Where to get a Pioneer HLD-X9?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Jay Sylvester, Feb 26, 2002.

  1. Jay Sylvester

    Jay Sylvester Supporting Actor

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    I'm really getting into LDs, and when I started reading about the quality of the HLD-X9 I figured it was something I should investigate.
    I realize this model was released in Japan only, and is very expensive and tough to find. Does anyone have any idea where I could find one? There were a few on ebay a while back, and had I known how much I was going to get into LD collecting I might have jumped on one.
    I remember hearing Pioneer was going to manufacture them until January or February. Anyone have any contacts in Japan that could procure one for me, or perhaps know of an import shop somewhere that could get one?
    Thanks [​IMG]
     
  2. Rachael B

    Rachael B Producer

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    Jay, the HLD-X9's you saw on e-bay were sold by Nicolas Santini. He may have some more? I know he's on vacation presently but here's his e-mail to enquire:
    [email protected]
    I think he's due back in March? I bought my Muse decoder from him and some LD's.
    I got my LD-S9 & HLD-X9 from Daniel Law of the Chinese Club in Hong Kong. You can e-mail him and see if he has any more players.
    [email protected]
    I hope one of these guys can get you one. The X9 is pretty awesome. It's late in the game, good luck! Best wishes from Laserland!
     
  3. Jay Sylvester

    Jay Sylvester Supporting Actor

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    Thanks Rachael. I've e-mailed both of them, so I hope they have something.

    Any idea how much this thing is going to set me back?
     
  4. Rachael B

    Rachael B Producer

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    Jay, my HLD-X9 cost me $2500 which included shipping. Prices bob up and down with the fluctuations of the $, HK $, and Yen. The S9 which is also a great player cost me $1600. You'd love either. Alan H. just got an S9, ask him what he thinks of it. His old top dog was the LD-S2. Best wishes!
     
  5. alan halvorson

    alan halvorson Cinematographer

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    Jay: If you buy from Nick, shipping will set you back another $150, unless you want it double-boxed (recommended), which costs a bit more. He includes a transformer. The larger transformer is $25 extra. However, for I think $60, you can get an even larger one - ask Rachael. If you go this route, I believe Nick will reduce the price a little bit; maybe shipping too. My total cost with shipping, the larger transformer and double boxing was something like $1721. Shipping for the X9 will, of course, be even more as it's much heavier.

    I also received an advertisement in the mail from some LD place (I'll have to look it up when I get home) who's selling the S9 for $1999 and the X9 for $3499! I don't think so.

    Nick may or may not have the S9 in stock; he's said he doesn't have any X9's. He's taking deposits though. Ask him about used machines too.

    So - how do I like my S9? It's just wonderful; it's everything it's advertised. My LD-S2 was no slouch and it's prettier (and heavier - 70lbs!), but performance-wise the S9 beats all except for, of course, the X9, which is said to be equal. My S2 does have some operational advantages over the S9. It's quieter and has a smoother scan on CLV discs, for a couple things, plus a few other things I can't recall at the moment.
     
  6. Jay Sylvester

    Jay Sylvester Supporting Actor

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    Thanks for all the info guys [​IMG]
    Alan, I think I found that same place during a Google search for these models. I almost fell out of my chair when I saw the $3499 price tag.
    What are the major differences between the X9 and the S9? Would you say that the image and sound quality are about the same? I know that the X9 doesn't have the "film mode" that shuts off the display and only shows a blank screen during layer changes. I appreciate this feature on my CLD-79, but could live without it. Does the S9 have this feature?
    How much of a step above the CLD-79 would you say both of these models are?
     
  7. Rachael B

    Rachael B Producer

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    Jay, I have both so I'll give it a go. The X9 is a bigger, heavier, quieter, player. It has better sound facilities on board. My pre will pass analog right thru. Sometimes I listen to the X9's analog output instead of using it's digital output. It has D-ext which seems to perfectly compensate for the different black level of U.S. LD's at the touch of the remote. The biggest difference in the X9 and S9 is tat te X9 has the red laser that reads thru rot, scuffs, ect. and reduces disc speckling to a minimum. The X9's red laser proably will need more serving than the S9's over time, proably...? But, it's the best read you can get of a disc.
    The S9 is very much like the 79/99 design. It has the 99's copper chassis and approximate weight. It has a few less front panel controls but a similar faceplate to the 79/99. It's a dedicated LD player so there is no CD drawer. It's remote is just like the 99's except add two buttons for the LD-Graphics functions. The X9 does not suppourt LD-G.
    Both players have Pioneer's best 3-D comb filter. The CLD-99 has their second best one. They both display more vivid colour than U.S. models. The S9's video performance on well conditioned LD's is very close to the X9's. The X9 suppresses speckles a little better, of course. The X9 will play damn near any LD you put in it fairly well, no matter how rotted. Not perfectly, but usually resonably well.
    If you're always going to hand off the digital sound to your head unit and don't have a bunch of really old fading LD's, you proably should go with the S9. Both of these players will cut video noise much better than your 79. I have perspective here. I used to have a 79. They'll both remove a veil of video noise which you've become accustomed too. The S9 gives you the most bang for your bucks and proably will require less service because it has the conventonal laser diode. The X9 is better in subtle ways and is Muse capable.
    I actually like the S9's ergonomics better and I have some Japanese LD's that LD-G is useful with, but the X9 is a little bit better. Oh, the S9 has the theatre mode on a front panel button. Best wishes from Laserland!
     
  8. Jay Sylvester

    Jay Sylvester Supporting Actor

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    So basically, the X9 has an edge in image quality, analog sound, and can handle old, worn discs better than the S9. But for newer discs and old discs in good condition, the difference might not be worth the price premium commanded by the X9 (not that the S9 is inexpensive). The X9 may also potentially need more maintenance in the long run.

    Most of my LDs are newer (like DTS discs not available on DVD in DTS) with the exception being titles still not available on DVD (all three big trilogies--I'm sure you know exactly what I'm talking about). I have some older titles that are less than sparkling clear and are available on DVD, but my desire to upgrade them isn't strong enough right now. I'll probably wait for HD-DVD on those. I'm planning on upgrading to an HD set this summer, so hopefully a good line doubler will bump up the quality a bit.

    Daniel replied and offered me the X9 at a price close to what you paid. I asked him if he could check into the S9 as well, so hopefully he'll have something for me. It'll be a tough call. Saving that much money would be nice, but having the best is pretty nice too.
     
  9. Rachael B

    Rachael B Producer

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    Jay, you proably ought to get the S9 and take the savings and apply some of those monies toward an iscan to deinterlace the player on your future digital set. I use an iscan V2 with my XBR 450 set. I took the S9 to a local dealer one day and played it into an Elite RP, a Sharp RP, and a Loewe tube set and the only set I thought did a good job was, suprise (!), the Elite. I bought the Sony set for it's DVD performance and didn't expect to like it's upconversion for LD and didn't. An iscan is an LD must.
    You can get a step-down transformer from San Mateo Electronics in Kalafornie for a very reasonable price. The 500 watt model that I recommend is $70 plus about 6 to 8 bucks to ship. Daniel will proably offer you a step-down transformer. I'd pass on it and get one from San Mateo.
    Daniel is a really good guy to deal with. My first X9 arrived broken and he got me another. It took about a month maybe a little longer. A damage inspector came by and saw that it had been roughed up. It went back at no expense to me. He did right by me! I just lub's Daniel and if I ever meet him in person I'll give him a big kiss!
    Feel free to e-mail me with any questions you might have. Best wishes!
     
  10. Jay Sylvester

    Jay Sylvester Supporting Actor

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    I just saw someone mention the HLD-X0 in another topic. What's up with that one?
     
  11. Brian-W

    Brian-W Screenwriter

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  12. Brian-W

    Brian-W Screenwriter

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    By the way (Rachael, pipe in here), I'd attribute the biggest improvement to picture quality not with the Y/C separation, but with the red-laser diode. Otherwise, even the Sony wouldn't have looked that good.

    So any "Hi-Vision" capable player should offer an significant improvement with laser viewing (NTSC)

    -Brian
     
  13. Mattias_ka

    Mattias_ka Supporting Actor

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    Jay Sylvester, Great that you thinking about upgrade to a japanese player. You WILL see the improvment. What do you have now? I have a HLD-X9 and it's a killer. I'm also waiting for my LD-S9 to come from Daniel. I hope it will be 95% of my X9. What ever you buy you will be glad you did it. I think you should get the X9 if you have the green's.
    Brian Wiklem, Well I think if you use the X0 with a external high-end comb filter (as the composite signal is "pure" in the X0/X9) you will get a better picture than the X9. Why? Because I have hear many saying that the X0 has the better MUSE picture than the X9 and that should suggest that the X0 IS the better player when talking about picture quality before the comb filter, it just have an older comb filter (NTSC). I will know latter this year.
    Rachael B, Hi Racheal! [​IMG]
     
  14. Jay Sylvester

    Jay Sylvester Supporting Actor

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    I have a CLD-79 that I picked up brand new on ebay. I've been watching enough LDs lately to know that if there's a better player out there, I should probably get one.

    I haven't heard back from Daniel yet, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed.
     
  15. Mattias_ka

    Mattias_ka Supporting Actor

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    Jay Sylvester, Daniel will contact you, don't worry. I know he has been in Bangkok and he is traveling very often.

    I don't think it's a problem getting a X9 or S9 from him.

    Take care

    -Mattias-

    :b
     
  16. Rachael B

    Rachael B Producer

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    Jay, I had the X9 and S9 in my main system together for four months to compare them, and for well-conditioned LD's the S9 looks ever so close to as good as the X9. The two players share alot of the same video circuitry for NTSC. The X9 does get a little better read on the discs due to the red laser. If the disc is really perfect, the S9 is right on the heels of the X9. The more is wrong with the disc, the more the X9 can excel at playing it. I have some DiscoVision discs from 1978-80 that are rotted and the X9 will play them fairly well. I have a 1981 concert disc of jazz keyboard players that yields a blank screen and no sound on the S9. In most players this disc looks like you're watching a blank videotape. The X9 plays it well enough to watch it. The colour is very muted, nearly B & W, and the sound has some static in places but the X9's red laser sees what an ordinary diode can not. The X9 is amazing on this account! The LD-S2 has some kind of exotic, improved diode too, I think it's a gas diode with similar capability, but I don't think it's as good as the red laser. Alan owns an S2 and certrainly is more knowledgable on this avenue.
    I don't think Brian has ever seen the S9? I don't think he realizes how close these two players really are? I think that the S9 can fully, or nearly fully, exploit most discs to the fullest. I think the X9 can absolutely exploit those discs that are a bit above the usual Laserdisc spec's or limits to their fullest extent. That's not most discs though. I never did directly compare the two on the TOY STORY CAV boxset, but I suspect that the X9 would really excel on it. It's one of the truly elite looking LD's IMO. When I've compared the two players, I've been hard-pressed to spot differences on most discs. I was moving the STIR WARZ PM LD back and forth between players one evening and I think the S9 might have had a slight edge in playing it.
    I've seen screen shots that seem to give a slight edge to the X9 but on small to medium displays, I think you'll be hard-pressed to spot the differences. Many LD's have a few "speckles" here and there. I think they're caused by a less reflective area in the plastic coating...? The X9 minimizes these little, minor imperfections, whatever they are...
    I bought my S9 first and if I was truly impressed, I always intended to add an X9 to my arsenal later. I was real damn impressed! I have so many discs, I've been collecting them since 1987, I need extra players. Ten years from now I don't want to have discs I can't play. So, I bought an X9 too.
    There's a law of diminishing returns with electronics and for most people buying a player beyond the S9 might be a waste, me thinks. If it's going to drive you crazy not having the absolute best player get an X9. But proably, the S9 would suit your needs very well. The S9 performs relentlessly well at the one thing it does NTSC LD's. It suppourts LD-G which the X9 does not, which could come in handy with some Japanese LD's should you come to accumulate some. Some of the Japanese LD's do not have the subtitles burned-in like SWPM. A few let you add and remove them, granted this is a minority though.
    You will be mightily impressed with either of these two players! They blow past all of Pioneer's so-called Elite models for the U.S. market. Take your pick____________.
    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] P.S. - Mattias, you're insatiable but loveable! Would you like a Magnavox top-loader to add to your fabulous collection?
     
  17. Jay Sylvester

    Jay Sylvester Supporting Actor

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    More questions [​IMG] General LD questions though.
    Rachael, I assume you have a fairly advanced setup. Are you using one of those iScan doublers with an HDTV? I'm curious to know how good an upconverted LD looks once you zoom in on the image on a 16:9 set. Right now I have a 32" Wega, so letterboxed LDs look fine. I'm concerned that zooming in on a letterboxed laserdisc so it fits a widescreen TV (still at the correct aspect ratio of course) will render the LD unwatchable. What kind of quality can I expect?
    Also, how much will a line doubler set me back? I was looking around online for the iScan products, but couldn't find a price anywhere. I'm guessing they're not cheap. I suppose I can justify the cost if I can expect my digital cable (which is excellent BTW) to look even better. Would it make sense to use the iScan with my progressive DVD player also? Would it do a better job than my DVD player's internal doubler?
     
  18. Jim Douglas

    Jim Douglas Second Unit

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    Jay,

    Check out E-bay for the I-scan units. There are some dealers on there selling the V2 & V3's. I just got a S-9 about three weeks ago from Nicolas and have been looking into one of these to go with my Sony KP53-HS10. I just type DVDO ISCAN in the E-Bay search and it will come up.

    Good Luck

    Jim
     
  19. Jay Sylvester

    Jay Sylvester Supporting Actor

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    I saw some units on there, but since I don't know how much they normally sell for, I was unsure as to whether the prices were decent or not.

    What's the latest version worth? V3 right?
     
  20. Rachael B

    Rachael B Producer

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    Jay, I don't have a 16 x 9 shaped TV. I have a Sony XBR 450 that has a 16 x 9 squeez mode. For the time being I prefer a 4 x 3 TV. I have the iscan V2 which has two S-video inputs and a composite input. The iscan has an RGB output. I use a cable that converts RGB to component video which my TV accepts. I also use the other S-Video input to deinterlace my Malata DVD player because I don't have enough component inputs for my array of so-equiped sources. It does an excellent job for the Malata and other DVD players I've tried. If you use the iscan to de-interlace a DVD player you run the DVD interlaced, of course. Your digital cable might benefit from the iscan, atleast the digital channels, over 100 (proably), might? I have regular cable and I tried running the composite output from a Tivo into the iscan, no help. My cable service is definitely grungy and subpar.

    The original iscan is good enough for LD. A friend tells me it's preferable but he's a real nitpicker. The iscan Pro has, I think, one composite, one S-Video, and one component input. You don't really need it, not for LD anyway.

    I had a Sharp 34" 16 x 9 tube set in the house to try for a week last summer and hated it. Watching LD's without stretching them on it consituted the equivalent of a 27" TV in the middle of the screen. I didn't like any of it's stretch modes for 4 x 3 broadcasts either. The topper was that it wouldn't sync up with the only progressive DVD player I had at the time either. The picture came and mostly went blank. I decided to have a 4 x 3 set with a 16 x 9 mode for the forseeable future. Outside of broadcasts, I watch about half and half between LD and DVD. Nothing gets stretched or distorted when I play my DVD's on the Sony in 16 x 9 mode, just a little smaller. This arrangement suits me best for now.

    In the future when 16 x 9 broadcasts start in earnest, I'll proably watch my LD's on the Sony and watch 16 x 9 material on a wide set or projector...? Atleast that's my thinking now, subject to change of course. In my mind, 4 x 3 is the best aspect for LD's. I think the bigger a 16 x 9 set gets the less obvious stretch modes are for broadcasts. I think stretching LD's makes them look bad. I don't have as much experience with this as some other folks around here though. What trade offs you want to make for your viewing habits is something you should ponder carefully. Best wishes from Laserland!
     

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