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Posted: 12 Nov 2017, 18:30 

Short answer for "best bang for your buck" LD player with those specs is the Pioneer CLD-D704.

Unfortunately there doesn't seem to be one on the Bay of E right now.

Next lower tier LD player I would recommend is the Pioneer CLD-D604/5/6. It has basically the same capabilities as the 704, but a noisier picture.

I wouldn't go with the D502 as you get about the same noisy picture as the D60x, but lose digital frame memory (capability to freeze frame/scan CLV discs) AC-3 out and any type of digital audio out.

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Posted: 12 Nov 2017, 23:57 

S=Single sided play
D=Dual sided play

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Posted: 13 Nov 2017, 07:20 

The 704 is really your best bet, unfortunately they don't seem super common now and people are asking higher prices for them.

As said 604/6 is a step below, they do have a toslink pcm and ac-3 out.

The 504 is ok, but has no digital out, only ac-3.

The CLD-406 is a 606 but without digital memory I believe.

Another option are the DVL players, namely the DVL-700 being the lowest in price usually, might be worth looking at although they are a bit more complicated then the CLDs.

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Posted: 14 Nov 2017, 05:34 

There are three very different 5xx mechs:

- 501/502 are stripped down 701/2's (IIRC at least the 501 had analog TBC)

- 503 is 703 without NR and a few other things... this is probably the one you're thinking about

- 504 is v1.0 of the late player series, very much like the 60x but with Karaoke instead of (basically useless) analog NR. 505/506 are v1.1 with some subtle mechanical parts changes... and AC3 output.

The 104 does have the advantage of being pretty easy to work on, since it's basically the same as the late dual-side players, but without the dual-side mech... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FIMBrbRPRro - and picturewise it might actually be quite good if you bypass the LPF after the time base corrector.

And I think the M series takes the cake for flimsyness ;)

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Posted: 14 Nov 2017, 11:13 

I think everyone finds their own answer depending on their equipment and how much they enjoy chasing the dream of perfect picture quality.

If your TV has a decent comb filter on the composite in (which most recent TVs do, surprisingly) and it's got decent zoom controls and picture settings then I imagine for most people that's enough.

Others want to squeeze out every detail possible from LD using equipment that can cost 1000s each. The results can be pretty stunning.

I'm somewhere in the middle. My new 4K TV has a pretty great comb filter on the composite in and some great image quality controls but it's built in scaling/deinterlacing just aren't as good as my AV receiver which has a pretty meaty Marvell Qdeo upscaler built in. The Marvell upscaler gives a really nice analog looking picture when upscaling laserdisc, but my TVs upscaling looks like early digital video.

It sounds like you're pretty happy with your current set up so my only recommendation would be to try and tune the settings using colour and pluge bars. You can find them on many discs already, I think every Criterion laserdisc has them at the end. It's a first step into improving LD picture quality but I think it's the most important. Here's a really useful link on how to use colour bars (https://www.videouniversity.com/articles/color-bars-and-how-to-use-em/).

I'd recommend trying to leave noise reduction and sharpening off or min if possible as they can add some really nasty artefacts and can lead to some really non-analog looking images. I found I was able to eliminate a lot of picture noise with careful tuning of the contrast controls, leaving the detail in the picture unharmed by noise reduction.

Of course laserdisc being analog you've got to keep in mind that "ideal" picture settings vary from disc to disc, player to player, TV to TV, etc, and that's before you get into NTSC/PAL.

Good luck with the first step down the rabbit hole and welcome to the forum : )

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Posted: 15 Nov 2017, 10:47 

2nd make sure that the image is pleasing to YOUR eye only, others don't count unless they are in the room.

This is the best piece of advice you'll get on this matter. If you're happy with how it looks then don't change it :) The same goes for the noise reduction tip. I find noise reduction to be really distracting, but that's just the noise reduction options available on my TV and AV amp, and all noise reduction systems are not equal. I'd generally avoid using any picture settings on the player itself your TV will have much better controls.

I do still recommend calibrating your TV, both for LD and other formats. AVForums tend to have decent general settings for most TVs in their reviews so it's a good place to start. It'll give you a good round about base to start from without calibration discs.

As for LD I noticed you have Aliens: Special Widescreen Collector's Edition (1986) (Uncut) [1504-85] in your collection. I don't have this disc but it sounds like it contains colour bars at the end.

My knowledge on this is far from extensive, but I'm always tweaking with my setup trying to see if I can get any extra improvements.

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Posted: 15 Nov 2017, 18:37 

DTS and AC-3(Dolby Digital) are just different codecs for the audio signal, like MP3 or AAC. DTS supports higher bitrates than AC-3, 1234 kbits vs 640. For DTS you only need a Receiver or TV capable of DTS, and I guess in the last 15 years every Receiver Model does.

They both exist today aswell and you can find both on Blu-Ray, just with much higher bitrates, and fancier names than on LD.(DTS Master Audio and Dolby True HD or the newest: DTS:X and Dolby Atmos, wich both are object based instead of cannel based).

Nowadays I don't think you could hear the diffrence, but on LD DTS should sound better, because of the higher bitrate.
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