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Phillips 963 or Elite 45A (1 Viewer)

Chris Elm

Stunt Coordinator
Mar 30, 2003
Well all, these are my two choices. I won't be buying for another two weeks, but wanted your opinions.

Obviously the major pros for each are that the 45A supports DVD-A and SACD, but the Phillips supports SACD and upsamples redbook cds to 96/24 as I understand it.

Thus my question is this:
Is the quality of playback on redbook cds really that much better on the phillips than the Pioneer? Will it be a noticable improvement over playback on the 45A?
Will I be kicking myself down the road later if I decided to not go with a universal player (no DVD-a)?

In a nutshell, will the quality of redbook cds be improved enough to merit the loss of the DVD-A format?

Assume they are the same price. As I understand it, the Elite 45tx reciever that I have ordered only has 1 multichannel input, so the addition of a stand-alone DVD-A player in the future is out.

Please shed some light.

Dennis Nicholls

Senior HTF Member
Oct 5, 1998
Boise, ID
Real Name
From what I hear the 963 has much better video quality than the 45A (no "chroma bug" and 108 MHz video DACs). What kind of music do you listen to? For example, I only listen to classical so SACD only isn't a problem. I made the same kind of decision myself this week and ordered a 963 as opposed to a Denon 2900/Yamaha 2300.


Second Unit
Nov 2, 1998
I'm very pleased with the 963. SACD Quality is excellent and video quality with the 13-bit/108 video DAC is better than any of the prior players I've seen. There are some quirks - the angle icon stays on during any multi-angle material, for example. I've also had a couple of freeze-ups. However, the player has worked perfectly the great majority of the time, and the performance is strong enough to allow me to overlook (not entirely) some of the QC flaws.

The player upsamples CDs to both 24/96 and 24/192. I had a DVD-A player previously, and - it's just my personal opinion - I like both the sound and title selection of SACD more, so I'm pleased.

Guy Robinson

Mar 27, 2003
Don't cut yourself off from one of the hi-rez formats. These days there is no reason for it. I have around 100 hi-rez discs. About half are SACD and the other half are DVD-A. Both formats are fantastic when done properly. There are bad DVD-A discs (The Doors for instance) and there are great DVD-A discs (Graham Nash or Zephr for instance). The same is true for SACD. "Bat Out Of Hell" is really bad and Beck's Sea Change is probably the best hi-rez disc I have heard. The Pioneer 45a is as close to a flawless audio player that I have heard and I trade usually about every 3 to 6 months because I am very picky. I will not be getting rid of this one for awhile. The DVD-A was a large set-up in detailing from the Panasonic RP82 that I had and the SACD playback is also wonderful. It's a beautiful thing when you put in any disc and it plays with no problems. I use all the converters in the player. Everything goes out the 6 analog outputs including movie soundtracks. I only use the volume control on my receiver remote now. Three people so far have bought a 45a after being over to my house to listen. As to the chroma bug, I use a 32" tube TV so I do not see any flaws in the picture. Audio is my primary use for this unit. The CD's also sound great through the 3 stereo Burr-Brown D/A's.

Chris Elm

Stunt Coordinator
Mar 30, 2003
Thanks for the reply guys...
I listen to mostly classic rock I would say:
Pink Floyd
Steely Dan
Billy Joel
are some of my favorites

I also occasionally listen to some classical, like Aaron Copland, for example.

For now, I think it will be to my advantage to not get caught up in these new formats, since all of my collection is redbook cd anyways.

Any other opinions? If the regular CD playback is close enough, I'd rather have the extra format obviously.


Second Unit
Apr 29, 2003
I have the DV45A, and as far as straight audio CD playback is concerned, it is top notch. I A/B'd a Denon DCM-370 against it, and the Elite won hands down (to my listening preferences anyway).


Jan 11, 2003
I've had the Phillips DVD963SA since February.
To answer your question about Upsampling, yes it does make a difference.. A very big difference IMO.
I can't give an opinion on the 45A, but the 963 does a fantastic job for me. CD is unbelievable upsampled at 96/24 or 192/24. The difference is quite apparent, even to the untrained ear. Video is superb, the picture is actually striking. I really like SACD, it comes across very "analogy", sounds more like vinyl than digital. I have the 963 going into a Yamaha RX-V2300, also into a separate headphone amp (Musical Fidelity's XCans) and it is just awesome with my Senn HD590 headphones. Big wide soundstage, crisp highs, rich mids and clean bass. As far as DVD-A, I can't predict which format will win out in the end but SACD does seem to be pulling out front.

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