Finally managed to get my family's old VHS tapes shipped over, only to find they're not the 'classic' VHS tapes, but VHS-C, so I had to drastically change my plans(wanted to get JVC first). I have about 30 VHS-C tapes from 1998-2003ish, so about 20 years old. My desktop
of choice customised for capturing
has the following specs
Dell Dimension 5150 mini-tower
-Intel Pentium D 820 Dual-Core 2.8GHz
-2GB DDR2 400MHz RAM
-153GB Boot HDD SATA II
-1TB Captured Output Storage HDD SATA II
-Windows XP Professional x32 Retail Version(planning to upgrade to SP2)
-ATI Radeon All-In-Wonder 7500 VE PCI card(pending driver installation)
-Turtle Beach Santa Cruz PCI card(pending testing and driver installation)
Any suggestions and feedback
on the above specs
would be greatly appreciated! I'm currently in the process of paying for a refurbished DataVideo TBC-1000(modded to directly pass video signals to/from the TBC-100 inside, distribution amp removed) too. So my planned workflow
would be quality VCR -> DataVideo TBC-1000 -> ATI Radeon All-In-Wonder 7500 VE. This is a good capture workflow right?
Now for the main questions
. My parents kept a JVC CP7U
(bless!) motorised VHS-C adapter
, which I believe is a 'safe' option, and I'm planning to first capture all of my VHS-C tapes as-is, using the adapter in a quality Panasonic VCR
, and once I have these 'backup' copies I'm planning to buy unwanted 'classic' VHS tapes from eBay
my VHS-C tapes back into the 'classic' VHS shell so they can be safely captured in most VCRs, especially a JVC
one. Would this be a good plan
? Also, I scoured vcrshop.nl and eBay
for quality VCRs and would appreciate some advice to choose one/two good ones
to complete my capture workflow:
Panasonic NV-FS200(the legend itself!) €249 (~$294), comes with remote and power adapter. Seller says that he has cleaned the video, audio, record and erase heads inside with isopropyl alcohol, applied new lubricant, changed the pick-up motor(translated from German, not sure what the technical term is), fixed the display for better brightness, corrected the tape path alignment with an oscilloscope, changed the known-problematic capacitors and replaced broken components. He says that he will ensure proper packaging as well. He says he has a lot of spare parts, and also 'many years of experience with Panasonic VCRs', so sounds like he knows what he is doing, and he has general positive reviews so he seems like an honest seller with decent knowledge.
Another Panasonic NV-FS200 €500 (~$590) from eBay. Seller provides 2 year warranty, and when asked he told me he will arrange free repair and cover return shipping costs even in the event of capacitor failures. Plus 1-month eBay returns. He has recently sent it for servicing 3 months ago. Comes with remote and power cable. Seller has generally positive reviews too. What most attracts me is the 2-year warranty, which should protect me from all sorts of capacitor and other Panasonic craziness during capturing.
Yet another Panasonic NV-FS200 €299 (~$353) from eBay. Seller claims 6 months warranty, and that the unit is refurbished with the head replaced. He promised to send a test video on WhatsApp before shipping too, which is nice. Comes with remote, and I would presume the power cable then. Seller has 100% positive feedback, and sells a variety of other video equipment. One review even mentioned that he/she had an issue, and the seller immediately helped to resolve(no details provided, but good to hear). So seems to be an honest seller too. And good to know that the unit has been serviced with the head replaced even.
Panasonic NV-HS1000 €400 (~$472) from vcrshop. No need to introduce this seller I believe, haven't asked seller about when the unit has been last serviced(I believe it's good to know), but I trust that his/her units are well-maintained. Doesn't have a remote, but not a big deal(can just eBay one). Not very keen on this Panasonic model, since I heard its TBC is a bit quirky, but it's a recommended model on this forum so I'm willing to consider it.
Panasonic AG-4700 €500 (~$500) from vcrshop. Classified this together with the NV-HS1000 as I heard they're very similar in terms of the chipset and head inside(correct me if I'm wrong). A little too expensive for my taste, I don't really see any pros vs the NV-HS1000 or NV-FS200 for the extra price it commands, but I'm guessing it might have seen less usage since it's less 'known'?
Panasonic NV-FS88 €200 (~$353) from vcrshop. I know this is not the most recommended model due to the lack of TBC and the fact that this is not a prosumer/professional deck so (past) users might not have been very gentle with it, but I'm willing to consider this option to save on budget by getting another ES10/ES15 to make up for the TBC problem. No remote, but good price. Probably should ask the seller when's the last time this has been serviced as well.
Panasonic NV-FS88 €150 (~$177) with remote. Seller only claims that it is serviced/FB(what's that mean?), and that it's 'very good'. Newly created account since Jan 2021(slightly dubious there), sells just a few other electronics like desktops and a vintage audio cassette player, seems like just some random normal guy without a particular knowledge of electronics. Not many reviews, so probably gonna be a gamble. Should I bother questioning him to understand the condition of the deck?
Panasonic NV-FS88 €150 (~$177) with remote and 'original Panasonic VHS-C adapter'(model number not mentioned). Seller claims it is used to digitise his/her collecton of VHS/S-VHS tapes, and thus is extensively tested, 'no defects'. Also the deck is 'visually and functionally in very good condition'. Panasonic VHS-C adapter included is also 'fully functional'. Haven't asked him/her any questions yet, might consider asking for the VHS-C adapter model number and to check the inside for capacitor issues. Seller has generally positive feedback, but only sells random household items otherwise so doesn't seem like a very technical person.
Panasonic DMR-ES10 €59 (~$70) from same seller as 1a so I am inclined to trust in its quality.
Panasonic DMR-ES10 $90 from eBay. Seller says that the power supply capacitors have been replaced already, and should 'last many years', and that he/she has cleaned the spindle and lens. However the display is very dim, but seller has tested the unit and is able to record DVD discs with a Nintendo as video input and it finalises the dics successfully. Comes with power adapter, no remote. Returnable if device arrives non-working. Seller has 100% positive feedbacks, including one saying he/she provides excellent tech support. His other items on sale are CD players and audio cassette players, so he should be better than those lousy recyclers on eBay.
Panasonic DMR-ES10 $130 from eBay. Seller says it's 'tested'(not another of those
guys), but provides free 30-day returns so if I test properly it should be fine. No remote. Seller has 95% positive feedback, problems are mostly for random clothing because he/she shipped wrongly. Doesn't seem to be a video/audio/electronics guy, sells a lot of clothes.
Panasonic DMR-ES15 $93 from eBay. Seller says it 'works great', includes a photo of him/her playing something on a TV(not exactly convincing). Comes with remote. Seller has 100% positive feedback, one of which claims a DVD recorder was packaged well, so that's great to hear. Sells a lot of random household items, so doesn't seem like a video/audio/electronics person either. Also returns accepted within 14 days, but buyer pays return shipping. Not ideal, but can work
Panasonic DMR-ES15 $100(starting price for bid, 0 bids) from eBay, comes with remote. Seller says it's 'guaranteed to work', 'plays, records, finalises', so sounds semi-ok(don't know about the capacitors, my main worry). 99% positive feedback, one of which says the seller accepted returns for a non-functional Panasonic ES15(sounds an alarm for me there), another which says the seller goes above and beyond to resolve issues. Seller generally sells random household items, so not exactly a video/audio/electronics person. Returns accepted within 14 days, but buyer pays shipping. Not ideal, but can work.
Panasonic DMR-ES15 $102 from eBay, no remote. Seller says it is tested and works, and it will be 'carefully wrapped and insured for shipping'. He/She also claims that 'if there are any obvious problems, I will point it out'(not sure if he/she is a video person and actually scrutinises video playback for 'problems' though). Seems like a collector, has a variety of vintage items for sale(old DVDs, toy figures) plus random electronics like Nintendo Switch/Xbox, don't seem like a video/audio/electronics person unfortunately. Feedback is 99% positive, including comments on good packaging and refunding full cost while keeping the item when things go wrong. 30 day returns, buyer paying return shipping(Singapore->US, rip money). Not ideal, but workable.
A heck lot of other Panasonic DMR-ES15 on eBay, but too many and too short item descriptions to bother scrutinising.
Panasonic NV-HS950 €280 (~$331) from eBay, with remote. Heard this deck shares the same drum as the Panasonic NV-HS1000, so supposedly same picture quality? also seems to be similar PCB as the legendary AG1980P? It's also a slightly newer model so might be 'safer', but not as 'well-known' so might be abused. Seller claims it's checked and 'everything works and everything turns'(translated, but doesn't sound very 'professional'). Pictures show that the deck is in good physical condition. Shipping weight is 8kg, so that should mean proper packaging right? Seller seems like a collector, has thousands of vintage items(old books, electronics, art), but doesn't have a particular concentration of electronics so probably not a 'professional' electronics person. Reviews are 99% positive, some complaints but seller says he/she has refunded them so should be ok. 30-day returns, buyer pays return shipping. Not ideal, but workable.
Panasonic NV-HS950 €300 (~$354) from vcrshop, no remote. Nothing much to say other than that.
Panasonic NV-HS950 €300 (~$354) from same seller as 1b), has the same 2 year warranty, with remote. Haven't asked when this deck is last serviced. Physically seems to be in very good condition, not much scratches or dents. 30 days returns, full refund and return shipping covered by seller. Seems alright, especially with the 2 years warranty(should be well-done with my digitisation within 2 years, I hope)
JVC HR-S7722EU €300 (~$354) from vcrshop, with remote. One of the cheapest JVC VCR I can find with all the important features, and approved by lordsmurf. Not much else to say here.
JVC HR-S7700EU €169 (~$200) from a German seller, with remote. Seller claims it 'runs perfectly', 'very good picture and very good sound'. Attached pictures of two films played on TV seem ok, no visible visual artifacts. Seller is willing to provide 'video of testing the device', so I can maybe ask him to test specific things to ensure all the important functions are working, maybe even take a picture of the internal circuits. Seller also willing to provide shock-proof packaging, so that's great too. Seller sells a few audio electronics and one DSLR, so he/she should have a decent sense of audio/picture quality. A little risky to ship as no returns or warranty in the event of problems, but seller has a generally positive rating and the price is good.
JVC HR-S7950EU €350 (~$413) from vcrshop, no remote. Nothing much else to say here, have confirmed that this model has all the important features needed for quality capturing.
JVC HR-S9600EU €250 (~$295) from German seller, comes with original JVC box(damn) and (seems to be all) accessories(SCART cable, RCA cable, remote, power adapter). Problem is seller has no VHS tapes so he cannot test the device. Seller claims the deck is in 'good condition', and has been 'packed and stored in a dry place years ago', no idea whether the device has deteriorated. No warranty or returns, so a gamble here. Sells a bunch of digital movie DVDs and game accessories, plus a vintage CD player and a vintage car radio, so should have basic electronics knowledge. Not ideal though, unless gambling for a JVC S9600EU is worth(kinda? but risky though)
A few additional questions
My plan is to get a quality Panasonic VCR(considering 1a
) and a quality JVC VCR(considering 5a
), are these good choices?
If not 1a, I'm considering getting a Panasonic NV-FS88 + Panasonic ES10/ES15 to save costs. In this case, does anyone know if the line TBC in the ES10/ES15 is compatible with both NTSC & PAL
or region-locked? Because I can only find NTSC(because US sellers, so I'm assuming NTSC since it's not specified) ES10/ES15s, besides one German ES15 that's definitely PAL(3d above).
Is respooling from VHS-C to VHS shells 'safe'? I have no experience with VHS/VHS-C tapes
, but I'm planning to buy many unwanted VHS/VHS-C tapes from eBay to practice respooling and also test that respooling doesn't hurt picture/sound quality. Would that be sufficient? Read somewhere on this forum that there can be tape alignment issues if manually respooled, so I'm hesitant
I'm planning to test my Panasonic VCR(whichever I eventually choose) with a few unwanted VHS-C tapes I got online and my JVC CP7U adapter to ensure my adapter is working fine, and the tapes don't get mangled or damaged this way. Will that be enough precaution to prevent damage to my precious
family VHS-C tapes
? No idea what's the physical condition of my tapes, but my relatives have helped digitise a few of them successfully(using normal consumer VCRs, so not ideal, hence I'm trying again here), so I presume they're ok? And won't get 'eaten' by a Panasonic? Definitely won't risk putting them into a JVC though.
Sorry for the super long post and many questions! I really really appreciate any suggestions as I doubt my analog electronics knowledge even after some research, being born into the digital age and growing up with SD cards and Windows XP and all
. And I'm still young, so I doubt my ability to spend money wisely/productively(my dad always criticises me about this oops) also, would be great to have more experienced people advice me on my purchases. Thanks so much!