Loewe Aconda Owners - Your input appreciated please!

Discussion in 'Displays' started by Darren_C, Dec 29, 2003.

  1. Darren_C

    Darren_C Agent

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    Greetings-

    I have recently ordered the 2002 "Piano Black" version of the Aconda 38, as my local retailer had their remaining new-in-box 2002 models on clearance to make way for the 2003/2004 "Basalt" models. I have a few questions for other owners before I take delivery-

    Do you have any dislikes of the set, however minor?

    Any problems getting the correct aspect ratio from any source?

    Any compatibility issues with 480p or 1080i material through the component input?

    Have you used a component->VGA transcoder for the VGA input? Did it work?

    Does anyone know if there were significant changes from the 2002 model to the 2003/2004 "Basalt" Aconda 38 model? The new one was $1000 more at $3995 so I'm curious if it was improved and how. Externally, they appeared identical except for the faceplate color. Unfortunately, I couldn't compare picture quality directly, as they didn't have the same input sources available.

    Basically, I want to make sure I am not making any major errors with this purchase. I really like the picture quality and it should fit my room and stand perfectly. The limited inputs shouldn't be a major issue. I assume I can set my HD Cable box to 1080i for the component input and then route my DVD into S-video or though the Component->VGA adapter my dealer is supposed to provide. I can live without a DVI input, though I am somewhat concerned about HDCP if it is ever implemented such that I won't be able to get 1080i component video out of my HD cable box.

    Any other input greatly appreciated. I've spent a lot of time shopping and tweaking displays in the store. For my room, budget ($3000) and preferences, the alternate choices are a Toshiba 36HFX73 directview and the Panasonic 37 and 42 6UY ED Plasmas. I've all but ruled out the Samsung 43" DLP and Sony 42" LCD projections, as well as other direct views.

    Thank you!
     
  2. Darren_C

    Darren_C Agent

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    Bump-

    Anyone owners still out there, or are they all too absorbed watching their sets?
     
  3. Christopher a

    Christopher a Stunt Coordinator

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    Darren, maybe I'm the wrong person to answer you as I do not own one of these sets. But, here goes. Every monitor will have issues to some degree..I think you may be worrying too much, though. having said that, Loewe is very reputable and puts out a great picture. In that price range, you made the best choice.

    The only dislikes I have about the set is that it may be a tad bulky, but hey, this is a CRT and we have to expect that. This is a minor issue as you could get the Samsung DLP and get a smaller footprint but sacrafice picture quality. The Loewe is better, IMHO.

    From what I know of the set, you should not have any compatability issues with 480p or 1080i and it should display all the proper aspect ratios.

    I would actually like to pick up the same monitor myself next year, but may have to settle on one of the more inexpensive, Sony or Samsung direct view widescreens...getting a house and all ; )
     
  4. Davis

    Davis Agent

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    I own an older Loewe and use a transcorder to convert from component to an RGA (or is it a VGA) connector. There is no problem there.

    It was recommended that I use a non-progressive scan DVD player to take advantage of the superior line doubler in the Loewe. It might create a conflict if you use a progressive scan DVD player, but I don't have any experience with that.

    Be aware that, on my set anyway, any signal that goes to the VGA connector cannot be squeezed or stretched. I have a 4:3 model and the letterbox picture gets pretty small with the black bars on the top and bottom. The signal passes through directly to the screen.

    Also, my TV doesn't automatically sense which input to take the signal from. It requires that I use the remote control to tell it which input to use.

    The picture quality is VERY satisfactory.
     
  5. Darren_C

    Darren_C Agent

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    My Aconda arrived. So far it looks great. Only a couple minor issues. I can't get the component inputs to sync on 480p from my DVD player. The DVD is set to progressive, and the manual on the Aconda claims it will accept 480p there and the menu configuration claims it also. Either the DVD player (Panasonic DVD-CP72) is faulty, the monitor is faulty, or the operator is... I'll eventually run DVD into S-Video once my HD Set Top Box arrives, so I can run HD into the component configured 1080i. Even so, I'd like to find out what the issue is.

    Also, the remote control has some issues with learning set top box commands and they may need to send me a new one.

    Also, when the box arrived it was pretty clearly factory packaged and sealed/stapled. I was curious why the outer box had a label that read: "B" Good Unit. I'm trying to determine if it was refurbished at the factory. At the price I paid, I suppose it's not a big deal if the set works fine and the warranty is valid. I do note that according to customer service, the standard Loewe warranty is now 3 years parts/labor for any models purchased after 9/03.

    More later once I have time to set up everything, tweak, and once the HD set top box arrives. Thanks again, any other input still appreciated!
     
  6. Christopher a

    Christopher a Stunt Coordinator

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    I would assume that "b" would mean either a returned or refurb.
     
  7. Darren_C

    Darren_C Agent

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    I have noticed a couple picture quality issues.

    Now that I can get 480p output from my DVD player to sync on the component inputs, I notice that the picture seems to be shifted down. At the top of the screen are 4 segments of a horizontal line forming "dashes" at the top of the scanning area. This does not appear when running the DVD into the S-video input. I'm not sure if this is a geometry issue with the set, or a issue with the 480p output of my Panasonic CP72 DVD player. I hope it does not occur with 1080i once I get my set top box, as I haven't found any way to correct it.

    Second, when displaying relatively dark, even scenes, I can see wide vertical "bands" across the screen. They are two of them near each edge of the screen that are somewhat darker than the lighter band in the center. The gradations are subtle, and you don't notice them in uneven or bright scenes.

    Any comments?

    Other than those issues, a pass through the S&V calibration DVD produced good results to my untrained eyes.
     
  8. David J. White

    David J. White Auditioning

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    Darren,

    I have had my Aconda for over a year now and have not had either of the problems you describe with picture quality. Its been nothing but amazing for me at all times.

    You may want to contact Loewe Opta US and discuss it with one of their techs. I would also strongly suggest that you ask them if it is indeed a B stock set as well. I know for a fact that they just liquidated their inventory of B stocks in November for prices so cheap you would cry if I told you. It was a private sale to employees and "friends" only...but it is possible your dealer bought one and sold it to you at a HUGE mark-up. Not that it matters much, as they were all recalibrated and double checked before they were sold, but since you paid full price you shoud get a new set and you should know if this dealer is being unscroupulous. if so please be sure to tell us who it is so we can all avoid them.

    As for the set itself, i could not be happier with mine. My only complaint is the single C-vid input which will not auto-detect between 1080i and 480i so you have to reconfigure the input settings in the Set-up menu if you switch between sources of this nature (I use a Zektor c-vid switch box for my STB, DVD, PS2). And also you cannot change the picture format w/ 1080i (only pani & 16:9)...so when you output your hd-stb as 1080i your HD channels format correctly but all your non-hd channels are 4:3 and you cannot change this. The alternative is to set STB to output HD as 1080i and output non-hd as 480i, but then you have to change the set-up on the TV menu each time you switch between HD and non-HD content. Its a PITA especially since nobody else in the house has any idea what any of this means. I have been seaching for discrete IR codes for my pronto that will let you change TV input setup from 1080i to 480i without entering setup menu, but none seem to exist for this single function.

    That said, the aconda has been discontinued and the set replacing it should fix many of these concerns as it has multiple c-vid inputs.

    Hope that helps,
    Dave w

    ps here is contact for loewe us:

    Loewe Opta Inc.
    10 Cordage Park Circle
    Suite 213
    Plymouth, MA 02360 USA
    508-830-0025
     
  9. Darren_C

    Darren_C Agent

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    Thank you for the great response. I have contacted Loewe and hope to hear more soon. I did see 4 more Acondas. All showed a similar vertical band effect but to a much lower degree than mine. 2 of the 4 were hardly noticable at all except on test pattern and even then it was minimal. I suspect this is typical of most larger CRT displays, but I think mine is worse than normal. Pehaps I did get a refurbished set that was alleged to be brand new- hopefully Loewe will tell me if that is the case.

    I also sent you another email. Thanks again!
     
  10. Darren_C

    Darren_C Agent

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    Just as an update-

    Loewe and my dealer have replaced my original piano black Aconda twice in response to my concerns about worse-than-expected brightness and color uniformity. I was hoping they would simply send someone to try a repair like a color purity adjustment, or swap me one of the showroom demos that appeared better than mine. Instead, they replaced it with the newer Basalt model. The Basalt model is an updated model over the previous versions-

    Changes/Improvements on new 9383B "Basalt" based on the Loewe website and manuals:

    1) Claims to have a "Real Flat" picture tube rather than "Super Flatline." Visually, I could see no difference in curvature or any other external differences other than faceplate color.
    2) Chassis is now called A2440 rather than A2400
    3) Added "Color Detail" adjustment (Haven't found this)
    4) Added "Digital Movie Mode Plus" with "Selectable Reverse 3-2 pulldown correction" (Haven't found this)
    5) Added "Autosense Input" that automatically adapts to input scan rate on Component and VGA (Very nice improvement!)
    6) Includes VGA/Component adapter to allow VGA to operate as a 2nd Component in
    7) They have added digital audio inputs/outputs
    8) Audio no longer lists "dbX" with MTS Stereo reception
    9) No longer lists RS-232 Serial Port optional adapter
    10) Includes IR re-transmitter accessory
    11) Updated setup utility
    12) Basalts appear made in 2003 from Germany. Previous models made in 2002 from Tennessee.
    13) I notice fewer jaggies and less dot crawl on color bar boundaries with the Basalt vesion on both composite and S-Video input.

    Unfortunately, the two replacement Basalt Acondas had the same uniformity issues. In addition, I noted slighly worse performance on some of the geometry and contrast tests of my Sound & Vision DVD on the most recent Basalt, along with some faint, narrow vertical stripes along the left side of the screen I had not observed in any of the other 6 Acondas I've seen. The dealer was kind enough to swap back for the previous Basalt I had, saving me the time for setup.

    So, be advised that brightness uniformity and color temperature uniformity issues are a fact of life on the Loewe Aconda and almost all larger tube sets, especially wide screen models. It is surprising how many professional reviews fail to mention these issues, or gloss over them with a brief mention in passing. From my research on the topic in the last few months, it has become obvious that the wider the deflection in the tube, the more likely a particular set will have visible flaws. I've noted similar issues to varying degrees on most other models, including the Sony 40" and 34" XBR910. Similar user accounts on many large CRT models can also be found in the archives in various home theater forums.

    Granted, most people will never notice these issues on any material. Many others would only notice on a test pattern if they were shown what to observe. Those of us who would notice the splotchy appearance are probably few, and limited to low contrast scenes like sky, snow or animated clips.

    If this is a concern to you, be sure to look over your set carefully. These issues are most easily observed on a solid gray field or a solid color pattern like the blue "no signal" pattern or especially a solid red color field. While an ISF calibration may make the color purity issues less noticable, it may be difficult to get the manufacturer to even attempt a fix. Unless you are lucky to cherry pick a good set to start, these type of problems may not be easily fixed anyway.

    Overall, the Loewe is still a great set and delivers excellent PQ. I still have not seen anything near the price I paid that delivers similar overall quality. That said, had I been aware of these uniformity issues, I may well have saved my money and waited for the next generation of plasma or DLP. I might have tolerated such flaws in a mass market priced model, but not a high end model retailing for $3000. I do give Loewe and the dealer credit for great customer service in issuing my replacements, but I find it very hard to believe no one had heard of this widespread problem in the past. It's possible it is limited to the batches at the local dealer, 7 of which display the problem in varying degrees, but not likely.
     

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