|Kenwood Sovereign Entré Entertainment Hub and DV-5900M DVD Player|
|Home Theater Audio Sources DVD-Audio/SACD Players|
|Written by Brian Kahn|
|Monday, 01 December 2003|
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Music and Movies
Shortly after loading the discs into the changer, some friends came over requesting to see “Star Wars: Episode 1 – The Phantom Menace” (20th Century Fox Home Entertainment). I easily found the disc in alphabetical order in the Entre’s OSD. While watching the video, I noted that the image was slightly less sharp than my reference Pioneer Elite DV-38A (all image settings at neutral or default positions). The difference was not great but was noticeable in an A-B comparison. I also took this opportunity to connect the DV-5900M’s component video outputs directly into my processor instead of through the Entre’. I am happy to say there was no signal degradation visible when going through the Entre’. The infamous pod racer scene gave the Kenwood the opportunity to show off its audio capabilities. While much of the audio quality comes from the processor, the processor needs a good digital signal to begin its work. In this scene, the spatial cues were all properly located and the bass was deep and detailed. The explosions and vibrations of the engines were detailed and never muddy.
Animation films can be torture on a DVD player’s video processing, so I decided to take a look at the newly released copy of “The Lion King” (Walt Disney Home Entertainment). The traditionally animated animals provided large areas of vibrant colors on the screen to examine. I noticed a very slight amount of video noise not apparent in my reference player when the Kenwood’s DNR control was in the neutral position. The Kenwood’s interlaced playback was very good and the slight softness can be sharpened up if desired by judicious use of the controls. (For information on progressive playback, please see Bryan Southard’s review of the DV-5700.)
Moving on to audio, I listened to both DTS-encoded CDs and DVD-Audio discs. DVD-Audio discs are where the player gets a workout, utilizing the player’s internal DACs rather than merely outputting the digital signal to be dealt with by the processor. I played Queen’s A Night at the Opera (DVD-A, DTS). The track opens with an accurately rendered guitar in the front that leads into vocals and a full band. The chorus on “The Prophet’s Song” fades in and out between channels, with smooth transitions indicating consistent decoding of the different channels. The highs on this track can sound grating on entry-level machines, but were smooth and open on the Kenwood.
I also played an old favorite of mine, Missy Elliot’s “So Addictive” DVD-Audio disc (Warner/Elektra). The track “Get Ur Freak On” remains one of my favorites and features a powerful and deep bass line. The opening seconds feature a chanting voice that circulates around all the channels. The channel-to-channel consistency confirmed my earlier listening observations that the Kenwood was able to remain consistent from channel to channel, despite the use of different DACs (24/192 for the front left and right, 24/96 for the remaining channels). I found the Kenwood’s DACs to be very detailed and smooth, which definitely helped in creating a sense of envelopment with multi-channel music. With this disc, I again found that the high end was extended and free of harshness or apparent grain. The bass lines on this track are as demanding as they are prolific. The Kenwood’s bass reproduction was extremely deep and full, with great resolving power that was only pushed at the very bottom end. This made the bass sound more full and powerful, with a slight reduction of clarity at the extreme bottom end. Overall, this player combo performed very well. It provides the flexibility and organization that we all desire, along with the sound and video quality that would make it a solid foundation for any high-quality AV entertainment system.