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New CD/DVD Player Recommendations?

Old 11-29-05, 03:47 PM
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New CD/DVD Player Recommendations?

In 2006 I will finally set out to upgrade my measly stereo system to a nicer home theater. I do enjoy music a lot, but at home I tend to use my system for movies more than anything else. I'd like to get in to higher-end components and was wondering what to look for. Do I want a stand-alone CD player in addition to a DVD player, or are there units that handle all the media formats effortlessly (including DVD-Audio)? I'm a clean slate, so let the education begin .
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Old 11-29-05, 04:48 PM
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We call them universal DVD players. They can play DVD-Video, DVD-Audio, SACD, CD, MP3, and usually some other formats. Depending on your audio quality taste, there probably isn't much need to get a separate CDp. You can either have your DVDp decode CDs or your receiver. I had to get a $1000 MSRP DVD player (Denon 2900) to match my good CD player. But now there isn't any need for me to have a separate CD player. Both of these devices sounded better than letting my receiver decode CDs.

If you just want to get into the universal world cheaply, the Pioneer 588A ($130) is not bad, from what I hear.
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Old 11-29-05, 05:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Spiky
We call them universal DVD players. They can play DVD-Video, DVD-Audio, SACD, CD, MP3, and usually some other formats. Depending on your audio quality taste, there probably isn't much need to get a separate CDp. You can either have your DVDp decode CDs or your receiver. I had to get a $1000 MSRP DVD player (Denon 2900) to match my good CD player. But now there isn't any need for me to have a separate CD player. Both of these devices sounded better than letting my receiver decode CDs.

If you just want to get into the universal world cheaply, the Pioneer 588A ($130) is not bad, from what I hear.
Spiky, thanks for info. I've been eyeing some of the Rotel and Marantz components. Has anybody had any experience with them as compared to the Pioneers, Sonys, etc.?
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Old 11-29-05, 06:43 PM
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Both Rotel and Marantz make very nice gear. What receiver are you using? A DVD player like the Denon 2900 is also a hell of a CD player. I have the Denon 2910 (which is not really the successor to the 2900 - but rather a step down - and cheaper at $700) and find it to be decent for CDs.
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Old 11-30-05, 10:46 AM
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Marantz can't seem to keep their build quality up the last few years. I've read about receivers catching fire, my CDR died, etc. And they don't bother working to get the best video, although their audio side is excellent. I'd put Denon (now related to Marantz) ahead of them because players like the 2900, 2910, 3910 have excellent video as well as audio. Denon has listened to customers and reviewers like Secrets of Home Theater and improved their players with almost every generation.

Most companies have been ridiculously hit and miss from generation to generation. (in regards to video quality) Panny's best players are still the 4 year old rp82 and brethren. The 2005 models are better than the 2004 models, but they are only coming close to the rp82. It took Pioneer 5 years to bother making a player without the CUE problem, and they supposedly pride themselves on quality like Denon.

Most of the high end player makers start with a lesser player and improve it. Some of the most famous multi-thousand dollar players have been a Panasonic or Pioneer DVD player with a better chassis and audio components. But they never seem to care about the video, so that is virtually identical to the original cheap player. I guess these companies are audio first and haven't caught up with the A/V age yet. Some are starting to, I think the latest Krell players have had excellent video, finally.

Rotel is great for audio, too. But they probably suffer from the same video problems.

Last edited by Spiky; 11-30-05 at 10:50 AM.
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Old 11-30-05, 02:19 PM
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Spiky - have you heard anything good or bad about Panasonic's DVDS77?
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Old 11-30-05, 02:28 PM
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I've heard nothing but good things regarding the Denon 2900. I'll definitely keep that one under consideration. Is there an online shopping tool that may help me locate a good price on this one (similar to dvdpricesearch)?
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Old 11-30-05, 03:24 PM
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2900 was EOLed a while back, 2004 sometime I believe. If you find one it will be used. Videogon/Audiogon would be the best websites for higher-end used equipment. They don't have the cheap garbage, so it doesn't attract many deadbeats.

The S77 has gotten a lot of discussion at many HT forums. I haven't tried one, so this is just what I've read elsewhere. For basic video it does ok, but has some typical low-end failures like black and white levels being off. It outscored the rp82 and most other players in the Secrets de-interlacing testing I linked above. But there is a major problem with macroblocking in all these Faroudja 2310 players out recently. It doesn't happen for everyone, so if your S77 doesn't do it on your TV, it is probably one of the better video quality players ever, esp using upconversion. But that isn't true for everyone, esp digital TV technologies. It's really strange, the same chip in TVs NEVER exhibits the macroblocking. I have it in my DLP and it is excellent. But in players.....

Personally, I like the de-interlacer in my 2900 better than the Faroudja. Detailed yet smooth. Of course, with my TV having the Faroudja I can pick either, so that biases my opinion since choice is always better. But the 2900's is smoother for film sources, just really amazing. Some DVDs look better than some HD shows, like after DirecTV has compressed the hell out of the UHD channel. I could not believe it when I checked out a couple minutes of some show on UHD the other day after watching the Superbit Fifth Element. They were close, but a 480i DVD should never beat an HD show on a 720p projector, yet it did. (and this is not an upconverting player) BAD DirecTV, BAD! [whacks them with newspaper]

Here is an interesting comment from an excellent ISF pro. I thought he had a review somewhere on that forum, but I'm having a hard time finding it. Note the discussion in that thread was Denon 1600 vs 2900. The 1600 is a clone of the Panny RP82.
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Old 11-30-05, 03:29 PM
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Interesting - thanks. I thought I had heard that the Faroudja chip in a lot of recent players wasn't working as good as many thought it should.
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Old 11-30-05, 03:42 PM
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It is excellent for video-based material. I have Blue Man Group - Complex on DVD-V, and the CUE error on the blue heads with the 2900 is frightening. (this is the 2900's only CUE error) The Faroudja in my TV plays it beautifully.

They've got to be beating on the techs over at Faroudja to fix the macroblocking for players with all the bad press. They just got bought out or something, too....
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Old 12-01-05, 02:22 PM
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I did notice at the Tustin Good Guys this morning that the Denon 3910 is reduced to $899. Not sure if that's a good price or not, but I've been hearing pretty good things about that unit as well. I'm very tempted. I may go back again today and have another look.
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Old 12-01-05, 03:54 PM
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Well, it's $1500 MSRP, so that sounds awesome. That's what I paid for my 2900 at GG online years back. Is GG going out of business? I think they were bought out or something recently. Seems to be a theme.
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