This is a comparison of many VCRs playing the same retail EP/SLP mode tape. Your opinions are welcomed.
The three ZIP files include 20 lossless AVIs encoded with Ut Video, comprising 17 different VCRs. The extra 3 files are because I'm showing different settings for the AG-1970 and AG-1980.
Each file is 200 frames (6.6 sec) long. Even so, the large number of files adds up to an obnoxious 1GB, so I don't expect many responses.
A few screenshots with some of my criticisms scribbled atop:
- Some of the units were clearly in poor repair judging from the output, like the Citizen CVCR401H, but I included them anyway.
- The content itself has some sort of frame blending especially visible at shot changes, so it's difficult to evaluate the temporal effects of any DNR filters present in the VCRs using this material.
- I removed a portion from the clips, so that they include both a regular scene and the non-moving end credit frame without making the files needlessly larger.
- I wasn't able to use any line TBC for most of the captures, so you'll have to try to look past the wiggles.
- All of the ATI 600 USB captures were done with the proc amp set to 110-32-64-32-0 (defaults, except sharpness lowered to 0).
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Last edited by Brad; 10th May 2016 at 00:36.
This is the list currently included. I've bolded the S-VHS/D-VHS models.
- Citizen CVCR401H
- Hitachi FX632
- JVC HR-S5900U (2001)
- Magnavox VR9960AT01 (1990)
- Mitsubishi HS-HD2000U
- Panasonic AG-1970
- Panasonic AG-1980
- Panasonic PV-S4670 (1996)
- Panasonic PV-V4521-K (2001)
- Panasonic PV-V4524S-K (2004)
- Quasar VHQ560 (1995)
- Sharp VC-H992U
- Sony SLV-478 (mono)
- Sony SLV-675HF
- Sony SLV-779HF
- Sony SLV-M20HF
- Toshiba M774
Just wondering what is your favorite...
Do we know what kind of machine recorded the tape?
Do we know what kind of settings the VCRs are set to. (Sharp/Edit/Soft/etc)
Also Go Go Power Rangers!
Recording machine: Whatever sort of deck they use to do commercial duplication.
Settings: When known, they are listed in the filenames. Some don't have any such settings. Others I was never able to check.
As for my favourite, I think that sort of defeats the purpose of posting all the files. We all have our own subjective preferences and priorities. For example, I don't mind luma noise at all, but I've become increasingly sensitive to oversharpening haloes. You might hate the same image I enjoy.
I see but I guess there are newbies like me who wants to learn. Therefore it would be nice reading some posts about favorites and reasons or maybe pros and cons.
Wonder if there is any difference between the HiFi audio in SP mode vs EP mode. Could only assume it would.
They often used LP/EP on cheap tapes since you could use 1/2 or 1/3 the tape for the same amount of content. I have an SNL "Best Of" tape and a Captain N tape from the early '90s, and they're in EP and LP respectively (although the Captain N one is actually in SP, for some reason). Compatibility and/or quality definitely weren't the priority, obviously.
As for HiFi audio, I did a test a while back when I was capping my tapes, and recorded a tone sweep and some test content onto a mostly unused tape in SP and SLP modes. There actually isn't any difference in terms of frequency response, as both were dead flat from 20-20,000 (linear, on the other hand...). However, there was a lot of crackling as the frequency increased, especially in SP mode. I think the signal was too hot for the tape, which was pretty old, or the lowly Toshiba combo I was using (say what you want, it could track stuff from the '70s that bamboozled my JVC).
Also, just nitpicking, but it seems unscientific to use several different capture cards and 2 different cables (RCA and S-Video) when you're just comparing the outputs of a dozen or so VCR's. It'd also be a good idea to get ahold of a nice DVD/digital copy of the video, so we can get a good "baseline" to measure the VCR's against. That said, here are my top 5:
5-Panasonic AG1970 -TBC, -Filter Sharp Mid
If the Citizen were in good shape, I'd actually award it #6.
The rest were either way too sharp (the Mitsubishi and the Quasar), soft to the point of becoming a moving oil painting (the AG-1970 with low sharpness), or just blah (the Magnavox and the Toshiba).
Last edited by Jag12; 7th Jun 2016 at 18:43.
small chroma scaling difference should be completely invisible with VHS source.
The ATI 600 was the only option in most cases, so leveling the playing field would mean using it for the rest, even though the added waviness makes comparison more difficult. To me, it isn't worth making everything worse.
There is one VCR that I was able to re-capture using the better setup. I've attached the clip to this post, so you can compare it to the ATI 600 one that was previously posted and see what sort of variables the workflows impart.
I see: uncorrected waviness of ATI 600, different comb filter artifacts, levels difference (easy to adjust if desired).
What is troublesome is that the ATI 600 capture also appears to have an added halo. I can't explain this.
...and 2 different cables (RCA and S-Video)
It'd also be a good idea to get ahold of a nice DVD/digital copy of the video, so we can get a good "baseline" to measure the VCR's against.