Having contributed, allow me a few words.
Correct me if I am wrong but I do not see any reference to your playback device prior to the above post. And combos are somewhat notorious in their components makeup.
My own humble comments were based on personal experience that a subsequent device could not play tapes recorded in anything other than SP on other machines correctly. That was a hard pill to swallow since I effectively lost many a rare recording due to LP (when tapes were rediculousy expensive)
The sad truth is that potential sellers do read the comments here and price according to recommendation even if their own item has been used beyond its expectancy. That you got a unit that has performed you can count, IMO, very lucky indeed.
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Sanyo FWZV475F DVD Recorder/VCR Combo (Refurbished) unit. I thought it was good but at least for the DJ audio VHS tapes that are 6 hours it creates awful tracking noise. I wish I would have found this site sooner. The Mitsubishi that I paid $100 for appears so far to track it perfectly with no static or noise at all. I also did buy a Panasonic AG-1970P will be interesting to see how that one arrives. Someone said sometimes you need multiple units to get a job done. I am just so happy this Mitsubishi unit so far seems to work on 6 hour LP tapes. My fingers are crossed bit so far it's perfect.
The better decks in their day had 6 heads (aka 3 pairs): 1 pair for SP, 1 pair for HiFi audio, and 1 pair for LP or SLP/EP (usually SLP/EP, and LP was left an orphan). And they often had separate (manual) tracking controls for video and hifi audio. Hope yours has that.
Sometimes when you get killed on a bit of gear the first go-round, you get much luckier on the second (as you did here) so overall everything evens out.
Re the Sanyo: combo VCR/DVD recorders became red hot commodities after they were discontinued a few years ago, similar to the very high asking prices for the better used VCRs, TBCs, etc today. Theres been a paradox in recent years: more and more folks are coming out of the woodwork needing to digitize VHS, but it isn't quite enough of a profitable market to support mfrs continuing to offer new devices (esp large bulky mechanical things like combo recorders). So the old stuff is steadily more difficult and expensive to acquire. Neophytes come to forums like this, see the convoluted geek-speak about "the only proper way to capture VHS to your PC", and say "screw that, where can I find a combo recorder? I'll pay anything for one-touch convenience, no matter how mediocre the result!". Hence, reputable dealers like B&H with any stock at all of combo recorders new in their original boxes (or refurbished) are getting upwards of $499 a pop for them.
When you bought the Sanyo, you stepped into the same trap anyone else (who couldn't possibly know better without guidance) stepped into. People tend not to research or be aware of fields that don't immediately interest them, so unless one was involved with digitizing VHS prior to today they'd have no way of knowing the shakeups that occurred over the past ten years. Or that asking prices today for some things bear little relationship to their original retail seven years ago (and often no relationship whatsoever to their performance). Your Sanyo is a good case in point: it was made by Funai Corporation, who also mfrd pretty much the same unit under the Magnavox and Toshiba names as well as a few OEM catalog brands. Early on it was a discount version of somewhat pricier better-quality combos offered by Panasonic and LG. After those popular brands were discontinued, the perceived value of the Funai Toshiba skyrocketed to $399- $499 while the Magnavox and Sanyo (literally the same recorder) remained stable at $199-$229.
After another year or two of sporadic availability, Toshiba ended their contract with Funai and exited the recorder business. The last stockpiles of brand new Toshiba combos sold for prices that would astonish you, and are still fairly high for used examples today. The lowly Sanyo and Magnavox remained in limited batch production for another couple years, with most selling thru WalMart. Prices rose steadily and quickly from $229 to $499, when they were finally discontinued officially. Over the past five years or so since then, vendors who can lay hands on new examples have asked as much as $699 for the Sanyo, so B&H pricing their "factory refurbs" (which are actually just WalMart returns) at $499 was fairly reasonable given the superheated marketplace. Unfortunately, as many buyers discover, it isn't a great unit: its barely passable, which is what you got for $199-$229 back in 2009 when they were new. The competing Panasonic and LG combos retailed for double that, but were really only slightly better (the VCRs in any of these things are usually not as good as any second-hand $20 Panasonic or JVC 4-head you'd find at Goodwill).
JVC and Panasonic did make a couple decent combo units around 2005, but they had nagging issues that only got progressively worse in later models. Its a shame no enterprising mfr will chance offering an evolved version today, because the combo concept is irresistible to a solid chunk of the population who cannot or will not cope with the arcane setup required for PC capture. Sadly I think the knowledge of how to mfr a truly decent VCR is long gone from Panasonic and JVC, and DVDs have died off as a desirable consumer end product anyway. If Panasonic could pull together something like a tunerless AG1980 with reliable microchip implementation of its TBC/DNR board, and build in something like an SD card recorder or USB port to transfer tapes into, they could easily price it at $1299 (but even that might not be profitable enough to justify production).
Last edited by orsetto; 1st Aug 2020 at 14:39.
I am so grateful for all of your help.
Today I lucked out again and received a Panasonic AG-1970P and I am very pleased. The unit has a much cleaner stereo output signal and the gain on its output are very clean and transparent. When I send the output from the AG-1970P into the British WA273 EQ the signal is so awesome the EQ sound quality is wonderful. Then I feed that into a WA76 compressor and the end result is then fed into an Antelope Mastering Grade Analogue to Digital converter and the final finished WAV files sounds outstanding. What I really like about this AG-1970 is the stereo sound is very clean and the mids and highs are not harsh. WOW what a difference. I also took one of the tapes that would not play on the Sanyo and even on the Mitsubishi (which I also love) and played it on the AG-1970 and adjusted the tracking manually. The amount that it will let you adjust the tracking is really good. It reminds me of the Nakamichi Dragons azimuth error correction system.
The unit appears like he took good care of it. The transport chewed the first tape I put in a little and then I ran it back and forth about 20 times and now all seems perfect. I like this unit so much that when the sound quality begins to fade, I may pay to have it re capped. It would be worth it. Now I am curious if the AG-1980 actually could sound even better than this AG-1970. LOL Well thanks again for getting me all sorted out. This project was so important for me. The DJS like Steve Keen and Shuan Buchanan and on and on, were legends and many of them were taken by AIDS. So these tapes have a place in history. I am posting them over here in case anyone is interested in Dance Music from the 80s.
wondering if you use a tapechek, (a vhs tape cleaner) can improve in some way audio.
Don't be fooled.: Manual cleaning is best. Wet tape cleaners are next best. Dry - next best. "Automatic" cleaners probably fit around the wet or dry tape types, but who knows.
The AG1970 was marketed from roughly 1991-1996, when it was replaced by the AG1980/AG5710 twins from 1996 thru around 2005. The 1970 typically sold for $1199 new, the 1980 $1299, the 5710 $1599. The 5710 is a 1980 with the tuner removed, IR remote control ability removed, and studio-standard RS-232C PC control port added (the 1980 bridged the high-end consumer and semi-pro/event markets, the 5710 was a niche variation designed to plug right into post-production suites at half the price and size of typical SVHS studio-grade behemoths).
The auto head cleaner in machines like the AG1970 is simply a foam chamois roller that presses against the head drum for a second during loading/unloading. It was reasonably effective for wiping off ordinary environmental dust and dirt, but couldn't possibly clean truly problematic oxide clogs. Dirty heads are a binary phenomenon: the heads can be technically filthy in the ordinary sense and still perform fine, but if they are coated with a tarry layer of oxide and adhesive from worn or poor tapes, you get nothing from them (and cleaning it off is a sensitive, tricky process of manual wet swabbing: cleaning tapes often won't cut it). You might actually want to disable the auto head cleaner in many of these old VCRs: open the top cover and examine it. If its dark brown, its filled with oxide and crud that its repeatedly pressing against the heads with every load cycle (not ideal). If its still white-ish or even yellow-ish, its still fairly clean. Some electronics parts suppliers sell replacement rollers: you might be able to just pop in a fresh one.
In terms of HiFi and video tracking performance, there is ZERO reason to choose the AG1980 over the AG1970. The ONLY advantage of the AG1980 is its stunning high-performance TBC+DNR video circuitry, which does wipe the floor with the AG1970 (and almost any other VCR you'd care to compare it with). The problem is that high-performance video board is very poorly engineered, with a failure rate close to 90% across used 1980s. Properly restoring a 1980 video board + power supply + mechanics (all three interact) is the province of fewer techs in USA than you can count on one hand, at an average cost of approx $600 +- shipping round trip. There's no guarantee the restored board will hold up any better than the original, so the expense and headache of the AG1980 is only worthwhile for someone with a definite need for its uniquely clean video playback. AND a concrete plan to run it around the clock within a definite time period (a year or less), so they can complete their project before the video board begins acting up again. In many ways this progression mirrors what happened with the Sony SLV-R5U: once considered among the most desirable SVHS VCRs ever made for its clean video and HiFi playback, by 2001 it was a lost cause of unrepairable engineering flaws, and completely forgotten today.
Over the past fifteen years I've accumulated nine AG1980/AG5710 and five AG1970. Of the AG1980 (5710), only three actually worked when I received them: the other six had issues with power stability, the video board, and transport in various combination. Of the three that worked, two failed within months leaving just ONE out of nine still fully operational. That one has been slowly failing since the day I got it, with very pastel faded color output (this is actually useful for me with many tapes, so its fine, but not great for most other people). Of the five AG1970, four arrived working perfectly, one needed a minor transport repair, and all have been rock solid for years. The 1970 can't hold a candle to the 1980 in video filtering ability, but in every other respect is a much better built, far less troublesome VCR. If all you need is HiFi and/or SLP tracking ability, opt for the 1970 and skip the agony of 1980 ownership.
OK all is going great. Started converting old VHS family movies and they look amazing. You were right the AG-1970 looks amazing. Also converting the DJ tapes and they sound great too. One question.
The Manual says to reset the tape counter to zero press reset. I do not see a reset button anywhere on the unit ?
[Attachment 54415 - Click to enlarge]
The one function you cannot operate from the front panel of the AG1970 - 1980 -5710 is the counter reset: that requires a button on the remote. Usually not a problem since the VCR will automatically reset the counter when you load a tape, but if you tend to use the counter in a non-linear fashion you'll want a manual reset function.
The original matching VEQ1711 remote control that came with the AG1970 and AG1980 was nothing special, and actually had far fewer controls than the remotes for Panasonic consumer decks. Functions like counter reset are hidden under a fiddly flap: the only easily-accessed buttons are for the basic transport controls (Power, Play, Rec, Stop, Pause, FF, Rew, Slow, Channel Up/Down, and Fwd/Rev Index Mark Search). Under the flap you find Counter/Clock, Counter Reset, Counter Zero Stop, Tracking Up/Down, Rec Speed, Audio Out, Input Select, and TV/VCR.
Nearly every Panasonic AG VCR today is missing the original remote, so most owners just use any other dirt cheap random Panasonic consumer VCR remote made after 1990. The infrared control frequencies and button assignments remained the same across all Panasonics from 1990-2005 (before 1990 a few control pulses were different). An easy rule of thumb: any modern-looking Panasonic VCR remote with the transport buttons arranged in a circle, or glow-in the dark buttons, and/or slender shape (more length than width) will operate all the key functions of an AG1970 or 1980. The very old pre-1990 remotes to avoid look very dated and are '80s-era flat rectangle in shape, with rows of tiny identical buttons.
Note the AG5710 "ultra-pro" version of the AG1980 cannot be operated with any wireless infrared remote: it will only respond to special hard-wired editing controllers like AG-A95 (just $30 nowadays, and very cool: it can run two AG VCRs from the one control panel, with individual LCD counter displays for each VCR).
Last edited by orsetto; 7th Aug 2020 at 13:05.
Thanks, I reinserted the tape after rewinding and the counter did as you said and reset to zero.
So crazy that its only on the remote but thanks I was going crazy.