Torn over DVD player purchase

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Mike Loiterman, Jul 20, 2002.

  1. Mike Loiterman

    Mike Loiterman Stunt Coordinator

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    I just broke the bank by purchasing an Anthem AV20 pre-amp and Sony 57HW40 rear projection. That said, I am coming to the realiziation that while my display and processing equipment are first class, I'll be limited to some degree by my DVD source which is an older Sony 7700.

    I've looked at the Denon 1600, 3800, Panasonic RP91 and the Rotel 1080. I'm in love with the picture on the Rotel and the 3800, of course. The Rotel, however, is a bit long in the tooth and the 3800 is, well, expensive. I can get the Rotel for $865 which includes tax and the 3800 for around $1150 which also includes tax. I have not seen the picture on the 91 or the 1600, but I can get either for $500 which includes tax.

    Judging from the posts around here, I will assume that give the choice between the 1600 and the 91, I should go for the 91. Given my equipment and financial situation, should I go even further into the hole for the 3800 or take the middle ground and get the Rotel?
     
  2. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Mike, what is the reasoning for going with the 'RP91 over the '1600? I can't say that I have come away with the same sentiment around here. It's hard to say. Clearly, the 'RP91 has gotten a lot of high praise here, but it has been around longer than the '1600. Also, since the '1600 was designed after a cheaper Panasonic player, the 'RP56, the build quality and appearance of the 'RP91 is better in my opinion. Furthermore, since the '1600 is based on the budget 'RP56, it has no coaxial digital output, which is disappointing given the $500 price tag on the '1600. O.K., all these things aside, what about relative performance? As you may know, the '1600 got very high marks for both audio and video quality, especially video quality, on the Secrets of Home Theater and High Fidelity web site recently. Also, Denon has an excellent reputation for audio, so it would not surprise me if the '1600 were a better audio component then the 'RP91. In my opinion, it is certainly worth comparing the two. That brings me to my next point. Segue...

    All of the players you are considering are DVD-Audio players. How important is this feature to you? You have an 'XA777ES, so I assume the quality of CD replay in a DVD player is not important. Regardless, the Rotel '1080 is a high-quality audio component. I have demoed it with both DVD-Audio discs and CDs, and it is very good. I imagine the Denon '3800 is highly capable as well. If DVD-Audio playback is at all important to you, you might want to look more seriously at the '1080 and '3800.

    One thing I don't like about the Rotel is the build quality. It is lackluster for the price in my opinion. Perhaps that is because it is based on a budget first-generation JVC DVD-Audio player (XV-D721BK/D723GD). It is worth noting that the JVC player lacks dedicated stereo analog outputs, and the Rotel does as well. This happens sometimes when a company borrows the design of a budget player. Things get left out that shouldn't given the higher asking price of the "high-end" version (i.e., the Rotel). This situation is akin to the $500 Denon '1600 lacking a coaxial digital output.

    Dedicated stereo analog outputs in a DVD-Audio player or multi-channel SACD player is important to me because I have a dedicated stereo system in the same room as my home-theater system. So, I route these components to both systems. If you would ever consider doing that, don't buy the Rotel.

    Another issue to consider is the chroma bug. The current '3800 shows it, but Denon has supposedly come up with a fix for it. This is a recent development, as you may know. I would wait to see whether Denon really has come up with a fix before jumping in. Of course, there is the possibility that you will not see the chroma bug on your display, but I wouldn't want to spend upwards of $1200 on a player that is known to have the problem. None of the other players you are considering show the chroma bug.

    From an audio standpoint, the Rotel and Denon '3800 players should be the best of the bunch. The chroma bug in the '3800 aside, in terms of picture quality, it's a tough call. The Rotel is older, as you said, and the Denon '1600 and Panasonic 'RP91 provide an excellent picture. To my mind, it comes down to how much you are comfortable spending and how important DVD-Audio playback is.
     
  3. vishal

    vishal Auditioning

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    Also, look at the Kenwood SD-5700. Crutchfield has one

    I have also read on AVSFORUM that the Secrets Test for the Denon 1600 was flawed, the video part anyway. The poster was sspears. The results should be very similiar to the Panasonic RP-56.
     
  4. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Vishal, the Kenwood Sovereign DV-5700 is a good suggestion -- five-disc changer, DVD-Audio, no chroma bug. It's loaded for $800.

    Regarding the Secrets review of the '1600, how is it flawed? "sspears" is Stacey Spears of the Secrets web site, so apparently, the information you read is from the horse's mouth. Interesting.
     
  5. vishal

    vishal Auditioning

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    Hi Keith:

    Apparently the reviewer of the Denon 1600 did not perform the tests correctly, or so it said in his post (sspears). But I don't understand why they don't correct the review. It might be better to just ask him.

    As for the Kenwood, I have one. But I am not a professional reviewer, and my Mitsubishi isn't even ISF calibrated yet (I am waiting for the PROMISE module), so I can't say much about the quality, other than what I have read (which by the way, is fantastic!).

    -V-
     
  6. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    vishal, they absolutely should correct the review. Hopefully they will. A lot of people here, myself included, have cited that review as a testament to the quality of the '1600.
     
  7. vishal

    vishal Auditioning

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    Keith,

    They should change it. We should bug them!!

    -V-
     
  8. Mike Loiterman

    Mike Loiterman Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks for the informative reply Keith...

    DVD-A is not really important to me becuase, as you said, I have the XA777es and the Anthem only has one set of 5.1 inputs. If I had another set of inputs, the situation would be different, but I'm certainly not going to abandon my 777!

    I noticed earlier that you said the Rotel is based on a JVC player. According to my dealer, the Rotel is pased on the Pioneer 47a. Hrm...How can we find out for sure? I guess its not all the important, but I'd feel better about buying it if it was based on the 47 rather then the JVC. I guess I'm a brand snob? That said, I probably would not go with the Kenwood for the same reason. I just think of Kenwood as an entry level manufacturer. I guess this stems from the fact that my very first receiver was a Kenwood.

    Right now I'm leaning toward the Rotel simply becuase it seems like a good piece and I can get it for a good price. I would get the 3800 in a heartbeat, if I could afford it. I auditioned it with a superbit Fifth Element. I checked out the infamous "Red Button" scene and did not notice anything unusal, but thats probably becuase it wasn't pointed out to me. Still, it isn't bad enough for it to bother me.
     
  9. ReggieW

    ReggieW Screenwriter

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    Mike,

    You may want to call 6th avenue at 1-866-666-6ave and tell them that you were referred to them via the HTF. They are an authorized Denon dealer, and the only one I know who regularly discounts Denon products, but you'll have to call to get the price. I am quite sure that you can get a 3800 in the 900.00 range, and a 1600 for under 450.00. I heard someone post here who stated that got the Denon 9000 from them for 2,200.00. That's over 35 percent off. If you can have a similar deal worked on the 3800, I'm sure you can get a good price for it. I too am in awe of the 3800, and am considering it instead of the 1600, though I don't yet have the ability to take advantage of its progressive features. Its audio capability is what I'm going for until I get a 16x9 display early next year. The build quality of the 3800 is among the best I've ever seen on a player, and it has two pure direct audio modes, and separate power supplies for audio and video. It is MUCH better than the 1600 imho. The 1600 is great as well and more in line with my budget, but the problems Keith outlined are what troubles me - lack of coaxial and the budget player platform, thoguh the build quality isn't bad. However, it's audio section with DVD-A and cd playback is considered the best in its price class which isn't surprising coming from Denon. Anyway, good luck in whatever you choose, and give 6th avenue a ring.

    Reg
     
  10. Eric T

    Eric T Second Unit

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    Good discussion folks. I'd like to jump in here with a question. I'm considering upgrading my DVD player as well, and I am concerned with 2-channel and DVD-A sound quality in addition to it's HT and picture capabilities. Currently I am using the JVC D723GD that the Rotel is supposedly based on. I've been interested in Rotel gear, I'm just wondering if the 1080 would be a noticable upgrade from my JVC, if they are indeed "cousins"?

    Another question, do any of these players have SACD capability? I was originally checking out the Pioneer DV-47A because of this feature.
     
  11. Mike Loiterman

    Mike Loiterman Stunt Coordinator

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    ReggieW:
    That sounds like an amazing deal. Do you have first hand experience dealing with them? The reason I ask is that a while ago I was considering upgrading my Nikon 990 to the 5700. The camera retails for about $1000, but some online stores had it for around $650 if I remember correctly. Hrm, I thought, that sounds too good to be true. Sure enough, after some checking around I was right. There are several on-line stores that list the price of this and other expensive electronic equipment with crazy discounts.
    When you go to order the equipment, theyeither: add on ridiculus shipping costs, give a hard sell on all sorts of overpriced accessories that you don't need and probably don't want, or tell you that the pirce only includes the camera body without manual, charger, battery, warrenty, etc. According to some of the feedback I've read, they're extremely rude, often unexpectedly cancel orders that don't include their over price accessories, or take the order and continusly postpone shipping for various "reasons".
    While I would love to get an amazing deal on the 3800, I am somewhat skeptical of steep discounts. Further, I wonder what sort of return polices that have and how willing they are to honor them.
    UPDATE: I checked the website and they seem legitimate and they say they are an authorized Denon dealer. But I though Denon forbid discounts on on-line sales?
    This is nothing against you at all, infact I really aprecaite the lead, but just wanted everybody to be aware of the risks involved in steep discount on-line retailers. Do you remeber the name of the person that got the deal from them?
     
  12. ReggieW

    ReggieW Screenwriter

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    Mike,

    6th avenue is very well respected and every bit as reputable as other online dealers like J&R and CRUTCHFIELD. They are also listed on Denon's website as well. I have yet to order my 3800 from them, but there is a running thread on the 3802 receiver in the receives section of this forum, which apparently many have gotten it delivered for 699.00. Again, they list full msrp prices on their webpage probably because of their contract with Denon who forbids authorized dealers from advertising their products below retail, but you can receive a considerable discount if you CALL and ask for a deal. J&R does the same with their Sony ES and HK products as well - they are all listed at full retail on their web page, but are discounted if you call or e-mail them. Many on this forum buy from 6th avenue on a regular basis with little fuss, and yes, since they are authorized Denon honors the warranty. I have heard that they have a pretty nice showroom as well. I couldn't honestly comment on customer service and other details since I don't yet have first-hand experience dealing with them, but, the HTF crowd tends to be a very demanding bunch, and I've heard nothing but praise for them on this board. Hope this helps.

    Reg
     
  13. Mike Loiterman

    Mike Loiterman Stunt Coordinator

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    VERY Helpful. I know what I'll be doing tomorrow at 8:00 am! How much of a discount do you think I should ask for to start off with and what do you think I can reasonably get away with?
     
  14. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Mike,

    The Rotel '1080 is absolutely not based on the Pioneer Elite DV-47A. The Rotel came out long before the '47A. The Rotel player was released in late 2000 or early 2001, concurrent with major manufacturers' first-generation players. Obviously, the '47A came out earlier this year. The Rotel is indeed based on the JVC XV-D721BK/D723GD. A dead giveaway is the lack of stereo analog outputs, which you would definitely expect Rotel to include were it designing a $1000 player from scratch.


    Eric,

    Rotel redesigned the innards in going from the JVC 'D721BK/D723GD. The chassis is similar, as is the back panel. Perhaps the parts layout is similar as well, but I don't know that for sure. In any event, there is no comparison between the JVC and Rotel players audiowise. Videowise, I am not sure. The strength of the JVC player is the picture quality. The bigger difference between the Rotel and JVC players is very likely to lie in the audio performance.

    Of all the DVD players being discussed here, only the Pioneer Elite '47A plays SACDs.
     
  15. ReggieW

    ReggieW Screenwriter

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    Mike,

    I have no idea. As I stated earlier, they did let the 3,500.00 DVD-9000 go for 2,200.00, but its msrp is THREE times what the 3800's is, which is why they may've offered it at 35 percent off. If you got the 1,200.00 3800 at 25 percent off, that would make it 900.00. I would first request what their bottom line is, and point out the several other examples of them discounting Denon items from 25-35 percent off retail. You may also want to do a search and see if you can use another 6th avenue customer as a reference - like Earl the Pearl who also recommends that you use his name when seeking discounts. Do a search and e-mail him for details. Either way, I'm sure you'll come away with a deal you couldn't get elsewhere.

    Reg

    P.S. - you should also be able to get a great deal on the 1600 if you go that route as well. I have not ruled this player out, but will indeed be getting the 3800 instead if my finances allow it come September. The retail of the 1600 is 499.00, and the 1802 receiver is 499.00 as well, and 6th avenue has been selling 1802's to people on the forum in the 350.00-375.00 range. I would just request a similar deal for the 1600.
     
  16. Mike Loiterman

    Mike Loiterman Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks Reggie!

    I bought the 3800 this morning from Ron at Extension 511 for a great price...below $1000 shipped. He asked me not to reveal the extact price and I will honor his request, but it was an EXCELLENT price. Far better then I could have gotten anywhere else. Assuming the piece arrives as promised, I would HIGHLY recommend them to anyone in search of Denon Equipment!

    One other question I had: I've read about the Firmware upgrade that is supposed to be available. How do I go about upgrading my 3800? DO I just need a serial cable and the software?
     
  17. ReggieW

    ReggieW Screenwriter

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    Mike,

    Congratulations on your purchase. The 3800 should be an outstanding unit. If you visit avsforum.com and go into their special guest section, Jeff Talmage, who is the product manager for Denon in North America, has told members that they could e-mail him privately and that he would get the firmware upgrades out to them. He is a pretty frequent poster on AVS. Denon will eventually make it public on their website he said, but for now, you will have to contact Jeff for the firmware upgrade. I assume that the models which will be shipping in the coming weeks will already have the firmware upgrade.

    Reg
     
  18. Eric T

    Eric T Second Unit

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    Jeff mentioned in the avsforum.com thread which serial numbers will start shipping with the upgrade, and that they would be available in late August. But he said the firmware upgrade should already be available at the dealers for current inventories.

    Mike Loiterman - did you happen to ask 6ave if they are performing the upgrade on units they are shipping now?

    EDIT: Mike, please give us a review after you receive your 3800! Right now I'm considering the 3800, the Pioneer DV-47A, and the Rotel 1080.
     
  19. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Mike, congratulations on your purchase. Give us a review!
     
  20. Michael Lee

    Michael Lee Supporting Actor

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    Mike-
    The upgrade is sent to you as two discs that you load separately into the DVD player. It takes about a minute or two to complete the process.
     

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