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Fistfuck
03-01-2003, 03:07 AM
Alright, I'm considering getting a laserdisc player, mostly so I can get the original Star Wars trilogy on a non-degradable format. Ebay is probably how I'm gonna do it. What should I look for? What's a good price to pay? Etc.

Dave
03-01-2003, 03:55 AM
For a half decent player I'd say at least $150. You want one of these models:

CLD-D504
CLD-D604
CLD-D605
CLD-D606
CLD-D704

In that order. The higher up you go, the more it will be. D704 often goes upward of $300. D505 is usually $150 or less. I picked up a new 604 on ebay for ~$160 or so. I'm very happy with it. It has Digital Out, AC-3 RF Out (for Dolby 5.1 lasers - original Star Wars is not, so this doesn't matter to you), S-Video Out, etc. Great player for the price.

All those players above have dual side play, so they switch sides automatically.

There are other models that support dual side player, including various Elite models, but they'll cost more.

Paff
03-01-2003, 03:59 AM
Well, buy a Pioneer player, and be sure it's a double-sided player. (Laserdiscs can only hold 1 hour or less per side, and need to be flipped over. You definitely want one that does it automatically). There are some other brands that are actually Pioneer clones, like Mitsubishi or Pro-Scan.

I'm using a Pioneer CLD-D704, one of the best players ever made. You can find one for around $300, sometimes more, sometimes less.

Other good Pioneers are the CLD-D406, CLD-D606, CLD-D504, CLD-D703.

Unless you buy a rather hard-to-find device called an RF-Demodulator, you won't be able to use Dolby Digital sound. But that's ok. Dolby Pro-Logic on LD sounds amazing.

If you find some players on E-Bay you like, just post the auctions here and I'll let you know if they're any good.

Paff
03-01-2003, 04:00 AM
hehe...you beat me to it Dave

Fistfuck
03-01-2003, 04:33 AM
Wow, I really wasn't looking at spending that much money. I'm not necessarily looking for something fancy, just something that'll hold together and play the disc. I may end up buying a player off a friend's father.

Also, can someone explain AC-3 to me? I'm assuming it's similar to DD 5.1 mix, but with only 3 channels.

In addition, what are some titles I should look for? How does the Aliens SE LD differ from the SE DVD? I think I might pick up a Halloween LD because of the commentary. I found an ANOES SE LD with a red and green striped cover, but no details. Can anybody fill me in on that?

I feel like such a tourist, but I honestly know shit about LDs.

Dave
03-01-2003, 04:41 AM
Skip the Aliens SE LD. It's a known rotter (certain discs have rotting problems, but it's rare) and with the super deluxe DVD box set coming out later this year, it sounds like it may have all of the laserdisc supplements.

I'd hold off on the Criterion SE LD too. It sounds like Anchor Bay's Halloween DVD is going to have the commentary track. Not that the Criterion LD isn't nice - I love the thing. But they threw extras at the end of each side change, which really interrupts the flow of the film.

AC-3 = Dolby Digital 5.1 It's stored on an analog track on the laserdisc. You need an RF demodulator to convert the signal to digital and then feed it into a receiver. Those are expensive too - around $100 at least. I would just skip it. Star Wars (the originals, anyway) are in Dolby 2.0, so you can just use the regular digital output from the laserdisc player.

You can get cheaper players, but they really suck. And believe me, you don't want to have to get up to flip the disc after 45-60 minutes. Then get up after another 45-60 minutes (sometimes less) and change the disc.

LD players were never mainstream, so they never became as cheap as DVD players. I have seen the CLD-D504 sell down around the $100 range, so you may be able to score one at that price. I wouldn't go with anything less myself.

Paff
03-01-2003, 04:44 AM
Well, the thing about LD players is that quality is player-dependent. As in, a $100 single sided player will look like shit compared to a CLD-D704 or something. Like I said, link some E-bay auctions and I'll give you my opinion.

AC-3 IS DD5.1, it's the old name for it. Like I said, unless you buy a RF-Demodulator, you won't have to worry about it.

Halloween. Buy the Criterion CAV version. This version is 2-disc. The 1-disc CLV version does not have the commentary. I'll explain CLV vs CAV another time.

The Elm Street disc might be defective, you should buy it then send it to me first....seriously, it's got bonus stuff not on the DVD.

The Aliens SE is a box set, and I think it contains the "director's cut" scenes, but separately. Only the DVD allows you to watch the those scenes inserted back in the moviw. But only the LD allows you to see the theatrical cut. Buy the "remastered-widescreen-THX version"

LDs are fun, and sound fantastic. If you liked Dazed and Confused, that movie sounds so much better on Laser. Definitely take some time and buy a decent player.

Paff
03-01-2003, 04:49 AM
Originally posted by Dave
Star Wars (the originals, anyway) are in Dolby 2.0, so you can just use the regular digital output from the laserdisc player.


That's technically incorrect Dave. They're not Dolby 2.0, they're Pro-Logic Surround. 2.0 is a form of Dolby Digital, and if the lasers were 2.0, you'd need an RF Demod.

Or, more simply, Dolby 2.0 sucks ass, Dolby Pro-Logic Surround kicks major ass.

puddytay
03-01-2003, 05:37 AM
Hey if you are going to buy one just for that its not worth it. Just pick up some bootleged transfers of the movies for under 10 bucks. Thats what I did and the picture is excellant.
Now if there are over 20 movies your wanting I say go for it. But you need to remember laser rot.

Sam
03-01-2003, 05:46 AM
I got the Pioneer DVL-919 combo DVD/LD player working so now I'll probably sell my DVD player. Works great on both ends.

Fistfuck
03-01-2003, 07:22 AM
Tell me more about that ANOES, Paff. If you want just go get it off ebay. The price is very low.

Paff
03-01-2003, 10:05 AM
Originally posted by puddytay
Hey if you are going to buy one just for that its not worth it. Just pick up some bootleged transfers of the movies for under 10 bucks. Thats what I did and the picture is excellant.
Now if there are over 20 movies your wanting I say go for it. But you need to remember laser rot.

Disagree 1.

First of all, I've seen the Star Wars DVD bootlegs. They were mastered from Laserdisc, and lost a LOT in the translation. I have original Star Wars LDs. They kick ASS compared to the boots.

Also, the issue with laser rot is relatively dead. No discs have been manufactured in 3 years, and laser rot occurs almost immediately, or not at all. Yes, rot exists (mostly Columbia/Tri-Star discs), but if all your LDs are rot-free now, they'll stay that way.

A true movie fan will definitely want a LD player. In addition to the obvious titles (plus the Indiana Jones movies), you can have stuff like:
Mute Witness
The Stepfather
Family Dog box set
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest coffee table book/LD
In The Mouth of Madness DTS
The Thing (51)
The Haunting (63)
Texas Chainsaw Massacre (better quality)
Phantasm 2
Phantasm 3
Twin Peaks pilot
Amazing Stories
Cat in the Brain
Dario Argento: Master of Horror
Trauma
Two Evil Eyes
Chasing Amy (proper framing)
Bram Stoker's Dracula (Criterion)
Silence of the Lambs (Criterion, THX sound mix)
Aliens (theatrical cut)
The People Under The Stairs
Phantom Menace (better sound)
Supercop (Criterion)
Jaws (full documentary)
Dazed and Confused (WAY better sound)

and that's just off the top of my beer-addled head...

Paff
03-01-2003, 10:09 AM
Originally posted by Sam
I got the Pioneer DVL-919 combo DVD/LD player working so now I'll probably sell my DVD player. Works great on both ends.

Disagree 2

I'd keep the 919 as a LD-ONLY player. (or, even better, just buy a LD player instead of a combo).

LD players are not made anymore, so you wanna keep them around as long as possible. I'd not want to decrease my motor's life by using my LD player for DVDs, when DVD players are so easily available.

In other words, if your 919 kicks the bucket, you can easily replace the DVD part, but replacing the LD player is not so easy. Do what you can to preserve the life of the LD player.

Paff
03-01-2003, 10:10 AM
Originally posted by Fistfuck
Tell me more about that ANOES, Paff. If you want just go get it off ebay. The price is very low.

Added stuff:
Audio Commentary
Deleted Scenes
Screenplay
Behind-the-scenes materials.

I don't know how much of that stuff made it to the DVD.

Dave
03-01-2003, 02:27 PM
I downloaded some fan made Star Wars boots off the Internet. These came from both the SE LD box set and the LD THX "faces" copies. Video wise, based upon my initial scanning of each, I'd say they're roughly 75% the quality of the lasers. Audio wise I'd suspect they're vastly inferior.

You want the original Star Wars trilogy on a disc format. If you want the highest quality presentation possible, then the lasers themselves are the way to go. Every DVD bootleg in the world will not match the original laser source. It can come close, but never 100%.

Dave
03-01-2003, 02:28 PM
Originally posted by Paff
That's technically incorrect Dave. They're not Dolby 2.0, they're Pro-Logic Surround. 2.0 is a form of Dolby Digital, and if the lasers were 2.0, you'd need an RF Demod.

Or, more simply, Dolby 2.0 sucks ass, Dolby Pro-Logic Surround kicks major ass.

:sleepy:

As far as I know, though I could certainly be wrong, there are no Dolby Digital 2.0 laserdiscs. I think it's safe to assume I was referring to 2.0 Surround. :banana:

John
03-01-2003, 03:45 PM
Unless you buy a rather hard-to-find device called an RF-Demodulator

I didn't have one for the longest time. One day I decided to call some shops around town to see if they had even heard of them, hoping to save a few dollars on one. Well, this one guy thought he knew what I was talking about and told me to head on out and he'd try and 'dig it up'. To make a long story short, I ended up buying a Yamaha RF-Demodulator, brand spankin new for $30. He said he didn't see a use for it and nobody had ever shown interst in it.

I know this is one of those things that rarely happens. Before dropping $150 or so on ebay, call up a few lesser known music/sound/repair type shops to see if they may have one. You may just luck out! :glasses:

Dave
03-02-2003, 12:35 AM
I lucked out too on a demodulator. I got the Pioneer RFD1, which has autoswitching capabilities to save an input on the receiver, for $90. That one sells on epay for $200+!!!

wago70
03-06-2003, 05:56 PM
I have an ALIENS SE box set that has no speckling at all. Same for the original film box set also.
The SE of Nightmare on Elm Street is GREAT, but the colors (the red mostly) is a tad "Smeary". Otherwise, I highly recommend this title for purchase.
I'm disappointed that my StarWars box set has speckling (only Return of the Jedi, however).

bigdaddyhorse
03-06-2003, 11:41 PM
I just stumbled on this thread and was thinking of getting a better LD player.
So no matter what I get I'll need a Rf demodulator?
I have a Kenwood rciever with both optical and coaxel digital ins.
That wouldn't decode a 5.1 or DTS signal like it does for my dvd players?
I was thinking/hoping I just needed a digital out on the LD player and I'd be set.

Dave
03-07-2003, 12:19 AM
Originally posted by bigdaddyhorse
I just stumbled on this thread and was thinking of getting a better LD player.
So no matter what I get I'll need a Rf demodulator?
I have a Kenwood rciever with both optical and coaxel digital ins.
That wouldn't decode a 5.1 or DTS signal like it does for my dvd players?
I was thinking/hoping I just needed a digital out on the LD player and I'd be set.

No, not no matter what. You will need an RF demodulator if you want to hear Dolby Digital 5.1 sound from laserdiscs. If you don't have an RF demodulator, you can still listen to the Dolby Pro-Logic Surround (happy, Paff?), which many think sounds just as good, if not better than Dolby Digital 5.1. I'm not one of those people, but I can't say I've done back to back comparisons.

Dolby 5.1 goes from LD player to RF demodulator and then into your receiver. Technically it isn't Dolby 5.1 until it's processed by the demodulator, but lets not get too technical here.

DTS is a whole different game. If your LD player has Digital/PCM output and your receiver has the appropriate (coax or optical) input, then you're all set. DTS LDs are SWEEEEET!

Digital Out is fine for DTS and Dolby Surround. You need an AC-3 RF Output to get the Dolby Digital off a laser (and then feed it into the demodulator and into the receiver from there).

bigdaddyhorse
03-07-2003, 12:24 AM
So I'd be set for DTS, sweet.
Are all the LD players with digital outs capable of DTS?
How much better would say 5.1 sound from a laser is compared to Pro-logic? In sound quailty and dollars (like is it worth $100+ if I can't find a cheap one?)
I don't have the best sound setup. Just some small Sony speakers from an "all-in-one" 5.1 system that died, and an old Kenwood reciever I got for $100. It's far from top of the line, but I can notice the difference between DTS and 5.1 from my dvds, and it's plenty loud for my room.

Dave
03-07-2003, 12:27 AM
Originally posted by bigdaddyhorse
So I'd be set for DTS, sweet.
Are all the LD players with digital outs capable of DTS?
How much better would say 5.1 sound from a laser is compared to Pro-logic? In sound quailty and dollars (like is it worth $100+ if I can't find a cheap one?)

If the player has digital out, it will output DTS. But you need to make sure it has the digital out you need (optical or coax), or that it has both (many have both).

I can't answer how much better 5.1 is compared to Pro-Logic. I just don't know as I've never done back to back comparisons. I think Dolby 5.1 is better, but that's just me.

$100 is tough to justify when many of the Dolby 5.1 lasers are on Dolby 5.1 DVD. The only reason I did it is because I know I can drop this demodulator I have on ebay and get ~$200, even though I only paid $90. The only 5.1 laser I have, at least that I can think of, that isn't on DVD is The Frighteners: Director's Cut. And that's really just a technicality, since the theatrical cut is on DVD. This Director's Cut has 12 additional minutes, however.

Also, many people swear up and down that Dolby 5.1 is much better on LD than on DVD. That is why some still prefer having Dolby 5.1 with laser, even though a DVD is available. My system isn't good enough to produce such a difference, however.

bigdaddyhorse
03-07-2003, 12:31 AM
Cool, thanks Dave.
Now what's up with that Frighteners boxset?
You still into trading or selling, cuz I'm still interested!

Paff
03-07-2003, 12:37 AM
Wow Dave...I completely agree with you.

Yeah, all you need is a Digital Out (play it safe, just look for an optical out) for DTS.
You'll need an AC-3 RF Output (and that's exactly what it will be called) for Dolby 5.1.

However, investing in a Demodulator is questionable. Like Dave said, most Pro-Logic tracks sound nearly as good as their 5.1 (aka AC-3) counterparts. A few exceptions are action films, where you want those special effects in 5.1. BUT, almost all films on LD with 5.1 are available on DVD. One film I notice sounds REALLY better with 5.1, believe it or not, is Beavis and Butthead Do America. That's even more interesting, as NOWHERE on the LD or cover does it list a 5.1 track, but there's definitely one there.

Yes, some say that 5.1 sounds better on LD, but it's really marginal. Here's my Demodulator formula: Go through your collection and pull all the AC-3 discs (Note: These discs will say AC-3 Dolby Digital, NOT the ones that just say Digital Sound). Realize it will cost about $100 to hear those discs in 5.1. Decide which ones you want to hear in 5.1. (Example: As Good As It Gets is 5.1, but does it really matter that much). Then consider how much it would cost to just replace those LDs with DVDs. If it's less than $100, don't buy the Demod.

bigdaddyhorse
03-07-2003, 12:41 AM
Thanks Paff,
One more real question, does the CLD-D504 have the digital memory to freeze CLV movies? (if not, what's the cheapest one that does)
I figure I want that option also if I'm gonna get a new player.

Paff
03-07-2003, 12:52 AM
I'm pretty sure it doesn't. You have to go to 600 or 700 level to get that feature.

HOWEVER, I would definitely not make that a point in my purchase decision. Even on my 704, the freeze-frame on CLV discs is pretty poor. That's a problem with LD technology in general.

Two-sided play, Digital Output, AC-3 RF (just in case) are what you really want. I think the 504 does all of those things. It's a decent mid-level player in my book.

Dave
03-07-2003, 12:55 AM
I used to own the 504. It goes not have the ability to freeze memory. Actually, the cheapest player that has that ability is probably the one I own - the CLD-D606. I scored it for $150 new off ebay. Sweet ass deal if you ask me. It has optical digital out and coaxial AC-3 RF output. Basically, it has everything you would want from an LD player (unless you want coaxial digital out). It's a good player. Nowhere near as good as my previous player - the LD-S9 - but this one certainly gives me bang for the buck. The picture quality is quote good on it; it's only slightly inferior to the CLD-D704, which cleans up the pictures a bit more than the 604.

My sell / hold relationship with The Frighteners continues. For now I'm holding onto it. :banana:

One other thing that neither Paff or I have mentioned in regard to Dolby 5.1 lasers and the justification for purchasing a demodulator is the price of laserdiscs! You can get boatloads of Dolby 5.1 lasers for less than $10.00 each. Even less if you buy in bulk. If you don't care about 16x9 enhancements and perhaps less extras, a Dolby 5.1 laser can save you money over a Dolby 5.1 DVD. DVDs are pretty cheap on the used market, so that isn't always the case. Just something to consider.

Dave
03-07-2003, 01:02 AM
One film I notice sounds REALLY better with 5.1, believe it or not, is Beavis and Butthead Do America. That's even more interesting, as NOWHERE on the LD or cover does it list a 5.1 track, but there's definitely one there.


That's happened quite a bit, actually. It with either the first or second Brady Bunch movie that had happened to. And I know there were a few others. Brady had a 'Dolby 5.1' sticker on the shrinkwrap, which may have been the case with Buttmuncher too.

bigdaddyhorse
03-07-2003, 01:08 AM
Originally posted by Dave

My sell / hold relationship with The Frighteners continues. For now I'm holding onto it. :banana:



You bastard!:cry: J/K I'll keep the money I made off ebay until you're ready to part with it. I'll be waiting to give it a good home (even better home when I get a new player!).

Last question, how much does the video quality drop from player to player (I assume the better the player the better picture), and is it really noticable. I'm leaning toward the 504 now, unless it just looks like shit compared to say the 605. It looks like it's a $50-100 difference on ebay right now.
I have 32" flatscreen Wega, bottom of the line for ones with 16:9 mode.

Dave
03-07-2003, 01:32 AM
You won't see much of a difference between the 504 and the 604. 604 is slightly better, but if the decision is to save $25+ on a 504, I'd get the 504 myself. It's a good player. Just make sure it has digital out. I can't honestly remember if it does. I think it does, but I believe it's coax only.

bigdaddyhorse
03-07-2003, 01:41 AM
Thanks again Dave.
I just bid on a 504, hoping to snag it for under $100!

bigdaddyhorse
03-12-2003, 12:47 AM
Dave or Paff,
I've been offered a Pioneer Elite CLD-52 for $175.00 shipped from a guy who refurbishes LD players and sells em on/off ebay. It has remote and manual as well.
What's the opinion of this model? It does have what I'm looking for (digitial outs, not ac-3 though, and both side play), but is that a good price or a striaght jack?

Oh yeah, the 504 doesn't have digital out (just ac-3, but I'm not looking for a de-mod, esp. since I think I have 1 laser with 5.1!), and I got outbid anyway!
I was sent some pics of the CLD-52, and the only thing wrong is some scrathes on the top and sides, and no ac-3 outlet (it looks like one was there, or could be there, but isn't there!)

Paff
03-13-2003, 06:01 PM
Don't quote me, but I believe that the 50 level Elites are close to the 500 or 600 level non-Elites. I know the 704 I have is pretty much the same as an Elite CLD-79.

So $175 sounds about right, especially if the guy is reliable and has checked it out. It's not a steal for either one of you I'd say.

Dave
03-13-2003, 06:23 PM
That's right. I forgot that about the 504. It doesn't have digital output.

Personally, I'm really turned off my the CLD-5x models. I had nightmares with a CLD-59. It kept producing these scrolling lines on my TV screen. I changed the cables, tried different TVs, different power outlets (dragged my LD player to work to do that), but the problem just wouldn't go away. It was under warranty so I brought it in for repair. They said they fixed it but the problem remained. I called Pioneer and they agreed to swap it. The swapped unit had the same problem! I found someone else on alt.video.laserdisc having the same problem with a CLD-59. Finally I gave up and dumped it on ebay. From there I got the 704, which was great.

Obviously that's just a small, isolated incident. Not a lot of people have had that problem, but I believe a smaller percentage of CLD-59s have that problem. No idea if the CLD-52 would have it, but I would never buy a lower numbered Elite LD player again.

What's wrong with this 604 auction? http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=3011766868&category=3317

I bet it will sell for under $150. By the way, never place a bit on ebay until the last 30 seconds of the auction (last 10 if you are on broadband). Just wait until that time and bid the most you are willing to pay. That's the best strategy.

Paff
03-13-2003, 06:36 PM
That 604 is nice, though it might go higher than $150. Hard to say. The only problem with E-Bay (and this is a 1 feedback seller) is how reliable the unit is, and how well it will be shipped.

If the player has been sitting around for years without use, the belts may be dry-rotted and shot, and the gears are not greased properly. Again, you never know. That's an advantage you get from buying from experienced LD resellers. I paid $480 for my 704 (well, a little less by trading in some discs) from Ross' Exchange. He gave that player the once over twice, doing all the adjustments, alignments, and lubrications.

So who knows. It's a gamble. I'd probably prefer a CLD-604 to a 50 level Elite, but if the Elite is from a reliable seller, it may be less of a risk.

bigdaddyhorse
03-14-2003, 12:52 AM
Thanks for the input guys.
I emailed the guy selling that 604, and it doesn't have the remote or manual. Plus I'm getting sick of being outbid, and usually can't be online when the auctions close as I don't have my own computer right now.
I think I'm gonna go for the Elite 52, the seller who works on em has said it was just re-alined and works perfect, has the remote and manual and will be shipped insured. Plus he has a high feedback from ebay and seems really cool from his emails. I'd have to say it's definitly less of a risk.
The positives are outweighing the negatives, and since I only have about 20-30 lasers I don't really need a top of the line player, I'm just sick of getting up to flip the discs, and figure a digital out will give me better sound than the analog out I'm running now. To top it all off, the only laser I have with 5.1 sound is Uncle Sam, and I only got that for the Issac Hayes commentary in the first place!