A couple of weeks back we tested - and were enthralled by - Marantz's VP-15S1, a high-spec, high-price but above all high-performance DLP projector. And within that review we referred to Marantz's even more high-end projector offering, the legendary VP-11S1, little realising at the time that we would soon have a perfect excuse for testing this premium beast.
Yet here it is on our test benches, complete with a new letter ‘H' at the end of its name to signify that its HDMI sockets have been upgraded to the latest v1.3 specification for Deep Colour compatibility. This specification boost is remarkably accompanied, too, by a huge price cut, from the original 11S1's £10,000 - yes, ten grand - to ‘just' £7,000 for the 11S1H version. Cool.
That said, £7k is still a lot of dosh for a projector in today's competitive world. Don't forget, after all, that we tested only last week a Full HD DLP projector, the InFocus X10, costing just £900 or so. So even at its new lower price the 11S1H is going to have to work mighty hard to justify its outlay.
It sets about achieving this Herculean task right away, though, courtesy of one of the most indomitable build qualities we've seen. The distinctive cream and grey bodywork, for instance, is made from incredibly robust aluminium designed to soak up electrical vibrations and reduce the amount of operating noise. Also, the lens is a very impressive looking affair from Konica/Minolta that sticks out an inordinate distance from the rest of the bodywork, as if to make the point that it really means business.
The newly upgraded twin HDMIs lead the connections charge, meanwhile, but they receive good assistance from a pair of component video jacks, a D-Sub PC port, two DC trigger outputs, remote control in/out, and an RS-232C port to help the 11S1H get integrated into a professional home cinema installation - something we suspect could happen quite a lot given the Marantz's premium aspirations.
Inevitably for its money, the 11S1H is a Full HD projector, with its other key specification being a claimed contrast ratio of more than 6,500:1. And before you think this doesn't sound all that impressive versus the figures quoted by some rivals, you need to know that its 6,500:1 is a native figure, not one that's dependent on any auto-iris systems dimming the image brightness during dark scenes in order to boost black levels.