Opinions please: Pioneer 563A or use a switcher + dedicated SACD player?

Discussion in 'Playback Devices' started by Carlo Medina, Aug 26, 2003.

  1. Carlo Medina

    Carlo Medina Executive Producer

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    Hi All,

    I've followed closely the 563A discussion/review thread, and now am at a sort of crossroads. Let me explain.

    I have a decent mid-fi system (MB Quart QLS-1030 mains, center, Energy surrounds, NAD T762 receiver, Panny RP-91 DVD/DVD-A player). I want the best sound quality that I can afford (and since I am not rich that takes out the $$$$ items).

    So here's my boggle--my Panny RP91 does DVD-A and does it well. My NAD T762 has only one multi-channel input. I want SACD capability. So my options are:

    1. Buy a Pioneer 563A and use that as the primary DVD-A/SACD player. My RP91 would go back to being the DVD Player hooked via optical to the NAD T762

    Potential Negatives
    A. This risks the DVD-A sounding worse than the RP91 (don't know if it will, but some say it might).
    B. Also there is the dreaded DSD-to-PCM conversion although someone at the 563A posted that it may not happen with BM off, and that if it does, it's LPCM and shouldn't be audible. I'm not an expert and can neither confirm nor deny this.

    Potential Positives
    A. I would get 6.1 capability back, as neither the RP91 or 563A output DD-EX or DTS-ES via their 5.1 audio outs. So using the optical on the RP91, my NAD T762 would then be able to decode the EX/ES soundtracks properly.
    B. I could buy an Outlaw ICBM in the future to do the BM for the 563A (thus potentially skipping the DSD-PCM conversion because BM would be off on the 563A--again unconfirmed). The problem is that this would be another $300 to spend. [​IMG]

    2. Buy a Sony DVP-NC685V SACD Changer and two inexpensive switchers.

    Potential Negatives

    A. Would using two inexpensive 3-channel switchers (Rat Shack or this MCM Switch and two sets of standard RCA cables add more potential signal degradation than the potential DSD-PCM conversion? This potential degradation could affect both the Sony SACD and the RP91 DVD-A signals.
    B. No 6.1 decoding (unless I connected the RP91 via both the 5.1 analog outs and the optical, not sure if I can do this, and/or if it would pose a problem to the T762).
    C. Rudimentary BM from the 563A, might still have to buy an ICBM. I am fine with the sound from the RP91 without an external BM unit - I just have the RP91 calibrated via AVIA and the settings seem to be fine switching from DVD to DVD-A.

    Potential Positives
    A. "Pure" SACD decoding (no DSD-PCM as far as I can tell by the Sony)? Since SACD is Sony's baby you'd hope they would know how best to decode it.
    B. Better (???) sound quality from the RP91 as a DVD-A player (it's pretty highly respected and I love the sound out of it).
    C. The Sony is a 5-disc changer (563A is a single disc player).

    Sorry for the long post. But could anyone post any opinions or thoughts that come to mind? Please point out any oversights I may have made which could affect this decision. The cost of the Sony to me would be about the same as the Pioneer (my local dealer is Sony authorized but not Pioneer authorized so my cost is lower than MSRP for the Sony).

    Thanks for reading!
     
  2. Brian L

    Brian L Cinematographer

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    Carlo,

    A couple comments.

    1. I was using the MCM swicthers before I got a 762 (great minds think alike, eh?). I was using it to switch between a Pioneer 45A and an outboard DD decoder (my previous receiver was PL only). There was no signal degradation that I could detect. Although I could not do any sort of A/B comparison, I never once thought that the switch in any way affected the sound. Others may disagree, but they would be the same folks that wax poetic about how a $500 power cord removed a layer of grunge from their CD's.

    2. Running an optical as well as a set of 5.1's from a single player to the 762 is not a problem at all. That is how I have my 45A/ICBM connected. What you don't want to do is have the optical and a 2CH source connected to the same input, because the 762 will default to the digital in. I actually run the stereo pair from the 45A to the CD input.

    3. The ICBM is well worth its cost when used with virtually all uni or combi players. I use it with the 45A. In fact, when I was using the switchers, I had the 45A and the outboard decoder running through the switchers, then to the ICBM, then to the 5.1 ins on my old receiver. The flexibility, performance, and the fact that it works perfectly with ALL media (no current uni or combi can say that, methinks) make it an essential part of my rig.

    BGL
     
  3. Carlo Medina

    Carlo Medina Executive Producer

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    Thanks Brian. The only prob is that the ICBM only has one set of inputs so I'd have to buy switchers as well as an ICBM if I went the separates route rather than the 563A.

    Oh one more wrinkle, from the Crutchfield site and seemingly in favor of the Sony 563A:
     
  4. Carlo Medina

    Carlo Medina Executive Producer

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    Ah, here's the AVS Forum discussion where a user says:
     
  5. Brian L

    Brian L Cinematographer

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  6. Carlo Medina

    Carlo Medina Executive Producer

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    That's a good point, Brian.

    I guess to add more credence to the person in the 563A thread who said he spoke with a Pioneer engineer about whether DSD-PCM happens (the answer he got was BM-On=Yes, BM-Off=No):

    In the long AVS thread about this, I printed it out and actually am reading it post by post, something which seems to have got lost is a post by relder on 8/2/03:
     
  7. Lewis Besze

    Lewis Besze Producer

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  8. Carlo Medina

    Carlo Medina Executive Producer

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  9. Carlo Medina

    Carlo Medina Executive Producer

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    One other thing in favor of scenario 2 (buying the Sony SACD) is that I was just at Best Buy and saw the remote for the 563A - didn't like it at all.

    And the build quality on the 563A is about what you'd expect for a $179 uni player, which is to say it's very light. I guess my RP91, while not a tank like a Sony 7000, still weighs a decent amount. The buttons didn't feel solid on the face of the 563A either.

    I am going to look around and see if the local Good Guys has a Sony 685V in stock for me to compare.

    Might come a point where I'll have to warm up the credit card and buy both from GG and BB and return the one I don't want...
     
  10. Lewis Besze

    Lewis Besze Producer

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  11. Carlo Medina

    Carlo Medina Executive Producer

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    Totally. Thanks!

    I do wonder though, as someone said the 685V had "It allows for seperate system setup of DVD and SACD material for speaker levels and bass management" if that means they've made the crossover point adjustable on the 685V?

    I'll head down to Good Guys and see if they'll let me hook one up and check out the menus...
     
  12. Lewis Besze

    Lewis Besze Producer

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