New JVC NX9 native 4K projector: a first personal review.(II)
We have tested a pre-series unit of the new JVC Nx9 projector and we have been able to compare it with the fabulous JVC Z1. For the test, a partially dedicated room, a Stewart 1.3 screen and a standard Panasonic UB9000 player have been kindly placed at our disposal.
The Nx9 has an imposing appearance, it is a relatively large projector without being as compromising in installation as the Z1. The construction is of good quality without reaching the robustness and enormous weight of the Z1. It emphasizes in its frontal side the great size of the lens, of 18 glass elements in 6 groups. This lens of Nx9 is similar to that used in Z1. Although the prism is not exactly the same both projectors share a powerful optical engine, which justify the higher cost over the lower siblings.
For us, this excellent optical block is much more interesting and promising than all the small advances made in recent years by JVC in the reduction of screendoor, the improvement of e-shift, MPC, etc ...
With the Z1 and now the Nx9, it seems that a change of course is marked. The clarity and sharpness no longer comes from any effort in digital processing or internal electronic refinement. It comes mainly from the extraordinary quality of the optics.
In general, the Nx9 image is now better balanced, with more uniform light distribution all over the image. In clear scenes the subjective sensation of contrast is clearly greater than before thanks to the ANSI contrast provided by the lens. The image has a beautiful three-dimensional look and realism. Visual planes are much better defined than with lower quality optics.
With partially dark, high-contrast scenes the transition between light and dark is not so abrupt and there is more detail in shadow. The result is a less polarized and aggressive image, as if the gray scale were more respected and the gamma curves slightly more linear.
Finally, with the very dark scenes the black areas of the image are not so invasive or call attention to themselves continuously. Of course, the screen gain and the room may condition dramatically the results. A better conditioned room and a lower gain screen could easily improve the perceived contrast.
The absolute black level is not as deep as in the latest JVC models although it is still amazing and much better than that of many other brands. We have been told that it is due in part to the higher density of border lines between pixels that occurs in the new native 4K DILA matrix. However the ANSI contrast is higher than before due to the optical quality and this has benefits that compensate it.
We have proven that the image adjustments may have also a slight influence in the absolute black level that the projector may reach. It is not advisable to apply many digital "improvements" in the player or the projector since, as a collateral effect, they can slightly raise the black floor.
By minimizing these additional processing we found that movement fluency is also better and we were happy to be able to avoid any frame interpolation.
We liked the color performance more than in previous e-shift series, equally intense but more organic and above all more clean. Compared to the Z1 laser, the UHP lamp projector Nx9 offers a warmer, calmer and more saturated colour. It showed some drift towards red that could be partially corrected with the calibration. The Z1 turned out to be more incisive, specially with high power laser mode, and color temperature seems to be higher. But Z1 seems also slightly more neutral and faithful to the original than the Nx9 in this regard.
Continuing the comparison of both models we observe small differences in favour of the Z1, although it really costs to justify the big price difference. If the Nx9 has an amazing sharpness, depth of image and three-dimensionality the Z1 is even slightly better in these aspects of the image.
Watching the IMAX images of Batman, flying over Gotham city, the edges of the buildings remain even more strongly defined from the roofs to the ground and the tiny people on the sidewalk can be distinguished even better with the Z1. With both projectors the sharpness is so high that the feeling of being leaning out of a window is very impressive thanks to the optical quality. It is even possible to feel a certain vertigo.
Both projectors partially share technology and processing although we find the image of the Z1 slightly more dynamic and fluid in movements. Hardware differences seems to have an influence still.
In short, Nx9 and Z1 renew our illusion for the new 4K format when we had certain skepticism about its advantages. The optical quality of these projectors provides in many cases more definition of the details than the jump from fullHD to 4K.
Of course we depend on the quality of the edition and we hope that less and less 4k movies come from a mere up-scaling of a 2k master of the film. We would also like that editions which use more disc capacity were available to reduce the compression rate
We had fallen in love with the Z1, especially before the latest firmware change. Fortunately, in both devices it is possible to load the previous version if a new firmware does not convince us.
Now, this Nx9 offers us 85% of what the Z1 gives for a little more than half the price. However, even having better quality-price factor, it is not easily accessible to the general public still. The three-dimensionality, natural sharpness and depth of image given by these high-end optics are, to a certain extent, subjective values. For someone who doesn’t value enough these advantages, it may be more difficult to justify the price of the Nx9 over the new JVC N5 and N7.
In any case we will try to check as soon as possible the performance of N5 and N7 with respect to these excellent top models. And of course we recommend a viewing of your favourite films with these projectors before any purchase.
New JVC NX9 native 4K projector: a first personal review.
We have tested a pre-series sample of the new JVC DLA-NX9 (18.000€), the first native 4K projector launched by JVC after its High-End model Z1 (35.000 €)
The DLA-NX9 is a native 4K home theater projector with a 100mm diameter all-glass lens of extreme quality, similar to the already used in the JVC Z1.
Thanks to this excellent optical block and with the proper input signals it can achieve an impressive detail resolution, three-dimensionality and transparency.
Also, the projector can display pseudo 8K resolution images by upscaling HD and 4K input signals and using e-shift, a technology masterfully applied by JVC in many of their previous projector generations .
It features a new 0.69-inch native 4K D-ILA device and is equipped with a new lamp with 2.200 lumens output brightness.
This projector scores a native contrast of 100.000:1, a dynamic contrast ratio of 1.000.000:1, and wide color gamut covering beyond the DCI-P3 range,
The NX9 faithfully reproduces the latest HDR content including HDR10 and HLG , and includes an Auto Tone Mapping function which automatically adjust settings based on the mastering information so it can display high dynamic range content at optimum quality achievable for a projector.
In a few days we will share a personal review about this projector and tell you how we compare it to its big brother, the JVC Z1.
OPPO Digital will gradually stop manufacturing new products.
OPPO Digital has announced that it´s ceasing development of all new products, a very sad news among AV enthusiasts community.
OPPO says that "existing products will continue to be supported, warranties will be still be valid, and both in-warranty and out of warranty repair services will continue to be available. Firmware will continue to be mantained and updates released from time to time".
"Customers can rest assured that they will continue to receive the high quality service and support that they have come to expect from Oppo Digital," said the statement.
The brand responsible for some of the AV world´s most respected players has had always a legendary customer support, which they are willing to maintain.
We fully trust that OPPO support will continue to be given and, furthermore, we have also some units of all OPPO bluray and 4K players since the bdp-93, stocked to cover the warranty we have given to our customers.
Since we have already a long list of people waiting for one of our players or modifications, and waiting for the evolution of events, we are sorry to have to stop taking orders this year. Also, we would like to expand our offer of audiophile and videophile products.Many High-End brands, professional modders and amateurs have used the OPPO products as an excellent basis for improved custom designs. We greatly appreciate the generosity and support given all these years by OPPO Digital. Thank You, OPPO.
Happy New Year
OPPO launches the new UDP-205.
Take a look at the beautiful video from OPPO to present the long awaited UDP-205.
More audiophile than the UDP-203 and with better construction, this new flagship player from OPPO is equipped with two ESS Technology ES9038PRO 32-bit HyperStream DACs for both stereo and 7.1 channel analog audio.
It features a new high-stability, high-precision HDMI clock and a special HDMI audio jitter reduction circuit. The player includes an asynchronous USB DAC input that supports sample rates up to 768 kHz PCM and DSD 512 .
In the video section, the UDP-205 includes the quad-core OP8594K UHD Blu-ray decoder SoC. It supports the HDR10 format, and it is also capable of providing an accurate conversion from HDR to SDR. Also, OPPO has announced that it will support Dolby Vision in the future via a firmware upgrade.
More info and the first pictures of our modified version very soon.
Vinculum Designer´s Edition
We are proud to offer an OPPO based equipment, modified to compete with the best of the High-End audio.
Using special metal alloys and the latest technology in laser-cutting and CNC machines, we have developed a new chassis that helps to further improve the technical performance, by means of a better vibration control.
All of our modifications inside, concerning the disc reading accuracy, key electronic components replacement, power supply quality upgrading, etc... have been newly designed and implemented in a better, more effective way.
This new version has a true High-End construction and finishes, including a new anodized aluminum front panel (17 mm thickness).
The photos correspond to a modified version of the OPPO 105D, still one of the best sounding OPPO basis, but we want to offer the same improvement upon request for the upcoming OPPO UDP-205.
The OPPO UDP-203 will have a Vinculum Special Edition
The new OPPO UDP-203 Ultra HD Blu-Ray player has arrived very recently and we are already working to offer a modified version with greatly improved analog sound quality, a true audiophile version capable to compete with any High-End player. For more information, please stay tuned for our upcoming new pictures and comments.
Update: Many people ask us if this modified version will have a better image than the original one.
The original OPPO UDP-203 already has a reference visual quality, but by applying our experience and knowledge, we have already achieved a significantly cleaner and sharper image, especially with moving image.
We believe that our modified version already surpasses in native image quality to the current Samsung and Panasonic UHD-BluRay players and to the standard OPPO UDP-203 itself.
However, the current situation is too much complex to ensure that all users would be clearly aware of this improvement, with regular changes and updates for the adaptation of different display devices to the new standards (concerning HDR, Color space,etc), the partial solutions that some users are applying (HD Fury and the like), and the strong dependence on the settings and calibrations of the display to obtain the better image with the new Ultra-HD format.
Therefore, we honestly prefer not to promise great improvements in the image for all users, it will depend on each equipment settings and capabilities to manage the new format standards. Even so, we certainly think that the most demanding homecinema users will easily appreciate them and that, once the Vinculum edition is tested, they will find very hard to come back to the standard.
As for the audio part, we believe that we can guarantee that the majority of users with high-quality audio equipment will appreciate a clear improvement in analogue audio with our modification, at a level similar to that of much more expensive audiophile sources.
OPPO 4K-UHD Blu-ray player could arrive in late 2016.
OPPO has announced in its official Web-site the launch of the first OPPO 4K-UHD Blu-ray player, the UDP-203, by the end of this year.
Although full specifications have not yet been announced, the player seems to have better build quality and versatility than any other UHD-BD player available at this moment, with 2 HDMI outputs, 1 HDMI input, 7.1 analog audio outs, Dolby Atmos and DTS-X support, etc...
OPPO and Mediatek have developed a dedicated UltraHD decoder chip, the OP8591. The player uses an optimised laser mechanism that reads all disc formats (UHD Blu-ray,2D and 3D Blu-ray, SACD, DVD-Audio, CD )
A second player, likely named UDP-205, will be released too, with a more developed analog audio section.
update (Sept,23): It was rumored that the player could support Dolby Vision via a firmware update, but according an OPPO info received by John Archer, they are still working with Mediatek and Dolby to get it properly implemented, so that they can not confirm this feature, at least not yet.
An interesting experience.
Quentin Tarantino, J.J. Abrams and Christopher Nolan, among others, have directed films with an undeniable visual quality and today maintain their stubborn defense of the use of celluloid. They are pushing the cinema industry to purchase enough film to Kodak every year, to avoid the abandon of celluloid production when so many filmmakers are switching to the much cheaper digital filming.
From our humble point of view, this defense of celluloid for filming is entirely legitimate and justified. For us, as mere cinema lovers, film is still the better format available for cinema, which is able to deliver much greater visual quality than the latest digital shooting cameras. In our opinion, even for a digital projection, scanning celluloid film for a DI (digital-intermediate) often offers better results than the direct digital acquisition.
To give an example with two recent films, "The Hateful Eight", shot in celluloid Ultra-panavision 65/70 mm, has a visual quality vastly superior to what is offered today by the state-of-the-art digital cameras, like the Alexa 65, used in some scenes of "The revenant" and other recent movies.
We believe that digital shooting has some new and important advantages, but also, that it should aspire to inherit the best qualities of analog film; the natural three-dimensionality and image depth , the very high dynamic range, the color richness and gradations , the absence of eyestrain or fatigue ...
And of course we have clear that, more important than the visual quality of any format, is the talent of the director of photography to use the camera and the editing tools. The geniuses as Lubezki ("The Revenant") or Roger Deakins ("Sicario") have been capable of astonish us with a prodigious photography that has been shot in digital, while in the movie "Batman v Superman" the visual quality of the material filmed in 70mm celluloid has been degraded in a great extent with an aggressive digital image treatment in post-production.
Anyway, we recognize our love for the celluloid film. So when a friend of mine told me: "I have bought a celluloid projector and i already have near 40 films in perfect condition", i hastened to ask him an appointment to see that machine running.
Having a true cinema projector was the long-cherished dream of Jose C., one of the most home-cinema passionates i have ever known. Jose continues to be convinced with the image of his four high-end CRT projectors (Electrohome, Sony, etc )....
Many digital projectors have passed also through his hands over the last years , and he has recently acquired the new JVC RS500 (JVC DLAx7000 in PRO-version).
So we have the opportunity to make interesting comparisons between the image of some Blu-ray or UHD-BD editions, when he also owns that film in celluloid (polyester in fact), which in many cases would be the closest thing to the original Master of the film (with no compression at all, no digital processing losses, etc...) .
The projector, a german Kinoton of 2006 that weights about 260 kg , is a real beauty. It is simply stunning. Jose has acquired also a complete set of high-end new lenses and he is still in the process of completing the settings, and testing some alternative LED lamps ( it is not really needed such high power (2000 watt/ 90.000 lumens) of the Xenon lamps in a home environment ). His system has also professional sound processors for Dolby and DTS, and a big projection screen about 3,80 meters wide.
After a first contact with this beautiful machine, watching a small clip, i hope to come back to perform more tests with him , when the film projector is finally ready. A good chance to compare digital and analog video formats.
Meanwhile we have had some time to assess his new JVC RS500 with some movies, comparing the Ultra-HD/HDR discs with its Blu-ray editions.
We look forward to count with Jose in the future, to evaluate the improvements that we are preparing for the Ultra-HD Blu-ray players.