Interesting Comments in TAS on MultiChannel Players...

Discussion in 'Playback Devices' started by John Robert, Dec 1, 2003.

  1. John Robert

    John Robert Stunt Coordinator

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    Just got the December The Absolute Sound in the mail, and they had reviews of 2 players I am considering (and one I wasn't). Capsule summaries:

    JVC XA-SA600BK ($300) - I had no awareness of this unit.

    They say "On CD..., consistent sonic overachiever - approaching, in may respects, the sound quality you might expect from a $750 - $1000 player. However, it really came into its own with DVD-A discs...a screamin' good deal."

    SONY SCD-C222ES ($449) - this one I have almost pulled the trigger on.

    "The C222, though competent, didn't fully make the case for SACD...an overall flatness to the presentation ...a taste of SACD flavor, but it's more of an appetizer than an entree.

    DENON DVD-2900 ($999) - Another unit I'm interested in.

    "The DVD-2900 is lean and skeletal with all three formats. When I first fired the 2900 up, it was apparent that either the low end was anemic, or the midrange was just plain bright. As it turns out, I think both were true...While the video quality alone is worth $999, it's too bad the 2900 doesn't sound better."

    Now I'm really confused! Any comments from owners of any of the 3 units? I was going to but myself one for Christmas...
     
  2. Bhagi Katbamna

    Bhagi Katbamna Supporting Actor

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    What are you going to use the DVD player for? If just audio, then the Denon would probably be overkill.
     
  3. Phil A

    Phil A Producer

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    First of all, I would not necessarily take any review's comments as what your tastes and preferences would be in your system. It is their opinion and that is all, not to mention the fact they are likely listening to it in vastly different systems than your own and perhaps the critism is valid on what they are listening to. They also get accomodations from manuf. on buying things, besides the fact their magazines take ads. So I also would not take their opinion as coming from a point of view of zero bias. So in summary go listen with your own ears on systems that are as similar as what you can find that to your own. I believe the 222ES has been discontinued or will be shortly. There may be a significant amt. of lag time between the writing of the review and the publishing. Any of the machines reviewed may have had changes since the writing of it.
     
  4. Mark Hedges

    Mark Hedges Second Unit

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    I am happy with my 222ES. It is discontinued and is getting hard to find.

    I noticed asking prices on Audiogon for 222ES' have jumped up from about $250 to $325-400 recently.
     
  5. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    John, you really need to take The Absolute Sound with a grain of salt. This is the magazine that championed unscientific, "subjective" reviewing of audio electronics, and its claims of dramatic sonic differences among CD players, amplifiers, etc. simply cannot be verified beyond the point of sheer chance.
     
  6. Brian L

    Brian L Cinematographer

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    Against my better judgement, I bought TAS yesterday. Just had to read the SACD/DVD-A write up.

    Reading their reviews last night, I found it interesting that, at least on the first few players, they thought that the bass sounded lean.

    They made no mention of the problem most universal and hi-rez players have with a low level of the .1/sub channel. They also did not make any comment at all WRT bass management, which most players get wrong to one degree or another.

    Either of those issues, if not addressed, would contribute to issues with bass response.

    I don't give a lot of credibility to TAS. I once actually paid money for Robert Harley's Guide to High End Audio, only to read later in the Audio Critic that the whole thing was so loaded with technical errors as to make it laughable.

    As for the 2900, there are legnthy threads here that talk about that player. IIRC, the reviews are almost univerally positive. But at a mere $1,000, its below the minimum threshold for TAS to give it a truely good review.

    Surely its OK for the unwashed masses, but certainly not for the golden ear set. I personally am such a heathen that I actually like the sound of my Pioneer 45a, once I balanced the channel levels properly, and added an ICBM to the rig.

    BGL
     
  7. Kevin C Brown

    Kevin C Brown Producer

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    Interesting in that I've seen mostly good reviews for the Sony. But SGHT didn't like the 2900 either.
     
  8. Stephen M

    Stephen M Stunt Coordinator

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    Well, many reviewers and users find the 2900 mediocre with music including Stereophile Guide to Home Theater. I have yet to hear a universal player that sounds good on all three audio formats. Regarding subjective magazines, keep in mind that their opinions are at least as valid as those of anyone else. While your own experience is more important, reviews give you specific weaknesses or strengths to listen for upon personal audition. In addition, the previous claim that the Absolute Sound would be reluctant to give a bad review due to advertising revenue betrays an ignorance about that magazine's history in which they have often panned a product and lost advertising. They panned Sony and Denon in the issue at question which are two of the biggest advertisers as can be seen by scanning any A/V magazine. The fact they are still publishing more than 20 years while most of their contemporaries are either gone or much different magazines today,says a lot about them. I do not always agree with their opinions, but I feel they are sincere in them and I respect people with a point of view and the guts to stand by them. If you go on specs, then all players should sound the same which they do not. The less said about the Audio Critic the better. I have read it for years with only a few nuggets of useful information other than the impression that the publisher has an agenda he pushes at every opportunity.
     
  9. John Kotches

    John Kotches Cinematographer

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    Well to call this roundup "reviews" is IMO a bit generous. Never mind that there were 5 people "reviewing" the products.

    Really, 1 page to review the Meridian 800, or the Sony SCD-XA777ES? Less than a page for the Musical Fidelity Tri-Vista or the Marantz DV-8400?

    Count me as a highly dissatisfied subscriber.

    Cheers,
     
  10. John Robert

    John Robert Stunt Coordinator

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    All good input, thanks for your comments

    John: Funny you are a dissatisfied subscriber, this was my first issue - my wife gave me the subscription for Christmas...

    I have an older Sony SACD player (NC650V) that is OK. I was hoping to get either a universal player or a good Redbook CD / DVD-A player and a multi input switch. I was somewhat intrigued by the positive review on the JVC unit as it is inexpensive. I may buy it and try it out - can always return it if I don't like it...
     
  11. Rachael B

    Rachael B Producer

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    I like A/V mag's with lots of purr-dy pictures. The pictures are the only parts that never ever lie. Or, do they use airbrushes...? [​IMG] BTW, John, I liked your review of the Outlaw 950. I even bought one![​IMG]

    Since I own a 2900 and 222...I refute the review snipets! For the money the 222 is awfully good. So is the 2900! IMO, the 2900's weakness is as a stereo SACD player. Some people think for a grand they ought to get XA777ES sound for that grand, not! It's nowhere near that, in stereo or M/C for that matter...but for a grand it does stereo SACD just well enough, it seems some better at M/C SACD to me, it's played my several problem DVD-A's (from the early dayz) that some DVD-A players I have owned wouldn't load, on DVD-V: "what layer change". I don't use the 2900's bass management but users seem to generally like it.

    The 2900's weaknesses IMO, it doesn't keep your place on a DVD after you switch the player off. I've become accustomed to this simple feature. I wish it had a screensaver which seems to be a lost art on 2-day's player by and large. The remote is pure Denon, it's very poor for a nice player...no lights, no glowing buttons, hi-dee ho...pure Denon. Program it into a better remote ASAP.

    The 222ES is a cut below the 555ES & XA777ES that were it's model mates, no doubt. Damn near all other SACD players are too, so what! I'd call it the sonic equal of the 2900 on SACD M/C if no bass management is involved. I think the 222 gives a wee bit better stereo image. Don't let anybody tell you that a stock (Sony non-ES) SCD-775 sounds as good as a 222. It does not. Modd'ed anything is possible. For the money, the 222 delivers IMO,....3-$400 is findable, new.

    I think you should bypass the JVC for a uni or a 222....Best wishes and good luck on your shopping! [​IMG]


    P.S. Sound Pros has a good deal on the 2900 and One Call was supposed to get some 222's.
     
  12. John Robert

    John Robert Stunt Coordinator

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    Rachael, thanks for the feedback. I almost bought the 222, but couldn't pull the trigger. I also think that if I was to venture into the $ range of the 2900, I would wait til the street price of the Pio 59i settles down. My use is all audio as I have a Sammy 931 DVI to DLP setup that I'm happy with...
     
  13. John Kotches

    John Kotches Cinematographer

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    John,

    I've seen the quality go downhill in both TAS and TPV. Lately it seems like TAS and TPV is all about getting the count of reviewed products way up. TPV did a similar thing recently with a slew of RPTV HD sets. Average was less than 1 page per set of coverage.

    Since I'm a paying subscriber, I feel I have every right to complain, just as I have every right to complain about elected officials since I vote in the elections [​IMG]

    Of course, I assume everyone here is taking my comments with a grain of salt, since I do write for a competing publication.

    Cheers,
     
  14. John Kotches

    John Kotches Cinematographer

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    Rachael,

    Thanks for reading (and subscribing I assume) to WSR! As long as you aren't unhappy with your Outlaw purchase, I'm glad you found the review of value to you [​IMG]

    Cheers,
     
  15. Rachael B

    Rachael B Producer

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    Howdy ya'all Johns! [​IMG]

    John Robert, if you know where they have 222's left maybe you ought to snag one...? You'd get a similar sonic experience from the 2900 also. It's Christmas time, maybe you can get both???[​IMG]

    Que pasa John Kotches?!? Yeah, I'm a subscriber. I'm enjoying the 950 especially much, muchas, since I programed a Marantz RC2000 to run it lock, stock, and barrel. I proably would of bought the 950 if your review never happened. You can find out so much about it on this forum, enough to make your eyes water! Your review nudged me a bit closer. [​IMG] Bestest holiday wishes guyz![​IMG]
     

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