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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was wondering if I could get an opinion of my DVD recorders to determine which would produce the best quality dvd's. I am currently using the Wallmart Magnavox HDD/DVD recorder, but recently realized that I still have my Panasonic DMR-ES25.


I am on a quest to finally archive in good enough quality that I am willing to dispose of some of my VHS tapes, so unlike the gazillion times I have stopped/started this project, this would really be the last time once my originals are gone.


Is there a preference in archiving between the two machines? I'm not sure if by saving the VHS tapes to the harddrive and then making dubs I"m actually saving any time in my workflow, especially considering how crude the editing capabilities of this machine actually are. My goal here is to have the best DVD copies of my VHS as possible.


I'm on again/off again with the idea of saving DV files, but if I could get the best archival workflow for my tape collection that is likely well over 1,000 tapes, that would help me actually move forward in this project. The amount of times I have started & stopped out of frustration are countless.
 

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I was in a similar situation and actually resorted to several non HDD DVDRs. My tapes(in excess of 1000) didn't really need editing so I saved the time required to HS burn the material from the HDD to DVD. In my case I figured it out and if I remember correctly with the amount of DVDs I had it would have takes several days worth of time(24x7) just to HS copy my titles to DVD. The advantage of first going to a HDD is if your burn fails it's just a matter of 15 minutes or so to HS burn another DVD but in my project I had less than a 1% failure rate(only a few out of 100) that required me to do another realtime burn.

When up and running I had 4 Panasonic combo DVDRs and 3 ES-15's(almost identical to your ES-25) along with 3 Samsung VCRs, even with all those machines it took me several months of 8-10hr burning.

 

How much do you want to fit on a DVD, what length are your tapes? If your tapes are T-120s recorded in SP then most any DVDR should work fine, if they are T130-T180 recorded in SP I really like newer Panasonics like your ES-15 which can burn ~2.5-3hrs of full resolution material to a standard DVD. If your tapes are longer than 3hrs I'd really consider splitting your tapes and try not putting more than ~2.5hrs/DVD. With Panasonics recording much more than that in full resolution may result in excessive macroblocking, with DVDRs like your Magnavox that switch to 1/2 resolution on speeds slower than SP macroblocking may not be such a issue but then you'd have to decide for yourself if you cared for 1/2 resolution. I don't but others aren't to bothered by that but are more bothered by macroblocking you tend to get on the full resolution Panasonics.

 

I'd suggest before doing a big project like yours doing a few test recordings with both machines on speeds of SP and longer, make sure your material has fast movement which is where macroblocking would show up. If you plan on doing any editing then the HDD model is the way to go, the only way to edit on a non HDD model is to PAUSE the recorder during parts you don't want to keep.

Panasonic makes a couple new HDD models but they aren't really cheap, I believe they start ~$350 and being international models they don't have a US warranty and are only available at a few grey market dealers, mostly out of NYC.
 

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Recording directly from VHS to blank dvds, both are approx equal quality when dubbing VHS to SP dvd recording mode (125 mins per dvd). Beyond SP speed, the Magnavox becomes garbage and the Panasonic is better. Since you own both, it would be a good idea to divide your movies into two groups based on running time: anything 120 mins or less can dub to either unit, anything over 120 mins goes to the Panasonic.


The hard drive in the Magnavox isn't much help with movies or TV shows with ads, because it can't fine-tune the recording bitrate to maximize quality after cutting out the commercials. If you have a great many tapes with commercials, and you want to maximize quality of the dubs, you may want to invest in a new Panasonic EH-59 , which does have the recording speed fine-tune option. It functions rather like an ES25 with HDD, only better, because Panasonic added a multitude of editing convenience features to the EH59 and it allows you to maximize PQ if you bother to cut out commercials and divide tapes of TV series into individual episodes for the DVD.


If you don't care about the fine points, and just want to get the job done as quickly as possible, forget the HDD and editing ideas. Record direct to DVD on your two existing recorders, they will create automatic chapter points at ten minute intervals which offers decent enough convenience for most purposes. Try to use good reliable VCRs (second hand Panasonics are easily found for $20 or so, check the rear panel for the mfr date and look for models made between 1996-2001). Use Verbatim AZO or JVC/TY blank DVD-R for optimum archival storage. Verbatim AZO 16x DVD-R is often on sale thru Amazon for under $25/100 incl shipping. JVC/TY 8x DVD-R is available from media dealers for roughly $32/100. You should make a duplicate copy of your most important dubs on both brands to increase your odds of durability.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the feedback - I was fooling around with the menu on the Panasonic and I forgot how much I liked the interface, and the flexible recording option. I have always had an issue with the Magnavox cutting off sp at exactly 2:00 and I really need them to have girth to go to 2:30.


I'm going to play with the Panasonic a bit - I have an excellent vcr in the Panasonic AG-1080 which deal with my slp tracking issues and makes the tapes look as good as they can. The majority of my collection is on slp, with commercials already cut out, its a matter of actually following through with this project.


I am also concurrently exporting to mp4 in order to be able to stream content, but as much as I go back and forth about the necessity for dvd, if I am really going to downsize my tape collection I'm not comfortable with my media only being on hard drives.


Considering most of my tapes are 6 hours, I think it would make sense to record to the HDD, split up the titles and then rather then recording to Panasonic with the flexible recording option.


It definitely sounds like the Panasonic is the better machine vs the Magnavox if I'm not doing any kind of editing on these tapes. Just have to reconfigure my system setup again.....
 

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Since your tapes are 6hrs in length then your best bet might be a HDD DVDR. With a Panasonic(and I'd think the Magnavox also) you could just copy the whole 6+ hr tape to the HDD as one SP title and then split the big title into smaller(less than 2hr 7 minute) SP titles. I know on Panasonics w/hdd it's easy to split a title like that, I think the Magnavox would be the same??

The 2hr SP time limit you mentioned on your Magnavox is also the same on a Panasonic but both are only for direct to DVD burns, if you first record the HDD you should be able to fit roughly 2hrs 7 minutes to a standard DVD. It's one of the other advantages to first recording to the HDD. With Panasonics there is a workaround for this, which I use frequently and used during my large dubbing project but it requires prepping the DVD in a newer model Panasonic which opens up the extra time for direct to DVD burning with a older Panasonic like your ES-25. I don't believe there is a way to open up the extra time on a Magnavox for direct to DVD burning other than first recording to it's HDD and then HS copying to the DVD.

 

FR is very handy on a Panasonic but it doesn't really work when burning a large title and then dividing it up into smaller titles like you may be doing, it's best for one title/DVD(or when recording to the HDD just the one title).
 

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So if I'm reading that table correctly if you record direct to DVD from the tuner or line input(not from the HDD) you can get ~2hrs 10 minutes of SP/DVD but if your coming from the HDD and doing a realtime burn thats where you only get 2hrs? Looks like a HS burn from HDD is about the same 2hrs 10 minutes. If thats the case then the Magnavox should work nice for a realtime burn from a VHS player.

I think I've asked this before but is it relatively easy to split a title on the HDD with a Magnavox? If not his long titles would need to be done one at a time.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by jjeff  /t/1521576/comparison-of-my-2-dvd-recorders#post_24456973

 

So if I'm reading that table correctly if you record direct to DVD from the tuner or line input(not from the HDD) you can get ~2hrs 10 minutes of SP/DVD but if your coming from the HDD and doing a realtime burn thats where you only get 2hrs? Looks like a HS burn from HDD is about the same 2hrs 10 minutes. If thats the case then the Magnavox should work nice for a realtime burn from a VHS player.

I think I've asked this before but is it relatively easy to split a title on the HDD with a Magnavox? If not his long titles would need to be done one at a time.
 

Yes, real-time dub HDD>DVD in SP mode limited to 2:00:00.

 

To Divide, in Edit mode, use play-mode buttons to get to divide point, Pause and press OK. You get two titles ready for customizing with name etc.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by wajo  /t/1521576/comparison-of-my-2-dvd-recorders#post_24457099


Yes, real-time dub HDD>DVD in SP mode limited to 2:00:00.


To Divide, in Edit mode, use play-mode buttons to get to divide point, Pause and press OK. You get two titles ready for customizing with name etc.

It kinda bites based on what my needs are, but I was late to the game in purchasing a HDD/DVD recorder and this was all that was left on the market. In the past I had only purchased stand alone dvd recorders.


I was super excited about the Magnavox but it hasn't really worked for my longer term archiving plans. Hence, my wishy washiness and going back and forth in archiving on dvd vs. using hard drives. I"m going to play around with the Panasonic dvd recorder once I have some stuff queued up on my Magnavox HDD and see what my options are going in that direction.


Are there any suggestions for the second hand market in Panasonic DVD/HDD machines? I'm kind of hesitant to look at ebay when I'm not sure about the condition of older machines and how they may be abused.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by sunsetandgower  /t/1521576/comparison-of-my-2-dvd-recorders#post_24457218

 
Quote:
Originally Posted by wajo  /t/1521576/comparison-of-my-2-dvd-recorders#post_24457099


Yes, real-time dub HDD>DVD in SP mode limited to 2:00:00.


To Divide, in Edit mode, use play-mode buttons to get to divide point, Pause and press OK. You get two titles ready for customizing with name etc.

It kinda bites ...
 What bites?
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
The issue I continue to have with needing to fit 3 segments that are about 42 minutes in length onto a dvd. Flexible recording is my only option to stay in SP mode, and while I can trick my Panasonic to do that, there is no way to accomplish this task on my Magnavox.


I'm essentially back to the same conversation I had last time I took this project on.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by sunsetandgower  /t/1521576/comparison-of-my-2-dvd-recorders#post_24457271


The issue I continue to have with needing to fit 3 segments that are about 42 minutes in length onto a dvd. Flexible recording is my only option to stay in SP mode, and while I can trick my Panasonic to do that, there is no way to accomplish this task on my Magnavox.


I'm essentially back to the same conversation I had last time I took this project on.
 

That's what I thought. As shown in the table I linked to, the Mag can fit 2:10:00 (130 minutes) in SP mode on a DVD if you record direct-to-disc from a VHS machine, or copy to HDD and high-speed dub it to DVD. 42 min. x 3 = 126 minutes.

 

Only a real-time dub from HDD to DVD is limited to 120 minutes.

 

Benefits of recording / copying direct-to-disc .
 

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Are there any suggestions for the second hand market in Panasonic DVD/HDD machines? I'm kind of hesitant to look at ebay when I'm not sure about the condition of older machines and how they may be abused.[/quote] A DMR-EH75 and use DL discs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Update, I did a test run with my Panasonic last night - I completely forgot how user friendly this beautiful device is. It has all the phrases i saved many years ago and is so much easier to put names on titles its ridiculous.


I found a thread on how to trick it I to flexible recording for dubbing more than one title and that worked flawlessly. Looks like I will go back to using this machine for the final dub, rather than doing the high speed dipping from the magnavox. I am still using the magnavox harddrive to dump off my tapes in batches and any splitting of episodes/cutting out commercials that need to be done.


One question I'm not sure about is if if can do any further editing of titles on the panasonic before finalizing the dvd? It has been so many years since I've used it that I am still relearning the functionality.


I think longer term I'd like to find a panasonic with hdd secondhand,but for the time being this will do.


Thanks for all the advise!
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by sunsetandgower  /t/1521576/comparison-of-my-2-dvd-recorders#post_24458959


Update, I did a test run with my Panasonic last night - I completely forgot how user friendly this beautiful device is. It has all the phrases i saved many years ago and is so much easier to put names on titles its ridiculous.


One question I'm not sure about is if if can do any further editing of titles on the panasonic before finalizing the dvd? It has been so many years since I've used it that I am still relearning the functionality.


I think longer term I'd like to find a panasonic with hdd secondhand,but for the time being this will do.


Thanks for all the advise!
Only '05 and '06 model Panasonics and newer "international Panasonics" have the very handy "phrase save" feature and no editing is possible(other than a complete title delete) on any discs other than RAM discs.

Note a few posts up member mickinct sounds like he was offering to sell one of his '06 EH-75v Panasonics. Many people consider this to be Panasonics best model, for sure combo, it's sister model the EH-55 lacks the VHS section but has a larger HDD. Mick(the seller) has repaired many Panasonic DVDRs for AVS members so I'm sure if he's selling it, it should have been given a good check out.

Note using FR with a HDD Panasonic is MUCH easier than with a non HDD model. Recording to the HDD in a FR speed(say fr2.5 hrs) will always result in the same speed, not like with a DVD where things change as the DVD fills up. This is of course unless the HDD is almost full(less than 2hrs SP) in which case it would act similar to a non HDD model.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by sunsetandgower  /t/1521576/comparison-of-my-2-dvd-recorders/0_100#post_24458959


Update, I did a test run with my Panasonic last night - I completely forgot how user friendly this beautiful device is. It has all the phrases i saved many years ago and is so much easier to put names on titles its ridiculous.

.

.

.

I think longer term I'd like to find a panasonic with hdd secondhand,but for the time being this will do.


Thanks for all the advise!

As has been said, the AVS user MICKINCT repairs these Panasonic units. He has done repairs for, I can't remember, four or five of my Panasonic DVD recorders (HDD equipped) and I have nothing but good things to say about his work. The fact that I am in California and he is in Connecticut makes the shipping costly, but my machines have always been properly repaired. He is offering to sell you an EH75, which is a Panasonic DVD recorder with a VHS player so you can use one-touch dubbing. If he is selling it, you need to have no concern about its current state.


I would also recommend the EH59, but they are getting too pricy these days at $352. B&H occasionally has an open-box sale where the price is much more reasonable. I have purchased a few of them. You would have to watch and wait for one of these, and there is no guarantee that it won't be a year until the next one is listed, and how long it will be there before it's snatched up. Sometimes, they are listed for a while, sometimes, just a few hours.
 
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