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Old 2nd Jul 2023, 5:20 pm   #21
Graham G3ZVT
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Default Re: List of PAL VHS Video Recorders with SLP / EP Mode

I once got the capstan servo of a Hitachi VT5000 (early single speed top-loader with piano keys) to work at half speed. I got a distinctive herring-bone pattern due to the luminance crosstalk on adjacent tracks. I can't remember if there was any chroma.

<EDIT> crossed with Steve and Roger.
Rog the Hitachi 5000 and VT8000 machines we rented out at Granada had those mercury hour meters but they were set up to record only 1000hrs. it turned our it would have been far better if the series resistor was chosen to give X10 indication. I dont know whether they were fitted as standard or just to our specification.
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Old 2nd Jul 2023, 6:01 pm   #22
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Default Re: List of PAL VHS Video Recorders with SLP / EP Mode

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Originally Posted by trellis View Post
Of course that's playing back the recordings on the same machine that recorded them, as it's the only one I have. I wonder what compatibility with other EP machines would be like.
This is the problem. As someone who archives all kinds of video tape, LP recordings give all kinds of headaches. I cannot even imagine the trouble faced when trying to access SLP tapes recorded on some long-gone deck that might not even have been in good alignment when new!

It's all very well if you keep the same machine used to make them, but let's face it, who (apart from a handful of us enthusiasts) does? Even if you were to, the decks will age and wear, so it's not necessarily a guaranteed way of maintaining compatibility.

At low speeds, even a speck of dirt on the A/C head can drastically affect the tracking and sync performance. The roller guides being slightly out won't matter too much on SP speed, but this gets extra critical when you start halving speeds. Tape wear and quality might still give a watchable picture at SP, but again, can mean a barely watchable picture when you halve the speed.

As Graham G3ZVT says, stick with the highest quality and you will have fewer problems recovering your material later on.
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Old 2nd Jul 2023, 6:23 pm   #23
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Default Re: List of PAL VHS Video Recorders with SLP / EP Mode

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Not just that, but tape formulations had come on tremendously since the launch of VHS and I'd wager that using a good quality tape on a late machine run at slow speed would have given superior results to earlier machines run at normal speed using first generation tape -
it's a bit more complex than that.
assuming than earlier SP record would be less good than LP on modern tape/recoder is a "shortcut".

but that's really true for LP, earlier machines weren't as good as later.
the main reason is not tape formulation, but air gap on dedicated heads for LP mode.

in the NTSC world, they even get 19 micron air gap for LP/SLP.

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Old 2nd Jul 2023, 6:32 pm   #24
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Default Re: List of PAL VHS Video Recorders with SLP / EP Mode

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... that's really true for LP, earlier machines weren't as good as later. the main reason is not tape formulation, but head gap on dedicated heads for LP mode..
True. I still have an Amstrad 2 head deck which used the same pair of video heads for LP recording! I think if you recorded over a tape thus recorded on a later 4 head deck, you could still see some of the old Amstrad recording 'kept' in the guard band.

There was also a JVC/Ferguson one of the same era, which had a similar setup, and actually optimised some parameters like still frame for LP.
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Old 2nd Jul 2023, 7:11 pm   #25
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Default Re: List of PAL VHS Video Recorders with SLP / EP Mode

Some of the cheapies were really awful on LP, and it's just as well that they didn't try to do EP. Lack of HiFi sound was always an indicator of a manufacturer just going through the motions by the 90s.
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Old 2nd Jul 2023, 7:12 pm   #26
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Default Re: List of PAL VHS Video Recorders with SLP / EP Mode

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Quote:
Originally Posted by stevehertz View Post
Not just that, but tape formulations had come on tremendously since the launch of VHS and I'd wager that using a good quality tape on a late machine run at slow speed would have given superior results to earlier machines run at normal speed using first generation tape -
it's a bit more complex than that.
assuming than earlier SP record would be less good than LP on modern tape/recoder is a "shortcut".

but that's really true for LP, earlier machines weren't as good as later.
the main reason is not tape formulation, but air gap on dedicated heads for LP mode.

in the NTSC world, they even get 19 micron air gap for LP/SLP.
I disagree not so much on any particular technicality, but having seen with my own eyes the clear difference in quality between the very best, latter day formulations of video tape and the early stuff. Chalk and cheese.
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Old 2nd Jul 2023, 9:38 pm   #27
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Default Re: List of PAL VHS Video Recorders with SLP / EP Mode

Graham [p21*] do you know the answer to my question about Standard and LP version VCR's [at p13*] the latter just needing a slight rewire to the same chip but priced much higher at the time? Many people did go for the LP enabled VCR's but thinking it must be a more complex circuit

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Old 2nd Jul 2023, 10:33 pm   #28
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Default Re: List of PAL VHS Video Recorders with SLP / EP Mode

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I disagree not so much on any particular technicality, but having seen with my own eyes the clear difference in quality between the very best, latter day formulations of video tape and the early stuff. Chalk and cheese.
i digitize a lot of 80's stuff in both vhs/beta/V2000, and early vhs aren't bad at all (and speaking as french with the "weird" choice of JVC dividing by 4 secam sub-carriers instead of heterodyne technique all others used).
as far i know, high grade tape were already available in early 80's.
but as any analogue format, a lot of parameters influence the end result.

i even tend to say than older vhs machines can even be a good choice for digitizing (as long you don't need HI-FI), as they don't have the so-called HQ post-treatement, and others fluffy, but not really useful imho things done by DSP on more later machines
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Old 2nd Jul 2023, 11:05 pm   #29
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Default Re: List of PAL VHS Video Recorders with SLP / EP Mode

My family bought a Amstrad VCR 4600 in 1987 which was quite an early machine for LP recording. I remember it was a bit hit & miss, especially when using cheap blank tapes.

The Sony I was given for my 21st birthday in 1999 was much better, with LP being almost as good as SP.
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Old 2nd Jul 2023, 11:46 pm   #30
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Default Re: List of PAL VHS Video Recorders with SLP / EP Mode

Comparing can be complicated. Unlike with photographic film the signal on a magnetic tape is invisible. We can't hold the tape up to the light and see what's on it. But even with film when they have that luxury, many people don't do the obvious thing and look at the original image as their obvious reference. Few people know how to play back an old video or even audio tape recording optimally. How would you know if you had? What is the contribution of the player, the interaction between tape and player, the alignment? Generally older consumer tape recordings are more difficult to optimise than pro formats because the signal is squeezed onto such tiny real estate. The contribution of dirt, clearances, tolerances, fine adjustments is magnified.

Maximizing the good and minimizing the bad is often not child's play. Imagine having one LP let alone SLP EP VHS recorded tape and having ten different people each doing their best to extract picture and sound optimally, using their own player, not having the deck the tape was recorded on. Would all ten efforts look and sound the same? Optimising playback can be a little more involved than just popping the tape in and pressing the play button... even using "the best" player.

Comparing across multiple variables can get very complicated. Ideally we to reduce to one variable at a time. Actual examples really help.

Attached screenshot of audio spectrum on playback of a VHS LP non HiFi sound track. Note useable audio up to about 7 kHz. Only because multiple playback parameters were optimised. Sorry for poor clarity of image after site data compression.
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Old 2nd Jul 2023, 11:56 pm   #31
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Default Re: List of PAL VHS Video Recorders with SLP / EP Mode

Stevehertz, I'm not ruling out the possibility that later tape formulations were superior, but ideally, having decided on a particular brand, you would adjust the FM record level (effectivly the tape bias) to maximise the recovered FM carrier on playback, thereby minimising noise. I don't imagine very many people went to this trouble, but it could make a significant improvement on tape stock that appeared to be noisy.

Dave, it's quite possible that a machine made to a low price point has all the hardware to realise the features of its more expensive brother. The features being disabled by a hidden configuration menu or PCB link. Maybe you should start a thread about hidden and undocumented features.
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Old 3rd Jul 2023, 8:26 am   #32
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Default Re: List of PAL VHS Video Recorders with SLP / EP Mode

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Originally Posted by paulsherwin View Post
Some of the cheapies were really awful on LP, and it's just as well that they didn't try to do EP. Lack of HiFi sound was always an indicator of a manufacturer just going through the motions by the 90s.
Even back in the day, I was surprised that Hi-Fi machines weren't more popular. I was the only person I knew who had one, and I seem to recall the market was dominated by linear-mono-only machines well into the 90s, even after NICAM became a thing.
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Old 3rd Jul 2023, 8:46 am   #33
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Default Re: List of PAL VHS Video Recorders with SLP / EP Mode

Agreed. High-end machines like the Panasonic NV-730 and the Sony C9 Beta were, to my mind, let down by the lack of hi-fi.

Regarding SP and LP, the basic Amstrad machine (VCR 4600?) boasted twin speed with a compromise two-head disc. As a result, both speeds gave mediocre results. Back in the day we used MCES to re-tip video heads and you were given the choice to have the original spec or an SP-only head with much improved results. Most customers liked the twin speed feature however and disregarded the performance.
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Old 3rd Jul 2023, 4:21 pm   #34
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Thanks for your response Graham [p31*]. I think you've answerered my question but assuming you're right, they could perhaps have benefited more financially by just having less of a price differential which probably put a lot of buyers off I don't think I will start a thread on the hidden aspects of TV as my skills re accessing and "fine tuning" pre-set menus to personal requirements are fairly non existent but it seems like a good idea though

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Old 3rd Jul 2023, 6:07 pm   #35
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Default Re: List of PAL VHS Video Recorders with SLP / EP Mode

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Originally Posted by trellis View Post
Even back in the day, I was surprised that Hi-Fi machines weren't more popular. I was the only person I knew who had one, and I seem to recall the market was dominated by linear-mono-only machines well into the 90s, even after NICAM became a thing.
I guess it could be a generational thing: for me VHS meant me and my mates renting a few movies to watch when we got home from the pub; the local "Video Solent" was conveniently-adjacent to the curry-house, so someone would be despatched to grab some movies while we stopped-off to score poppadoms, Jalfrezi and Vindaloo.

"Open All Hours" corner-stores also offered VHS, once they got to know you they'd give you access to their 'unrated' range of tapes intended for a discerning adult audience!

I don;t recall any of the major movie-studios making a thing of Hi-Fi audio on their releases.

[The only home-recorded stuff for me back in the 80s and 90s was the Rugby, which I'd get a mate to tape for me if I had to do a 'long weekend' of work].

"HiFi" videos could maybe have found a place in the music-video market, but apart from that I never saw the point. The coming of DVD in the 90s saw VHS players dumped in their millions.
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Old 3rd Jul 2023, 7:36 pm   #36
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Agreed. High-end machines like the Panasonic NV-730 and the Sony C9 Beta were, to my mind, let down by the lack of hi-fi...
Beta couldn't compete with VHS because its small cassette couldn't record a full length feature movie without further slowing down linear tape, compromising its originally superior picture and also compromising its linear audio. I have a Beta C9 which carried BNR audio noise reduction. I suspect the BNR wasn't properly tweaked in the factory for the limited audio bandwidth and as a result the NR never tracked properly. Yes HiFi would have made it a more useful deck.
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Old 3rd Jul 2023, 7:47 pm   #37
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I don't recall any of the major movie-studios making a thing of Hi-Fi audio on their releases.
Actually at least at first they often did, advertising the presence of HiFi stereo on the spine of the tape box as well as: "Dolby stereo on linear tracks" but for the latter you needed a suitably featured deck to play the Dolby stereo.
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Old 3rd Jul 2023, 8:45 pm   #38
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Default Re: List of PAL VHS Video Recorders with SLP / EP Mode

I had a later model VCR with Hi Fi audio. There was a "damascan moment" for me when I suddenly realised that it's audio spec might be superior to my own Hi Fi set up. This meant that I could archive audio material eg 2.5 hours of Jazz or longer on VHS and at LP! The quality was still excellent. I then moved on to Mini Disc+ [LP2 2.5 to 5 hours-introduced too late and not marketed enough though]. Now I mainly record audio on DVD[A] up to 8 hours, so it's back to the future in a way

Dave

I will have some Hi Fi Video Cassettes. Only today I discovered a Special Edition Brookside tape "The Lost Weekend" that I thought would fit the bill but it says "Exclusive to video Will not be shown until the year 2000" so that is perhaps too early, or maybe deliberately mono to suit all comers! Certainly, when DVD recorders came in, all sorts of expensive high quality VHS material in presentation boxes was available for next to nothing!

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Old 3rd Jul 2023, 10:15 pm   #39
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Default Re: List of PAL VHS Video Recorders with SLP / EP Mode

2000 is not to early as VHS Hifi was introduced around 1985.
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Old 4th Jul 2023, 12:00 am   #40
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Default Re: List of PAL VHS Video Recorders with SLP / EP Mode

Thanks for that Maarten I didn't realise it was so early but maybe it was at a lower frequency range It was certainly much later than 2000 when I suddenly realised how sophisticated VCR's had now become [ie up to 21k audio] In the 1960's 9k was acceptable on a tape recorder! I still measure everything against that basic standard even now ie I'm really much more concerned with accessing the content than the quality [which computers can now improve anyway]. It means I'm not an audiophile purist but I do, indeed, appreciate good quality reproduction in any medium.

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