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Subject:  Darbee Darblet installed Date:  1/10/2013  1:35 AM
Author:  MichaelRead Number:  10118 of 10739

I have had the Darbee Darblet ( )video enhancer (here on in “DD’) for the past several days and I have thoroughly – and I mean thoroughly – put it through its paces. Long story short: does it work and is it worth the price? To both yes.

I installed the DD between the main Yamaha a/v amp and the LG 60-in plasma TV. This means all the peripherals feed the amp. That way I could assess the differences between Blu-ray, a separate DVD/VHS player, and satellite feed. In testing I used all feeds. Consensus: the better resolution of the feed the more noticeable the effect.

The DD remote has several settings set by buttons marked (top row) On/Off, More Darbee, Less Darbee, and Menu; the bottom row: Hi-Def, Gaming, Full-Pop, and Demo (that has a split screen setup allowing an A/B comparison).

The effect of the DD is, best word, crispness. Details were more noticeable. Edges were better defined. The picture seemed ‘realer’. On HD channels the dimension of depth was better; on SD not so much. Same with VHS. However, on DVD’s bumped up to 1080p it was excellent.

As a born fiddler I spend the whole first day not seeking best but finding out the effects of over-Darbee. Over-Darbee and the picture is plain awful: over-emphasized edges and edge contrast. My aim was to over do it and reduce to an acceptable picture rather than start at a lower setting and work up. It’s easier that way. That and trying each setting: I finally chose Hi Def at 65 percent Darbee. However, if you do get the unit it’s a given your settings will differ because of differences in ancillary components.

I mentioned this before: Elly doesn’t know the ins and outs of home theater but rapidly gets into content. The noticeable times she doesn’t is when I have made poor-choice changes I was in the middle of readjusting and then she says, “Can you switch it back to where it was before?” Otherwise, nada.

Last night after me fiddling with the DD all afternoon we watched the season opener of Downton Abbey. By then I has the DD set the way I liked it and the picture was crisp and detailed. I was amazed when Elly said, “It’s so much clearer.” First time she’s commented on a change in the system. Usually she says, “It’s nice.”

This afternoon we watched a HD nature channel and, again, Elly said, “Look how good that picture is. Look at that lion’s mane and you can see each hair.”

The one button you will press more than any in the beginning is the on-off switch. With Derbee, without Darbee. Then you leave it on.

One last. I thought the changes the DD makes would be subtle and, in a way, they are. But noticeable. I have not seen our TV with such a good picture and I have spent lots on its calibration.

The DD isn’t cheap. All out counting import duties and provincial tax to British Columbia came to $425 and that’s about the cost of a decent a/v amp. That said, I am pleased with the DD and it’s now a part of the permanent installation.


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