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  1. Member
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    Hello,

    I have been looking at a JVC VCR for sometime with all the good reviews of the noise reduction features the 9000 series vcrs have. I have my purchase down to 2 different models. Just wondering if one is much better than the other in terms of quality/features/reliability?

    Also I will be purchasing a external TBC along with this as well. Either a Datavideo or BVT model. Any of these recommended?

    Thanks
    M
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  2. Banned
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    The 9800.
    Last edited by sanlyn; 23rd Mar 2014 at 12:25.
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  3. The 9800 is certainly better-built than the 9911, but with second-hand JVCs you always roll the dice and heavier construction is no guarantee any particular 9800 would necessarily perform better than a 9911. Condition is everything with a JVC SVHS: if it isn't perfect it will suck harder than an Electrolux, and they're a giant pain to restore. Buy whichever is in the best functional condition, get a return/refund guarantee, and test the hell out of it when you get it home.

    The DataVideo and AVT TBCs are similar in effectiveness but differ in construction quality and a couple features. The DataVideo is more "solid" but includes a largely useless 4-way splitter which is prone to reducing PQ slightly or significantly. The AVT is built like crap but has a single signal path and includes a few handy controls to adjust the video appearance. They're both expensive new, at $240 for the AVT and double that for the DataVideo. If you're patient, they turn up used on eBay every few weeks for about half off the new retail price.

    Note running the TBC feature in a JVC vcr plus the external TBC together can result in some unpleasant video surprises. Sometimes they cooperate, sometimes they conflict.
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    Understood. I purchased a JVC-HRS9500U a few years ago. Everything worked for a little while, then the front display stopped working, then all the buttons on the panel stopped work, then everything else just started breaking down to the point i just couldnt bother getting it fixed. The same with an AG-1970 i purchased for $150 a few years ago too. I guess i had bought a baffed out one of those too. I currently have a professional Panasonic AG-7350 but worried about replacing it and i need a second recorder too sometimes. I dont know if i should get a second 7350 or get something prosumer like a AG-1980.
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  5. When considering VCR models for the purpose of digitizing VHS, conventional wisdom doesn't always apply, and the "lesser" consumer or prosumer models are sometimes better for some tapes than the full-out "pro" studio decks like AG7350.

    The AG-7350 was a large heavy deck optimized for use in a studio environment where it would normally be connected to a suite of support hardware far beyond the quality level (and cost) of SVHS. There was an endless number of Panasonic AG vcrs, so I don't always accurately remember the features of each one, but generally the TBC feature was optional (the vcrs came with a front panel TBC switch, but it did nothing unless the optional TBC circuit board was installed). So, any AG7350 you consider should be checked for the presence of a TBC card (you can confirm this by flipping the switch during playback and noting whether there is any impact on the video: it should shift slightly to the right and/or look subtly or significantly different). Once you verify your AG7350 does have a functional TBC, you can proceed to the next issue.

    All "TBCs" are not the same. The type installed inside the VCR perform differently from an external TBC, and the TBC installed inside a "pro" deck like the AG7350 is not the same as the "TBC" installed in something like a JVC 9800 or Panasonic AG1980. The TBC inside the AG7350 is closer in function to an external TBC and is usually optimized to work compatibly with external TBCs and additional processing hardware down the line. The "TBC" inside a JVC SVHS series or Panasonic AG1980 is optimized more specifically to be self-contained, and is inseparably joined to an additional "DNR" circuit which would normally be an expensive external box or computer software suite in the pro studio. It is this "DNR" circuit, and not the "TBC" per se, that makes geeks salivate over the AG1980 and various old JVCs: the TBC just happens to come along for the DNR ride. The internal TBC helps a bit with geometric distortion and to smaller extent stability. The DNR makes the more dramatic difference, clearing up color noise and removing the odious grain and luma noise that plagues VHS. (External TBCs primarily target "invisible" stability issues that bother computer video encoders, and strip the intentional video errors embedded in commercial Hollywood tapes.)

    It is here that things become unpredictable and confusing. Consumer and prosumer decks with combined TBC/DNR can do an admirable job of improving the appearance of VHS, but the result is a sometimes overprocessed look that can be unappealing. The consumer/prosumer circuits are not really adjustable, cannot be switched independently, and operate in an "all or nothing" fashion. When switched on, they can be overpowering, yet when switched off, many of the prosumer decks offer surprisingly mediocre performance. It can be quite a Catch-22. Your AG7350, if functioning perfectly, can wring better video from many problem-free tapes due to its less-aggressive TBC, lack of DNR, and higher-grade electronics. When connected to equally high-end external processing gear used with great skill, you can potentially achieve better results than with an all-in-one prosumer unit like the AG1980.

    But "potentially" is the key point. These factors relate to the products when brand-new, and none of these VCRs are even close to being "new." The superior electronics of the AG7350 mean nothing if they have rotted away from age and drifted off-spec as badly as an equally-aged AG1980 or JVC. The home user will not have access to the racks of studio processors an AGF7350 is designed to work with. For one-touch ease of use, speed, and availability, the Panasonic AG1980 and/or assorted similar JVCs are usually the more sensible alternative for consumer digitizing (with the proviso you get them serviced and restored by a competent technician). Every VCR plays every tape slightly or notably different from other VCRs, so if you have a large collection of tapes to digitize you may find uses for the AG7350, an AG1980, a JVC or two, and several other cheaper VCRs.
    Last edited by orsetto; 11th Nov 2012 at 13:44.
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  6. Originally Posted by orsetto View Post
    Condition is everything with a JVC SVHS: if it isn't perfect it will suck harder than an Electrolux, and they're a giant pain to restore.
    Can't say I agree with this. From my experience, JVCs simply aren't prone to the kind of schizo behaviour that Panasonics can exhibit. Particularly the cult AG-1980 units, which if left unattended, I'd say are almost guaranteed to have problems. On the other hand, all my old JVCs work fine with little to no issues. The HR-9600 in particular has stellar performance across the board, outclassing a serviced NV-FS200 in all aspects. When it comes to good playback, the JVC Dynamic Drum can do wonders that make it worth owning one. But again, that's purely from my experience.

    Also, an AG-7350 unit or similar has probably been to hell and back, whether from pro or medical use as I was under the impression it was an MD model. Aside from that, I don't believe it'd even be adequate for consumer tapes to begin with. Although buying any VCR is a risk these days, I'd always recommend the common prosumer models over any actual pro series. Even some cheap decks, without any of the sought after features, can provide surprisingly good performance.

    As for the better JVC model, I believe all the Digipures are similar in PQ, differing mostly in design and non-essential features; although again, I do recommend decks with the Dynamic Drum feature. A better built model is ideal, but I agree with the advice to buy the unit that's in convincingly better shape and that comes with a refund guarantee.

    Originally Posted by orsetto View Post
    Note running the TBC feature in a JVC vcr plus the external TBC together can result in some unpleasant video surprises. Sometimes they cooperate, sometimes they conflict.
    Could you please elaborate on this? I don't understand why the two types could have a negative impact on each other.
    Last edited by SixFiftyThree; 12th Nov 2012 at 06:05.
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  7. Originally Posted by SixFiftyThree View Post
    Can't say I agree with this. From my experience, JVCs simply aren't prone to the kind of schizo behaviour that Panasonics can exhibit. Particularly the cult AG-1980 units, which if left unattended, I'd say are almost guaranteed to have problems. On the other hand, all my old JVCs work fine with little to no issues. The HR-9600 in particular has stellar performance across the board, outclassing a serviced NV-FS200 in all aspects. When it comes to good playback, the JVC Dynamic Drum can do wonders that make it worth owning one. But again, that's purely from my experience.
    SixFiftyThree, you apparently live in a PAL country, so you will have somewhat different experience with any given VCR than someone like myself in an NTSC country. The PAL versions of the "legendary" prosumer JVCs and Panasonics have an edge over the NTSC models to begin with, which enhances their internal TBC/DNR performance and their compatibility with external add-on processors. NTSC is more twitchy, and of course my comments are based on the NTSC units. I don't doubt what you say at all, but would like to reply to two of your points based on decades experience with the North American units.

    First, the Panasonic NV-FS200 is not an exact clone of the AG1980. Those who have used both report the NV-FS200 to offer better overall PQ. Both models are known for hypersensitivity to aging electronics, but the transport of the AG1980 seems more solid than the NV-FS200 mechanics (a notorious Achilles Heel of that model). Over a long period of time, the tape transport of a 1980 will maintain spec better than a 200, although neither VCR will perform to its full potential unless completely rebuilt by a competent tech. In North America, the AG1980 has decided playback advantages over similar JVC DigiPure models, and vice-versa, so owning both is a good strategy for large-scale dubbing.

    "Classic" JVC vcrs are polarizing: there is no middle ground with them. You either adore them, because you never had a problem, or you despise them, because they screwed you over repeatedly at great expense. When working perfectly, JVCs of the 9600 vintage are wonderful performers. The trouble is, half the JVCs out there are a gift from heaven while the other half are the spawn of hellfire. If you are unlucky, a JVC can be a giant headache: they can silently destroy tapes in ways never seen in other brands of VCR, once they drift mechanically they can never be adjusted back to a good tracking range, and the "Dynamic Drum" is a ticking time bomb that cannot be repaired when it dies. In North America, those who desire the JVC "DigiPure" features are better off hunting down the much newer, more reliable JVC DVHS models or the Mitsubishi HS-HD2000U DVHS. The old classic JVC DigiPure SVHS are a riskier bet on the second-hand market.

    Also, an AG-7350 unit or similar has probably been to hell and back, whether from pro or medical use as I was under the impression it was an MD model. Aside from that, I don't believe it'd even be adequate for consumer tapes to begin with. Although buying any VCR is a risk these days, I'd always recommend the common prosumer models over any actual pro series. Even some cheap decks, without any of the sought after features, can provide surprisingly good performance.
    Agree with you 100%. The lure of the old huge pro studio VCRs with front panels like an aircraft flight deck is unfortunately not backed up by any practical performance advantage for consumer-recorded tapes. It is hard for novices to understand this, given the pro appearance and original $4000 pricetags, but they simply aren't worth it even if you can now pick them up for $100. The prosumer JVC and Panasonics (or the JVC / MGA DVHS models) offer much more value and utility for digitizing VHS.

    Originally Posted by orsetto View Post
    Note running the TBC feature in a JVC vcr plus the external TBC together can result in some unpleasant video surprises. Sometimes they cooperate, sometimes they conflict.
    Could you please elaborate on this? I don't understand why the two types could have a negative impact on each other.
    Consumer and prosumer TBCs, whether internal to the VCR or external, inevitably soften the video image and contribute other artifacts. Combined with the (usually) non-defeatable DNR of the NTSC models, the vcr TBC + an external TBC can result in disappointingly soft PQ. This is one of those "gotcha" traps that can lead to much more work than casual users expect: many computer video cards require the stabilizing features of the external TBC, and the tapes look horrible without the vcr TBC/DNR activated, yet the combined processing leads to video that looks like refined gauzy plastic (and/or new jitter errors are introduced). Compensating for this necessitates experience and skill with assorted PC software corrections, not to mention extra time. (Those using a recent DVD/HDD recorder instead of a PC can usually avoid the external TBC except in cases of extreme tape damage or Macrovision protection defects.) These double-TBC issues may not be as significant with PAL tapes and hardware.
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  8. Video Restorer lordsmurf's Avatar
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    The "TBC" inside a JVC SVHS series or Panasonic AG1980 is optimized more specifically to be self-contained, and is inseparably joined to an additional "DNR" circuit which would normally be an expensive external box or computer software suite in the pro studio. It is this "DNR" circuit, and not the "TBC" per se, that makes geeks salivate over the AG1980 and various old JVCs: the TBC just happens to come along for the DNR ride.
    I would say the TBC/DNR is actually more like the pricey add-on cards available for external appliances -- though they never quite worked as advertised, unlike the VCR TBC/DNR. The TBC pre-stablizes in order to allow the DNR to function. Hence the marriage.

    Those using a recent DVD/HDD recorder instead of a PC can usually avoid the external TBC except in cases of extreme tape damage or Macrovision protection defects.
    Not in my experience. Capture devices are just too prone to see anti-copy where none exists, hence the requires double TBC setup.
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