In 1984, Pioneer introduced the 3rd generation of LaserDisc players. Gone were the top loading players listed above. Gone also was the fantastic use of the Helium-Neon laser tube. Instead, the LD-700 (pictured on the left) brought us into the world of the Laser Diode pickup. This consumer grade player incorporated a new, and highly advertised, solid state laser "tracker". On the plus side, Pioneer didn't abandon all the wonderful things about the old style pickup however. In fact, with some obvious size considerations, the pickup is very much the same. On the "big plus" side of the equation, the assembly also allowed for the inclusion of the first "tilt-servo" which allowed the pickup to pivot along the lens axis to accommodate for a full 5° conical warp of the disc. They also maintained the pivoting Tangential and Tracking mirrors which accounts for this pickup design to be excessively tolerant of the random DiscoVision disc. The speed and accuracy with which this pickup assembly can track discs with oddly shaped tracks has not been seen since the abandonment of this concept.
The industrial version of this player is what we're all here to read about. Pioneer incorporated this pickup system in its consumer unit, the LD-700, and on the industrial line of LaserDisc players, the LD-V6000 series. The "A" variant adds some additional "nifty" features which I'll discuss later. Playing a DiscoVision disc seems to be this player's lot in life. Of all the DiscoVision discs in my library, it will play all but two. This is an incredible record for any player which uses a Laser Diode. I have to credit the actual mirrors inside the pickup for that. Not having an LD-700 to play with, I cannot speak to its ability to play DiscoVision. But since it is based on the same pickup, I have to assume its playback is similar. From memory however, the odd little quirks the LD-700 experienced on CAV disc are the same which are here on the LD-V6010A. Mainly, if you are scanning into a freeze frame state, the players will "play" for an additional 30 (or so) frames before locking into a still mode. Not horrible, but a bit annoying.
Pioneer included a bit of dropout compensation in the player, but not any noise reduction. This effectively masks single line dropouts, but doesn't mask any speckling. On the positive side of the speckling issue, it also doesn't make the speckles worse, as do many of the currently available LaserDisc players. Even with the tilt servo, however, there is almost no crosstalk rejection in the player, and extended play discs can tend to look a bit squirrelly with all the crosstalk. I don't want to alarm anyone, it really isn't as bad as that. Crosstalk is as much a fault of the disc as of the player and the LD-V6010A (pictured on the left) doesn't actually induce any crosstalk.
On startup, the player will search for Frame 0, but will play muted and with black screen until the frame counter hits 1. This removes the presence of the opening DiscoVision bumpers from all sides, providing nearly uninterrupted playback of a feature film. CLV/CAA playback begins at the minute 0. Now for the odd little "A" quirks I spoke of. The LD-V6000"A" series of disc players boast an incredibly fast search time. For a CAV disc, the full side search time is 2 seconds, with 8 seconds for a CLV disc. However, with these speedy CAV times, there comes a price. During spin-up, the player searches to the outside of the disc to determine the last chapter and frame number, and to measure the slider speed and position. Big deal, you may say, but this process adds about 15 seconds to the spin-up time. If a GM disc is attempted, the player will simply eject the disc.
The unit has no external controls other than eject and play. Advanced functions, such as frame advance, audio monitor and searching are all done from the RU-V6000 remote control unit. As this is an industrial unit, programming of the player can also be performed, but it's really not necessary for playback. The unit pays full attention to the Philips code on discs, rendering it a bad choice for playing Frenzy Side 5. But, because it is industrial, an Auto-Stop command can be input which instructs the player to ignore disc based codes. Playback of soft signal discs is very good, although it does take a few extra seconds for the spin-up to occur.
Overall, the LD-V6010A is a wonderful DiscoVision player. If you can find one, pick it up.
Updated: November 21, 1999
Copyright ©1999 Blam Entertainment Group