuracy should truly be counted.
     

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