LD players Review

I will review here all the LD players I could try in my life !

I am not a scientist, and I don't know how to test the player than talking about my impression/feeling.

Then I am sorry if there is any mistake, or bad interpretation in my tests !


CLD-959

Brand : Pioneer

Release : 1992

Media : Laserdiscs, Double Side, CD

Format : NTSC

Video Output : RCA out x2, S-video out x2

Audio Output :Stereo out x2, Digital outx1, Optical outx1

Size : 440×452x173

Weight : 16.5kg

Release Price : 250.000 yens (2500 $)

Market price (used) : 200 - 500 $

After my HLD-X0 died, it took me a few months to look for a good player to replace it. LD-X1 would have been a good choice, but it's hard to find one in good condition with my current budget.

 

After reading many posts on LDDB, I decided to buy a CLD-959, which is actually the same player as the renowned US player : the CLD-97.

 

In term of ascetics, I prefer the Japanese version in champagne color. But compared to the US model, it is missing the DNR on/off button.

 

I cannot compare to the DNR off version for picture quality. But what I can say is that picture on the CLD-959, is really really beautiful!  Noise is low, smear is almost non-existent, gray and colors are rich.

 

The sound is also beautiful. CD are perfectly played, and everything is alright.

 

About the build quality now.

The player had some problems when I received it. It was repaired by Pioneer, but sometimes, I can still hear some very small noise. Many auctions on Yahoo mention tray problems and again motor malfunction. Then, yes, we have to say that it is a fragile player. Especially, the tray quality is far from an HLD-X0 or even industrial players as LD-4XXX, 7XXX, etc.

For a 250,000 yen player, Pioneer should have paid more attention to the build quality. With her 16 kg body, it is better than moderns player although.

The error has been to choose a double face player in my opinon.

 

In conclusion :

A very high level player. Could have been better if it were not a double face player. Too fragile. Today, it maybe the best option for LD fans. For around $300 you can have a player in a good condition, with one of the best picture quality.

8/10



DVL-919

Brand : Pioneer

Release : 1998

Media : Laserdiscs, Double Side, CD, DVD, LD-G

Format : NTSC

Video Output : RCA out x2, S-video out x2, component out (for DVD only)

Audio Output :AC3-RF out x1, Stereo out x2, Digital outx2, Optical outx1

Size : 464×420×146

Weight : 8.5kg

Release Price : 115.000 yens (1000 $)

Market price (used) : 100 - 300 $

I never bought a DVL-919 because I had bad impression towards multi function players. Double side, DVD, CD, LD, LD-G, etc... Plus DNR and others things, for only 8.5kg of plastic/metal combination.

 

But after trying it many times at my work place, I have to say that is a really good player. Far better than the HF9G.

 

First, yes, we can say that Pioneer increased the quality of everything in terms of multi-function. It worked well, without any issues. Not too much noise during the reversing process. But, the plastic tray is very cheap in my opinion.

 

The image also is good. Not so much smear, and color timing is good. It is clearly better than the HF9G.

 

I couldn't do the test with deinterlacer, because there was no such machine like this in my work office.With only a direct connection to the TV, I have to say that it is still performing surprisingly well; even though it is not at the level of better players like the HLD series or LD-S, LD-X.

 

You also have all the necessary sound outputs for watching any LD.

 

In conclusion :

I recommand the player to anyone who is on a budget. You can have good quality picture without needing any complicated connection between the TV and the player.

7/10



HF9G

Brand : Pioneer

Release : 1994

Media : Laserdiscs, Double Side, CD, LD-G

Format : NTSC

Video Output : RCA out x2, S-video out x2

Audio Output :AC3-RF out x1, Stereo out x2, Digital outx2

Size : 440×432×144

Weight : 10kg

Release Price : 170.000 yens (1500 $)

Manual : download

HF9G was my first LD Player. And also a real deception.

The player was big (but too light for doing a good job), and had a not so good design. The quality of the picture and the material was cheap. The tray is really fragile, and strangely assembled. The front panel is in plastic with fake metal paint.

 

It can automatically change LD side (with uncomfortable noise), and it reads CDs (quite well).

 

It had many issues when reading discs. Like making strange noises, skipping frames, cross-talk etc.

 

But i kept it for 1 year, just because of its CD player. The DAC is really good, and the CD player was even better than my new Denon (which I sold it recently!). It never had any issue with any CD, even the most damaged ones.

 

3D Y/C filter is not bad. But TV and deinterlacers can do better nowadays.

 

In conclusion: A really cheap player, with good digital components. Cannot recommand it today.

5/10



HLD-X0

Brand : Pioneer

Release : 1995

Media : Laserdiscs / Hi-Vision Laserdisc, Single Side

Format : NTSC

Video Output : Muse out x2, RCA out x2, BNC x1, S-video out x2

Audio Output :AC3-RF out x1, Stereo out x2, Digital outx1

Size : 485×460×215

Weight : 36kg

Release Price : 800.000 yens (7000 $)

Today price (used) : 1500 - 2500 $

Review

HLD-X0 is a beast, an Alien in the field of video discs players.

It's heavy. 36kg, all metal design, and able to read all discs with perfect silence, and unseen picture quality.

 

Everything is perfect with this player. Low noise on picture, few smear effect. Combine with an upscaler like DVDO, on a LCD 50 inch screen, it can beat any DVD player even today. The colors are so warm and the sound so pure, that your LCD screen will turn into a real painting!

 

HLD-X0 can also read Hi-vision in the best condition. You just need a Muse adapter to convert the muse signal. It can be hard to find nowadays.

 

The only bad point about the player is that it is fragile. My player's laser died this year, and it is hard to find a replacement part.

 

For the best results, I recommend this configuration :

- Video : HLD-X0 BNC out -> deinterlacer (VP50 for exemple, Edge was better for my experience) -> HDMI TV.

- Audio : HLD-X0 Stereo out (DAC on the player is good) -> deinterlacer -> HDMI TV.

 

For more details about Muse decoder, you can see this site :

http://ura.caldc.com/stannum/index.html

 

9/10



LD-V4300D

Brand : Pioneer

Release : 1992

Media : Laserdiscs, Single Side

Format : PAL / NTSC

Video Output : RCA out x2, BNC x1, RGB (?) out x1

Audio Output :Stereo out x1, Digital outx1 (needs an adapter)

Size : 420×433×125

Weight : 12.6kg

Release Price : 990 $ (120.000 yens)

Today price (used) : 100 - 300 $

Manual : download

The LD-V4300D is a very good player, for industrial purposes, strong and basic.

He can only read single side, but he does it well. The quality of the image is not fantastic, but good. If you compare it to the HLD-X0, for exemple, the colors are more fade. Level of smear is tolerable. Ghosting is quite present but can be minimized with an upscaler. Grey details are even better than HLD-X0 in some scenes.

 

The good point, is, that he can read all disc of the planet, PAL and NTSC, and better than most of PAL players. The laser should be very good, because never had any bad error when reading discs. CLV or CAV. Except some crosstalk, but I think I can do better if I could ajust the laser. (I don't now how to do that well for now...)

The image signal has no filter applied. The BNC output connected to a scaler/deinterlacer/noise reducer gives very good results. After some adjusting with my TV options, and my DVDO edge, it is hard to see the difference between an HLD-X0 and this player. LD-V4300D had even more grey details.

 

At the rear, there is many interesting interfaces. RGB out : I don't know how to let it work... Image syncronization out/input : don't know what is it ... Barcode reader input, and a output for plugin a gamesystem device (msx ?). You can use this plug to connect a DAC to read digital sound. DAC you have to use is DA-1 of pioneer. The result is good.

Sound of the player is really good. If you use DA-1, it is even better.

 

 

For the best results, I recommend this configuration :

- Video : LD-V4300D BNC out -> deinterlacer (VP50 for exemple, Edge was better for my experience) -> HDMI TV.

- Audio :

Analog : LD-V4300D Stereo out -> deinterlacer -> HDMI TV.

Digital : LD-V4300D game out -> DA-1 -> deinterlacer -> HDMI TV.

 

In some ways, and also because he is more basic, I prefer use LD-V4300D than my HLD-X0. But CAV disc are alway better to watch with the HLD-X0.

8/10



LD-X1

Brand : Pioneer

Release : 1989

Media : Laserdiscs, Single Side

Format : NTSC

Video Output : RCA out x1,  BNC x1, S-Video out x2

Audio Output :Stereo out x2, Optical out x1, AC3 out x1 (MSB version)

Size : 457×458×182

Weight : 28kg

Release Price : 3700 $ (400.000 yens)

Today price (used) : 300 - 1000 $

Manual : download


edit (2019/04/02) : After using it some month, I have to say that, even if LD-X1 is a great player, it also has some negative points. First, due to some missing lines on players manufactured before 1990, it is not possible with those players to display "closed captions" channel, even with a CC decoder. An other problem (shared with LD-S1), is a outline errors. Subtitles are double on lot of LDs. LD-X1 is a recomanded player for old LDs without subtitles (anime, or old movies). For recent hollywood movies with japanese sub, I recommand, CLD-959.


The LD-X1 is one of the best LD player (not hi-vision) ever created.

 

it's a very specialized player. It can read only single side. CD are not playable. But it reads LDs so smoothly ! not any sound from the player, even from a CAV disc. The tray is strong. All is heavy and construted with super quality material. The player weight 28kg, at the entire service of reading perfectly discs. I personnaly prefer the metal rending of the HLD-X0, but I have to say that the LD-X1 with his black piano rending is really a beauty.

 

Now the intersting part : picture quality. Yes, Pioneer repaired my player, and they changed lot of condensators. That is certainly the reason why the picture is now so good. But I have to say that I never saw that on a LD player, even on my ex-HLD-X0 (RIP). The picture is so soft, colors so warm, noise near 0 (except in fushia red, and some blue, like every players). You can choose a pure signal from the disc by BNC, passing through without any DNR. If you have a good DNR machine, this is clearly the best option. But you can also choose to use DNR inside the player. It completly erase any trace of noise, with a very good render.

 

The analog audio out deliver a very good sound. But because of the age, the DAC is limited to 18bits. (But it is sometimes better to have a good 18bits DAC dans a bad 20 bits.) If you have a good DAC, you can connect the player by optical out.

 

Conclusion :

 

Clearly the best player for me. But it takes time, effort and money to get a working well machine. For people who start LD, or can't risk too much money, I recommand a CLD-959 (CLD-97).

8/10



readers since november 2018