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Tired of collecting dead formats & DENON quality sucks (1 Viewer)

Barton Lynch

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Well, I'm a fairly heavy home theater and audio enthusiast and early adopter, got it from my Dad from his reel tape/LP-ßeta/LD days back in the 70's. I embraced my audio video independence just when the CD hit mainstream and experienced just about every AV format out there. But I'm getting old and time + experience have proven a test for pragmatism on taking/adopting new tech with a considerable grain of salt… or pure skepticism. During this time, you learn your stripes and drinking a large amount of Kool-Aid and Snake Oil over the decades will undoubtedly shape you up… live and learn they say.


I've learned to be an early adopter like my Dad and that proven to be a bad strategy when it comes to embrace new tech. My HT used to be filled with new hot gear, no ultra esoteric hi-end stuff but very nice quality, only to dispense most of them later on when they fail and disappear from the market without any support. But now that I'm a bit older, in my early 40's, I've grown wiser and more aware of what I buy. Today it's just a flagship receiver (Yamaha currently), a suit of decent speakers (B&W for the moment), a Panasonic 50" plasma (that' I'll hold on until it dies because I hate the look and feel of LED based LCDs), a reference single tray CD player (NAD) and my PS4/PS3 which double as my -excellent- BD players. Still, that doesn't change the fact that I own a large collection of media of various formats, with a respectable chunk consisting in dead formats I comfort to keep just as collector's items. Hey, I still have a copy of Raiders of the lost Ark in LaserDisc from 1981 in mint condition (my Dad thought me how to keep and take care of everything), to prove it, besides being an all analog LaserVision Disc of the movie (pre-CD Era with no Digital Audio), it reads at one corner "Coming soon, Temple of Doom May 25th 1984".


OK, I'm writing this thread very disappointed that my Denon DVD-2910, a very decent HQ player that pretty much plays every format except BD, had its optical pickup die on me again in the 6 years since I bought it new. I have plastic cheap Sony CD players lying around running on its third decade unserviced for Christ sake. I've investigated a lot and found out that these Denon players are infamous for their bad choice of disposable optical pickups and overall quality in the transport mechanism. It's sad because this player sounds amazing, and for an upscaling DVD player it's outstanding beating the PlayStation consoles by a mile (and those are not bad at it). The Denon serves me good at least to keep it as a maintenance player for the remaining of my vast DVD collection that still hasn't seen a BD replacement, or will ever see one. Worst is that I collected a respectable amount of SACDs and DVD-As during the last decade, again, more dead formats that also perform incredibly. I know there's an OPPO deck heavily praised, and I will consider it for a last resort and one last attempt to keep my hi-res multichannel collection of SACD/DVD-As alive and useful.


As a result, I've now resolved to stick only with stable standards when it comes to audio and video. CD and BD will be my only media to support for the foreseeable future. I started to buy new whatever-hi-res-music in BD media avoiding any SACD or DVD-As or else It'll be just like buying MiniDisc or LD today. Yes, I feel that buying an OPPO is like buying a fancy new 8-track tape deck or turntable only to keep using my dead formats (the BD capability of the Oppo is not an excuse as I've found that the quality of the PS3 and PS4 BD players is superb for the money). So I'll stick to CDs and BDs, ignoring all the new crap the industry tries to shove at my face, like 4K BDs with its questionable perceivable benefits with average sized home screens (not everybody has room for 100"+ screens). I strongly believe that current 1080p BDs are enough for home use with fairly large screens to produce a convincing film, look as long as the disc is properly mastered. Unfortunately, as a convinced and experienced user of hi-res audio formats I don't believe a CD is enough for the best recording media, for me, even if properly mastered, as I can tell the difference between 96kHz/24bit recordings over a lower sampled version of the same recording in CD. So BD-Audio will have to fill in the void left from the failed SACD/DVD-A conundrum. Pink Floyd Endless River sounds amazing.


So that's it, Denon players suck, Oppo will be my last resort to keep a small but meaningful collection of hi-res dead formats and Blu-ray is the end of the line for physical home video media for me, holding on to CD (and occasional BD-As) as my trusted stable standards for audio media. I've had enough of this upgrading/replacing with each step improving less than the previous. Bringing the Raiders of the Lost Ark example again, I've gone from the Beta version to the early analog LD version, to the THX widescreen with Dolby Digital version, to DVD and finally BD, ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! (apply the same with a lot of other classics like The Godfather, Jaws, Star Wars, Close Encounters, Bladerunner, etc).


All this new stuff like Dolby ATMOS, 4K and 3D add nothing substantial nor advances forward to our human perceptions or enjoyment. These new trends give small but difficult to appreciate benefits giving no real sense of improvement unlike the actual standards. On the contrary Dolby True-HD IS an improvement over Dolby Digital, ATMOS isn't over TRUE-HD, the same goes for 4K over 1080p, except for industrial applications like large screen theaters where it counts, I doubt you'll experience a significant jump in detail in home use, unless you plan on watching over an 80" at very close distance (human perception has proven to benefit very very little or none at all, these are hard facts people). I might go all Digital in the future with servers but I will NOT re-buy my film or music collections again as I've done repeatedly for decades. Streaming? no thank you, quality sucks, I'll be an old geezer with my BDs as my Dad is with his vinyl.


Just my thoughts, my rant, my perils.


First topic I open in over a decade.


Sorry for the TL;DR
 

bigshot

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I'm afraid I spot read your post (that many paragraphs is daunting)... But I might offer a tip as an Oppo BDP-103 owner. It's a great machine. It plays every format like a Swiss Army Knife. It will probably run problem free for decades... but there are $150 Sony players now that are also Swiss Army Knives and have all the features of the Oppo that I use. The big exception to that is Darbee, which I have found to be invaluable. But you can get a Sony player and a Darblet for much less than the cost of an Oppo. And even if you had to buy three Sony players in the lifespan of the Oppo, you would still be coming out ahead on cost. The other thing is that technology keeps adding new stuff. It doesn't pay to spend a lot of money on a long lived player. Every year new features come out in the mid/low end players, making your old one obsolete.


When it comes to formats, I have a theory there too. Unless I can easily convert from one format to another, I am not interested in it. I won't buy a lot of SACDs I can't rip. I'm in the progress of building a media server and I am ripping my CDs into iTunes and my DVDs to MKV files in Plex. No more shelves full of disks. No more searching for what I want to watch. And once I have ripped it to a digital file, it is a piece of cake to batch process convert it to whatever file format the future brings. I have thousands and thousands of useless VHS/Beta tapes and Laserdiscs. They are like albatrosses around my neck because they are inconvenient to play and store. I am MUCH happier with MKV.
 

Dave Moritz

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I too have been involved in a/v for a long time. My father was always getting new gear when I was a kid and it was then I guess I got hooked. My first full audio system was a Kenwood rack system in the 80's. I have owned VHS decks, Laser disc players, CD players, DAT Recorder, Prologic intergrated amp processor, Dolby Digital/DTS receiver, stereo integrated amp, DVD players, CRT TV's, Rear Projection LCD, 4K UHD TV, HD-DVD players, Turntables, Cassette Decks, two channel EQ, two channel preamp and a few speakers along the way and a high end Sony CD/DVD/SACD deck that the optics kept taking a dump. But that Sony ES player was one of the best sounding players I have ever owned and now it seem that the dvd optic on my Denon has failed as of two days ago right after playing my Batman dvd.


I to have felt lately that it is getting tiring always upgrading and buying new equipment over and over again. How ever I still can not stand the idea of moving away from physical media. I have aprox 91+ gigs of music on my pc and I do not listen to it very often. And I have purchased a few songs and maybe two albums from iTunes but not very thrilled with the quality. The majority of the mp3 rips from cd are 192 kbps and my iTunes downloads are 266kbps - 299kbps. At least with physical media I do not have to have an internet connection to stream some digital movie or have to subscribe to a service. And I do not have to worry about loosing everything if a hard drive goes out or having enough hard drives to hold everything or letting some cloud storage company know everything about what I am storing not that it is top secret or anything. I can understand the part of how much room physical media can take up even though I do not have the library that some have out there. And the room that old lp's take up if you have a extremely large vinyl collection can get insane. You do get to the point where your media collection can basically take over a room and then something new comes along and then you have to find room for that format as well. I can only speak for myself but over the years I have always had to scrimp and save and put money aside for every new piece of gear I have purchased. The one good thing I could say for many years now I have basically saved up cash and have not had to worry about loosing my job and that everything is bought and paid for. As long as a player holds up you could loose your internet connection and your job and you still have movies to watch. And even if your player dies you can go out and buy a new one and your movies are instantly available.


But again lately I have started to feel the strain of constant upgrading and it does get old. I want to be able to go travel somewhere and see places and not have all my money go to a hobby that never ends. Don't get me wrong I enjoy this hobby just as much as I did when I started and it is nice to be able to have a high quality playback experience in my own home. So recently I decided that 4k/UHD was as far as I was going to go as far as upgrades go. Not that I will not get a tv after 4k/UHD but basically I will stick with dish or cable after that and hopefully I will still be able to enjoy the older formats on the next generation tv. My goal is to upgrade my current Pioneer SC-05 to a Denon or Marantz reciever that will pass 1080p 3D and will pass 4k/UHD, have Dolby Atmos and DTS-X as well. The next thing I will get which will be before the receiver actually is a UHD Bluray player which I will research and see in a retailer before spending money on it. Then new over head speakers for Atmos and DTS-X, upgrade my center speaker, upgrade my rear speakers, maybe upgrade my subwoofer and then get a 4k/uhd projector and 100" - 160" screen depending on where I am living and what my limitations are. At that point I technically consider myself to be done as I really want to go to Germany and experience the food and scenic beauty and go to Oktoberfest. Plus how many times do you want to have to buy Terminator, Star Wars or Dirty Harry movies? If I had to I can not say that it would be bad to live with my bluray collection and just getting some speakers and a new receiver. I am sure that the world would not end and that bluray looks good enough if I had to stop there. Still I do not want to have to rely on some service to deliver movies via the internet even though that would free me from having to store physical media and having to change formats every time something new came out. Another thing that I am not crazy about is buying movies in digital form and streaming it is while the video quality is slowly catching up with bluray quality. The best you can hope for is Dolby Digital Plus in some cases and plain junky Dolby Digital for the titles that do not have Dolby Digital Plus. Where is the lossless audio for digital downloads and streaming? And I do not see Dolby Atmos being available for movies downloaded or streamed.


I am very disapointed that my Denon did not make it past 4 years and it always made a weird noise when the laser optics started reading the discs. But again the sound and video quality of the Denon was great and I guess I could chalk up the weird noise to a cheap transport as it was there bottom of the line player 3 years ago. But now the newer players boot up alot faster and offer more services like Hulu Plus, Pandora, Cinema Now and more. I am actually considering a Oppo BDP-106D if I do not get a UHD bluray player around the end of the year. And I have heard of enough people complain about issues with there Denon Bluray players that I am not sure if I would get another player. A Denon receiver or prepro is another matter as the do very well with there receivers and prepros. For me if they finally took physical media away and you had to stream or download movies I honestly can not say I would make that move. Just like if they made people store data and run software from a cloud service I would stop upgrading and building new pc's and I would be done! I may not be storing illegal content but my content is mine and I do not need big brother going through my stuff and keeping tabs on what I watch or listen to and how often I watch or listen to it. It is not much different that someone going through your house when they feel like it but in this case it is in the digital realm. Anyway back to the topic, I also have a number of laser disc movies that I do not have on dvd and that player needs to go in for repairs as well unfortunately. But I totally understand when people get tired and burned out on the upgrade wagon and having to upgrade over and over and it does take alot of money to maintain this hobby. It is always possible I may end up embracing digital streaming if the quality was 100% the same as physical media and also offered Dolby True HD, Dolby Atmos, DTS-HD Master Audio and the upcoming DTS-X audio formats. For me Dolby Digital Plus doesn't cut it and is not good enough reason to purchase content that I can not pick up and watch without a computer or internet connection. One last thing with physical media I do not have to worry about my online account getting hacked and loosing my credit card information or getting my account jacked up so I can not even watch what I have paid for or not being able to watch it because the files on the server where corrupted. One thing is for certain is that things are changing and for many of us here it is defiantly changing the landscape of what we are use to. Some things for the better and somethings I am not so sure. Am still waiting for the next revolution in high resolution audio that will give us that experience where the format disappears and the music is as transparent as if you where there hearing it live.


So I find myself wondering if I want to roll the dice with another Denon optical player or not? On the plus side my Denon CD player from the 90's continues to work perfectly and is still used on a consistent basis.

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Dennis Nicholls

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bigshot said:
I'm afraid I spot read your post (that many paragraphs is daunting)... But I might offer a tip as an Oppo BDP-103 owner. It's a great machine. It plays every format like a Swiss Army Knife. It will probably run problem free for decades... but there are $150 Sony players now that are also Swiss Army Knives and have all the features of the Oppo that I use.

Things have changed this past year and that's no longer true. NO Sony player ever played DVD-A, and their support for SACD is now limited to a single produce: the $250 BDP-S7200. And this does not play SACD back except over the HDMI interface: it has NO analog audio outputs of any kind.


I remember last year even the cheapie $50 at WalMart Sony BRD players would support SACD. That's not true today.
 

Dennis Nicholls

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Thought for today:


Is HD Radio already a "dead format"? The home tuner market has already completely collapsed.
 

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