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  1. Member
    Join Date: Nov 2008
    Location: South Central Wisconsin
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    Has anyone else noticed this? All these cheap "throw-away" Funai built VCR's [funai, emerson, phillips, magnavox, sv2000, etc, etc] are soooo over-sensitive to any tape that MAY have even the slightest little "bind" to it. When it gets to that one little spot, the vcr will moan and squeak, then shut off. When turned back on, it instantly ejects. I have 5 of these "Funai builts" around the house and every single one does the moan/squeak/off/eject number with any of these tapes I have labeled "keep this tape away from Funai." Here's the kicker: I have 10 other brands of more vintage VCR's around here and every single one of them will sail right through those supposed "bad spots" like they never existed. Has anyone ever bothered taking one of these Funai beauties apart to see what major design flaw is unique to only them?
    T'care guys,
    Mike
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  2. Member
    Join Date: Oct 2009
    Location: United States
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    Hi Mike,

    I order a Sylvania from a site and since it is on backorder, they are asking me if I want to substitute a blue colored Funai PK240D. It has 19 heads! Sounds almost impossible to have that many to me. What do you think? So what "vintage" vcr would you recommend purchasing? Thanks.

    Ron
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  3. Video Restorer lordsmurf's Avatar
    Join Date: Jun 2003
    Location: dFAQ.us/lordsmurf
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    19 micron heads, = width of head..
    It's still only 2 or 4 heads.
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  4. Member
    Join Date: Feb 2003
    Location: USA
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    I believe it really says or should have said .19 head size not 19 heads.
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  5. Member
    Join Date: Oct 2009
    Location: United States
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    Thanks. So is that a standard head size or something better?
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  6. Member orsetto's Avatar
    Join Date: Oct 2007
    Location: NYC
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    Four-head models offer improved playback on SP (two hour speed) tapes, but if all your tapes are SLP (six hour) you can get away with a two head VCR with the "size 19" heads (two head machines are optimized for SLP/six hour tapes.) Two-head models rarely offered hifi sound, that was more common in the four-head models. On the used market theres little to no price advantage to a two-head VCR, unless you get it free. Look for four-head hifi stereo models instead. As many of us have patiently explained here many times, the DVD/VHS combo is about the worst purchase decision you can make in home entertainment. The VHS does not sync easily with the DVD recorder, defeating the whole point of a one-box device. On their own, the VHS portions of these combos are usually nowhere near as competent as any second-hand VCR you might pick up. In Funai's case, the VCR sections clearly have inadequate "oomph" in their transports and/or overactive tension sensors.

    If you need a good VCR, scads are available cheap on eBay or Craigs List or from just asking friends/relatives if they have one they're not using. You can't go wrong with a Panasonic or Quasar 4-head HiFi model from the late 1990s, they seem flimsy but are actually durable and good with tapes. All have a date printed on the back panel: ask the seller what it says. The best consumer Panasonic/Quasar models are from 1995-1998, after that they get sketchy and real crummy (avoid the very tiny recent models that came in black or silver). A 90s VCR should run you no more than $25 in mint condition with remote. If you don't see a Panasonic or Quasar you like, most similar Sharps are about as good. The final (1999-2001) Mitsubishi consumer models, 448 or 449 (VHS) and 748 or 749 (SVHS) are very well built with very strong transport motors, they may be a little pricier used at about $30-40 (avoid earlier Mitsus). If you don't mind combing eBay listings for a few weeks, you could track down the Panasonic industrial model AG2560, an extraordinarily high-quality VHS vcr made in 2000. It has good color, a detail boost switch, and a really tough all-aluminum tape drive. Usually sells for $20-50, often missing the remote but any Panasonic or universal remote can work it for playback.

    Beyond $50 you're heading into the high-end specialty VCR category. If you don't know why you'd need one, you probably don't. High-end VCRs tend to not age as well as low-end VCRs, they might need some repairs, so you have to shop more carefully. The most popular models are the JVC 9911 and Panasonic AG1980, although JVC made a great many units before the 9911 which were better built. The Panasonic is easier to find in good condition and usually cheaper, many of us with huge tape libraries own both brands. Figure $100-250 on the Panasonic or a bit more for a JVC. Now and then you'll come across one of the rare Mitsubishi HS-HD2000U DVHS recorders, or a few JVC DVHS models. These play regular VHS tapes as well or better than the older JVCs, but are much more expensive due to the "cult" following behind DVHS. If you can snag one for under $200, they're an excellent buy.
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  7. Member
    Join Date: Oct 2009
    Location: United States
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    Thanks, very helpful info! How about Sony units? I see a couple of SLV-N70 units and a SLV-595HF. Any opinion on these? Thanks.
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  8. Member
    Join Date: Feb 2008
    Location: Twin Peaks
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    I've got a Sony 4 head HI-FI sitting right here, good 4 years running, it's the best I've ever had.
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  9. Member orsetto's Avatar
    Join Date: Oct 2007
    Location: NYC
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    Sonys are hit-or-miss. The N70 is not very good, the older 595 is better but you need to be sure its in perfect working order. Recent two-digit Sony models like the 70 are less desirable than the older three digit: the older, mid-range or low-end Sonys are best. Pricey Sonys with SVHS were prone to ridiculous, convoluted breakdowns that are difficult to repair.
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  10. Video Restorer lordsmurf's Avatar
    Join Date: Jun 2003
    Location: dFAQ.us/lordsmurf
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    The 9600 was far more popular and respected than the 9911.

    I've never heard that 2-head machines are better suited to SLP mode, but I can definitely see that as an effect from many 2-head'ers.
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  11. Member
    Join Date: Nov 2008
    Location: South Central Wisconsin
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    That Blue Pukachu Funai VCR is for kids [Pokemon]. It may work fine but in any room but a kid's room it will probably look "God aweful".

    Walmart stopped selling the cheap Emerson EWV404 at the stores and online. You can get them at usaworldsales for 29.00 under the Emerson & Sylvania names and yes the ugly blue Funai one too.

    I use all my good vintage VCR's [80's & 90's] for selective copying only, to preserve them as long as possible. I grab up the Chinese cheapies [Emerson, etc] for our many hours of daily playback. I just run the guts out of them, open another box and start over. Their life expectancy ranges from 3 to 12 months for me.

    Have a great weekend all,
    Mike
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  12. Member orsetto's Avatar
    Join Date: Oct 2007
    Location: NYC
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    Originally Posted by lordsmurf
    The 9600 was far more popular and respected than the 9911.
    Yes, but rather harder to find these days. Midrange second-hand VCRs at $25 are an idiot-proof purchase for the average consumer, but once we get into the high-end JVCs and Panasonics people can drown if they don't seriously know how to shop for and spot-check them. You can't just buy any random high-end VCR: you have to know the traps. With Panasonic, the only great high-end choice is the AG1980, but these tend to be beat to death, and looks can be deceiving (the beaters usually saw less use and are better internally than the "minty-looking" samples). With JVC, you're looking for an elusive trifecta of features, build quality, and functional condition.

    I've never heard that 2-head machines are better suited to SLP mode, but I can definitely see that as an effect from many 2-head'ers.
    A 4-head model is nearly always going to be the preferable all-around VCR. Two-head models were initially much cheaper to mfr, but their two narrow heads are designed specifically for SLP recording/playback: they perform adequate double-duty in SP/2-hour mode but not nearly as well as a 4-head design. Early 4-head designs actually did have two entirely seperate head pairs: one was the same as a two-head model, the other was much wider and was dedicated to SP mode. The two sets of heads did not interact at all. These very old 4-head models went out of production so long ago that discussion of them is academic: you will not see these on todays second-hand market.

    Nearly all 4-head models sold since 1988 have an integrated "combo" head design- the narrow SLP heads have a supplemental "wider gap" core positioned right next to them. The supplemental gap is activated in SP mode for improved record/playback and in SLP speed-search mode, to reduce the horizontal noise bars. To be accurate, these "combo" head pairs are a cheat, a compromise that does not truly offer the maximum performance potential of the "old-school" two independent head pairs design. They are a little funkier in SLP mode than a cheap 2-head vcr, and way funkier in SP mode than the old "true" four-head models. While I have occasionally seen marked improvement in SLP playback using a "dedicated" 2-head vcr, instead of a "combo 4-head" vcr, in most situations theres no significant advantage to the two-head deck, and the "combo 4-head" units are certainly the choice for playing SP-mode recordings. 99% of my own tapes are SP.

    Again, for most people today this is gibberish and has no application to their own tapes. The overwhelming majority of VCRs sold over the last 15-20 years were the "combo 4-head" type. If the majority of your tapes were made on such units, any recent similar model in good condition will work for you. A "higher-end" Panasonic or JVC model uses the same compromise combo 4-heads, but adds some electronic wizardry to filter and spruce up the playback image. Some people find this absolutely necessary in their DVD transfers, others could care less: it depends on your own standards of what you find watchable. If you're over 40, and/or inherited a lot of SLP/six-hour-mode tapes from family that were recorded in the early to mid eighties, you might get some improvement from using a dedicated two-head vcr to play those SLP tapes. The improvement varies depending on the tape and consists mostly of better tracking with less static. 90% of the time theres no significant improvement, I personally would not go out of my way to track down a two-head vcr for my SLP tapes. If you get a free hand-me-down, or come across a clean one at a yard sale for $10, what the hell, otherwise don't bother. Get an all-purpose combo 4-head hifi.

    (You identify a two-head VCR by the complete lack of any "head" information lettered on the front panel. All 4-head and 4-head hifi models will trumpet those features on their front panels, usually on the tape door flap.)
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  13. AGAINST IDLE SIT nwo's Avatar
    Join Date: Jan 2004
    Location: Stadium Of Light
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    Originally Posted by 389poncho
    All these cheap "throw-away" Funai built VCR's [funai, emerson, phillips, magnavox, sv2000, etc, etc] are soooo over-sensitive to any tape that MAY have even the slightest little "bind" to it. When it gets to that one little spot, the vcr will moan and squeak, then shut off.
    I had two VCR's like that a Awia fx5500 and a Hitachi fx770e guess they all use the same inside parts.
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  14. Member
    Join Date: Nov 2008
    Location: South Central Wisconsin
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    IF you still have the Awia and Hitachi, look in the back of them. If it says "Made in China" [maybe even Taiwan] it's almost sure to be a Funai "production". If it says Japan or Malaysia then it's a whole different family. The Hitachi name has been around a long time and they made some good stuff years ago. But we all know that over the last 5-8 years many good names have been sold/hijacked and the reputation ruined. All for a quick buck. Shameful!!
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