CLD-99 & Elite CLD-D99
Thanks to Bill
Schwenke for the pictures.
Elite Laser Disc Player Features
3-Optical Disc Compatibility
(LD, CDV, CD) yes
Both-Side Play Gamma-Turn
Legato Link Conversion
1-Bit DLC D/A Converter (twin)
Signal-to-Noise Ratio - 117dB
Dynamic Range - 99dB
CX Noise Reduction System
Horizontal Resolution (Lines) - 425
Video Signal-to-Noise Ratio - 52dB
DVP (Digital Video Processing) System
V-DNR (Variable Digital Noise Reduction)
Digital TBC (Time Base Corrector)
Digital Comb Filter 3-Dimensional
Digital Field Memory
Special Play Functions:
Repeat Mode 7
Program Play (Chapter/Track; 24 Steps)
Multi-Speed Play (Forward/Reverse; 4 Steps CAV/CLV/CDV
Still/Step (Forward/Reverse) CAV/CLV/CDV
Last Memory with Review Mode
10-Key Direct Search and Play (Chapter/Track)(Remote)
Frame/Time Number Search
On Screen Information Display (24 Characters x 10 Lines)
On Screen Level Meter Display
On-Screen Contents Calendar
FL Display Off
Other Special Functions:
Remote Control Unit With Illuminated
Keys & Power On/Off
Jog & Shuttle (Remote)
Still and Sound
Independent CD Tray
RF Output for Dolby Surround AC-3
S-Video Output (Gold Plated) 2
Audio Output (Gold Plated) 2
Video Output (Gold Plated) 2
Digital Audio Output
The Pioneer Elite
CLD-99 Vs CLD-97 Laser Disc Player
By Greg Rogers
Is this the end of
the line for Pioneer Elite Laser Disc Players?
With the introduction of the Digital Video Disc (DVD) only months away, this
could be the final chapter in the technological evolution of the analog
laserdisc player. If it is, and only Pioneer would know, they have stepped-up
and delivered the very latest in state-of-the-art video circuitry.
replaces the Pioneer Elite CLD-97, an awesome responsibility since the CLD-97
and Runco LJR-II may be the best laserdisc players on the planet. When I began
this review, I didn't intend for it to be a formal 'shoot out', but I did place
the new model on a shelf right next to its predecessor. I connected both to my
fully calibrated Sony XBR^2 reference monitor, played the same laserdiscs on
both products, and used a Tektronix VM700A Video Measurement Set to capture
their performance, measured toe-to-toe. When the smoke had cleared, two great
products were still standing.
The CLD-99 has the same elegant
appearance as the rest of the Pioneer Elite product line. The high-gloss black
"Urushi" finish has little to do with picture or sound, but it seems
to make a public statement about the quality inside. Both products have highly
polished simulated-wood end caps that increase their width, but enhance their
The CLD-99 is 5-11/16 inches high
while the CLD-97 is a significantly taller 6-7/8 inches. Both products are very
wide at 18-1/16 inches and extremely deep. The CLD-99 measures 17 inches front
to back and the CLD-97 is 17-13/16 inches deep. As I removed the CLD-99 from its
box I was immediately aware of how much lighter it was. It weighs a little over
23 lbs while the CLD-99 is a hefty 37-1/2 lbs.
Since neither of these products
is likely to fit comfortably inside an equipment cabinet they will probably see
duty sitting on an open shelf. The bottom surface of the CLD-99 is a
copper-plated chassis that hangs down almost to the shelf surface. This
partially explains its shorter height, but if the LD player is above eye level
when you are seated, this protrusion doesn't look especially attractive.
The CLD-99 has a sculptured, slightly rounded face. The LD drawer is off center
to the left, making room for a small display status window on the right. There
is a button that turns off the display to prevent any digital display circuit
noise from leaking into the audio. There are a minimum number of controls on the
front panel including Play/Pause, Stop, Open/Close and Side A/Side B buttons.
These are all standard front panel functions on the CLD-97 as well. Neither unit
has a jog/shuttle control on the front panel. The CLD-99 has a direct access CD
drawer, a feature not included on the CLD-97.
The CLD-97 uses its expansive front panel space to provide a wider display
window and a more open control layout. It has small, rich-looking, gold plated
buttons and a cast aluminum chassis. The CLD-97 has a thin hinged door across
the bottom of its front panel that hides the Scan, Skip, Direct Search and
programming buttons. There is also a button for the digital noise reduction (DNR)
function that is inconveniently omitted from its remote control. The other
functions are seldom used since they are all contained on the remote. Although
both units are handsome, I prefer the CLD-97's simpler lines and symmetric
layout. Of course, you didn't visit CyberTheater to hear about my styling
preferences, so let's move on.
The rear panel of the CLD-99
provides two Y/C (S-Video) video outputs and two composite video outputs. There
are also two stereo pairs of analog audio outputs, one digital audio coax
output, a digital audio optical output and an AC-3 RF audio output. The CLD-97
has the same complement of connectors except for the AC-3 RF output. Both
products also have Control In/Out jacks for controlling the LD player from
another Pioneer component.
The CLD-99 is not a direct
upgrade of the CLD-97. In fact, its transport mechanism and front panel design
appears to be based more on the CLD-D704
than its Elite predecessor. It's most innovative feature is the inclusion of a
digital 3-D Motion Adaptive Y/C Separation Filter. This is the full technical
name for what Pioneer alternately refers to as 3-D Y/C Separation circuitry or a
3-D Digital Comb Filter. These are both clear, abbreviated terms and I applaud
Pioneer for not making-up some goofy and confusing marketing name. Regardless of
what they call it, this is the first and only LD player to incorporate this
expensive and advanced Y/C Separation technique. It joins just a handful of
projection and direct view TV monitors with this still rare technology. It's
claim to fame is the potential total elimination of dot crawl and rainbow-like
color interference on static picture images. (This is not the same thing as
still frame images, more on this later.)
Other features, new to CLD-97
owners, include separately adjustable digital noise reduction (DNR) for the
luminance (Y) and color (C) signals. The CLD-97 also had separate Y/C DNR
circuits but they were preset by design and not user adjustable. An adjustable
sharpness control is also included. Another feature is the Direct CD function
that enables the smaller CD tray, while disabling the internal video circuits to
reduce digital noise interference in the audio circuits. The start up time for
CD loading is also reduced in this mode.
The CLD-99 provides an AC-3 RF
output that owners of the CLD-97 would certainly like to have. Whether of not
this alone justifies the considerable cost of the CLD-99 is another matter. AC-3
outputs can be added to the CLD-97 by numerous 3rd party service providers for a
few hundred dollars or less. It is also possible to purchase do-it-yourself
upgrade kits for the CLD-97 and other LD players.
Beyond these new features, the
CLD-99 includes two of Pioneer's single-bit audio D/A converters along with its
Legato Link Conversion processing, digital video time-base correction,
double-sided play, digital video memory for CLV still frames, and a host of
repeat and programmed play modes from previous Elite products. You can rest
assured that if you part with $2400 to get Pioneer's top-of-the-line LD player,
they throw in all of their other latest and greatest features with it.
The AC-3 RF output functionality
was verified by driving a Pioneer Elite SP-99D AC-3 & Pro Logic Surround
Processor for extensive AC-3 listening tests. We will discuss AC-3 listening
tests in a future CyberTheater article. I did not do any substantial listening
to the analog outputs, which use the Legato Link Conversion processing found in
the CLD-97 and several other Pioneer LD players.
Setting Up for Evaluation
My current reference monitor for
critical evaluations is a 32" Sony XBR^2 (32XBR96) direct view monitor. I
regularly re-calibrate its color temperature and gray scale tracking to the
D6500 standard. Its chroma gain and phase are adjusted for each component under
evaluation using a color analyzer to optimally match color standards. While not
perfect, the color match is very close to the Sony BVM studio monitors that I
have measured. Needless to say, all other video set-up parameters are calibrated
with equal diligence. Even the geometry, convergence and overscan are checked,
and readjusted if necessary, at regular monthly intervals.
CyberTheater will have a detailed
review of the 32XBR96 in the very near future. Although it is now discontinued
and replaced by the Sony 32XBR100, that review and an accompanying 35"
Mitsubishi monitor review, will provide a performance benchmark for all of
CyberTheater's monitor reviews to come. It will also establish our procedures
for measuring critical color performance and all other monitor parameters.
Owner's of the 32XBR96 should also be interested in this report if they are
thinking of new purchases.
The 32XBR96 is ideal for
equipment reviewing because it has completely separate, user adjustable video
parameters (color, tint, brightness, etc), for each set of video inputs (and its
built-in tuners). The 32XBR100 has a single set of adjustable video parameters,
but includes the XBR^2 CRT, a 3-D digital comb filter, and like several other
new Sony products, comes factory calibrated with the D6500 color temperature
setting. I hope to provide a review of the 32XBR100 in the future. If it matches
the basic performance of the 32XBR96, in addition to its 3-D digital comb
filter, it would be a strong candidate for my personal laserdisc viewing.
Incidently, we recommend that any
high-end monitor be calibrated by a professional, right out of the box. If you
are going to spend big bucks for the best possible monitor, then why not spend a
little more and be sure it is performing to its full potential. Gray scale
tracking, geometry, and convergence are just three parameters that can take
several hours to optimize. Imagine the cost of these monitors if the
manufacturer allocated that much time to each one. You can find a map
of calibration service providers near where you live, on our home page.
The equipment was first set up to
evaluate the LD players without using the CLD-99's 3-D comb filter. The
composite video outputs from both LD players were connected to the Sony monitor.
This put them on even ground, both using the monitor's digital 2-D Adaptive Y/C
Separation Filter. I used a color analyzer and Reference Recordings' laserdisc,
"A Video Standard"
(AVS) to calibrated the chroma gain (Color), chroma phase (Tint), and black
level (Brightness) separately for each input. I set the monitor's Sharpness
adjustment to the same level for both inputs using a multiburst test pattern and
within the tolerable level of aperture compensation induced outlining.
Brightness level was set to 35 foot-lamberts for a 100 IRE display. Having
calibrated the equipment it was time "to go to the movies".
Observations from CyberTheater
The one quality that has
traditionally distinguished the small upper echelon of LD players from the rest
has been lower chroma noise. Luminance noise is too low on most quality
laserdisc players to be an evaluation factor. Chroma noise was also the
parameter, but by a smaller differential, that established the CLD-97's
superiority over Pioneer Elite LD-S2, three years ago. The LD-S2's digital
signal processing (DSP) technology, now two LD player generations old, paved the
way for DSP when it was still an inordinately costly and exotic consumer
In this new generational battle,
the CLD-97 stubbornly refused to give ground. I tested the composite outputs
first, turning the digital noise reduction (DNR) off for both players, to
establish a basic performance baseline. In actual use, I can't see any reason to
disable the noise reduction entirely like this. The CLD-97 showed less severe
streaking in highly saturated patches of color. When I turned the DNR back on,
the level of chroma noise dropped dramatically in both players but the CLD-97
was still significantly better. The older product has a simple on/off switch for
DNR, while the CLD-99 was operating at its standard, mid-scale position. If I
advanced the C-NR (color noise reduction) setting toward maximum, the CLD-99
closely approached the CLD-97's performance. When I tested the Y/C outputs
following the same process, I obtained essentially the same results. The CLD-99
equaled the CLD-97, when its noise reduction was set to max.
A good test for easily observing
the different chroma noise levels is a color bar pattern that plays continuously
(not a still frame). You can find this pattern at the end of several laserdiscs
including "Escape from New York", [New Line Home Video, ID2330SU]. The
CLD-99 has memory for three sets of user adjustable parameters, in addition to a
standard setting, that each include adjustments for Y and C noise reduction,
Sharpness, and the 3-D Comb Filter. This makes it easy to set up different
chroma noise levels and experiment on real program material. If the C-NR level
is set too high it could potentially create color smear or bleeding across color
boundaries on fast moving images. I have not encountered these effects on the
CLD-97's fixed chroma noise reduction setting.
The CLD-99 sample had no trouble
producing 420 lines of horizontal resolution but it created a somewhat softer
picture than the CLD-97. Sharp edges and picture details were less distinct. The
measurement section of this review shows that the frequency response of this
sample rolled-off compared to the CLD-97, with a dip in the 2-3 MHz region.
Fortunately, this is the usual operating range of monitor's sharpness controls.
The CLD-97's sharpness control only modifies the signals from the Y/C outputs.
Either sharpness control can provide compensation but should be used judiciously
to avoid creating objectionable outlining effects.
Other Composite Video
Comparing the composite outputs
served as benchmark of the raw video performance capabilities of the two
players. It established the baseline picture quality resulting from transport
mechanism stability, digital timebase correction, digital noise reduction, power
supply isolation and a dozen other circuit design factors. I didn't observe any
other substantial picture differences using the composite video signal beyond
what has already been discussed.
3-D Y/C Separation
We have finally arrived at the
CLD-97's most important and impressive new feature, its 3-D Motion Adaptive Y/C
Separation circuit. Although it is easy to set and forget in actual use, it is a
bit more complicated to explain what it does and how it works. Readers that
already understand all about comb filters may just skip ahead a couple of
paragraphs while we cover a few basics for everyone else.
Back in about 1953, when the NTSC
color video standards were adopted, a choice was made to make the new color TV
system compatible with the existing monochrome system. This led to a decision to
mix the narrow bandwidth color information, into the top of the wide band
frequency range that was already used for the black and white luminance
information. In this way, the color TV signal could be broadcast in the same
frequency space that was being used for the monochrome TV signal. The new color
TV signal would also play on the existing monochrome TV's, in black and white,
The only problem with mixing the
color (C) signal into the existing luminance (Y) signal, was figuring out how to
untangle them again inside the color TV. Right up until today, this has remained
a problem with no perfect Y/C separation solution. For years, the solution was
to split the shared frequency spectrum up just below the bottom of the narrower
color band. The luminance signals lost their higher frequency components and the
picture had poor resolution, lacking the fine details that the camera had
recorded. The color signal was still contaminated by those missing high
frequency luminance signals. This created colored rainbow-like patterns within
the finely detailed areas of the picture.
Eventually a better technology,
called comb filters, came into use. They are able to separate the overlapping Y
and C frequencies to a higher degree. The analog comb filters restored most of
the lost resolution and detail in the picture, but couldn't completely eliminate
all of the rainbow patterns. In addition, dot patterns would appear along the
edges of objects and degrade the image. The dot patterns are called hanging dots
or dot crawl artifacts. The rainbow patterns are called cross-color artifacts.
In the last five years or so, digital versions of comb filters, called 3-line or
2-D Adaptive Comb Filters, were introduced. This technology made major
improvements in preventing dot crawl and minor improvements in cross-color.
Finally, in the last year of so, the first 3-D digital comb filters have
appeared in a handful of TV monitors and now for the first time, a laserdisc
The 3-D digital comb filters are
at least an order of magnitude more complex than the previous generation of comb
filters. They can remove the annoying artifacts of the 2-D generation devices
completely on images that are static and not moving or changing color. When
images are in "motion" the new comb filters adapt by sensing that
motion and reverting to the previous generation 2-D adaptive filters. Although
imperfect, the digital 2-D adaptive filter algorithms can cope with images in
motion, whereas the 3-D filters will generate even more obnoxious artifacts. The
formal name for a 3-D digital comb filter is a 3-D Motion Adaptive Y/C
If you would like to know a lot
more about comb filters take a look at CyberTheater's Guide
to Comb Filters: Y/C Separation.
Evaluating the 3-D Y/C
I switched from composite video
cables to Y/C (S-Video) cables between the laserdisc players and the monitor.
This permitted the CLD-99 to use its 3-D comb filter while the CLD-97 used its
excellent 2-D comb filter. It soon became apparent that there was an important
new difference between players. Generally, the CLD-99's comb filter removed a
subtle layer of grunge from the CLD-97's picture. A faint shimmering effect
disappeared on some complex images. Images that were mistakenly thought to be
slightly grainy from the telecine transfer, were improved by the 3-D filter. The
CLD-99 picture was still a bit softer but it now looked cleaner than the CLD-97.
The sharper and clearer the telecine transfer, the more apparent the
In subsequent testing, I made
comparisons on other monitors. The Sony XBR^2 monitor series is my favorite
because of its extraordinary picture definition. On CRT's with less picture
definition the general differences between the filters were not as obvious,
probably because the 2-D adaptive filter's residual artifacts, like dot crawl,
can be harder to detect in lower resolution systems. The irony of this situation
is not at all new to video or high-end audio. The better we make the systems,
the easier it is to detect the residual defects that were always buried below
the resolution of other products.
As I watched more laserdiscs and
compared the 3-D filter to the CLD-97's filter, I also found more specific
instances where the difference was momentarily dramatic. Occasionally, there are
images where the 2-D comb filter simply can not separate the Y/C information.
When that happens there is a major artifact in the picture. The really dramatic
differences occur when the image is static because of the way a 3-D comb filter
works. The advantage of the 3-D comb filtering technique only occurs when the
picture is static between successive frames. Static means that the image
location doesn't move or change color from one frame to the next. The 3-D comb
filter detects that lack of "motion" and processes the composite video
signal between the two frames. This is called inter-frame comb filtering.
It is important to realize that
inter-frame comb filtering can not work when a laserdisc player is in still
mode. The player simply repeats the same frame over and over. This does not
create the normal frame sequence of Y/C information necessary for inter-frame
comb filtering to work. The 3-D comb filter reverts to 2-D adaptive filtering
when it is in the still (step) mode.
If the image is in motion, the
comb filter can not compare two separate frames because a different image exists
at a given screen location a frame later. When it detects "motion" it
automatically adapts and switches to a 2-D filter implementation just like the
CLD-97's. So you should expect, and you will see, that in the presence of motion
the two filters look much the same. When the picture is static the 3-D filter
cleans up the artifacts that aren't handled as well by the CLD-97's filter. Most
of the time the artifacts are very subtle, because the 2-D filters are still
very good Y/C separators and they can effectively handle most video material.
They leave only a trace of residual artifacts on most static images. But it is
that small residual the 3-D filter cleans up to unveil the picture.
3-D Digital Comb Filter
I like to provide basic examples
that can be found on Reference Recording's laserdisc, "A Video
Standard" (AVS). There are at least three good reasons. 1) Most people
already have this disc to properly adjust their TV monitors. 2) Many of you will
want to head for your retailers and duplicate these examples as part of your
buying decision process. Your dealer should have a copy of AVS and if they
don't, at least you won't need to take too many discs with you. 3) Just like
you, the first place I see a new piece of gear is wandering through the dealers
showroom. Before I ever secure a product for review, I want to make some
preliminary evaluation so that I don't waste my time. Since I have dozens of
different tests identified on this one disc, I can quickly find an appropriate
test and one that I've seen over and over on a wide selection of products.
Before you start looking at these
examples be sure you have a reasonably good monitor with decent resolution. I am
always suspicious when someone discusses results of visual observations from
rear projection TV's set up in a dealer showroom. They are usually so poorly
adjusted that you are lucky to make out an image at all. You might first take a
look at frame 50789, and make sure you can at least see distinctly separated
lines up to 400 in the vertically oriented resolution wedges. That means your
system is displaying at least 400 horizontal lines of resolution. Then use the
pluge pattern on frame 50817, to make sure the brightness control is also
Set up the LD player to be tested
to repeatedly play a segment from frame 18600-18760. If you view this image with
a 2-D comb filter you will see light colored dots moving along the diagonal
edges of the large blue triangle in the center of the picture. This effect is
known as 'dot crawl' or 'hanging dots'. It is an artifact caused by incomplete
Y/C separation where there is crosstalk or leaking of the C (color) signal into
the Y (luminance signal). The technical name for the problem is cross-luminance.
If you play the same segment on the CLD-99, using the Y/C cable to the monitor,
the dot crawl will disappear completely. The image that looks so bad on a 2-D
filter is completely cleaned up by the CLD-99's 3-D filter.
This is a perfect example of the
3-D filter's operation since the image is static with no movement. Since it is
static, the 3-D filter is in its 3-D inter-frame comb filtering mode, and
performs near perfect separation. Just beyond frame 18760, the triangle fades
away. This constitutes "movement" because the color is changing. The
3-D filter senses this movement and reverts to the 2-D mode. The dot crawl will
momentarily appear as the triangle starts to fade away.
You can also experiment with the
2-D and 3-D modes of the CLD-99's comb filter by forcing it into the 2-D mode.
Use the 'MEMO', 'SELECT', and shuttle ring on the remote control to adjust the
'3-D Y/C' sensitivity from 'Min' to 'Max'. If the sensitivity is reduced to the
'Min' setting it forces the filter to operate in or near the 2-D mode. If it is
set to 'Max' it forces the filter toward always being in the 3-D mode. This
adjustability is nice for experimenting and understanding the effects of the two
modes on different images. I found that overall the best results were achieved
by leaving the control centered during normal operation.
A 3-D Motion Adaptive Y/C
Separation filter can make two kinds of errors. The most serious error is not
detecting motion, staying in its 3-D mode and continuing to comb filter the
dissimilar images between frames. As you advance toward the 'Max' sensitivity
you are increasing the likelihood of this type error. The other error type, is
to be overly cautious and detect motion when it doesn't exist. Then the filter
operates in the 2-D mode when it isn't necessary. The separation will not be
optimum, but it will be as good as a 2-D filter. As you move the sensitivity
toward 'Min' you are becoming more and more conservative and getting less
benefit from the 3-D filter.
Next, let's look at an example
that is more subtle, but more typical of the images you would see in a LD movie.
Set the LD player to repeat the section from frame 13850-14150. This is AVS's
famous supermarket scene (perhaps only famous because I keep using it as an
example for different video problems). This section is 'ripe' with minor
cross-luminance artifacts particularly in the fruit bins behind the shoppers.
(Sorry) With a 2-D filter you will see very obvious dot crawl in the pricing
signs, particularly around the red and white characters. Also look for small
patches of faint dots, especially in the darker areas, between the oranges and
the lemon/limes. There is also a general shimmering that creates a haze over
most of the fruit. The better the monitor definition the clearer you will see
the details in the picture, but also the more the cross-luminance effects will
be apparent. If you look at this same scene with the CLD-99's comb filter you
will see a cleaner image. The dot crawl on the pricing signs vanishes and the
cross-luminance haze and shimmering is gone. Overall, this scene is
representative of the ability of the 3-D filter to remove the very subtle
residual grunge and veil that the 2-D filters may leave over normal video
The inverse of cross-luminance
artifacts are cross-color artifacts. This occurs when the Y/C separation filter
is unable to remove all of the (Y) luminance information from the (C) color
signal. These artifacts are not subtle at all. They result in bright colored
rainbows that appear in picture areas that have very fine lines running in
parallel, such as stripes on a shirt or threads in a jacket. Some people have
come to call this the Roger Ebert effect, since he often wears tweed jackets
that are particularly susceptible to creating this problem. The 2-D Y/C
Separation filters are not very successful in avoiding cross-color artifacts,
but on static images the 3-D comb filter can eliminate them entirely.
Unfortunately, there aren't any real good examples of this problem on the AVS
disc. So I will provide an example from another disc that creates killer
cross-color problems. It will also illustrate the limitation of 3-D filters to
fix the problem if the image is moving.
Take a look at chapter 2 of
"The Getaway", [MCA Universal Home Video, 42060]. This segment has
some of the worst cross-color problems that I have seen. The rainbow patterns
are especially hideous on the air-intake grill near the windshield of the car.
The fine pattern in the grill, and the movement of the camera, make this area
light up like a Christmas tree. Set up the LD player to repeat play the segment
between 3:29-3:33. This is one of the few times the camera and resulting image
are still long enough that you can recognize the dramatic difference the 3-D
filter can make. It totally eliminates the cross-color in the grill. There is
awful cross-color throughout this chapter but the camera seems to always be
moving. It is often difficult to recognize that the 3-D filter is improving
things, if only momentarily. But this does show the basic "movement"
limitations of the 3-D comb filters.
I want to close this discussion
of the 3-D filter's benefits by pointing out an example where the CLD-99's 3-D
filter is apparently unable to detect "movement" in the image. It uses
the 3-D inter-frame comb filtering when only the 2-D mode will properly separate
the image. Once again on AVS, set up the LD player to repeat the section from
1020-1220. This is an animated sequence where a cartoon character must 'fix'
some 'broken' color bars. Notice that the normally cyan and magenta bars are
changing colors every two frames. A 3-D filter should sense these color changes,
consider this a "moving" image, and use its 2-D Y/C separation
I've only had an opportunity to
look at a couple of the 3-D filters process this sequence, but none of them have
used the 2-D mode. Instead, they create a dark checkerboard pattern within the
'cyan' bar. It is very easy to observe. The 2-D filters handle the segment
properly without creating any checkerboard artifact over the cyan bar. If you
reduce the CLD-99's '3-D Y/C' sensitivity control from its midpoint, you will
observe the checkerboard pattern vanish as the adjustment nears 'Min'. This is a
rather artificial case, but it illustrates that the 3-D filter's adaptive logic
is making very complex judgments and can be fooled. However, after watching a
dozen or so complete laserdiscs with the sensitivity control in its standard
position, I can't say that I ever saw a problem of this type occur during movie
The Pioneer Elite CLD-99 is full of the latest laserdisc video technology. It's
the only LD player on the market to feature an expensive 3-D Motion Adaptive Y/C
Separation Filter. It also provides capabilities not included in the previous
top-of-line CLD-97, including separately adjustable digital noise reduction for
both luminance and color information and an AC-3 RF output. At $2400 list, it is
the flagship of the Elite laserdisc player line.
The basic video performance of
the CLD-99 matched up well against the CLD-97, aside from a somewhat softer
picture, and slightly more chroma noise in its standard mode. It is the 3-D
digital comb filter that distinguishes the CLD-99's performance from its peers.
Its adaptive filter constantly monitors for momentarily static images and the
opportunity to avoid the subtle residual Y/C separation artifacts of 2-D
filters. Overall, this appears to remove a thin layer of grunge from the average
picture, and it removes the occasional serious static image artifacts when they
would otherwise appear. I am impressed enough by the performance of this 3-D
comb filter, and others that have appeared recently in select TV monitors, that
I can't imagine not having one somewhere in my critical video path from LD
player to monitor.
I used a Tektronix VM700A Video Measurement Test Set and my reference copy of
AVS to make all of the measurements presented here.
Multiburst Frequency Response
The frequency response dip at 2.0
MHz and 3 MHz explains why the CLD-99 had a softer picture than the CLD-97. All
measurements were taken with the CLD-99 in standard mode (all settings at
midrange). The CLD-97 measurements were taken with the Digital Noise Reduction
Video, Frame 50816
Line 125 Field 2
Video, Frame 50816
Line 125 Field 2
Both units had very low video
noise with either the composite or Y/C video outputs. Other magazines usually
show only the NTC-7 Weighted numbers. I have also included the unweighted
figures as references for future articles.
Frame 50823, Field 1, Line 125
Field White 100 IRE, 10 KHz-Full BW
Both products are distinguished
by their very low chroma noise. Most magazines only publish a single value
usually with an unspecified weighting factor. I have included four standard
weighting factors as references for future articles.
AM Chroma Noise
AM Chroma noise causes variations
in the color saturation levels.
|AM Chroma Noise
Frame 50819, Both Frames
|100 Hz -
|10 KHz -
|100 Hz -
|10 KHz -
|AM Chroma Noise
Frame 50819, Both Frames
|100 Hz -
|10 KHz -
|100 Hz -
|10 KHz -
PM Chroma Noise
PM chroma noise causes variations
|PM Chroma Noise
Frame 50819, Both Frames
|100 Hz -
|10 KHz -
|100 Hz -
|10 KHz -
|PM Chroma Noise
Frame 50819, Both Frames
|100 Hz -
|10 KHz -
|100 Hz -
|10 KHz -
Chroma-Luma Gain and Delay
The Chrominance to Luminance
Delay indicates the time alignment between the Y and C signal information within
the composite video output. If the delay becomes too long the color will appear
to smear or bleed at the edges of objects. Since the active time (portion you
can see in the absence of overscan) of a horizontal scan line is about 52.5 uS,
a monitor would need the ability to resolve about 1000 lines horizontally to
just perceive a 50 nS delay.
The Chrominance to Luminance Gain
inequality is a measure of the C signal gain to the Y signal gain within the
composite waveform. If the C signal is incorrectly matched to the luminance
signal, it will show up as incorrect color saturation in the picture. The
monitor's color control can compensate for this condition.
The CLD-99 chroma gain was set
too low but well within the monitor's ability to compensate. The Y/C delay was
below the threshold of detectability for both products. The CLD-97 was
Frame 50819, Field 1, Line 20
Horizontal Sync Jitter
This measurement looks at the
amount of jitter across all horizontal lines within a field of video. The
measurement is made over many fields looking for the worst case peak-to-peak
error. It is a measure of the effectiveness of the digital timebase corrector in
the LD player to prevent the image from momentarily shifting between horizontal
scan lines. This is a serious problem in the case of VCR's, but shouldn't be a
problem on LD players that have digital timebase correction circuits, as these
players do. Both players perform below the threshold of detection.
In future LD player reviews we will present other measurements from these
products if they help to explain any product to product differences that we may
Multivoltage Import Version of the CLD-99
This is the same unit as the CLD-99 US version but is colored Gold and has heavy
metal plates on the sides
* voltage selector on the back to select either 110-127VAC or
* Separate Digital Video Noise Reduction, DVNR, for
Illuminance and Chroma
* 3D Adaptive Digital Y/C filter for S-Video Output, The Elite
CLD-99 is the only US model that has this same Adaptive filter
* 3D Adaptive filter adjustable between 2D to 3D for desired
amount of motion/NTSC artifacts reduction desired
* Adjustable sharpness for S-Video Output
* Separate CD tray
* AC-3 RF Output
* Coax and Optical Digital Outputs
* Dual side playback of LD's
* Brand New LaserPickup Installed
* Brand new Capstain Motor Installed
* Film Mode for faster side changes