I have a friend who works in a dealership carrying Integra, claims the whole Integra line, every product, to be absolute mid-fi garbage. The SACD/DVDA player is, according to him, worse then the Denon 2900, which make is pretty bad indeed, as the Denon was, according to him, essentially eaten alive by the Philips 963 on SACD and CD, and even his internal 20bit dac in the old EAD theatermaster processor was better overall on redbook. Performance is all relative, of course, and what one calls garbage, the next guy calls good enough, so don't hesitate to try the gear for yourself, as always, it's more fun that way.
My advice is -- don't buy a Universal Player. You will
never be satisfied with the sound. Instead, buy a
DVD player with DVD-A, like a Denon DVD 1600 or
a panasonic XP-50. These are highly rated DVD players -- they scored really high on Secrets and TAS
shoot-outs. The DVD-A playback will be just as good
as a $1,000 Universal Player. But, you can pair that with a CD/SACD player that wil get you much better CD playback than any Universal Player short of the Linn
Unidisk, which sells for $11,000.
You can get a Denon DVD 1600 for around $300 used.
Or, you can get a Panasonic XP-50 for a similar amount. Then, you can pair that with one of these
Philips 963, which you can get for around $400 used.
Sony SCD 555ES, which you can get for around $700.
Sony SCD XA777ES, which you can get for around $1,600.
Each of the SACD players, the Philips or the two
Sony will give you better sound than a 1,000 Universal Player. And, when you are ready to upgrade, each of
those units can be modified for even better sound.
Think in terms of two boxes and from $700 -- $2000
you can choose how much better sound you prefer
over a 1,000 Universal Player -- and it is relatively
future proof in the sense that when you get the itch
to spend some more $$ and upgrade, you can simply
add a Super Clock II or any other combination of mods
and improve your sound.
I just did this for my younger brother. I bought him
the Denon DVD 1600 and the Sony XA777ES. That
combo is like a two box Universal Player and it kicks
the holy crap out of my Yamaha s2300. He'll be happy
with that for a long, long time.
Don't stick yourself with a U-Player.
You pay a premium for having them cram everything
into one box and you pay a price in sound degradation.
Just my opinion.
Does your friend have rocks in his head? Denon is one of the most highest regarded players on the planet. The video quality is second to none. Not to mention they use the highest quality parts for both audio and video. The new Integra is supposed to be awesome as well and it's already getting alot of praise here already. It just doesn't have bass management.
No offence Eulogytool, but when I read - "Denon is one of the most highest regarded players on the planet", I just wanted to ask - What planet?
Funny, I gotten the very same type of responses from Krell and Bose owners.... :)
FWIW, The Integra 8.3 is based on a Pioneer chasis. To say that Integra is mid-fi garbage is to agree that the Pioneer is the same.
Denon DVD players, as well as Panasonic DVD players ARE highly
regarded, scoring high on both Secrets and TAS DVD shoot-outs.
But, there's no reason to pay $900 for a highly rated DVD player when both Denon and Panasonic make highly regarded
DVD players for far less.
Next, when you become dissatisfied with the sound of your
Universal Player, which you will, you will end up buying a
better CD player and you'll be stuck with a $900 DVD player
which you will no longer use for music playback and it will
hit you that you could have saved a lot of money and gotten
the same quality DVD player by purchasing a Denon DVD 1600 or Panasonic XP-50. Money you could use now for your CD
player, or CD/SACD player -- since you're looking for a
playback system that will be "Universal."
A Sony SCD XA777ES will kick the holy bejeezus out of a
Yamaha or Denon Universal Player. It is in an entirely
different league -- many jumps up the ladder.
Pay $300 for a top of the line DVD player [Used] that also
includes DVD-A playback and spend the wad on your music
playback. You will be so much happier and you won't get
stuck in a dead end with regard to upgrading.
Think "outside the one box."
With two boxes, you'll get much better music playback
and still get top notch DVD playback.
If you want to stick with the same budget, go with the
Philips 963 and the Denon DVD 1600, or the Philips 963
and the Panasonic XP-50.
But, if you can afford to spend a little more, I highly
recommend the Sony SCD XA777ES, which was rated A+ by
Stereophile and received a golden ear award from TAS --
if those things mean anything to you. Certainly doesn't
Well I'm not saying Denon is THE BEST player I'm just saying with a street price of $800.00 I would love to see anyone with a budget top the price to performance ratio of the 2900. And I'm talking about planet earth videohydra, the Silicon Imaging Denon uses has won numerous rewards it's the same imaging that the also so highly regarded DVDO line doubling unit uses.
I cannot afford an expensive universal right now, and I don't want two separate boxes for dvd-a and sacd, both of which formats I want. And I don't need cd since I have an excellent high end system. Hence I recently bought the Denon dv2900 after its good online reviews.
In my house, the 2900 gets about 8x its cost in associated audiophile paraphernalia, including interconnects at 3.5x its price, power cord, line filter and vibration control. And I have been enjoying its SACD and DVD-A a good deal, thank you - nice staging, lively and dynamic, and musically communicative. It lacks the detail, texture, and very fine stage perspective of my main front end, but it is remarkably good at this price point and lets me listen to the excellent high rez discs I own. In comparison, I used to own a Pioneer 47a, and that was a whole different issue - flatly unlistenable on a high end system.
Just turn off your audiophile flaw-detection filter for a while, relax and listen to the music, and you may find a tricked-out Denon 2900 to be an enjoyable interim product while saving capital for that EMM Labs or Meridian system.
Reviewed at enjoythemusic.com, under Viewpoint, by Bill Gaw. Choice of power cord is important with this player.
So, one has to spend $7000 on cables and platforms for the 2900 to sound good (but not great)? Uh....right. Why not buy a TRIVISTA, Esoteric or even the EMM labs to begin with if you're going to sink that much money into hi-rez. Sorry, Flex, but you're logic escapes me on this one....
You don't have to buy the 11,000 Linn Unidisk to realize astounding performance on CD, SACD, AND DVD-A. At half the price of the Linn, the Esoteric DV-50 will outperform the majority of CD/SACD players and outboard converters. I know. I bought one, and it is the most musical player I have yet heard on all the formats!
Sorry, Socrates, what I'm saying is that I have this equipment available because that's the way my high end system is set up so that's what I use, and the Denon sounds good this way. I just added it to my main system and routed the output to my preamp.
I haven't tried the Denon any other way so I can't take responsibility for how it sounds if you treat it like midfi. (My post wasn't meant to be a review, so I didn't test its characteristics except for power cords, which are important.) The link I added is a serious review and gives some detail.
But as an audiophile, you are likely to have excess interconnects, power cords, vibration control, a line filter etc. Free space on your regular rack? An old Neuance shelf? Enough power cords to decorate a Xmas tree with? As far as the TRIVISTA , the same problem exists. After you buy the $7000 unit, you will still have to add interconnects, vibration control, a/c filtration etc.
I would sink my money into a higher-end front end long
before I would spend 3.5 times its cost on cables.
Just my opinion.