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A/V Source Components

More details were forthcoming about Yamaha Electronics’ DVD-S2300 ($999), first shown at CEDIA 2002 and shipping now, though units are in short supply. Commendably, Yamaha has put a lot of care into both the audio and video quality of this player: in addition to DVD-Video/Audio and Super Audio CD, the RS-232-controllable DVD-S2300 offers Faroudja DCDi deinterlacing for its 4:4:4 progressive output, and a Video Off mode to ensure that audio performance is not degraded by its 54MHz 12-bit video DAC-based video circuitry interference. Also noteworthy: the DVD-S2300 is the first universal player confirmed to be free of the chroma upsampling error, as reported in the latest comparison test from Secrets of Home Theater and High Fidelity.

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The DVD-S2300 incorporates separate DVD-Audio and SACD decoder chips for the most accurate reproduction of each format. Since the player fully implements Sony’s 2nd generation decoder with native DSD bass management, separate bass management is implemented for DVD-A as well. No digital output is available for high-resolution sources, but other formats supported include Compact Disc, MP3 files on disc, CD-R, VCD (Video CD) and SVCD (Super Video CD).

Denon Electronics introduced the DVD-2900 its first universal player in the U.S. market. The DVD-2900 plays both DVD-Audio and Super Audio CD discs, along with DVD-R/RW), music and video CD, picture CD, and finalized CD-R/RW. Player-based bass management is included. Although the DVD-2900 includes an RS-232 port for integration with third-party system controllers, the player has no high-resolution digital output capability, either through Firewire or the company’s proprietary DenonLink.

Internally, rather than building on last year’s problem-plagued DVD-2800 platform, the DVD-2900 architecture is based on the DVD-3800, with a few compromises to meet its $999 price point. “The chroma bug is long gone,” representatives in the Denon booth assured me, “You can print that!” According to Denon, the first DVD-2900 shipment slated for May is already pre-sold. Deinterlacing is via the same PureProgressive SilImage 504 engine used in the company’s flagship DVD-9000, which Denon’s latest press release lists as an “Audio/Video/Super Audio Player,” despite no obtainable confirmation of any plans to upgrade it with SACD capability. Will they or won’t they? Only time will tell...

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Implementing both SACD and DVD-Audio decoder chips in a single player usually catapults the retail price to the $1,000 mark or higher. So how can Pioneer electronics offer a universal player for under $200? Due out by mid-year, the company’s new DV-563A progressive scan DVD-Video/Audio player can also play SACD discs by internally converting SACD’s native DSD bitstream to PCM prior to D/A conversion and analog output. Although such a conversion will doubtless alarm SACD purists on principle, SMR’s resident technical encyclopedia, Andre Yew, claims the crossover from one high resolution format to another is potentially facilitated by DSD’s design: “DSD was designed originally to archive Sony/Columbia’s recorded legacy, and to be easily decimated to any conceivable PCM sampling rate, so they’d just have to do one analog to digital conversion for their entire catalog, and then decimate appropriately as different PCM distribution methods came to market.

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Of course, whether Pioneer’s implementation decimates or preserves the audio quality of SACD sources remains to be heard. What’s in no doubt, however, is that the entry fee for a little toe dipping in both formats will get dramatically more affordable. For around $250, Pioneer also plans to also offer an “upmarket” DV-663 version that adds HDMI output A no-frills version, the DV-463, will offer neither SACD, DVD-Audio nor on-board bass management. On a hopeful note, although the dreaded words “chroma bug” are still not part of Pioneer’s official vocabulary, Gary Bauhard acknowledged the company has been evaluating MPEG decoders. []

Replacing Muse’s older Model 9 and Model 9 signature, the new Model 10 is able to decode and playback virtually every commonplace disc format, including MP3, and with the multi-channel option installed, it is even capable of playing back DVD-Audio and SACD recordings. At CES, the Model 10 was put to good use in the IMF Audio room as the source component used to demonstrate their Musica Model 25 loudspeakers. []

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Latest additons 7th February 2003:

Panamax Power Conditioning
Xplore Solutions A/V Control
EAD Theatermaster Studio
Focal-JMLab Utopia Loudspeakers
McCormack DVD-Audio/SACD Player
Martin Logan Clarity & Scripti
Artistic Audio & Red Rose Audio
IMF Audio Musica Model 25
Philips, Pioneer & Sharp DVD-R/RW
Opus Distributed Audio
Audio Aero Prestige A/V Player
Philips DVDR80 DVD+RW Recorder
Lexicon Home Theater Products
DVD Entertainment Group Dinner
Universal Remote Control MX-3000
Xantech System Control Products
McIntosh MVP851 DVD-Audio Player
Von Schweikert VR-S/1 Subwoofer
Von Schweikert VR-1 & VR-4SE
Zu Druid 2 & Gallo Acoustics
2003 Panasonic DVD-Video Players
Universal DVD-Audio/SACD Players
Arcam Home Theater Products
Stillpoints Isolation Products
Panasonic e-Wear & LCD Monitor
SACD Press Conference
Clark Synthesis Gold TST329
Guitammer BKA1000-4 Amplifier
Dynaudio Contour Loudspeakers

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SMR Home Theatre's CES 2003 show report is co-sponsored by High Fidelity Review

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Show report last updated: 7th February 2003 ~ 190 original images on-line.


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