This page is somewhat dated as I have not posted any reviews of my current equipment. However, I’m keeping this page up for archival purposes.
Marantz VP-12s1 DLP Video Projector:
My dream purchase finally become a reality when I purchased my first projector! After almost 5 years of planning and waiting for a high-resolution, 16×9 digital video projector, I found the one I wanted an made the purchase. It was well worth the wait. The internal scaling and processing are outstanding on this unit, although newer DLP chips have increased performance levels, this is still a great projector. When I moved, my projector was sold with the house in early 2004.
Onkyo TX-DS939 receiver:
I’ve been very impressed with this receiver since I purchased it in 1997. Back then, it was the best integrated receiver available because it offered Dolby Digital certification and because it was THX certified (by the new standards it meets the THX-ultra specification). This means it met much higher standards on the amplifier section, added THX cinema re-equalization, and insured discrete surround sound channels in the Dolby Pro Logic mode.
Two years after I bought this unit, it was still Onkyo’s flagship model, although it was be replaced in 1Q-2000 by a new model.
The features offered by the 939 were unmatched by most of the receivers designed two years later. This lasting performance has made the initial cost of the unit forgettable. However, there are a few short comings with this unit, namely no DTS decoding, no discrete on/off remote control commands, only 3 digital inputs, no digital outputs, and a slightly bright sound quality. Now that I’ve compared Dolby Digital and DTS, I don’t feel like I’m missing out on a big improvement in sound quality- both sound incredible – but it would be nice to have the added flexibility of DTS. Not having discrete on/off codes makes automation with the remote control a bit more difficult but I’ve learned to live with it.
I understand the the replacement for the 939 fixes all of these shortcoming and adds even more features. As much as I’d like to upgrade, I doubt I will. My complaints are minimal and I’m very satisfied with my 939. I don’t see the cost of the upgrade being worth it.
Philips DSR6000 TiVo PVR / DirecTv Satellite Receiver
This is the most watched component of my system. It’s much more convenient to now watch shows recorded by TiVo versus messing with a VCR or watching them live. I would hate to go back! I’ve modified by DirecTiVo by adding a by adding a CacheCard ethernet adapter, connecting it to my home network and cable modem connection. I have telnet, FTP, and HTTP, and caller ID servers running from the TiVo. The most useful application installed is tivoweb, the HTTP server that allows remote access and programming when away from home. I don’t use this feature frequently but it is nice to have it available. Step-by-step instructions on how to modify Series 1 and Series 2 TiVo can be found at tivohelp.com.
Toshiba SD 2108 DVD player
When I first hooked up my DVD player in 1998, I was very impressed with it. The sound was absolutely amazing and justified the expense of the rest of my system. I couldn’t believe the difference Dolby Digital made and was wondering why I hadn’t purchased a DVD player sooner.
Since that time, I’ve identified a few shortcomings of my 2108 DVD player. The most noticeable is the pause that sometimes occurs when the disc transfers from the first to the second layer. It seems to be worse on this player than on some others I’ve seen. I’m hoping the newer players have more memory and better transports to compensate for this problem.
As with other Toshiba products, this one doesn’t have discrete power on/off codes. This is not really a problem because hitting the play button acts as a discrete power on. It just means that a macro must be used for power on/off.
Also, the 2108 doesn’t have 480 Progressive scan outputs. Since no other player had this feature until 4Q 1999, it can’t say I’m disappointed at this omission. However, when I upgrade my TV to HD, it means I will have to upgrade my DVD player as well. Right now, I’m leaning toward a PC-based DVD player, but I may change my mind before making the purchase, which is quite some time away.
Velodyne HGS 15 subwoofer
This is a very impressive subwoofer. I can’t say how pleased I am with this unit. Since my home theater is located in large (1000 square foot / 9000 cubic foot) room in my basement, adequate bass reproduction is very difficult. My previous Polk Subwoofer was very underpowered.
The HGS 15 fixed my bass response problem. The massive amplifier produces enough power to shake the furniture even in a very large room. The sealed enclosure insures very flat, accurate bass reproduction and the closed-loop monitoring of the woofer insures that it never produces clipping or distortion.
The huge number of inputs (including balanced) and a remote control are just icing on the cake. The blue power LED on the front of the unit produces a nice added visual enhancement as does the black gloss finish cabinet.
This subwoofer will be the last component I would want to upgrade, I can’t image ever needing to do so.
Toshiba CX35f60 35″ television – it’s upstairs now!
Other than the fact that my Toshiba TV doesn’t have discrete on/off remote control commands, I’m pleased with the unit. The default settings have the sharpness and contrast set too high, but this is to be expected. A quick recalibration using the Video Essentials DVD fixed the problem. The only performance problem is a bit of image blooming as the contrast was turned up, so I just leave it turned down for the best picture quality.
I find the 2-tuner feature useful for watching my 2 different satellite receivers at once (unfortunately with satellite, it requires to tuners.) This feature is especially useful due to the dual-room capability of my Onkyo receiver. It lets me switch both video inputs to the TV from the receiver, so I have all 7 sources available to either of the TV tuners.