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  1. I figured out why the fan would not turn off. If your not going to use the TV Guide feature (like me), do not select cable, select antenna.

    It appears that if you don't have any RF input hooked up and select cable it will be searching for the guide when the recorder is off. Hence, that part of the circuit will be operating and turning on your fan.
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  2. Member Capt_Diode's Avatar
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    Tommyoz,

    Thanks for the update. I can confirm that I have not used the tuner yet. The VCR in my entertainment center will not be easy to remove so I have not connected the cable TV yet. I have it conected to the Tivo through S-Video. Still no time to play..... Wife wanted a field trip to Viscaya today.... haven't been there since I was a kid.... Nice place......

    On a side note, my cheapo Balance DVD ($138 Wally Special) will be here tonight. Only feedback I've seen is not good.....

    Ho Ho Ho,
    Captain Diode
    Beep beep, oh no heavy, the coins keep coming out, beep beep, even the telephone hates me, beep beep, I wish there were no machines, and everyone led a pastoral existence, trees and flowers don't deliberately cool you out and go beep in your ear. - Neil
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  3. Just got one a couple days ago and it does a great job so far. I have not checked out all the features yet. The TV Guide works good. I did not connected through my satellite since it has its own TV Guide. The only shortfall I have seen is the coaxial output is only a passthrough. That means if you want to view it on Channel 3 so you can view the DVDs on other TVs throughout the house you will need to connected to a VCR with a composite cable then you can connect the coax cable output from the VCR to the wiring throughout the house. I called Sony about this problem and they said that it is the design of this recorder. The video quality is excellent and is very easy to use and seems to be pretty straightforward. Like everybody else there will be a learning curve so I can try all the features.
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    Originally Posted by Capt_Diode
    Thinhtkd & Gshelley61,

    I would love to answer your questions tonight but time just is not there. It turns out I have the house to my self tomorrow night and will have time to perform some tests to answer your questions............
    Cheers,
    Captain Diode
    It's been 3 weeks now and your silence about the Sony seems forever.

    Yvon
    N 45 31' .949" L 73 41' .047"
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  5. Member Capt_Diode's Avatar
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    Yvon,

    My appologies on the trickle of information. I'm as disappointed about time to play with the new Sony as you are. The recorder is in my living room and with the holidays, my time to use it has been limited.

    Here is what I can tell you so far. DV->HDD transfer is flawless and perfect. Moving HDD->DVD in 1hr or 2hr mode is identical to the original HDD source to my eyes. Moving 1hr TV shows to HDD then to 4hr mode proved that the end result was better than the original. I am in the process of moving Deadwood, Sopranos, and 6 Feet Under. to HDD then to DVD in 4hr mode. I'm not a purist but this in my eyes is fully acceptable. Far better than VHS! The menu is primative with a gray background and simple text. The cut feature is perfect and if you are removing comercials is great. I'm not that happy with the different menu screens. they don't always make sence but I'm still learning. When in the settings you see a line that says record. You select this thinking you will adjust the record settings when you are actually starting a recording. I have not needed to adjust the Brightness, Hue, and Color settings. Again the end result was as good as the original.

    My next series of testing will be with a DV source testing the rest of the record speeds to DVD. I also want to learn more about editing and creating menus. I understand this must be done in VR mode so I will need to learn how to do this and possibly converting VR on my PC to a standard DVD structure. I may have to use 3rd party software to create the menus but again I have not had time for this either.

    When time permits I will to continue to post my findings.

    Wishing everyone the warmest of holiday wishes,
    The light of the world is here!

    Captain Diode
    Beep beep, oh no heavy, the coins keep coming out, beep beep, even the telephone hates me, beep beep, I wish there were no machines, and everyone led a pastoral existence, trees and flowers don't deliberately cool you out and go beep in your ear. - Neil
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  6. Originally Posted by Yvon
    Originally Posted by Capt_Diode
    Thinhtkd & Gshelley61,

    I would love to answer your questions tonight but time just is not there. It turns out I have the house to my self tomorrow night and will have time to perform some tests to answer your questions............
    Cheers,
    Captain Diode
    It's been 3 weeks now and your silence about the Sony seems forever.

    Yvon
    Capt Diode;
    Mine should arrived today! Thanks for all posting so far, but have a life and don't claim yourself for not playing with the recorder as much as you like to. I wil post what I am going to find down about the recorder. My main application is transfer VCR tapes to DVD.
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  7. Member Capt_Diode's Avatar
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    thinhtkd,

    Thanks for the understanding! You will not be unhappy with your transfers. The Sony is at its best here. I had a wonderful Christmas but I'm back at work this week. As things go back to normal I will be able to do more testing.

    Happy New Year!
    Captain Diode
    Beep beep, oh no heavy, the coins keep coming out, beep beep, even the telephone hates me, beep beep, I wish there were no machines, and everyone led a pastoral existence, trees and flowers don't deliberately cool you out and go beep in your ear. - Neil
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  8. Member Capt_Diode's Avatar
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    Update:

    I finally had the time to perform some quality testing. Please keep in mind that this is only my opinion from my observations. One of the reasons for the delay on this testing was figuring out how to dub from HDD to DVD at different record speeds. My initial testing I recorded everything in SP. I finally figured out how to change it and successfully recorded in the seven modes offered. The source is DV recorded to HDD in HQ+ of my son riding his bike for the first time.

    HQ - 1HR
    Dub Mode Fast - 1HR Not 100% Sure
    HSP - 1.5HR
    SP - 2HR
    LP - 3HR
    EP - 4HR
    SLP - 6HR

    HQ, Dub Mode Fast, and HSP:
    I could not tell the difference between the three. I'm sure there are but I could not find them. Pausing anywhere was like looking at a high resolution photo.

    SP:
    As good a picture as above but with faint artifacts around sharp edges.

    LP and EP:
    Artifacts just a tad more noticable and EP seemed to loose some of the sharpness around the edges.

    SLP:
    Noticable but not much artifacts around the edges. Resolution noticably reduced and picture seemed sort of jumpy with motion as if frames were dropped.

    All of the recording speeds are respectable. SLP would be a good choice for soaps (I like Judge Judy, Sorry) or other video with little motion. Although I noticed artifacts around the edges, I never saw any pixelation or macroblocks in any mode.

    I hope some others who have had the chance to look at the 900 can take time to comment on what they have seen. The quality is remarkable in HQ and produced exceptable results in the rest of the modes.

    I took a chance and purchased a cheapo DVD recorder to replace the VHS in my bedroom which failed. I bought it from Walmart under the brand Balance. In its best recording mode it was about what the 900 was in 4 hour mode. I was going to keep the unit but for some reason when I record with the tuner I get a low frequency whine in the background to the point of distraction. Too bad, I didn't mind parting with 139 dollars. Now I need to decide which DVD recorder to replace the Balance unit with. The Lite-On 5045 or the Sony 300.......

    Happy New Year!
    Captain Diode
    Beep beep, oh no heavy, the coins keep coming out, beep beep, even the telephone hates me, beep beep, I wish there were no machines, and everyone led a pastoral existence, trees and flowers don't deliberately cool you out and go beep in your ear. - Neil
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  9. Member Capt_Diode's Avatar
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    gsquez,

    I have an update for you on the DVD->HDD. I have been unable to copy any DVD to the HDD. It appears that unless this machine made the DVD, it will not dub the DVD. I don't really need this feature but might come in handy if it was available.

    Any chance for a future hack?

    Happy New Year!
    Captain Diode
    Beep beep, oh no heavy, the coins keep coming out, beep beep, even the telephone hates me, beep beep, I wish there were no machines, and everyone led a pastoral existence, trees and flowers don't deliberately cool you out and go beep in your ear. - Neil
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  10. Originally Posted by tommyoz
    Well, since I own the RGX-300 I decided to go with the HX900. For my usage I felt this one would be best. I am not surprised of the quality it is exeptional. I still would like to know what chipset they use.
    tommyoz,

    I'm looking to purchase my first DVD Recorder. From my research, I believe I will be going Sony. To help my decision-making process, I'd like your opinion on PQ differences between the RGX-300 & RDR-HX900. Have you compared both for the same source feed? Price is a factor in my decision as well. For my needs, the additional features on the 900 vs 300 isn't a must. The main factor for me is PQ. I can perform additional editing/authoring on computer.

    Any opinions from anyone who's compared RGX-300 vs RDR-HX900 would be appreciated.
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  11. johnnynuke,
    My apologies for the late response. I was away for the holidays. In my opinion the recording quality appears to be the same. I only record in 2 hour mode so at least that mode is the same. I haven't really done a comparison with all modes. I have to many recording sessions going on to try something like that. I would think that the rest is the same according to the specs.

    However, the RDR-HX900 which i'm sure you read, offers the HQ+ recording.
    If I read it correctly I thing that's only to the hard drive. I hope this helps.
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  12. I found this information from a different user forum. I thought it might be helpful. It is a workaround for chapter divide.

    http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?s=&postid=4920311
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  13. I received my HX900 yesterday and I do not have cable or an antenna. Is there a way to disable or workaround the TV Guide feature?

    Thanks in advance.
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  14. stickywicket,

    I was in same situation as you. All I was able to do was indicate antenna on setup. It goes thru a quick search of channels. It won't find anything and continues on with rest of setup. Just got to make sure cable/satellite set top box is set to NO.
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  15. Originally Posted by johnnynuke
    stickywicket,

    I was in same situation as you. All I was able to do was indicate antenna on setup. It goes thru a quick search of channels. It won't find anything and continues on with rest of setup. Just got to make sure cable/satellite set top box is set to NO.
    I decided to ignore the TV Guide feature. It was very annoying having it display when I turned the recorder on, so I went into its settings and turned the guide's display off.
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  16. Originally Posted by tommyoz
    I figured out why the fan would not turn off. If your not going to use the TV Guide feature (like me), do not select cable, select antenna.

    It appears that if you don't have any RF input hooked up and select cable it will be searching for the guide when the recorder is off. Hence, that part of the circuit will be operating and turning on your fan.
    Tommyoz, I did as you said but the internal fan is still on and from time to time searching for The TV guide. Is there anyway to turn off the internal fan and disable the TV guide seaching feature besides pulling the plug.

    As far as PQ I loved it. I did evrything with HQ+ to HD and dub to DVD according to the recording mode that I want to record and the PQ is great even with 4 hrs VHF-->HQ+ HD--->DVD. It's agreat DVDR.
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  17. Originally Posted by thinhtkd
    Tommyoz, I did as you said but the internal fan is still on and from time to time searching for The TV guide. Is there anyway to turn off the internal fan and disable the TV guide seaching feature besides pulling the plug.

    As far as PQ I loved it. I did evrything with HQ+ to HD and dub to DVD according to the recording mode that I want to record and the PQ is great even with 4 hrs VHF-->HQ+ HD--->DVD. It's agreat DVDR.
    You may need to bring everything back to factory defualt settings then set it up from scratch. Or do a reboot as stated on page 100 troubleshooting - fan error.
    Even though you don't get the fan error message still do the procedure if the factory settings doesn't work.
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  18. Hi guys,
    Please help:
    Since editing is not possible on the HX900's Hardisk, I will have to do it in the DVD-RW disc.
    I want to download a 3hr long video into the RW, chop it up into 4 pieces, ABCD and re-arrange it into CBAD, can it be done?
    Is it practical because I fear that the analogue to digital encoding on the RW disc will take a long time and hang up in the end. Downloading already takes up 3 hrs, how long will it take to encode before I can edit?
    Many thanks.
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    This has been asked before, but since people have had time now to play with their sony 900, maybe you'll have a definite answer now.

    So here's the question again. For sports fans like myself, can I record games onto harddrive at 2hr sp mode, but then when I transfer to DVD... if the game goes 20 minutes longer than 2hrs. Is there away to adjust the bitrate to 2hrs and 20 minutes? Instead of having to choose 3hr mode which overcompromises quality. The pioneers can do this, and I don't understand why it's not a standard feature for all recorders.
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  20. [quote="tommyoz
    You may need to bring everything back to factory defualt settings then set it up from scratch. Or do a reboot as stated on page 100 troubleshooting - fan error.
    Even though you don't get the fan error message still do the procedure if the factory settings doesn't work.[/quote]

    Thanks Tommyoz; I did reset to factory setting and it worked. However, It also kept my current time and Cable channels as well so I am be able to record TV show using the timmer just like the 300. So far, the recorder work perfectly and I'm a happy owner now.
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    Originally Posted by tommyoz View Post
    johnnynuke,
    My apologies for the late response. I was away for the holidays. In my opinion the recording quality appears to be the same. I only record in 2 hour mode so at least that mode is the same. I haven't really done a comparison with all modes. I have to many recording sessions going on to try something like that. I would think that the rest is the same according to the specs.

    However, the RDR-HX900 which i'm sure you read, offers the HQ+ recording.
    If I read it correctly I thing that's only to the hard drive. I hope this helps.
    I know this is an old thread. But I'm having a question regarding the RDR-HX900 HQ+ recording mode. Would I be able to copy recorded files directly from this Sony Recorder's hard drive to my computer without having to dub the recorded contents to DVDs? Please advise. I'd appreciate your time. Thanks in advance.
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  22. I seriously doubt that you can easily dub directly from the HDD to PC as it's encrypted with propriety rights like most dvd recorders. That said, there might be options under the commercial ISOBUSTER application which may allow you to do so, a bit of research for you on that matter. I have both the 900 and the 715 and both cannot dub HQ+ recorded material to DVD.
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  23. There is no direct way to transfer recordings from your RDR-HX900 to a PC, without first burning DVDs in the unit then ripping them to the PC hard drive. The DV connection on the front panel is input-only, the analog connections would require a PC video input dongle to lossy-re-encode the Sony videos into your PC.

    One possible workaround: Crazy Canuck's suggestion of ISObuster. Last year, the developer took an interesting left turn and suddenly began researching and adding the HDD file systems for dozens of dvd/hdd recorders of several brands. This new capability means you might be able to remove the HDD from your Sony, connect it to your PC, and have ISObuster losslessly transfer the video recordings directly to your PC.

    Two caveats:

    1. Your RDR-HX900 is older than old in Sony terms. That generation of recorder was known to react in a very hostile manner when its hard drive was removed and re-installed. You might want to search some old DVD recorder forum threads (everywhere on the web, not just here) to check old discussions of this topic. If people were doing this then with no problems, you're safe, but if you see mentions that the 900 insists on erasing the HDD if taken out and put back, you may want to reconsider removing it.

    2. John Willis, who was assisting the ISObuster developer with this project, posted a list of supported recorders in a thread somewhere here on VH. But I cannot find my bookmark to it to verify if the RDR-GX900 is on that list. Before proceeding, it might be wise to contact ISObuster developer to ask if RDR-HX900 is supported for reading into PC. I believe the later Sony models, which paralleled similar Pioneer units, are definitely supported by this new ISObuster ability. But the ancient 900 may have an older version encrypted file system that was unavailable to the developer.
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  24. Member
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    Originally Posted by orsetto View Post
    There is no direct way to transfer recordings from your RDR-HX900 to a PC, without first burning DVDs in the unit then ripping them to the PC hard drive. The DV connection on the front panel is input-only, the analog connections would require a PC video input dongle to lossy-re-encode the Sony videos into your PC.

    One possible workaround: Crazy Canuck's suggestion of ISObuster. Last year, the developer took an interesting left turn and suddenly began researching and adding the HDD file systems for dozens of dvd/hdd recorders of several brands. This new capability means you might be able to remove the HDD from your Sony, connect it to your PC, and have ISObuster losslessly transfer the video recordings directly to your PC.

    Two caveats:

    1. Your RDR-HX900 is older than old in Sony terms. That generation of recorder was known to react in a very hostile manner when its hard drive was removed and re-installed. You might want to search some old DVD recorder forum threads (everywhere on the web, not just here) to check old discussions of this topic. If people were doing this then with no problems, you're safe, but if you see mentions that the 900 insists on erasing the HDD if taken out and put back, you may want to reconsider removing it.

    2. John Willis, who was assisting the ISObuster developer with this project, posted a list of supported recorders in a thread somewhere here on VH. But I cannot find my bookmark to it to verify if the RDR-GX900 is on that list. Before proceeding, it might be wise to contact ISObuster developer to ask if RDR-HX900 is supported for reading into PC. I believe the later Sony models, which paralleled similar Pioneer units, are definitely supported by this new ISObuster ability. But the ancient 900 may have an older version encrypted file system that was unavailable to the developer.
    Thank you for your detailed response. After I did some research, thanks to your recommendation, I have made up my mind to not go for the Sony RDR-HX900. Mainly because of the hard-drive failure issue and the scarcity of this unit. I'm doing a VHS-2-DVD project, and I have been searching for a great Pioneer DVD recorder. I bought the Pioneer DVR-220, and I am not really happy with the result. I have tons of DVDs that were captured from the same tapes to DVDs using a Pioneer DVD recorder by a deceased technician named David who used to work for my father when my father was still in the video production business. However, I believe David used a different Pioneer model to capture these tapes. (I can tell for sure because of the DVD menu title list page when I play these DVDs). The quality of David's DVDs is better compared to mine. I noticed a difference in the text size between the DVD menu title page that the DVR-220 created versus the DVD menu title page that David's Pioneer models created. Please see the two attached pictures for better understanding.
    By the way, if you don't mind, I'd like to ask if you recognize the 3rd attached picture saying "BEST VIDEO QUALITY" by any chance? I'm desperately searching for a DVD recorder that creates this Menu title page. It is NOT because I love the DVD menu title page. It is because the captured video quality from the DVD recorder that creates this DVD menu page is AWESOME. The Max bitrate is 9300kbs, the average bitrate is 9299kbs, and the minimum bitrate is 9017kbs. This result is obtained by using Bitrate Viewer. The DVD being read has no subtitle tracks and contains only 1 single audio track.
    Warm Regards,
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  25. Video Restorer lordsmurf's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by orsetto View Post
    2. John Willis, who was assisting the ISObuster developer with this project, posted a list of supported recorders in a thread somewhere here on VH. But I cannot find my bookmark to it to verify if the RDR-GX900 is on that list. Before proceeding, it might be wise to contact ISObuster developer to ask if RDR-HX900 is supported for reading into PC. I believe the later Sony models, which paralleled similar Pioneer units, are definitely supported by this new ISObuster ability. But the ancient 900 may have an older version encrypted file system that was unavailable to the developer.
    He especially reports it over at the digitalFAQ.com forums, in various post chronicling progress. I've done my best to feed him whatever info he needs to know on recorders.

    His input + Mr. ISOBuster, has resulted in several recorders being dumpable to PC. My ancient Panasonic, Philips, RCA, and some others. But some units, like JVC, LiteON, and Polaroid, are still TDB. Still some bugs, like Philips obfuscation. Not sure about Toshiba and Sony.

    For DVD recorders to HDD, they really are our Obi-wan, our only hopes.
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  26. Some of jwillis posts about ISObuster on AVS forum.

    https://www.avsforum.com/forum/106-dvd-recorders-standard-def/3069662-ib-adds-support-...-list-now.html

    https://www.avsforum.com/forum/106-dvd-recorders-standard-def/3061256-new-release-dubb...vr-hdd-pc.html

    also the link to ISObuster with the whole list of recovery possibilities.

    https://www.isobuster.com/isobuster.php

    For the Sony models it appears that it will work only for the rebadged Pioneers models.
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  27. Having looked thru my own collection of DVD dubs made by various Pioneer recorder models, and downloaded the full dvd examples you sent me via PM, I might be able to clarify some of this.

    First, the menu page screen caps above do not all match the sample dvds you linked to: the bottom does match your preferred example "Lady Yang", but the two above it do not match either "Bloody Pearls" or "Love Me Again" (the menu design is the same but the dates are different on the video samples).

    I can provide some guidance on the above Pioneer menu caps, which could be helpful assuming you yourself do know which actual dvds correspond to the dates/times shown. The first/top menu cap is from an earlier Pioneer model range, 210/510 or 220/320/420/520/920. Those models had an instantly recognizable, larger thicker typeface in the date/time/title and other menus, designed for the older CRT television displays. The "MN31" recording mode (65 mins per dvd) is one step below maximum XP (60 mins per dvd). Again assuming source tapes of very similar quality, this would be the maximum transfer quality possible with that recorder model. The drawback to these older Pioneers is they can be unpredictable with VHS input: these seem to be commercial tapes of very high quality and no copy protection, which is the only kind I would recommend for these older Pioneers. Any other source tapes tend to encode with various unpleasant artifacts, as these early Pioneers had very weak input buffers optimized for broadcast signals or external tuner boxes.

    The middle/second menu cap is from a later Pioneer, but it is impossible to say exactly which model as the menu design did not change again after the shift to thinner lighter "HDTV typeface" with the DVR-530 series. This could be any of a dozen models from the x30, x40, x50 or x60 series, sold between 2005 thru 2008 respectively. The MN21 recording mode indicated is the manual incremental equivalent of "SP" which provides 120 mins per dvd. Note this would be approx half the bitrate of MN31 or XP, so is not directly comparable to your other two examples (not a fair test of this recorder).

    Regarding the sample DVD links you sent me:

    The dvd corresponding to your third (blue) menu cap above, "Lady Yang", is of extraordinary high quality: among the best VHS to DVD recorder transfers I've ever seen in compromise of noise vs smoothing vs realistic detail. The difference between it and your other two dvd samples is dramatic: those are very good, and typical of what I myself would usually be content with. But "Lady Yang" is just incredible: it actually looks too good to have come from a simple VCR>DVD recorder capture system. It surpasses even some top-quality dubs I've made with classic JVC and Toshiba XS recorders and premium VCRs: whatever combination of tape, VCR and dvd recorder made the "Lady Yang" dvd was something special.

    HOWEVER: something is also a bit off with "Lady Yang". The bitrate identifies as 9300 vs the 9500 of your other two Pioneer samples. More significantly, it will not play properly in either VLC or MPHC on my Windows 7 PC. VLC can't proceed past the menu, and MPHC crashes altogether. The only software player that works with "Lady Yang" on my PC is KMP (odd, because that is usually inferior to VLC in compatibility). Of course, my PC is just a single test case, but it tends to make me think this dvd recorder employed a somewhat off-spec format to its VOBs or encoding. If its a Sony, highly unlikely to be a modern-era model since those work like Pioneers. If this does prove to be a HX900 as you believe, I would still be very leery of purchasing one all these years later. Even if the recording quality is amazing, inability to burn dvds and probability of random hard drive corruption (after you put hours or weeks effort into a project) could make for a poor, unproductive tool.

    "Bloody Pearls" appears to have been dubbed to a Pioneer x50 or x60 series recorder. Given the source tapes are very clean, I suppose it could also have been a x30 or x40, but in my experience those typically add a more noticeable smoothing effect. The 9500 bit rate implies an XP or MN31 recording mode. This sample (to my eyes based on what I usually achieve with a Pioneer 550 or 560) is typical of what one can expect from a Pioneer: I would be happy if I could always get such a result (other than the dropouts and other unavoidable tape age defects). Unfortunately most of my source tapes are not as free from chroma noise as yours.

    "Love Me Again" strikes me as the most common "OK-good" result an average person could get from a simple VCR>DVD recorder setup. Color and chroma noise levels are acceptable, but there is some clarity loss with a fuzzed/smoothed somewhat plastic effect (disappointing considering this is also 9500 bitrate XP/MN31). This is far more prevalent in VHS dubs made with the Pioneer 540/640 series vs the later 550 or 560. The specific signature of the "blurriness" (for lack of a better word) in "Love Me Again" strikes me as the type specific only to the Pio 540/640 encoder (rather than similar effects one often observes from a TBC/DNR equipped VCR). Without verification of the exact VCR and recorder models used, or the condition/quality of "Love Me Again" tape vs the others, it would be hard to say with certainty why this sample is less satisfactory than ""Bloody Pearls".

    I cannot identify or verify the (seemingly superior) recorder brand/model based on the "Lady Yang" blue menu screen cap (above). This was a very common design for ten-title, text-only menu option across multiple recorder brands over many years, with just slight variation in the details. See below for the version that debuted with the Pioneer x40-x50-x60 (x10-x20-x30 did not have this menu option at all). The Sony RDR-HX x70, x80, x90 would be near identical, possibly the RDR-HX x50 as well. Note many Sony DVD/HDD models use the same "MN31, MN21, etc" names for manual recording speeds as Pioneer.
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    Last edited by orsetto; 14th Jun 2020 at 15:18.
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  28. Member
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    Originally Posted by orsetto View Post
    Having looked thru my own collection of DVD dubs made by various Pioneer recorder models, and downloaded the full dvd examples you sent me via PM, I might be able to clarify some of this.

    First, the menu page screen caps above do not all match the sample dvds you linked to: the bottom does match your preferred example "Lady Yang", but the two above it do not match either "Bloody Pearls" or "Love Me Again" (the menu design is the same but the dates are different on the video samples).

    I can provide some guidance on the above Pioneer menu caps, which could be helpful assuming you yourself do know which actual dvds correspond to the dates/times shown. The first/top menu cap is from an earlier Pioneer model range, 210/510 or 220/320/420/520/920. Those models had an instantly recognizable, larger thicker typeface in the date/time/title and other menus, designed for the older CRT television displays. The "MN31" recording mode (65 mins per dvd) is one step below maximum XP (60 mins per dvd). Again assuming source tapes of very similar quality, this would be the maximum transfer quality possible with that recorder model. The drawback to these older Pioneers is they can be unpredictable with VHS input: these seem to be commercial tapes of very high quality and no copy protection, which is the only kind I would recommend for these older Pioneers. Any other source tapes tend to encode with various unpleasant artifacts, as these early Pioneers had very weak input buffers optimized for broadcast signals or external tuner boxes.

    The middle/second menu cap is from a later Pioneer, but it is impossible to say exactly which model as the menu design did not change again after the shift to thinner lighter "HDTV typeface" with the DVR-530 series. This could be any of a dozen models from the x30, x40, x50 or x60 series, sold between 2005 thru 2008 respectively. The MN21 recording mode indicated in the manual incremental equivalent of "SP" which provides 120 mins per DVD. Note this would be approx half the bitrate of MN31 or XP, so it is not directly comparable to your other two examples (not a fair test of this recorder).

    Regarding the sample DVD links you sent me:

    The dvd corresponding to your third (blue) menu cap above, "Lady Yang", is of extraordinarily high quality: among the best VHS to DVD recorder transfers I've ever seen in the compromise of noise vs smoothing vs realistic detail. The difference between it and your other two dvd samples is dramatic: those are very good, and typical of what I myself would usually be content with. But "Lady Yang" is just incredible: it actually looks too good to have come from a simple VCR>DVD recorder capture system. It surpasses even some top-quality dubs I've made with classic JVC and Toshiba XS recorders and premium VCRs: whatever combination of tape, VCR and dvd recorder made the "Lady Yang" dvd was something special.

    HOWEVER: something is also a bit off with "Lady Yang". The bitrate identifies as 9300 vs the 9500 of your other two Pioneer samples. More significantly, it will not play properly in either VLC or MPHC on my Windows 7 PC. VLC can't proceed past the menu, and MPHC crashes altogether. The only software player that works with "Lady Yang" on my PC is KMP (odd, because that is usually inferior to VLC in compatibility). Of course, my PC is just a single test case, but it tends to make me think this DVD recorder employed a somewhat off-spec format to its VOBs or encoding. If it is a Sony, highly unlikely to be a modern-era model since those work like Pioneers. If this does prove to be an HX900 as you believe, I would still be very leery of purchasing one all these years later. Even if the recording quality is amazing, the inability to burn DVDs and the probability of random hard drive corruption (after you put hours or weeks effort into a project) could make for a poor, unproductive tool.

    "Bloody Pearls" appears to have been dubbed to a Pioneer x50 or x60 series recorder. Given the source tapes are very clean, I suppose it could also have been an x30 or x40, but in my experience, those typically add a more noticeable smoothing effect. The 9500-bit rate implies an XP or MN31 recording mode. This sample (to my eyes based on what I usually achieve with a Pioneer 550 or 560) is typical of what one can expect from a Pioneer: I would be happy if I could always get such a result (other than the dropouts and other unavoidable tape age defects). Unfortunately, most of my source tapes are not as free from chroma noise as yours.

    "Love Me Again" strikes me as the most common "OK-good" result an average person could get from a simple VCR>DVD recorder setup. Color and chroma noise levels are acceptable, but there is some clarity loss with a fuzzed/smoothed somewhat plastic effect (disappointing considering this is also 9500 bitrate XP/MN31). This is far more prevalent in VHS dubs made with the Pioneer 540/640 series vs the later 550 or 560. The specific signature of the "blurriness" (for lack of a better word) in "Love Me Again" strikes me as the type-specific only to the Pio 540/640 encoder (rather than similar effects one often observes from a TBC/DNR equipped VCR). Without verification of the exact VCR and recorder models used, or the condition/quality of "Love Me Again" tape vs the others, it would be hard to say with certainty why this sample is less satisfactory than "Bloody Pearls".

    I cannot identify or verify the (seemingly superior) recorder brand/model based on the "Lady Yang" blue menu screen cap (above). This was a very common design for eight-title, text-only menu options across multiple recorder brands over many years, with just slight variation in the details. See below for the version that debuted with the Pioneer x40-x50-x60 (x10-x20-x30 did not have this menu option at all). The Sony RDR-HX x70, x80, x90 would be near identical, possibly the RDR-HX x50 as well. Note many Sony DVD/HDD models use the same "MN31, MN21, etc" names for manual recording speeds as Pioneer.
    #Orsetto,
    ++ The first menu page screen cap with bigger text size is from the Pioneer DVR-220S I bought and also will return it to the seller by tomorrow.

    ++The second DVDmenu screencap with thinner text is the Pioneer model I'm trying to locate. I know it is impossible to tell which models exactly, maybe I will have to do my own trial-and-error procedure until I find the answer.

    ++
    something is also a bit off with "Lady Yang". The bitrate identifies as 9300 vs the 9500 of your other two Pioneer samples. More significantly, it will not play properly in either VLC or MPHC on my Windows 7 PC. VLC can't proceed past the menu, and MPHC crashes altogether.
    Actually, the LADY YANG DVDs (40 DVDs total of the same bitrate of 9300kbs, these DVDs play normally on my LG, Samsung, and Sony DVD players) play perfectly across all my 3 different computers (2 Win7 professionals, and 1 Win10). I only use the VLC media player to play all my files. I set the MPHC as the secondary media player, but I haven't come across any issues that force me to use the MPHC player yet. It can be that you are missing a certain codec? I'm not sure. I'm just guessing.

    ++
    The 9500 bit rate implies an XP or MN31 recording mode
    Actually, the bitrate shown at the bottom of the window explorer when I click on the VOB files is not the actual bitrate of the video. For example, you open the Bloody Pearl DVD folder, and you click on any VOB files and the bottom screen says the data bitrate is 9500kbs. However, if you use Bitrate viewer to analyze the Bloody pearls and the Love me again DVDs, the bitrates of these two DVDs are just 6500kbs on average, max bitrate is 9789kbs, and minimum bitrate is 4658kbs while the Yang Lady DVD has all "minimum bitrate, average bitrate, and max bitrate" above 9100kbs. The Yang Lady DVD was captured in XP mode because the file size is 3.43gbs with a total length of 50 minutes only. The other two DVDs are 1h40 minutes long each and the DVD size is also 3.43bgs.

    ++ Now I know Sony HDD/DVD recorders also offer the MN mode. Thank you.
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  29. Apologies, my friend: in my haste to reply to your questions about the sample dvds, I misread the bitrate window in my KMP player. I was looking at the wrong line, which indicated maximum possible instantaneous bitrate as 9500, instead of the actual average bitrate.

    Now that you've noted a couple of your samples were abridged from longer-running videos, I realize actual bitrates were lower because they couldn't have been XP mode. My KMP "media info" pane cannot give an exact average for "Love Me Again" or "Bloody Pearls", it simply indicates "variable" as the average with a max rate of 9500. After running Bitrate Viewer, the bitrates correlate to what you posted: this makes the differences between the three samples much more understandable. "Lady Yang" is rock solid locked at constant 9300, while the other two fluctuate variably at approx 4300-5500 average with peaks from 7000-9500. That goes far toward explaining why "Lady Yang" is noticeably superior: its running double the bit rate, which certainly helps!

    "Bloody Pearls" at approx 5200 average bitrate is completely in line with what I normally get from a good Pioneer 460 capture from VHS in the MN24-MN21 mode range. "Love Me Again" seems to be running a lower average bitrate of 4300-4500, which could be a factor in why it isn't as good as "Bloody Pearls" (source tape variances aside). Interesting!

    Out of curiosity, I just did a test with my Pioneer 460: a recording made at the highest quality MN32 setting (60 mins per dvd) reads out a steady average bitrate of 9300 with momentary peaks near 9500. MN21 (SP, 120 mins per dvd) average bitrate is 4300. MN24 (100 mins per dvd) averages 5200. MN26 (90 mins per dvd) averages almost 6100. MN29 (75 mins per dvd) averages a steady 7500.
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    Both LOVE ME AGAIN and THE BLOODY PEARLS were recorded at MN21 mode (120 mins per DVD). I attach the bitrate Viewer analysis of these two DVDs here. They both have really high max bitrate. Could you let me know the max bitrate that Bitrate Viewer analyzes for your DVDs recorded at MN21, please?
    I remember reading in this very forum that it is not ideal to record at MN32 due to the audio being recorded at this MN32 mode is uncompressed, which leads to the slight compression of the video. The MN31 is strongly recommended. I'll search for that post and attach it to this discussion later.
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