Denon bringing proper mutichannel SACD, and future DVI to these shores

Denon DVD-A11 Look forward to the introduction by Audio Products Australia of the Denon DVD-A11 everything* player this month. Recommended retail price: $3,999. I am drawing here on information about what I take to be the equivalent US model, the Denon DVD-5900.

There are a number of features that are very special about this player. Here I shall mention just two which are dear to my heart. The first is proper support for multichannel SACD. The problem with SACD is that it uses Sony’s Direct Stream Digital (DSD) format. After more than 30 years of fiddling with PCM, there are a host of well-tried systems for processing PCM. But hardly any for DSD. Sony, it seems, has still not seen fit to release a DSD decoder chip for the consumer market that can perform speaker time alignment for multichannel DSD. That means that in the vast majority of surround installations, surround imaging is shot.

But this Denon DVD player appears to offer this. Hurrah! Apparently it gives you an option, though. You can have pure DSD, or you can have it so that ‘DSD signals are converted to PCM’ to enable speaker time alignment, plus variable bass crossover frequency. Better than nothing, for sure.

The other feature worth mentioning is that the DVD-A11/DVD-5900 has a DVI (Digital Video Interface) output to permit a direct, full resolution feed to projectors and the like equipped with DVI inputs. Or, anyway, to ones that support the High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection (HDCP) protocol. Or, anyway, it will in the future. The DVI socket is there, but the promotional literature for the US DVD-5900 says ‘Due to current standards of the DVD Copy Control Association made up of DVD-related companies, output of DVD video images to DVI has not yet been approved. The DVI port on this product at the time of release thus does not function. However, once a standard has been established, an upgrade will be planned to enable use of the DVI port.’ I’m surprised, I thought that DVI had been approved with the use of HDCP.

Despite these qualifications, this looks like it’ll be the DVD player to get!

* By ‘everything’ I mean: DVD Video, DVD Audio, SACD, VCD, SVCD, CD Audio, MP3 on CD-ROM/R, WMA on CD-ROM/R and JPEG pictures on CD-ROM/R.

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