#1  
  01-27-2012, 01:20 PM
 
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So, I picked up a VCR at a thrift store a few days back to convert my VHS tapes to my computer. Nothing terribly fancy, but then again, selection of VCR's there was limited, but the prices were very reasonable, but it works. It's a Panasonic PV-V4540 from 2000, with the remote. It's...got a few issues. For one thing, it's noisier than a jet engine. Even when playing an SP speed tape, you can hear it groaning and whirring. Later model Panasonic's are rather notorious for that, as I've read. It does reel the tape back in when you hit stop, instead of using the QuickStart method (Which just shuts off the video heads, and leaves the tape fully loaded while rewinding/fast forwarding, which can reek havoc on thinner and/or older tapes ). Also, damned if the picture quality isn't pretty good, and it handles all 3 speeds like a pro!

Enough of that. Well, my main problem with it is that I can't get it to switch into Hi-Fi mode. To switch audio monitors, you press "SAP/HiFi" on the remote, which brings up a little display on the screen. Pressing it again switches the audio mode. Naturally, it won't switch on tapes with linear/mono audio, which isn't a problem. However, it also won't switch into hifi on tapes I know have a Hifi audio track. I've included three clips, one an SP speed home video tape of "Scooby Doo and the Witch's Ghost" and the other an SLP/EP speed VHS from "The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3" made on a different VCR. For comparison, I've included a rip of an SP speed tape that was made with mono/linear audio.

On the Scooby Doo clip, you can hear it temporarily switching to the Hifi audio track, but something's keeping it from doing it. On the second, it doesn't switch at all, and I know for a fact that the second clip was made on a hifi VCR.

I'm guessing that the heads are worn or dirty, but I've cleaned them several times using a wet head cleaner, and all it did was make the video clearer. It can't be tape damage, because the Scooby Doo one is in pretty good shape, considering how often me and my brothers watched it

The Files:
Scooby Doo:http://www.tvpreservation.com/forum/...1&d=1327695855
Super Mario Bros. 3:http://www.tvpreservation.com/forum/...1&d=1327695855
SWAT Kats:http://www.tvpreservation.com/forum/...1&d=1327696017
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  #2  
  02-05-2012, 01:06 PM
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I wouldn't waste any time on this. Those VCRs are extremely low grade junk, and are more likely to just eat your tapes. The Panasonic consumer VHS models, especially from the 1990s and 2000s, had a lot of problems with blue-screen popping up in the middle of the video playback.

You could get a much better S-VHS VCR for about $100, if you look hard. (Generally speaking, you'll pay from $150-300 for the good models. But I bought a JVC SR-V10 for $65 -- twice -- last year.)
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  #3  
  02-05-2012, 01:13 PM
 
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Yeah, you're probably right. Any recommendations as to which model or brand I should look for?
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  #4  
  02-05-2012, 01:21 PM
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Right here: VCR Buying Guide (S-VHS, D-VHS, Professional) for best video capturing

There's quite a few models to choose from.
Whether you pick JVC or Panasonic somewhat depends on the types of tapes you have to play back. (SP vs LP vs SLP/EP)
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  02-05-2012, 01:38 PM
 
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I've got a bunch in all speeds. The majority of my tapes were made on a VCR very similar to the one I've got now, but some (like the AoSMB3 tape) were made on a high end-ish JVC hifi VCR, and the others (like the SWAT Kats tape) were made on an average quality JVC VCR. Surprisingly, the Panasonic handles the SWAT Kats tape better than the VCR it was made on (there would be white tracking lines and other crap near the top of the video).

I'll definitely take a gander at a few of those models you listed. Obviously, the crap-in=crap-out rule will apply.
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  #6  
  03-03-2012, 12:23 PM
 
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Well, I looked high, and I looked low, and there was a whole lotta nuttin'. I live in a pretty wealthy area, so to go to a goodwill and see a bunch of near-mint high-end electronics isn't unusual. However, I couldn't even find a measly SVHS deck! Just a lot of, as you put it, "low-grade junk" decks . I'll look for some on the 'net.
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  03-05-2012, 07:40 AM
 
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Did you try manually retracking the tape? If you push the channel up/down buttons while playing sometimes it helps lock in the hifi tracks. You know if you hit the tracking edge because you get tracking lines on the bottom or top of the screen. Hope this helps.
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  03-05-2012, 12:36 PM
 
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Yep. It helps reduce the problem, but sometimes it doesn't do anything (I manually toyed with the tracking in the video samples). I've played the problem tapes on several other HiFi VCR's without any problems, even on older or cheaper Hifi decks. There is a sweet spot, so to speak, that doesn't give off the buzzing, so I have to keep it as close to that spot as possible to keep the buzzing to a minimum.

It also seems to vary depending on what it's hooked into. The Witch's Ghost tape played back crystal clear when I hooked the deck into my TV and stereo, the SMB3 tape played back with clean Hifi audio on every other hifi deck I tried it on. I'm gonna try manually cleaning and demagnetizing the heads, because it's possible that the Hifi portion of the heads are just gunked up majorly (probably from those godawful "self-cleaning" heads that the el-cheapo VCR's used to have). If not, I'll just sell this thing off or put it in the den.
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  #9  
  03-05-2012, 03:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Uncle Chuck View Post
I'm gonna try manually cleaning and demagnetizing the heads, because it's possible that the Hifi portion of the heads are just gunked up majorly (probably from those godawful "self-cleaning" heads that the el-cheapo VCR's used to have)
It's unlikely to help.
In fact, be careful -- it's VERY EASY to ruin VCR heads. Never use Q-Tips!

Read these for info/help on how to PROPERLY clean a VCR:
- http://www.digitalfaq.com/forum/home...html#post11353
- http://www.digitalfaq.com/forum/vide...aning-vcr.html
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  #10  
  03-11-2012, 11:12 AM
 
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Well, I decided to donate the Panasonic to the local homeless shelter/charity shop. I bought a nice(r) Sony HiFi deck that plays tapes infinitely better. It's hardly the JVC SVHS deck I was shooting for, but anything is better than that Matsushitty POS
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