After a flood of sub-£180 DVD players, it's getting harder to deal with the Law of Diminishing Returns. Now here's a Nakamichi DVD player selling for more than three times that of the current entry-level players at £599. Does it stand a chance?
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You don't have to be a tweak, an engineer or a reviewer to recognise some immediate benefits, however much the DVD-10S looks like most other DVD players from £160-£1600. The generic styling inherited from CD has affected every player below the Theta / Proceed level, where a high retail price allows the manufacturer to indulge in styling fillips. For the rest, a black or champagne box with a slot for the tray, a window for the display and the basic keys are as much a part of the form as saying a car has a wheel at each corner. But Nakamichi does have a house style, one of refinement and subtlety, and their black boxes nearly always look classier than anyone else's. And even an old fart such as I can detect a hint of the Nak of yore.
Naturally, the DVD-10S is loaded with features, adding to the basics found on the cheapo machines such niceties as DTS decoding, two levels of zoom, display dimming, a rotary jog control on the machine itself, a headphone socket with separate volume control and the clearest, most comprehensive on-screen menus I've ever seen. The remote is loaded, and you'll have hours of fun with the variable speed playback. SCART (RGB via this output), S-video and two coaxials deal with video, while audio outputs include analogue, digital coax and TOSLink, and six direct outputs (L-front/R-front/Centre/L-rear/R-Rear/Sub) for 5.1 surround processors which require it. And sound is a serious part of this player, as it's a dual-laser device with CD playback optimised for the format.
It's worth considering this aspect if, in your move to DVD, you're planning on replacing a CD player with a DVD player for all silver-disc needs. While the budget DVD decks sound good enough with CD, players like the Nakamichi are more in keeping with what audiophiles expect of CD, and this has been - since the dawn of DVD - a key issue for owners who use their DVD players as much for music as for visuals. The DVD-10S just happens to be a sweet-sounding CD player, with an extended, clean, sibilance-free top end, transparency almost on a par with the £800 Musical Fidelity X-RAY and the sort of openness and detail which seem to be missing with single-laser devices.Read more about the performance of the DVD-10 on Page 2.