Product Review - Mitsubishi
M-V7057 Laserdisc Player - February, 1996
By John E. Johnson, Jr.
Mitsubishi M-V7057 Laserdisc Player; AC-3 output (RF); plays both sides; Video Noise Reduction feature (V-DNR); size 5 1/2"H x 16 1/2"W x 17 1/4"D; weight 18.5 pounds; MSRP $1,299; Mitsubishi Electronics America, Inc., 6100 Atlantic Boulevard, Norcross, Georgia 30071-1305; Phone 404-448-1263.
Laserdisc players have come a long way since we bought our first reference unit a few years ago. They look the same on the outside, and the overall picture quality is similar, but the features have changed greatly. Moreover, the advent of AC-3 warrants review of the new crop of players that have this capability.
We took a look at several units to choose from for our first LD player review. The instruction manual, of all things, for the Mitsubishi M-V7057 is one of the best we have ever seen. For example, in the troubleshooting section, it says that if the LD is spinning, but there is no picture, try turning on the TV. I love it! After an initial examination of the player itself, we decided this is the one to start with.
On the front panel are the usual buttons we have seen on top of the line players in the past: On/off power, open/close, side A/side B, pause, jog shuttle dial (fast forward - fast reverse), and so forth, along with a fluorescent display for the side being played (A or B), digital or analog tracks, the chapter being played, and the movie track time. On the 7057 there is also a selector for video noise reduction (V-DNR). To activate this feature, press the V-DNR button and then use the jog shuttle dial (outer and inner rings) to control the video noise reduction in brightness (luminance, or "Y") and/or color (chroma or "C"). We investigated this feature in great depth, because it works so well! Laserdiscs, even though they are wonderful video sources, have noise in the picture, visible as fine horizontal lines that come and go in the blink of an eye. They can be reduced in simple fashion by lowering the sharpness setting on the TV monitor, and that throws away not only the noise, but some of the picture resolution as well. By using the V-DNR controls on the 7057, the noise is reduced, but most of the sharpness remains! The contrast is a bit lower, but the picture is so much better with this feature activated, that more is gained than lost, in our opinion. There is also a default setting, if you don't want to fiddle with the variable reduction levels. Overall picture quality is excellent, even without noise reduction. Choice of using the S-Video output or composite video output will depend on whether the comb filter in your TV is as good as the one in the Mitsubishi player. A well designed (ergonomics) remote control and on-screen display round out the package.
Turnover time from side A to B was 11 seconds in our measurements. There is a button on the front called "Theater". Most buttons are intuitive, but this one is not. When activated, the fluorescent display is turned off, and the turnover time from A to B is reduced. Frankly, my dear, I don't give a hoot about this, but some folks might. So, it's there.
The jog shuttle dial is used for single frame advance, besides the other features mentioned above. One thing that annoyed me was, when using the jog shuttle dial, I kept hitting the "skip to next chapter" button or "skip to previous chapter" button that are at the 4 o'clock and 8 o'clock positions, respectively, near the shuttle. Minor, but irritating. The still frame quality is superb though. One of the nicest I have seen. Important when stepping through special effects scenes frame by frame.
On the rear panel are connections for S-Video out (two jacks), composite video out (two RCA jacks), coaxial digital out (can be fed to an outboard DAC or DTS decoder), optical digital out (for outboard DAC or DTS), audio out (two pairs of RCA jacks), and a coaxial jack (RCA type) for the AC-3 RF signal output. Thus, the 7057 is AC-3 ready and DTS ready. AC-3 sound is carried on the right analog sound track channel, while DTS sound is carried on the digital PCM tracks. Any one laserdisc will have either AC-3 or DTS, but not both. (Obviously, the LD could also have neither if the movie was not made with this technology.)
The sound quality of the 7057 was excellent. AC-3 sound tracks just mesmerized us. There may be a bit of harshness depending on the complexity of the sound at any one time, because of the data compression, but the full range stereo in the rear, plus the incredible bass, makes up for any deficiencies. And, if you don't like the AC-3, you can always just switch back to Pro Logic. An "Audio Compress" feature allows the user to keep the dynamic range of powerful sound tracks within the limits of smaller receiver-amplifier-subwoofer setups.
The CD capability of the 7057 is also full featured. It used to be that the DACs in laserdisc players were so inferior to those in dedicated CD players that using the LD player for CDs resulted in sound that was . . . shall we say, "not exactly wonderful." LD DACs have been improved since then, but they still are not what you will find in a good dedicated CD player. This, plus the fact that playing LDs followed by CDs requires a great deal of mechanical goings on inside the player, leads us to suggest that this capability be used sparingly. You can, of course connect an outboard DAC to the 7057 through its digital output jack. You don't have to pay an arm and a leg for DACs; there are several for a few hundred dollars. However, from a practical standpoint, I would still prefer to have the dedicated CD player, or a CD transport and DAC. On the other hand, the number of CD user features on the 7057 makes it very tempting. For example, if you like to make cassette tapes from CDs to play in your car, the 7057 allows you to state (program with button pushing) that you have a 60 minute tape with 30 minutes per side. The player looks at a CD that you place in the unit, and determines which tracks (musical selections) will fit. When you play the CD with the program, the tracks are played in the order that has been determined, pausing between two 30 minute sections if you are recording both sides of the cassette. There are other features, such as searching for a specific time into a certain track, a specific time into the whole disc, plus . . . programming is on screen, making the entire process much easier than working only with buttons and the panel display. You can also use a "CD Direct" function which turns off all the video circuitry, reducing the likelihood of audible interference from circuits not in use while playing CDs.
In sum, the Mitsubishi M-V7057 Laserdisc Player is one heck of a unit. It has all the features that are necessary to make the most of laserdisc movies, including AC-3 and DTS capability. Highly recommended for a look see and audition.
John E. Johnson, Jr.
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