LaserDisc UK Web Site



Pioneer LD-S1

Pioneer’s LD-S1 LaserVision player is a machine targeted at the high-end videophile buyer who might like it to match in with their matching PIONEER Elite Hi-Fi range C-90/M-90 Pre/Power Amplifiers.    Contrary to an earlier report the LD-S1 lists for a well rounded $2,000, though the expected selling price is likely to be in the $1,600 range. 

The LD-S1 only plays Laserdiscs.  Video specs claimed are 420 line horizontal resolution with a 48db signal-to-noise ratio. The machine incorporates an 8-bit/1 megabit RAM chip memory that is able to grab frames off CLV discs and display them as still pictures. Very much in the manner of the SONY LDP-730, but this is only a lower resolution 6-bit machine.)

On the audio side the player employs 4 x oversampling (a first time for this from PIONEER) and separate D/A converters for each channel; similar channel separation is maintained in the component stages wherever possible.  The end result is frequency response from 4-20,000 Hz (+0.5(113), 105(113 S/N, 97(113 dynamic range and 100(113 channel separation.  THD stays the same as for other recent players (.0035%), as do the analogue sound specs.

Some of the efforts undertaken to improve performance are given away by the player's weight which at 16.8kg, is nearly twice that of a conventional modern LV player.  Power consumption, at 55 watts, is also up.  Dimensions are 456(w) x 136(h) x 468(d).

PIONEER states the newly designed motor/clamping mechanism is responsible for many of the resulting improvements in picture quality; the vibration caused by the disc spinning at up to l,800rpm being a major cause of image impairment in conventional players.  For the LD-S1 they have designed a new motor relying on a silicon grease bearing at the end of the drive shaft to mechanically disengage it when turning under load; hence less vibration.  At the other end, the disc clamp now relies on magnetism to hold the disc rather than a fixed mounting, again removing vibration effects and also offering greater clamping effect (50% up on previously). PIONEER calls all this the Full-Floating Drive.

With their new Accu-Focus circuit, improvements in frequency response and distortion performance are claimed.  In order to track and read a disc the reflected laser beam is split into four segments as usual.  But Pioneer’s use of delay devices In the leading sectors ensures the recomposed signal is achieved with the minimum amount of phase distortion.  References to other circuit enhancements are also made in the literature.  It all sounds promising and those who've seen the machine in action have been impressed.  One is bound to wonder if there is a sufficient reservoir of similar state-of-the-art software readily available to fully exploit the machine's potential.  

The LD-S1 has all the usual control options, plus a few more (admittedly minor innovations) that have not been seen on other machines.  The remote is similar to that of the LD-838D.  The LD-S1 is fairly speedy for a consumer player, offering 4 second (max) access on CAV 4iscs and a 7 second (max) time on CAV discs.