Darbee Processing

Discussion in 'High Definition' started by shape22, Jun 27, 2016.

  1. shape22

    shape22 Well-Known Member

    Nov 2, 2005
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    When it comes to home theater, I'm generally against digital tinkering. I want the most film-like experience possible. But after looking at a lot of screenshots and reading a lot of intriguing reviews of Darbee processing, I picked up an Oppo BDP-103D to replace my aging BDP-83.

    After several months, I can sum up my thoughts in one word--WOW! Unlike other sharpening or enhancement filters, the Darbee unit doesn't produce a harsh or artificial effect when used properly. And on a 52" screen, it doesn't produce any visual anomalies when viewing properly encoded discs. Most remarkably, it actually tends to reverse the effect of excessive DNR--which restores necessary texture to some discs in my collection.

    Most online talk concerns Darbee's benefits for hi-def material. But the effect on well authored DVDs is even more startling. I've always considered the benefits of upsampling overrated. But the combination of upsampling and the Darbee unit works wonders for strong DVD encodes. Obviously it doesn't raise 480p material to 1080p quality. But it substantially boosts the level of detail without causing unsightly artifacts, ringing, or other typical digital manipulation anomalies.

    There are some caveats. Too much Darbee starts to introduce a harsh quality to images (crank it up too much and everyone suddenly has Ardeth Bey's complexion). Fortunately, the Oppo player allows for a great level of customization of the Darbee effect. There are several different settings (designed for different sources) and a full host of incremental percentage adjustments inside each. Too much processing definitely starts to introduce harshness into the image. So you need to take the time to experiment to find the ideal settings for your setup. I've found great success viewing Blu-ray discs in Hi-Def mode with a setting of 55%. Good-looking DVDs strongly benefit from the full pop setting at 75%. Your mileage may vary, and those with larger screens may need to dial it back a little.

    Since the quality of Darbee processing is completely dependent upon the source, it can make lousy encodes look even worse. But if the source is strong, the benefits are many.

    Is anyone else using a Darbee unit? I'm curious to hear if others are as enchanted with Darbee as I am.
  2. x666x

    x666x Well-Known Member

    Aug 28, 2002
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    Hey, thanks for the review. Once and awhile I consider getting an Oppo. The Darbee feature sounds interesting on paper but I thought it was a function I turn on or off. Cool to know there is more control over the feature. Sounds like it is definitely worth getting the upgrade. Now I am thinking about getting it again. Wish I already had it and could give you my thoughts but just not there yet.
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2016

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