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.
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.
(download Sound Forge
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.