Pioneer 440 vs. Panasonic RV31

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Tim_Speicher, Jan 2, 2002.

  1. Tim_Speicher

    Tim_Speicher Stunt Coordinator

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    After searching the boards regarding the quality of the Playstation 2 as a DVD player, I have decided on getting a stand alone DVD player. Unfortunately, I have yet to win the lottery or have a rich relative kick the bucket, so I have to stay within a limited budget of ~$200.00. Thus my search has brought me to the above mentioned players. Presently, I use a Sony Wega 27" as my main TV. I have not yet purchased my receiver (Onkyo 595) or speakers. However, with that in mind, I am looking for opinions on which of the two players I should lean towards. I'm not really familar with all the features that are available, but my main concerns are:

    Picture/Sound (Will be connected via S-Cable)

    Reliability

    I also do like the fact that the Panasonic has the MP3 playback capabilities, but not sure how great it is (i.e. interface, playback)

    I'm sure I'd be happy with either, as I'm just getting into the HT market, but I'd like to hear from the masses, incase there is something that I hadn't thought of or just completely overlooked. It's easier to learn from you folk here than having to pay for something that ends up being junk =)

    Thanks for any help =)

    -Tim
     
  2. Joe_H

    Joe_H Screenwriter

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    The Panasonic MP3 capabilities suck. I have the DVD-RA60 which is the same thing but includes DVD Audio, for $230. The player just numbers the tracks in alphabetical order, and plays them straight through. No file display, no title, just a number. Also there is no random mode.

    I was under the impression though that the Pioneer also played MP3s. Maybe it was a different model number though.
     
  3. Randy Prue

    Randy Prue Stunt Coordinator

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    I don't know the 440, but the RV31 is highly rated. Ironically, it can be had on sale for less than the RV21, which, IMHO, is a piece of junk.

    Someone today suggested that the one I bought needed a laser or head alignment (why should I send out a new machine for an adjustment, when I can simply return it to the store?).

    The RV31 is supposed to be better than the 21 (which does not have the wheel thing).

    The 21 failed to play many discs, and most rentals.

    I ended up with the Sony NC600 changer, plays anything, lots of features that I like, works well.

    It can be had in lesser incarnations (single disc, less features), on the way backwards to the NC300 (your price range), all with Precision Drive 2, which may be why it plays all the discs so well.

    I figure that if a DVD player does not do the primary function well (play a disc without jamming, locking, or skipping), I could live without MP3 (one of my reasons for buying the RV21) to get the primary function.

    Since then, I have downloaded and burned MP3s to CD to discover that bad compression and whatever else gives a lousy recording. My objective in getting all this digital stuff is to hear good sound, so I went back to buying original recordings.

    This to say that maybe the MP3 element is less important than getting a rock solid machine that will play rentals (or do you want to buy EVERY movie you wanna watch?).

    I would also recommend buying from a dealer who takes returns. I have seen the strangest malfunctions right out of the box with all this new, and newly inexpensive, digital stuff (Yamaha with DVD input playing through Tape, Marantz with channels reversed)... it's a dangerous place out there.

    Good luck. Let us know how it goes and what you choose.
     
  4. Tim_Speicher

    Tim_Speicher Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks for the prompt replies... They really have opened up my eyes to some other issues that I may need to consider. I figured for the relatively inexpensive price, the MP3 feature would be less than stellar. Not a big deal, just a nice added feature.

    However, I do recall a couple other features that I would really like in my DVD Player, in conjection with what was mentioned in my first post.

    - CDR Playback

    - VCD Playback (I'm starting to dabble with Adobe Premiere 6 and want to try my hand at making SVCD and maybe even DVDs)

    Thanks again for all the input!

    -Tim
     
  5. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Joe,

    The Pioneer DV-440 does play MP3-encoded CDs.

    Tim,

    Take a look at the Pioneer DV-440. It is said to handle MP3-encoded CDs very logically (on-screen display with file folders, etc.). I have read that here a number of times. In looking at the '440 at Best Buy, I feel it is a very solid player. Build quality is excellent for $180. Also, the player is only 2.25" tall and is very sharp in appearance. Plus, it has a Burr-Brown 24/192 DAC. In my opinion, the '440 looks to offer a lot for only $180.
     
  6. Joe_H

    Joe_H Screenwriter

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    Go to VCDHelp. They have a list of features for DVD Players. Also if you're trying to convert an MPEG to VCD for example and don't know how, they tell you step by step if you ever need that.
     
  7. Tim_Speicher

    Tim_Speicher Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks Joe and Keith for the information. I'll be sure to check out that VCD site and see what I can learn there. I must say that I was a little concerned about the overall quality of the Pioneer, considering the thin size... I guess it is true, size doesn't matter! [​IMG]
    -Tim
     
  8. Myles

    Myles Agent

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    Well, I have a DV440 on order (going to return my DV-343). It plays VCD's well, does MP3 well and also doesn't have that annoying 4 second skip that pioneer has used for fastforward/RW. Also, music CD's are supposed to sound quite good with this unit.
     
  9. Denward

    Denward Supporting Actor

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    This may not matter but the only digital audio output on the Panny is optical. No coax output. I don't know anything about the Pioneer.
     
  10. Tim_Speicher

    Tim_Speicher Stunt Coordinator

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    I managed to get out to the local Best Buy today and took a look at both the Pioneer 440 and the Panasonic RV31, they were both selling for $159. I looked at the back of both the units and noticed that they both S-Cable and Component hookups along with Optical and Coax connections. I did kind of like the search knob on the Panasonic and the face of it. I guess it seemed to offer a few more bells & whistles than the Pioneer.

    Anyone know where I may get the best price on either of these two? Also, if there is any other player (non pscan) that I should consider ($250 & below) please let me know.

    -Tim
     
  11. Denward

    Denward Supporting Actor

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    Tim, Are you sure about the Panny having coax output? I bought a RV31 a few months ago and mine definitely only has optical. Of course, if this doesn't matter to you, then you can just ignore this.
     
  12. Tim_Speicher

    Tim_Speicher Stunt Coordinator

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    Denward,

    I've seen a few other people that mentioned the Panasonic not having a coax. Maybe I got it mixed up with another model ( I was looking at 4 different ones).

    Hmm.. that makes me wonder, is the there much of a quality difference between optical and coax?

    -Tim
     
  13. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Tim, audiophiles generally prefer a coaxial digital connection to an optical digital one. For one thing, audiophiles say the coaxial digital connection offers better sound, and secondly, coaxial digital cables are more robust than optical digital cables. I favor coaxial digital cables since they are more robust, but I have never heard a difference using one connection type over the other. The audiophile preference for the coaxial digital connection is easily noted by the fact that the majority of high-end CD players and transports only have a coaxial digital output. Some models offer both types, but you rarely see a high-end CD player or transport with just an optical digital output. In any event, I would go with a coaxial digital cable from a DVD player if you have the choice.
     
  14. Denward

    Denward Supporting Actor

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    Tim, With all due respect to KeithH, in theory there "should" be zero difference in sound quality between coax and optical. Many people will say that digital is digital; bits is bits. However, I have never personally experimented with the two so I can't say that a difference doesn't exist.

    In addition to my rv31, I have a Pioneer dvc503 in my main HT system and I have the option of coax or optical. I use coax because I've read the connection is more secure, the cable is less susceptible to damage, and they're cheaper. I bought the rv31 for my home gym where I just hook up analog audio into the back of a small tv. If I put the rv31 into a different system, I will need to have a receiver with optical input. I had read enough good things about the rv31 that I decided to buy it despite the lack of coax out.

    The lack of a coax out on the panny should only matter to you if you have or plan to have a receiver with inadequate number of optical inputs.
     
  15. Tim_Speicher

    Tim_Speicher Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks Keith and Denward,
    It seems that I will be quite pleased with either of the players, especially considering it will be my first real DVD player (I'm using a PS2 at the moment, :b wasn't sure if I was going to really buy into the DVD craze) As I mentioned, it will be hooked up to a Sony Wega 27" and a modest low-end reciever (Onkyo 595) and entry level speakers.
    Thus, I don't honestly believe I'll be able to complain if I have to use an optical in or a coax (as it will probably be RCA until I get my receiver in place [​IMG] )
    This is probably a petty issue, but I would like my display from my Onkyo to match that of the DVD. Does anyone know what color the display on the 595 is? I know the Pioneer has the companies standard orangish color, while the Panasonic has a soft blue.
    -Tim
     
  16. Dave Reichert

    Dave Reichert Stunt Coordinator

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    Tim, if you have a Wega, why not run component video instead of the S-video?
     
  17. Denward

    Denward Supporting Actor

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    On Dave's point, I think the pros and cons are as follows:

    1. Component cables will cost more than similar quality s-video since you need 3 cables instead of 1.

    2. There is a dramatic improvement going from composite video to s-video. The improvement from s-video to component video is noticeable but not dramatic. I would say that on a scale of 0-5, composite to s-vid takes you from 1 to 4 and going from s-vid to component takes you up to 5.

    3. Most receiver's on screen displays are transmitted through s-vid only, not component.

    If you're interested in best picture quality but still be able to use your receiver's OSD for configuring your system, get component cables and dirt cheap s-video cable since you will only use s-video for configuration.

    To keep things simple, I just use Monster s-video in my setup even though my JVC TV has component inputs. However, if I have any other reason to pull my TV out of the armoire again, I think I will switch to component.
     
  18. Tim_Speicher

    Tim_Speicher Stunt Coordinator

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    Dave,
    I was actually considering running components with my new DVD player. As I mention, I am currently using a PS2 and have it hooked up via Monstor Cable (S-Cable) to my Wega. The picture is much improved over the factory composites. I was originally going to get components, but I was told if I did that, I'd have to have use the opticial out to get sound, and I don't have a receiver yet. However, I think the Pioneer 440 had RCA's, in addition to Optical and Coax. Am I right in thinking that I can use components to connect directly to my Wega and use RCA's to hook up sound? This would tied me over until I could pick up my reciever, which would allow me to upgrade to the optical or coax out
    Denward,
    You mentioned components for viewing and S-cable to retain OSD? Do you mean to hook up both components and S-cable? If so, how would I know which one was carrying the video, or is there a way to hook them both up and then switch between component for viewing and S-cable for setup via OSD? [​IMG]
    Thanks for all the information you two have provided!
    -Tim
     
  19. Chip E

    Chip E Screenwriter

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    Tim,

    You'd simply run them to different inputs on the tv.
     
  20. Denward

    Denward Supporting Actor

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    Chip is right. I don't know how many inputs your TV has but you would hook up your component cables to Input 1 and your s-video to Input 2.

    As for audio hookup when using component cables, I don't believe the type of video hookup you have would have any effect whatsoever on which audio hookup you chose. I think that whoever told you that was blowing smoke. Now maybe it doesn't make much sense to have the best video via component and then hooking up plain ol' analog audio, but that doesn't mean it wouldn't work.
     

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