Universal Players

Denon DVD-A1UDCI Universal Blu-ray Player

ARTICLE INDEX

Design

As soon as you attempt to lift the A1 out of it's box, you'll discover were some of that cost went. Easily the most solid, well built piece of equipment that I have ever had in my home theater, the A1 is absolutely rock solid in construction. At almost 42 lbs, it was a bit harder for me to lift and place into my equipment rack than any other Blu-ray player that I have used, but I also was left with the impression that Denon didn't cut any corners when they built this unit and expect it to last. The rest of the unit reflects this as well, with a clean, elegant front panel, and a rear panel with all the connections you could need, gold plating all around, and not a single bit of flex when I was attaching or removing a cable. The case, down to the feet, is designed to reduce and eliminate as much vibration as possible when reading from the disc, and the chassis is divided up into internal blocks so as to eliminate as much interference from electrical or magnetic fields as possible.

Since this Denon might fit into a number of different configurations, it come equipped with every output you might need: Dual HDMI outputs so you can route video and audio to different devices, multichannel analog audio outputs to allow you to utilize the DAC's inside of the Denon, XLR outputs that are fully balanced for optimal 2 channel audio quality, Ethernet for BD-Live and Firmware updates, a full collection of legacy outputs (optical and coaxial digital, composite, S-video and component for video), as well as a 4th generation Denon Link output, which can be used with the new line of Denon receivers to send a jitter-free audio signal, including multichannel PCM audio decoded from Dolby TrueHD or DTS-MA signals.

Even the packaging was top of the line, as the player arrived double-boxed, in the same packaging that was used to ship it from Japan to the USA, and in perfect condition all around. No matter how often you might have to pack this back up in the box and move it around again, I don't see it being damaged at any point in the future. Truly a reference quality piece in construction and design.

The one thing I would knock, however, is the design of the remote control. While very solidly built, and nicely backlit, it's absolutely massive. I had trouble holding it comfortably in my hands (and I'm 6'3"), so I can't imagine what it is like for someone with smaller hands. I like the build quality, I just wish that it was a slimmer size.