Sunday, 4 September 2011

Yamaha RXV-2067 and Oppo BDP 95 EU

This review is long overdue due to some technical glitches I was having after I purchase the Yamaha RXV 2067 during the KLIAV 2011.

Before that, I would like to recap some of my ventures into the digital video medium. Putting aside the VCD era in 1994 to 1997, I first ventured into DVD when it was first launched in UK in 1998, i purchased the sony first dvd player that cost me 500 pounds. At that time, the discs were so scarced and cost up to 30 pounds each. Life was simple then because there was only one superior audio format which was Dolby Digital. At that time, I owned a Sherwood 925 AV RECEIVER which was a Dolby Digital ready meaning it can accept the 5.1 audio via 6 RCA cable and let the player decode the sound. I was a happy camper until....

DTS and multi region players came along in year 2000. I opted for the famous Wharfedale DVD player for 99 pounds, purchased from Tesco. At that time, DTS only came in Region 1 DVDs so I started purchasing DVDs online from USA. Aaaaahhh but the Wharfedaleplayer does not have onboard decoding, so thats when I purchased the Yamaha RXVa795RDS AV amp. It was among the first AV amps that could decode DTS. Life was good again until....

Blu Ray came along. While the format war was hot between HD DVD and BD, I purchased the Sony BDP S1E flagship player from Desa HT in 2008 together with a Samsung 42" Full HD LCD TV. Picture was so much better than DVD. I like and was a happy camper eventhough at that time, my Yamaha could only decode 'normal' DD and DTS. I put a hold on upgrading my home cinema to make way for 2 channel audio upgrades. I was a happy camper until....

2011 KLIAV show. After a few years focussing on 2 channel audio, this year I leaped into the so called DTS MA and DD TrueHD. I purchased the Yamaha RXV 2067 after comparing it with Onkyo and Marantz. I wasnt in the mood to set up this beast as it weighs a bit compared to my 795 unit, so I had Desa guys to come and set it up the very same Saturday night.

All set up by 830 pm after 45 minutes of moving around my set up. Desa HT guys are very pleasant people to deal with. And clean as they make sure no mess was left behind. All joy from now right?

Nooooo.... My so called Sony flagship BD player from 2008 cannot send DTS MA signal via HDMI. still not manage to experience DTS MA.

The Desa guys set up my system manually by specifying the speaker size, distance and volume. I can immediately hear the refined sound from the new amp compared to my 795. Decent movie volume starts at -30 dB. However, my faithful Wharfedale SW15 subwoofer, sounds a bit out of the league at the moment.

A few days after that, I started to play around with the YPAO mic. Using the suggested tripod method, I let the system dictates the set up. I expected the sound to be unbalanced because the living room I have. There is a big void over the stairs on the left side of the room. Aaaaahhhh but I was wrong. Reading through the analysis results, it took into account that void area and compensated the 'volume loss' on the left speaker. However, I notice my right rear speaker was a tad softer thatn my left. I checked all cables (I was using a Gale speaker cable from 1998), swapped the rear speakers, maximise the right rear speaker volume and still, very low volume. So I suspected something faulty with that section of amplifier.

Called up Desa and they came by the next evening. Did the same checks I did and yield the same result. Low volume on right rear speaker. And then he suggested something. Change speaker cable. And voila, everything back to normal. Balanced volume between all speakers. Callibrated the room again using YPAO and now its even more refined.

But, I still have not experienced DTS MA. Sad. Cannot sleep every night. So started to do research for a player that is future proof for at least 3 to 4 years more. Ended up to choose between a Marantz Universal player 7006 and Oppo BDP 95EU. I auditioned the Marantz at a friend's place and the Oppo at CMY.

I ended up purchasing the Oppo as I got a good price and also a one-to-one exchange for the first year if anything goes wrong.

And finally after 3 weeks of purchasing the Yamaha 2067, i experienced DTS MA for the first time in my living room. And just a few days ago, experienced 7.1 DTS MA on POTC Strange Tides. Superb.

One feature I like of the YAMAHA is that I can bypass the unit (no need to turn it on) if I just want to have the sound coming out of the TV when watching ASTRO B.YOND. I LIKE.

One thing I have not fully set up is the subwoofer. I am not getting the same 'blend in' like I used to have from my previous amp. I did connect both left and right channel subwoofer out from the new amp compared to previous amp where it only bad one sub out. Maybe thats why.

Or maybe I need a new sub?

As for the Oppo, Its a fast loading machine with ability to stream movies from my NAS as well. Previously I was using my Samsung LED TV to do that but I dont get the audio to feed through my AV AMP.

Now, I can heheheh.

Overall, I feel this is a good combo between Yamaha and Oppo. Picture is crystal clear, sound quality is really engaging especially after the cable change and also YPAO callibration.

Need to work on the sub though.

Hopefully this time I can stay a happy camper for a longer time.

Part Deux

A little bit more on Oppo.

So yesterday I watched 2 movies. Los Angeles Battlefield and an old movie Twister.

The LA Battlefield came with MovieIQ and BD Live features. Both needed internet connection which the Oppo wifi dongle connected to my Unifi router with minimum fuss. My router is on the lower floor.

First the BDLive. Its mainly showing what other movies available based on various genres. Good trailers shown. Once the trailer is fully loaded, the streaming is flawless.

For the MovieIQ, its basically provides you with the following:

1. Facts of the movie, score, casts etc
2. Explanation about the scenes

Now, the number 2 item is very unique. The player will first connect the BD to the MovieIQ database over the net. Then it will give you a code where you can then use your iPhone, iPad or other Smartphone to be connected and synced to the BD. You first visit the website and key in the code provided and the same MovieIQ features on the TV is now shown on your phone. You can then go back to a full screen movie on the TV and use your phone to access MovieIQ. Neat.

Now for the movie experience.

Both movies were in 5.1 DTS MA. The battle scene in LA was really engaging where planes, bullets were flying around my living room. A clear experience can be felt when an airplane was flying from my rear right speaker to the lft front speaker. The best way to experience this is to close your eyes and just listen to the effects churnedout from the Oppo and Yamaha.

Vocals were very clear on the centre channel although once in a while, it gets drowned in the battle commotion noise.

Twister on the other provided me a world wind experience. I can feel when the twister was approaching from far ahead and towards the screen. Really uplifting compared to my Dolby Digital upscaled DVD.

However, there is a different in picture quality between an older movie upgraded to BD and a new movie released originally in BD.

Twister picture can be a bit grainy compared to LA Battlefield. But It was still clearer than the old DVD. I can see frackles on Helen Hunt's face hehehehe.

The remote on Oppo is well laid out and huge buttons with backlight. I like.

Now is the time for me to update the settings for my Logitech Harmony 1000i remote to incorporate the Yamaha and Oppo.

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