universal hi-res players vs. "jack of all trade" syndrome?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Ted Lee, Jan 21, 2003.

  1. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    hi all -

    i'm thinking about getting a multi-format hi-res player. maybe something like the pioneer 45a.

    but, i was wondering, if there were any "gotchas" to these universal players.

    i've always felt that when you buy these type of combi-units (like an all in one fax-scanner-printer or a vcr/dvd combo) you're really sacrificing performance for convenience.

    does that type of philosophy apply in this case? or, from an electrical/engineering perspective, is there any kind of performance "hit" i'll be taking?

    thx,

    ted
     
  2. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Ted, I have limited hands-on experience with universal players, but it seems like the prevailing view I have read is that they tend to be weak on the SACD side of things relative to Sony's non-DVD ES players. Could this be a result of them being universal players or even because they are DVD players? Could be. Perhaps SACD is not implemented optimally, but this may or may not be a result of compromises resulting from jamming everything in one box. In the end, we each must decide for ourselves whether a universal player is the best buy for the money.

    Based on my experience with DVD-Video players and other "combined" components, I would recommend a dedicated SACD player and then a DVD-Audio player. Some here will contest this view. While the two-box approach takes up more space and could cost more, I feel it is the better approach in terms of sound quality. Just my $0.02.
     
  3. Kevin C Brown

    Kevin C Brown Producer

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    I think you have to also judge: best of format (individual players) vs convenience (1 player).

    There have been mayn reviews of uni-players lately (current issue of Home Theater reviewed 2 or 3 players actually).

    And then there's the Shootout at Secrets. www.hometheaterhifi.com . My advice? Read as much as you can, and then decide what the priority is for you yourself.

    Keep in mind, that even though Pioneer for example, is on their 3rd generation of universal player, that in general, it is still waaaay early in the ballgame. One idea is to pickup something (cheap) now, just to have access to the formats, and then upgrade later on when a real audiophile, reasonably priced universal machine comes out.
     
  4. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    thx k's. [​IMG] you've given me some other things to consider.

    since i don't consider myself an audiophile, but more a music fan, i don't think top-end performance will be a priority for me.

    of course, just knowing that i could be missing out on something may drive me nuts.
     
  5. John-Miles

    John-Miles Screenwriter

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    I dont know, I hear what you are saying Keith, but i disagree, i think you have to look at what kind of combinations you have. Is a universal player more like a dvd/VCR combo? or perhaps a receiver that has DD AND DTS.... at this point in time no one would think of getitng a receiver without both,but at some point (I would imagine) receivers were comming with one or the other. adding in the decoders dosent seem to be comprimising the receivers.

    That beign said I realize you are correct in saying the SACD may suffer on universal players compared to the Sony ES SACD only players.... but then from what i ahve seent he Sony ES SACD only players typically cost more than some of the Universal players out there, I think this is a getwhat you pay for kind of scenario.

    Finally the convenience of one machine is a big thing in this case since most receivers cant take 2 5.1 inputs so LOTS of extra cables are needed and switch boxes....

    Personally i think Universal players are one area where combination is not a bad thing, but for economic reasons they may never be "as good as" the best standalone players, which i imagine the Sony ES players are since they helped create the format and the ES line is the best they have.
     
  6. Duvall

    Duvall Agent

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    Lovin' my Marantz DV8300 coupled with an Outlaw ICBM crossover unit. List on the combo comes to $1,750.00, but it does it's thing quite well. I'm real fussy about the sound of my music, and I haven't been disappointed. Video performance has been plenty fine on the Marantz Universal Player.

    See ya. Dave
     
  7. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    thx for the additional thoughts! [​IMG]
     
  8. Phil A

    Phil A Producer

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    There are lots of compromises in universal players. I have a DV-47A in the bedroom (for quite some time) and have had the Marantz 8300 on loan for a bit along side a Marantz 8260. It is a good all in one solution but not close to what one could get with separate players. The Marantz 8260 blows away the 8300 on SACD and CD and is not even remotely close. It costs about two-thirds of the 8300, leaving room for a DVD-V/A player. However many things have just one multi-channel input which does not make it convenient. I like a universal player in my bedroom system which feeds multiple places so I can play all formats. First of all they share clocks, and what usually happens is that it reads the disc and gets to the approximate sampling rate that is close. Then there are power supplies, output stages, etc. The Linn universal player which will be out in April has separate clocks and goes the whoe 9 yards, however, the cost will be $10-15k. At the price point of a DV-45, it is hard to beat at that price (perhaps if you are lucky enough to find a Sony 775 changer - my local Tower had one for $120 on clearance). I read that Pioneer will have a universal player out in about 5 mos. for $270 list.
     

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