WTB: Good LD player + SW trilogy

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by JJR512, Aug 24, 2002.

  1. JJR512

    JJR512 Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 1999
    Messages:
    619
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    OK, I'm ready. [​IMG] I'd like to buy a good laserdisc player, preferably something like an Elite from Pioneer or possibly something comparable from Sony (if there is anything from Sony comparable to a Pioneer Elite [​IMG]).
    Not necessarily from the same person or at the same time, I'd also like to buy the Star Wars trilogy on LD. I know very little about them, though; I understand there are a few different versions. I know the SE versions are available, and I know the original non-SE versions are also available. I sometimes see a set referred to as the THX or AC-3 set; what, exactly, are those?
    So, tell me what you got and how much you want, and I'll let you know. You can email me at jjr512@jjr512.com.
     
  2. David Norman

    David Norman Producer
    Supporter

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2001
    Messages:
    3,731
    Likes Received:
    718
    Trophy Points:
    4,110
    Location:
    Charlotte, NC
    Down and dirty on US SW releases -- I think I have them all listed:

    Pan/Scan:
    SW -- analog audio tracks only, time compressed to 118 minutes to get it on 1 disc/2side.
    released by 20th Century 1982 CLV
    released by CBS/Fox 1983 CLV
    Released 1983 or 1985 as a 3 disc, 5 sided CAV only set (P/S, 118 minutes, and analog audio only)

    ESB -- analog audio only, time compressed to 120 min.
    CBS Fox release 1984 CLV
    Also 1984/1985 as a 3 disc/5 sided CAV only release (P/S, analog only, 120 minutes)

    ROTJ -- analog and digital audio (PCM track) 2 disc/3 side 132 min.
    CBS Fox 1986 CLV. There is no CAV release or Jedi from this time period.


    1992: analog + digital audio tracks, P/S, Fox Video releases
    SW -- 119 minutes 1 disc
    ESB -- 120 minutes 1 disc
    RotJ -- 132 minutes 2 discs

    The 1992 was basically the same awful transfer from fairly bad film elements and are almost unwatcheable at times. Some interesting color at times varying form washed out to a bit on the warm/red side in others. These were released to appease the Full Screen people who were mad as heck about the WS releases from 1989, etc. ROTJ even has the same catalog number as the 1986 release.


    Widescreen/OAR (for the most part):
    Beware of a bit of terminology -- the 1st WS releases were named "Special Widescreen Edition" which is not the same as the 1997 Special Editions of the films which didn't come until much later of course.

    SW: 1989 CBS Fox WS, Analog and digital audio, 121 min. -- the first non time compressed US release of the films. There are also some of these dated from 1992 which I assume was just a second run.

    ESB: 1989 CBS FOX WS, Analog+Digital audio, 124 minutes.

    RotJ: 1990 CBS Fox, WS, A+D, 132 minutes.

    These releases were WS, but look to be taken from the same master transfer as the P/S discs. Lots of dirt and scratches/damage, they didn't even try to hide the film splices which gets old in a hurry. A bit easier to watch just knowing these are the whole video, but far from satisfactory.


    1993: The first major restoration and THX Quality Assurance releases. The film elements were cleaned up or better condition original were found.

    Definitive Edition -- 9 discs/18 sides, All CAV, Dolby Surround. Movies are on 5 sides each with the 6th side for supplements. The analog tracks contain some commentary, but for the most part were silent. A poor effort quite frankly for what was supposed to be the Def. Edition. The supplements on side 6 are varying quality and are somewhere b/w very interesting and fairly boring depending on your interest in the technical side of How things were done and a bit of the background of the film. The THX quality program got off to a rocky with various QC problems including missing 8 seconds of film at the beginning of ESB D2/S1 plus a number of other minor glitches. The box set itself had problems as well with inadequate glue on the big movie boxes, the large outer box being a tad too small, etc. A second pressing was done with an improved outer box, inner sleeves, the 8 seconds replaced in ESB, and some other minor improvements with Closed Captions and some odd rolling bar problems that some people see and otehrs didn't. I've never been able to find a catalog of serial number difference to distinguish one pressing from the other though it's easy to see when they are side by side.

    The transfers is far superior to the 1989/90 WS releases, but 18 CAV sides can get old in a heartbeat and this set is a notorious rotter --- a further black eye for the THX certification program that was supposed to assure the best quality period and all this only cost $250 when first released. There is still quite a bit of dirt and film problems noticeable throughout though.

    1995: THX Certified, CLV, A+D Dolby Surround, 2 dics each, 3 sides. No ongoing commentary during the movies though there is some suppl. stuff at the end of side 3 of each movie mostly consisting of an interview with Leornard Maltin questioning George Lucas which is split into 3 parts -- some interesting stuff, but.... This is the Faces set named because of the pictures on the front of the jackets. The video transfer is the exact same as the Def. Edition with the same problems. Less side changes which is more tolerable for most if you are mainly interesting in watching the movies. No rot in this set though there are 2 different pressings -- 1 from a US plant and 1 from the Japanese Kuraray plant. The US pressing is a bit brighter and has a bit more video noise overall. The Japanese pressing is cleaner though I find it a bit darker overall, but does have less video noise overall and is considered the ultimate pressing of this set.


    1997: The Special Edition Box Set. 5 Discs, 9 sides. THX Certified. This is the only US release of the Special Editions of the Trilogy. These were never released as individual movies in the US. This is also the only discs with Dolby Digital 5.1 Sound as opposed to plain Dolby surround that every other SW release has. In order to use the AC-3 tracks, it required a player with an RF AC-3 output as well as an RF AC-3 decoder either as a separate box or special input on some receivers. A regular digital output (Toslink or Coax) wasn't sufficient. There is an interview a the end of ROTJ with George Lucas which is a bit different than the Maltin interview in the 1995 releases.

    There are 2 Japanese SE sets that are 6 discs per box as well as 2 disc Japanese releases of the individual movies. I've never seen the Japanese discs. The US box is mostly CLV though there are 2 sides that are CAV (I think side 3 of SW and ESB). It's an odd set b/c S3 of SW is on Disc 2 which also include S1 of ESB.

    The video of the SE Box is cleaned up and is much better overall than on any of the Non-SE Originals. There is some digital hash and edginess at times though that can be a bit distracting. Overall, much less film dirt/grain/grunge than the 93/95 releases and overall much more detailed and clear, but it's overdone in places. The audio is very good and with 5 discrete channels is excellent, but some people still prefer the PCM Digital Dolby Surround of the 93/95 sets.


    SW Episode 1: Japanese release only. One of the last and best LD's ever produced (2000 I think) with a super audio Dolby Digital AC-3 and PCM Dolby Surround as well as excellent video transfer. The video is not as pristine as a handful of the DTS laserdiscs, but is still in the top 1-2% regular laserdiscs I've ever seen.

    Whew!
     
  3. JJR512

    JJR512 Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 1999
    Messages:
    619
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    OK, so I think I'd like to have both the 1995 THX "Faces" set, preferably the Japanese pressing, as well as the 1997 SE set.
    And I can see that I need to be specific that whatever LD player I end up getting should have an RF AC-3 output. Do most or all Pioneer Elite players have this feature? I guess I'd need a decoder, too...I think this is getting higher in price than I probably originally conceived...[​IMG]
     
  4. Andy_A

    Andy_A Second Unit

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2001
    Messages:
    477
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Justin, some, but not all of the Pioneer Elite models have AC-3 output. I would look for anything with 51 or more dB of video noise reduction and ac-3 out. the CLD-704 is a very good non-elite model. You can also pick up the dvl-909 and the better dvl-919 for good prices, too. They're very respectable stand alone ld players. Good luck with your search.
     
  5. JJR512

    JJR512 Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 1999
    Messages:
    619
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Thanks! I've pretty much come to those conclusions, based on research I've been doing here and elsewhere. I think the 704 is the best one that I can reasonably afford.

    So, to make my "WTB" a little bit more specific now:

    WTB:
    1. Pioneer CLD-704
    2. SW LD trilogy, either the 1995 THX "Faces" set (preferably Japanese pressing), OR the 1997 SE set.
     
  6. David Norman

    David Norman Producer
    Supporter

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2001
    Messages:
    3,731
    Likes Received:
    718
    Trophy Points:
    4,110
    Location:
    Charlotte, NC
    The only Elite models that have AC-3 capability without aftermarket mods are the 59/79/99 series for LD only models.

    The DVL 90 and 91 are DVD/LD combi models that also have AC-3.
     
  7. greg_t

    greg_t Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2001
    Messages:
    1,650
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    110
    There are a couple of 704's on ebay right now. As for the "faces" trilogy, the Kurray pressings do have slightly better transers, but it is not a night and day difference. I have a set of both the US pressings and the Kurray pressings, and I found that the Kurray's were harder to find. So my advice is get the Kurray's if you can, but don't bypass a sealed or mint US pressing.
     
  8. David Norman

    David Norman Producer
    Supporter

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2001
    Messages:
    3,731
    Likes Received:
    718
    Trophy Points:
    4,110
    Location:
    Charlotte, NC
    BTW, I agree with Greg about the diff b/w the US and Japanese Faces set. Usually I put 'Ultimate' in quotes b/c I don't think it is that big of a difference.

    I have seen 4-5 copies of the US pressing and about 8-10 of the Japanese pressings and the best US is about upper middle of the pack for the Japanese K discs. There is a wider variation from disc to disc among the pressing that b/w the different pressings. I have seen some of the K pressings with significantly worse video than the average US pressing. I even have one ROTJ K disc that has enough speckles that it almost looks like a bit of rot though I've watched it enough that I'm pretty sure it is more a pressing issue.
     
  9. JJR512

    JJR512 Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 1999
    Messages:
    619
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Hey! I just won an auction at eBay. [​IMG] Now I'm hoping everyone will tell me I did good, and didn't get ripped...it was my first auction!
    Please look here: http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...DME:B:EOA:US:2 (I am jjr512 there.) It is for the Star Wars Trilogy SE THX Laserdisc LD Box Set. My winning bid: $120. Please please please tell me this is a reasonable price to pay, or at least not too ridiculously high! [​IMG] [​IMG] (I have first-time-auction-winner's doubts, can you tell? [​IMG])
     
  10. David Norman

    David Norman Producer
    Supporter

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2001
    Messages:
    3,731
    Likes Received:
    718
    Trophy Points:
    4,110
    Location:
    Charlotte, NC
    120 for a sealed copy isn't bad at all. In May/June that set was selling for 250 in the midst of the SW frenzy. Used sets are still routinely well above $100 though a few are going less than that. In 9 months, I'm not sure I've seen a sealed set go for less than 150-160.
     
  11. JJR512

    JJR512 Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 1999
    Messages:
    619
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    OK, so I've won the SE set...I also had a bid in on an original (pre-SE) set. I wanted to get the Faces set that was mentioned. This is the picture of what I'm bidding on; it looks like faces to me, but I'd like to make sure I'm bidding on the right thing.
    [​IMG]
    It's described as, "Original Star Wars Trilogy THX Widescreen LD." So, as far as an original, non-SE, theatrical cut of the films go, is this what I want? There's no mention of it being a box set; was this sold as a box-set AND each movie separately, just a box set, or just separately? If both, I'd prefer an actual box set of all movies, not each individual movie together as a set, and the fact the description never says it's a box set makes me wonder if it's not really a box set (does that make sense?).
     
  12. Tony Kwong

    Tony Kwong Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2002
    Messages:
    521
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Hey Justin,

    Those are indeed the "Faces" edition. The quality is okay but, it's the best the original non-SE trilogy has ever looked. These were never sold in a Box set. As noted above they are the same transfer as the "Definitive" edition.

    They were selling like for NEW $9 each in 1999-2000 direct from LVD.com (LaserVisions Direct, LaserDisc Fan Club) or Ken Cranes!
     
  13. JJR512

    JJR512 Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 1999
    Messages:
    619
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Well, I have a bid of $31 for the trilogy, and it's been the highest bid for two days now. This auction has three days left. Yesterday someone else started a new auction on a similar set, it's currently at $21, I believe, but that one claims to be sealed, whereas the one I'm bidding on claims to have been watched a few times. I wish I could switch...[​IMG]
     
  14. JJR512

    JJR512 Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 1999
    Messages:
    619
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    What would you say is the highest reasonable price to pay for a sealed 1995 "faces" set?
     
  15. David Norman

    David Norman Producer
    Supporter

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2001
    Messages:
    3,731
    Likes Received:
    718
    Trophy Points:
    4,110
    Location:
    Charlotte, NC
    If the set has a reasonably good seller, I strongly doubt the open set will sell for $31 -- if it does and they are in good condition you got a heck of a bargain. The lowest price I've seen all 3 go for recently has been $35-40 and they still go for $80-100 at times depending on who happens to be online. The highest I've seen was for $180 for some bizarre reason for a sealed set a couple months ago and many open sets went for $100-125 in June.

    Prices have settled down for the most part in recent weeks and I suspect 45/50 for the open set and 75+ for the sealed set would be quite reasonable or up to $90 if you really want a sealed set badly.
     
  16. Gregg Loewen

    Gregg Loewen Video Standards Instructor, THX Ltd.
    Insider

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 1999
    Messages:
    6,374
    Likes Received:
    32
    Trophy Points:
    6,610
    Location:
    New England
    Real Name:
    Gregg Loewen
    Looks like your all set with the LDs. Do you still need a player? I have an Elite 99 player which is the best player made in the USA. I just had it serviced (lubed up and laser aligned). I want $695 plus shipping for it, and think it is easily worth every penny of it.

    Email me if interested

    Gregg
     
  17. JJR512

    JJR512 Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 1999
    Messages:
    619
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I'm sure, based on what I've heard, that that's a very reasonable price for it indeed. But it could be the biggest bargain the world's ever seen, but unfortunately, I don't have that kind of money for this kind of item right now. I'm hoping for something in the $200-300 range. It's starting to look like a decent 704 model might be out of my range, too. [​IMG]
     
  18. Rajeev Dawar

    Rajeev Dawar Agent

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 1999
    Messages:
    25
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    How about a 504. It has AC-3 RF out and flips sides automatically. Works great and has seen little use. Maybe we can work something out. Let me know. Asking $200.00 I can throw in some nice LDs for free.
    Email me at rajdwar@yahoo.com
     
  19. Gruson

    Gruson Second Unit

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2000
    Messages:
    494
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I just want to say that the CLD-504 is a good player but you may want to go with the 704, that is what I have.

    I would recommend getting both version of Star Wars on LD too.

    While I HATE the SEs, the speeder bike chase in 5.1 (matrixed 7.1 for me) sounds INCREDIBLE. I only use my SEs for watching certain scenes because I cannot stomach the changes Lucas made.
     
  20. JJR512

    JJR512 Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 1999
    Messages:
    619
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Rajeev Dawar, I'm tempted to take you up on that offer. [​IMG] Let's say I'm 75% sure I'll do it. Before I make an absolute commitment, though, I'm hoping to learn the differences between the 504 and 704 models. You say the 504 has the AC-3 RF output, which is good, and is an auto-flipper, also good. But what are the differences?
    Also, does your 504 come with the remote? What about manual, box, etc.?
     

Share This Page