RP91 vs DENON 1600/3800?

Discussion in 'Playback Devices' started by Michael_V, Jul 28, 2003.

  1. Michael_V

    Michael_V Second Unit

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    After two years of service, my Panasonic RP91 finally died. Since this is its second failure (had a $150 fix about a year ago), it is time to replace rather than repair it. Apart from this reliability issue, I have been pleased with the performance of the RP91 and liked being able to scale nonanamorphic DVDs. I thought the sound quality was very good, as well. My concern, though, is that this is two year old technology. Isn't there anything out there yet that bests this old Panasonic? Something chroma-bug free with great sound and impeccable deinterlacing?

    After reading Stacey Spears' newest DVD benchmarks at the Secrets website, I am considering either getting a new RP91 (less than $300) or moving over to the Denon 1600 or 3800 (his analysis excludes the 2900 for me). Does anyone have experience with these players? Will my picture/sound quality improve relative to the RP91 or will I simply break even? My display (and my eyes/ears!) can resolve small differences in quality! Multichannel audio (DVD-A or SACD) is not a factor for me at this time.

    Thanks for your help!
     
  2. Ron Reda

    Ron Reda Cinematographer

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    Michael,

    I can't really answer your questions, but your post disturbs me as my RP91 will turn 2 in November!

    Good luck with a replacement,

    Ron
     
  3. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Michael, I have the '3800, but I bought it for DVD-Audio, so I can't say too much about the video performance in relation to other players. I know that it showed the chroma bug, but Denon came up with a firmware fix for it. Also, many '3800 units had a transport problem (freezing on DVD-Video discs), but later units came with a fix from the factory. If you get a unit built after September 2002, you will have a good unit in all respects. Look for units with a serial number starting with 210, 211, 212, or 3xx. The first number indicates the build year (2 for 2002 and 3 for 2003), while the next two numbers indicate the month (10 for October, for example). I have a 212 player, and it has been great so far.

    Note that the '3800 was discontinued recently. You may still be able to find one, though. The '1600 is on the way out too, but it is still available in stores and through crutchfield.com. Denon is supposed to be replacing the '3800 with the '3900, and the '1600 will be replaced by the '1400 universal player and '1200 DVD-Audio player.

    In the end, I think any of the Denon players mentioned will beat the 'RP91 on the audio side. As for video, I think others here will be able to comment. I have read very good things about the '1600 in this regard, and the '3800 with the firmware upgrade to correct the chroma bug gets high marks too.
     
  4. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer

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    Michael, unfortunately there is not a "perfect player" out there. You will need to make compromises on some feature or performance. The best deinterlacing is accomplished by players with the Faroudja chip set (Panny RP-82, XP-30, Denon 1600, etc.). However, none of these players offers the scaling/aspect ratio control feature of the RP-91.

    I am still waiting for a player that provides the deinterlacing performance of the Faroudja-based players and the scaling feature of the RP-91, along with DVD-Audio support. Until then, I hope my current RP-91 continues to hang in there.
     
  5. chung_sotheby

    chung_sotheby Supporting Actor

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    I have owned both the RP-91 and the 1600, and I have to say that in terms of video performance, the 1600 wins by a noticeable margin. More film-like, less artifacts, and an overall better, cleaner picture. In terms of audio, I found both units to be pretty comparable, almost indistinguishable, although I give the RP-91 the nod for Redbook playback. But if you really like and/or need the scaling feature, then I think that you should look around for a used or cheap RP-91, since the Faroudja chip players donts eem to scale. I think it all depends on what is most important to you. If you want the best picture, go with the 1600/XP30/XP50/RP82, and if you want scaling go with the RP-91, as the 1600 and the rp-91 are about the same price now, give or take about $50.
     
  6. SeanA

    SeanA Second Unit

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  7. Jason Borchers

    Jason Borchers Second Unit

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  8. Michael_V

    Michael_V Second Unit

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    Chung, that is just what I have been looking for. While I thought the picture on my RP91 was fantastic, it is good to hear it is at least as good on the 1600, and possibly better. Thanks!

    I enjoyed the automatic scaling in the RP91 (why don't more players include this fantastic feature?) but certainly don't need it. The scaling in my Panasonic plasma is very good (no lock in full mode).

    I am surprised you didn't hear any improvement on the audio side. I thought Denons had more audiophile leanings than Panasonic.

    Sean, I checked good guys, too, and they are out of stock. Won't be long now. Fortunately, I found one online through the military exchange system. At $449, though, they are probably not offering the best price around.
     
  9. SeanA

    SeanA Second Unit

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    It looks some refurbished 1600's might be available at eCost.com and at PCMall. I bet they will go fast.
     

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