Europe's First THX Ultra DVD player for NTSC & PAL
The goal for the DVD32R was simple: produce a DVD player that would meet and exceed the high THX® Ultra standards, both for PAL and NTSC and would be easy to setup and use. On top of that, the DVD player had to achieve reference standard replay of CDs to lay to rest the idea that DVD players need offer anything less than the best possible CD reproduction.
There are many OEM DVD kits available, pre-packaged solutions around which a manufacturer simply adds their own casework and logos. A quick and easy route to adding a DVD player to a product range, but fundamentally mass-market products with inevitable performance compromises. Very few outside the major mass-market manufacturers are prepared to devote the time and resources necessary to produce a player from the ground up, but it was clear from the outset that this was the only way to achieve the kind of performance that warrants the TAG McLaren name and fulfils the promise of the DVD format.
The topology and devices used to achieve the excellent sound and picture quality of the DVD32R were selected after constructing and evaluating many prototypes. Each prototype under went extensive laboratory, listening and viewing tests to fine tune and compare the options. The final characteristics were optimised by cross-referencing with experience built up over endless hours of testing TAG McLaren's audio products.
High-mass Transport for Low Jitter
The DVD32R is one of the very few DVD players in the world to use a top loading transport. This approach has been associated for many years with the very best CD players. It allows a more stable platform for the laser assembly which eases the demands on the servo control electronics and their power supplies which in turn improves data integrity and reduces jitter. These lessons learnt apply even more to the higher density, very fast spinning DVD.
The DVD32R's drive motor and servo electronics are mounted to a purpose built aluminium sub-chassis, which has been mass loaded by carefully placed lead. The resulting assembly weighs almost 1 kg, and is supported on carefully selected damping isolation bushes for further mechanical decoupling. The entire drive assembly is in a sub-enclosure for electrical screening which in turn is rigidly fixed to a solid 3 mm aluminium plate. A servo control and data recovery printed circuit board (which receives its clock from the main pcb via a dedicated coaxial link) is attached to the sub-enclosure as close as possible to the dual wavelength laser assembly, screened by a metal plate. The data is serialised and sent to the MPEG decoder on the main pcb.
Automatic, Adaptive Drawer Mechanisme
Many hi-end top-loading constructions have manual open/close operation which seems incompatible and inconvenient with a high cost product. The DVD32R aluminium diecast drawer door runs on a polished steel bar and a Teflon glider, driven by an electric motor via a steel wire. The torque of the motor is progressively adapted by the control software to achieve perfect and consistent performance over temperature and age.
Convenient Disc Changing in the Dark
When the drawer opens it activates an array of blue LEDs inside the drawer to assist placing a disc which is beneficial in a home cinema environment. The light is switched off during play to prevent potential interference.
Precise Clock for best Sound and Video Quality
Accurate extraction of the disc's audio and video data demands precise clocks. The low phase noise single frequency master oscillator in the DVD32R ensures that all video and audio clocks are synchronous to avoid the undesired effects of 'beating'. All required clock frequencies are derived from this master clock using a phase locked loop and two voltage controlled oscillators. The clock signals are transferred across the PCB using independently buffered and precisely terminated clock traces to each of the circuits. This prevents decision threshold uncertainty which would introduce jitter. The result is purer sound and a more precise picture.
The MPEG Decoder from the Experts
MPEG decoding is at the core of a DVD player. TAG McLaren Audio worked closely with National Semiconductor's field-leading subsidiary Mediamatics, in finding the best MPEG decoder solution. After long evaluation Pantera-DVD™, the first IC to integrate all back-end functions of a DVD player onto a single chip, was selected. This unrivalled level of integration, which includes host processing, a 32-bit RISC processor, MPEG specific hardware, 10-bit video DACs and the NTSC and PAL encoders, provides the DVD32R with a no-compromise MPEG decoder solution.
Uncompromised Video quality
The video circuitry within the DVD32R uses broadcast quality components along its entire signal paths. The video outputs are individually buffered by high speed current-feedback op-amps. Besides two Composite and two S Video outputs, two sets of Component video outputs are provided, one using RCA Phono, the other broadcast quality BNC connectors. For best Component video quality S Video and Composite are switched off, except when an on-screen graphic is presented by the software.
Crisp On-screen Display (OSD)
The video processing elements include vertical filtering and an anti-flicker filter to also deliver high quality graphics display. The full-resolution on-screen display is produced by an integrated digital domain OSD generator, avoiding any superfluous circuitry in the analog video paths. The result is uncompromised picture quality.
The picture from the DVD32R can only be as good as your display device allows. The DVD32R includes software-driven test-patterns and hardware test circuitry to assist in calibrating the display device for best brightness, contrast, colour, tint, sharpness, convergence and geometry setting.
Advanced Digital Waveform Control for Better Digital Data Transmission
One would expect that a perfect digital signal is a so called square wave with very fast rise and fall times at the zero crossing points, but this would require digital interconnects with an infinite bandwidth and would make it impossible to prevent signal reflections and interference, degrading the quality of the digital signal and hence the sound. It is important to keep the signal bandwidth to a minimum, whilst maintaining accurate transitions of the data edges through the zero crossing point. The DVD32R incorporates advanced circuitry which reduces rise and fall times whilst preventing waveform discontinuities, the result is a reduced bandwidth and less demand on the digital interconnects.
Discrete, independent Digital Audio Drivers for perfect decoupling
The DVD32R uses, for added sonic perfection, two separate, discrete drivers, tightly controlled in their output impedance to 75 ohms, for each of its two coaxial digital audio data outputs. This not only ensures complete isolation between the outputs but also that any reflections occurring at the receiving end, due to an impedance mismatch, are not re-reflected back from the DVD32R.
TAGtronic Synchronisation Link T2L for Reduced Jitter
When the DVD32R and AV32R are used together, the TAGtronic Synch. Link T2L produces a tighter, cleaner and more controlled sound. T2L allows the AV32R to fix its clock to provide a low noise, ultra low jitter reference right next to its audio DACs, where it needs to be for optimum sound quality. Locking the AV32R's clock requires the DVD32R to synchronise its clocks to the AV32R, which is done through the TAGtronic Synch. Link. The DVD32R provides both a T2L input and output connection to permit easy daisy-chaining of further digital sources with T2L capability, such as the TAG McLaren CD transport CDT20R.
Massive Power Reserves
Despite its low power consumption the DVD32R uses a large toroidal transformer as this has the benefit of a very low stray magnetic field, reducing the possibility of interference with the audio data and video signals. The transformer is also very quiet, reducing hum to an inaudible level.
Convenience without Penalty: Low Standby Power
The DVD32R includes a second, smaller transformer to power the remote control and micro-controller circuitry. This results in very low electrical consumption (<3W) when the DVD32R is switched to standby whilst allowing full remote control.
Best Decoupling between Building Blocks
To reduce interference between the processing, digital data and analog video sections they have separate power supplies, right down to having eight separate secondary windings on the transformer.
Multi-Layer Printed Circuit Boards for Improved Signal Integrity
The DVD32R's multi-layer printed circuit boards control the complex pattern of return currents, provide controlled impedances and minimise coupling better than a conventional circuit board could ever do. The result is better signal to noise, reflected in crisper pictures and sound.
Mixed Technology Construction-the Best of both Worlds
Performance is optimised using surface mount components for fast digital transfer and leaded components for perfect analog signals whilst perfect manufacturing quality is achieved using a combination of inert-gas reflow and wave soldering techniques.
The TAGtronic Communication Bus for System Integration
The DVD32R features the TAGtronic Communication Bus. This allows TAG McLaren Audio units to work seamlessly together to form an effective, integrated system. Remote control codes can be transferred over the bus, allowing system components to be operated out of sight. The DVD32R can even switch your complete TAG McLaren home cinema system into standby.
The TAGtronic Bus will allow the system to be extended to offer multi-room capability in which the output from sources can be controlled and redirected throughout a home.
TAG McLaren has successfully demonstrated that upgradability is a reality. The DVD32R follows this tradition.
All of the DVD32R software is kept in re-programmable, FLASH memory. This is a significant advantage over players which, for cost reasons, cannot offer field re-programmability. Software upgrades allow the DVD32R to support new features and formats, all that is required is to download upgrades from the TAG McLaren Audio website using a PC and a TAGtronic Programming cable.
Progressive Scan Video
The DVD32R hardware can be upgraded to progressive scan for NTSC and PAL.
Digital Video Output
Pending copy protection issues and international standardisation, the DVD32R is hardware upgradable to a digital video output. A suitable TV/projector will be necessary to accept and process this new digital signal.
Performance and Formats
- Europe's first THX® Ultra-approved DVD player for both NTSC and PAL
- Compatible with DVD-Video and CD Music (8 and 12cm)
- PCM, Dolby Digital, MPEG, DTS digital output at 44.1, 48 and 96 kHz with 16, 20 or 24 bits
- Native support of NTSC-M, PAL-B/D/G/H/I and PAL M
- Composite, S-Video and Component outputs for best video quality
- Very low jitter clock re-times the SPDIF audio data
- TAGtronic Synchronisation Link T2L to pass the master clock to the AV32R
Key Building Blocks
- High mass sub-chassis
- Dual wavelength Laser
- Mediamatics Pantera-DVDT™ 32bit RISC processor for best audio and video quality
- Siemens 16-bit microcontroller for most comprehensive user interface
- Stable multi-frequency internal clocks
- Massive round-core transformer
- Twelve independent stable power supplies
- Premium-grade analog components
- Broadcast-quality video components
In and Outputs
- Two composite outputs @ 1.0 Vp-p (75 Ohm, neg. sync.)
- Two S-Video outputs
- Y-signal: 1.0 Vp-p (75Ohm, neg. sync.)
- C-signal: NTSC: 286 mVp-p (75 Ohm)
- PAL: 300 mVp-p (75 Ohm)
- Two Component video outputs, one with RCA, the other with BNC connectors
- Y: .0 Vp-p (75Ohm, 300mV sync.)
- CB (B-Y): 700 mVp-p (75 Ohm load)
- CR (R-Y): 700 mVp-p (75 Ohm load)
- Three digital audio outputs (two coaxial SPDIF and one optical)
- IEC958 output level: 0.5V p-p
- TOSLINK output level: -18dBm (wavelength 660nm)
- Enhanced TAGtronic Communication Bus
- TAGtronic Synchronisation Link T2L
Ease of Use
- Unique Setup Wizard lets you forget printed user manuals
- Fully remote controlled
- Delivered with a backlit, learning remote for home cinema use and a remote to best support CD under illumination
- User configurable auto-standby function
- TAGtronic Bus for inter-product communication and firmware upgrades
- Software and hardware generated test-patterns to assist in optimising picture quality
Enhanced TAGtronic Bus Support
Features available, if TAGtronic Bus equipped products are connected to the DV32R:
- Display of AV32R generated status messages, even in Component video
- Relay of remote commands between products
- Auto Standby for all units connected to the Bus
- Synchronisation of front display brightness
- Station Tuning of the T32R with on-screen display, even in Component
- Sharing of remote commands over the TAGtronic Bus allows hidden installation of AV processor and amplification
- Display of AV32R status (received via TAGtronic Bus) even on Component video
- Learning remote control
- Progressive Scan upgrade for NTSC and PAL
- Digital Video output DVI 1.0
- Suspended sub-chassis houses high mass top loader mechanism
- Mixed technology construction
- Multi-layer printed circuit board for best signal to noise ratio
- High-quality control knobs, surfaces and fascia for life-long perfection
- Extensive vibration damping of chassis panels
- SorbothaneTM mounting feet for best vibration isolation