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Next up comes Criterion’s presentation of Revanche, a 1.78:1-framed, AVC-encoded film that sports mostly cold yet highly-textured cinematography and delicate sound design. The level of quality in which Denon’s player rendered this piece of work is brilliant, containing delicate gradation of color against stone walls and the angular nature of interior shots to enthralling degrees. Though mostly an array of slate blues, grays, and a few greens, it does dive into navy blues and some deeper shades of pinkish-reds within the brothel sequences in the picture – and the level of contrast and color pop there impresses in the DBP-4010UDCI. Revanche showcases little more than dialogue paired against a very thinly-stretched amount of surround/ambient effects, and Criterion’s DTS HD Master Audio rendering is cradled with sublime delicateness in Denon’s player. Striking.
Rounding things out, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber on Fleet Street was given a spin. The 1.78:1 cinematography is, like many of Tim Burton’s works, starkly contrasted and very, very dark, which also exercises the player’s ability to let muted color slip through a largely black-and-white VC-1 image. It looks spectacular here, rendering robust white levels and pleasingly deep blacks amid both the exterior and interior bleakness. The slight green shades in wallpaper and the gentle maroon on Helena Bonham-Carter’s bodice really shine through the image, all while the graceful film grain drapes is retained extremely well. The Dolby True HD track present streams beautifully through the Denon, rendering pitch-perfect vocals and very delicate, sumptuous musical cues that retain the film’s macabre elegance. It’s a gorgeous Blu-ray made bolstered to great lengths in this reference Blu-ray player.
Denon’s DBP-4010UDCI is, as to be expected, a Region A-locked Blu-ray player, as tested by a copy of Fox’s Region B-locked The Fountain – which loaded to the region notification screen, as per normal. It does, however, play PAL-encoded special features, tested by popping in Tartan’s copy of I’m a Cyborg and loading up the making-of featurette. It’s also a BD-LIVE / BD-JAVA functional Profile 2.0 unit, as tested with a copy of Universal’s Blu-ray of The Bourne Identity – which booted up the Picture-in-Picture elements just fine. Just remember: to access the audio, you must switch over the audio to PCM in the HDMI menu, as the player can’t handle bitstreaming audio and streaming the supplemental soundtrack. As an added note, Criterion’s simple menu presentation for Revanche glided along peacefully as well, shifting the menu blocks back and forth without a hitch.
The Anchor Bay VRS technology underneath the hood of Denon’s DBP-4010UDCI also does a stellar job at upscaling standard-definition DVDs, rendering images that are just a few (expected) steps shy of HD quality. A comparison was done head-to-head between Disney’s presentations of The Nightmare Before Christmas, both on Blu-ray and on DVD, and the quality difference really stands as a testament to the internal scaler. The DVD rendered clean lines, a fine range of motion, and depth of contrast that matched well against the Blu-ray’s stellar tangibility, all while providing pleasing presentations of legacy audio tracks – both Dolby Digital and standard DTS – that stood up to their high-resolution counterparts.
Sony’s standard-definition DVD of Zombieland was also given a spin in Denon’s reference Blu-ray player, and the quality impresses once again. Black levels are pleasing and flesh tones are quite vibrant, lining out detail in a fashion that’s highly cinematic in properties for a standard-definition source. As a final test, Grosse Pointe Blank’s non-anamorphic disc works out the player’s ability to handle zooming on a display. Sadly, Denon’s player does not come with an internal zoom for non-16x9 content, so the quality’s largely up to the display doing the blow-up. Bear in mind that this “universal” player does NOT play other region’s discs, as tested by a Region 3 copy of Memories of Murder, yet it does handle region-free PAL-encoded discs, as tested by Tartan UK’s copy of A Bittersweet Life.
Media Playback, SACD and CD:
Along with the capacity for Blu-ray and DVD discs, Denon’s DBP-4010UDCI also handles the lion’s share of music discs and external media – from DVD-Audio and SACD to MP3 files via SD Memory card – with prowess both with HDMI and analog jacks in use. Bear in mind that this player doesn’t have a USB port, so all file playing will have to be done via disc or through the SD port. The player supports a broad range of music files, from AAC and WMA to standard MP3, which all loaded up fine and great flowing through the player. Playing music taps into an interface that’s a bit on the clunky side, but it still works just fine. JPEGs can also be accessed via SD Memory Cards and via disc media, a la Fuji and Kodak.
A copy of 2L – The Nordic Sound was spun to test the capacity of Super Audio CD, both multichannel and 2-channel, CD, and DTS HD Master Audio / PCM high-resolution audio.
Haydn: String Quartet In D (Track 15) became the reference point (as did the Crux Fidelis and Gjeilo: North Country II samples), and each of the formats sounded splendid through Denon’s player. On the remote, at the bottom, a “Disc Layer” button allows for the user to toggle through the layers on a SACD, as well as electing for either multichannel or 2-channel audio on the specific SACD layer. The toggle worked impeccably, though the unit itself takes a while to boot up the separate layers (much in the way it takes a while to load up Blu-ray discs).