Quantcast 2-head VCR vs. 4-head/6-head VCR? - digitalFAQ Forum
05-13-2016, 01:27 PM
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Dead Christmas Dead Christmas is offline
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I recall reading VCR with only 2-heads produces a better image during normal playback and recording. This is compared to VCR which have four, or six heads. I believe the writing explained it as the SP heads were reduced in size when the LP/EP heads were introduced to reduce cross-talk...or what is head-switching noise? I'd most appreciate it if someone could explain to me, or otherwise correct this information. I cannot find further reading on the matter anywhere.

...I just noticed that there's a paperclip underneath the "shift" key on my keyboard...

I found the source-material, what do you guys make of this statement?

"By 1996 most manufactures started dropping the older 26-micron EP heads in favour of the superior 19-micron EP heads but kept a 4-head system having 58/46 SP and 19/19 EP heads. Most if not all of the last Toshiba and Sharp VCRs used the 4-head system droping the 26-micron heads. Although some manufactures use slightly wider EP heads, around 21-microns.

Note- 2-head SP only recorders and 4-head multi-speed recorders used and still use standard 58-micron heads for SP recordings(head 2 is slightly narrower to allow a slight guardrail). But multi-speed 2 head recorders used and still use 26 to 31-micron heads for SP and underlay the tracks wasting space and producing a poorer S/N ratio.

Getting back to the 6-head (4-EP- the dual off spec 26-micron and on spec 19-micron heads+ 58 micron SP heads) system – many folks with tons of EP recordings will favour a Sharp or Toshiba true-6-head machine for this reason. They have EP tapes recorded on various decks – some EP recordings recorded with 26-m EP heads and some EP recordings recorded with proper 19-micron heads."
-Super Eye-

Does this mean that 2-head multi-speed VCR will always produce an inferior, or equivalent SP image compared to a multi-speed 4-head VCR's SP image?

Last edited by Dead Christmas; 05-13-2016 at 01:59 PM.
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05-13-2016, 02:01 PM
msgohan msgohan is offline
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The extra two heads on 6-head aren't relevant.

Here is a discussion with some technical arguments. Scroll down to the post by Vidiot and the following posts. Can't figure out how to link directly to that part, at least from my phone.

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05-13-2016, 02:19 PM
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Dead Christmas Dead Christmas is offline
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What I've gathered from that thread, is that the quality of the VCR's SP performance depends on the size of it's SP head and the quality of its electronics. It also seems that the size of the largest SP head can vary from VCR to VCR, and aren't always 58-microns large, even on two-head SP-only machines.

Am I on the right...*track* here?
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05-18-2016, 08:12 AM
Quasipal Quasipal is offline
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I don't know about the head gap sizes, but the design of the heads is completely different for 2 and 4 head machines. On the 2 head models the whole head is used with the winding across the apex. On 4 head machines the apex has no winding, rather the windings are on each side of the apex and therefore 2 gaps per head chip. What this means is that on the 2 head machine you will often find that it will play bad and worn tapes better as the heads are less likely to get clogged or show tracking error - this is for SP only. I use a 1985 Ferguson (JVC) 2 head machine for all my older tapes - works really well. Of course I had to service it prior to use as 30 years old grease and oils are now just gum and glue.
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05-18-2016, 02:38 PM
dpalomaki dpalomaki is offline
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FWIW: the Panasonic AG1970 is 4 video head model, and uses two 49 micron for SP, and two 26 micron for SLP. (Its flying erase had was 115 microns, and roughly corresponds to two head widths plus guard band.

The AG-1980 uses two 49 micron for SP, and a combination of two 26 micron (probably for record) & two 19 micron (probably for play back) for EP.

A 4-head design generally should give better results for SLP/EP performance.

6-head may have variable meanings thanks to marketing hype, sometimes counting Hi-Fi audio heads as two of the six.
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