DVD player - audio quality difference


Well-Known Member
Jul 7, 2008
Hello everybody,

At present I have a stereo speaker system consisting of a Marantz SR4001 receiver and a pair of PSB Alpha B1s. This is driven by a Sony DVD player that I picked up about 3 years back from the US. I use a step down transformer to get it powered and playing.

I am looking to upgrade the DVD player to obtain playback of Divx formats and in general to improve the sound.

My question is - how much of a difference in audio quality can be seen between these two DVD players - the Philips 5986 and the Marantz DV3002. One costs Rs. 4500 and the other costs Rs. 12000 respectively. Is the difference in price commensurate with the improvement in audio quality? I am not too bothered about HD video quality because I do not have an LCD or a Plasma television.

If the upgrade is motivated by DivX support and better sound quality, I have no doubt that you would be better off buying the 4K Philips DVD player, and a dedicated CD player with the remaining 8K. Even an used CD player would be good enough.

If the upgrade is motivated by DivX support and better sound quality, I have no doubt that you would be better off buying the 4K Philips DVD player, and a dedicated CD player with the remaining 8K. Even an used CD player would be good enough.

So, the dedicated DAC found in the Marantz and better construction will not translate into better audio quality?

You Marantz AVR is powered by 32 bit Currus Logic DSP, one of the best in the world. DSPs from Cirrus Logic, Burr Brown are very well respected.

My take on this would be like this. Buy a DVD Player that acts as an excellent transport for DVDs, and CDs, and allow the AVR to do the DA conversion and amplification. Connect the DVD Player to the AVR using a optical fibre cable so that the data goes in digital form to the AVR. Since you have been using the AVR for some time, I am sure your ears would have been acclimatised to the sound from the AVR.

The thing to watch out for in a DVD player is the specification and support for video up-scaling.

Given this scenario, both the Philips and Marantz sound expensive. You should be able to get good DVD players from Pioneer (DV 400 and DV 600) and Samsung (something like a HD 860) for much less. Denon DVD players are also good, though I am not sure how much they cost.

Thanks for the thoughts. One question though. I thought that connecting via a Coaxial would improve the audio output.

The Philips 5986 is in the same price band as the Pioneer DV400 and the Samsung 1080p. The HD860, unfortunately is not available anywhere here.

I am also thinking about a HTPC setup instead of a traditional DVD player now.

I have hd 860 model, it stopped coming last year, after that hd 870 came out, now the current running model is 1080p from samsung which is very good, will recommend to go for that, i am myself looking to get the same

Would you rate the Samsung 1080p above the Philips 5986? As far as I can see the difference is that Samsung has a 14bit Video DAC. As otherwise everything appears to be the same.
Well the samsung has better specifications than the philips,of course the convertor is also 14bit in samsung, personally i have used samsung and i would recommend that, also look at the costing part, i think price difference between both is not much. should cost under 4.5 k.

when i bought my had 860, i got hdmi cable free with it, just cross check on the same too, philips at that time was not providing the hdmi cable free,
The Philips is giving a 1 GB USB drive - not sure about the HDMI cables. I will check the Samsung and see how it goes.

The HTPC idea too is under consideration.
1 gb usb drive cost rs 250, so i wont consider that to be a major factor, so check out the details regarding hdmi cable too

Get your priorities right. Do you need a good DVD player with excellent video and audio or one with all 'goodies' added in??

Though I have used a Philips DVD player for over ten years (and Philips invented the DVD), that was a long time ago. Companies such as Pioneer, Samsung, Denon, Onkyo have long overtaken Philips in the market place in terms of features and specifications. Philips is trying to catch up, but is far behind.

I am surprised the Pioneer is around 4K. Here in Chennai you can get it for 2500. In any case look at it carefully as it has some excellent reviews. Take a look at these.

Pioneer Electronics - DV-400V DVD Player - DV400VK

Pioneer DV-400V Reviews

I also have a professional review somewhere. I will see if I can find it and send it to you.

Regarding connection, yes the component if best if you want to send both audio and video together to the AVR. But if it audio alone, optical is better in sending digital signals across. Of course HDMI is supposed to be the best, but that again carries audio and video together. For audio alone Optical is the best.

I do not need any goodies but will not look a gift horse in the mouth - if there is such a thing:).

I did not know that the DVD was invented by Philips - thank you for the information.

However, I do not know where the Pioneer DV400VK is being sold at 2500. I am also in Chennai. The price that I got for this model was 5500. I have not looked in the grey market.

Please advice as to where I can get it for 2500.
I agree.

If you are in Chennai, check with Mercy Electronics. There is also a shop is Besant Nagar (near my house) that had offered that price.

If you go to justdial.com and search for Pioneer you will find a huge set of dealers. You may have to call a few, but I am sure one or two will be able to help you.

Thank you Venkat. I did not know Mercy Electronics dealt with DVD players. I recently heard that they are dealing with everything from iPods to XBOX game consoles! Is that true?
You name a thing in electronics and they will have it. Resistors, motherboards, CDs, CD covers, IPOD, XBOX..... the list goes on. I some time wonder where they store all the items they have.
Don't expect any high end stuff from them in the areas of amplifiers and speakers. They sell branded stuff of items such as batteries, chips, CDs and similar items. Not amplifiers and speakers.

Just wanted to remind you of your original objectives:
  • Improve the sound
  • Playback of Divx formats
  • Not too bothered about HD video quality
  • Could stretch the total budget for the source to Rs12K
Make sure you meet them, and do not end up with an upgrade for the heck of it.
I do not expect any improvement in the audio quality if you go ahead with the current options. You are still depending on the same AVR to do the same job. I don't think we are getting a big difference through the transport upgrade here.
Thank you for helping me refocus, Sharad!

Would a HTPC help in achieving the primary objective at a budget of 15K? But with this setup I would still be relying on the receiver's DAC for the sound. However it does provide other features such as file format independence and probably better video output. Does that make sense? Appreciate your thoughts.
Order your Rega Turntables & Amplifiers from HiFiMART.com - India's reputed online dealer.