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  1. Hi. My old VHS is slowly giving up the ghost and so we have decided to move with the times and get one of those DVD/HDD recorder things. The problem is that we have a stack of store bought videos that my kids still want to watch. I'm not looking to start a pirate movie business but I think it fair for me to copy those movies over to DVD for personal use. Does anyone have any suggestions or links that can help? Cheers in advance.
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  2. Video Restorer lordsmurf's Avatar
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    one of those DVD/HDD recorder things
    More details, please.
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  3. You need a "video clarifier" or, even better, a time base corrector. Put it between the VCR and DVD recorder.

    http://forum.videohelp.com/threads/135783-Best-video-clarifier-stabilizer-to-get
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    Since you only mentioned VHS(and not DVD or digital CP) you should be able to find one for <$25 US. You only need to look for one that mentions "removes VHS copy protection". More expensive DVD/PPV filters will also do VHS but will generally be >$100 US.
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  5. Video Restorer lordsmurf's Avatar
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    Those clarifier devices DO NOT WORK.
    I can find major flaws on every one of them -- most of them make your tape look WORSE!
    You cannot avoid a full frame external TBC.
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  6. Member bendixG15's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by lordsmurf View Post
    Those clarifier devices DO NOT WORK.
    I can find major flaws on every one of them -- most of them make your tape look WORSE!
    You cannot avoid a full frame external TBC.
    What is your obsession with owning a TBC ??
    The OP wants to put tapes on DVDs for the family to watch, he is not working for the Library of Congress.

    My opinion - You can avoid a TBC and get decent quality. Spend your money on something else.
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  7. Member Cornucopia's Avatar
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    bendixG15,
    The OP specifically mentions "Store-bought" VHS tapes. AKA, standard Hollywood movie titles -WITH MACROVISION. That alone should warrant a good or better TBC, as only a TBC strips & synthesizes/regenerates the Vertical Interval (which is where the Macrovision signal lies). All other devices don't do the full job. Lordsmurf was right in recommending a TBC, and he knows thoroughly about such things (that's one of his jobs).

    It is money well spent, and you can get good deals on ebay, if need be.

    Scott
    "When will the rhetorical questions end?!" - George Carlin
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    While I agree a TBC is the best solution, it's also the most expensive and bulky. I've had good luck with various filters although many have the tendency to lighten the blacks. Also a cheap VHS filter will not remove DVD CP, you need one that recreates the VI for DVD/PPV, like the old Sima CT-2/200's did or something like a Grex or Video Filter does now days. I've never ran across a DVD or BR my Sima wouldn't correct but again the downside I have to live with is about a +7.5 IRE increase in black level, most noticeable with white titles on a black background.
    For someone doing things commercially like LS a TBC is the best option but IMO for someone who just wants to copy a few commercial VHS tapes or DVDs a TBC a bit of an overkill. Just my 2 cents anyway.
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  9. Member bendixG15's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Cornucopia View Post
    bendixG15,
    The OP specifically mentions "Store-bought" VHS tapes. AKA, standard Hollywood movie titles -WITH MACROVISION. That alone should warrant a good or better TBC, as only a TBC strips & synthesizes/regenerates the Vertical Interval (which is where the Macrovision signal lies). All other devices don't do the full job. Lordsmurf was right in recommending a TBC, and he knows thoroughly about such things (that's one of his jobs).

    It is money well spent, and you can get good deals on ebay, if need be.

    Scott
    I have transferred many-many-many commercial Macrovision VHS tapes to DVDs without using a TBC and the outcome was perfectly acceptable by the viewers.

    LS has his axe to grind.
    I am just making nice DVDs for my family.
    And you Cornucopia, have not seen my work, so don't knock it.

    I am done.
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  10. Video Restorer lordsmurf's Avatar
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    What is your obsession with owning a TBC ??
    Understand that I don't want a TBC as much as I simply need a TBC to function properly. In the past 15 years, I've tested almost every anti-copy filter device out there, hoping for one that would act as a TBC on the cheap. Trust me when I say ALL of the non-TBC "copy removal filters" significantly alters the quality of the signal, if they even work at all. Problems can include: Colors that fluxtuate, too dark, too muddy, flickering, jitter, dropped frames, etc.

    decent quality
    acceptable by the viewers
    These are qualifying statements. You've not said the video was free of errors, but have more or less implied that it was "good enough" for whatever standard you set. If you're fine with certain level of video errors, then great. But I cannot in good faith suggest those devices.

    and bulky
    I don't think there's really anything bulky about an AVT-8710 or CTB-100, which is about the size of four Blu-ray cases stacked together. And the TBC-1000 is only slightly larger. Don't buy a rack-mount TBC -- those are huge.

    expensive
    Not really. Buy a TBC, use it, then resell it. It will be long-term cheaper than a crappy filter, as it has resell value. A $225 AVT-8710 TBC easily resells in the $150-200 range.

    Grex
    Great example. This one causes flickers at the top of the screen, darkens in long intervals, overall muddies the color, and chroma value can flicker wildly on some tapes. Less than 20% of tapes tested acted properly using a Grex. Grex is crap. I was disappointed.
    Last edited by lordsmurf; 23rd May 2011 at 14:24.
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  11. Member orsetto's Avatar
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    Depends on your budget and what you feel is "acceptable" quality.

    Note you may not actually need any filter at all if you buy something like the Magnavox MDR513 DVD/HDD recorder: it is known to ignore MacroVision about 70% of the time when dubbing from a VCR to its HDD. If you are clever and willing to study up on a few confusing tricks owners have learned, the Magnavox can be made to copy nearly anything without a filter by manipulating its automatic background recording buffer that starts recording on HDD whenever you turn the machine on. If the Magnavox "disallows" dubbing a particular tape intentionally, you can trick it into "unintentionally" recording it into its background buffer, then dump the buffer to a DVD. I always forget exactly how to do this, it isn't intuitive, so you may just want to buy something like this $25 filter to keep handy for more straightforward dubbing.

    The Grex and Sima filters are problematic because they cover too many bases: they filter DVD protection as well, which is much more difficult to remove than simple VHS protection. This "excess filter baggage" contaminates simple VHS transfers which are better done with cheaper dedicated VHS-only filters like the one I linked to above. Yes, it costs nothing, and yes, LS would probably not wipe his ass with one- BUT THEY DO WORK for simple consumer transfer of old commercial kiddie tapes from VCR to DVD recorders (they sold like crazy in the VCR days from '84-onwards). You will see slight image degradation, but not nearly as much as the Sima or Grex type, and with much less softening than typical TBCs, at a fraction of the way-overpriced TBC cost.

    Personally I am none too fond of external TBCs and avoid them whenever possible. I don't know who LS sold his soul to in order to acquire his perfect, transparent, no-image-impact TBCs: I have yet to see one in 30 years that does not obviously, noticeably alter VHS image quality. I've worked with everything from huge rack-mount $3000 TBCs to the smaller ones like AVT and DataVideo, and they all suck in some way when used with VHS. External TBCs were primarily designed to stabilize much-better-than-VHS formats in a studio environment in tandem with editing, duplication, color box correction, compositing and what have you. When you pass VHS thru them, the image softens noticeably and picks up other artifacts. Such TBCs are a necessary evil when dubbing directly to a PC, because PC boards to this day stubbornly refuse to accept VHS without screwing it up unless theres a TBC in the chain. But consumer DVD/HDD recorders are much more forgiving of the subtle issues a TBC cures, all they need is MacroVision to be screened out if the tape you want to digitize is protected that way.

    Understand, I am not really disagreeing with LS here: he is correct in saying a TBC is the ultimate, technically-on-paper best solution to filtering MacroVision from old tapes, and a TBC does beef up other "under the hood" signal instabilities. I'm just pointing out that in practice, using consumer gear to make a consumer-level DVD backup (especially of kiddie tapes), they aren't strictly necessary and much cheaper solutions can be tried first. If the $25 box fails to help (very unlikely), you can return it no harm no foul and buy a TBC. I do keep a TBC around for dubbing very poor-quality tapes, or filtering of cable/satellite signal protection (which is similar to Hollywood DVD protection). The one I have is really the only one I can recommend to a "newbie" user: the DataVideo TBC1000. It is ludicrously overpriced new at $480 but pops up used fairly often on eBay for $150-225. It is the only "modern", "affordable" TBC that is both ruggedly made and designed with VHS/DVD use in mind.

    The smaller, cheaper AVT8710/CBT100 has a far worse reputation for reliability: it can be bought new for about $229, but often needs to be exchanged a couple times because many are defective. They can be bought used for $100, but I wouldn't touch one second-hand if you gave it to me. All other TBCs, new or used, are "professional" products: brand new they cost $1200 and up, used you can get a very old one for as little as $70, but these require specific technical savvy when buying or you can make a big mistake. They are all optimized for higher-end pro tape formats, not VHS, and while they will work with VHS they often really mess with the image quality and sometimes fail to strip out MacroVision at all (older cheap pro units on eBay are truly atrocious at MV filtering).
    Last edited by orsetto; 23rd May 2011 at 16:12.
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  12. Amazon.com

    EasyCAP DC60 - USB 2.0 Audio/video Creator Capture High-quality Analog Video by Trustin
    Buy new: $8.64
    18 new from $3.84
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  13. Video Restorer lordsmurf's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by orsetto View Post
    buy something like this $25 filter .
    This one fails to work probably 90% of the time. Waste of money. This is a 1980s design device, made for early generation Macrovision for VHS to VHS dub copying -- it does NOT remove any signal errors that would trip up digital conversion. This "video black box" (as it was called, eons ago) has existed for as long as I can remember, and has not ever changed in design. It quit working well as far back as the 1990s, for the latter generations of copy protection.

    External TBCs were primarily designed to stabilize much-better-than-VHS formats in a studio environment in tandem with editing, duplication, color box correction, compositing and what have you.
    Many of them, yes. But that's NOT true for the CTB-100/AVT-8710 and TBC-1000. Those were designed for tape to digital workflows, such as VHS to DVD.

    simple consumer transfer
    I disagree vehemently with that idea that "consumer" is a synonym for "problematic shit quality". In this context, "consumer" is used as a cop-out to explain away or be an apologetic for why the device fails to function with any degree of quality. These devices are not "consumer quality" as much as they're misleading garbage sold to unsuspecting consumers. And that's why I post on this topic -- I'm not fooled by the BS, and I want other to know the truth about "clarifiers" and "Macrovision removers"

    the DataVideo TBC1000. It is ludicrously overpriced new at $480 but pops up used fairly often on eBay for $150-225. ...... The smaller, cheaper AVT8710/CBT100 has a far worse reputation for reliability: it can be bought new for about $229, but often needs to be exchanged a couple times because many are defective. They can be bought used for $100
    I don't think any of that is accurate in 2011. The TBC-1000 was about $300 new 10 years ago, but reduced production drove the price up to about $500 for no real reason since about 2007. It is no better or worse than the AVT-8710. In fact, the TBC-1000 is simply a TBC-100 married to the DataVideo distro amp, which carries its own consequences. Used, a TBC-1000 is at least $175 or more on eBay, current going rate. For the AVT-8710, used, going rate is at least $150 or more. Usually, both are more. If you know where I can get a AVT-8710 for $100 -- SOLD! I need another one. The AVT-8710 should be more transparent than the TBC-1000, but comes with a heat issue if used for more than about 6 hours.

    and while they will work with VHS they often really mess with the image quality and sometimes fail to strip out MacroVision at all
    I completely disagree with this assessment, too. I've researched how the AVT-8710 works all the way down to the component level, and what you're saying just can't be so. It fully blanks the area that holds Macrovision, as well as other natural video errors that can disrupt digital transfer. As a long-time user of one, complete removal is also my non-technical observation. Only in a rare case where anti-copy is botched, and the tape is damaged in some way, will the signal remain mangled. I've maybe seen that twice in the past 6 years.

    I don't want a $200 TBC any more than I want to spend $100 per tire for my car, but I don't have a whole lot of choice in the matter. No TBC, no video. No tires, no car.

    I have sample videos to prove all of this, as I was in process of creating guides on this very topic.
    Last edited by lordsmurf; 24th May 2011 at 15:46.
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  14. Member orsetto's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by lordsmurf View Post
    Originally Posted by orsetto View Post
    buy something like this $25 filter .
    This one fails to work probably 90% of the time. Waste of money. This is a 1980s design device, made for early generation Macrovision for VHS to VHS dub copying -- it does NOT remove any signal errors that would trip up digital conversion.
    MacroVision screwed with their VHS parameters all thru the '80s to stay one step ahead of the black box mfrs, peaking with the truly unwatchable 1987-88 MV tapes, but they basically froze the specs by '89-90. The black box I bought in 1992 still works great, allowing transfers of tortuously MV'd tapes to several brands of DVD recorders, so I would imagine a newer box to be just as effective if not better. These cheap boxes are NOT effective for digital sources like commercial DVDs or cable/satellite CGMS protection, but are just fine for stripping VHS protection between VCR and encoder/DVD recorder. I've recommended the MCM type of box to a dozen people over the last few years and none has told me they didn't work. If they don't for you, thats important info for someone else here to factor in their decision to try one, but it doesn't rule out the unit entirely. Many people know someone who has a "black box" they can borrow free, if not a new one is only $25. If they still ran $99 and up like in the old days, of course I'd recommend a TBC instead, just as today I think a TBC is a far better unit than a Grex.

    Originally Posted by lordsmurf View Post
    Originally Posted by orsetto View Post
    simple consumer transfer
    I disagree vehemently with that idea that "consumer" is a synonym for "problematic shit quality".
    Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. Transferring worn out kiddie videos to DVD for kids that can't tell hi-def from their elbow and are unlkely to want to watch them a year from now does not require an AVT8710 and a fully tricked out HTPC with external SignVideo proc amp. Neither does the average video collection in general. Before I got my big Sony LCD sets I was using TOTL Sony and Proton CRT monitors for 25 years: I'm extremely picky about PQ. I use some of the same souped-up VCRs and TBCs as you do, and some of the same DVD recorders (if not your PC system). But I don't use all of this stuff all of the time: if the cheap black box strips the MV, I use that instead of the TBC1000 because its more transparent. If my JVC9911 or Panasonic AG1980 over-smooth the image unrealistically, I double back to an ordinary VCR for "noisier-but-realer" transfers. If my JVC DRM100 blows everything to mush because the source is already soft, I'll switch to a "lowly" Pioneer or Magnavox with more suitable encoding profile. Much more often than not, I go the simple route and the transfers look better: to some of us, flawlessly overprocessed is much more disturbing than a little noise that we were used to seeing on the original VHS anyway. Its a matter of personal visual taste and priorities. And since the OP is planning to buy a Magnavox anyway, this is all moot since the Mag will likely just ignore the MV in most of the tapes.

    Originally Posted by lordsmurf View Post
    Originally Posted by orsetto View Post
    the DataVideo TBC1000. It is ludicrously overpriced new at $480 but pops up used fairly often on eBay for $150-225. ...... The smaller, cheaper AVT8710/CBT100 has a far worse reputation for reliability: it can be bought new for about $229, but often needs to be exchanged a couple times because many are defective. They can be bought used for $100
    I don't think any of that is accurate in 2011.
    Check the recent buyer reviews for the AVT8710 at the dealers who sell them: the initial failure rate is not encouraging at all. The DataVideo is not perfect, but its much less risky unless you absolutely must have the dinky proc amp controls of the AVT. As for second hand, the DataVideo rarely lasts more than a couple days on eBay while the AVT sits and rots at asking prices over $150. The last two sold between $90-100. At that price, maybe worth a try, but not without a seller refund guarantee.

    Originally Posted by lordsmurf View Post
    Originally Posted by orsetto View Post
    and while they will work with VHS they often really mess with the image quality and sometimes fail to strip out MacroVision at all
    I completely disagree with this assessment, too. I've researched how the AVT-8710 works all the way down to the component level, and what you're saying just can't be so.
    You misread my context, I was referring to the old creaky pizza-box pro TBCs that some people insist on buying from eBay because they're dirt cheap. Those cause way more harm than good and are far less effective at stripping MV than the little MCM-type black boxes. The DataVideo and AVT were designed in the post-VHS DVD age and will usually clear MV, although not always: hypersensitive older DVD recorders like the popular Pioneer 520 will occasionally see right thru the TBC and still make messy encodes. Some DVD recorders and some PC boards are essentially useless for protected tape dubbing no matter how much hardware you throw at them, so a different recording setup becomes necessary. The older beat-to-death pro TBCs approached signal cleaning slightly differently, they easily miss the intentional corruption caused by VHS MV because their circuits are not programmed to even know its a possibility. I've witnessed this with an I. DEN IVT-7, a Panasonic TBC-200 and a Prime Image: all failed to fully clear MV that my little black box, the DataVideo and the AVT easily suppressed.
    Last edited by orsetto; 24th May 2011 at 18:53.
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  15. Video Restorer lordsmurf's Avatar
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    Problem AVT-8710/CTB-100 units are being investigated here:
    Is my new AVT-8710 DOA? Screen Shots...

    The 2011 delivered units may have something wrong in the frame buffer.
    Older models seem to be fine, however.

    I could go on and on and on, on this topic, with many more things not even mentioned yet.
    But not here, and all in due time.
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    I take it all your old Liteons without the Macrovision detection are dead now? I still have a couple working units I haven't turned on in awhile. Hope the caps in them haven't dried out but they should still be fine for what the OP intended to do. Try to find one now though without paying an arm and a leg...
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  17. Hello everyone,
    I am new to the forum here...and I must say that your topic has sparked quite a bit of interest for me as I have been searching all over the internet for answers on this issue. (Backing up my personal collection of commercially sold VHS "Hollywood" tapes)

    Blackband: I Am wishing you success with your recording project and hope you'll post the outcome and method utilized.
    This thread was both enlightening and intriguing, encouraging me to ask for clarification.

    Lord Smurf and Orsetto you have equally impressed me with your knowledge and I sincerely hope that the sharing of ideas will continue. =)

    In post # 11 Orsetto, you suggested purchasing the Magnavox MDR-513H/F7 320GB DVR and DVD Recorder from WAL MART in conjunction with using the $25 video stabilizer. Is this equipment/method safe...it won't fry electronics will it? I ask because your method is more in my budget than using a Time Base corrector obviously. But I have made a previous attempt to back up my tapes with a brand new magnavox VHS/DVD combo recorder which looked just like these models here and here and ended up frying my TV and Digital Video Camera. Technically, I think I purchased the model in the second link I listed; I purchased the combo recorder IN a WAL MART store (Opposed to online shopping)...and the first link I supplied says that it can only be sent in store on a request order. Not that it really matters now though, because I sent it back after several unsuccessful and damaging attempts anyway.

    I am also wondering in case your method of using the video stabilizer does not work, or is not up to par with the quality level I would prefer to view, how exactly would a Time Base Corrector (Such as the DataVideo TBC-1000) be setup? Do I need to purchase any special connection cables?

    i.e. Do I hook up my VCR outputting to the TBC-1000 inputs, and from the TBC-1000 out to the DVD Recorder Inputs?? Do I understand that correctly??
    (I assume I would not have to use my computer with a setup like this...right!??! I ask because preferably I would not like to use my computer to make backups, but if need be, I am not completely ruling it out as an option.)

    Also, can i use ANY VCR? I notice several people suggest using a JVC S-VHS VCR to accomplish these recording tasks. Is it a necessity to use this, or can I just use a VCR that does not give me any tracking problems to execute my recording projects?
    I am obviously less than a novice at this, so forgive me if I sound a bit stoopid. I obviously see that everyone on here has a difference in opinion, but I just don't want the same complications to come up as my last go-round with the VHS/DVD combo. recorder.

    If you have any quick clips posted on Youtube, or the forum somewhere I would be interested in seeing a few video samples myself. And the same goes for the equipment Orsetto is suggesting. Comparing between the two would be awesome.

    Originally Posted by orsetto
    These cheap boxes are NOT effective for digital sources like commercial DVDs or cable/satellite CGMS protection, but are just fine for stripping VHS protection between VCR and encoder/DVD recorder.
    Does this imply that with a TBC-1ooo, copy protection on my DVD's can be surpassed AS WELL as VHS tapes, hence being given the opportunity to make backups of my DVD's without decrypting them on a computer?

    And for my last question...
    Originally Posted by lordsmurf
    Used, a TBC-1000 is at least $175 or more on eBay
    What is the highest bid you would place on a used TBC-1000?? I recently searched ebay...and a DataVideo TBC-1000 came up with a day left to go on the item (7 bids) and it's at $200.00 already...

    Sorry the message was so long, but I wanted to be as descriptive as possible...thanks in advance.

    **Goss**
    Last edited by HairyGossamer; 10th Jun 2011 at 09:11.
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  18. Member Seeker47's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by HairyGossamer View Post
    Does this imply that with a TBC-1ooo, copy protection on my DVD's can be surpassed AS WELL as VHS tapes, hence being given the opportunity to make backups of my DVD's without decrypting them on a computer?
    DVD backups are best accomplished on the computer -- and maybe only that way, as a practical matter. I have an older, off-brand DVD player that was "chipped" specifically to ignore copy protection (and be region-free, etc.), and although I could use it for direct DVD player to DVD recorder copies, it is just much more convenient to handle disc-backups on the computer.

    Originally Posted by HairyGossamer View Post
    And for my last question...
    Originally Posted by lordsmurf
    Used, a TBC-1000 is at least $175 or more on eBay
    What is the highest bid you would place on a used TBC-1000?? I recently searched ebay...and a DataVideo TBC-1000 came up with a day left to go on the item (7 bids) and it's at $200.00 already...
    I think I paid closer to $375. for mine -- used, from eBay -- several years ago. You are unlikely to find a great deal on one of these, if it's in reasonably good condition.
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  19. Member Seeker47's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by orsetto View Post
    Note you may not actually need any filter at all if you buy something like the Magnavox MDR513 DVD/HDD recorder: it is known to ignore MacroVision about 70% of the time when dubbing from a VCR to its HDD. If you are clever and willing to study up on a few confusing tricks owners have learned, the Magnavox can be made to copy nearly anything without a filter by manipulating its automatic background recording buffer that starts recording on HDD whenever you turn the machine on. If the Magnavox "disallows" dubbing a particular tape intentionally, you can trick it into "unintentionally" recording it into its background buffer, then dump the buffer to a DVD. I always forget exactly how to do this, it isn't intuitive,
    I'd love to find some detailed instructions for doing that . . . .

    Originally Posted by lordsmurf
    I have sample videos to prove all of this, as I was in process of creating guides on this very topic.
    And this should make for quite interesting reference, especially including frame caps and clips.
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  20. Member orsetto's Avatar
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    Hairy Gossamer,

    It is very unusual that you "fried" your equipment in the process of simply copying some tapes: the hookups involved are completely normal and should not have led to damage of any kind. While its certainly possible the DVD/VHS combo recorder you used might have been severely defective and caused some kind of short, its unlikely. I hesitate to recommend any gear to you without knowing exactly what caused your earlier damage: perhaps you should find a friend or relative with some experience with this task to coach you?

    I've owned many brands of recorder since 2005, eventually settling on Pioneer DVD/HDD models (no longer available) and several Magnavox DVD/HDD models. The Magnavox DVD/HDD units are better designed than their more common DVD/VHS combos (which are known for really poor VHS sections). I've been using a couple of Mag H2160s to dub VHS for the past year, and just picked up a Mag 513 as backup. None of the three has given me any issues. I connect directly from VCR line outs to Magnavox line ins, and most MacroVision tapes copy just fine. When I encounter a MacroVision tape with ultra-strong protection that the Mag can't handle alone, I connect a $25 filter or the more expensive DataVideo TBC between the VCR video line out and the Magnavox video line in. LordSmurf says the cheap filter doesn't work: perhaps not with his recording hardware, but it works for me with Magnavox and Pioneer recorders. I'd suggest its worth a try if you're on a limited budget, if it doesn't work you could buy a new AVT8710 TBC from B&H Photo for $212. While I don't love the AVT because of sloppy quality control, it is available new for half the price of a new DataVideo and is equally effective: if you buy from a Pro dealer like B&H you can exchange a bum AVT if you get one. The DataVideo is nice used if you can snag one for under $200, but over $200 get a new AVT.

    The $25 filter is for VHS dubbing only, the more expensive DataVideo or AVT will also allow dubbing from a DVD player or restricted cable/satellite signals (one reason they cost more). You connect the VCR video line out to the line in on the filter or TBC, and the video line out of the filter/TBC to the line in of the DVD recorder. No special cables needed, use your standard composite/RCA/yellow video wire or an S-video multipin cable. (If your recorder is a Magnavox, you need to use a menu to select between standard line in, S-Video, or the front DV camera connections). If you do not already have a VCR, you'll at minimum need to find a nice second hand unit: avoid the VHS section of DVD/VHS combos (the cheaper ones are especially poor). You can get a nice clean used 4-head hifi Sharp, Panasonic or Mitsubishi VCR for $20 on Craigs List, eBay or perhaps free from someone you know. The most important VCR feature is good tracking of your tapes, begin there and see how you like the dubbed results. The fancier VCRs some of us use can improve the picture dramatically, mostly by smoothing away color noise and geometric distortion, but they are very expensive ($150+) in good or new condition and buying used can be very tricky for the "newbie". If you want to try a "luxury" VCR, I'd suggest one of the recent DVHS models like Mitsubishi HS-HD2000 or JVC SR-VD400: these are usually in excellent condition second hand. The more experienced here also use the Panasonic AG1980 and various JVC SVHS models like 9911, but these are much older and trickier to purchase.

    Seeker47,

    A friend of mine (who bought a Mag 513 on my recommendation) recently showed me how to record to the Magnavox HDD buffer, dump the selected contents to the HDD nav system, and make a DVD from it. The process isn't that difficult, its just totally alien to long-term Pioneer owners like you and me. For one thing, Pioneers do not have automated background buffers. For another, the Pioneer interface is much slicker and more intuitive: the Magnavox uses a cryptic system of icons and symbols at the top of the screen to manipulate its buffer. It is hard to explain the steps without both of us having a Magnavox in front of us, but here is the gist:

    1. The Magnavox starts recording to its HDD in the background as soon as you turn it on, much like a TiVO, in a six hour loop. This "buffer" is interrupted and erased whenever you change input sources, or start a manual or timer recording on the HDD. The Magnavox buffer is almost completely oblivious to MacroVision or CGMS and will record almost anything while it is running, unlike the manual and timer modes which stick more closely to standard restrictions. The advantage of using the buffer is you can avoid adding additional gear to the chain like filters or TBCs that can soften or otherwise affect video quality.

    2. To dub protected material, turn on the Magnavox and select the line input your VCR is plugged into. The Mag will immediately begin recording in the background. Start playing the tape you want to dub, and as it runs the Mag buffer will capture it.

    3. When the tape is over, press the Display button on the Magnavox remote to bring up a screen overlay of little icons and options. Using the arrow keys, select the HDD Buffer icon and hit Enter. The buffer will begin playing from the beginning. Using the various remote buttons and on screen symbols, you can select a beginning and end point in the buffer and then dump that segment into the main HDD nav window, where it will appear as if you had recorded it normally. From there you can manipulate the recording however you'd like (editing parts out, adding custom chapter marks) and then do a high-speed dub to DVD, much like you'd do on your Pioneer. The only major difference is the Magnavox does not allow custom thumbnails on the HDD: you select custom title thumbnails for the DVD menu after high speed dubbing but just before finalizing. This is a totally clumsy thumbnail system and possibly the single biggest stumbling block for owners of other brands when migrating to the Magnavox.
    Last edited by orsetto; 10th Jun 2011 at 18:24.
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  21. Thank you Seeker47 and Orsetto so much for responding to my post...I really was not sure if anyone was going to post back...lol Sorry it took me so long to reply...I have been dealing with a series of issues.

    In response to Seeker47,

    I am wondering why you seem against the idea of me making copies of my commercial DVD's (as well as my commercial VHS tapes??) using a Time Base Corrector (such as the TBC-1000 or AVT-8710) and a DVD recorder.
    Obviously you own a TBC-1000 so I am assuming you are against the idea of using DVD recorders to make copies of DVD's and VHS because of it's "inconvencience?"

    What exactly makes this method "inconvenient" and "impractical" in your opinion? Are you basically saying that you don't like the way the copy quality comes out and just prefer using computers in general?

    Obviously, I do not wish to have any recorders specially chipped for me...I would rather purchase different pieces of hardware, hook them up to each other and execute. lol

    By the way, it does not sound as though the computer would be the only way to accomplish making copies of your commercial DVD's. I think when orsetto said

    Originally Posted by Orsetto
    These cheap boxes are NOT effective for digital sources like commercial DVDs or cable/satellite CGMS protection, but are just fine for stripping VHS protection between VCR and encoder/DVD recorder.
    And the later quote after you initially posted:
    Originally Posted by Orsetto
    The $25 filter is for VHS dubbing only, the more expensive DataVideo or AVT will also allow dubbing from a DVD player or restricted cable/satellite signals (one reason they cost more).
    He pretty much confirmed that you can copy both VHS and DVD's...that sounds like a plus for me.

    As stated in my first post, I would rather not use a computer to accomplish this task.

    In response to Orsetto,

    As far as a friend that can "help me" with learning how to tackle this project...I don't really know anyone familiar with doing this...but believe me if I knew someone that could show me, I would have asked them a long time ago...lol Nevertheless I work with the resources I have...Hello video forums.

    Honestly, I agree the Magnavox unit I used very well may have been defective or caused a short like you said...but either way...that unit was taken back to WALMART and refunded. Now I intend to use a different TV this time...and plan on buying a different recorder as well...and since I do not plan on purchasing any of this equipment right away, I think I will also be purchasing a time base correcter as well...it seems as though you AND Lord smurf have both agreed that it does enhance the picture quality, so it should be be the cherry on the cake for my viewing pleasure.
    So just for clarification what I will be purchasing to accomplish the commercial VHS (and dvd?) copy/backup task will be a VCR (preferably S-VHS but technically any VCR that contributes good tracking), a DVD recorder, Time Base Corrector, and DVD player. (For the DVD copying) is that correct?

    The next set of questions I have for you are:

    1.) What do you think about the Magnavox H2160MW9? I noticed it was listed in Lord Smurf's profile as the best DVD recorder of 2009. Obviously time has passed, and I do not know what the difference between that and the Magnavox MDR-513H/F7 320GB DVR and DVD Recorder is. They both fall around the same price is why I ask.

    2.) Since I plan to purchase an expensive add on (Time base Corrector) to execute this project, I was a little mift as to why you would reccomend the AVT-8710 new...didn't Lord Smurf say something about investigations on the newer units? that kind of scares me. can anyone elaborate on that for a novice?
    I read through tidbits of information that I did understand in the link LS provided in post #15 and it sounds like a lot of the units have double images or ghosting and messed up menus? is that correct? I know Lord smurf said something about the frame buffer going bad, but I am not sure I understand what that means. What's a frame buffer?


    3.) What exactly did you mean when you said that the AVT-8710 has sloppy quality control?

    Personally, I would love to purchase a new TBC...but if the new AVT models are defective I think I am going to have to buy a used TBC-1000 on ebay for $200.00 or less. I really don't know what other options I would have left at the moment. Granted, I could choose to send a defective unit back but before considering buying a new AVT, exactly what are the odds I would get a defective unit from B&H?

    Also, thank you for giving me the price suggestions to go by...I have seen these used TBC-1000's get quite higher than $200.00...it is good to know when someone is asking for an outrageous amount of money when preparing for such transactions.

    Anyway, I am very happy to see that I got some responses to my post, and I can't wait to hear some responses to this one as well...
    I would really like to see some commercial VHS copied video samples using the little $25 black box and using the Data Video TBC-1000 and the AVT-8710...(Connected to a DVD recorder not computer)
    Can anybody post some clips up somewhere...like on Youtube maybe? I dunno.

    Thanks everybody
    TTYL

    H. Gossamer
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  22. Originally Posted by HairyGossamer View Post
    I am wondering why you seem against the idea of me making copies of my commercial DVD's (as well as my commercial VHS tapes??) using a Time Base Corrector (such as the TBC-1000 or AVT-8710) and a DVD recorder.
    Because it's easier, faster, cheaper, and better quality to do it in software on a computer. DVDFab is free for copying DVDs.
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    Why all the jacking around with gadgets, gizmos, and thing-a-majigs? Get the Hauppauge HD PVR 1212 for $180 to $200 and be done with it. It doesn't recognize copy protection and will put your video onto your HDD for easy editing/conversion.
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  24. Member Seeker47's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by fooledagain View Post
    Why all the jacking around with gadgets, gizmos, and thing-a-majigs? Get the Hauppauge HD PVR 1212 for $180 to $200 and be done with it. It doesn't recognize copy protection and will put your video onto your HDD for easy editing/conversion.
    Including CGMS-A and the broadcast flag ? Are you sure about that ? (MV is the easy one to deal with.) I've been familiar with the Hauppauge name, but not with the individual merits of one model vs. another. If I ever developed an interest in going the capture card route, I would definitely be interested in knowing which one to get.


    @HairyGossamer,

    jagabo seems to have answered your 7/11 query to me. For DVDs to be done your way, I would have to hook up a few extra pieces of hardware, including that standalone player that ignores copy protection, and the process is just much more laborious. At some point, I may haul a lot of this gear out of storage and set up a much more elaborate equipment chain, but for now other more important projects are dominating my available time. On the computer, you just rip it with Fab (a perfect digital copy), and then either burn it just as it was, or cut out the stuff you don't care about with Shrink. It doesn't get any quicker or easier than that. It would require some pretty rare circumstances to have me doing it the way you seem to be suggesting.

    Working tapes-to-digital is a totally different ballgame, of course, and I may need to throw a lot of hardware at certain tapes for best results. Being something of a compulsive completist, I've tried to acquire just about every remotely affordable piece of gear that I might possibly ever need, and which has been well-regarded by the more knowledgeable users at places like VH. So, I still have hopes of being able to track some tapes that did not track well the first time, by use of a different deck, or to color correct some things that clearly needed it in an earlier attempt. All this can get to be time and labor-intensive. (But I'm glad that Orsetto warned me off the Grex before I got one, for example. I've already seen some very disappointing results from others, like the Sima CT-200. Even the TBC-1000 is no magic bullet -- pricey as it is -- and its usefulness tends to be rather particularized.) However, the more equipment you have to use in this task, the more of a pain in the rear it becomes.
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  25. Member orsetto's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by fooledagain View Post
    Why all the jacking around with gadgets, gizmos, and thing-a-majigs? Get the Hauppauge HD PVR 1212 for $180 to $200 and be done with it. It doesn't recognize copy protection and will put your video onto your HDD for easy editing/conversion.
    Because it can also be a huge honking PITA to use for dubbing VHS: Macrovision is far from the only issue when dubbing tapes to digital. A capture card has advantages over a DVD/HDD recorder, but assuming all you want is a DVD the recorder has several killer advantages over the capture card (namely bypassing practically every incompatibility and technical glitch that randomly pops up with PC capture). The problem with forum advice is that user experience varies wildly: your Hauppauge card may work simply and flawlessly for you, on your PC, but others may end up with no end of technical hassles and most will still need a TBC to correct capture card issues unrelated to Macrovision. Six of one, half dozen of the other, anyway for reasons of their own the OP has stated repeatedly they don't want to do any video tasks on their PC, not even DVD to DVD backup (which is idiotproof and much better done on a PC).

    Originally Posted by HairyGossamer View Post
    I am wondering why you seem against the idea of me making copies of my commercial DVD's (as well as my commercial VHS tapes??) using a Time Base Corrector (such as the TBC-1000 or AVT-8710) and a DVD recorder. [...]What exactly makes this method "inconvenient" and "impractical" in your opinion? Are you basically saying that you don't like the way the copy quality comes out and just prefer using computers in general?
    There is a world of difference between dubbing a VHS to a PC and making a backup copy of an existing DVD. PC capture of VHS varies between "simple as pie" and "put shotgun in mouth, pull trigger" depending on your specific PC hardware: if you are the least bit leery of being trapped in an endless loop of PC technical snafus, go with a standalone DVD/HDD recorder. However the exact opposite holds true for DVD copying: the PC is far superior at this than making a real-time copy from a DVD player. For one thing, the PC will do it in about 1/4th the time. For another, it will allow you to keep all the original convenience features of the DVD like animated menu navigation and custom chapter points. With most backup software you can choose to suppress wasteful stuff like trailers for other movies and "bonus material" you'll never watch. Perhaps most importantly, it will decrypt the copy protection digitally, with zero impact on picture quality. By contrast, dubbing in real time from a DVD player to a DVD recorder involves redundant digital>analog and analog>digital conversions, loses all the nice professional menu features, and bypassing the protection requires a TBC that will soften the image: added all together, its a lot more work resulting in a much less satisfying backup copy. If the DVD backups are for occasional car or portable use, you may find a realtime dub easier than bothering with PC backup software, but if you intend to backup DVDs frequently you will be much happier using PC software.

    The one major advantage to using a DVD player to recorder connection occurs when copying between regional formats: many cheap players will nicely convert a non-USA PAL-format DVD to American NTSC format during playback, which can easily be captured by the recorder. Doing such a conversion in the PC can be hellish, this is one DVD copying task where I definitely go straight to the otherwise inferior player-to-recorder setup.

    So just for clarification what I will be purchasing to accomplish the commercial VHS (and dvd?) copy/backup task will be a VCR (preferably S-VHS but technically any VCR that contributes good tracking), a DVD recorder, Time Base Corrector, and DVD player. (For the DVD copying) is that correct?
    Yes, exactly, given your stated preferences. Tho again I would strongly advise opting for PC backup software for frequent DVD copying, using something like the DVDfab or CloneDVD/AnyDVD products.

    The next set of questions I have for you are:

    1.) What do you think about the Magnavox H2160MW9? I noticed it was listed in Lord Smurf's profile as the best DVD recorder of 2009. Obviously time has passed, and I do not know what the difference between that and the Magnavox MDR-513H/F7 320GB DVR and DVD Recorder is. They both fall around the same price is why I ask.
    All three Magnavox recorders are nearly identical. The 513 has a 320GB HDD, double the capacity of the 160GB in the H2160, the 513 also corrects a bug the H2160 had during disc finalization. The 515 model has an enormous 500GB HDD, a nicer remote control, and a couple refinements to the timer interface that make it a little easier to use for some people. I used to recommend the 513 as the best deal, but recent price drops brought the 515 down to $219, just $22 more than the 513, so I'd probably go for a 515 today. Be aware of two "gotchas" on the Magnavox: it won't let you open the DVD tray until you've done the initial time/date setup, and the tuners have no end of problems when connected directly to the cable wire coming out of the wall: if you have cable TV, save yourself aggravation and use a cable decoder box to tune channels for the Magnavox.

    2.) Since I plan to purchase an expensive add on (Time base Corrector) to execute this project, I was a little mift as to why you would reccomend the AVT-8710 new...didn't Lord Smurf say something about investigations on the newer units? that kind of scares me. can anyone elaborate on that for a novice? I read through tidbits of information that I did understand in the link LS provided in post #15 and it sounds like a lot of the units have double images or ghosting and messed up menus? is that correct? I know Lord smurf said something about the frame buffer going bad, but I am not sure I understand what that means. What's a frame buffer?
    I recommend a new AVT-8710 because old ones also had problems and many owners dump them on eBay at cheap prices just to get rid of them. If you buy new, at least you can return and exchange a bad one if you're unlucky. You don't need to know what a frame buffer is, its just geekspeak for one of the main circuits in a TBC, all you need to know is some AVTs have video issues you will notice fairly quickly. All TBCs have slight negative impact on sharpness, detail and contrast but a faulty unit looks glaringly bad: you'll know right away if yours is working properly or not.

    3.) What exactly did you mean when you said that the AVT-8710 has sloppy quality control?
    I mean the units are inconsistent: you could buy one today thats perfect, go to the same store tomorrow for another and it will be garbage. A little pod with a circuit board and a handfull of chips that has been mfr'd the same way for ten years now should have long since had every last bug shaken out and all units should be perfect out the factory door. For the $200+ the thing costs, it should damn well have better quality supervision than it does, instead of making paying customers screen the bad from the good.

    Personally, I would love to purchase a new TBC...but if the new AVT models are defective I think I am going to have to buy a used TBC-1000 on ebay for $200.00 or less. I really don't know what other options I would have left at the moment. I could choose to send a defective unit back but before considering buying a new AVT, exactly what are the odds I would get a defective unit from B&H?
    The AVT and DataVideo are the only TBCs under $500 that can be recommended for home use. I believe the really bad run of AVTs has been taken out of circulation and your odds of getting a"good" one from B&H are pretty high. The DataVideos have much better quality control at the factory but they cost a heck of a lot more, if you're in no rush be patient and a used one will pop up on ebay on an off day for under $200 (I snagged one for $150 about a year ago). You might also keep an eye peeled for a good price on the Hotronic AP41, a "pro" TBC that is fairly recent and well regarded. It sold new for $1000 but I have seen many on eBay close between $100 and $200.
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  26. Originally Posted by Seeker47 View Post
    Originally Posted by fooledagain View Post
    Why all the jacking around with gadgets, gizmos, and thing-a-majigs? Get the Hauppauge HD PVR 1212 for $180 to $200 and be done with it. It doesn't recognize copy protection and will put your video onto your HDD for easy editing/conversion.
    Including CGMS-A and the broadcast flag ?
    Yes. It ignores them all (the PVR-250 too). Of course, the HD PVR captures as h.264/AAC or h.264/AC3 so you have to go through another lossy compression to make a DVD.
    Last edited by jagabo; 11th Jul 2011 at 13:06.
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  27. Member Seeker47's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by orsetto View Post
    . . .
    You might also keep an eye peeled for a good price on the Hotronic AP41, a "pro" TBC that is fairly recent and well regarded. It sold new for $1000 but I have seen many on eBay close between $100 and $200.
    That may well be the low end price one is going to find on this item. Now granted, this price

    http://cgi.ebay.com/Hotronic-AP41-TBC-FRAME-SYNCHRONIZER-/180624286348?pt=LH_DefaultDo...item2a0e0be28c

    is more the overly-steep variety that eBay has become known for, but I see a few other auctions up there today in the $250. to $600. range.
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  28. Member
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    I would not presume to question the technical prowess of any of you, but I have captured everything from premium HD channels (which my cable company has been kind enough to copy protect so that less determined individuals must get their suck suck rental DVRs) to old VHS with my HD PVR and converted to DVD with no noticeable quality loss.

    I will definitely agree that technical issues exist, particularly if you don't have a powerful system, but if you want to record regularly this is the way to go. That said, I also employ the old standby Lite On DVD recorder with hacked firmware to do quick recordings where quality and editing are not as important. I am one of the lucky ones that didn't get a lemon with either the HD PVR or the Lite On.
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    Originally Posted by jjeff View Post
    While I agree a TBC is the best solution, it's also the most expensive and bulky. I've had good luck with various filters although many have the tendency to lighten the blacks. Also a cheap VHS filter will not remove DVD CP, you need one that recreates the VI for DVD/PPV, like the old Sima CT-2/200's did or something like a Grex or Video Filter does now days. I've never ran across a DVD or BR my Sima wouldn't correct but again the downside I have to live with is about a +7.5 IRE increase in black level, most noticeable with white titles on a black background.
    For someone doing things commercially like LS a TBC is the best option but IMO for someone who just wants to copy a few commercial VHS tapes or DVDs a TBC a bit of an overkill. Just my 2 cents anyway.
    I bought a Grex from Israel and payed $98. I record dvd to dvd, vod and netflix, it works like a charm, haven't come across yet on any type of video that the Grex don't do the job. I have a dvd personal collection for me and family and some time a friend ask me to record a dvd for free. I don't see anything wrong with that.
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  30. Member
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    Originally Posted by Marquitos306 View Post
    Originally Posted by jjeff View Post
    While I agree a TBC is the best solution, it's also the most expensive and bulky. I've had good luck with various filters although many have the tendency to lighten the blacks. Also a cheap VHS filter will not remove DVD CP, you need one that recreates the VI for DVD/PPV, like the old Sima CT-2/200's did or something like a Grex or Video Filter does now days. I've never ran across a DVD or BR my Sima wouldn't correct but again the downside I have to live with is about a +7.5 IRE increase in black level, most noticeable with white titles on a black background.
    For someone doing things commercially like LS a TBC is the best option but IMO for someone who just wants to copy a few commercial VHS tapes or DVDs a TBC a bit of an overkill. Just my 2 cents anyway.
    I bought a Grex from Israel and payed $98. I record dvd to dvd, vod and netflix, it works like a charm, haven't come across yet on any type of video that the Grex don't do the job. I have a dvd personal collection for me and family and some time a friend ask me to record a dvd for free. I don't see anything wrong with that.
    A friend has the Copi-all from world imports and has had very good luck recording everything with it as well. I have read many posts that complain about the quality of these devices, yet they all seem simpler and cheaper than the vaunted TBC solutions.
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