Ok... so last night I went to buy a digital camcorder, and while I was at Best Buy I decided, "Whet the heck, just get the 1930CI while I'm here." First impression when the Best Buy guy hands me the box is, "Is there anything in here, it's sure a lot lighter than I thought it would be."
Get it home, and yes, there is something in there. It's a really nice looking unit, that typical Denon black with it's dull gold printing.
Get it connected into the system and test out a DVD. Start with "A Bug's Life". There's a button on the front labeled "HDMI", pressing it scrolls through the resolution settings. I chose 720p, as that is the highest rez my Samsung DLP can produce. Also, Denon includes a "black level adjustment", but it's no more than an on-off switch.... "on" and the blacks are brighter (so, gray), "off" and the blacks are actually black. The default is to "on", so I promptly turned it "off".
"A Bug's Life" looked very real and crisp on this player, very good detail. For fun, I switched to 480p. The player presents a green screen while it switches gears, then pops the image back up. I did notice a little less detail and that crispness in the image was no longer present. Still a good image, but not the more life-like image the 720p presented. I can only imagine the 1080p upconversion is a magnitude better than the 720p.
This reminds me... this unit is fast. By that I mean, it loads DVDs fast, cues up menus fast, switches resolutions fast. My old Samsung HD841 was nowhere near this fast, and my computer-like RCA DRC8060 DVD-recorder is downright snail-paced compared to the 1930CI.
After the first DVD test-run, I tested a Norah Jones SACD, just to make sure all the connections were connected. Norah never sounded so good on "Nightingale" in the full multi-channel format. Where my Samsung would muddy the bass drum when it first jumps into the mix, the Denon simply adds it like spreading warm butter on hot toast (note, I did not change any crossover setting on my Outlaw ICBM, and I did not use the Denon's bass management). Norah's sweet, silky voice seemed to float perfectly just out of arm's reach. I could have sat there all night just playing that song over and over.
Next I sampled Sting's "Desert Rose" in DTS surround sound format. The Denon had no trouble presenting a full suite of sound from all 5 surrounds and both subs. With the Outlaw 970 at -5.0 db (basically, really, really loud) the sound actually washed over me like a wave, bass notes down lower than I ever heard on my Samsung; Sting's voice floats on top of it all and Cheb Mami's (Mohamed Khelifati) high-pitched voice chanting away provides a luscious backdrop for the 50+ musicians creating the music.
After Sting-ing the living bejeesus out of my speakers and subs, I switched to a plain old CD in stereo. Popped in the soundtrack from Anthony Michael Hall's take on Stephen Kings "Dead Zone" and cued up the opening song from the first season, "New Year's Prayer" by Jeff Buckley. Jeff's haunting vocals are driven by a nice tight, almost tribal beat from a kick drum and tom-tom, sprinkled in with a little tapping on wood blocks or the edges of the snare drum. The openness and spaciousness the Denon creates are so well atriculated that I thought I could walk right into the music and stand between the kick drum and the tom-tom. The big surprise on the CD is that Anthony Michael Hall sings the old hymn "Hallelujah", and sings it remarkably well. It's no surprise that the Denon produced a powerful, clean and engaging sound on this track. One could hear the feelings and emotions Mr. Hall elonquently inflects into the lyrics, his voice rugged and resonating, but not overbearing. As with the DTS music, high volume settings open the soundfield and make the notes bigger and better, not just louder.
Once I had everything buttoned up and the cabinet moved back into place, I dimmed the lights and put in "House of Flying Dagger's". I skipped right to the "Echo Dance" scene to really test how the Denon presents the DTS Surround mix and color and motion. Once all the drums are in place and the drummers are seated the silence is broken when Ziyi's earrings clink as she her place in on the stage. Soon beans are flung and the drums are drummed and all through the cacophony and bass pounding (and I do mean pounding) the clinking earrings are present. Denon's DTS presentation is clear, precise and easy to listen to. As if something could be better than the DTS mix, Denon's video jumps out as a true star performer. The colors in the walls of the temple are bright, vivid and real. Ziyi's scarf and cloak show every wrinkle and movement, as if one is watching a live ballet from the front row. The beans flying through the air are richly detailed and show no artifacting, even when they speed up and slow down.
I can't wait to play all my DVDs on the Denon.
Interconnects DVD to ICBM
Interconnects ICBM to 970
Samsung HLS4266 DLP
JBL HLS 620 front mains
JBL HLS center
JBL PW-10 subwoofer
Boston Bravo rear surrounds
Cobalt Cables everywhere else