I thought it would be fun to compare these particular decks together --
The SR-V101US is comparable to the 9000 series in terms of picture performance (big difference is 2MB vs 4MB for the TBC). It's certainly not built as solidly though -- it's more like the 9911, as it is quite light and plastic. I must say though, it has always been an extremely dependable VCR and in my experience had an identical picture to my HR-7600u.
The SR-W5U has been spoken of previously and is sort of your typical JVC deck on steroids, though you don't want to have one break on you because goodness knows if JVC can fix it at this point (although I'm not sure how fun it is to have a non DVHS model repaired at this point in general).
Both of these are direct from my deck to a JVC DR-M100 DVD recorder, which does it's own NR - so keep that in mind. Normally I sharpen up my source a bit with my DR-1000 to compensate and adjust other levels with my proc amp, but here it's just a straight transfer. All of my clips were captured in XP mode with AC-3 audio over PCM to maximize available bitrate for video, using Acoustic Research Professional Series S-Video cables.
As always -- screen-shots don't really mean much, although when I have more time I'd like to upload a couple of video clips as well. Since I'm short on time, I'll upload just a few.
The settings for the JVC SR-W5U are the TBC and NR engaged, the JVC SR-V101US has the TBC on, the picture mode set to NORM, the Video Calibration, Digital R3, and Video Stabilizer set to off.
In all of the examples, the left side is the JVC SR-W5U and the right is the JVC SR-V101US. All of the clips are from SP source tapes, except for the last two which are from EP sources.
One other note -- My SR-W5U with the TBC on tends to make the whites look a bit "hot" by default and I usually dial it down a bit with my proc-amp.
My general analysis is that I prefer the SR-W5U in the first four for sure (ignoring that the whites look a bit over amped) but I would say the Mickey Mouse one (which is from a noisier source than the others) is close, though I still prefer the SR-W5U. However, for the last one, from a 1988 airing of Circus of the Stars image which is from an extremely noisy source (ghosting from another channel, streaks, lines) I prefer the smoother appearance of the SR-V101US and I would say it is the better VCR for extremely noisy footage.
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Last edited by robjv1; 7th Apr 2010 at 02:18.
Interesting post and comparison - thanks!
The W5U images do look sharper, although it's hard to tell whether that is extra detail or just USM-esque effect...
If I were you, for the SR-V101US, I would use all the same settings except that I would use the Edit rather than Norm setting, and turn video calibration on. Then do the comparison.
Sphinx99 -- That's a good question. I do think it is picking up additional detail though -- if I take the JVC SR-V101US picture and pump up the sharpness with my SignVideo DR-1000, I cannot make it look like a JVC SR-W5U image. It still looks softer (and has more halo effects and the like).
BrainStorm69 -- Yeah, if you would find some comparison particularly useful, I would be glad to do it, I have the decks. I'll see what I can do this weekend.
My intention here was just to compare these decks at their respective baselines in terms of picture quality. Basically, the TBC and all NR features engaged, but no extra stuff (Video Calibration, Digital R3). When you figure in transport stability and features, these decks are worlds apart, but I thought it might be useful to people that hear so much about these SR-W5U/SR-W7U decks to get an idea of how they compare directly with the much more common JVC models. These decks are a risky buy and have a lot of hype -- and though they are well worth it IMO, they may not be right for everyone and for every kind of footage.
Last edited by robjv1; 7th Apr 2010 at 17:14.
These are EXCELLENT pictures! They accurately represent the difference between my JVC 9600/7600 TBC/DNR machines and my older JVC SVHS units and Panasonic AG-1970.
I think that the sharper picture can easily be filtered to look the same as the softer one. The bigger question is whether the softer picture can be filtered to look the same as the sharper one. I don't think so.
The JVC TBC/DNR units filter across multiple frames. That cannot be undone.
As a preservationist, I prefer to capture the sharper picture.
Last edited by davideck; 7th Apr 2010 at 20:52.Life is better when you focus on the signals instead of the noise.
Last edited by robjv1; 8th Apr 2010 at 02:38.
Lastly, I thought I would compare the JVC-SRW5U image with an "enhanced" image (via the Sign Video DR-1000 detailer) with varying degrees of sharpness. Just as a note, turned up to "9" is about 1/3 less than halfway. I did not adjust the "detail" knob, as it tended to only make the image look chunkier, though perhaps there is a sweet spot combination that could approach the image of the SR-W5U default.
Note that the JVC SR-V101US is in edit mode in this particular example (no NR, TBC on, Calibration on).
Please note that you can click on any images in this thread and get full-sized versions.
The last one (DR-1000 turned up to 9) did seem to make the image look sharper, but also added it's own artifacts, which I've blown up in a closeup comparison.
Once again, SR-W5U baseline image on the left, SR-V101US + DR-1000 on the right.
So there you have it. An interesting comparison and though it may not mean much, I hope it offers a good comparison. I wish I had a decent video card so I could do an uncompressed AVI bitmap and compare the VCRs directly instead of viewed through the eyes of my DVD recorder, but what can you do?
I'll try to get some video clips up this weekend as well.
Last edited by robjv1; 8th Apr 2010 at 03:20.
The AG-1980 is "sharper", but it's fake. I can get the same effect with the JVC 9800 and DR-1000 together. There are tell-tale signs of noise in oversharp images, be it aliasing along linear shapes, or the analog equiv to MPEG mosquito noise. Luma gain is too high on the W5U.
The Mickey image is a dead giveaway of sharpening being added. The original film was not all crappy grainy like that. Even the EDIT mode on the 101 isn't all crunchy in the shadows. EDIT is truer to the original film, I'd think. The W5U is adding "sharpness", while this particular clip with DNR ON may be slightly softening in the goal of cleanliness.
While the DNR may sometimes soften some sources, it does aid in MPEG encoding. That grain noise doesn't work well with MPEG-2 or H.264, it hinders compression. Analog noise = digital noise, unless pre-filtered. It's no mistake the JVC decks do this -- they were created with VHS>DVD age in mind.
In regards to the luma I should mention -- I have two of these units and the other does not pump up the luminance to this level, which I've verified through the SignVideo Proc Amp. It seems to be a particular quirk of this unit and not necessarily one of these SR-W5U decks in general.
I also enjoyed the DR-1000 stuff. I guess I may have to break mine out again one day and do some playing around with it (if I can find the time). A few years back I was pretty active around here and spent way too much money on toys. One thing I never got, however, was the coveted SR-W5U. Every time I saw one on ebay, I just couldn't get myself to part with the money the owner wanted. There's one out there right now for $1300, I think, and there's no way I'd do that. And you have TWO of them? Must have been a pretty penny.
I don't know that it's an IRE spike -- I think the luminance is just off. Of course, that will give appearance of IRE (and technically, I guess it also shifts IRE). Early Panasonic E-series recorders did this, really washed out and ruined video quality, decimated highlights and gradients. Unfortunately, I don't think a proc amp further down the line from the SR-W5U will fix it, I think the damage is too early in the chain.
Threads like this are great, it's good to interact with some of you like this. We don't do that much anymore, do we? Not a lot of advanced VCR/DVD testing threads in recent years. Guess we're all too busy with our projects, using the knowledge we gained in the past.
LS, I agree that the SR-W5U is probably shifting luma up across the whole picture. By spike I just meant that the IRE in the brightest spots of the picture is probably peaking considerably above 100. And I also agree that threads like this are great. Takes me back to the good old days. But I probably just have "the good old days" syndrome.
I agree, the edit mode DOES look better than the norm/auto on the JVC SR-V101US in terms of maintaining the picture quality in some of these clips and is a more fair comparison in terms of overall sharpness, but of course you lose a lot of the other nice filtering that would be more apparent in video clips that hurt the overall picture quality.
Another thing that is apparent to me in video clips is a rather big difference in the sound of the linear audio tracks on these two decks, the SR-V101US really muffles it and adds a hissing sound, where the SR-W5U is much cleaner and clearer. It's probably nothing you couldn't filter your way to on a computer, but it's a nice "out of the box" feature of the SR-W5U. The two decks sound equally as good playing back Hi-Fi audio, but the SR-W5U plays back most of my tapes with no hi-fi switching noise while the SR-V101US is far less consistent with it.
super stable transport gets rid of headaches I had with many tapes on my SR-V101US deck. They certainly aren't perfect (perhaps a tad overhyped) and repairing them MIGHT be a nightmare, but I am satisfied with my purchases.