Panasonic A110 DVD Player
Ah, the joys of Dolby Digital. Until recently if you wanted a Dobly Digital receiver you had plently to choose from, but if you wanted a good one you had to pay the big bucks. And if you wanted one with DTS decoding as well......good luck finding one that didn't require a body part in exchange. That has all changed now that the Technics SH-AC500 Dolby Digital and DTS decoder hit the market.
This little bad boy is one cool decoder. It will decode Dolby Digital, Dolby Pro Logic and DTS (Digital Surround Sound). No other stand alone decoder will do that for you right now. And the price is hard to beat. You will not find a better price for it than at EarthStations. You can have it for $260 plus $5 to ship it to you. What a beter way to add the Digital Experience to your Dobly Digital ready receiver. That's right if you have a Digital ready receiver this will work for you. It has a great menu system that lets you easily set up everything for your system. You can set everything that will make it sound just right for your system. It's a smart way to go to get DTS decoding.
Don't have a receiver or yours isn't Digital ready? Then you can do what I did. I bought the Technics SF-DX720 receiver and decoder combo. What it is, is a SH-500D Dolby Digital and DTS decoder and a Technics SA-AX720 receiver. You get a great receiver that goes just perfect with the decoder. And if you, as I do, have the Panasonic A110 DVD player if fits just perfect, because Technics is made by Panasonic. All this at a price that is unbelievable, $385. There is also a combination of the SA-AX6 Technics receiver with the same decoder (it's call the SF-DX6, and it runs $461). I at first wanted that one, but as I read the specs I realized that I just needed the AX-720 and I could put the extra money into some DTS DVDs. I won't go into the specs details here as you can read those from the above link.
Set up was a breeze. I chose not to order a Monster Cable optical AC-3 cable, I was just going to buy it locally. But to my surprise, the combo came with an optical cable already! That saved me another $45, so I was really happy. The receiver and decoder are very intuative to use. I only looked at the quick setup guide to set the thing up and figure out how to get it to play DTS and Dolby Digital. Everything is very simple, you couldn't as for it to be any better. So after the few minutes it took me to set it up. I turned on the DTS support on my player and threw in the DTS demo disc (DTS audio cd) that comes with the combo. Seal came up and WOW!!! DTS audio is VERY impressive, so rich and full. I think I have listened to that disc about a hundered times already. The receiver is very clean and has great power. One of my complaints about the JVC-884 (and the reason why I eventually returned it) was the really low output for the subwoofer. I mean it was bad. This has great out put on all channels. My Denon Sub really kicks with this receiver. Other features of the receiver are pretty much standard. I receive all local radio stations and the prologic decoding sounds like what you would expect from VHS. The remote isn't hugh and fits comfortably in my hand. The buttons are a bit small and not really placed where I would think they would be but not bad.
To sum it up, this is one cool deal! You can't find so many features for such a great price. I have tons of space on my entertainment center so having two things there didn't bother me but it might be a concern. I couldn't be happier! I fully reccomend it.
This is how I rate it: (out of 5 stars)
Reviewed by Aaron Schofield (firstname.lastname@example.org)