Universal Players

Denon DVD-A1UDCI Universal Blu-ray Player

ARTICLE INDEX

In Use

For all the things that might have bothered me a bit about the Denon when I was setting it up, from the loading times that were a bit slower than the competition, to the strange 1080p24 issue, to how heavy it was to maneuver it into my system and hook up all of those analog cables, those were forgotten once I sat down and started to use it.

Denon DVD-A1UDCI Universal Blu-ray Player

To get straight down to it, listening to the DVD-A of The Beatles "Love" was the best sound I have heard in my system. The soundstage was huge and seamless, the instruments and vocals seemed to just float in their own distinct space, and it made me wonder how close to the live experience in Vegas I was. This disc has always sounded good, but never this good, and I listened to nearly the entire thing before moving onto a different title.

Denon DVD-A1UDCI Universal Blu-ray Player

While I wasn't a huge fan of "Watchmen" as a film, there is very little I can say that was negative about the image or the soundtrack when played through the Denon. The surrounds were incredibly active, and image was full of detail with no artifacts to be seen, and it was a very engrossing experience, apart from the plot. It was a bit slower to load than the Oppo, but the time from when I put the disc into the tray, which is the best build disc tray I've seen on a Blu-ray player, the loading time was fairly quick, and menu operations were handled well. The longest delay is from being powered off to on, which can take 30-45 seconds to happen. Of course, even the Oppo takes a bit of time to turn on, and I've had other players that take far longer, and the delay wasn't long enough to annoy my wife, which is the test that matters for me.

Denon DVD-A1UDCI Universal Blu-ray Player

Going back to a movie that I almost always return to when using a new player, "Ratatouille" from Pixar looked and sounded absolutely fantastic on the Denon. Comparing the sound from the HDMI output using my receiver's internal DACs to the analog output from the Denon, the differences were slight, but I again found that the Denon did have a slightly more cohesive soundstage using the internal DAC's. Doing this meant disabling the MCACC room correction in the Pioneer, however, which to some people might not the worth the trade-off if they find that room correction gives them a larger sonic benefit than they get from the higher quality DACs inside of the Denon. In this case, I'd recommend that you try out both and see if you prefer one to the other, unless you don't have room correction in your system, in which case the choice of going analog in the Denon is easy. I didn't notice much, if any, picture difference when using the Denon, but as my other player for comparison is the Oppo BDP-83, looking identical indicates that it has a reference quality image.

Denon DVD-A1UDCI Universal Blu-ray Player

Denon DVD-A1UDCI Universal Blu-ray Player

Listening to standard audio CD's, the Denon once again stood it's ground as a device that could easily replace everything else in my AV rack. On "Come Away With Me", the debut album from Norah Jones, the details of the recording stood out to me, from the placement of the musicians on the stage, to a bit of extra detail from the instruments, to more clearly hearing Norah Jones take a breath between verses in a song. With my recent favorite album, "In Rainbows" from Radiohead, going back and listening to Reckoner brought back details that I had heard through better equipment before, but never through my own setup. The precise placement of the cymbal that opens the song, it's echo hanging a bit in space between hits, the extra details that are usually lost or muddled when I would listen through the Oppo. The Denon was clearly a step above the Oppo in terms of detail and resolution, as one would expect for the price, and offered up extra clarity that I previously had thought my speakers and receiver might not be capable of.