• 02-01-2005, 12:40 PM
    Siper2
    DVD/VCR combo unit with decent CD playback?
    Okay, stop right there, I know what you all are going to say.

    There's no such thing as an all-in-one component that is great or even good at one thing, except for MAYBE one of the higher-priced models.

    Well, here's what I'm asking for. I'm trying to find a DVD/VCR combo unit that will have decent CD playback, and is at the low-to-mid end of the price scale. I know it's an impossible thing for a money's-no-object audiophile, but....


    ...money's a BIG object for me. I like good sound quality, but will sacrifice for price definitely. So here's the scoop:

    I have a Denon AVR-685s 6.1 receiver which I received as a gift late last year. Currently running stereo sound out of Boston Acoustics CR95 towers, purchased brand new on clearance from Tweeter, Etc. last summer. My TV is a Panasonic, not HD-ready. VCR is a Samsung, also not HD, but I'm not sure if any VCR is (???). The DVD player is a Sanyo unit, which I'm pretty sure came from Wal-Mart, but was a gift so I'm not complaining. That does have component hookups, as well as a digital connection and the standard red/white/yellow connections.

    So I'm using the r/w/y connectors for the TV and VCR, as well as DVD video, and a digital cable for the DVD player audio. (It's a Monster THX cable I got at RadioShack.... hated to spend the extra on Monster, but I didn't want to run around everywhere trying to find something cheaper. Surprisingly Radio Shack didn't have a generic brand for that.) Speakers are 12-ga., bare-wire connected good ol' Home Depot special.

    (Eventually I'd like to at least have 5.1, but I couldn't afford the voice-matched CR-series bookshelves and center speaker, or sub, from Tweeter before the closeout, and now it's long gone.)

    I need to have the VCR on in order to change TV channels, because of the lack of connections on the TV, if I want to make use of the speakers. Doesn't bug me though--I have a Harmony remote which I've programmed to turn everything needed on, all at once.

    Okay, so there's the background. :)

    I've been pretty happy with the sound quality, but one thing in particular bugs me a bit: sound quality with DVDs, or more specifically, CDs. Since I grew up on stereo sound with my father's vacuum amp and OHM towers, and have never owned surround sound other than my PC's 4.1 system, I don't think the lack of drivers is tricking my ears. I'm pretty sure it's the playback unit, the DVD player.

    I don't expect miracles from a $40ish Wal-Mart player. What I would like to do is consolidate the number of things atop the chest where my TV is perched, as well as boost the quality a bit. I know there's only three things right now, but as I rarely watch VHS tapes, but had to purchase this new VCR just to make the receiver work with everything else (my other VCR was a 15-year-old Zenith), I'd like to kill a couple stones with one bird.

    So.... Bluntly, would it be worthwhile to ditch the VCR and DVD in favor of a $150-250(ish) combination unit, maybe a bit more, for the sake of both sound and picture quality? Considering the TV and that it's not using HD, I won't get the most out of improved video, but how about the audio?

    I imagine that a CD-specific player in the $400+ range would be ideal, but I'm neither that affluent nor choosy. Considering that the majority of the cost of my system has been fortunately gifted to us over the past three years, and I've only paid out maybe $400 of my own so far, obviously I'm not one to splurge much. As much as I'd love to complete the surround setup, switch to 10-ga. cable and pick up an AudioControl amplifier and a nice rack to store things, it's not happening anytime soon.

    Worth my time: yes or no? Crutchfield has a couple nice combo sets, but those are the only ones I really know about. Sorry to be long-winded, but I thought it might help to describe my setup. Thanks in advance!!!

    =S2=
  • 02-10-2005, 07:31 PM
    royphil345
    I bought one of those combo units (a Sony) after my old VCR died and my old DVD player was having trouble playing some DVDs (I think more from being outdated than broken).

    I'd say that the quality of the VCR is not great. Works fine, but think the picture was a little smoother on my old VCR. DVD section is probably nothing special either. Connecting to the digital sound input on your receiver, don't think you'd notice much difference. I think the sound is a little dry using my receiver's built-in DAC for CD playback. Maybe you'd like the sound better if you tried the analog inputs for CD playback (a nicer audio CD player would help here). I have both the analog and digital audio connections hooked up to the Sony combo unit. Sometimes I switch the receiver to use the analog input for audio CDs and it sounds a little fuller. Maybe keep your old VCR and look at a better quality/newer technology CD/DVD player? Perhaps a 5-disk with SACD capability just for fun?

    One thing I can say about the Sony combo unit is that it sure rewinds the tapes fast!!!!

    I know I've seen posts here about some inexpensive CD/DVD models that are supposed to sound particularly good. Anyone care to remind us?

    I'll pay closer attention this time. Am considering dumping my combo unit and cheap 5-disk audio CD only player in favor of a CD/DVD 5-disk changer, possibly with SACD if I can afford it. Might add a separate VCR... or just forget the whole video tape thing.
  • 02-11-2005, 07:36 AM
    James.ca
    DVD \CD Player
    Hello I'm in the same boat .
    I just got me a 50 buck WalMart DVD\CDlayer it works and I'm pleased with it.
    I don't think I'm ging to hear that much of a difference over a 500.00 CDplayer .
    They all use the same laser to begin with.
    Paying for the guts in the unit , Motor and the pre amp stuff .
    .
    Most true audio files still use good turn table if you want true analog sound !!
    Nice thing is can get real nice turn tables cheap if you look hard enough .
    James
  • 02-11-2005, 08:50 AM
    s dog
    I just picked up a $99.00 combo at walmart for the bedroom, does a good job for the price cd play back is not bad
  • 02-11-2005, 09:24 AM
    Quagmire
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Siper2
    Okay, stop right there, I know what you all are going to say.

    There's no such thing as an all-in-one component that is great or even good at one thing, except for MAYBE one of the higher-priced models.

    Well, here's what I'm asking for. I'm trying to find a DVD/VCR combo unit that will have decent CD playback, and is at the low-to-mid end of the price scale. I know it's an impossible thing for a money's-no-object audiophile, but....


    ...money's a BIG object for me. I like good sound quality, but will sacrifice for price definitely. So here's the scoop:

    I have a Denon AVR-685s 6.1 receiver which I received as a gift late last year. Currently running stereo sound out of Boston Acoustics CR95 towers, purchased brand new on clearance from Tweeter, Etc. last summer. My TV is a Panasonic, not HD-ready. VCR is a Samsung, also not HD, but I'm not sure if any VCR is (???). The DVD player is a Sanyo unit, which I'm pretty sure came from Wal-Mart, but was a gift so I'm not complaining. That does have component hookups, as well as a digital connection and the standard red/white/yellow connections.

    So I'm using the r/w/y connectors for the TV and VCR, as well as DVD video, and a digital cable for the DVD player audio. (It's a Monster THX cable I got at RadioShack.... hated to spend the extra on Monster, but I didn't want to run around everywhere trying to find something cheaper. Surprisingly Radio Shack didn't have a generic brand for that.) Speakers are 12-ga., bare-wire connected good ol' Home Depot special.

    (Eventually I'd like to at least have 5.1, but I couldn't afford the voice-matched CR-series bookshelves and center speaker, or sub, from Tweeter before the closeout, and now it's long gone.)

    I need to have the VCR on in order to change TV channels, because of the lack of connections on the TV, if I want to make use of the speakers. Doesn't bug me though--I have a Harmony remote which I've programmed to turn everything needed on, all at once.

    Okay, so there's the background. :)

    I've been pretty happy with the sound quality, but one thing in particular bugs me a bit: sound quality with DVDs, or more specifically, CDs. Since I grew up on stereo sound with my father's vacuum amp and OHM towers, and have never owned surround sound other than my PC's 4.1 system, I don't think the lack of drivers is tricking my ears. I'm pretty sure it's the playback unit, the DVD player.

    I don't expect miracles from a $40ish Wal-Mart player. What I would like to do is consolidate the number of things atop the chest where my TV is perched, as well as boost the quality a bit. I know there's only three things right now, but as I rarely watch VHS tapes, but had to purchase this new VCR just to make the receiver work with everything else (my other VCR was a 15-year-old Zenith), I'd like to kill a couple stones with one bird.

    So.... Bluntly, would it be worthwhile to ditch the VCR and DVD in favor of a $150-250(ish) combination unit, maybe a bit more, for the sake of both sound and picture quality? Considering the TV and that it's not using HD, I won't get the most out of improved video, but how about the audio?

    I imagine that a CD-specific player in the $400+ range would be ideal, but I'm neither that affluent nor choosy. Considering that the majority of the cost of my system has been fortunately gifted to us over the past three years, and I've only paid out maybe $400 of my own so far, obviously I'm not one to splurge much. As much as I'd love to complete the surround setup, switch to 10-ga. cable and pick up an AudioControl amplifier and a nice rack to store things, it's not happening anytime soon.

    Worth my time: yes or no? Crutchfield has a couple nice combo sets, but those are the only ones I really know about. Sorry to be long-winded, but I thought it might help to describe my setup. Thanks in advance!!!

    =S2=

    Why not just add a good CD player to your current setup? It doesn't have to be a $400 unit to be worthwhile. I mean face it... if you're willing to listen to CD's on a cheap DVD/VCR combo unit, you won't need to buy an expensive CD player to get at least that level of playback quality from a dedicated CD player. In fact, if you are willing to look into the used market, you could have a $400 player for half that cost -- maybe even less. Why dump two components that you already have, only to repurchase them in one chasis instead of two; and all on the off chance that you might find one which plays CD's fairly well? That just doesn't make any sense -- not from a performance point of view, but especially not from a financial point of view. Spend the money that you have available for this purchase on a decent CD player and be done with it. Unless there is some other motivating factor that you haven't disclosed yet, like you're really dissatisfied with one of the units or it isn't functioning anymore, then you'll be money (and satisfaction) ahead to purchase a seperate CDP. Best of luck, whatever you decide.

    Q
  • 02-13-2005, 01:41 AM
    royphil345
    Still think a newer CD-DVD player might be an improvement. Wouldn't pay for the combo quality VCR unless there's something wrong with yours.

    This may help http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...sPageName=WDVW Heard alot of good things about this glass optical cable. I just bought one to try with my combo unit which is just hooked up using a generic audio cable as a digital audio cable at the moment.
  • 02-15-2005, 04:02 AM
    Siper2
    Thanks for the advice thus far, guys. :) And I apologize for the late reply on my part--been busy with a new job, etc.

    The advice to switch to analog cables is the same advice one other person gave me. I might try that.
    His theory was that since I'm on stereo sound, the digital cable/signal might be "confused," trying to route to 5.1+ but since there's only two speakers, the signal gets "funky" I guess. (Nice technical terms, there. ;) ) So yeah, I might try some analog cables.

    (Which sucks, since I returned the spare set I had to Radio Shack. Bugger! Gotta go buy a new one.)

    As for what unit to buy, well Quagmire, this is interesting... Just last week, an interesting problem arose. Whenever I turn on my components to watch TV, the screen is blue (no sound), but the image from whatever TV station flickers every several seconds (with sound). If I wait several minutes, the channel pops back on and everything's fine. I tried plugging the cable directly to the TV, and that fixes it. So since I've got the cable going to the VCR, and the cable out going to the TV, it's got to be the VCR. Sometimes if I unplug it and reconnect, it fixes. But the auto clock feature is funky now too....

    Sooo I'm not sure what's up with that. Might bring it back to Radio Shack and see if they'll give me a refund or something. It's WAY over their 30-day policy, but.......

    That in mind, maybe a new combo unit would make sense, but I do agree that a stand-alone CD player would be smart. Yet, counterintuitive to my wanting to minimize the components. (I like the look of several components, personally, but our current place is small, with no room/money for shelving units, so...) So I don't know. Maybe a combo unit with analog CD sound until I get my surround set up going.

    Other thoughts welcome!
    =S2=
  • 02-15-2005, 03:17 PM
    Siper2
    Figured out the funky "blue screen" thing. Think it was a bad cable going from the VCR to the TV. Swapped it with a newer one I had lying around, and it seems okay now.



    EDIT: 10:45pm. Nope, it's still acting up. Very weird. Guess I'll hike the VCR back and try for a refund, maybe tomorrow night after work.