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Blank Videotape Test Results


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21 replies to this topic

#1 of 22 OFFLINE   Alex F.

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Posted April 13 2000 - 06:04 AM

My wife and I have been looking for a blank tape that gives excellent video performance using JVC's S-VHS ET mode (we do quite a bit of timeshifting with a JVC 7500).

Unfortunately, all of the latest T-120 blank tapes purchased locally yielded very poor performance (e.g., JVC SX, Maxell GX-Silver, TDK Vivid).

So, about 10 days ago I telephoned Tape World (800-245-6000 or tapeworld.com), a mailorder dealer I've dealt with for many years, and ordered a bunch of tapes--S-VHS and regular VHS--for comparison.

The testing was conducted using a JVC 7500 deck (time-base correction and digital noise reduction "on"), feeding a "Video Essentials"-calibrated Sony 36FV15 Wega, connected via a 2-meter length of Monster Video 2 S-video cable.

My subjective ranking (graded "A" to "F") of blank T-120 tapes, in order of descending video performance--unless stated otherwise--is as follows (note: asterisk indicates a "pro" tape):

"A":
Fuji ST120 (S-VHS)
JVC SV (S-VHS)

"B":
Fuji Master
Maxell P/I*

"C":
(None)

"D":
Maxell HGX+*

"F" (in order by brand only):
Fuji HQ
JVC SX
Maxell GX-Silver
Maxell HGX-Gold
Maxell XL HiFi
TDK Vivid
TDK Pro VM*


It quickly became obvious that in order to reduce prices to an absolute minimum, the leading companies are producing tapes with very dismal performance (and cheap, low-precision tape shells).

I was glad to see that the latest S-VHS tapes perform as well as their recent predecessors, which is exceptionally fine indeed (I've owned several Super-VHS decks since the format was first introduced). The Fuji ST costs $5.49 and the JVC SV costs $4.49. Although I didn't purchase any for this comparison, based on past experience I'm confident that S-VHS tapes from Maxell and TDK are still superb.

As for regular VHS tapes, the Fuji Master ($3.29) delivered the best performance I've ever seen from a non-S-VHS tape. On occasion it was hard to differentiate it from a Super-VHS tape. The Maxell P/I ($2.49) was also very good, although not quite as stellar as the Fuji Master.

Certainly, videotape doesn't hold a candle to DVD, but I feel that S-VHS is still the best way to timeshift programming. I hope my friends at HTF find the above info helpful.

#2 of 22 OFFLINE   Jerome Grate

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Posted April 13 2000 - 06:33 AM

Great job on the results. I have the 7600 and I ordered from tapeworld and tapewarehouse and tried the JVC's higher end S-VHS tape and for the price it is well worth it. I recorded from satellite and I was just testing it with a program that I thought would be good to have. This tape was if not a complete duplicate of the source, damn near close to it. I find that tapewarehouse has a bigger selection of S-VHS tapes than the other companies including BASF S-VHS tapes which I heard are close to Broadcast level recording. A bit more than your standard S-VHS but I will be trying it. Tapewarehouse also has a less expensive S-VHS tape for about 3.89 and it is not JVC. Give it a try and if you get them first maybe you can post your results.

------------------
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#3 of 22 OFFLINE   Richard Compton

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Posted April 13 2000 - 08:41 AM

I've heard BASF doesn't make the tapes we buy, they make the tapes we buy...better. Posted Image

#4 of 22 OFFLINE   Timothy

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Posted April 13 2000 - 04:02 PM

Hi,

If you can locate any, try the Scotch Professional Hi-Fi grade VHS tape. In my days of evaluating VHS tapes a few years back, that blew away the competition. Best tape I ever recorded on and to this day it's held the #1 position after two years (they still look the best after repeated use).

Timothy

#5 of 22 OFFLINE   Jerry Martin

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Posted April 14 2000 - 01:06 AM

I have used TDK's Hi-Fi EHG
Sound & Color VHS tape in my
JVC S-VHS9500 for years and never
failed to get anything less than
outstanding recordings, they cost
alittle more but far less than
S-VHS tapes.

------------------





#6 of 22 OFFLINE   Alex F.

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Posted April 14 2000 - 02:27 AM

Timothy:

Agreed. I wish Scotch (3M) still manufactured videotape. I read awhile ago that they dropped that part of their business. A shame because they made some of the best tapes. The first blank VHS tape I ever purchased was from Scotch in 1978 ($18 or $19 as I recall!). Their Super-VHS tape was my favorite for several years as well.

Jerry:

Funny that you mentioned TDK EHG. I, too, felt it was the best all-around regular VHS tape and we used it for many years. It was our standard tape for recording and collecting old black & white movies from American Movie Classics.

I always tried to keep a large supply of EHG available. Earlier this year we ran out of it so I purchased a single blank EHG locally. When I picked it up I was immediately suspicious. It was much lighter than usual and the shell rattled badly. All the EHGs on the store shelf were the same. Uh, oh. I bought one anyway to check it out. I was sadly disappointed to find that TDK changed both the tape quality and the shell--unfortunately, for the worse. That's what started our search for a new high-quality regular VHS tape! Somehow, I forgot to include it in my ratings. It should be listed in the "F" group. Thanks for ruining a terrific product, TDK.

In place of TDK EHG we will henceforth use Fuji Master. I'm thankful I was able to find a suitable replacement. Of course, for critical use, such as when I occasionally transfer digital camcorder recordings (Mini-DV) to keep as safety copies, I will continue to use Super-VHS tape.


#7 of 22 OFFLINE   Peter Gregg

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Posted April 14 2000 - 10:39 AM

Hi Alex,

I thank you for your research. Based on your report I ordered 5 Fuji ST120 SVHS tapes to try out.

I would like to ask, if TDK and Maxell tape has slipped in quality in what you found, why did you not include them in the SVSH test. Maybe their SVHS tape ain't what is used to be either and I would have really found it interesting to know that in fact their SVHS tape is still as good as the 2 you listed. I am really surprised to see how badly some of the brands I use fared, a real eye opener.

Thanks,
Peter

#8 of 22 OFFLINE   Alex F.

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Posted April 14 2000 - 11:16 AM

Peter:

I had originally intended to test regular VHS tapes only in an effort to find a high-quality replacement for TDK EHG, as I mentioned in my second post. When I ordered all the test samples, I also stocked up on Fuji S-VHS tapes, which I use on a regular basis (I have long been impressed with its video performance). I also obtained one JVC S-VHS tape on a lark due to its unusually low price (I was curious how well or badly it would perform). As it turned out, I ended up testing all the tapes I ordered.

I didn't order any S-VHS tapes made by Maxell or TDK because I've felt over the last eight years or so that Fuji's version is very slightly better, and it's currently lower priced to boot. (Yes, I do order Maxell and TDK Super-VHS tapes on occasion in order to monitor their performance--I tested both as recently as a year ago--but Fuji always eeks out a win in a comparison test.)

#9 of 22 OFFLINE   JulioR

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Posted April 14 2000 - 12:58 PM

Fuji-Pro was my favorite but I remember Maxell use to have a Pro line..Maxell Black or something...Not sure if they still are made?

Julio

#10 of 22 OFFLINE   Reginald Trent

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Posted April 14 2000 - 04:56 PM


I am not impressed with TDK EHG tape when you consider how much it cost. I've gotten the best results using Sony's V premium grade T120 and Zenith's T120 HQ tapes. I've used JVC and Maxell Super VHS tapes and I found the absolute best Super VHS tape is TDK XP Super Pro ST120 tape, you'll be amazed by the results.

You really should include the Sony V and TDK XP Super Pro tapes in your future
test.

BTW I own a JVC 7600

#11 of 22 OFFLINE   Jim A. Banville

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Posted June 11 2000 - 12:43 PM

I have a Mitsubishi VCR which has a "perfect-tape" function which is supposed to measure the frequency response on a tape in its low, medium and high ranges. Anyone know how reliable this thing is? I measured several tapes I had on hand (all used) a TDK EHG was the only one to measure above average. A new FUJI Pro, Sony V-120, and Maxell HGX all measured below average. I was hoping the Fugi Pro would be better Posted Image Guess I'll try ordering the Fugi Master via mailorder and trying it.

Jim
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#12 of 22 OFFLINE   Rachael B

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Posted June 11 2000 - 04:21 PM

If you want to see high,high colour saturation put the Fugi HR471S Pro S-VHS tapes to your tests.I get them for $7.99 but only use them for important stuff. I use the regular Fugi S-VHS tapes for common use.Keep a suspicious eye on Maxell,Tandy Corp. bought them out! I don't trust them! Best Wishes,Rachael!

------------------

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El teatro de casa es mucho cultura!
Rachael, the big disc cat is in real life Dot Mongur, Champion of the International Pacman Federation. You better be ready to rumble if you play Jr. Pacman with me. This is full contact Pacman and I don't just play the game, I operate it!


#13 of 22 OFFLINE   Mike Emery

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Posted June 11 2000 - 10:56 PM

I just ordered some broadcast-quality tapes to check out in my JVC 9600. I've been using Sony V, TDK XP Pro, and Maxell. I have a feeling I could do better than these. I'll let you know how the new ones look.

A note: I have a JVC 6900 which exhibits white horizontal dancing streaks (due to a design flaw....static discharge on the head drum is what I was told.) The ONLY tape I tried so far which eliminates this is the Sony V.

#14 of 22 OFFLINE   RoyGBiv

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Posted June 12 2000 - 12:14 AM

I have several SVHS VCRs and use them extensively for time shifting. I have just purchased the JVC 7600 but I don't use the ET feature because I wouldn't be able to play those tapes back on another machine. I have Sony, JVC, Maxell, TDK and Scotch S VHS tapes and can clearly tell the difference. One of the things I do is tape hockey games to delay watching. I will switch tapes two or three times during a game as I am watching (or 7 or 8 times if the game goes to 5 overtimes -- this is the only time TIVO or Replay might be nice) and can clearly tell the difference in picture quality between tapes. The best are always Maxell and TDK.

BTW, I also have a Mitsubishi VCR with the perfect tape feature and if you check the tape quality using that automatic system, these are also the two that always give the highest rating.

SMK

#15 of 22 OFFLINE   Jerome Grate

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Posted June 12 2000 - 12:49 AM

Well just got an order from tapewarehouse.com which included S-VHS tapes from TDK, JVC-XG & SV, Panasonic S-VHS tape and BASF (8.99). I'll be testing the Panasonic S-VHS and the BASF S-VHS tapes tonight with the Dolby Digital Demo disc with the trailers on a JVC-7600 S-VIDEO in. I'll let you guys know the results.

------------------
If loving Home Theater is
wrong, I don't want to be
right!!!
Listen Up People.., Rack Em and Pack Em.., We're Phantoms in 15.

#16 of 22 OFFLINE   Alex F.

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Posted June 12 2000 - 01:16 AM

Rachael:

Did you intend to say Memorex, which Tandy purchased several years ago? I had not heard about a buyout of Maxell.

#17 of 22 OFFLINE   Rachael B

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Posted June 12 2000 - 03:50 AM

I think they bought Maxell,if my memory serves me.I don't worry,Fugi is my brand so it doesn't matter to me.I have used Maxell P/I and ST-126BQ. I have an exercise tape on a P/I tape that's been played about 1500 times.I should throw it away and dub another one! It might have been a bad batch but I used to use the ST-126 BQs and they started having lots of dropouts...I started using Fugi and see no reason to change.I make my cable access TV show on HR471S 60 minute tapes.I use the 120s for recording stuff I consider special.The regular line is great for everyday use,me thinks.

------------------

Ms. Bitchlist
El teatro de casa es mucho cultura!
Rachael, the big disc cat is in real life Dot Mongur, Champion of the International Pacman Federation. You better be ready to rumble if you play Jr. Pacman with me. This is full contact Pacman and I don't just play the game, I operate it!


#18 of 22 OFFLINE   Alex F.

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Posted June 12 2000 - 08:17 AM

Rachael:

Out of curiosity, I did a little corporate research on Maxell. For the record, they remain a part of Hitachi (their official name is "Hitachi Maxell Ltd."), where they began in September 1960. They have two primary headquarters, Tokyo and Osaka, plus multiple facilities around the globe.

#19 of 22 OFFLINE   Rachael B

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Posted June 12 2000 - 05:18 PM

I'm glad I was wrong! I have used alot of Maxell audio tape over the years and some of their video tape.It gave me a kind of sick feeling thinking,yuk,Tandy had bought them.I'm relieved! I believe the Fugi 471S tape is superior to maxell's BQ tapes.The Fugi tapes have very few major dropouts.This has been a problem with the Maxells I used to use. Maybe I got the worst batch ever! Send these two tapes to the jury,I'm curious!

------------------

Ms. Bitchlist
El teatro de casa es mucho cultura!
Rachael, the big disc cat is in real life Dot Mongur, Champion of the International Pacman Federation. You better be ready to rumble if you play Jr. Pacman with me. This is full contact Pacman and I don't just play the game, I operate it!


#20 of 22 OFFLINE   Jim A. Banville

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Posted June 13 2000 - 05:23 AM

I picked up a Fuji S-VHS tape and popped it into my (regular VHS) Mitsubishi VCR. I turned on the PerfecTape function and tested the tape. Whereas most VHS tapes I've tried max out at around the 1/2 point on the three bar graphs, this tape nearly topped out all three bar graphs! Is it safe to use the S-VHS tape in my VHS machine? Do you think the Fuji Master would have near equal performance. The Circuit City drone said I was wasting my time with S-VHS tape in a VHS machine Posted Image

Jim
"Take away the CGI and action sequences in the Star Wars prequels and what do you have left? Bad writing and worse acting!"
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