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-   -   Tapechek Pro reviews? Good for cleaning/repairing VHS tapes? (

Kenneth M 01-04-2009 02:22 PM

Tapechek Pro reviews? Good for cleaning/repairing VHS tapes?
Is anyone familiar with these machines?

I'm a bit leery of throwing 30 year old expensive ex-rentals in a machine other than a VCR, but am curious if anyone has had experience with these.

admin 01-07-2009 01:36 AM

I've heard of these machines before, with mixed reviews. The machines promise a lot -- probably too much. These are tape cleaners that may or may not correct errors on tapes. It's not often that I come across a tape that is so dirty that I feel its needs a cleaning.

If I were to try such a machine out, it would only be AFTER having transferred the tape to disc with the best possible methods. I would not clean it until I was sure that the data was safely archived. If the tape looked better after a clean, then sure, make another copy digitally.

The only caveat to such a machine is that you'll want to make sure the VCR playing these tapes doesn't just re-add dirt and gunk to the tape while it's being played. Be sure to clean the heads of that unit too, for the most effective clean surface to clean surface contact.

I would also be very leery. Better safe than sorry.

I would only test on a tape that can be easily replace, such a worn copy of Jurassic Park, or some other flick easy to find on DVD commercially.

Never would I run one of my rare tapes, such as tape I have of a movie that was recalled after a few dozen copies had already reached the public! It's almost irreplaceable, and was never released in any other format. I would make several good transfers, using the best tech available, before even considering an unknown-results "cleaner" device. And even then, it would be like my 25th tape cleaned, not one of the earlier ones.

If you can get it for a good price, or even on a loan, I'd go for it. I'd be curious where you want to get it, and what it costs.

Kenneth M 01-09-2009 12:46 PM

Not quite sure how much it costs, or where to get it, although there are a few resources for this machine on the web. I heard about it on a rare vhs forum and no one knew anything about it and it was the consensus to get one, whereas I do not feel that way. So I figured I'd ask you all about it and it seems that we're on the same page. :)

admin 01-09-2009 01:08 PM

I found the maker of this device, RTI, and contacted them. The VHS cleaners don't appear to have these available right now, it wasn't on their price list. Their refurbished Betamax cleaner machines cost $10,000 USD, and the brand new DV cleaner machines cost $15,000 USD. Given the prices, the machines probably do work, but no tape in my collection is worth that amount of money. It appears to be priced for studios, with a very high profit margin.

Kenneth M 01-09-2009 05:26 PM

Wow. Way too much money. Thanks for finding that out. Too expensive for me, too. :o

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