Sugg. Retail: $1299 (CAN)
Black, $1499 Champagne Gold
Distributor: Yamaha Music Canada Inc.,
135 Milner Ave., Scarborough,
Ontario. M1S 3R1
(Reprinted from the Almanac 2000 Audio Ideas Guide)
This year it’s DVD carousel changers, and next season it will be 100-to-300-DVD jukeboxes, the path already followed by CD. The DVD-C900 handles 5 discs, and has quite a few features you wouldn’t expect on a changer, including 96 kHz audio playback, though it outputs only a 48 kHz digital signal. Both coaxial and Toslink optical outputs are offered. On the video side, composite, S, and component video outputs are provided for easy integration with all video systems, from tube TV to front projector.
The remote control is both well shaped and laid out, important buttons like Play and the cursor array a luminous white and easy to find in the dark. It’s also a masterpiece of restraint, having only 40 buttons. Yamaha has made sure that owners will not spend a lot of time fumbling in the dark, and care has been taken to make the DVD-C900 very simple to operate. Front panel controls have also been kept to those that are really necessary. That also makes it easier for me, in that there are not a whole bunch of extra features to describe. This player has all the normal DVD features, with numeric access to tracks and discs, and operates pretty much like a CD carousel.
I checked its tracking of CDs with our standard array of discs, starting with the Verany calibrated dropouts: it burped briefly on 34, played 35 (2.4mm), and showed regular ticking on 36 in the single dropouts; in the narrow gauge ones it played through track 42 (2mm), while in the double dropouts it managed 48 (2 x 1.5mm). On the CD CHECK disc, which combines high and low frequencies with increasing error over 5 tracks, it played cleanly through the first two, ticked a little on 3, and a lot on 4. Our random error track, which quite a few DVD players have had little trouble with, caused the DVD-C900 to skip ahead after 30 seconds, and lock up completely at the 37-second mark, surprisingly poor performance given the excellent tracking of the Verany disc. However, the play of the partially transparent disc was better than average, only the first track giving the player any trouble.
These results are, again, a little problematical, but do show that the player easily handles smaller errors well, and has more difficulty with large clusters, but copes with poorly manufactured discs that are incompletely aluminized. It should perform well with discs with pinholes or other such defects, and will not be fazed by fingerprints, but may have a little trouble with bad scratches.
The actual video picture from this Yamaha player was first rate with all discs, anamorphic or pan & scan. Colour was vivid and detail very good through its S-video outputs. I would expect even better through the component outputs.
Sound quality of CD play was very good, though not quite in the league of some others that use 96 kHz DACs. But the DVD-C900 was a hands-down winner in ease of use and overall convenience, the remote control a gem in its organization of buttons and overall logic. If you want convenience, multiple play, and a superb picture, seek out the Yamaha DVD-C900.