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 Post subject: best laserdisc players for analog audio?
PostPosted: 24 Apr 2018, 10:08 
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disclord was a great expert; here are some of his thoughts about analog audio on laserdisc:
disclord wrote:
For those who are interested, the absolute best analog audio for LaserDisc comes from Pioneer's first consumer player, the VP-1000 - and it's made even better with the addition of Pioneer's R-1000 outboard CX decoder and CX encoded discs. The analog sound from the VP-1000 has sparkling treble and gives the impression of rich, deep bass - although the bass actually rolls off below 40 Hz or so, the overall spectral balance is such that it doesn't sound rolled off - that's why I say 'gives the impression of...' and it has none of that boxy 'cardboard-like' sound that the solid-state laser diode-based players all seem to have. The top-loading, Helium-Neon gas laser based LD-1100 (and its Magnavox and Sylvania clones) and LD-660 are close to the VP-1000 in analog audio quality, but don't quite reach its incredible performance in the treble - they do have the benefit of having built-in CX Noise Reduction but, like every player until the solid state Pioneer LD-700 was introduced, CX must be activated manually since auto CX coding hadn't yet been created when the top-loaders were made.

One note about outboard CX decoder required for the Pioneer VP-1000, Magnavox Magnavision VH-8000 & 8005 and the MCA DiscoVision/Pioneer PR-7820 - only Pioneer's R-1000 decoder will properly decode CX encoded LaserDisc's. Phase Linear, Audionics and even Pioneer made outboard CX decoders designed for CX encoded LP's - and while the overall operation is the same, the LaserDisc version of CX is NOT compatible with the LP version of CX. CX was originally invented by CBS Labs as a noise reduction system for records that would provide 20 db of noise reduction when decoded, but if played without decoding the music wouldnt sound obviously altered like it does with DBX and Dolby noise reduction - which was something that prevented DBX encoded LP's from gaining mainstream acceptance since they sounded so terrible without decoding. Pioneer wanted even greater compatability for those without a decoder, so they changed the CX specifications, reducing the amount of noise reduction from 20db to 14db and altering the level at which the the compression changes from 2:1 to 1:1 - with CX-20 for LP's and CED VideoDiscs the compression changes at -40 below 0db reference level. With CX-14 for LaserDisc's the compression changes at -28db below 0db reference level. Changes were made in the control circuitry too that affect the attack and decay times of the compression/expansion and there were other changes as well. This means that a CX decoder for LP's will not produce acceptable sound quality with CX encoded LaserDiscs - and as I already mentioned, while there were several different CX decoders for LP's made by various audio companies, only one CX decoder for LaserDisc's was ever made by Pioneer.
disclord wrote:
Its a shame that the analog audio performance of the VP-1000 wasn't continued in later players - the audio of the top loading LD-1100, 660 and the Magnavox and Sylvania clones of the 1100 is excellent, and better than the solid state players, but the VP-1000 is the absolute best. It does require the outboard CX unit to suppress the buzz from the HeNe laser tube that all tube laser players suffered from - but the buzz is about -40db down, even without CX encoding/decoding. There's also almost no bass below 40Hz on laser tube players - the tube creates a lot of noise below 40Hz that beats with the 30Hz wow the disc generates, so bass below 40Hz was simply rolled off. Full frequency response from the analog tracks didn't happen until the solid state laser was introduced.

So, according to him, the laserdisc players with best analog audio output are:

Pioneer VP-1000 (no internal CX decoder)
Pioneer LD-1100 (and its Magnavox and Sylvania clones)
Pioneer LD-660
(all top-loading, Helium-Neon gas laser based)

Now, I'm curious to know if some solid state player have similar quality, and how big could be the difference from the most basic models, and top high-end ones; I have several players, and I'd like to discover which has the best analog audio among them:
Pioneer HLD-X9
Pioneer CLD-D925
Pioneer CLD-2950
Pioneer CLD-600
Pioneer LD-V4300D
Philips CDV-400
Philips LDP-600WS

I bet (quite obviously) the HLD-X9, even if the LD-V4300D "could" have some advantages in comparison to the others - direct linear motor as HLD-X0, single sided and no CD compatibility as HLD-X0, X9 and other MUSE and NTSC top players, plus no digital features at all (don't know if analog TBC could help with analog audio, though!)

Other notable models?
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 Post subject: Re: best laserdisc players for analog audio?
PostPosted: 24 Apr 2018, 12:23 
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The Philips players CDV-488/487 are known for having very good audio sections, though most references are for digital sound because of their high quality DAC chip. I believe the audio section is more isolated then the pioneer machines so there is less noise. Also they produce very nice analog video output.

The CDV-400 is a newer model I don't think has the same audio section, that one was used in the Theta Data II.
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 Post subject: Re: best laserdisc players for analog audio?
PostPosted: 24 Apr 2018, 15:24 
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I believe it was the 3080 and 95 or just 95 that had nice analog audio, or that's what I remember hearing.
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 Post subject: Re: best laserdisc players for analog audio?
PostPosted: 24 Apr 2018, 23:49 
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The original question is not the digital audio using the analog outputs but the actual analog audio track out the analog outputs. With that you have to look at the players with separate power supplies and higher quality decoupling capacitors. The DAC used has no bearing on this. The CLD-95/97 are very good here, so is the X0 and X9. The CLD-D703/704/79/99/S9 all have higher quality decoupling capacitors but common power supplies. The older Pioneer players like the 3080 had better power supplies but but as high quality decoupling capacitors. The better Philips players were the 488/487 as mentioned having separate power supplies. The newer Panasonics like the LX-900U has the common supply but I was thinking the better capacitors, cannot remember. All these newer players used the same IC to create the right/left analog audio so it’s what is around them.

With that said just listen to the players and listen for how open and clear the upper end is playing music. That will tell you what you like. People like different sound and there is not a definitive answer. I do not have an older machine to comparison to the solid state machines. But then that would just be my opinion for what I liked best.
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 Post subject: Re: best laserdisc players for analog audio?
PostPosted: 24 Apr 2018, 23:50 
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The LD-S1 and LD-S2 would be interesting here too
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 Post subject: Re: best laserdisc players for analog audio?
PostPosted: 25 Apr 2018, 00:25 
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krbahr wrote:
TThe newer Panasonics like the LX-900U has the common supply but I was thinking the better capacitors, cannot remember. All these newer players used the same IC to create the right/left analog audio so it’s what is around them.

Theoretically then would the Runco LJR II transport (w/o the DAC) be very good for analog audio as were not the power supplies upgraded from the LX-900?
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 Post subject: Re: best laserdisc players for analog audio?
PostPosted: 25 Apr 2018, 04:19 
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Having owned a 660, 1100 and a 8210, I can tell you I have never done an A/B comparison between them and a digital model, obviously this test would have required two different players playing two identical discs. Even then I doubt if I could tell the difference.
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 Post subject: Re: best laserdisc players for analog audio?
PostPosted: 25 Apr 2018, 05:48 
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This thread was discussing the internal 20-bit DAC (Burr-Brown 1702K/PK) used by the X9 and X0 back in 2012:

http://www.avsforum.com/forum/18-dvd-players-standard-def/1431539-pioneer-hld-x0-found-personally-superior-sonically-any-other-high-end-audio-laserdisc-transport-source.html

Texas Instrument acquired Burr-Brown in 2000.

Also discussed here: Analog vs Digital stereo?

Does anyone has a list of the DACs for other players?

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 Post subject: Re: best laserdisc players for analog audio?
PostPosted: 25 Apr 2018, 07:43 
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Any opinion about sound quality - subjective, of course - is welcome, so thanks to all!

admin wrote:
...the internal 20-bit DAC (Burr-Brown 1702K/PK) used by the X9 and X0


Julien, actually X9 uses 1702P-J (IIRC) which had a tiny bit lower quality than 1702K
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 Post subject: Re: best laserdisc players for analog audio?
PostPosted: 25 Apr 2018, 10:09 
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laserdisc.ws wrote:
Julien, actually X9 uses 1702P-J (IIRC) which had a tiny bit lower quality than 1702K


My bad, I was just quoting the page linked above that must be a typo:

Quote:
The X9 has the high-quality "K" "P" select version of the 1702. The X0 has the highest-quality "PK" version.


Found substance's post with the right list, listing correctly 1702P.

:arrow: Master list for DAC chips used in LD players

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 Post subject: Re: best laserdisc players for analog audio?
PostPosted: 25 Apr 2018, 10:25 
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admin wrote:
My bad, I was just quoting the page linked above that must be a typo
Well, I guess it's normal; how can someone remember everything in a forum with thousand posts? Unless you are Sheldon Cooper, of course! :D

Great post by substance, by the way!

Now, waiting for an "analog audio tracks - best sounding laserdisc players" chart!
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 Post subject: Re: best laserdisc players for analog audio?
PostPosted: 25 Apr 2018, 20:44 
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I miss Disclord.

The list of players he gave also would include the "industrial" version of the LD-1100, which was the PR-8210. In my opinion, the quality of the analog audio circuits in Pioneer's players went down with each progressive model. I don't even have the analog ports hooked up on my HLD-X9. I use a DVL-919(J) for my "analog" playback, and it is severely lacking when compared to the VP-1000 (which I also have hooked up). I've got Pioneer's stand-alone CX unit, but it isn't hooked up at present.
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 Post subject: Re: best laserdisc players for analog audio?
PostPosted: 25 Apr 2018, 20:51 
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He's sorely missing... each time I read (often re-read) his messages, I always think he would eventual add something, but he can't anymore... :(

Next week I'd like to take some time, and made few captures using several of my players. It will be great if anyone else would do the same, so we can build up a comparison between more than few players; I think one or two minutes will be enough to get an idea of how good (or bad) one would sound. About software, one title that almost anyone has, like Jurassic Park, Alien/Aliens, Terminator 2, would do?

Pioneer CX decoder: if I eventually will find an used VP-1000 for this purpose - capture the analog tracks, nothing else - I'll surely need it; just in case, as it seems you don't use it anymore, may you mind to sell it? ;)
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 Post subject: Re: best laserdisc players for analog audio?
PostPosted: 25 Apr 2018, 22:42 
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I don't know if I've played any analog discs on my 487 yet, I'd be interested to try a few out, I wonder if anyone considers certain LDs to have really nice reference analog tracks?
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 Post subject: Re: best laserdisc players for analog audio?
PostPosted: 26 Apr 2018, 02:29 
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I think that subject came up before too, that is, what LDs are analog only or contain something really special on their analog tracks? That is, LDs that you’d want and you’d want to play on these early players. I can’t think of any but then I didn’t get into LD until Digital was the standard so I don’t know a lot about pre-1992.

I usually only use TOSLINK and AC-3 unless it’s a Multi-Audio situation.
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 Post subject: Re: best laserdisc players for analog audio?
PostPosted: 26 Apr 2018, 03:28 
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For DAC's in players the real difference is whether the players use multi-bit or bitstream. Bitstream was developed as early multi-bit DAC's have errors as they crossed 0 going +current to -current or vice versa. The Philips DAC in the Philips 487/488 was one DAC that solved this issue in a 16 bit multi-bit DAC and was used by audiophile companies. Other companies used 20 bit and 24 bit DAC's and only used the upper 16 bits so the swing across 0 was greater to avoid the crossing errors. Bitstream DAC's were developed that to resolve this issue but if you are an audiophile you will notice the midrange sound is not as warm as the multi-bit DAC's. The warmer sound with music is just more satisfying over time where bitstream is thinner and after time I'm just not as happy. Multi-bit sounds more like Vinyl records. Panasonic used a MASH DAC which is their version to make a bitstream DAC.

With advances in IC's the multi-bit DAC's made the last 10 to 15 years do not have the 0V crossover issue. The DAC in the X0 and X9 is a newer multi-bit DAC.

So for Pioneer, Up thru the CLD-95 and atleast the CLD-3080 (I would have to check service manuals for 3090 thru 702) they used multi-bit DAC's, The 97 started the use of the Philips bitstream DAC in the higher end players, 703/704/79/99/S9, that all use the same DAC. The lower end players used a Pioneer bitstream DAC.
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 Post subject: Re: best laserdisc players for analog audio?
PostPosted: 26 Apr 2018, 04:58 
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krbahr wrote:
(I would have to check service manuals for 3090 thru 702)


As a practical example, I took a good look at the CLD-D925 service manual to find out which chip was used as a DAC: Toshiba TC9400F

A quick Google search shows that it's used also in the CLD-3760KV.

DV-505, DVL-909, DV-S9 (common service manual) shows 1 x Pioneer PD2029AM(L)
DVL-919 has 1 x Pioneer PE8001A (also in DV-717)
LD-S2 is 2 x Fujitsu MB40778

Etc.

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 Post subject: Re: best laserdisc players for analog audio?
PostPosted: 04 Nov 2019, 15:09 
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I can't find any posts that talk about the audio quality from the antenna output of early LD players, has anyone ever compared it to the rca outputs?
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 Post subject: Re: best laserdisc players for analog audio?
PostPosted: 05 Nov 2019, 03:18 
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I think a lot was written about it back in the VCR days’ but I can’t seem to find anything specific on the web. I would assume the sound would be a tad less dynamic with RF since it’s modulating the signal to fit on a specific bandwidth.

However, RF out isn’t preferred anyway since it will not push stereo sound (modulates the audio into mono).


Last edited by ldfan on 05 Nov 2019, 16:45, edited 1 time in total.
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 Post subject: Re: best laserdisc players for analog audio?
PostPosted: 05 Nov 2019, 06:41 
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Every player has RCA outs for stereo audio and everyone with an LD player back then had some kind of stereo so if someone cared about sound quality in any way they would probably avoid RF audio. Regardless, every player should easily match the best audio you’ve ever heard over RF since it being RF kneecaps it massively.
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