Panasonic DMP-BDT320 3D Blu-ray player
Disc spinner with a new twist
Unfortunately, driving the deck is a bit like playing a deeply unrewarding level of Super Mario Land. I lost track of how many times my attempts to navigate were misinterpreted.
Touchpad remote could be more finger friendly
This may not matter a jot, though, when balanced against the deck’s audio visual performance. Video playback, with both 2D and 3D Blu-rays, is outstanding. It also does a wonderful job upscaling DVD and is an extremely advanced audio player.
The UniPhier SoC at the heart of the DMP-BDT320 comprises a number of circuit blocks for audio, video, signal processing, interface control and the like. Using a single chip solution like this has its benefits, in that reduces the number of connected signal lines on the deck’s PCB, which inherently reduces noise.
Viera Connect Portal
On this model, Panasonic has gone a stage further, offering the option to partially shut down blocks within the UniPhier chip that relate to the analogue video DAC and HDMI Video output. This further reduces the general electrical hubbub from within. Panasonic call this a High Clarity Sound mode.
Valve effects on-board that don't need time to warm up
And there’s more. Root around the Special Effects audio menu and you’ll find so-called Tube Sound filters. These effectively add controlled harmonic distortion to the player’s audio output, creating a warm sound characteristic of the valve amps of yore. You may scoff, but my SHM-CD of Bowie’s Diamond Dogs (Japanese special edition) has a treble edge that can cut glass. Listening whilst applying just such a filter restored the requisite level of glam. Try selecting Mode 5 when you have a sultry female vocal or Mode 1 for some retro smoothness.
Overall, the DMP-BDT320 is a splendid bit of kit, albeit not without complexity. Video quality is fabulous, and sonically the deck shines. But I’m unimpressed by the new touchpad controller. It’s a nuisance when navigating and will prove a complete mystery to anyone who hasn’t studied Panasonic’s operational tutorial. Still, you can always download the brand’s generic control app, I suppose. ®