With 200 tapes, you don't want to screw around.
When people say things like "it doesn't need to be the best, just decent", they don't realize that those are same thing. A "decent" VHS is the "best" possible. VHS is very binary this way.
You get either:
- stable video, no distortion, no sound issues, no tracking issues
- unstable video, with distortions, with audio sync problems, often with tracking issues
You rarely only get a single problem, it's all or none in most cases.
So good or bad.
There's no grading like a comic book (mint, near mint, very fine, fine, very good, good, fair, poor).
In the 2020s, eBay
has become a video gear dumping ground. All of the sellers are recyclers and estate sellers. Literally, they pull stuff from the trash, and list it on eBay
. When they see lights, "it works!", which is ridiculous. Some actually put in a ratty old copy of Home Alone or TMNT, see any quality signal, and deem it to work. Most just blatantly lie about it being tested or working. Lots of SOBs on that site.
TGrant decks are not some holy grail of decks, seeing as how he doesn't replace all caps, thus the unit WILL break again WHEN (not if) more caps fail. I wish he'd quit doing lazy crappy refurbs. Deter has been replacing ALL caps in recent years.
Did you see the marketplace subforum
$1000 is a tight budget. Sometimes you need to break down costs, to realize the numbers don't work. For 200 tapes, you're allowing yourself $5 per tape to convert. The norm for crap work (folks wanting "beer money" on Facebook, Craigslist, etc) is $10 per tape. So you're giving yourself a budget that's lower than known-crappy work. If you're able to move it up to $1500, or even $2000, then things can far more viable for doing a decent
Remember, your own words: "decent".
Once you enter the realm of quality gear, then "best" mostly refers to the gear. Better gear, less problems. True, some gear gives advanced options (example = proc amp), to make the video perhaps better than what existed on the tape.
The lesser the gear, the higher the fail rate. "Fail rate" means that some tapes will not transfer well, or at all. It's a curve, not a line, so gear quickly drops off towards 0% success rate, when using junk like Easycaps and thrift store VCRs. When you have 200 tapes, the fail rate can get ugly with lesser gear, large stack of tapes that cannot be processed.
I try to work with all budgets, to make gear suggestions, but it can be difficult if you overly pinch dollars.
Remember: buy it, use it, resell it. It's not a sunk cost. Quality gear holds value, junk is your forever. So think longterm here. You can recoup funds later. If you were willing to lose $1000, perhaps you're willing to budget more, knowing that more can be recovered.