Wednesday, 28 July 2021 07:26

REVIEW: Reavon UBR-X200 - a HighEnd universal disc player with weight Featured

Written by

JB Forlag has acquired the agency for the brand new brand Reavon, which has two 4k players in their portfolio. We have had Norway's first sample on the test bench.

On July 12, we were able to announce Reavon's two new 4k Ultra HD Blu-ray players. Two days later, the first copy of the top model UBR-X200 arrived to the Norwegian importer John Berge, who leads JB-forlag, the company that is also the importer of the Reavon players. We were lucky to be the first out of the course of those who will review this player, and the day after it landed in Norway it was in present on our test bench in Fredrikstad.


Norwegian distributor unpacking video

In our news article about the Reavon players, we briefly told about the void left by Oppo when they were proactive and left the market while still on top with their universal players, and rather went all-in with mobile phones. Oppo had a status that made them almost inevitable candidates if a HighEnd universal player was to be considered. And for the same reason, there was an indisputable vacuum when they disappeared. Sony, Samsung Panasonic and Pioneer have kept up with some models, but if you want a HighEnd model that gives a sufficient sense of quality when it comes to weight and build quality, it is probably only Pioneer that has maintained a sufficient standard.

It is in this landscape that French Reavon appears at a time when 4k players were only about absence. And it is undeniably an interesting arrival, not least since the French company Groupe Archisoft, based in Paris, is also behind HighEnd media streamers with the product name Zappiti.

Two models - UBR-X100 and -X200

This is the top model of the two players, where really only the UBR-X200 is a thoroughbred universal disc player. The smaller model UBR-X100 lacks compatibility with SACD, and may therefore only get the title Multiplayer if we are to be a little strict. And we have to…

The other big difference between the UBR-X100 and the UBR-X200 is the audio part. While the UBR-X100 only has digital audio outputs, the UBR-X200 has both stereo RCA and XLR outputs, and on top of that a complete set of 7.1 analog outputs. Not least the XLR outputs give a clear signal that Reavon is aiming for the audiophile part of the market, something we will return to later in the test.

The video part, on the other hand, is identical in the basic model UBR-X100 and UBR-X200 at nearly twice the price. This makes the choice easy if it is primarily a HighEnd video player you are looking for, and if you are going to play the sound via HDMI or another digital output, which most people do nowadays. But SACD playback must then be arrangedsomewhere else, to the extent that it is relevant. The weight is also almost the same on the two players - 6.3 and 6.8 kg respectively.

Design and finish

In addition to the importance of a robust cabinet for a stable and resonance-free playback, it is also a very important parameter to give a good feeling in the physical contact with the player. Here the UBR-X200 markls a pretty big contrast to my own reference UDP, a Sony UBP-X700 with its reduced width of 32cm and a weight of 1.4 kg. But then this is a player at the opposite end of the price scale. The Reavon UBR-X200 is a full-width player that weighs about five times more than the Sony player.

The design otherwise has fairly quiet instruments with clean lines, and can thus be more reminiscent of Oppo's UDP-203 than the top model UDP-205. I have always preferred the design of the UDP-103/203 over the design of the UDP-105/205, so for me this is good news.

It is also interesting with a somewhat striking similarity in design with the top model of the media streamers for Zappiti, which are also full-width components with a weight of 7.5 kg.

Some of the weight of the UBR-X200 also comes from a ring core transformer, which, among other things, must take care to provide sufficient power to the sound part.

The remote control

The remote control of the UNR-X200 is a rather towering issue, unlike many of the competitors' remote controls for Blu-ray and 4k players. Good backlighting and dedicated buttons for everything you might need in a fairly logical setup, and where key features are highlighted in the central area of ​​the remote controls with a brushed aluminum background, in contrast to the black plastic in the rest of the remote. Reavon`s remote is quite similar to Oppo's remote control.

Outputs

We briefly mentioned this topic it in the introduction, but we spend the time for a slightly more thorough review of the player's contacts on the back. The most central is of course the HDMI outputs, and here we find two of them.  And this is not two identical outputs, but one that works as an ordinary HDMI output with Video and Audio, and a pure Hdmi-output for audio. During the test period, I had extra benefit from this when I used it in combination with a Linn Majik DSM stereo amplifier with streamer. This amplifier has 4 HDMI inputs that I used as audio input for stereo playback, while I connected the other HDMI output to Onkyo TX-NR969 for video, and for multi-channel playback.

Furthermore, there are two USB-A inputs, a 3.0 on the back and a 2.0 on the front. These are intended for playback of media files from e.g. USB disk.

An optical and a coax digital output are also available for digital transmission of audio to external DAC or Receiver / amplifier with digital inputs.

The analog outputs receive their signal from Texas Instruments Burr-Brown Audio PCM1690 DACs. You can choose between balanced signals from the XLR outputs or unbalanced signals from the RCA connectors.

Analog 7.1 outputs

The analog 5.1 / 7.1 outputs are a rather rare phenomenon nowadays. And having said that, it must be added that analog 5.1-7.1 inputs on processors and receivers are about equally rare. Nevertheless, this may be a useful supplement if the player is to be connected to an older HighEnd processor / preamplifier with no HDMI inputs. Like for example. my retired Linn Kinos HighEnd Pre-/Pro. Such a connection has some obvious limitations, but is still a decent solution to have available sometimes.

It is worth noting that there are no options for delay settings or bass management in the UBR-X200. This means, among other things, that you do not get compensated for different speaker distances. This is by no means something unique, and is a phenomenon I have also encountered in other HighEnd players with analog 5.1 or 7.1 outputs, such as. Linn's Unidisk players.

No WiFi

Network connection allows for network connection. And that's nice, because the UBR-X200 has no WiFi. This is an obvious drawback, and of course requires that you set up a wired connection if you want Internet access for DLNA playback of audio or video files.

Setup and operation

The setup menu is quite extensive and provides ample settings for, among other things, audio and video. The whole thing is quite logically structured, but I was still a little surprised that detailed display settings are not in the main setup menu, but is accessed in a set of settings that are available only during playback. This is not available without a disc being played. 

The response time is not among the fastest I have experienced, but this is compensated by the fact that there are complete and good choices in the menu. A small detail I enjoyed was that when pausing you get both a time indicator and a marking of the chapter number and of the total number of chapters.

The resume playback also works well, as long as you remember to activate this option in the menu. You get the choice between resume or starting over when the you resume playback.

A slightly annoying detail is that eject does not work directly when the player is in standby. You have to wake the player first, and that doesn`t happen by pressing eject. But you're absolutely right - it's nitpicking.

WE PLAY MOVIES

It must be admitted that I am even more concerned with sound than with video, and my review of this player is clearly dominated by this fact. But of course there was also a good block with video playback in the review.

In the main part of the test, a Philips 75PUS6754 was used. This is a 75-inch LCD that supports both Dolby Vision and HD10+, in addition to the standard HDR10. In addition, UBR-X200 got a small round with an LG C8 55-inch, which with its OLED technology gives even better images than the Philips does. This model supports Dolby Vision, but not HD10+, which actually de facto is a Samsung-dominated HD format.

A star is Born

One of the videos on the test track was A Star Is Born, starring Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper. The main source was the release of 4k Ultra HD Blu-ray. And for comparison, I used a 4k version of the same release purchased on iTunes Movie, played on 4k Apple TV.

The stage outside the grocery store from approx. 21:30 to approx. 26:50 is quite symptomatic of the big difference in playback from the disc played on the Reavon UBR-X200 and on the Apple TV 4k. Here, Reavon clearly gives better pictures with a more correct balance, where Apple TV 4k gives too dark pictures. The UBR-X200 also has better elasticity and dynamics in the images.

Reavon also excels on the countless scenes where changing and thus also demanding lighting on-stage dominates, not least in the areas around the film's peak point around 39:50 where Lady Gaga's character comes in with the line "Tell me something boy"

There's a pretty convincing performance from the Reavon UBR-X200 on this video, and it also far surpasses the picture quality of my Sony UBP-X700, although the difference is far from as big as the difference to streaming from Apple TV.

Beautiful Planet

 

This is a 4k release that supports IMAX. This fills the entire screen, as opposed to the typical 21: 9 format of movie releases.

The UBR-X200 plays with very high quality here too, with, among other things, good reproduction of images taken from space.

WE PLAY MUSIC

Since this is a universal player that must be assumed to appeal to people with audiophile tendencies, it is important to take a slightly thorough test round with music. And I tried the multichannel HighRes formats Pure Audio Blu-ray, SACD an DVD-Audio

In the first round, some HighRes recordings are played via the HDMI output of Linn Majik DSM. These are recordings I usually play in multichannel, but together with Majik DSM it is obvious to also test the reproduction in stereo. That is - this is actually a kind of 2.1, since a Rel subwoofer is also connected via the high level input.

Quiet Winter Night - Hoff Ensemble

This is one of the most high-profile releases from 2L, and not without reason. Because in addition to having exquisite musical properties, there is also a particularly great sound on this release in Pure Audio Blu-ray. And the rendering from this setup is so good that it's easy to forget that I actually prefer it played in multichannel. Instead, this time it is 2.0 LPCM in 24bit / 192kHz

LUX - Nidarosdomens jentekor & TrondheimSolistene

This is the release that led to Morten Lindberg and 2L finally receiving the Grammy Award he so well deserved after countless nominations. And even though this in itself is a pure audio release, I can not help but praise the sparkling great picture quality in the start menu. And by the way, this also applies to the previous release Quiet Winter Night.

The sound on LUX is as always amazing, but here it is not as easy to forget how great it is to get Nidaros Cathedral in Dolby Atmos. Of course, Reavon can also deliver, but then it will be via Onkyo TX-NR969 this time.

Mozart Symphonies no. 38-41 - SCO / Mackerras

We keep the connection to the Onkyo TX-NR969 while we switch to playing a couple of SACDs. In the first round a release for Linn Records that I reviewed 13 years ago. The now deceased Sir Charles Macerras was a great Mozart interpreter, and here I put on Mozart's 40th Symphony from this Double SACD.

An exquisite reproduction, not least on the fantastic 2nd movement with a rhythmic almost pulsation that is also found a bit similar on some other Mozart compositions. Good and precise reproduction from this setup, which is probably a little better on the player`s side than the amplifier.

 

 

PLAYBACK WITH ANALOG OUTPUTS

We stick to both SACD and Linn Records, but switch to analog RCA outputs from the player to an analog input in Linn Majik DSM. And that exercise revealed that the player can not handle playing via the separate outputs with the setting "Single" in HDMI mode, at least not without simultaneously disconnecting the HDMI input. The reason for this is unknown, and I do not know if it is a kind of intentional phenomenon that goes under the term "colatteral damage" with this setup with two HDMI outputs, or if it is a bug on an early productionsample. But after switching to "Separate" in the HDMI-setup, the analog output worked as it should, and with excellent results.

The analog input on Linn Majik DSM is an input that is AD-converted to 24/192 before it is processed further in the amplifier and finally is DA-converted in a highly competent DAC that is close to Katalyst in performance.

Clair Martin - Too Darn Hot

This time it is not one of the few vinyl releases that Linn Records has madeh. But Claire Martin is a regular in this record company, and Too Darn Hot is one of the best releases. It is nicely reproduced from the UBR-X200 via the analog output, with a good sound balance and high openness.

 

DVD-AUDIO

Sure, this is a format that is considered dead on arrival, but that does not prevent some of us from securing some very great releases, and some of them will get a dance with the Reavon UBR-X200.

Joni Mitchell - Both Sides Now

This is one of my favorite releases in my collection of DVD-Audio releases, and consists of a handful of standards and old JM classics. It really shines in multichannel, but this time it is the stereo reproduction via the analog outputs that is to be checked out.

Joni's vocals excel here, and have a very nice body in a well-balanced rendition. Comes Love is one of the most beautiful tracks, and here the distinct and at the same time deep bass excels, next to Joni Mitchell's good vocals.

Next to A Case Of You , Both Sides Now are undeniably the highlights of the release, and although both of these are excellently reproduced, there is something special about how Joni's vocals excel on the final track.

Miles Davis - Tutu

For me, this is one of Miles Davis' best studio albums from the 80's. It is strongly dominated by Marcus Miller's arrangements and compositions, and the title track Tutu often helped new and younger generations rediscover this undisputed jazz master. And then of course we may agree that there are many far more lush interpretations of this track on various live releases, but that`s a different story.

This release on DVD-Audio is masterfully reproduced by the UBR-X200, with a tight and nice bass, and a good rhythmic drive. My favorite track has always been Portia, and when I hear it rendered on this setup it's not hard to remember why. This combination of a rhythmic groove and Miles' vulnerable trumpet is exquisitely rendered.

 

CONCLUSION

Reavon has made a very successful player in the UBR-X200. It is not affordable, and currently there are few references in this segment. The only model I can think of that has the same combination of high specifications is Pioneer's UDP-LX800, and I'm a little uncertain of its availability at the moment.

UBR-X200 is a player built for the war, and which has HighEnd performance for both audio and video. You can hardly expect more from a HighEnd universal disc player. And if you already have a high-end audio player, you may choose a UBR-X100 with the expected same video quality for almost half the price.

The recommended price for the Reavion UBR-X200 is NOK 21.990, -

Read more about UBR-X200 at the Norwegian importer

Read more about the UBR-X200 at Reavon .

 

Read 1558 times Last modified on Wednesday, 28 July 2021 11:14
Karl Erik Sylthe

Redaktør i Audiophile.no

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.