Which of these decks to digitize VHS tapes?
May 22, 2021 10:59 AM   Subscribe

I am about to digitize some VHS tapes and have two DVD/VCR combos to choose from: a Sony SLV-D300P and a Sansui VRDVD4001AC. Is one a better choice than the other?

The Sansui was made in 2004; the Sony is probably older by several years. But Sony generally makes nice stuff, so that feels like a wash.

Sony product web page

Link to Sansui manual

I will be using a Diamond VC500Mac One-Touch Video Capture dongle to import it on my MacBook Pro.

Thanks for any advice!
posted by wenestvedt to Technology (5 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
Best answer: I would use whichever seems to be in better shape for playing VHS in the current condition. They look like they were probably roughly equivalent - both 4 head systems. If the tapes were recorded on either of them and you can remember which one it was, you might be better off using the same one for the playback.

Consider using headcleaner before starting on the project if you haven't already. Use the S-Video output.
posted by Candleman at 11:18 AM on May 22, 2021 [4 favorites]


Best answer: It's a crap-shoot. Either or neither could work. Gotta try it out.

If you're using a video-capture dongle, then you don't need the DVD side of the equation, any functional VHS could work. Which is good because DVD-recorders sometimes don't age very well.
posted by ovvl at 2:27 PM on May 22, 2021 [2 favorites]


Response by poster: My wife reminded me that the Sony wouldn't eject the tape last time without a fight -- and it was the tape of our wedding -- so Sansui it is!

The import is working pretty well. The defaults were mostly OK in AVRecorder1.1a, though I changed the video to be "yuvs, 720x480." There is still some noise, but I am going to run it through Handbrake to try to clean it up a bit. (And of course I can always try again.)

Thanks, to both of you!!
posted by wenestvedt at 5:45 PM on May 22, 2021 [1 favorite]


Best answer: One other thing - look up deinterlacing if you don't know about it. Handbrake can take care of that for you too.
posted by Candleman at 7:24 PM on May 22, 2021 [1 favorite]


Response by poster: Yep, that's queued up in Handbrake right now. :7) A few years ago I captured a shoebox of digital Hi8 tapes and learned about that one. *pained sigh*

Thank you for the follow-up, you're awesome!
posted by wenestvedt at 5:02 AM on May 23, 2021


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