The Marantz DV-18 has an unusually laid out front panel that is moderately counter-intuitive to operate.
The left side of the front panel carries the disc tray and a hard-wired power on-off switch. Standby mode can be entered with the remote control. The disc tray is extremely quiet and smooth in operation, but is very unresponsive to the Eject button, often taking 5 seconds or more to start to open after the Eject button is pressed. This becomes an operational annoyance after a while.
The middle of the front panel is taken up by the attractive fluorescent display which can be partially, but not completely, dimmed. Below the fluorescent display are a series of oddly-placed buttons such as the aforementioned Eject button and the Fast Forward and Fast Reverse buttons.
The right side of the front panel is also oddly laid out with three large buttons for Play, Stop and Pause separated by small Chapter Skip Backwards and Chapter Skip Forwards buttons. Underneath these are a headphone socket and its accompanying volume control.
The rear panel of this player is equipped with a comprehensive selection of outputs. From left to right;
Two sets of Left and Right analogue audio outputs start the rear panel connections off. There is no inbuilt Dolby Digital decoder, an interesting omission given the price of this player.
Two Composite Video outputs are next on the rear panel, along with an S-Video output, and Component Video outputs. This player is not capable of outputting RGB video.
The digital audio outputs are next on the rear panel, with a choice of Coaxial and Optical digital audio outputs offered.
Next to the digital audio outputs are two connectors for a remote control buss system, presumably Marantz-specific, and a switch to control these connectors.
Finishing off the rear panel is a wired-in power cable. On the review unit, this lead to a cheap-looking Clipsal AC plug.
The first thing you will notice about this remote control is that it is physically very big and quite heavy. The centrepiece of this remote control is a Jog/Shuttle mechanism. Personally, I don't particularly like these mechanisms, but your opinion may differ. More importantly, the central positioning of the Jog/Shuttle mechanism relegates the all-important arrow key mechanism to the upper part of the remote control.
Speaking of the arrow key mechanism, not only is this badly positioned on the remote control, but it is also difficult to operate, particularly with the ENTER key placed to the bottom left of the arrow mechanism instead of centrally. You have to press very firmly indeed on this mechanism to register a keypress, significantly slowing down the speed with which you can use the arrow keys. Indeed, all of the keys on the remote require quite a degree of force to operate, and provide little tactile feedback to indicate that they actually have been pressed.
One positive aspect of this remote is the large, well-located PLAY and STOP buttons, which are easily located in the dark. Another positive aspect is the fact that there are buttons for TV volume and channel selection, which some users may find useful, and which can be configured to control a goodly number of brands of TV.
The SUBTITLE, LANGUAGE and ANGLE buttons are placed at the bottom of the remote, and are tiny. They are awkward to find and use at the best of times.
The operating range and angle of operation of the remote control is satisfactory.
The Marantz DV-18 provided a superlative video image, equally the best that I have ever seen via S-Video. A particularly pleasing aspect of the output of this DVD player is the fine resolution of background detail that it was capable of providing. Subtle image details were brought to life superbly with this DVD player, and its video output was flawless.
The review unit was marked as a Zone 4 player, but played a single Zone 1 DVD that I tried on it with no problems.
The fast forward and fast reverse functions of this player are very jerky indeed, with speeds of x2, x8, x30, and x100 available.
The only disappointing aspect of the video performance of this DVD player is the way in which it handles RSDL layer changes, being by far the worst handler of these changes that I have ever seen. Typical pauses were in the vicinity of 2 - 4 seconds, often making me wonder whether the player had stalled. This is a major disappointment. Reversing over the layer change resulted in corruption of the Time Elapsed counter, also a very disappointing characteristic of this particular player.
A second screen allows you to adjust the brightness, contrast, sharpness and hue of the player's image.
Subtitle and Audio tracks can be selected from a list that the DVD player compiles when you press the appropriate keys. This is an elegantly implemented feature, but unfortunately, the player only recognizes the more common languages. Unrecognised languages are simply listed as nearly indecipherable two letter acronyms.
Functional key-presses on the remote are accompanied by various appropriate symbols appearing on the on-screen display.
Subjectively, there were occasional hints at audio sync problems on a few discs that I tried in this player, but nothing that I would call definitely a problem. The usual test passage that I use for testing this; The Matrix, Chapter 5, played in sync.
Objectively, the analogue vs digital delay was 20 milliseconds. This is the sort of delay level where occasional audio sync problems will be detectable by sensitive viewers, as was the case during my subjective analysis of this player.
DTS digital output is supported by this DVD player.
MPEG audio bitstreams are output as native MPEG or converted to Linear PCM, depending upon the setup of the player.
Very poor handling of RSDL layer changes.
Borderline audio sync problems.
|Video||Component Output||RGB Output|
|Audio||DTS Output||MP3 Playback|
|Value For Money|
|Product Type:||DVD-Video, Video CD and Audio CD player|
|Region:||Zone 4 (Australia, New Zealand, Central and South America, Mexico)|
|Signal System:||PAL / NTSC|
|MPEG Decoder:||C-Cube ZiVA-3|
|Audio Frequency Response:||4Hz - 22kHz (48kHz sampling)
4Hz - 44kHz (96kHz sampling)
|Signal to Noise Ratio:||>110dB|
|Total Harmonic Distortion:||<0.0025%|
|Dimensions:||458 (w) x 313 (d) x 88 (h)|
|Distributor:||Jamo Australia Pty Ltd
24 Lionel Road
Mt Waverley VIC 3149
© Michael Demtschyna
24th August 2000