Actually, I think ALL the players you mentioned will give you fine picture really. however, you may want to look into players, such as the Pioneers newer units and Theta's pieces, which will pass a pure, untruncated, 24/96 digital signal for the audio! I'm sure many will say that, for 16/44 dvd's, it doesn't matter if your digital out of the player down converts the signal to 16/44(most players do!). I've found that the sound seems much better with players that pass 24/96 digitally, and doesn't do any down conversion, then up conversion in the processing chain!!!
However, MSB will upgrade any player to pass a 24/96 or even 24/192 pure digital signal out of that out put!...so you may want to consider having a player moded for that if you go other ways.
Also, may I strongly suggest, that if you want to improve your picture situation, that you sell the Mits and get a good DLP and front screen projector set up instead!!! You'll get a much bigger and better picture, which you can sit much much closer to proportionately! The reason?...it's the dreaded lenticular screen on all big screens that keeps you from getting closer...no matter what DVD player you use! Even with high Def 1080i, you still can't get past the limitations of the lenticular line struction inherant in your TV. a good DLP with wall screen would have no such limitation, and you could easily get a trememdously good picture on a 100-110" screen in a medium/modest size room!
I would go out on a limb and say that 99.9% of the peeople would not notice the sound variations on any of these players you mentioned. At some level, the trade offs become mute, and I would say at those levels, you have hit it.
The Camelot is supposed to be fabulous, as is the Ayre, but the unit I selected over the Camelot was the EAD Theatervision. In the Great DVD Shootout, this unit finished 'second' to the Camelot, but can be found preowned for about $1,350-$1,650. Probably $1,000 less than the Camelot.
That said, you did mention the fact that you already have a CD player otherwise I would suggest the unit I am currently using, which I feel is the best all in one DVD player in the world (as if that means anything) from a value standpoint, the California Audio Labs CL-2500 DVD/CD.
Although the company is OOB now, still an ABSOLUTELY phenomenal transports, with stellar video and audio for films. Heck, for less than $1,000 preowned, again, a steal!
Jrwr7:Have you had your Mit calibrated? Are you using a quality power conditioner?--Just a couple of ways to improve what you already have.Just about all display devices respond to both suggestions,(in a big way!).
I have owned several DVD players that include:
Ayre D-1x (current)
EAD Theatervision P
All had excellent surround sound capability and picture. Since each also saw duty as an audio transport, the Ayre was best for this purpose, not surprisingly since weighs in as the most expensive unit of the three.
As a detected CD player, the Ayre also excelled in overall sonic ability. Very transparent, detailed top-to-bottom, dynamic and finesse. Of course, the 2-ch audio option at $2750 is more costly than some CD players but it definitely shows its worth.
In terms of video, the Ayre may have a slight edge over the others offering a more detailed, noise-free, smoother picture with better colors. Again, you would only perceive this using a high-quality video monitor and cable.
Finally, Ayre's customer service is the best I have come across. They are very friendly and helpful people. When you leave a message, they return your calls within a day. Can't go wrong here. Never had to deal with Meridian or EAD, so please do not read this as a comparative commentary on their service.
Send me an email if you have any further questions.
The best objective review of DVD players I know of. A must read. Finally, a thorough review.
Thank you for the info/suggestions. Now, to address everyone.
Lthkeepr, unfortunately I have limited space and would not be able to accommodate anything larger than what I currently have.
Porschecab, I would love to read the great DVD shootout you mentioned. As for the Cal Labs, I think I would like to stay w/something that still has a company behind it.
Avguygeorge, yes, I have calibrated the Mitsu and it made a big difference. I'm also running RGPC S400's(2) for front end and video, they do help.
Meri5862, thank you for the insight on the Ayre D-1x but the more I think about it the more I realize that this machine, as great as it may be, is out of my price range.
Ericamd, thanks for the info on the reviews. I did not read it all but from what I did read it seems the the Camelot might be what I'm looking for.
Thank you all very much for sharing your insight and experience w/me, I really appreciate the input......John
For the money($799)I would consider the Sony dvp9000es.
If you're running the DVD player from its progressive scan output, which I assume you are into the Mits, you might get off cheap with the Denon DVD player as it is one of the only less-expensive players(around $500) that uses the Faroudja/Sage DCDi chip that is normally only found in much, much more expensive units. In terms of surround sound it probably will depend more on the pre/pro(and the digital cable) you're using than on the Denon, which probably does a fine job passing the digital signal. Best of luck.
Flemke, I don't feel comfortable going from Pioneer Elite to Sony. Call me a snob but I feel that I've graduated from that level of equipment and have my sights set a bit higher.
Soix, due to a bad experince w/Denon the company and a dealer, I will never purchase another piece from them. Not even to drop it off a roof to watch it explode. Thank you for the suggestions......John
Your not a snob ,just incorrect. The reviews of the video quality from Pioneer are just average. The sonic quality of the Sony smokes the Elite.
P.S. Did you read the DVD player shootout at "Secrets of home theater"?
Another player that you should have in your "short" list would be the Simaudio Stellar. The other players you listed are also very good, especially the EAD.
Regards...Mike - Father & Son Audio
What's up folks,
Flemke, I understand that some Sony products are highly regarded and all, but my point was the mid-fi stigma that Sony and Pioneer share. I would not feel comfortable having a Sony heading up my system no matter how good it's supposed to sound and look. Yes, I know. Snob!!!
Fs_audio, what does the Simaudio Stellar cost and are there any reviews I could get a look at. I would be interested in getting as much info on it as possible for comparison purposes.
Thanks for the info people, keep'um coming.....John
I also own the EAD TheatervisionP which is quite a player. The EAD also won the Best CD player from TAS for 2000. The image is 3D looking on my Mits65907.