Denon 3910 Universal Player - Opinions?

Anybody heard/viewed the 3910 universal player yet? Would appreciate comments on Redbook CD, SACD as well as DVD-Video performance.
Ag insider logo xs@2xsrama
I've had a 3910 for three days and have let it run 24 hours a day playing various media types since then. In all honesty and to my surprise the Denon is sounding quite respectable even when the stock power cord is in use.

This player surprised me in how it has a seemingly realistic tone/timbre - whereas instruments, vocals, etc. seem closer to natural vs. heavy/weighted or thin/transparent.

Perhaps my semi-delight is due to the fact that I was expecting the hollow & mechanical sound of earlier vintage Sony DVD/SACD players. And I didn't get that with the Denon.

I usually base the performance of a CDP on how it makes me feel (emotionally) vs. how much it lets me hear (in some respects). The highest end CDP's convey a sense of presence, sensuality, and degree of soul to music which is as difficult to describe in words as it is to find in cheap(er) sub-2000 players.

That said (wrote), the Denon does not make me feel all that great. It does not completely convey the soul of music like higher end players - and does not draw me in...

BUT it DOES scratch the surface... there is potential.

There are a lot of areas where the Denon could be considered quite good - bass, tonality, soundstage, texture, pace, etc. However, for me the number one audible shortcoming of this player and the #1 reason why it fails to convey the soul of music is its lack of dimensional tangibility. Musical images are there but they just don't have the sensuality or lust to be mistaken as real - and therefore draw a listener into the music.

*I* am hopeful that (when available), modifications to this unit will take it to another (much higher) level.

Not sure what gear you're familiar with so I'll use some common units to compare to:

SACD performance is not as good as Marantz SA-1 or Sony SCD-1, better than Marantz SA-14, XA-777ES.

Redbook is good but not great on this unit. My guess is that ANY player you can get for over 2K used will destroy this player.

DVD Video Performance is as good as it gets or as good as you are.... What I mean is, there are so many adjustments to the picture that you can make it look however you want. It has brightness, contrast, mid-sharpness, high-sharpness, CRC (whatever that is), chroma enhancing, chroma-delay, white level, black level, vertical digital enhancement, horizontal digital enhancement, digital correction, and about 20 levels of Gamma correction. There are most likely more settings. Those are the ones I could remember off the top of my head.

For component video output, I imagine this is as good as any top level DVD player is or will be. I do not have HDMI or DVI on my TV but guess that the upconversion to 780p and 1080p through those connections would allow the Denon to show its TRUE colors.

DVD sound is pretty good too. It made my HT system with cheap Sony digital amp sound much better.

Haven't tried DVD-A or MP3 or JPG

hope this helps
Bwhite, thank you for the detailed response. My current redbook is the Rega Jupiter 2000 which, to me, has been a consistently satisfying player - it has always conveyed the soul of the music while providing what I feel is the perfect amount of detail that is only limited by your choice of upstream gear.

The lure of the 3910 is definitely its much aclaimed video performance - however at ~$1200, I do need for it to perform at a sufficiently high level at the audio end of the spectrum so I can let go of the Jupiter. The fact that it has HDMI outputs is a plus as well, but again, video is secondary.

Ah! the joys of optimizing your system subject to the constraint of alternative demands on your $....

Hi Srama - you might give the 3910 a try if you can negotiate an in-home demo.
Bwhite: Are you familiar with the Denon 2900 at all? If so, how would you compare the sonics between it and the 3910 on redbook? Sean
"SACD performance is not as good as Marantz SA-1 or Sony SCD-1, better than Marantz SA-14, XA-777ES"

Interestingly, I thought the SA-14 killed the Sony SCD1 and XA777es on redbook and bettered them in SACD playback, and have a few friends that have sold their SA-1's for SA-14's, and some that favor the SA-1 overall. Many feel the SA-14 sacd playback at least equals the Esoteric DV50's, whoes playback many gush over. Goes to show just how vital that putting the gear into your own system really is! Not that reviews are useful, just careful never to take them as gospel, and make sure all comparisons offered are direct A/B, not just by memory as I see so often, which is VERY misleading.

I have no vested intrest in any of these machines personally, as a Modwright sig truth SACD1000 and Benchmark Dac owner, having owned and sold all of the above machines, including the lackluster Denon pieces (2900 and 5900...yuck) :)
Hi Sean - Originally I had intended to buy a 2900 to have it modified by John Tucker but... I am really, really tired of getting the "best" player only to have it superceded by the next best thing. So... I went for the 3910 knowing that John Tucker had just started working on mods for the unit.

I've never listened to the 2900 so I cannot comment. I have however read the AVS Forum where folks who own both the 3910 and the 2900 seem to believe the stock 3910 exceeds the performance (sound and video) of the stock 2900.

The latest review of the Exemplar modified Denon 2900 on the 6moons website is exciting - makes me very hopeful about upcoming mods for the 3910.

Sorry I don't know more about the 2900. Perhaps the AVS Forum DVD section may give you some additional insight.
Uva - To me there is no question that the SA-1 is far superior in all regards to the SA-14. For someone to prefer the sound of the SA-14 to the SA-1 would be like someone preferring a McDonalds Hamburger patty to Prime Rib. I guess its possible.

I read the same reviews and user comments on Audio Asylum prior to buying a SA-14 myself and all I can say is its I was misled. Sounds like you were too.
I have had the Denon DVD-3910 for about 3 weeks. It’s still burning-in. I did not put it through continuous burn-in process. So far, it had about 12 hours of DVD-Video, 12 hours of Multi-Ch SACD, 8 hours of DVD-Audio and 6 hours of CD. I’ve been busy 8^)
I would say the player is excellent value in its price range. It does not dig out the very last ounce of detail on every disc, but it does dig out a tremendous amount. It’s one of those components that would not sugarcoat the performance of a bad CD. Garbage in, garbage out. Therefore, it’s phenomenal on some discs (incl. video) and only very very good or so so on others (incl. video). It’s residing in my secondary HT/Multi-Ch system and therefore is also somewhat limited by the performance of the speakers.
I hope to have it completely burnt-in and also test it in my higher-end 2-ch system, and will report my findings later. I’m very satisfied with it so far.
According to at least 5 threads at The 3910 has macro blocking and a lot of QC problems.

I would never have any recent Denon player modded, but especially not the 3910 or the 5900, which I had two of.

The universal to own right now for the absolute best video bar none, whether 480p or hdmi up converted is the Onkyo SP1000/ Integra dps 10.5.
You should see the build on these as compared to Denon.

Onkyo /Integra have a fantastic track record whith QC,and are both rated as being superior for redbook,sa-cd and video over the buggy 3910 and bug plauged 5900.

Buyer beware, and read the dvd forum at for comparisons of the Onkyo/Integra universals, and all the complaints about the cheaply built chinese made 3910.
Ears - interesting. I've read the AVS Forum and found mostly stuff like this:

The 3910 seems to be different though. I tested the 480P output on my plasma using chapter 22 of A Bug's Life. If a player has the MB issue, it is readily apparent in this scene. With the 3910 feeding the plasma via component out at 480P there was little to nothing in the way of MB. The results were far better then what I had seen with any of the other infected players.

From what *I* can tell its only the user "PooperScooper" who is having difficulties with the player.

I haven't noticed any problems with the player. Can you tell us perhaps what Macroblocking is?
Bwhite, there are many 3910 threads including the positive ones whith instances of not only macro blocking, but transport problems, refusal to play sa-cd's, or in some cases just some discs ect.
There are many people whith complaints about QC.
The the macro blocking is supposedly not as bad as the 5900, but why have artifacts at all when you can have it all whith the Onkyo/Integra.

I suggest you read through the least threads on this player and you will realize that there are way too many people having poroblems whith this player overall.

You can also see pictures of macro blocking at avs, which is a whole lot better than somone trying to explain it in words.

I have the Onkyo 1000, and the 480p picture is flawless as far as magnifying artifacts of any kind.
It is the best picture by far I have ever seen on my 110 in dlp projected screen.
Next week when I receive my hdmi/dvi adaptor, I am going to pick up a 3910 for audio and video comparison.
Those that have already compared the Onkyo SP100/Integra DPS 10.5 (Same player) have told me not to bother, but I am going to anyway.

The 1000 has deeper bass, more texture,inner detail and a bigger soundstage than the 5900 whith redbook,the sa-cd playback is slightly better,and the dvd-a is at least equal.

The 1000, is what the 5900 should have been imo, and I finally feel like I have a universal that is worth having modded.

Ears - The folks on Audiogon are audiophiles whereas and the folks on AVS (bless their hearts) are not. I believe they are more or less videophiles. So...their comments as they pertain to audio, are taken with a grain of salt.

On this site, the excitement behind the Denon players is a result of the improvements which can be made through modification. For example, the Denon 2900 modified by Exemplar Audio often gets compared to EMM Labs, and Reimyo players. - The fact that the modified Denon player is good enough to strike up a debate like that is astonishing.

Regarding your comments on manufacturing. Well... For what its worth. Some of the most advanced manufacturing on the planet takes place in China. And yes.. it's as you put it, "cheap". This means that companies who manufacture in China can cram more technology, engineering and features into a device that costs less for consumers.

I know you intended the comment "cheaply built Chinese made" to be a negative slam against Denon but - the truth is, those words are not as derogatory as they may once have been. Think about it.

Thanks for the info on Macroblocking. I looked up the term and I think I understand what it is - Here is an explanation from Perfect Vision
On a standard-definition DVD movie, the video bit-rate ranges from about 4Mbs (megabits per second) to 9Mbs, depending on the amount of motion in the scene. If you’ve ever seen a DVD with a fast action sequence in which the image suddenly becomes very blocky, that’s a sign that the data rate used at that moment wasn’t high enough to show all the detail in the fast motion (this artifact is called macroblocking).

Seems to me that this is a problem with the media (DVD) vs. a problem with the player itself.

Nothing against Onkyo but for some reason, no-one modifies these players so they have a rather limited potential thus far - as far as audio goes.
Bwhite, you could not be any more wrong, as the macro blocking shows up because of the DCDI chip in the Denon 3910 and I said go read up.

The Onkyo is brand new, so that is why there are no modders doing mods yet, but Two that are already looking into it are RAM and EVS.

There is a pro reveiw that has the Onkyo 1000/Integra player as the winner over the 3910/Flagship Marantz and Flagship Pioneer.

The Integra10.5/ Onkyo 1000 thread at avs has comparisons to the Estoric DV-50 and Krell, and one 10.5 user just brought an Ayre player home for a try, so I say this is some pretty good competition.

I have a RAM modded 963sa And have had a Modwright signature 9000, and use a modded Sim Audio i-5 for sa-cd/redbook comparison.

Although avs, is mostly videophiles as you say, there are those that are also audiophools like myself.

AVS is the only place to find out about all the problems whith the 3910, and after reading about them , who in there right mind would have a 3910 modded.

My 5900 was supposed to be modded, but whith trasport grinding/Lock up and the macro blocking and excessive video artifacting, I decided to wait for a player that had less or no problems.
You will have to translate french, but here is the only known comparison of the better video based universals besides all the personal reveiws at avs.

Look for the comparison at this site.

Looks like some people on AVS are having trouble with the Onkyo too. "head and toe room" clipping bug (whatever that is) - HDMI output not functioning.

User "PooperScooper" who likes the Onkyo & returned it will re-buy it when they fix the HDMI problems.

I don't know much about video but buying any of these DVD players seems like a crap shoot.

There are also a lot of bad things written about the Denon 2900 on that forum too. And... a lot of people - in their right minds have had them modified.

Seems like every component mentioned on that site has had negative comments made about it.

How about your experience with the HK DPR-2005?
Bummer - I couldn't find the comparison. On AVS, I noticed you've had 17 DVD players over a bit of time - that's very impressive and your knowledge is appreciated.

The Macroblocking thing: This seems weird to me because if it truly is the result of just the DCDI chip vs. the media, then every disc played through a unit with DCDI would have this problem. Common sense tells me this problem is a result of the DCDI in tandem with a certain (effected) or improperly mastered disc. Since DVD's cannot be "fixed" manufacturers of players issue firmware corrections where possible.

Here is some more stuff from AVS on the Onkyo/Integra locking up:

My Integra DPS 10.5 has a more advanced implementation of this same circuitry. It locks up on all of the above, but also freezes up on-

9 1/2 Weeks
Rat Race
Phantom Menace (but WILL play the pod race if I'm demo-ing for friends)
ANY Barbra Striesand movie, especially "Mirror has 2 faces"
Godzilla (1999)
The first 2 Project Greenlight movies

But that's what I paid the $$$ for

DVD and 2CH:
You know, I am starting to second guess the idea of having a DVD player connected to my 2CH system at all. When I connected everything, I started getting a hideous buzz which I presume was caused by the Satellite. I tried some voltage limiting transformers on the Satellite COAX - which seemed to solve the problem but then the receiver couldn't find the dish. Ground Loop Woes. Argh! I guess I'll eventually figure it out.

You know, players not reading SACD's, reading slowly and having trouble with certain discs is a problem that has been around ever since the very first SACD player was introduced. I've had just about every serious SACD unit and the only one which I do not recall having trouble with SACDs was the DVD-S9000ES. It may have, I just don't remember. Instead, my 9000ES had lip sync problems whereas the video was off-sync with the sound. Weird. All other SACD players have issues of one sort or another - no exceptions. The latest generation of universal players seem to be a lot better thus far - but I wouldn't be surprised if problems show up down the road when the lenses get a bit dusty.
bwhite, the hdmi problem is universal whith all players when you use a hdmi/dvi adaptor, but this is something that is seen on a test disc more than actual video, and my newly ordered pj, has hdmi so its a moot point for me regardless.

Even though I am an audiophool first, I watch movies on a 110 plus inch screen and video artifacts can ruin any movie watching experience.
The 1000 shows NO excessive artifacting,and a fantastic picture and this makes all the difference in the world.

If video were as good on the audiophool brand universals (DV-50 ect), I would opt for one of those instead, but so far, it seems there not.

Also, if I could buy a dvd player that was anywhere near as good as the Onkyo 1000, that was dvd only, I would opt for that and go for a hi end sa-cd/redbook player instead of buying a universal and having it modified.

The 3910 and all other players have the hdmi/dvi adaptor problem also.

The Onkyo has no other problems that are not universal and the 2900 uses SI instead of the new buggy 2300 dcdi chip used in the 3910/5900.
The Onkyo/Integra also use a newer gen SI chip for video.

There is not one reported transport problem/failure to play discs ect problem on the SP1000.
You are right,about macro blocking being part of the dvd mastering,nobody will argue that, but Denon issued no fix for this, at least none that worked.

You would think that they would notice this while doing r&d for the original culprit, the 5900, but what they ended up doing is issuing a second player whith the same chip...the 3910, whith a cheaper build and power supply.
The 5900 not only had macro blocking, it had unacceptable exaggereated video compression noise and basically exaggerated all artifacts on any given dvd transfer.

I don't think I have owned 17 dvd players, but I have owned/tried many.

I had no problems whith either the Philips 963sa stock or modified,or the Sony 9000 stock or modified.
Every other player has had problems so far except the Onkyo, which I have only had for less than a week.

The thing is the 9000 was not as good for video as the 963sa, and neither are anywhere near as good as the SP1000 for video or audio.

Beleive me, I wanted to like the 5900, or I wouldn't have got a second unit after the first gave me so many problems.

I will post my results honestly, when I pick up a 3910...I have absolutely no brand loyalty for audio or video brands.

No problems on the Onkyo/Integra? Sure. Anyhow, I like this guys reply to you (you go by Greg T) on Audio Asylum Joe Murphy JR He brings up some major problems with the Onkyo. He seems to be rather well informed.

What about the guy who had his lock up all the time, was he experiencing a "universal problem"?

What about the "head and toe room" clipping bug on the Onkyo or the "black-than-black bug"?

Quote from the now infamous AVS user PooperScooper regarding the SP1000.
If you use HDMI or component you wont have the black-than-black "bug" problem. If you use DVI you will get *incorrect* - not what was on the DVD - video at times. DLP needs all the help it can get with blacks too (compared to CRT). This bug does not help, it hurts. It's your money, but buying $2k or $2.5K player that does this does not make sense to me, especially if you are using a player that passes btb now.

Nothing is perfect. The "technology" is just too new.

Ears, It's been nice chatting with you - we probably should have done this over the phone. :)

Let us know how the 3910 compares to your Onkyo when you get it.
Like I said already, ALL players have a hdmi/dvi handshake problem bar none, so what is your point already.

Perhaps you can reference the actual thread/user name of this person with disc reading problems, as I can't seem to find it.

Any way, none of this has anythimg to do whith the fact that Denon has problems whith the 3910, just like the 5900, and seeings how I have owned all these players and will try the 3910 this week, I would say I am defenitly an expert on universals as compared to you.....LOL

Now.. back to my Samual Adams.
The head and toe room cliping is the same exact problem whith hdmi/dvi connections have on EVERY player made.

I looked through every post and there are NO other reported problems, and no transport/disc reading problems from the Onkyo/Integra universals....not one single problem except for the universal hdmi/dvi toe room clipping ect problem,which is one universal problem whith all players, and in fact one in the same problem.

If you have an hdmi input, there is no problem at all.

Perhaps the other problems you thought you saw on the SP1000,were in reality, in one of the many 3910 threads filled whith complaints.

Have a great one
The person at AVS Forum who's Integra DPS 10.5 locks up is: mattepntr The thread can be found by clicking here.
Another Integra Blooper regarding the green pixels when video is of a black screen can be found here User: Mattepntr

I guess my point Greg is that you wrote that the Onkyo is a flawless machine in a post above. At the time I thought you were posting credible information. So.. I looked into it & from what I've learned, this appears to be untrue.

One of your statements above regarding the 3910:
The the macro blocking is supposedly not as bad as the 5900, but why have artifacts at all when you can have it all whith the Onkyo/Integra.

Have it all? Shesh! To me, that seems to be an over the top statement when I can easily find people discussing artifacts with the Onkyo/Integra.

I still like this thread on Audio Asylum where Joe Murphy Jr. tells you like it is.
Who cares what junior has to say, the fact is that every pro and every personal comparison of the Onkyo as compared to all other top notch universals, has the Onkyo on top, and in my set up, it is flawless.

Again,every problem you mention can be attributed to an HDMI/DVI connection only.
There all one problem whith that particular connection on the 3910 also.
All things being even, the Onkyo is still the clear winner over the 3910 in every opinion of the two, both pro and personal so far.

This IS the point.

bwhite, you are making an as* of yourself, the lockup was his 480p plazma display, and has nothing to do whith the player itself.
mattepntr, works in the film industry, knows exactly what film is supposed to look like, and absolutely loves this player in every way.

Again, you have listed one problem, and tried to make it into several because of your lack of video knowledge.
This problem is an hdmi/dvi connection problem which the 3910 also has.
This is the sole problem for any tiny video glitch that can be found in that entire thread, besides problems from actual displays, which have nothing to do whith any source player.

You may want to read, and try understanding whats being said,before posting any more mis- information.

Have a great one
Ears: You mentioned the Denon 2900 uses a different chip than the 5900. If you have compared them, which do you consider to have a better video presentation? If you haven't compared them but have read various comparisons of them, can you sum up the video results tht you've read about? Sean
Sean, the 5900 would have, and does have a better image if you take the excessive artifacting and macro blocking out of the equation.
In other words if you have a reference transfered dvd, the 5900 will look better than the 2900, and if the dvd is average or has artifacting like most do, the 2900 would be the better player especially whith a larger projected image imo.
I had a 2900 breifly to check out but I don't beleive I ever had the chance to compare the two.

The 5900 whithout its unwanted ability to magnify video noise,macro blocking ect, would be a fantastic dvd player.


No disrespect intended, but you are wrong about the issues on the 3910. I have owned the 2800, 2800MKII, 2900, and now the 3910. I've also had the 5900 in my system for a week for observation.

Macro-blocking is display dependent, period. Most of the issues are visible on select plasma displays. The 3910 exhibits none of the issues on my rig. The redbook performance is outstanding. I have my 2900 linked through my Benchmark DAC and the 3910, stock, is damn close. My system is extremely revealing...Krell FPB, Nautilus 802.

If you take the time to read the threads on AVS, you will notice the problems are only exhibited by a couple of individual's units. Could there be some defective units on the market? Sure, but the burden of posters on AVS talking about QC, PC, and other issues are very few and far between. The bulk of the owners are VERY happy with this deck. Including myself.

In fact, this is the first deck from Denon I have been able to listen to Redbook with it's internal DACs, instead of an out board processor.

I don't know how you can say I, am wrong, as I have not tried the 3910, but plan to.
For being a new model, there are far too many complaints on the 3910 imo.

Denon has already mentioned the fact that there is a problem whith the 5900 whith macro blocking, and I beleive the 3910 uses the same chip.
If there was no fix for the 5900, how can it be fixed on the 3910?

You have to remember that to speak badly of Denon at AVS, is frowned upon, keeping a lot of people quiet.

I was not quiet whith the 5900 macro blocking problem, and I ended up hearing about it from the Denon faithfull , along whith there leader lol.

Anyway, this was whith one of the very first 5900's, and I was told that it was my set up/calibration ect when it clearly was not.

Now Denon freely admits they have a problem, whith no fix, and the chance of ever getting a fix, is slim to none.
My second 5900 had no transport lockup/grinding, or refusal to play certain sa-cd's like the first, but the macro blocking remained.
The second 5900 was bought around 3 months after the first batch.

The 2300 chip also has problems in the 318hd from Zenith while upconverting, so Denon can blame it on that, but I choose, and rightly so, to blame the manufactuer themselves.

They are responsible for testing and QC of there own products.... period, and not using the buying public for QC.

I have read all the Denon threads except the 2910 threads, and there are more than just "a few" people complaining.

Also check the 1910 thread, the 2300 chip thread ect.

I have a dlp projector, and can see macro blocking from not only dvi, but also componemt 480p, along whith other excess compression/noise while using the 5900.
This problem is far from being a plazma display only problem, and a 480p component connection will also show macro blocking, not just dvi.

I don't know what your audio comparison has to do whith the fact that every personal and pro reveiw available, has the Onkyo/Integra as the winner over not only the 3910, but Flagship Marantz,Pioneer ect universals audio playback whith all formats???
Are you saying the 3910 is a much better redbook player than the 5900?
When I compared the 5900 to my Modwright signature, or my Ram modified 963sa, it was outclassed by both players for both sa-cd/redbook.
My plan was to mod the 5900 before I even bought it.
Same goes for the Onkyo, or any other universal in this price range.
The Onkyo is not outclassed for audio, especially sa-cd by the modded players.

Like I said previously, I am going to pick up a 3910 for comparison, after I receive my hdmi/dvi adaptor.

I will use the same set up to compare the 3910/1000 using custom made speakers using all Scan Speak revelator drivers along whith Hovland/ Goetz xovers for my comparison.
The same exact VH pulsar ic's,Audience pc,Ap oval 9's and Ram modified Sim i-5.

For video, I will use the same dlp pj, dvi cable,power conditioner ect to see if there is any magnification of artifacts including excess video compression and macro blocking, and also compare overall video quality.

Funny thing is, only some Denon owners seem to get irritated when there brand of choice is under the scope, but if I ended up liking the 3910 better, or as well as the 1000, how many would be crying foul then?

Have a great one
The 3910 has problems related to it's Faroudja FLi-2310 deinterlacer. This issue is also present in the 5900, 1920, 2910, etc. See THIS THREAD at AVS Forum for details.
"I don't know how you can say I, am wrong, as I have not tried the 3910, but plan to."

My point is you MUST try the deck before coming to the conclusion that the issues are there.

"For being a new model, there are far too many complaints on the 3910 imo."

There are NOT that many complaints! There are very few. And I would venture to doubt that some of those complaints are totally without merit...IE, they don't even have the deck.

If one were to base their purchasing decisions on what an audio forum's complaints were, you would be left without any equipment! There is no perfect DVD player, and there never will be.

The 3910 is the best video I've seen on any Denon decks to date, including the 5900. The audio is the best I've heard to date on ANY universal decks. Granted, I have not had the opportunity to listen to the Integra....but I'm very happy with the 3910, so why would I?

My point to you is this...

You seem fairly educated when it comes to DVD players, and you have a habit(like myself) of trying and auditioning much of what is out there. Before you come to the conclusion that there are "far too many complaints" or the "macroblocking challenges" try it for yourself. If you haven't tried it, than why recite other forum babble? Seriously, there are few complaints...but a ton of views and posts. Why? Because others are jumping on the bandwagon, or better yet, offering advice on how to remedy the problem.

I am a vinyl addict....most of my music listening is done on my analog front end. However, there is WAY too much music only available on CD to ignore the medium. That is why I bought the 3910. Finally, without an outboard DAC, the 3910 has brought me closer to the analog sound than any other deck I've tried...with the exception of my Benchmark/2900 combo....but the differences are negligible at best between the two.

BTW, I will NEVER watch Finding Nemo, or the obscure independent films mentioned with Macro blocking issues. But when I watch my high-def football on Sundays, a bit of digital distortion from sun-spots or whatever the hell it is, doesn't make me change out my Dish Net 6000 receiver, and does little to take away from my enjoyment of the games.

If you are seriously looking at buying the 3910 (and I'm not just speaking to you, but anyone interested in general) we are dealing with the cutting edge of electronics. Denon is putting as much technology as possible into these decks and there will be issues to resolve....just like Windows 98, XP, XPSP2, etc. It's the price we pay as bleeding edge purchasers and I couldn't disagree more that we shouldn't be the beta testers. At least Denon monitors the boards and provides what the majority wants.

There are also complaints that the layer changes are noticable??? I have played 30 titles at the exact layer change moment per one of the threads at AVS. Do you see the layer change, yes...but it is immediate, less than a quarter second.

Why do I mention this complaint? Because Denon was the first, and still the ONLY company to implement buffering systems on all of their decks, one thing I've loved since the 2800. I hate the layer changes, but chroma issues never bothered me.

I could go on and on, but my point is that you need to try it first, before assuming ANYTHING from online forums. Some of the best equipment I own and appreciate is very unpopular on online forums....Krell...fatiguing, grainy, too costly, etc. B&W Nautilus speakers...bright, expensive, ugly, mid-range suckout (Whatever the hell that is). I would've never managed to put a system together had I gone by online babble. It's all to be taken with a grain of salt. One mans mole-hill may be another dude's Mt. Everest.

That said...the 3910 is a phenomenal deck, period. I hope you get the opportunity to check it out and take the time to form your own, subjective opinion.


"Again I think a lot of what people might think is MB is actually just bad authoring, but this is not always the case. I use the PT arrives scene from A Bug's Life. It is clearly visible on my display when a player suffers from the problem, the 3910 showed little to nothing in terms of MB with this scene. The 5900 and 1500 showed it quite well."

This is a quote from Kris Deering from Secrets contained in your thread on AVS.


If you have the opportunity to read the thread that dpippel addressed, you will see that he and one other in the thread are specifically having an issue with the 3910. Again, the reason I think this issue is display related.

Dpipple, I'm not disagreeing that you see the error on your screen...but there are very few participants in your thread with the issue compared to the couple dozen posts in the owner's thread that are thoroughly enjoying the 3910.

This thread is entitled Denon 3910 opinions, and the ones at AVS are as valid as any, especially on the video side of things.
There are quite a few posts on failure to read dvd's, sa-cd's, dvd-a's, slow reaction time, and a few layer change posts besides the macro blocking issue.
The fact is that it does not matter if the macro blocking is because of bad dvd authoring if it is Denon players that are showing it in excess, and other players are not showing it at all, even on known problem discs.

If I were leaving the player stock,I might not be as concerned about possible problems, as the player would be under warranty.

I did receive my HDMI/DVI adaptor today, and will pick up a 3910 for comparison tommorow, if they have one in stock.

In the mean time, here is another pro reveiw of the Onkyo sp 1000 vs the competition including Denon.

It seems the French and the Germans both think the Onkyo is king, even though it sells for around 5k there.


Check out this article. Kris Deering is one of the most respected deck reviewers today. If you are familiar with AVS, you know the name.

This should eliminate concerns of many.

BTW...I count one person with the inability to play SACDs. No one I have read about having an issue with DVD-A. Slow reaction time? It's mentioned in the article. It is not as fast as the 2900, but the difference is negligible. Layer changes at tops, 1/2 second....quicker than any deck without buffering....again a bit slower than the 2900, but insignificant at best since we've been living with layer changes since '97.

Macroblocking IS an authoring issue on the DVD. The 23xx Faroudja chips ARE responsible, but the issue is completely eliminated compared with the 5900.

Greg....Get the deck. You won't be sorry. There may be a couple of insignificant quirks, but the positives on this deck more than out-weigh any inconveniences.

Jer, I don't entirely have much faith in the Secrets reveiws as they never deducted points for the macro blocking on the 5900,that and there is a Huge Denon banner at that site.

Anyway, I already picked up a 3910,,,and guess what, "IT WILL NOT EVEN POWER UP", whether you use the main power button or the remote, this 3910 is DOA.

I am going back to the store as they had two more 3910's besides this one.

This is not a good start at all, and I can hardly beleive that I got a doa unit.
That has never ever happened to me whith any other gear ever.
The serial # of the doa unit is 4068400860 not sure if this is a first bad batch deal or what , but I find it quite ironic.

What can I say?

No faith in "Secrets?" Wow!

DOA 3910? Wow!!!

Why would you even want one? Your opinion is already established...WITHOUT even seeing or hearing it!!!

Good Luck on the perfect pursuit of Digital Video. While you are pursuing, I will be enjoying.


Bwfreak, Secrets is supposed to be used as a guideline, not a bible for dvd quality.

I did use it as a guideline only, up until the 5900 rating.

The salesman took a second 3910 out of the box and powered it up before I arrived to swap them out.
He of course said he had never seen a dvd player DOA before this.
Maybe he is telling the truth, and maybe not, but when there is money involved,which comes in all forms such as advertising on reveiw sites, you can never really know for sure, can you?

Kris himself acknowledges the macro blocking problem on the 5900 and failed to use that info in the scoring, or at least adjusting the score once this problem was verified by Denon on the 5900.

My comparison will be more than fair, regardless of the superior build of the sp 1000, and all those other pro and personal reveiws claiming that it is the best they have ever seen and in some cases heard.

Who wouldn't want a cheaper player that looked and/or sounded better?
I know I would, if this turned out to be the case for me.

Take care
A very interesting comparison of sonic performance, on all formats, will be the Denon DVD-3910 -vs- Marantz DV9500,when the DV9500 becomes available!
As far as my little comparison on the 3910 and sp 1000, they both have the blacker than black bug for hdmi/dvi connections.

I checked for macro blocking, and found no objectional excessive macro blocking in movies that definitly show it.
The 480p was great for both players, but the 1000 made movies such as Unbreakable, have a smoother background throughout the film and offered the same great detail as the 3910 at the same time.

Audio comparisons were all done in 2 channel whith the 1000 having a more laid back soundstage and more body whithin the soundstage.
The 3910 initially sounds pretty good,but I would say its on the bright side of neutral for redbook and sa-cd.

The 3910 did not handle complex music as well as the 1000, and also had a slightly lean sounding midrange.

I don't listen to much dvd-a, but I found the 1000 too laid back as compared to the 3910 for dvd-a, and would pick the 3910 for that format.

I think the 3910 is a better player (other than build) to the 5900.
It offers slightly better video whithout excessive macro blocking, and good sound for the money.

If I had tried the 3910 first, I am sure I would be happy whith it, other than the hdmi/dvi btb problem.
Whith the 1000, it is worth the extra money for build, smoother film image and the neutral sonics, but it also has the hdmi/dvi btb problem.

Why can't these companys get this right?

Ears. Nice review. People keep saying some of these players have "better build" than others. I am curious, on what grounds is this being determined?
Bwhite, you can look at close ups of both of these players guts at the Crutchfield site.

The sp 1000 has a lot beefier power supply that includes a torridal transformer.
The tray on the sp 1000 glides out smoothly whithout a peep, where the 3910, you can hear the tray easily make a low level grinding or clicking noise.
The transport on the 1000, is more like one you might find on more expensive hi end gear, and the transport tray on the 3910 seems cheap in offense to 3910 owners.

The build difference is real obvious in person, but hard to describe whithout making the 3910 sound cheaper than it is.

The fact that the 1000 is a lot more responsive to commands, disc reading ect tends to make the perceived better build quality seem better yet.

The only thing the 1000 does slow is dvd-a, and I find both players to be way too slow when using dvd-a.

BTW... I do not automatically assume that the better build sounds or looks better on any source, but when they do perform better, it offers a sense of getting what you paid for, which is really just an added nice bonus.

While I don't beleive the 3910 looks bad in general,it pales in comparison to the 1000 in the looks department....but that is subjective.

The 1000 weighs 27 lbs, but if you look at pictures of both players guts at the Crutcfield site, its better to see the difference as far as build goes.

I have never owned an Onkyo/Integra source before this one, but I am highly impressed whith the build and reaction time, as well as the transport.
Ears I could'nt agree more.I own a 3900 and plan on sending it back for a 1000.I have been looking for a Integra dps10.5(nobody seems to have one in stock),are the 1000 and 10.5 similar units?What are the differences?
The pictures look very interesting - I appreciate your honest thoughts regarding "build quality". I couldn't find the internal photo of the 3910 on the Crutchfield website so I've added the one I've been using for planning mods.

Photo Links: Onkyo Photos || Denon Photos (scroll to bottom)

I'd say you're correct in that the Onkyo seems like a much more advanced build from an engineering perspective to say the least. I've seen the wimpy 3910 power supply many times. Oddly enough, the weakness of the Denon 3910 (and 2900) power supply is actually the strength of the unit when it comes to modification. If you look inside a 3910, you'll see a TON of room for improvement.

The external appearance of the 3910 is embarrassing actually - but then again, to my eyes, the Onkyo/Integra isn't all that ravishing either. Neither would look good in my system.

But then again... who makes a nice looking Multi-Format Player??? GOLDMUND BABY!! Only fifty of these will be made - and the cost is just $75,000 bucks!
The Onkyo sp 1000 and Integra dps 10.5 seem to be the same player except the 10.5 outputs upconverted video from composite and s video external source, has bnc component, and a 3 year warranty for 500.00 more.

If you go to the Integra site, you will see that the internals and case look exactly the same except for the name Integra on the face and torridal transformer.

It is the sp 1000 that is coming up roses against the 5900,3910,Pioneer 59avi and Marantz 9500 in those german and French reveiws.
Apparently, the 1000 sells for around 5k anywhere over seas, were the Denon,Pioneer and Marantz sell for about the same as the U.S.

The sp 1000 has external upconversion and bnc connectors on all models except the U.S. and Canadien models.
Bwhite, the Goldman is beautious or something, but a bit out of my price range.
I could afford maybe a Estoric dv-50, but the video is supposedly not up to par whith the Onkyo or top Denons ect,so I will go the mod route instead.

The Onkyo pictures don't really do it justice as it has a curved front, a sweet door that silently pops up over the tray when closed, hex head bolts instead of screws on the case, and the top half of that remote is aluminum instead of plastic.
The 2 channel analog outs are machined instead of your common gold plated rca outs.

It is definitly no Goldman, but has quite a few nice touches for its price.

The damm backlight on the 3910's remote is on the top whith all the other buttons instead of on the side were it should be.
My video upconversion button on the 3910 has already quit working and I now have to get up if I want to change that.

One thing I forgot to mention is the 1000's pace and timing are better also.
At least that is what my new fangled foot tapping meter reads.

I must of seen the 3910 interior pics at AVS and not at Crutchfield....sorry about that.

If I was to mod one of these players myself, it would be the 3910, but I will end up paying crazy money to someone else and go whith the sp 1000.

I borrowed a Denon 3910 from a local retailer for a few days. Hooked it up to my Krell Class A system. It was a letdown in the audio department. Granted, the picture quality was first class. However, the sound quality was boomy in the bass, muddy in the midrange and rolled off in the treble. CD and SACD were similar results. Recommended highly for cinema. But if you're looking for high end audio, you won't find it here.