Technics SH-AC500D A/V Preamplifier

SH-AC500D

Dolby Digital / DTS processor

User Reviews (30)

Showing 1-10 of 30  
sactohye   Audio Enthusiast [May 28, 2005]
Strength:

Decodes Dolby Digital and DTS feeds. Makes it possible to add DD and DTS decoding to DPL receivers like the Sherwood Newcastle R725 and Harman Kardon AVR-80.

Weakness:

Does not auto detect DTS signal. Must be powered on when it's bypassed for normal receiver operation.

While it may seem a bit late in the day to be reviewing a piece of equipment, one gets a very good feel for it after many years of use. In addition, any reliability problems will have surfaced. I bought the Technics SH-AC500D processor at the same time as a Panasonic DVD-A110 DVD player. The processor is connected to my Sherwood Newcastle R725 receiver, which I have reviewed. When the processor is decoding Dolby Digital or DTS soundtracks, it uses just the power amplifiers in the receiver. Currently, I have an LG LST-3510A HD Receiver/DVD player connected to the SH-AC500D via an optical cable. Installation was easy, although connecting nearly a dozen cables between it and the receiver makes for a jungle of wiring. Setup also went smoothly. The manual explained everything quite clearly. The processor must be powered on and in "Line" mode in order to operate the receiver. One would think that it could pass the signals through itself when powered off. At least the Mute function works in this mode, which is handy. Switching to one of its three digital inputs "breaks" the connection between the receiver's preamp out and main amp in lines and activates the processor. The processor will automatically decode Dolby Digital and PCM feeds from the DVD player. It does not send any signal to the subwoofer when decoding a PCM signal from a CD nor does it automatically detect a DTS feed. The processor has to be manually switched to decode DTS. While hardly the end of the world, automatic switching would have been a real boon. The SH-AC500D does a very good job of decoding both Dolby Digital and DTS soundtracks from the LG unit. The sound quality has always been noise-free, clean and clear on all channels. While it has no tone controls, and bypasses those in the receiver, I have never found a need for them I have not used its remote control for the past five years because I bought a Marantz RC2000 MkII remote (also reviewed). After seven years of use, the SH-AC500D has not had any problems. It has been an excellent performer and will be for some time to come. . It does what it's supposed to do without fuss and does it very well.

Similar Products Used: None.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
Supra2JZGTE   AudioPhile [Jul 30, 2002]
Strength:

Allows AC3 ONLY recievers with 6CH inputs to expand to DTS Capability.

Weakness:

Takes up entertainment center space and becomes an extra piece of hardware external from the reciever.

I won the unit off of eBay as a used with some damage product. My roomate hamerred out the dents it had, I cleaned the PCB and the face plate, and she was good to go. I have a Denon AVR-1700 AC3 ONLY reciever. My roomated DVD player (Panasonic) has DTS bitstream out. Anybody who knows Digital Surround formats knows that DTS just plain out sounds better then AC3 because of its bitrate and compression ratio. Well I was starving for DTS for years, but couldnt afford the decoder, and when I could afford it, I could never find it. The other day, I found it on eBay, and I had some dough, so I made a bid and fought to stay ahead. I walked away paying 88 bux plus 12 bux for shipping/handling. The unit took me 5 minutes to set up to my 6CH inputs on my reciever. I was beyond pleased with my purchase, and was more then happy to be finally hearing my movies in DTS and not Dolby Digital. Dont get me wrong, AC3 sounds great, but DTS sounds incredible.

Similar Products Used: N/A
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Geno   Casual Listener [Aug 28, 2001]
Strength:

Simple to use, exceptional sound quality

Weakness:

none that are important to me

Mark

You have just described my set-up with the processor and the pioneer VSX-DIIS. I purchased the receiver 7 years ago knowing that AC-3 was on it's way so I wanted the separate pre-out/main-ins to do exactly what I'm doing. I had read about the technics AC500 and thought it would be a good match for my receiver. On the way to my bank one day and for no particular reason I droped into a small stereo shop to look around and low and behold they had this unit on the clearance shelf, brand new and still in box. I quickly snatched it up and now I am enjoying DD & DTS for a very cheap price.

This unit is a great little unit, with exceptional sound quality and value. I would highly recommend it to anyone who has a similar upgrade path. As far providing providing a more detailed review, Mark has pretty much said it all for me.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
Alfredo Mora   Audio Enthusiast [Nov 12, 1999]
Strength:

digital quality at an affordable price

Weakness:

some functions are only accesible through the remote

The unit looks simple,there is only six buttons and one
knob,it decodes dd and dts very well ,the digital noise is
low and it allows several configurations like L,R,C and SL
SR speakers to normal or small each individually (SL/SR are together),sub on/off ,center on/off (off equals front on),dd and dts are outstanding when you have 5.1 channels of
amplification,it also has center/surround delay(remote),
pink noise test(remote)(it could do the test slower per speaker),levels for all channels in accurate db units,mute
(remote) it can switch three digital inputs,it can bypass a
signal from a dpl decoder(5 chn),great sound a economical way to upgrade to digital surround,the only drawback is that
when playing cds (trough the digital outputs)sometimes the first second of music gets muted? Minor detail.

Similar Products Used: none
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
Bart   Audio Enthusiast [Feb 21, 2000]
Strength:

Cost (especially when packaged with Technics SA-AX6), inputs, Good DD and DTS decoding.

Weakness:

Added remote is a pain. No gain control for Front left and right speakers.

Not much to say about this unit. Got it packaged with a Technics SA-AX6 providing that great Dolby Prologic receiver with DD and DTS. Does an excellent job of decoding DD and DTS signals. Only complaint is the lack of gain control on the front left and right speakers (you can control every other channel individually accept the front two). Very happy with the unit.

Similar Products Used: Various Receivers with built in DD and DTS.
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
Gabe   Audio Enthusiast [Jan 07, 2000]
Strength:

Works great

Weakness:

Expensive

I got one of these a couple months ago to add DD and DTS capability to my system, which consists of a Sherwood Newcastle R-725 reciever/amp, Polk RT600 mains, RT f/x improved surrounds, CS300 center channel, and for DVD playback a Pioneer DV-525.

I first tried out some good DD movies, such as The Matrix, Heat, and good 'ol Terminator 2. I was very pleased with the sound quality, but it's very hard and important to configure your speakers to the right level and position in the room to get a proper effect. I'm still unsatisfied with my speaker layout, but I'd have to move appartments to get what I want. =)

DTS is where I was REALLY satisfied. I bought Saving Private Ryan DTS edition and it kicked serious butt. Starting with the DTS trailer and all throughout the movie I could have been fooled into thinking I was in a theater if I turned the volume up. Awesome!!

Overall, the sound quality of the unit is good. I was skeptical at first at buying a Technics brand, but my fears were unfounded. I just wish it cost more like $125 instead of twice that.

For that reason, I give it a rating of 4 instead of 5. If you don't mind dropping >$200 (maybe less on ebay), you'll be very satisfied. If you're looking for a stand-alone DD decoder, you might as well get one that has DTS too and enjoy saving private ryan and future titles encoded in this superior format.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
2
laugeois marc   Audiophile [Mar 14, 2001]
Strength:

decodes all the home theater standard, easy to use

Weakness:

standard changing

The processor produce a "scratch" when the source is automatically changing standard from Dolby Prologic to Dolby Digital. I notice this problem on Pink Floyd the Wall (when the dolby prologic music of the interactive menu stops, the processor switch on Dolby Digital), T2 : the ultimate edition, Fight club (during the layer changing) ... This problem does not happen on others processors as marantz, harman or denon!
If anyone has had the same pb, could you e-mail me.

Similar Products Used: denon avd1000, avd2000
OVERALL
RATING
2
VALUE
RATING
3
Vincent Chen   Audiophile [Feb 27, 2000]
Strength:

very good sonics,easy to use decent build,Toslink and Coaxial digital input with 3 digital inputs. Slim chassis makes placing the decoder easy. Convience outlet for your DVD/LD unit. Easy to read display.

Weakness:

overly too directional remote. Very Beamy. You must point it on the same plane as the decoder for the most part.Pricey for what you get.

What do you do when you need a DTS/AC-3 decoder on the cheap(relatively)? You have a 5.1 prologic reciever and you don't want to buy a new reciever with the decoders built in. Well, the Technics SHA-500D is a great answer. My situation was the above. I have a Rotel RDV-985 DVD with no built in processors,just pcm/DTS/AC-3 out,and my Harman Kardon AVR80-2 is a 5.1 ready with no processors built in. Well I must say integrating the Technics processor here was a great idea because it brings all the sonics and surround effects that you should expect. Has better extension down low than my other DVD machines' processor had. The Rotel is running Toslink out so with a Monster Cable optical cable joined between the 2 I was ready for some movie watching. "The Matrix" came out just dandy with all the impact,dynamics well shown here. Fairly quiet in its operation too. You just get the movie audio without anything else. The remote is a pain though,in that you have to keep it relatively close,and on the same plane as the processor. I have a Mitsubishi remote and it is fun bouncing the signal off the floor,walls and ceiling and still the component recieves the commands without difficulty. The remote layout is easy to use,though I would have liked to have it backlit too. I think any remote in a home theatre system should be backlit. You watch your movies in the dark...just like...uhh the Theatre. All carping aside,you are still hard pressed to beat this processor if your great Prologic reciever still has great sonics,and allot of years still left in it. The retail is about $350.00,so it is certainly not cheap for what it is. I got mine for $289.00 plus tax. Panasonic has a factory outlet where you can get one for around $180.00,but is a factory 2nd,NOT new. It still comes with a warranty though. The Outlet is in Anaheim California,so call directory assistance if you want one on the cheap. So in summary who should get one of these?
Folks with a still good sounding 5.1 input prologic reciever,and those you have a digital out on there DVD player with no built in AC-3,or DTS processor built in. Allot of high end DVD machines omit the processors. So if you want to put your big bucks in your DVD,you can and still have enough left over for the processor. And the Technics SHA-500D is a very good one to check out. Just see the other reviews here and you get an overall positive consensus. Do yourself a favor and run some good decent cables though. It is the little things that make a big difference. So for the ardent Home Theatre fan, your processor is boxed up and ready to go,the Technics SHA-500d.
Give one a try. V.C.

Similar Products Used: Lexicon systems...but they were/are hideously expensive,but they are the best next to the Meridians etc.
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
Alan Jones   Audio Enthusiast [Nov 18, 1999]
Weakness:

expensive

Since you can get so many receivers with DD/DTS built-in
these days, I think the 500D is less of a bargain than it
was a year or two ago. I now have a Denon AVR-3300, and
it's much more convienent than having a separate component
with a separate remote.

I used it with a Pioneer 414 DVD player, and I noticed that
the first second of music got cut off. I don't know if this
is the fault of the 500D or the 414. In either case it's
VERY annoying.

No complaints about the performance of the unit (i.e. it's
ability to decode DD/DTS). If you've got a DD/DTS ready
receiver and you can pick one up used, go for it.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
3
A.J. Kossman   Audiophile [Nov 07, 1999]
Strength:

good sound, good price, 4 inputs (2 optical, 2 coax), 5.1-ch input for use in seperates system or for future 6-ch audio formats, Dolby Digital, Dolby ProLogic, DTS, PCM. System volume control.

Weakness:

Doesn't auto-detect which sound mode is being input (DD, DTS, PCM, etc)

I picked this unit up used from a store for $200 Can. (aprox. $130 US) and it's worth every penny. I'm using it with a Yamaha RX-V990, a Panasonic DVD-A310, and JBL speakers (L7 - Main, L5 - rear, L1 - center), and a Ultimate SW-1212 sub. The Dolby Digital decoding is exactly the same as the one in my DVD player, and they sound the same. I've read reviews saying that the DD decoding is better than most of the ones built into receivers. The DTS decoding... well it works. I haven't heard many DTS units (Yamaha DSP-A1) and they were on totally different systems, but it does sound good. As good at Dolby Digital, maybe better. The DD bass management doesn't work for DTS, so you need a good full-range speaker setup including a sub. The fact that the the unit has to be manually switched between DD, DTS, and stereo is a bit of a pain; when watching DTS DVDs, the menu sound is PCM stereo, so you can't hear it, and if it's a DD movie, the stereo menus play in ProLogic. Another "bug" is that it takes about 1.5 sec. to figure out that the DTS signal is actually DTS, so you miss that much sound at the begining of the film - not a big deal, and understandable from an engineering view point. Anyways, I really like the product, and there is nothing compairable at the price level. It's also much more flexible than a DD/DTS receiver.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Showing 1-10 of 30  

(C) Copyright 1996-2018. All Rights Reserved.

audioreview.com and the ConsumerReview Network are business units of Invenda Corporation

Other Web Sites in the ConsumerReview Network:

mtbr.com | roadbikereview.com | carreview.com | photographyreview.com | audioreview.com