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  #1  
11-08-2010, 09:47 PM
NJRoadfan NJRoadfan is offline
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I figured I would post something up about this. During the past 2 weeks, I have spoken to two completely separate parties about VCRs. Both of them slammed JVC VCRs (one a standard VHS, the other a lower end SVHS) from the late 90s-early 00s as having "dull", "muffled", and "lifeless" linear audio playback and having another VCR to play non-HiFi tapes back because they apparently sound better. I just transferred several hours of home movies and honestly haven't noticed a difference, has anyone here noticed the above?
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  #2  
11-08-2010, 10:10 PM
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Anti-JVC rhetoric tends to be about on par with the ridiculous malarkey spewed by Apple/Mac fans. Their dislike of the other product is often a reflection of their own inability to master the competing product to which they profess vitriol and discontent. It tends to be a mixture of venom and ignorance, more than an actual problem with the product.

Linear audio (mono audio) lacks the higher pitch and acoustic quality of HiFi. Panasonic/Samsung, Sony and Mitsubishi VCRs all perform about the same.

What really tends to happen here is a person recorded a tape on some crappy/lousy VCR a decade or more ago, and blames the new JVC VCR for having "bad sound". It's misplaced anger.

Linear audio is "muffled, dull and lifeless" regardless of VCR, when compared to cleanly-recorded HiFi.

The main complaint about the JVC S-VHS VCRs revolves around it either not filtering enough, or filtering too much. See examples A and B below:

(A) For example, Panasonic S-VHS VCRs, Panasonic VHS VCRs and Sharp VHS VCRs both appear to add sharpening to the image, even when sharpening filters/sliders are set to zero/off settings. The JVC series does not do any sharpening when filters are all turned off, and therefore the image looks soft by comparison. Anti-JVC rhetoric states that this is the true sharper quality of the tape being shown on the non-JVC VCRs. However, that's fallacy, as aliasing of the image betrays that false sharpening. It's easy to see, if you're skilled in detecting processing.

(B) For example, the JVC picture mode can be set to NORM (AUTO), to automatically remove signal noise. And then the TBC can be engaged to process and filter out chroma noise. Anti-JVC proponents insist the JVC machines make the video soft, and it loses its detail when using these quality-enhancing filters. While processing does indeed eat into signal fidelity to clean it up, it's nowhere near the amount of detail as anti-JVC rhetoric espouses. The so-called "better" non-JVC VCRs simply are not cleaning the signal as effectively as the JVC. What happens is these people confuse grainy image noise with detail. It's an optical illusion. Random noise can cause the false perception of "detail" when it's just a bunch of random dots or grain. This is a scenario well known to photographers (such as myself), because it's something we can play with during development and processing. A slightly out-of-focus image shot at ISO 3200+ can appear as sharp as a perfectly-focused ISO 200 image, due to grain. Not that you'd want to do that, but I saw an photo in ESPN Magazine last month that was obviously a bit soft, but had been enhanced to increase granular edges and thereby make the image look sharp enough to allow publishing. Sometimes you simply have to run with what you have!

It could even be something as simple as those people you spoke to have bad hearing or terrible audio speakers on whatever device they used to judge quality. I see that far too often.

It could even be an issue with their exact VCR. Something could be misaligned or otherwise damaged inside.

Anyway...

It's mostly just ignorant hatred for the sake of bellyaching online (or even offline). I'm not at all surprised that you don't really see any difference amongst the equipment you've compared to.

I run all audio through mixer boards, because mono audio is lousy regardless of VCR. With a mixer (with 3 or more EQs), I can adjust it pre-capture. And even in post-capture processing, I can run one of several "Enhance Mono VHS" graphic EQ filters in Sound Forge, using the Sound Forge Filter Presets Package from this site.

Link: http://www.digitalFAQ.com/forum/foru...mprove-17.html (download Sound Forge filters)

If anything, I'd have to say that the Panasonic AG series S-VHS VCRs is worse than the JVC, as the Panasonic likes to pick up hiss. Part of this may be due to the power supply leaking out of the PSU and leeching into other components -- something that's well documented. I have to work extra hard with that VCR, and have actually captured audio from the JVC and kept only the image from the Panasonic on some past projects.

Listen .... but don't over-listen! (I refer to BOTH the audio of your project, and commentary you hear/read elsewhere.)

Hope that helps.

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  #3  
11-08-2010, 11:18 PM
NJRoadfan NJRoadfan is offline
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Whats funny is that I have rarely heard complaints about picture quality from these units outside of a random tracking issue or two. Most of the JVC hate I'm seen was directed at poor Hi-Fi audio tracking, VHS-C tape eating, and the machine flat out rejecting to play some tapes (ejects tape right after inserting).

As for the linear audio, I just did an unscientific comparison, I can't hear any difference playing back the same tape on another VCR. Linear audio is pretty ghastly, particularly on EP tapes. Its even worse when it was recorded on a pro Panasonic AG deck with dual linear tracks (half track width) and Dolby NR applied.
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  #4  
11-09-2010, 01:58 AM
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I'll add this:

YES = JVC S-VHS VCR eating VHS-C tapes.
Always use the VHS-C camera, or a Panasonic AG-1980P. The biggest issue comes in those cheap adapters. But even with a good adapter, the tapes don't move well, causing alignment issues (tape feathering) or outright tape despooling within the unit ("eating" the tape). This is true of many VCRs, not just JVC, but the JVC series VCRs make the list of "VHS-C eaters".

YES = JVC S-VHS VCR eating Maxell branded S-VHS tapes (not VHS, just S-VHS). Maxell S-VHS tapes are crap in most VCRs, but JVC machines just seem to want to eat them like candy. Not sure what causes this. Possibly the way the cassette is made? Maybe something about the tape itself? Other brands like Fuji, TDK and Sony have no sch issues with playback or recording in JVC S-VHS VCRs.

NO = Randomly refusing to play tapes.
The tape is probably just screwed up in some way -- out of spec as per VHS format -- and other VCRs just don't seem to care, even if it results in harm coming to the VCR. Yikes! I have one JVC VCR that ejects tapes, and then won't eject tapes once its in. The VCR needs a transport repair job, that's all it is. It's the only time I've seen that in more than 12 years of owning and using JVC decks.

NO = Poor HiFi tracking. While the JVC does seem to have more issues at tracking HiFi audio as compared to other VCRs, S-VHS or regular VHS, the issue always comes back to the tape being recorded crappy. You cannot blame the VCR when it's the tape with the problem. I run across bad HiFi recordings quite often, and while a Panasonic can sometimes do better with it, it's still far from perfect either way. Switching to mono/linear is out only choice to get clean audio without fuzz, buzz and flutters.

Most JVC hates seems to be misplaced.

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  #5  
11-09-2010, 09:20 AM
NJRoadfan NJRoadfan is offline
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I guess that explains why we never used Maxell SVHS tapes in the high School TV studio. We were avid users of their T-60 P/I VHS line otherwise. Likewise, I see a lot of hate directed towards professional SVHS editing decks. Yes, they only work with SP tapes, but my experience with them has been very favorable. Some even come with high end Faroudja video processing and TBCs with dropout compensation, but I'm guessing people are buying ebay "untested/as-is" units that need an overhaul/tune-up. Interestingly enough, some of the pro JVC decks even take VHS-C tapes without an adapter (BR-S622/822 series).
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11-10-2010, 02:30 PM
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Your observations are very wise.

I concur, regarding people buying old and abused S-VHS editing decks, and then judging the units from the basis of it not working well with consumer tapes. The machines (VTRs) were not designed for playing/recording homemade VCR tapes, and then the units were meant to be serviced on regular intervals.

Those old units were decent tools for their exact purpose. For the purpose of converting VHS to DVD (or other digital flavors), many of the older S-VHS unit have proved themselves worthless. Not the right tool for the task, I'm afraid.

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  #7  
11-11-2010, 05:07 PM
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My two cents --

RE: JVC and lousy mono audio

I would agree with the idea that linear audio in general is pretty sucky and that it's marginal in most VCRs, but I have noticed that some JVC decks seem to play it better out of the box than others. I found the linear audio quality to sound better out of the JVC SR-V101US than the 7600. May have been my deck though. Hi-fi playback is identical. Other brands seem to have the same inconsistency, depending when they were manufactured. As others have pointed out though, you can always adjust it with external EQ.

One thing I like about all the JVC decks I've tried though is that they don't wait long to pass the audio signal through, even on rough tapes. I had some conversions I did on a Panasonic VCR a long time ago and anytime there was a break in a segment on a tape, it took a moment after the picture appeared before the audio would kick back on, where on the JVC it does it almost right away when a picture is present. That extra second and a half of audio can be a big deal on family home movies.

Re: Hi-fi playback

99% of decks seem to struggle with hi-fi audio on iffy tapes, but the one I've found to handle it the best is the JVC SR-W5U/W7U decks.

Most VCRs seem to have either a trigger happy threshold to go from hi-fi to linear at the first sign of noise (usually a distinct change in volume level occurs, which is annoying) or they will let a noisy hi-fi audio track play through (annoying if you are dubbing to DVD and only discover it later).

The SR-W5U/W7U eliminates the noisiest parts of a noisy hi-fi track, effectively masking them. I'm not sure it's technically achieved (something about using a special audio head and some filters). I can really only pick it up on headphones.

Many, many tapes that choked on my SR-V101US play back a lot better. For tapes where it has to drop off to the linear audio at times, it seems to have a sort of hybrid mode, where it will try to pump linear audio out of the offending channel automatically and run hi-fi out of the other (you can of course do this manually on most JVC decks as well).

The volume level doesn't really change between the two modes either -- so it's not a glaring contrast in audio quality. A nice feature indeed. I wish more VCR manufactures had paid attention to that.
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