Marantz VP-11S2 DLP Front Projector Reviewed

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marantz_VP11S2_projector_review.gifThe VP-11S2 is Marantz's newest and best front video projector to date.  The VP-11S2 is a 1080p DLP-based front projector with a retail price of $14,999, which puts it on the high side of the 1080p market, above players like JVC and Epson and below more specialty brands like Runco and Meridian-Faroudja.  Marantz has built a solid a reputation of making high-quality DLP projectors, specifically with excellent optics.  The current Marantz projector lineup consists of two choices, the VP-11S2 reviewed here and the more affordable $9,999 VP-15S1.  Both projectors use the same magnesium alloy chassis, 200-watt DC Super High Pressure 2,000-hour lamp and Konica Optics.

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The VP-11S2 utilizes hand-picked .95-inch, 1080p Darkchip 4 DLP chips. The three iris positions by dual iris and 850 lumens allow the VP-11S2 to obtain an excellent (reported) 15,000:1 contrast ratio.  The seven-segment, six-speed color wheel incorporates Marantz's ORCA filter for optimum color reproduction.  Notably, the color wheel speed can be set at 4x, 5x, or 6x to reduce noise.  In addition to the high-quality optical engine, the VP-11S2 features a custom-tuned Gennum VXP 9351 video processor, which scales the incoming signal to 1920 x 1080 and can also provide vertical stretch for those using anamorphic lenses and 2.35:1 screens.  Inputs include computer, HDMI 1.3 with deep color and analog.  A plethora of menu options and user memories allow nearly endless tweaking of the picture for each source.

Watching the VP-11S2 is truly a pleasure.  As with its predecessor, the quality of the optics is excellent, with minimal distortion.  Video processing was quite good with real program material, even though it did not pass all of the video tests on the Silicon Optix test disc (most projectors don't).  Video processing artifacts from 480 and 720 sources were minimal and de-interlacing of 1080i signals was properly handled by the Gennum processor.  The color points were very close to accurate out of the box, as was color saturation.  In comparison to the popular, leading D-ILA projectors, the color accuracy and saturation levels of the VP-11S2 are noticeably more lifelike.  An area where digital projectors typically falter and where the VP-11S2 noticeably improves upon its predecessor is in shadow detail.  The noise level in the darker scenes has been visibly reduced, letting previously unseen details come forward.  Overall, the performance of the VP-11S2 is excellent.  Marantz continues to make significant improvements with each new iteration of their premier line of projectors.

Read The High Points, The Low Points and the Conclusion on Page 2

HTR Product Rating for Marantz VP-11S2 DLP Front Projector

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High Points
 The custom Konica lens of the VP-11S2 provides a razor-sharp image and justification for a slightly higher retail price, as you actually are getting a very, very nice piece of optical glass with this projector.
 The Gennum processor, as modified by Marantz, provides excellent video processing, including scaling, vertical stretch and de-interlacing. Compare this video processor with the best from Faroudja and Anchor Bay (DVDO).
 The VP-11S2 features excellent performance with shadow details, previously a weak point of digital projectors.
 The color accuracy and saturation level provide for realistic color reproduction, which is a calling card for DLP technology that shines near its full potential with the Marantz projector.

Low Points
 The fan noise can be intrusive during quiet scenes or when using the projector as a video source for DVD-Audio and/or DVD-Video music discs.
 The amount of heat produced by the projector, like most digital projectors of this size, is significant. Ventilation requirements should be considered.
 Video processing of scrolling text over film was not as smooth as it should have been or as I have seen on other projectors, some of which cost even less than the Marantz.

The Marantz VP-11S2 is one of the finest 1080p projectors on the market at this time.  On its specifications sheet, the VP-11S2 looks good, but does fully not stand out from the competition.  This is exactly why you should never ever, ever buy a projector from a stats sheet.  Viewing a Marantz VP11S2 in person is the only way to truly see the benefit of high-quality optics and hand-selected parts.  Watching movies or video through this projector, you are not distracted by chromatic aberrations, video glitches or unnatural colors.  This lack of distraction allows the viewer to simply enjoy what is being watched.  I highly recommend taking a close look at the VP-11S2 if it is within your budget.

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