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  1. Member
    Join Date: Nov 2007
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    I am looking at this VCR and wanted to know I should get it.
    http://cgi.ebay.com/Panasonic-AG-1970-P-First-Line-SVHS-Video-Cassette-reco_W0QQitemZ3...QQcmdZViewItem
    Or this one?
    http://cgi.ebay.com/JVC-SVHS-RECORDER-PLAYER-HR-S9911U-EXCELLENT-CONDITION_W0QQitemZ12...QQcmdZViewItem

    Are they worth the money. Thanks in advance for your opinions.
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  2. Video Restorer lordsmurf's Avatar
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    The JVC is the better option here for filtering, and is worth at least $300 USD or more.
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  3. Member
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    My main problem currently is dropped frames probably by time base errors. Are you saying that the JVC one would be best for that particular job? Also, if neither would help for that stuff, what external TBC would you recommend?
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  4. Member edDV's Avatar
    Join Date: Mar 2004
    Location: Northern California, USA
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    Originally Posted by dumbidiot
    My main problem currently is dropped frames probably by time base errors. ...
    It is unlikely dropped frames are being caused by time base jitter. How do you capture video?

    First try to capture from a stable video source like a cable box. If that works then try the VCR.
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  5. Member
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    I have tried capturing from a satellite box and dVD player, both worked. I'd be extremely grateful for advice though so that then I don't have to spend $100s on special equipment. Oh and I capture from the ADS Pyro AV Link.
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  6. Member GreyDeath's Avatar
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    Location: Chicago, Illinois USA
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    Originally Posted by dumbidiot
    I have tried capturing from a satellite box and dVD player, both worked. I'd be extremely grateful for advice though so that then I don't have to spend $100s on special equipment.
    Well, a standalone TBC can cost some bucks, like $200. The 9911 has some good stabilization and its Frame TBC gets rid of most flagging. Lord Smurf has recommended in the past the Panasonic ES-10 DVD Recorder as a pass through for image stabilization and it does an outstanding job too.

    Depending on the degradation of your tapes, the 9911 should cover just about everything.

    Also, yes, what are you using to capture, a card or A/D converter?

    And WOW! the guy on eBay with the 9911 wants $102 for shipping???
    "*sigh* Warned you, we tried. Listen, you did not. Now SCREWED, we all will be!" ~Yoda
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  7. Member orsetto's Avatar
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    I have used both of these VCRs to make VHS-to DVD transfers.

    In my opinion a Panasonic AG-1970 is not worth the trouble of acquiring: I bought and resold 5 of these on eBay over the last three years and every one of them was beat to death by the previous owners. These were ludicrously expensive decks when new, average discount price was $1019, so no one in their right mind bought them except professionals who used them 24/7. It is almost a certainty any example on eBay is worn, worn, worn- it is extremely unlikely you'll find one that was "lightly driven by a little old lady". Not to say it isn't a good VCR at current used prices: build quality is impeccable and it has some nice features. But its picture quality was never that great even when new, and the half-assed TBC in the AG-1970 is only marginally helpful in DVD transfers. The HiFi stereo tracking on these units has usually drifted far off the mark by now, so sound issues are also a risk. If you can find a local seller who'll let you try before you buy, its worth about $90 but no more. The later AG1980 model is much harder to find, this is a "cult" model that people hold onto religiously. They were selling used for $400-600 for the longest time, now finally you sometimes can find them under $300 on eBay in decent shape. It is reputed to have a *great* TBC, but when I tried a couple of them they were really not all that much different from the far cheaper AG1970. Note also the 1980 had many, MANY teething problems: flimsier build quality and some botched circuitry on a lot of units. If you get a good one they're OK but many are overpriced train wrecks. Caveat emptor.

    In terms of absolute usefulness in DVD transfers, I agree with many others here that the TBC in high end JVC svhs decks is very, very good and can solve many if not all average tape issues. HOWEVER, all my JVC vcrs were beyond atrocious when it came to reliability: I would not put my precious tapes into a used one if you paid me. Between 1985 and 1997 I (and my videoholic friends) bought new and got royally burned by every one of their top-line models, including a few luxury variants JVC built for other makes like TEAC. For whatever reason, they have a tendency to self-destruct very quickly and they will mess with your tapes in ways I've never seen happen with other decks. I've had tapes so badly mangled and stuck in JVC units that I was tempted to call Ripleys Believe It Or Not, and one of their worst traits is their unique ability to somehow munge their own transport mechanisms: I can't tell you how many tapes I've had to trash over the years that were partially erased or had inexplicable wavyness overlaying the original image after simply playing them ONCE in my various JVCs. The last straw for me was a brand new editing unit I bought for $500 in 1997: within two weeks, it was recording the wavyness pattern over my known-good tapes DURING PLAYBACK. Exchanged it, and the replacement started chewing on tape edges within a month- it waited just long enough for my return privilege to expire. Nice. I think it was the 4900 model, I put it out of my mind usually...

    It's a shame, because in the '80s and '90s JVC really did have the best image quality and the build quality also seemed excellent. I *loved* them when they worked. But they're often haunted units, many of them. I don't doubt the majority of folks on this forum who say they have never had problems with them, I'm just adding my two cents here for the record. At this point JVC is kind of the only game in town for this type of work, its not like we have a lot of alternatives, but always try to get a return guarantee from your seller to be safe. I sold off my own 9911 last year because I couldn't take the stress of its random tape eating anymore.

    A lesser-known option rarely mentioned is the Mitsubishi HS-HD2000U vcr. This was a very pricey SVHS deck with D-VHS HDTV recording ability. It was a huge bomb at retail a couple years ago: too hard for stores to explain how D-VHS worked and it sat with an $800 price tag on the same shelf as $79 Panasonics, with BluRay looming on the horizon. About a year ago I noticed liquidators dumping them all over eBay, brand new for less than $200. I bought one to try out because I'd heard it had a TBC/DNR system like my JVC 9911. It does, and its GREAT. Totally clears up VHS, as well or better than a JVC but with much better transport reliability. My biggest problem is tapes recorded off analog cable, they have multiple sync noise and stability artifacts that choke most DVD recorders. When I put those tapes in this Mitsubishi, they play thru to the DVD recorder like a dream. Between this VCR and my Pioneer 531 DVR, 95% of my work is covered. I ended up buying a couple of spare Mitsubishis just in case the first broke down, but its been running 10 hours a day since last September with no problems. A couple weeks ago I sold off one of my spares when I noticed the going price had shot way up suddenly (HDTV hobbyists have belatedly re-discovered it). If you can wait for this "wave" of interest to pass, this Mitsubishi model should drop like a stone back to the bargain-basement before long. I *highly* recommend the MGA 2000U as the best bet out there, especially if you can find one under $200 like I did. Superb unit for DVD transfers.

    I've tried external TBCs and they did not fix my particular problem tapes- I needed the special voodoo you can only get from a built-in VCR TBC. Primarily, external TBC units help with dropped frame issues that are inherent to computer-based DVD recording solutions. I have never had a dropped frame/audio sync issue going direct from a VCR to a standalone DVR (cross fingers). If you have a lot of tapes to process, say more than 50, using a standalone recorder is MUCH easier to get reliable transfers from. PC-based recorders have tremendous flexibility but require a lot more fussing than I have time for.

    As usual, YMMV. Good luck!
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  8. Video Restorer lordsmurf's Avatar
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    Starting with the JVC 9600 (~1998), the transports are supposedly different. Most of the machine is different. So you've apparently not used the newer models. The only problem I've ever had with JVC is the heads can go out of alignment (like any other VCR) due to gravity after 100s of hours of use. It usually takes 3-4 years of daily use (6-12 hours or more) for that to happen. It'll feather the edges of the tape, and it needs repair (about $75 after tax).

    The JVC D-VHS is similar to the Mitsubishi you mention. It can stabilize quite nicely, but still lacks some of the video filters found in the high-end S-VHS units.

    JVC S-VHS units suck at VHS recording. You won't find a better S-VHS or S-VHS-ET recorder, however.
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  9. Member Marvingj's Avatar
    Join Date: Apr 2004
    Location: Death Valley, Bomb-Bay
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    I recently brought a panny 1970 on Ebay for about 65.00. My Video tech guy had to replace roller & pins. But overall it in Mint condition. From What I see My JVC 7900 & 9800 stabilize the picture much better but panny seems have a tad better picture. Not trying make any controversy but its good to have backups these day because SVHS are few in number.
    http://www.absolutevisionvideo.com

    BLUE SKY, BLACK DEATH!!
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  10. Member
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    It is a A/D covertor. So what do you mean when you say use a DVD recorder as a passthrough because I don't want to waste DVDs?Oh and are you saying that the JVC D-VHS would help or not?
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  11. Member orsetto's Avatar
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    I think Lordsmurf was just pointing out that the recent JVC D-VHS machines do not have quite the same sophisticated TBC and DNR that the older analog SVHS machines have- given a choice, for transferring tapes to DVD, go for the older analog JVC SVHS if you can find one in good operating condition at a price that works for you.

    I should have been more clear that I did keep one Panny AG-1970 for myself, its a beater but works reasonably well and cost me only $65 delivered, much like Marvingj's experience. I do still actually watch tapes quite often, used strictly as a VCR a 1970 is really nice. Its TBC doesn't quite cut it for my DVD transfers, but I keep it as a "just in case" backup unit. It also comes in handy to correct audio levels with its headphone jack, manual overrides and meters. Getting one in good condition isn't always easy, but if you do find one it is likely to stay good indefinitely- they're tanks. My advice earlier was to avoid them if you're on a budget and need really excellent tape rehab- if you can only afford one vcr, for that specific job you need a JVC SVHS, or the Mitsubishi D-VHS I mentioned. Not a lot of people here have used the Mitsubishi so I wanted to get the word out that its an excellent alternative to JVC or Panny, especially because it can often still be found new in box unlike the other popular units which are only available used. Unlike the JVC D-VHS units, the MItsubishi D-VHS *does* have the complete trio of TBC, DNR and Stabilization circuits. In direct comparison, my results from the Mitsubishi at least equal if not surpass my JVC SVHS, so I sold my JVCs to buy brand new Mitsus.

    One of these TBC- equipped VCRs connected to a good standalone DVD recorder will solve the majority of tape>DVD transfer needs for most people. You would likely need an outboard TBC only if you have an extreme tape issue (worn 20 year old third generation VHS recorded at slow SLP speed with edge damage and blank segments between programs) or to correct "false" copy-protection problems that tend to occur with older camcorder footage. If you do feel the need for a separate TBC, stick to the DataVideo models recommended here on the forum. I tried several "pro" units and they did absolutely nothing. Pro TBCs you see on eBay from Panasonic, I*Den, and For-A are huge, clumsy, noisy, hot-running boxes whose designs pre-date the kind of projects we're talking about here. I've discovered the hard way that they accomplish nothing, often make the video look worse, and many of them actually don't fix "false" or "real" copy protection problems. The smaller, newer DataVideo TBCs are much better.
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  12. Member orsetto's Avatar
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    That one looks good, seller feedback seems OK. Price is a little high for a used one historically, but they have seen huge increases in the last few weeks so its hard to say? If you wait for the current surge of interest to pass, you should be able to snag one for about $150 delivered. But this guy isn't asking too much $ over average, and he has the remote and instruction book: if you need it now for a project it might be a good bet. I'm really shocked by the sudden popularity of these - Mitsubishi couldn't *give* them away last year when I got mine, prices sank as low as $129 for new ones in the box from dozens of sellers. Now they're scarce all of a sudden. Of the handful of D-VHS machines that were released, this was the only one that did not suffer from software problems and hardware meltdowns. I guess the minority interested in HDTV tape recording have finally discovered its merits and are snapping them up. (I was offered $400 for my spare last month- I didn't say no! )
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  13. Member
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    Have any of you used just a DVD recorder and DVD-RAM to get the footage to digital? Is there are noticable quality loss than if you orginally captured it from the orginal tape as a DV AVI?

    And since you guys said to get multiple vcrs since they are becoming extinct, what about this one?
    http://cgi.ebay.com/Panasonic-AG-1980-Professional-SVHS-editing-VCR_W0QQitemZ120182382...QQcmdZViewItem
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  14. Member Wile_E's Avatar
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    Location: Texas
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    There are some JVC D-VHS machines that have the same DNR filters as the old 9xxx models. Take a look at the manuals on the JVC website.

    Here is one, that one of my friends bought. He said the filters do work and it was like night and day difference when playing back his old VHS tapes. This one has the same Picture Control (Edit/Soft/Sharp/Auto) , Digital R3, Video Stabilizer, Video Calibration, etc... I'm thinking about buying one myself, to compare it to my JVC 9911U.

    JVC SR-VD400US
    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/285082-REG/JVC_SRVD400US_SR_VD400US_Pro_HD_D_VHS...er_Player.html

    JVC Manuals
    http://books.jvcservice.com/
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  15. Member orsetto's Avatar
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    Wow! That's an excellent price for a brand new JVC D-VHS, Wile_E! If it does indeed have all the "classic" JVC tape enhancement circuits it could be an excellent choice. They originally sold for just under $1000. If you are interested in actually using the HDTV recording function, one advantage this model has over my "pet" Mitsubishi is its built-in encoder/decoder- it will convert analog input to digital HD signal (of course the actual resolution would be SD). Also, it can play HDTV recordings thru its component video out connections- useful if you have an older TV without HDMI or Firewire.

    As to the Panny AG1980, can be a nice unit if obtained at a good price. But not as good as JVC or Mitsu. If price goes above $300 forget it and go for brand new: get the JVC SR-VD400 Wile_E just found for us or the Mitsu HS-HD2000U. A significant number of early AG1980s had some lip sync/sound delay issues, it was corrected later and a service bulletin went out to repair shops, something to be wary of on that model. AG1970 did not have that issue.
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  16. Member
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    So are you saying that the Panasonic one is worth it's current selling price, $130 shipped?
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  17. Member orsetto's Avatar
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    Yeah, $130 for the AG1980 would be a steal if it works well and you actually get it at that price. (Pay attention to clues in the listing: this one comes from a university lab which means it was banged on every day of its life- if they had it serviced regularly it could be great, if not it could be disappointing.) It will probably get bid up higher though. If it goes above the Mitsu you were also looking at, I'd opt for the Mitsu instead. Its at least 8 years newer and less likely to have been used much. Also, better and newer TBC/DNR.

    Don't make yourself crazy over this or you'll get stuck in a loop. Determine which you think would best suit your needs, figure out the top price you're willing to pay, and stick to your guns till you find what you want. The availability of ALL these TBC vcrs is MUCH better now than even last year: most of the people who needed them for DVD transfers have long since finished their projects and put them back up for sale. If you miss one, another will go up for sale presently.
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  18. Video Restorer lordsmurf's Avatar
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    Just be sure whatever you get has image filters (SOFT, SHARP, AUTO, NORM), which clean the picture beyond what the TBC does.

    I thought the JVC D-VHS lacked that filter.
    I've never seen a Mitsubishi S-VHS with image filters, and I'd be surprised if the D-VHS did.

    Then again, it's been years. I can't remember all this stuff anymore.

    Just check for image filters beyond the DNR and TBC.
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  19. Member orsetto's Avatar
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    Lordsmurf, I have to confess most anything I know about this subject I first learned from YOU while lurking around this forum the last couple years, then applied to my own projects .

    So of course the first thing I checked when I got the Mitsubishi HS-HD2000U was to see if it had all of the features you recommend, and it does. Frankly I think its entire enhancement system was either copied from or licensed from JVC, because even the controls are similar in operation. Like JVC, the TBC/DNR systems are linked and can't be separated, they are activated by a big green button on the front of the VCR. When tape is in "stop" mode, the same button switches a 3-D Digital Comb Filter in or out of the signal path, which also seems to have a Stabilizer filter attached to it. The SOFT, SHARP, AUTO, NORM filters are less obvious- they're found in the VIDEO menu system under the "PerfecTape" submenu. At first I wondered why MGA put all that in this model, since they'd never built a DNR/TBC system into any of their other VCRs- even the pricey Medical editing decks. Then I realized, this VCR was really intended to match up with an MGA HDTV so it could record HD from the TVs tuner. As you've said yourself many times, these big flat panels don't particularly like displaying SD material at all. By fitting their D-VHS with a JVC-style filtering system, Mitsubishi at least gave this VCR a fighting chance at making "regular" VHS playback less horrible on their flatscreens.

    This week I finally took the time and had the opportunity to log my experiences with Pioneer, JVC and MGA hardware on a couple of threads here, which I hope was at least a little bit useful to a few people. Now that's done, I think I'll go back to just lurking, as I can see my posts are w-a-y too damn long and I'm lousy at being concise. Much obliged to LordSmurf, FulciLives and all the others who go out of their way to help us with this stuff and keep us up to date! How you manage to express yourselves without rambling on, I'll never know... its a *gift*, I tell ya...
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  20. Member
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    Orsetto, have you found that tapes you recorded to dvd in the first place on either the Panasonic or JVC SVHS vcrs play back more stabler and clearer on the Mitsubishi with fewer jitters? Reason I ask is because I use the HRS-9800u JVC and while the picture is excellent, I get a lot of jitters at times.
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  21. Member
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    So the Mistushi VCR would function as a good TBC VCR? And what about the JVC D-VHS that Wile found, is that good too?
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  22. Member orsetto's Avatar
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    Either machine is a good choice. I prefer the Mitsubishi myself but the JVC especially if bought new would be about equal. I think I may have misunderstood your issue at first- you're saying it's definitely dropped frames with a computer A/D capture card? That can be a real pain to solve. One of these TBC vcrs may help, or might make things worse. A DataVideo TBC might help, or might be an expensive paperweight. Capture cards are a black art- those lucky people with systems that work correctly think they're great and versatile, the less lucky among us find them a frustrating waste of time. If you have a deadline and you're getting nowhere with your computer A/D converter, forget it and use one of the recommended TBC vcrs with a good standalone DVD recorder: its just SO much easier. Afterwards you can put the recorded DVD back into your PC for editing and custom menu design. There are hundreds of posts you can explore here in VH by members who use such a combination of tools. Good Luck!
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  23. Member
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    Well, it's an external firewire capture device, not a capture card. The tapes are only 10-12 years old.
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  24. Video Restorer lordsmurf's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by orsetto
    Lordsmurf, I have to confess most anything I know about this subject I first learned from YOU while lurking around this forum the last couple years, then applied to my own projects ........... Now that's done, I think I'll go back to just lurking, as I can see my posts are w-a-y too damn long and I'm lousy at being concise. Much obliged to LordSmurf, FulciLives and all the others who go out of their way to help us with this stuff and keep us up to date! How you manage to express yourselves without rambling on, I'll never know... its a *gift*, I tell ya...
    I'm not surprised at all.
    Feel free to stick around. You can refresh my memory on things I used to know.

    If I see a cheap Mitsubishi D-VHS around, I'm now tempted to snap it up.
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  25. Member
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    Just found out yesterday that it wasn't my VCR that was the problem. But unfortunately, my computer keeps crashing. Luckily though, the people at club.cdfreaks.com are gonna try to help.
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  26. Member
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    Okay, my computer is back up and running. Do any of you have any experience dealing with the ADS Tech Pyro AV Link because that is the source of the problem?
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  27. Member orsetto's Avatar
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    I wasn't expecting to add any further thoughts on this topic, but it just occurred to me we hadn't mentioned a situation or two where these TBC-equipped VCRs will work poorly with certain tapes, in which case you'd be better served by switching the TBC/DNR *off* altogether.

    Everything said in my earlier posts applies only to first-generation original recordings, i.e. camcorder footage or programming taped directly from off-air, cable or satellite. If the tape you want to transfer to DVD is itself a copy, even a really good 2nd gen copy, the TBC/DNR in most of these VCRs (JVC, MGA, Panny) will sometimes mis-process minor tape dropouts or rapid scene changes, leading to image glitches. This usually manifests as a magenta-tinted flash across the screen, lasting a frame or two. Very brief but if it occurs repeatedly it can be very distracting. Always test your setup when the source tape is multi-generation, and if you get this weird color flashing symptom you might need to switch off the VCRs buit-in TBC/DNR system. You will need to trade off what is more acceptable: a beautifully processed image with occasional TBC artifacts, or a somewhat noisier image with no TBC artifacts. This varies tape to tape depending on the VCR and DVD recorder (or capture device). Note this is a particular problem with tapes of copy-protected source material, especially if a stabilizer such as a Sima was involved. The built-in TBC/DNR in many of these VCRs can conflict badly with such tapes, and again you will likely want to turn it off.

    Generally the only drawback to turning off the vcr TBC is the loss of its image improvements. However, if you are capturing to a computer or pre-2005 DVD recorder such as a Pioneer 510, turning off the vcr TBC may lead to a dropped frame/lipsync issue. In such cases you may need to insert a separate frame-sync TBC, like a DataVideo, between the VCR and capture device to restore the signal. Most hard-drive DVD recorders made from 2005 on have pretty strong input buffers (for lack of a better word) that prevent dropped-frame issues, this problem is now mostly confined to computer-based capture systems. (My Pioneer 531 and 640 recorders have never given me a dropped frame tape dub issue, but I sold an older 510 and a 520 because they were far too sensitive. I assume the much-admired new Phillips 3575 is also OK with unstable tapes or an owner would have mentioned it here by now!)
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  28. Video Restorer lordsmurf's Avatar
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    "I assume the much-admired new Phillips 3575 is also OK with unstable tapes or an owner would have mentioned it here by now"

    Oh, I wouldn't make that assumption. I don't even have a VCR in the same room with my Philips. Not why I bought it. I've not heard from anybody yet who's used it to record off VHS.
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