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Save your pennies Boys and Girls(Awesome budget component alert #2)  

post #1 of 213
Thread Starter 
I was hanging with some of my audio buddies tonight and a rep stopped by to show off some new gear.Usually these visits are laced with skeptisism and alcohol.Tonight was a different story.We got to hear an early production version of the new Philips DVD 963SA DVD/SACD/Upsampling CD player.That's right the "Magic Bullet" of redbook upsampling bought to the masses.If you have'nt heard me say it yet ,I'll repeat that I firmly believe upsampling to be the savior of redbook CD playback.This player brings it in at the lowest price point yet($499.00 retail) and does it as well as I have heard it done.I was not expecting to hear anything significant when this player was being installed in a system which consisted of a pair of Dynaco Mark 4 monoblock amps,Vandersteen 2CE loudspeakers and a Rogue 99 Magnum preamp.I actually was sitting around talking on the phone when the rep put on the new Stones "Let it Bleed" Abko remaster on SACD.I didn't talk long after the disc started.This player is just incredible.Keep in mind that me and the rest of these guys are still in awe of a Revox E-46 CDP that we had in this same system this past weekend.We don't have the Revox around anymore to compare but we are all once again in awe.I know that the Abko remasters are incredible sounding and the player was playing the SACD layer of this Hybrid disc,I wanted to hear the effects of the upsampling on a redbook disc.I picked one that we are all getting a little tired of but know well and played a bit while the Revox was around,Kenny Burrell's "Soulero".This disc was played as well as I have ever heard it.Low level detail and bass were just unreal.The midrange was as sweet as pie.The rep had a prerelease of a new Sony SACD recording (which he made us promise not to reveal) that sounded oustanding.This release, I might add, is much more exciting than the Philips player itself and will generate,I think,the type of enthusiam that SACD needs to thrive.I checked the Philips site and there is no mention of the player there but I saw that J&R actually has a listing with a price, though it has not yet been introduced.The player is very nice looking with a very bright,almost polished looking aluminum faceplate and a super cool looking remote.I cannot emphasize enough how amazed I am how great this player sounds.I knew that better, lower priced gear was coming but this is the cake.

I can't wait to get one of these players home and audition it in my system.This player and the New SACD releases really has me pumped.If you would have told me a year ago that an Upsampling CD/SACD player would be available for this price,I never would have thought it true,but here it is.the rep said that the players should hit the street by late November.This just makes me wonder what else is on the horizon.

Edit:Sorry,about the lack of details,All I know now are the general specs(also on the J&R page) and the fact that it has three power supplies and six DACs.I assume that each format(SACD/CD/DVD has its' own power supply and DACs(one per channel).This unit also had a replaceable power cord and very nice looking blue display.It was heavy and inside I could see a large power supply.We were told that cosmetics would likely be different and possibly a black unit would be offered.It also had some sort of disc recognition that read the titles and songs on CDs which allowed scrolling of the titles and instant playback which was really cool.
post #2 of 213
Sheesh...first the headphones, now this!

Philips has been releasing some great stuff lately. I'd love to try out the SACD-1000 someday.

It's good to know at least one of these big companies makes decent stuff.
post #3 of 213
J&R doesn't have stock of them yet, but their price will be $399.99.

Here is the information you requested:

PHILIPS DVD963SA DVD / SACD Player

$499.00 - Suggested Retail Price

$399.99 - YOUR PRICE
post #4 of 213
ugh. So tempting, but the folks would never let me buy MORE stuff. . .
post #5 of 213
Tuberoller, darn you!!!!

I just got a NS500V finally yesterday, and now you come out with this...
post #6 of 213
Think I'll grab one of these when they're available!

Maybe it'll take my mind off this:



temporarily...

post #7 of 213
I can mention that the previous model, Philips DVD 962 SA, got a top ranking on SACD performance in the German magazine Stereoplay (better than Sony SCD 1). CD performance was ranked about the same as NAD C 541, good but not impressive. It they have improved CD performance, and it seem so, it would be an extreme bargain. No reason to consider SACD 1000, which then would be surpassed.
post #8 of 213
Thread Starter 
If this player hits the street with a price of $399.00,I'd have to call this the new bargain of the century.I am super impressed with Upsampling technology but have heard some negative effects.I do not like how some of the earlier upsampling DACs sounded and still do not like the the Perpetual DACs.I have always thought that they caused imaging and soundstage to sound "artificial", a sentiment that was shared by many who heard them.Later upsampling DACs like the Bel Canto,MSB Link III and the latest Musical Fidelity,allowed the true performance capabilities of Upsampling to be heard and enjoyed.Once you have heard the effects of upsampling(and oversampling in the case of the Revox) you are ruined forever,no CDP is gonna sound great to you once you have heard it in it's full glory.With Upsampling, the gap between SACD and Rebook CD is no longer expansive,it is within a soft breath.I have not heard the Philips in my system yet, so I will reserve ultimate judgement,but I can say that I am truly impressed so far.Once again the point of diminishing returns drops to the level of the ordinary consumer.It is just bad judgement to go out and spend big bucks on a digital rig now.
post #9 of 213
Wow! Just Wow!
post #10 of 213
What about build quality? I've seen posts critisizing the build quality of lower end Phillips, and my Phillips SACD 1000 has a crappy, rachety plastic CD tray.
post #11 of 213
At this price, one cannot expect build quality to be more than decent.
If the promises are realized, it is all about the internals. I don't find it surprising if a breakthrough in DAC technology happens. Essential parts of a DAC consist of some chips. Prices of these do not reflect production costs but rather development costs and market position. Maybe, the advanced DAC chips have been overpriced for years.
I have not have any opportunity to hear the new, well reviewed SACD players and the upsampling ones. The hifi-shops locally do not sell them. I asked for SACD in a hifi shop and the owner told me "the market is not mature for them". Obviously, not understanding that he could have participated in changing the market in this town.
An analogy is the PC processors. A Pentium 4 costs about the same as an 8080 in the end of the 1980's. Difference is that it is about a thousand times faster and has more advanced functions.
Sony and Philips have lately been very eager to market their new CD players, and had got great reviews. These companies are not recognized for audiophile ambitions, especially not Philips. Why are they producing a lot of priceworthy models now? I think the main reason is that they have to defend themselves against the threat of DVD and DVD-Audio. They have the muscles and resources and then something happens.
post #12 of 213
If anyone knows or hears anything about when the Philips player is likely to be available, please post it here. I've been wanting SACD playback coupled with high quality cd playback in one unit for my headphone listening system, and it sounds like this will give me that and more than I expected.
As far as build quality, I havent been a big Philips fan in the past, but since Tuberoller says the following, thats good enough for me, ESPECIALLY at $399.00 actual street price!

"it has three power supplies and six DACs.I assume that each format(SACD/CD/DVD has its' own power supply and DACs(one per channel).This unit also had a replaceable power cord and very nice looking blue display.It was heavy and inside I could see a large power supply."
post #13 of 213
Oh, and forgot to mention, regarding SACD, the fact that the Stones releases are now available, and with other things coming (Springsteen catalog rumors) I think its safe to finally buy into the format. The sound has always been spectacular, without question.
I'm also VERY curious about exactly which recording that Tuberoller had the chance to listen to:


"The rep had a prerelease of a new Sony SACD recording (which he made us promise not to reveal) that sounded oustanding.This release, I might add, is much more exciting than the Philips player itself and will generate,I think,the type of enthusiam that SACD needs to thrive."

Given Sonys massive catalog, this could be something HUGE!

My only remaining concern regarding SACD, is given the fact that they seem to be pushing towards multi-channel releases for newer recordings, that could potentially leave us out in the cold regarding headphone listening. Afaik, none of the few attempts at pseudo/multichannel headphones have worked very well.
post #14 of 213
Springsteen catalog rumors??? Please explain

And the multichannel thing isnt a problem, they make it clear on the discs (talking non-hybrid) that they contain both stereo and multichannel. Also the NS500V makes a big deal about having stereo outputs for people who don't have multichannel systems and upgrading to multichannel when you're ready or something.
post #15 of 213
This sounds too good to be true. Roller, they didn't put any funny looking powder in your drink did they? Those psychoacoustic drugs can be quite insideous

What are the odds that the "early production unit" was a hyper-tweaked one-off? If it is, I want that one!

Much appreciation for sharing these experiences. If I can't get access to these toys, at least I can get informed opinions from this site.


gerG
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