PS3 Slim - Let's cut through the B.S. - High-Def Digest Forums
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Old 09-02-2009, 12:05 PM
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Default PS3 Slim - Let's cut through the B.S.

I have been reading tons of posts all over the internet about whether it's worthwhile to upgrade to a PS3 Slim. I currently own a mid-generation 80GB model and use it almost exclusively as a BRD player. I own an Onkyo AVR that can internally decode DTHD and DTS-HD MA, but obviously I have my PS3 set to output already-decoded PCM signals to the receiver. It's my understanding that, theoretically, lossless audio will sound identical whether or not it's decoded, or unpacked, in a receiver or a BRD player. However, I have read there are possible errors that can occur when transmitting PCM over HDMI - I believe the term "jitter" was used.

Further, I have read next to nothing about any differences in video quality, even in the oft-referenced Engadget review. One forum participant claims colors are slightly bolder and the image is brighter. But, what I want to know is if this is because the new PS3 is outputting a more "correct" image, or if it's a simple matter of having to recalibrate the monitor simply to compensate for using a new video source device.

The bottom line is that I don't care whether or not my receiver's display reads "Dolby TrueHD" or "DTS-HD MA" while I'm watching a disc. What I care about is the best possible sound quality. Will upgrading to a PS3 Slim so I can output bitstreamed lossless audio really and truly make a difference? And, what's more, a $300 difference?
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Old 09-02-2009, 12:26 PM
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Probably not. I do hear a difference on my system, as does my wife, and while I may be inclined to think I am experiencing a placebo effect, my wife who doesn't care one wit says she noticed a small difference. Now, I'd be also inclined to say also that she would probably be happier if there WASN'T a difference simply because that likely would mean "saving money".

But, I also think that not only does it have to do with "jitter" but I also think it has to do with internal components/processes doing the 'unpacking' of the lossless signal. While the PS3 does a mighty fine job unpacking the condensed lossless audio signals, I can't help but think that a dedicated receiver or preamp/processor would do a bit better of a job. I think of it kind of like a computer with software to compress or decompress a zipped file; some programs are more efficient and do a better job at it than others.

I also think that the ability to hear a difference lies on two major factors, the individuals hearing capabilities, and the equipment/components they use to resolve any possible differences.

There are definitely going to be two sides of debate over this matter, but I also would point out that aside from bitstreaming the audio, the PS3 Slim is more efficient and uses less energy than the previous generations. On top of that, at least compared to my old 60GB PS3, it is quite a bit quieter as well. For me also, the style is much, MUCH more appealing than the old style.

It made it an easy decision for me since I ended up selling my 60GB PS3 for about $270, so the switch to the Slim only cost me about $34 more.
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Old 09-02-2009, 12:38 PM
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So, if you had to quantify it, what percentage of an increase in sound quality do you believe you hear? If it's 5% or less of an increase, it very well might be a placebo effect.

And what about the differences in video quality?

I hear a lot of people complaining about the noise from their PS3s, but, honestly, between the 20GB launch model I used to own and the current 80GB model I have, it's never been an issue for me; I never notice that the thing's running while I'm viewing a film. I talked my father into getting one as a BRD player a couple of years ago, and he has always complained about the noise from his. But I think his unit is about to die because there is an unnatural amount of fan noise coming from his. He's contemplating on whether he wants to simply go the PS3 route again, or go with one of the new Oppo units that's getting so much praise.
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Old 09-02-2009, 02:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon Liu View Post

There are definitely going to be two sides of debate over this matter, but I also would point out that aside from bitstreaming the audio, the PS3 Slim is more efficient and uses less energy than the previous generations. On top of that, at least compared to my old 60GB PS3, it is quite a bit quieter as well.
That's true, but odd about the noise. I've got a first gen PS3 myself with the larger 90nm chips and the fan only kicks in with games that utilize both the HDD and BD drive. With movies, it's whisper quiet.
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Old 09-02-2009, 03:02 PM
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I agree with Jon. I think the difference is very small -- certainly not worth $300. If you can, like Jon did, sell your old PS3 to upgrade to the Slim for $30 or so, then it becomes a lot more palatable.

I think the video issue, like the sound issue, is negligible. I have yet to see any reviews propose that the image quality from one Blu-ray player is vastly superior to others. I've heard good things about the Pioneer players from sites such as Trustedreviews.com, but that's about it. As for the difference between one PS3 and another? I don't think it'll be much different at all. The differences that some are seeing is probably due to settings on one unit versus another.

I'd say to save your money and put that $300 towards something that will undoubtedly improve your home theater experience, such as new speakers, an amplifier, new display, etc.
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Old 09-02-2009, 03:42 PM
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This may be a bit off subject, but I am more concerned about the lack of a fan in the Slim. At first when I heard about the Slim I was pleased with the specs. But, and this just may be me, but I think that with the slimmer design there is more likelihood that it will overheat. Even though Sony has stated that it runs 34% cooler than the original fattys.
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Old 09-02-2009, 03:59 PM
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I upgraded, and to me my audio sounds a tad crisper and cleaner with more detail. I do however believe that what I'm experiencing is 100% in my head. I love the sleek look and super quiet operation of the slim... the added 60GB is just a bonus.
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Old 09-02-2009, 04:02 PM
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Quote:
This may be a bit off subject, but I am more concerned about the lack of a fan in the Slim
Head over to engadget and check out the tear down of the slim. The fan is ENORMOUS
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Old 09-02-2009, 07:58 PM
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Originally Posted by killswitch_19 View Post
Head over to engadget and check out the tear down of the slim. The fan is ENORMOUS
I just assumed (I know..my fault) that they took out the fan to get the Slim to look as thin as it does. If there is indeed a fan in there well then..ALL IS RIGHT AGAIN,lol. Thanks for the link and intel killswitch.
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Old 09-02-2009, 08:16 PM
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In regards to video, the difference between the fat and slims is really negligible. Is there a difference? Maybe. Maybe not. I can't say for sure because I didn't test the video for the slim much since I really am not using the PS3 as a blu-ray player.

As for quantifying the audio difference that I hear between bitstreaming and internal decoding by players, I would definitely venture a 5-10% difference on my system. That's still very minimal and again, may not be worth it to 99% of the people out there. People like me who are trying to get as much quantifying difference out of their system, every little bit helps. Even if one component improves upon the sound 5%, that ends up making quite a bit of difference in the long run.

Regards to the noise I am talking about, the original 60GB that I had wasn't annoying per se by any stretch. Especially when playing a game or watching a movie. It was noticeably there, but it wasn't something that was obnoxious. But, again when I am looking for marginal improvements the slightest noise, no matter how noticeable, will affect the improvements that I perceive. For me, little or loud fan noise are both unacceptable when I am trying to immerse myself in a movie. That's why I have a separate blu-ray player to handle the movies. The Oppo has a fan exhaust, but I've yet to even hear it come on even after hours and hours of watching Battlestar Galactica.
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