Pioneer AV-45a, AV-47a demo, Denon DVD-1600 or Panasonic DVD-RP91 demo?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Alex.D, Dec 19, 2002.

  1. Alex.D

    Alex.D Agent

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    My current equipment:
    Harman Kardon AVR320 receiver
    Dahlquist System One (due to room limitations had to get sealed-enclosure speakers)
    Denon DCM-360 CD player (rather exciting-sounding changer compared to the venerable 370, with "alpha processing" versus the rather buttery Burr-Brown DACs on the 370)
    I am currently trying to buy a DVD player. Video quality is _almost_ secondary, as I only have a 24" flat-screen Panasonic 24SX11 TV, due to the wall unit limitations. However, I DO want to get into at least one high-rez multichannel sound format, and expand my library of those. So, I'd like to get as much audio performance as possible out of the rig, up to the AVR320/Dahlquist limitations.
    My choices:
    Pioneer 45a (new) - $475 + tax local, $390 + S&H on the 'net.
    Pioneer 47a (demo) - $600 + tax local (Not the 47ai) I'm thinking I could talk them down a bit on that.
    Denon DVD-1600 - $475+ tax local, don't know about online yet
    Panasonic RP-91 - $470 (online dealer demo)
    I like the Pioneer units because of the shuttle control on the remote. Gimmicky high-tech stuff, I know, but it appeals to me. Also, they play SVCD's (I have a fair collection of Russian-language software on SVCD), and have both SACD and DVD-A capabilities.
    The salesguy at Magnolia Hi-Fi said that the 47a's main advantage was a "copper chassis". Any explanation of the benefits of that would be much appreciated. [​IMG]
    The Denon has an unspectacular remote, but is made in Japan. However, it has no SACD output or coax out, so the coax cable I ordered from Marc at audioshop will go unused [​IMG]
    The Panasonic I know very little about, as I was considering it, until I found that demo, to be a little too high end for my budget. If it can do wonderous things with DVD-A's, and can beat the D/A converters on the HK (so I don't use it as a transport), I'll definitely consider it.
    Thanks for any responses!
     
  2. Brian L

    Brian L Cinematographer

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    I have a 45A and like it a lot. I have not demo'd any of the other players, so can't comment on them.

    One thing I would ask is if you have 5 full range speakers + sub, or are some of your speakers small? This is important due to bass management (the ability to re-route bass from small speakers to large speakers and/or a sub).

    The 45A has bass management for ALL formats (SACD, DVD-A, DD and DTS). I don't know if the other players do. Many DVD-A players have NO BM for DVD-A software, which is a show stopper unless you have 5 full range speakers. There are extermal BM boxes to address the issue (Outlaw ICBM for example), but that is another $250 plus cables.

    Hopefully owners of the other players will comment.

    As for the sonic benefits of a "copper chassis" I would personally think that is open to debate, and is more high-end voodoo then anything else, IMHO, or course.

    BL
     
  3. Alex.D

    Alex.D Agent

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    The Dahlquist System One consists of 4 QX4 satellites, a QX100S sub and a QX40C center channel. So, small speakers.
    I was under the impression, reading 45a-related posts that the 45a didn't do bass management for SACD.. One of you two is right [​IMG]
    Regarding bass management - Are SACD's recorded in 5-channel or 6-channel format? I would think if they have discrete 6 channel information, no bass management is needed, since you have one channel per speaker.
    I take it the 6-channel analog input on a typical receiver goes straight to the preamp/power-amp stages, instead of being run through the receiver's bass management.
    Thanks,
    Alex
     
  4. Brian L

    Brian L Cinematographer

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  5. Dave Moritz

    Dave Moritz Producer
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    I have owned Panasonic before and Pioneer. Although the Panasonic is a good peice I would not concider anything about it to be highend, lmao! IMHO I would go with ether the Pioneer or the Denon. I would also consider making picture quality a priority. Ask yourself what if I do end up with a nicer larger tv within the next 3 years, what then ?? I have seen enouph demos of the Denon's to say they perform very nicely and they all have digital coax outs to my knowedge. I personally perfer the Elite line of Pioneer over the standard Pioneer. The Pioneer will be compatible with SVCD disc's and the Denon will not be. I would give the nod to the Denon IMHO. But you can not go wrong with ether one in my opinion. I feel there are better DVD players over the Panasonic. If you where looking at the $100 - $170 range I would say go ahead a get a panasonic because IMHO that is the price range that Panasonic is best in. Panasonic how ever has always been great in the longevity department being very relyable. I recently purchased a Sony DVP-S9000 ES that plays DVD/CD/SACD and DVD-A even though it does not have the 6 analog outs on it. I also own a Pioneer DV-525 that has worked out nicely. I have plans to updrade the Pioneer DV-525 that will go into my bedroom system with ether a Pioneer Elite DV-47a, Denon DVD-3800 or Rotel RDV-1080.
    Have a Merry Christas & a Happy New Year [​IMG]
     
  6. Jantzen

    Jantzen Stunt Coordinator

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    I have the 45A and it does do bass management for DVD-A and SACD (as well as DD and DTS). The subwoofer output is a bit on the low side and the crossover may be a little on the high side for you (100Hz). You may be able to compensate for these shortcomings if your receiver can handle channel levels on the 5.1 inputs.

    I am using 4 Energy e:XL 16's, e:Xl-C and a SVS 20-39PC. So I set the 45A to all speakers small and sub on. By increasing the sub level in the 45A to the max (+6) I was able to calibrate the sub to the other speakers at reference levels. At lower listening levels though the bass output was just not that great. I run my SVS about 6db hotter than the rest of my speakers for movies so having the 45A calibrate even with the other speakers was a little "weak" to my ears. Some people insist or prefer to run the sub at the same level. If this is you then you have a good chance of the 45A's bass management working for you.

    For me however, an hour after hooking up the 45A, I went to Outlaw Audio's website and ordered an ICBM-1 to handle the bass management instead of the 45A. All I can say is "wow!". I am now able to get the bass I want and I can tweak the crossover to get a sound I prefer much better than the 45A's 100Hz crossover. I wish I didn't need to buy another piece of equipment but I have no regrets after hearing the results. Maybe the next generation of players will get bass management right...

    I really like the 45A as a transport - having the ability to play DVD-A and SACD is great. Plus only having 1 set of 5.1 inputs on my receiver it simplifies things.

    I haven't tried the other players but I think out of all of them the 45A has the best chance of working well with your system. I know everything I said about the 45A also applies to the 47Ai (you mentioned you were looking at the 47A - not the *i*. Just note that this player is a previous generation player from the 45A and 47Ai and only has bass management for SACD, not DVD-A).

    I know the Panasonic does not offer bass managent and won't play SACD. The Denon won't play SACD either but it does have bass management.

    With that said I would say the 45A is the best choice. It offers both DVD-A and SACD playback and bass management for both. You may not be happy with the bass management and might want to get an Outlaw ICBM to handle it.

    With the 47A and Panny, you pretty much need the ICBM. The Denon has bass management (so maybe no ICBM is needed) but you don't get SACD. I don't know if the Denon has the same low sub issues as the 45A or not.

    Hope this helps.

    edit:
    Oh, I have no clue how the player is for DVD video playback - I still use my Panasonic RP-56 for those duties. I know the Pioneer has the Chroma Bug and has had less then stellar video reviews so I'm sticking with the Panasonic. My opinions were strictly on the player as an audio source.
     
  7. Brian L

    Brian L Cinematographer

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  8. Jantzen

    Jantzen Stunt Coordinator

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    Hmmm - I guess I'll have to try the 45A in 480P and see how it looks...
     
  9. Ben Hanrahan

    Ben Hanrahan Stunt Coordinator

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    I believe the Denon only has bass management to the extent that the frequency that is passed to the sub is 100 Hz and down, but all channels remain full frequency. So, it's really not bass management. But, the Denon has a top notch video section and a great audio section too.
     
  10. Alex.D

    Alex.D Agent

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    Thanks for your replies, everyone!

    I think I will audition the 45a and the Denon 1600 for audio duties, and unless the 1600 blows the 45a away in my room, I will keep it for the versatility, the neato remote, gold-plated RCA jacks and coax out.

    Unfortunately, my budget just doesn't allow for the 47ai. Plus then I'd want the Pioneer receiver that can do SACD and DVD-A decoding internally over the digital link, and it'll just get more and more expensive from there :/

    Regarding my system - I come from a philosophy that there is no reason to buy technology "for the future" because the same level of performance in the future will be much, much cheaper.

    Currently, I reside in a fairly small room, with a wall unit that can hardly accomodate a 24" TV. I had to get a Panasonic because of the width issues, a Sony, Toshiba or JVC wouldn't have fit period.

    The HT bug struck fairly recently, as I wanted to upgrade my computer sound system (I didn't) and my old 2-channel receiver that I have in my bedroom has been dying a slow death for the past year. I hardly use the thing. Combined with the $299 AVR-320 deal at Fry's recently, I decided to spend some money and go HT PLUS improve my music listening experience.

    So, no point in getting anything overly fancy, as the receiver/speaker setup is fixed. In three years, though,
    1) I will either be done with grad school, and making better money, or I won't be able to afford to upgrade anything
    2) There will be a higher-definition DVD format, so I'll want a new player anyways
    3) If I can afford to upgrade, I'd want a new TV, a higher definition video player, and, finally, a nicer sound setup too. So, this entire rig will go into my "bedroom" system to live out the rest of its useful life.

    I'm not a huge proponent of "sideways" upgrades... Once I set it up, I don't want to swap components in and out.. Hence my request for advice.
     
  11. Justin Lane

    Justin Lane Cinematographer

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