NAD D Pana­sonic DP-UB9000

A se­ri­ously ca­pa­ble ma­chine for home cin­ema en­thu­si­asts

SoundMag - - Contents - BY TheWHAT HI-FI


A se­ri­ously ca­pa­ble ma­chine for home cin­ema en­thu­si­asts, the DP-UB9000 will help bring the best out of any 4K Blu-ray col­lec­tion ac­cord­ing to What Hi Fi.


• Im­mensely de­tailed, sharp pic­ture

• Ex­cel­lent colour bal­ance and sense of re­al­ism • Solid, pow­er­ful sound


• No SACD or DVD-Au­dio sup­port • Menu op­tions can be con­fus­ing The con­ve­nience of stream­ing and on-de­mand con­tent might have di­min­ished the lure of phys­i­cal for­mats, but weíre glad 4K Blu-ray play­ers like the Pana­sonic DP-UB9000 still ex­ist.

Pana­sonic has pulled out all the stops for its lat­est ma­chine, slapped on a £849 price tag and it de­liv­ers on all lev­els.

Build and de­sign

The build qual­ity of the DP-UB9000 can best be de­scribed as bomb-proof. It feels as if no ex­pense has been spared on the de­sign, whether itís the chunky alu­minium body or the com­po­nents found in­side.

The DP-UB9000 makes Pana­son­icís pre­vi­ous flag­ship player, the DMP-UB900(£600), and even our ref­er­ence Cam­bridge Au­dio CXUHD (£700), look and feel a lit­tle bud­get in com­par­i­son. It uses a rigid two-layer chas­sis which helps pro­mote low noise and low vi­bra­tion.

The disc drive is mounted cen­trally, and uses a thick steel plate to fur­ther re­duce vi­bra­tion and noise dur­ing play.

Where the UB900 had one power supply which fed both its dig­i­tal and au­dio sec­tions, the UB9000ís au­dio cir­cuit gets its own ded­i­cated power supply to help max­imise sound qual­ity. Thereís even a spe­cial cir­cuit board for the play­erís ana­logue out­put.


At the heart of the Pana­sonic DP-UB9000 is its sec­ond-gen­er­a­tion HCX (Hol­ly­wood Cin­ema Ex­pe­ri­ence) pic­ture pro­cess­ing en­gine. Part of this pack­age is the new HDR Op­ti­miser, which Pana­sonic claims to be able to im­prove tone-map­ping in an HDR pic­ture with static meta­data. It takes into ac­count the bright­ness lim­i­ta­tions of your display and tweaks the im­age to ex­tract the most de­tail par­tic­u­larly in whites and bright scenes.

If you are watch­ing con­tent that al­ready con­tains dy­namic meta­data, such as a movie en­coded in Dolby Vi­sion, the player recog­nises this and by­passes the HDR Op­ti­miser.

The DP-UB9000 comes equipped with a pair of HDMI out­puts, so you can send the au­dio to your home cin­ema am­pli­fier while the pic­ture goes di­rectly to your display. The pres­ence of a

7.1 multi-chan­nel ana­logue out­put will sat­isfy own­ers of legacy AV re­ceivers, while you can take your pick from ei­ther bal­anced XLR or un­bal­anced RCA con­nec­tions for stereo play­back.

In ad­di­tion to all that video pro­cess­ing prow­ess, the UB9000 also ticks the boxes of all the main au­dio for­mats, in­clud­ing WAV, FLAC, AIFF, and AAC. It uses a high-grade 32-bit/768kHz DAC to help with all the data con­ver­sion.

Stream­ing apps such as Ama­zon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer and Net­flix come pre­in­stalled. This is handy if youíre con­nect­ing the UB9000 to a pro­jec­tor, but if your TV has them built in, keep the video chain as short as pos­si­ble and use those in­stead.

The re­mote con­trol is styled in the usual Pana­sonic fash­ion, with chunky, re­spon­sive but­tons and a back­light for op­er­at­ing in a darkened room.

Due to the lim­i­ta­tions of the chipset used in the DP-UB9000, thereís no room for ei­ther DVD-Au­dio or SACD sup­port, so Pana­son­icís flag­ship 4K deck does­nít dou­ble as a univer­sal disc player.

As with any high-end video source, it pays to spend a bit of time get­ting ac­quainted with menus and set­tings. You should set the tar­get lu­mi­nance for the player, which helps the

HDR Op­ti­miser do its job bet­ter. There are six set­tings to choose from, with op­tions based on the bright­ness out­put of your display de­vice.

We wish the menus were eas­ier to un­der­stand, though. Quite a few on the Pana­sonic are over-com­pli­cated and just con­fuse mat­ters. Why would you want to turn the play­erís Dolby Vi­sion or HDR10+ sup­port on or off when thereís an op­tion for the ma­chine to switch au­to­mat­i­cally? It all feels a bit un­nec­es­sary.


We feed the DP-UB9000 a se­lec­tion of 4K Blu-rays, start­ing with the re­make of Ju­manji, and the pic­ture we get on our LG OLED TV com­pletely blows us away.

As our four in­trepid ex­plor­ers are dropped off at the start of their hunt for the Jaguarís Eye, the jun­gle back­drop looks breath­tak­ing. Clouds, blue skies and lush fo­liage com­bine to cre­ate a pic­ture rich with in­for­ma­tion and beau­ti­fully shaded colours.

The level of de­tail on display is stun­ning.

From the def­i­ni­tion on The Rockís tat­toos and bulging bi­ceps to the frayed badges on Kevin Hartís gilet, the po­tent com­bi­na­tion of de­tail and clar­ity keeps you fixed to the screen.

As the group at­tempts to outrun a ma­raud­ing biker gang by weav­ing in and out of cover, the player han­dles the mo­tion and shift from shadow to light with skill and fi­nesse. And, when they reach a ridge above a wa­ter­fall, the over­head cam­era pan is al­most enough to start a bout of ver­tigo.

We switch to the 4K Blu-ray of Baby Driver and the Pana­sonic DP-UB9000 pro­duces a sim­i­larly invit­ing pic­ture. Dur­ing the open­ing chap­ter, as the get­away car ar­rives on the scene, the Subaruís glossy red paint­work and black al­loy wheels look ex­quis­ite. The mo­tion from ev­ery hand­brake turn and pow­er­slide is han­dled with con­fi­dence. You get the im­pres­sion it will take a lot to rat­tle this 4K Blu-ray player.

Flick the HDR Op­ti­miser on and off and the player sub­tly firms up the bright­est el­e­ments of the pic­ture, par­tic­u­larly the flar­ing around head­lights as the crew leave the car park af­ter their first bank job.

The UB9000 also ex­cels when handed the job of up­scal­ing a 1080p Blu-ray. The Times Square bat­tle be­tween Spidey and Max in The Amaz­ing Spi­der-Man 2 is a great test scene, with plenty of dark de­tails to in­ves­ti­gate and punchy neon colours to com­mu­ni­cate.

The reds, blues and finer de­tails and tex­tures of Spi­der-Manís suit are im­pres­sively

ren­dered. Maxís neon blue CGI per­sona punches pow­er­fully against the city sky with lit­tle in the way of on-screen noise.

Itís th­ese up­scal­ing skills that set the Pana­sonic apart from ri­vals such as the Cam­bridge CXUHD. The pic­ture is just clearer, sharper and more in­sight­ful across the board.

Weíd have no qualms pay­ing the ex­tra money de­manded by the DP-UB9000.


Pana­sonic has set the bar pretty high when it comes to pic­ture qual­ity, and thatís mir­rored by a sim­i­larly ro­bust sonic per­for­mance. Di­a­logue be­tween Max and Spidey is crys­tal clear, the elec­tri­fied rasp to Maxís voice giv­ing his lines a men­ac­ing feel.

Thereís also sub­tlety and ex­tra at­ten­tion to de­tail, from the orches­tral score dart­ing around in the back­ground to the crackle of elec­tric­ity as it cour­ses through Maxís body.

The ten­sion and dan­ger in the scene feels im­me­di­ate and then it ex­plodes into life. As Max feeds off the power to the city and sends bill­boards tum­bling to the ground, you feel the full force of each crash and smash. Thereís no hard­ness as glass shat­ters and show­ers down over the as­sem­bled crowd.

Switch to U2ís U2360∞ at the Rose Bowl Blu-ray and the Pana­son­icís qual­i­ties of clar­ity, space and de­tail are all there in abun­dance. The bassline to With Or With­out You sits at the front of the track as the Edgeís riff floats haunt­ingly in open space. Drums sound sub­tle yet each strike sounds ex­plicit with it. Itís all topped off by the fine de­tail in Bonoís voice ñ thereís no vague­ness here.

The Cam­bridge CXUHD times bet­ter and de­liv­ers the rhythm of the track more ac­cu­rately, but loses ground on the Pana­sonic when it comes to res­o­lu­tion, power and so­lid­ity of sound.


This is a fo­cused, high-per­for­mance ma­chine ñ and a home cin­ema pow­er­house.

If you own a sur­round sys­tem that can make the most of the Pana­sonic DP-UB9000ís many tal­ents, you wonít be dis­ap­pointed. We havenít come across many Blu-ray play­ers that al­low the 4K disc for­mat to look and sound this spec­tac­u­lar.

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