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Old 11-28-2016, 03:21 PM
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I think its the tape itself but i since i don't have another vcr to test, i'll force it to mono.
By the way, the vcr broke too a few weeks ago. The guides that pulls the tape are unattached from the mecanism (they are still threr, but they don't move even when i try to load manually. Would it be fixable or would i need to get another vcr? VCRs in brazil are quite expensive even for the 4 head mono from the late 80s and early 90s.
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Old 11-29-2016, 10:17 AM
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Unfortunately, Sony VHS models were often mediocre, and they don't age well. They seem to have the worst HiFi compatibility of all major brands, so it is almost always necessary to force them into mono, non-HiFi mode when playing tapes recorded on other VCRs.

The caps in your photo look OK to me: they don't seem to be bulging or leaking, so you probably don't need to worry about them. The frozen loading pins are another story: this is either a simple repair, or the unit needs a complete rebuild. This would be difficult to determine from photos. Since VCRs are still valuable in your country, perhaps you still have repair shops for them? If so, I think you should have a technician examine it and tell you whether it can be fixed at sensible cost. Sonys are not as easy to fix or find parts for as JVC or Panasonic, so if the quoted repair cost is very high you might be better off buying a replacement VCR with that money. Maybe the repair shop can offer you a trade-in deal for another, repaired unit?
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Old 12-13-2016, 11:31 AM
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Originally Posted by CitiBear View Post
Unfortunately, Sony VHS models were often mediocre, and they don't age well. They seem to have the worst HiFi compatibility of all major brands, so it is almost always necessary to force them into mono, non-HiFi mode when playing tapes recorded on other VCRs.

The caps in your photo look OK to me: they don't seem to be bulging or leaking, so you probably don't need to worry about them. The frozen loading pins are another story: this is either a simple repair, or the unit needs a complete rebuild. This would be difficult to determine from photos. Since VCRs are still valuable in your country, perhaps you still have repair shops for them? If so, I think you should have a technician examine it and tell you whether it can be fixed at sensible cost. Sonys are not as easy to fix or find parts for as JVC or Panasonic, so if the quoted repair cost is very high you might be better off buying a replacement VCR with that money. Maybe the repair shop can offer you a trade-in deal for another, repaired unit?
I sent to a local repair shop but he couldn't find the gear that it broke so I threw it away. I'm looking for another unit as a replacement. Would a JVC vcr be better for those problems i have? The one that i am seeing is a 4 head HiFi from mid-to-late 90s since older vcrs than the period are quite rare to find. I would get a Panasonic if it didn't go to the bluescreen on a damaged portion and be confused to tape speed (I have a VHS tape that when it was recorded, the recorder had a tape speed problem where it would go to EP and SP when recording). Maybe even a Philips from the mid-90s too where they were made locally (and no Funai involved). Do you have another suggestion?
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Old 12-13-2016, 12:01 PM
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Almost all later VCRs went to a blue screen during snow or tracking issues, some had settings to disable this "feature" but the cheaper ones did not, I don't remember which brands/models had the override feature but I never really liked the blanking blue screen and disabled it whenever I could.
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Old 12-13-2016, 01:18 PM
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Almost all later VCRs went to a blue screen during snow or tracking issues, some had settings to disable this "feature" but the cheaper ones did not, I don't remember which brands/models had the override feature but I never really liked the blanking blue screen and disabled it whenever I could.
The Sony I had didn't go to the BlueScreen but it's motor was too weak because it would stop the drum. Only the Panasonics (At least to my acknowledge) has the BlueScreens but when i tested one few years ago it didn't have a remote so I didn't know if it would or not.
By the way, it's not really a JVC that i mentioned. It's a Gradiente (Brazilian brand) rebadged JVC with Portuguese menus.
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Old 12-13-2016, 05:08 PM
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It is hard to make recommendations, since apparently Brazil has an unusual shortage of decent VCRs at reasonable prices (here in North America, people give them away for free or they sell for no more than $20, with wide selection of brands/models). Your unique issue with problematic tapes complicates matters: the blue screen feature became commonplace around 1995, and in many VCRs cannot be turned off.

As a general tip, I would say most (perhaps all) JVC designs had a menu option to turn off the blue screen (you need the remote control to access the menus). Some Panasonic models let you turn it off, but some don't: models varied across different countries more than JVC. Of the two brands Panasonic tends to be more reliable overall and is more flexible at playing HiFi audio. JVC designs are less good with HiFi than Panasonic, but not as poor as the Sony you had. If this Gradiente you are looking at seems to be in good functional condition and comes with the proper remote, it should work much better than the Sony that just broke down.

If the seller is local to you, maybe you could bring your tape and test it in this Gradiente. If it tracks OK and the blue screen can be turned off, you can buy it with no regrets.
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Old 12-13-2016, 06:41 PM
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Originally Posted by CitiBear View Post
It is hard to make recommendations, since apparently Brazil has an unusual shortage of decent VCRs at reasonable prices (here in North America, people give them away for free or they sell for no more than $20, with wide selection of brands/models). Your unique issue with problematic tapes complicates matters: the blue screen feature became commonplace around 1995, and in many VCRs cannot be turned off.

As a general tip, I would say most (perhaps all) JVC designs had a menu option to turn off the blue screen (you need the remote control to access the menus). Some Panasonic models let you turn it off, but some don't: models varied across different countries more than JVC. Of the two brands Panasonic tends to be more reliable overall and is more flexible at playing HiFi audio. JVC designs are less good with HiFi than Panasonic, but not as poor as the Sony you had. If this Gradiente you are looking at seems to be in good functional condition and comes with the proper remote, it should work much better than the Sony that just broke down.

If the seller is local to you, maybe you could bring your tape and test it in this Gradiente. If it tracks OK and the blue screen can be turned off, you can buy it with no regrets.
Unfortunately, it's from a website similar to eBay, Mercado Livre (Free Market). But I went into a store that sells used stuff much like a thrift store in my city and it didn't had any vcrs to sell. I need one to transfer tapes since I got a free capture card from my uncle (Honestech VIDBOX) and after capturing and deinterlacing in QTGMC it looks fantastic alongside 60fps playback. Funny thing is that my mom has a Panasonic imported from the US around 1995/96 and it's only 3 heads mono but the sound is amazing. It's clear and very loud with no distortion, even louder than the sony.
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Old 12-13-2016, 06:54 PM
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This is the Gradiente I saw: http://produto.mercadolivre.com.br/M...fi-estereo-_JM
and there is also a Panasonic 7 head unit cheaper than that but again: fixed bluescreen when playing on damaged tapes: http://produto.mercadolivre.com.br/M...-palm-mnts-_JM
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Old 12-13-2016, 07:31 PM
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Every JVC I played with has an option to turn off the blue screen.

As for any tapes that go in and out of the Hi Fi tracks – try setting the tracking manually.

As for the playback speed fading in and out of SP/LP/EP setting the tracking manually may help + the later model midrange SVHS JVC decks HR-S29xx to HR-S59xx have a feature called “VIDEO STABILIZER” Turning this on along with manual tracking may help keep the tape playing at the proper speed. The video stabilizer rebuilds the control track pulses.

This taken from my HR-S5912 manual.


So
1) Turn off Blue Back
2) Put deck into manual tracking and adjust
3) Turn on video stabilizer for the really poor tapes / multi generation tapes.
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Old 12-13-2016, 07:47 PM
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Thanks for the help. I'll see which vcr I'll buy after christmas because on thursday I'll go to a trip and go back before christmas.
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Old 12-13-2016, 10:33 PM
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That Gradiente appears to be a typical budget model JVC approx 20 years old. JVC sold a great many of these: they were a bit more consistent and reliable than the higher-end models. The price asked is similar to prices asked in USA (comparable to a meal at a mid-range restaurant).

Super Eye has a decided preference for a couple of later, somewhat rarer SVHS models. If you can find a Brazilian version that looks like one of these JVCs (below) at an affordable price, you might want to consider them. But given the description of your tapes, I think you would do just as well with the Gradiente type of standard VHS vcr. The JVC SVHS models are more difficult to find in perfect condition than their plain VHS models on the second hand market.

Since you were pleased with the results from your mother's very basic Panasonic, perhaps she would let you borrow it in exchange for another VCR until you finish your project. Or you could just look for a similar Panasonic of your own (the budget 1994-1997 models are very common, and hold up very well second-hand).


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Old 12-14-2016, 04:35 AM
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Well, S-VHS vcrs are quite expensive, with the basic price being R$ 280 for a JVC onde and most are NTSC only so it makes things worse for me. I would love to find a cheap S-VHS deck with PAL-M playback with TBC, that would help me a lot. And a cousin of mine wants to transfer his tapes so he asked me.
Actually the Panasonic i mentioned is a camcorder (VHS-C) that i use to transfer her tapes.
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Old 12-14-2016, 07:38 PM
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The inexpensive HR-J693 or HR-J692 or similar late model JVC comes with
-- Manual Tracking
-- Blue Screen On / Off
-- Video Stabilizer
Above features come with all later model JVC VCRs regardless if VHS or SVHS

This comes from a HR-J693 owners manual, which was the lowest-end JVC VCR you could buy at the time. Around my neck of the woods these VCRs HR-J693 in good working condition can be had between $10 and $20. When brand new this VCR cost about $110 USD.

You get
- Manual Tracking
- Blue Screen On / Off
- Video Stabilizer
- Hi Fi On / Off
- Sharpness control
- HQ Circuits (WCL, DE,YNR)
- SVHS playback (In VHS resolution)
- Two 46/58 Micron heads for SP
- Two 19/19 Micron heads for EP
- Two 28/28 Micron heads for Hi Fi
For $10 to $20 bucks for a good used low-end JVC VCR with the above features!
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Old 12-15-2016, 06:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Super Eye View Post
The inexpensive HR-J693 or HR-J692 or similar late model JVC comes with
-- Manual Tracking
-- Blue Screen On / Off
-- Video Stabilizer
Above features come with all later model JVC VCRs regardless if VHS or SVHS

This comes from a HR-J693 owners manual, which was the lowest-end JVC VCR you could buy at the time. Around my neck of the woods these VCRs HR-J693 in good working condition can be had between $10 and $20. When brand new this VCR cost about $110 USD.

You get
- Manual Tracking
- Blue Screen On / Off
- Video Stabilizer
- Hi Fi On / Off
- Sharpness control
- HQ Circuits (WCL, DE,YNR)
- SVHS playback (In VHS resolution)
- Two 46/58 Micron heads for SP
- Two 19/19 Micron heads for EP
- Two 28/28 Micron heads for Hi Fi
For $10 to $20 bucks for a good used low-end JVC VCR with the above features!
Unfortunately, I don't live in the US neither my color system is NTSC, I live in Brazil and we use PAL-M. PAL-M VCRs work with NTSC tapes too since most movies are in NTSC but our recordings are in PAL-M or N-Line (Pal-m transcoded to NTSC, used when VCRs came into Brazil before they were planned). I actually went to a website to find a S-VHS deck but all of them are NTSC only and very expensive (from 82,5 dollars to 270 dollars, with a dollar costing R$3,30). So I think I'll be fine with the Gradiente.
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Old 12-15-2016, 01:50 PM
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Well, since it's going to take a few days to buy a vcr, let me tell you abot my history with the ones I had.
Since I was born, we had a lot of vcrs, on photos, I see a Toshiba VCR from late 90's, but I used a later Philips VR755 and Vr756 on 2004. I used them only to play a single movie every day: The Great Mouse Detective. I watched it and after it finished I would rewind the tape and watch it again for 4/5 times until 2005 when the 2 VCRs broke because I used them a lot, belive it or not. After that, we used DVD for a long period. In 2014, I came home with 3 VCRs to test: a Panasonic NV-HD645, a Gradiente/JVC 4 head mono and a Philips VR456. The Gradiente didn't work, while the others did but with fuzzy image and tape eating. The next day I returned the 3. This year I almost bought a LG VCR but the seller refunded me before shipping so I bought the Sony (Lasted a Month).
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Old 12-15-2016, 05:37 PM
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The standard-vhs JVC HR-J693 or HR-J692 recommended by Super Eye in his last post look very similar to the more expensive SVHS versions mentioned earlier, when I attached a picture. More or less, any JVC or Gradiente (or whatever other JVC brand is used Brazil) that resembles the distinctive VCR pictured in my earlier post would be from the generation preferred by Super Eye. That particular split-level appearance only ran a year or two.

I'm not fond of that series of JVC myself, but several people I trust here do recommend them, so chances are you'd be happy with one if you can find it. Personally, I think your odds of success would be better with a JVC that looks more like the older Gradiente you linked to originally. That series of JVC was more sturdily built, and survives shipping better than the later series I pictured (which is so lightweight, I'm always tempted to put a brick on top of them to prevent them blowing off my shelf). Every JVC I've ever used since 1985 had the option to turn off the blue screen: if thats your priority above anything else, just get a Gradiente and be done with it.

This AVS forum is USA/Canada centric, so we're really just spinning our wheels trying to give you brand or model recommendations. Honestly, since you are located in a country that used the unusual PAL-M analog video standard, you would know more about available vcr brands/models than most anyone else here. Nobody in USA/Canada has any experience of PAL-M vcrs, or the slightest clue which ones were "best". Each mfr approached countries like Brazil in a different way, sometimes co-branding with distributors like Gradiente that are unknown in USA.

About all we can tell you is stick to something made by Panasonic or JVC if at all possible (even if it uses a local name like Gradiente). Sony budget VHS models were terrible, LG and Funai not much better. Aside from their 1992/1993 models, Panasonics have been most reliable and least likely to jam or eat a tape. JVC offers a little better picture quality and some extra features that Super Eye mentioned, but tends to be slightly less reliable than Panasonic. Outside North America, where selection is limited, either brand is equally good: pick whichever you can find in the best condition.

If you can't find a good JVC or Panasonic, you'll need to settle for whatever PAL-M vcr you can afford. I'd suggest digitizing your PAL-M tapes as soon as possible, because finding good PAL-M vcrs is only going to get harder and harder. In North America, decent NTSC vcrs are so common they literally fall out of the trees for free, so we aren't under as much pressure. Good luck!

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Old 12-24-2016, 09:18 AM
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The standard-vhs JVC HR-J693 or HR-J692 recommended by Super Eye in his last post look very similar to the more expensive SVHS versions mentioned earlier, when I attached a picture. More or less, any JVC or Gradiente (or whatever other JVC brand is used Brazil) that resembles the distinctive VCR pictured in my earlier post would be from the generation preferred by Super Eye. That particular split-level appearance only ran a year or two.

I'm not fond of that series of JVC myself, but several people I trust here do recommend them, so chances are you'd be happy with one if you can find it. Personally, I think your odds of success would be better with a JVC that looks more like the older Gradiente you linked to originally. That series of JVC was more sturdily built, and survives shipping better than the later series I pictured (which is so lightweight, I'm always tempted to put a brick on top of them to prevent them blowing off my shelf). Every JVC I've ever used since 1985 had the option to turn off the blue screen: if thats your priority above anything else, just get a Gradiente and be done with it.

This AVS forum is USA/Canada centric, so we're really just spinning our wheels trying to give you brand or model recommendations. Honestly, since you are located in a country that used the unusual PAL-M analog video standard, you would know more about available vcr brands/models than most anyone else here. Nobody in USA/Canada has any experience of PAL-M vcrs, or the slightest clue which ones were "best". Each mfr approached countries like Brazil in a different way, sometimes co-branding with distributors like Gradiente that are unknown in USA.

About all we can tell you is stick to something made by Panasonic or JVC if at all possible (even if it uses a local name like Gradiente). Sony budget VHS models were terrible, LG and Funai not much better. Aside from their 1992/1993 models, Panasonics have been most reliable and least likely to jam or eat a tape. JVC offers a little better picture quality and some extra features that Super Eye mentioned, but tends to be slightly less reliable than Panasonic. Outside North America, where selection is limited, either brand is equally good: pick whichever you can find in the best condition.

If you can't find a good JVC or Panasonic, you'll need to settle for whatever PAL-M vcr you can afford. I'd suggest digitizing your PAL-M tapes as soon as possible, because finding good PAL-M vcrs is only going to get harder and harder. In North America, decent NTSC vcrs are so common they literally fall out of the trees for free, so we aren't under as much pressure. Good luck!
I finally bought the JVC/Gradiente. I talked to the seller to lower the price a little since the shipping is kinda expensive (about R$40) and she agreed to lower it. I got R$20 of discount. Now I'll wait for it to arrive.

Merry Christmas to everyone!!
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Old 12-24-2016, 06:28 PM
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Mitsubishi also made some pretty good VCRs. The HS-U440, 540 and 740 series were solidly built. In fact, many casinos chose them to record their cameras. Where I work, we had as many as 750 recording continuously 24/7/365 on HS-U445(6/7/8/9) VCRs for at least 4-5 years before converting to digital.

In fact, a couple of years ago, I converted my entire videocassette collection to digital using an HS-U448, a Datavideo TBC-1000 Time Base Corrector and a Hauppauge PVR. I'm very pleased with the results. The TBC did an excellent job stabilizing some rather poor tapes.

Be seeing you!

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Old 12-25-2016, 10:11 AM
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Mitsubishi also made some pretty good VCRs. The HS-U440, 540 and 740 series were solidly built. In fact, many casinos chose them to record their cameras. Where I work, we had as many as 750 recording continuously 24/7/365 on HS-U445(6/7/8/9) VCRs for at least 4-5 years before converting to digital.

In fact, a couple of years ago, I converted my entire videocassette collection to digital using an HS-U448, a Datavideo TBC-1000 Time Base Corrector and a Hauppauge PVR. I'm very pleased with the results. The TBC did an excellent job stabilizing some rather poor tapes.
If you said earlier i could buy a Mitsubishi HS-U447 in working condition that i found. But it's OK.
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Old 12-27-2016, 12:35 PM
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Very much agree with cctvtech: I have often recommended the Mitsubishi HS-U448 or 449 myself as an excellent workhorse. Not the best picture quality, just average, but an incredibly reliable mechanism and predictable, consistent tracking performance for both video and hifi audio. When dealing with a large collection of tapes made on assorted VCRs, a unit with wide tracking tolerance and reliability will often be preferable to one of the extremely-picayune exotic SVHS vcrs. Of the high-end VCRs with TBC/DNR, Mitsubishi's HS-HD2000 DVHS model is the only one I would recommend today (all other brands are likely to be worn out, or have annoying quirks, or aren't repairable).

But Mitsubishi was not particularly known for wide international distribution, so it did not occur to me they might have made a PAL-M variant for Brazil. The HS-U446 and 447 (1996 and 1997) are slightly older than the HS-U448 and 449 (1998 and 1999). All four have similar internals and would be equally recommendable, the later two being slightly more rugged. Mitsubishi had wide swings in VCR build quality, so model numbers are important: at the low end, any models made before or after the 446, 447, 448 and 449 are problematic. Note also, each of these has an identical twin SVHS version (only necessary to play SVHS tapes). The SVHS models are 746, 747, 748, and 749.

The Gradiente-JVC should work fine for you, MAFLP, and will likely have the best picture quality for the price. If you can afford a second "backup" vcr, one of these Mitsubishi models would be an excellent choice. They were the most mechanically reliable VCRs of the late 1990s.
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Old 12-27-2016, 01:29 PM
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Very much agree with cctvtech: I have often recommended the Mitsubishi HS-U448 or 449 myself as an excellent workhorse. Not the best picture quality, just average, but an incredibly reliable mechanism and predictable, consistent tracking performance for both video and hifi audio. When dealing with a large collection of tapes made on assorted VCRs, a unit with wide tracking tolerance and reliability will often be preferable to one of the extremely-picayune exotic SVHS vcrs. Of the high-end VCRs with TBC/DNR, Mitsubishi's HS-HD2000 DVHS model is the only one I would recommend today (all other brands are likely to be worn out, or have annoying quirks, or aren't repairable).

But Mitsubishi was not particularly known for wide international distribution, so it did not occur to me they might have made a PAL-M variant for Brazil. The HS-U446 and 447 (1996 and 1997) are slightly older than the HS-U448 and 449 (1998 and 1999). All four have similar internals and would be equally recommendable, the later two being slightly more rugged. Mitsubishi had wide swings in VCR build quality, so model numbers are important: at the low end, any models made before or after the 446, 447, 448 and 449 are problematic. Note also, each of these has an identical twin SVHS version (only necessary to play SVHS tapes). The SVHS models are 746, 747, 748, and 749.

The Gradiente-JVC should work fine for you, MAFLP, and will likely have the best picture quality for the price. If you can afford a second "backup" vcr, one of these Mitsubishi models would be an excellent choice. They were the most mechanically reliable VCRs of the late 1990s.
I think that the Mitsubishi I mentioned does not play PAL-M, but they did offer some VCRs over here in Brazil. I may get a Panasonic VCR if i get some money since the seller lowered the price. It's model NV-SD12, an earlier SuperDrive mechanism, but in the mean time, the Gradiente will be OK for me.
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Old 12-28-2016, 06:32 PM
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Merely contributing an observation here, reinforcing what Citibear said: back around 1997 I picked up a Mitsu VCR to replace a JVC that gave a mere 4 years of service, with ever-increasing tracking problems until it gave up the ghost. I ran the Mitsu tres hard - it was basically my only VCR for several years - and I *still* have it. Hope to use it to dub tapes originally made on it to DVD-R. (Yeah, like many folks here, I have a yet-to-be-finished dubbing project for which I purchased my first Panasonic DVDR in....2004.)

I replaced the original Mitsu in daily service with an HS-U748 that ran and ran for years before developing what I have assumed were power supply problems. Sometimes I'd plug it in and it would work, other times it was deader than a door nail. No complaints, though - I ran it hard.


I will agree that a JVC, when it's running well with heads aligned to track properly *will* give have superior PQ to the Mitsus....but only by a little bit. The slight difference never bothered me. However, I will say the later JVCs, though lightly built like all early 2000s VCRs, seemed a bit more forgiving of tapes made at SLP speed on other VCRs. Had an S-VHS model that I used to dub a lot of marginal somewhat touchy tapes.


Also had a Panasonic that ran well and had a very handy feature I really liked (would automatically fast forward past commercials - sweet!). But its heads were misaligned. It would play back its own tapes beautifully, but had continual tracking errors with tapes made on other machines. And its tapes displayed the same problem when played back on other machines. So an excellent time-shifting machine but not good for "keeper" tapes.


Oh....ugly Blue Screen. I want to say at least some VCRs (maybe JVCs?) had an option in the Settings menu that let you shut it off. I'm pretty sure I did that a few times with tapes that had tracking problems so I could make a DVD dub. Otherwise, the screen'd periodically "blue out" during playback.

Man....about 5 years ago, I was picking up backup VCRs (mostly Mitsus and a few Sharps) from eBay for the price of lunch each. If I hurry up and finish the dubbing project, maybe I can sell 'em and recoup my modest investment!


P.S. MAFLP: hang in there, stay patient, and keep looking. A well-preserved VCR may drop in your lap when you least expect it!

Last edited by doswonk1; 12-29-2016 at 06:59 PM.
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Old 12-29-2016, 01:38 PM
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Merely contributing an observation here, reinforcing what Citibear said: back around 1997 I picked up a Mitsu VCR to replace a JVC that gave a mere 4 years of service, with ever-increasing tracking problems until it gave up the ghost. I ran the Mitsu tres hard - it was basically my only VCR for several years - and I *still* have it. Hope to use it to dub tapes originally made on it to DVD-R. (Yeah, like many folks here, I have a yet-to-be-finished dubbing project for which I purchased my first Panasonic DVDR in....2004.)

I replaced the original Mitsu in daily service with an HS-U748 that ran and ran for years before developing what I have assumed were power supply problems. Sometimes I'd plug it in and it would work, other times it was deader than a door nail. No complaints, though - I ran it hard.


I will agree that a JVC, when it's running well with heads aligned to track properly *will* give have superior PQ to the Mitsus....but only by a little bit. The slight difference never bothered me. However, I will say the later JVCs, though lightly built like all early 2000s VCRs, seemed a bit more forgiving of tapes made at SLP speed on other VCRs. Had an S-VHS model that I used to dub a lot of marginal somewhat touchy tapes.


Also had a Panasonic that ran well and had a very handy feature I really liked (would automatically fast forward past commercials - sweet!). But its heads were misaligned. It would play back its own tapes beautifully, but had continual tracking errors with tapes made on other machines. And its tapes displayed the same problem when played back on other machines. So an excellent time-shifting machine but not good for "keeper" tapes.


Oh....ugly Blue Screen. I want to say at least some VCRs (maybe JVCs?) had an option in the Settings menu that let you shut it off. I'm pretty sure I did that a few times with tapes that had tracking problems so I could make a DVD dub. Otherwise, the screen'd periodically "blue out" during playback.

Man....about 5 years ago, I was picking up backup VCRs (mostly Mitsus and a few Sharps) from Amazon for the price of lunch each. If I hurry up and finish the dubbing project, maybe I can sell 'em and recoup my modest investment!


P.S. MAFLP: hang in there, stay patient, and keep looking. A well-preserved VCR may drop in your lap when you least expect it!
I'll be waiting. The JVC is already on shipping so I'll just wait for it to arrive. The Panasonic with the commercial thing is nice and I had one with that feature and that model even helped to play the HiFi tracks properly on the tape compared to the Sony. I may get a Panasonic mono for transfering mono topes and a Toshiba for cleaning up tapes since the mechanism works but it has dirty heads.
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Old 01-02-2017, 06:43 PM
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Hi Guys.
First, Happy New Year to everyone. Second, the Gradiente arrived.
It's a different model than the listed but it has better features (hope it lasts) like the 7 heads.


http://imgur.com/07uww6X

http://imgur.com/5qp5mAZ

I have Tested it with a few tapes and here is my results: with damaged tapes the head will almost stop like the Sony, the audio is better compared to the Sony since the tape with HiFi problems (one of my first posts) but it has crackle on it but i can try to reduce it, and the image looks better and the distortion line (bottom) is very less compared to the Sony.
BTW, it doesn't have the bluescreen on damaged tapes.

All Images are cropped but you can see the resolution changing.

Sony:
http://imgur.com/JKSuvEC

Gradiente:
http://imgur.com/BSKiVsy

Panasonic Camcorder (the footage was recorded with this camcorder):
http://imgur.com/e4aGSBS
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Old 01-02-2017, 08:10 PM
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I have Tested it with a few tapes and here is my results: with damaged tapes the head will almost stop like the Sony...
A good thing to do with tapes that might be wound too tightly from repeated playing is to, before you play them, FF the tape to the end and then let it REW. I like to call it excercising the tape and it helps loosen the tape. Sometimes doing the FF/REW thing a second time is required for tightly wound tapes.
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Old 01-04-2017, 09:22 AM
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I got a second VCR this time for free. This time, it's a Sharp 4 head mono but one thing that made me get it was because it can play the damaged portions just fine, but there's one thing: is the heads ok with those marks? I mean, the playback is nice (Not better than the Gradiente) but I don't know if thats OK condition for it.
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Old 01-04-2017, 03:54 PM
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It isn't clear from your photo if the "marks" on the head cylinder are normal mfr engravings, or dirt bands from playing too many tapes. You could try gently cleaning the suspicious bands using a cotton ear swab moistened with 90% Isopropyl Alcohol from the pharmacy. If the bands do not dissolve and deposit dirt on the swab, they are probably normal for that Sharp head cylinder. If they do come off, keep cleaning with fresh swabs until you remove all the dirt from the cylinder.

Warnings: do NOT use a vertical up and down cleaning motion near or on the actual tiny heads that stick out from the cylinder: rotate the cylinder clockwise while gently pressing the moist swab against it. Be sure not to catch any cotton debris on the heads. Wait five minutes after cleaning to let the alcohol evaporate completely. Only use the 90% isopropyl: the more common 70% rubbing alcohol is not as effective and leaves a residue.
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Old 01-05-2017, 08:22 AM
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It isn't clear from your photo if the "marks" on the head cylinder are normal mfr engravings, or dirt bands from playing too many tapes. You could try gently cleaning the suspicious bands using a cotton ear swab moistened with 90% Isopropyl Alcohol from the pharmacy. If the bands do not dissolve and deposit dirt on the swab, they are probably normal for that Sharp head cylinder. If they do come off, keep cleaning with fresh swabs until you remove all the dirt from the cylinder.

Warnings: do NOT use a vertical up and down cleaning motion near or on the actual tiny heads that stick out from the cylinder: rotate the cylinder clockwise while gently pressing the moist swab against it. Be sure not to catch any cotton debris on the heads. Wait five minutes after cleaning to let the alcohol evaporate completely. Only use the 90% isopropyl: the more common 70% rubbing alcohol is not as effective and leaves a residue.
I did clean it but it didn't work. But I think that is from heavy use since some buttons like the record and eject are worn off and need to be pushed harder to work.
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Old 01-06-2017, 06:10 PM
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One thing I will do is the Generation copy since now I have 2 VCRs but i'm still finding some sort of source to make, but i'm mostly going to use something like a Video Game gameplay since it's 60Hz Interlaced and I want to try the 60fps deinterlacing method.
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Old 02-04-2017, 06:48 PM
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After a month with the Gradiente and the Sharp, I'm very pleased with both of them. I didn't realize but about 90% of all my VHS content is in NTSC since it was mostly recorded and/or edited professionally on North American stuff (Inexpensive to import at the time). The tape with the problem with the HiFi is much better on the Gradiente/JVC. Only for 3/4 seconds it kinda mistracks the audio but it gets better after that.

I used the Sharp to transfer a havily damaged portion on a tape since the motor is pretty strong even for a heavily used VCR. The only problem with it was that one of the guides wasn't getting all the way to the head which made a tape tension problem giving the BlueScreen (Another brand to keep away) but just pushing it all the way made it back to normal even when you don't need to check it. The only problem that it has is that it won't play the EP speed properly with some tapes (keeps changing to LP and EP) but I wouldn't use him to play those tapes.

I transfered almost all of my tapes and edited them for Archiving (not planning to put into a DVD for not losing picture quality).

One question that I have: How Sharp VCRs are in the US? Here in Brazil (at least the models I had) had some speed problems on tape speed both for recording and playback after some years of use and sometimes it mistracked by no reason.
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