By Dick Tan
Maximum resolution, colour purity, contrast and optimum visual detail are chief among the important criteria that videophiles look for in a display system.
All display systems be it a modern digital TV such as a plasma/LCD or a projector comes with some form of contrast, sharpness control and frame interpolation system that supposedly helps achieve optimum sharpness or visual detail.
But more often than not these controls, especially when over applied, tend to make matters worse adding distortions such as noise and artefacts to the picture.
Inexperienced and casual viewers often find a boosted picture impressive, much like casual listeners may do so with an audio system where the bass and treble are excessively boosted. But the novelty soon wears off.
So if you have to use the contrast/sharpness control on your display, do so judiciously or better still leave them in their neutral, default position. The same advice applies to those who use external video processors in the hope of improving the visual performance of their displays.
This may seem like all current video enhancement systems offer little or no help in achieving a good picture but a recently arrived video enhancement product from the American company of Darbee Vision Incorporated seems set to change such thoughts.
The Darblet DVP 5000, at first glance, is an unimpressive and even unattractive device. Its compact semi-transparent plastic case measures 80 x 65 x 15mm and features one HDMI input and one output, a 5 volt DC mains power socket and 4 buttons for switching on or off processing, level of processing and menu access. A credit card size remote duplicates all the above functions. Setting up the Darblet requires routing the HDMI outputs of similarly equipped source devices such as a BluRay Disc player, satellite receiver or media player to the HDMI input of the Darblet. Another HDMI cable is required to connect the output to the display in the most basic set-up scenario involving the Darblet.
Although the Darblet features only one HDMI input it does not mean that only one programme source device can be connected to it at anyone time. If used via an AV receiver or a processor the Darblet can be configured to receive the video from the HDMI output of the receiver/processor. Any source component connected to the receiver/processor in a switching pattern can benefit from the Darblet processing.
In use the Darblet”s performance surprised us as pleasantly as its aesthetics was a disappointment.
Up to four pre-set modes (HI-DEF, GAME, FULL POP AND DEMO) are provided but all, with the exception of the “Hi-DEF” mode proved excessive, making the picture harsh and coarse.
The HI-DEF mode also offer varying video processing level anywhere from 0-120. With our resident Oppo BDP-93 bd player the best settings appear to be between 50-60, depending on the quality of the program.
Display used is a Panasonic PT-AE8000 projector firing onto a 120″ wide Stewart FilmScreen Firehawk 2.35.1 constant height screen.
To put it simply, the Darbee Darblet is one of the very rare handful of video-enhancing products that actually works as claimed. At the HI-DEF mode setting of 55 the picture is razor sharp with exceptional visual detail. Contrast appears improved too with no additional increase in noise level and artefacts that are bound to accompany conventional sharpness /contrast controls.
One need not be an observant or experienced viewer to notice that shadow details are also improved significantly and this is especially obvious on video material of intricate structure such as garments, landscapes and human facials .
While the Darblet will enhance any video material connected to it the best benefit seems to come from high def sources such as from a BluRay disc player or a HD satellite receiver. The better the quality of the original source the better the visual improvements.
Lower resolution material such as DVD or Astro”s standard broadcast needs only very judicial application of the Darblet, for excessive application here can make the picture noisier with exaggerated artefacts.
It is easy to see the improvements that the Darblet brings about by simply switching the Darbee control on the remote on and off.
At RM1,200 the Darbee Darblet is not prohibitively expensive and is definitely a must have for any videophile seeking to improve the visual performance of their display systems.
I’ve got the Darblet in my projection system now for a little over a month and I cannot imagine having to return it. That is RM1,200 out of my hard-earned savings but this ugly little wonder from Darbee is worth every cent ! It also come bundled with a Giraffe 2-metre HDMI cable and Wonpro plug adapter free.
Review sample courtesy of :
Audio Visual Designs Sdn Bhd