Originally Posted by kitty666cats
I used a FA-310 chained with an AG-1980 on numerous consumer VHS tapes earlier today and it looked great to me… just gotta spend a minute dialing-in proc amp settings.
One of the downsides of the AG-1980 is that it hides issues, makes the issues harder to see. The "JVC menu test" is often an easy way to see problems. Understand the problems exist regardless of deck, merely that the JVC menu acts as a sort of test pattern. Noting that actual test patterns are not useful for testing TBCs. When I test TBCs, the AG-1980 is last, if even paired for a test.
Sometimes the field TBC of the AG-1980 also pre-cleans partial signal, and any latter TBC in the workflow is weak. And when paired to other devices, the TBC fails. This should not be interpreted as Panasonic good, others bad, as that's not accurate, and the decks are merely different (each with pros, cons). Simply that the difference arrives as this outcome. The TBC can still be weak, be a problem.
Again, I know these models of TBCs are not good for this task. And although I'm skeptical, there's always a chance that your 1980, and this TBC, have seemingly paired well. That does happen with other models of TBC. The frame TBC sucks beyond the AG-1980 pairing. There's also scenarios where one 1980 pairs well, but another 1980 balks, as the 1980 had production variations, even with TBC.
TBCs are screwy things, when you leave the mainstream, and get into fringe gear (for this task, such as broadcast rackmounts for non-broadcast/consumer use). Lots of issues, caveats, workarounds, sacrifices.
Again, I'm dubious, but interesting. My advice would be to look closely at errors, be it levels/values, or something nastier on screen. The TBC may be the cause, not a tape.