Pioneer DV-45A Mini-Review

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Craig Rosenthal, Sep 22, 2002.

  1. Craig Rosenthal

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    Here's a brief mini-review of the DV-45A, mostly about its bass management capabilities. Before going into details, let me just say that I think that my quest is over... but I still have another 6 days on my 7 day return policy to be sure...

    My quest was for SACD and progressive DVD; DVD-Audio was a very nice and wanted bonus, but given the limited amount of machines out there, I wasn't too hopeful. My primary concern with most of the players that I have experimented with was their bass management capabilities, since I want to set all my speakers as small and get my low bass from my Velodyne sub.

    Video:
    On the video side, as expected it does demonstrate the chroma-error. I've only seen it in the "Elektra Records" intro clips to some of the DVD-A discs, not during the few movies that I've tried. I'm going to try some more discs, but I didn't see anything wrong with the panic-button scene of the Fifth Element. Unless it starts manifesting itself in noticeable places in regular program material, I'm going to live with it. Overall video quality is very good, about on par with what I remember the Panasonic RP-62 delivering (don't still have the RP-62 around to compare with), and much sharper with the DVP-NS755V that I returned because the video was too soft.

    Audio:
    From what I can tell, bass redirection appears to work in all modes. All two channel sources (I tried CD, MP3, DVD-A and SACD) seem to redirect the bass correctly to the subwoofer. Same with multi-channel DVD-A and SACD; bass appears to be redirected to the sub. So far, this was a weakness of any of the Sony SACD players that I tried - they either didn't redirect the bass to the sub (DVP-NS500V) or appeared to leave a hole in the music (SCD-775 - possibly due to the high 120hz crossover). I don't know the specific crossover frequency, but it appears to integrate my sub and my other speakers nicely.

    I can't really test the time-alignment feature, but there is a note that I came across on page 50 of the manual that states that the speaker distance settings don't apply to SACD sources (but the channel levels do). While literally that would imply that the distance settings apply to DVD-A, we all know how much we can trust owner's manuals to precisely cover highly technical details.

    Preliminarily, sound quality on DVD-A and SACD seem quite good (I never heard DVD-A before, but the Doors - LA Woman and Fleetwood Mac - Rumors sound very nice). I am listening to Billy Joel - 52nd Street now, and I am enjoying the multi-channel track (although I am still not crazy about instruments being placed in the surrounds). Regular CDs sound quite good as well – I listened to the Eagles Hell Freezes Over, and was very pleased.

    Craig
     
  2. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Craig, thanks for the review. Hopefully you will not see the chroma bug during movies. From the early reviews in thus far, the '45A looks like a great value. Bass management aside, I would be curious to hear how the '45A compares to $500 DVD-Audio or SACD players (e.g., the Panasonic 'RP91, Denon '1600, or Sony 'C222ES).
     
  3. Craig Rosenthal

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    Unfortunately, I don't have any experience with the current crop of ~$500 players. The best I've tried was the RP-62, and this one seems pretty close. Besides the chroma issue, which was only visible on some logos (never during actual program material), I haven't seen anything of concern on any of the video displayed by this player.

    My next tests will be to do a CD to SACD comparison again (like I previously did with the DVP-NS755V). I want to make sure that the SACD audio meets my expectations, especially since the rumor is that the DV-47A was sub-par in this regard. The Sony DVD player sounded very good to me on SACD (and I would have kept it if the video weren't so soft); I just hope that this player does SACD as well. Certainly, I have not complaints about DVD-A on this player, although I have no practical DVD experience to compare its performance with.

    A couple of other comments I'll make now are the lack of some key buttons on the remote ("A-B Repeat" and "Repeat" were the ones I missed). Thankfully, even though the remote provided lacks these buttons, the codes appear to be the same as some other Pioneer players, so I pulled the codes for these buttons from Remote Central (I use a Pronto). Despite the missing buttons, the original remote is pretty user-friendly (different shaped buttons, jog dial and a resonably well grouped layout).

    Another pet peeve: the lack of an easy way switch between 2-channel and 6-channel SACD layers. You not only have to stop the player (which is the norm), but you have to go into the player's main setup screens to set the default layer (2-ch, multi-ch or CD). I really would have liked the Audio button to work for SACD layer changes.
     
  4. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Craig, it's too bad you don't have the 'NS755V for comparison of SACD playback with your '45A. I understand why you returned to the 'NS755V, however. I would be curious to hear of your thoughts of the '45A with SACD because of the mixed reviews the '47A has gotten in this area.

    You said:

     
  5. Kevin C Brown

    Kevin C Brown Producer

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    My quick review. Just got it today.
    5 lbs 12 oz. Even my DV-05 was 6.5 lbs. Does include a test tone generator, but not for the sub.
    I'll add more when I have a chance... (My Stones SACDs aren't here yet. [​IMG] )
     
  6. Lewis Besze

    Lewis Besze Producer

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    Craig,
    regarding mc or 2ch default,this is only relevant for discs that has both tracks on it right?
    I mean if you leave the player in mc mode default, it would still play 2 ch only SACDs without a need to go into the menu right?
    Thanks!
     
  7. Kevin C Brown

    Kevin C Brown Producer

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    Lewis- Yes. Set it for multichannel, but if there's no multichannel track, reverts back to the stereo track.
     
  8. Lewis Besze

    Lewis Besze Producer

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    Thanks Kevin!
     
  9. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Kevin, I'm looking forward to your review. Given how long you have been waiting for the "right component", I'm sure you are looking forward to being in a position to write a review. [​IMG]
     
  10. Ben Jordan

    Ben Jordan Stunt Coordinator

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    On my 45A, if I use the 'Auto' under the channel level settings, it does play tone through each speaker, including my sub.
     
  11. Brian L

    Brian L Cinematographer

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    Fron the review in the latest Sound and Vision, the crossover is 100Hz, and applies to ALL formats (hurray!).

    Would prefer 80, but better then 120.

    One cool thing is that, at least with some discs, you can switch from DD to DTS on the fly via the audio button.

    Obviously irrelevent for most of us, since we bought the players for DVD-A and SACD, but I thought it was cool.

    Can't do that with the DVD-A or SACD layer, unfortunately.

    BL
     
  12. Ben Jordan

    Ben Jordan Stunt Coordinator

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    Brian, actually you can switch between the layers of DVD-Audio by pressing repeatedly the 'audio' button on the remote. See page 45 in the manual.
     
  13. Brian L

    Brian L Cinematographer

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  14. Ben Jordan

    Ben Jordan Stunt Coordinator

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    Yeah, it says "depending on the disc" there also. It's just like DVD-Video's where sometimes you can and sometimes you can't change the audio tracks.
     
  15. Brian L

    Brian L Cinematographer

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  16. Krzysztof W

    Krzysztof W Extra

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    Craig

    I am also looking for a DVD player which plays SACD and DVD audio. On the paper 45A seems to be perfect player for me. However, I read a review of DV 47A in Perfect Vision and conclusion was that:

    "DV-47A is not the plaer the audiophiles have been waiting for"

    Well, on the other hand 45A, which seems to be one step down from 47A, got a nice review in Sound & Vision. It also seems that you are quite happy with your new toy. I am really into music and I wonder if Perfect Vision went overboard or 45A simply sounds better than 47A. I will go and listen to both unit this week, but I would be grateful for any additional comments

    best

    Krzysztof
     
  17. Claire Panke

    Claire Panke Second Unit

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    I haven't heard either of these units, but from reading both mags for a long time, I'd have to say TPV is better at evaluating audio quality than S&V. S&V is more geared to mid-fi and mass-fi market. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but when it comes to Hi-rez audio, you generally get what you pay for.

    How these units actually sound to you will be influenced by your current front end an system. Let your ears be the final judge.
     

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