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  1. About 25 years ago, late 80's early 90's, I used to transfer analog video from a Sony video camera to VCR via a Panasonic VCR. Being stingy I often used LP and because the VCR was so good it was fine. The Panasonic has long since been consigned to the trash can. If I play these LP VCR's through the VCR I have (not a Panasonic) the LP quality is poor. I've been looking on ebay to see if I can get this VCR but no luck. Does anybody know where I can get a list of Panasonic VCR's from that era plus photos so I can at least identify it. Any other suggestions as to how I could get good LP playback.
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  2. Back then Panasonic had a number of VCR decks under their "omnivision" brand. These decks would also do LP. Omnivision decks were common and a bit popular during that time. Its a starting point for your search
    Last edited by mazinz; 27th Jun 2015 at 15:17.
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  3. Ideally, for LP playback you would want a vintage 2-head Panasonic (or identical OEM Magnavox, GE, Sylvania, RCA, Curtis Mathes, etc) from the mid 1980s. Unfortunately, today these are very hard to come by in working condition. As an example, the best LP playback I ever had was with the Panasonic PV-1265 and PV-1220, circa 1983. These are still floating around some pawnshops and Goodwill type stores but are much less common than they once were (back in the day, these were 60-70% of VHS units sold). You can see some on eBay here and here. Panasonics from 25 or so years ago tended to look like this GE model (which looks exactly like its Panasonic twin).

    The primary issue with LP is tracking accuracy and lock. Older VCRs with mechanical tracking knobs are easier to dial in, more recent VCRs with electronic tracking pushbuttons make it harder. Through the years, Panasonic arguably maintained the highest level of LP compatibility among VCR brands, and since you recorded these tapes on a Panasonic originally you should probably try a couple of those first. For LP, I'd recommend avoiding Panasonic models made between 1992-1996: they tend to have a tricky interaction between the tracking and color circuits. Models after 1996 have an overdone sharpness boost that makes the video output extremely grainy. You can check the date on the back panel labels.

    Of course, this leaves you with hardly any models to pick from with any availability. My fallback recommendation for heavy LP or SLP playback is the industrial/semipro AG1970 model, plentiful on eBay and Craigs List. They run between $50- $150 in good working condition (ignore listings above this price range that claim the 1970 is some sort of rare unicorn: its very common, they turn up every few weeks in batches). The AG1970s were rugged, reliable VCRs whose only real weak point was the loading slot mechanism: a relatively easy repair if necessary. Their electronic tracking pushbuttons have a wide range of adjustment, there are a couple of switches and sliders that let you adjust sharpness, and a rudimentary TBC (Time Base Corrector) that is occasionally very helpful with poorer-quality LP tapes. When hunting for an AG1970, don't get confused by listings for the identical-looking AG-1980: this was a much more expensive, much more trouble-prone VCR with the same external cabinet but vastly different innards. The AG1980 has improved playback in some respects, which makes it a "cult" VCR, but its not as optimal for LP as the AG1970 (plus its way more expensive and leagues less reliable).

    Other options would be any Sharp-brand VCR in clean condition, or a Mitsubishi HS-U448 or 449. These $20-$60 vcrs can give LP playback comparable to a good Panasonic, but might be harder to find depending where you live. Brands to avoid for LP playback would be Sony and JVC.
    Last edited by orsetto; 27th Jun 2015 at 16:21.
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