DVD Players

Classe CDP-502 DVD Player



On the back panel there are a host of high grade gold plated connections.  Video connections include Component, Composite, S-Video, and HDMI.  The analog audio connections include balanced (XLR) and single ended (RCA),  and the digital connections include SPDIF, Toslink, and one Professional AES/EBU connection.  There are also IR and DC trigger sockets and connections for bi-directional RS-232 control.

The CDP-502 uses three high quality Burr Brown PCM1792 DACs (Digital to Analog converters) capable of up to 24bit/192kHz resolution. According to David Nauber of Classé, “The DACs are separate stereo DACs used in mono mode.  Each half of the balanced signal is converted and output differentially.  Also, there are separate DACs and output buffers for the single-ended outputs and they are also output differentially.  This all means that there are actually 12 paths inside (three stereo DACs with differential outputs).  There are six paths per channel, with single-ended inverting and non-inverting, each being converted and output differentially.  The output buffers are op-amp based for lowest noise and best common-mode rejection.”

A further look under the hood reveals the de-interlacer in use is National Semiconductor's AVC 2510.   This is the same de-interlacer used on Krell's EVO 525 SACD/DVD player and Adcom's GFR-700HD home theater receiver.  The AVC 2510 accepts PC graphics, SD, or HD inputs and then processes them and converts them into any desired standard video format up to 1080p 60.  Its twin architecture also provides the ability for simultaneous output of an HD signal as well as an SD signal of the same data stream.  Other features includes adaptive contrast enhancement, intelligent color remapping, and noise reduction for SD and HD video.

The CDP-502 uses Cirrus Logic's CS98000 MPEG decoder which has been seen before on such systems as Apex's portable DVD players like the PD-50 and PD-100.  It features dual 32-bit MIPS processors and provides MPEG-2 video decoding and audio decoding support for Dolby Digital, DTS, MPEG stereo, and MP3 content using its proprietary DSP processor.

Here in this picture (bwlow), you can get a glimpse at the internals and see the AVC 2510 de-interlacer on the nearest board, and you can barely see the Cirrus Logic CS98000 on the lower board in the back of the picture next to the ribbon cables.

Setup and Usability

From a usability standpoint, I felt this player had good performance.  The component video outputs support 480i or 480p, and the HDMI output supports 480i/480p/720p/1080i/1080p.  There are also Composite and S-Video connections that support a SD resolution at 480i, but I didn't bother testing them.  Powering the system on and getting it ready for use takes a minute because the player has to warm up, but once it's ready, disc load times are decent and the player feels moderately responsive to commands.

Setup is quick and painless, and it's rather easy to navigate through the intuitive menu and pick a resolution or use a feature like edge enhancement.  The touchscreen interface on the front is helpful at times, and it worked fairly well although once after using it, the menu became sluggish to receive commands from the remote.

On the topic of the display, the screen's brightness or menu's color can be adjusted in the setup menu. Also, if the video preview is distracting, or you don't like the lighting it adds to the room, it can be turned off by going to the setup menu and setting the display to timeout after 3 seconds.

The remote control is of a pretty standard fare, and aside from being rather heavy, it's an attractive piece, and the buttons are laid out in a straightforward manner.  The remote has a very good backlighting, and it's very easy to find the buttons in the dark.

The CDP-502 excelled with a very fast layer change which clocked in around a quarter of a second.  The disc slot loading mechanism worked well, and it glows blue to assist with loading a disc in the dark.  I only really found one quirk with the player while I was using it.  When I accidentally fed it the HD side of a hybrid HD-DVD and SD-DVD disc, the player got stuck trying to process the disc. I wasn't able to eject the disc until powering the unit off and then back on.