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Apex Digital AD 3201 DVD MP3 Player
18 Reviews
rating  2.44 of 5
MSRP 
Description: - NTSC & Pal Video Outputs<br>- Fast Motion Forward & Backward<br>- Slow Motion Forward & Backward<br>- Multiple Angle<br>- Multiple Language Subtitles<br>- Frame by Frame Advance<br>- Programmable Playback Sequence<br>- Built-in Screen Saver<br>- Zoom (2x, 4x)<br>- Evaluate 9 Frames at a time<br>- Firmware Upgradeable


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Reviews 1 - 5 (18 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:1
Value Rating:2
Submitted by Kip a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: November 5, 2003

Bottom Line:   
Apex players are a breed of their own. They sell for rock-bottom prices, are very unrefined in terms of their operation, and have some of the worst picture and sound quality ratings in comparison to just about any other DVD player.

When the video and audio are professionally analyzed, there are several notable shortcomings. Sometimes various colors and black and white ratings are either too hot or unacceptably below SMPTE specs.

To add insult to injury, the AD-3201, or at least the model I auditioned, uses the Zoran Vaddis IV MPEG engine, which is known to have a problem with chroma upsampling. However, it is usually only noticable with high resolution video equipment. Bad chroma upsampling can manifest itself as missing lines and jagged lines on boldly colored objects, like a red apple. On a red apple, you could see red lines protruding from outside the apple and some missing red lines in the apple itself. This is one example of bad chroma upsampling, where the incorrect upsampling formula is implemented for the chroma channels. (DVD video is inherently a component video source, with one separate greyscale signal with sync (Y) and two separate color channels (Pb and Pr). Now, the Apex isn't the only player with this problem. Loads of other players, including some well-known name brands, like Sony, Toshiba, Pioneer, and the Microsoft X-Box, also have the problem. Some actually cover up the problem through filtering, while others make the problem painfully obvious. But it is an asthetically serious problem with many DVD players.

Other times, you may have problems with audible distortion due to the poorly designed power supply and a poorly designed audio section.

Also, this thing cannot maintain a straight line from 20Hz to 20KHz when analyzing the frequency range, which indicates a very spotty and an overall awful frequency response. Dynamic range and signal/noise ratio also have low ratings.

Now, that we have established the idea that this player is a terrible choice for a serious home theatre setup, let's see how it fares as a cheap, just-play-a-DVD kind of player.

In my opinion, you can do better than this.

The only saving grace for this player is that you can disable region restrictions and MacroVision completely using the remote and without doing any modifications to the player itself. This means that you would be able to play a DVD from just about anywhere on the globe and would be able to run the player through a VCR without suffering from picture degradation (usually appears as flickering brightness or a REAL dim picture) from the effects of the MacroVision AGC spike that the DVD player would normally put on the video at the vertical blanking during playback. This spike is designed to confuse the video AGC (auto gain control) in a VCR, making it think the picture is too bright so it pushes the gain down, making the video look dim. All VCRs are affected, but some are only mildly affected to the point where it's not noticable. Regardless, you can turn off MacroVision in the player if you wish.

The build quality is okay, but the quality of the power supply circuit is of concern. The board looks cheaply fabricated and cheap parts are used. There is a serious question concerning this module's reliability.

The actual mainboard appears okay in design. The board does not appear to be cheaply designed, but some cheap electrolytic capacitors are used, which has the potential to be a reliability issue as well.

The DVD drive uses a standard IDE interface, so you could actually take the drive out and hook it up to your computer! However, the drives that are typically used are also of questionable quality. More notably, the optical pickup is known not to last very long under normal use in most cases. The only upside to the drive quality is that it employs brushless motors (which will last longer than standard motors that are sometimes used on a few DVD players) and also operates at faster transfer and access speeds since the drive is a DVD-ROM drive. However, the screw mountings for this drive are non-standard, so a modification is required to mount a new DVD-ROM drive bought from a store into the player.

The remote control is just downright terrible! The buttons are not logically arranged (the Play key is all the way to the bottom of the remote), are overly small and crowded (which can be frustrating when looking for a specific key to use a particular function), and have a very mushy feel to them when they are pressed (very bad tactile feedback). There are also a lot of non-standard labeling for the DVD functions. For instance, pressing "DVD Digest" brings up the DVD menu. Other players simply label the same key as "MENU" on their remotes.

Overall, you're better off paying more for a quality Japanese brand DVD player, even for the kids! As the saying goes, you get what you pay for. Apex players do everything, but they don't do a stellar job at it.

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Used product for:   3 Months to 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast



Overall Rating:1
Value Rating:1
Submitted by David Rideough a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: April 28, 2003

Bottom Line:   
This DVD player is an absolute piece of garbage, and I think the world was made a much better place when it was finnaly discontinued, no doubt putting many of Apex customers out of their misery to some degree by allowing them to exchange their players for newer models if they had any kind of no-lemon guarantee.

My problems with the player started around a month after I got it. It would be slow at layer switching. It quickly got worse, to the point where for several movies it would completely freeze at the layer-switching point, before giving up and going into STOP after maybe 45 seconds of noisily trying to read the disc over and over.

So I sent it in for repair, which took around a month, and when I got it back, the problem reappeared with a vengeance after roughly a week and a half. I could tolerate it because at least I was able to let it sit most of the time and get back to playing after maybe 30 secons of reading the disc (I know DVD movie cases say there may be a SLIGHT pause during layer transition, but GEEZ).

But now it is starting to have the problem REALLY bad again and I am going to have to send it in for repair. All this while I have $25 WORTH OF RENTALS COLLECTING DUST ON THE TV CABINET.

All in all, this is a horrible DVD player. In fact, avoid making the same mistake as me and BOYCOTT APEX ALTOGETHER. Their products are absolute CRAP.

Oh, and 2 more things - Good luck with SDDS soundtracks, as if you try to search in the movie at all, you'll lose the sound and have to reset the player to get it back. The MP3 playback engine, although it sounds fine, is very primitive. No ID3 support and a very lame GUI.

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   2002

Price Paid:    $250.00

Purchased At:   Future Shop (DO NOT



Overall Rating:1
Value Rating:1
Submitted by BJ a Casual Listener

Date Reviewed: January 20, 2003

Bottom Line:   
The player kept freezing and the remote control stopped working at times. The freezing initially happened once in a while, but after a few hours, it freezed all the time. Not even turning the unit off and back on seemed to help. This is the worst tech. product I have ever bought. Never this manufacturer again. I should have spent a few more $$$ and bought a more recognizable brand with better reviews and track record.

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Used product for:   Less than 1 month

Duration Product Used:   Casual Listener

Product model year:   2002



Overall Rating:2
Value Rating:1
Submitted by vandalay a Casual Listener

Date Reviewed: January 13, 2003

Bottom Line:   
This is a great DVD player...if you only want to use your dvd player for about a year, and don't care if it freezes up in the middle of a movie.

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Casual Listener

Purchased At:   Best Buy



Overall Rating:1
Value Rating:1
Submitted by Zeb a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: January 6, 2003

Bottom Line:   
The AD-3201 will cease operation in the middle of a DVD. It will do this with any DVD; often several times during play. It must be turned of at the unit to be reset, as the remote stops functioning. Apex support is horrible,they sent me a replacement machine that has the same problem. Now I would have to pay shipping and repair costs for the unit. Also, my July registration at their website is "too old" and I would have to reregister entirely. 20 minutes on the phone to be told tough luck. Never again!

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Used product for:   3 Months to 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   2002




Reviews 1 - 5 (18 Reviews Total) | Next 15

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