I’ve been living with my 4100 OSE for around 6 months now and I’ve learnt 2 things. One is that this is a wonderful item of home entertainment and that perfection is so narrowly avoided by silly problems. But to start, why did I buy an OSE when I already had a DVD player, a Wharfedale 750 to be precise. Well, call me shallow, but the 750 was an ugly bit of kit. Plus, reds always seemed to appear blocky on screen. Finally, and possibly most importantly, I wanted to rid myself of the poor Technics CD player I was using for music and replace it with a single box solution. So, having trawled through the magazines, clicked on the websites and been to the showrooms, I took the plunge and ordered a nice multi-region modified 4100 from HomeCinemaHeaven. A few days later a nice brown cardboard box arrived containing my new toy. First impressions on taking out of the box were impressive. A real solid feel and nice weight. This DVD oozed quality from the off. The simple limes of Marantz styling suited the player just fine. Now it’s time to get it connected. Thanks to the fact that this player has 2 Scart sockets, both RGB enabled, was a godsend. It allowed me to connect the player to the RGB input of my TV and the Sky Digibox to the RGB enabled input on the DVD. Trust me, the RGB quality makes a world of difference and anyone who say’s otherwise has obviously never seen a properly setup system. So that’s the picture sorted, now the sound. You have a choice of a stereo signal via standard phono connectors and then digital output using either an optical cable or co-axial. I opted for the co-ax option, purely because I feel optical is too susceptible to breakage. I also connected the phono outputs to my stereo amp for CD replay duties. The first test I carried out was to play my region 1 version of “The fast and The Furious”. There are many scenes in here that tested my
Wharfedale beyond it’s limits, such as the bright red vehicles and the fast action night racing scenes. Happily, all trace of red blocking was gone. The entire picture was noticeably more vibrant and detailed. Even my girlfriend could see the difference and she usually pays no attention to things like this. The sound also took on a turn for the better, sounding more lively and detailed. It is obvious that the old saying “you get what you pay for” rings true here. My next test would be the most crucial. Would the player really sound better than the CD player I was so keen to consign to the scrap? Instant joy! Playing my “Visual Audio Sensory Theater” CD immediately displayed that the praise heaped on this machine for it’s CD duties had not been false. The difference in resolution was astounding and very noticeable. A much wider dynamic range and tighter control of the music made the CD seem revitalised. A few more discs were spun and whatever music was thrown at it, the OSE handled with aplomb. I sat back comfortable in the knowledge that my investment had not been in vain like so many upgrades can seem to be. But “wait” I hear you cry. You said at the front of this that the machine wasn’t perfect, that you had found problems with it. This glowing testament shows no sign of disappointment. Well, I can now let you know. After living with the machine for several months, there are a few niggles that I just can’t shake. Firstly, that whenever there is a scene on a disc with a multiple angle option, the player displays the angle icon in the top left of the screen. You can’t turn it off. At all. This was most apparent watching the R1 version of Mallrats, which features a multiple angle video commentary track. At various points throughout the movie, the icon would appear for 5 or 10 minutes, even if you’re not watching the commentary.
Annoying, although I guess only a problem is you have many discs with multiple angles. However, I gather this is a hereditary defect from the fact it uses Phillips menu software and affects Phillips DVD players too, so maybe I shouldn’t be too harsh on Marantz for this. The second problem I do blame Marantz for though. The damn layer change. When I owned my Wharfedale I never noticed a layer change. Not once. Never. This 4100 like to make the change as apparent as possible. Why can’t the top manufacturers overcome this problem when my far-eastern cheapie had no problems with it? Apart from these two niggles, I’ve never been happier with an upgraded item of AV hardware since I moved from Pro Logic to Dolby Digital. Worth every one of the 370,000 pennies I paid for it, (although these days it’s available for around £155 - £200). Highly recommended.
And what a DVD player this special edition is. Impressive since the day I got it! I'd suggest another category for the Marantz 4100 OSE edition, but you'll see by the end, it's not worth it. Why did I get this DVD Player? ------------------------------ 1) DVD player please OK, so it would have been much cheaper to have got a DVD drive and plugged it into my PC, like a lot of people do. What I wanted was a little bit more though. I didn't want people to come around and huddle next to my PC in my room. I wanted people to be able to watch with a bigger TV and a nicer stereo, which I already have in the front room. 2) It's a Marantz! I know this is going to sound really stupid, but I've got two other Marantz separates that I bought a long while ago with a view to keeping them for next to forever. I did blow a hole in my pocket for them, so I decided to do the same with my DVD player. I like the black and gold finish on their units as well as their simple fascias. What's slightly upsetting is that they've changed their style of buttons, so it didn't QUITE match my other two units. Marantz don't actually choose to make their own DVD drive mechanisms, and so this unit actually has a Philips one built into it. The give away is the display and the remote, which are identical to the Philips DVD players. 3) Multiregionality I also wanted to be able to play DVDs from around the world, as sometimes they can be better versions than that available to the UK, but also it's because they can be cheaper too! Watch out for DVDs from the US or Australia, they can be cheaper than buying them in your local store! If you do do this, you do need to be careful. US DVDs are encoded in a different TV format called NTSC (Never The Same Colour), whilst older UK TVs only support PAL (the UK format). This DVD player does not convert the signal from US DVDS into PAL, hence they wi
ll come out in black and white. To get around this problem you could buy a converter of some description, but they are expensive. The second alternative is to upgrade your TV, which you may well want to do, but buy one that supports NTSC inputs. If you don't want to do this, the third option is to get a DVD player that does convert the signal, which some do. 4) RGB output I'd been reliably told that keeping your eyes peeled for a SCART socket that has RGB out gives you a better picture. I could have told you this was the case, but unfortunately I can't reliably tell you this. My old TV does not support RGB input, but still gives me a clear picture. What I can say is that I have a little monitor (from the BBC days - remember them?) that does accept RGB inputs. If I play my US DVDs on this (it's the only way to watch my US DVDs at the moment in colour), the pictures are a lot clearer than on my TV. I can't honestly say if this is due to how naff my TV is, but do bear in mind how old the BBC computer is! 5) Award Winner This player won an award from What HiFi in 2001 for being a "Hifi and Home Cinema Award". There are some good players with prices well below this player, but I wanted something that looked and performed good, and wanted it to still be in my house doing the same time in 10 years time. 5 Other Comments (couldn't think of another title here) ------------------------------------------------------- 1) Outputs There are players with umpteen outputs, but I didn't need all of those. For example, my brother's LG DVD player came with 5.1 output for sound (connections for 6 speakers for the uninitiated), but I didn't need that. I've already mentioned the SCART output in RGB on mine, but what else does is have that I wanted? - Stereo connections (to connect to my stereo, duh!) - DTS Digital output (for the future, when
ever I get a decoder of some sort) It also has - A composite video output (phono socket) - Optical digital output - A second SCART socket - A S-Video connection 2) Menu options/Display Again, I wasn't looking for a lot as I'm a simple man. In fact, I wasn't looking for anything at all. What I didn get through the door was a pleasant surprise - Zoom - operates to 4x, which is enough, but play is frozen during play - Time search - Track and Chapter Search - Subtitle enabling - Frame by frame advance - Fast forward and Rewind upto 32x These are all accessible through the remote or the menu system, which is quite nice to operate. It's a transparent overlay onto your film, that you can access anytime. Some options that drop down and obscure the film a bit do trigger a pause in the film, which then resumes when you come out of the menu option. When there's nothing in the player you do have a nice gold-finished Marantz screen to display on your TV. 3) The remote Initially I did think it was a bit tacky, but it grew on me. The options aren't always that easy to reach, but you do get used to it. It's an oddly concave shaped remote that fits nicely in the palm of the hand. The navigation keys (left, right) double up as the fast forward and rewind buttons during film play. The stupidist thing though, is to resume the film I've not found another way but to hit the PLAY button, which isn't near these buttons or large. 4) The drive The only time I've actually noticed a significant drive noise has been when I first got the machine. It did seem a bit noisy, but now I don't notice it. It does seem a bit noisy during CD playback when I first tried it too but I was only testing it out, and haven't used it since. I already have a good CD player. Formats that this player plays
are: - DVD - VCD - S-VCD - CD The DVD playback is quite nippy but I think it could be a touch more so. What I do like is the display on this machine too. Although a Philips one, it's got a little round circular thing that completes one revolution by the time it's picked up what sort of disc is in the machine and starts playing it. Nice touch Marantz. 5) Memory I think it's 4 DVDs worth that it stores the last played position. Very useful if you've watched a film halfway one day, and want to continue the next day. It's tricky to enable it though, as you have to hit play twice (a must remember thing, otherwise you've missed your chance!). You also do have to play back through all the intro jargon/FBI warning as well. Y A W N ! Hope I've been of some help here, but this player is now discontinued. There's now a Marantz 4200 to replace the Marantz 4100 series. The price of this unit is less as well, so maybe I should have waited. But isn't the best time to buy always yesterday or tomorrow? Thanks for reading.
I have recently purchased a Marantz DVD player, the 4100OSE (Original Second Edition) This is my first ?true? dedicated dvd player until now I have watched dvd?s on my PS2 or on my home computer. The Marantz delivers a superior picture to the PS2 and I couldn?t connect my PC to my television so I can?t really say if it is of superior quality but I can say it?s a lot more pleasing on the eye watching on a full size screen compared to a 17? monitor!!! What I like most about the Marantz is the fact that it has 2 scart sockets on the rear and has built in RGB pass-through. This means that if you have an older television that has only one scart socket then you can connect two components to the one socket. Or as in my case THREE!! This is done quite simply let me explain?. I have a video recorder a Sky digibox and my new Marantz player. I have the VCR connected to the VCR scart on my digibox (which also has RGB pass-through) then the other scart on the digibox is connected to one of the scart sockets on the DVD player and the final socket on the dvd player is connected to the television! This works perfectly for me and gives a perfect picture and sound with the added bonus of auto component and widescreen switching. Back to the player though! This player plays all of my discs faultlessly it will even play cdr discs and vcd?s. The Marantz also plays music cd?s wonderfully and clearly. I would say this machine is well built and not flimsy at all. It has a bright and easily read display on the front and a small comfortable to hold remote control. All in all I can?t really fault this player it has onboard DTS decoding two scarts (as I said earlier) a coaxial output and an optical digital output (for connecting to an external amplifier) I would have no qualms about recommending this player to anyone.