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Old October 18th, 2002, 01:08 AM   #1
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VHS duplication amps

It's been a little while since we discussed this.

I'm just about at the stage where I'm making dups of my video.
I've decided (thanks to members of this forum) to use a miniDV deck as the player deck (instead of SVHS) and print to VHS decks.
I plan to have 5 VHS decks for now, maybe 10 later. Now, I have NO experience or real knowledge of duplicating, so I'd appreciate it if anyone could feed me the basics. Is it as simple as hooking player deck, through dup amp, to recording decks, putting in tapes and pushing play and record?

I also need to buy a video/duplication amplifier (and the VHS decks). Is there anywhere I might look for one localy, like Radio Shack? Where would I look in the yellow pages?

Thanks people!
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Old October 18th, 2002, 05:46 AM   #2
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Hey Dylan, you should probably avoid the Radio Shack stuff. Too much money for too little quality. Try either Elite Video or Studio One for distribution amps with much greater bang for buck.

http://www.elitevideo.com/product.asp?0=209&1=219&3=24
http://www.studio1productions.com/da12.htm

See also:

http://www.studio1productions.com/Articles/DupSystem.htm
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Old October 21st, 2002, 06:31 PM   #3
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I wasn't even sure that Radio Shack would carry them.
That first unit looks great, but it may be too much for my budget. I'll have to check and see.

A few more duplication questions:

Do all similar brand name VCRs (4-head, hi-fi, stereo) produce the same recording quality?

I can buy a miniDV camcorder as a playing deck, or I can buy a DVD-burner for my computer and burn a master copy on DVD, which will then let me use my much cheaper DVD player as a playing deck for the duplication system. Which do you guys think would be better?
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Old October 21st, 2002, 07:02 PM   #4
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Y'mean you don't already have a mini-DV camcorder?
:-)
I have used both methods. The mini DV has the advantage of not having to wait for a DVD to process (typically 4 hours for every hour of video). I just go straight from Final Cut Pro and tell it "Print to Video" so it will record thru the Firewire to my mini DV camcorder. For a bonus, if you have your A/V cables hooked up from the camcorder to the D/A, you can make your first batch of dubs on the fly while the digital master is being recorded.
For a D/A I just use a humble little Cable Electronics Model 700 (7 outputs) but that Elite Video unit has a nice feature: S-Video input...(and Elite Video are a nice bunch of people to do biz with)
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Old October 22nd, 2002, 11:27 PM   #5
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Do XL1's count as miniDV? :)
j/k
I'd prefer not to use an XL1 as a duplication deck. I know it will probably last thousands of hours, but still, I'd prefer not to eat those hours up making copies. It looks for this job that I will be using it though. I'm going to save the $800 on a cheap miniDV camera and put the 15 hours (x5 VHS tapes per hour) on the XL1, just so I can get some money coming back in. After that, I will see about getting a miniDV deck, or do the DVD burner thing.


About VCRs though, do all the major brand name consummer VCRs produce the same quality recorded picture?
Do 19micron heads make a picture difference over a regular 4head VCR?
Do any VCRs have a feature that can be used to keep the screen from going blue when there is a weaker signal? I hear this is a good feature for duplication.
Thanks
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Old October 23rd, 2002, 01:44 AM   #6
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You know Dylan, Super VHS VCR's aren't all that expensive these days. If I were in your position, I'd buy about four inexpensive Super VHS decks and make my dupes that way. An S-VHS deck spits out a much nicer VHS copy than a regular VHS deck will.
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Old October 23rd, 2002, 09:56 PM   #7
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I was looking at VCRs today. $120cdn for a 4 head hifi stereo name brand deck (Toshiba, Hitatchi, Sony). S-VHS deck (forget the brand) $180. Pretty similar. I think I'll get one and compare it to my regular VCR. I'll let you know how it works out!
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Old October 24th, 2002, 08:47 AM   #8
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Dylan,

Something you might want to check out is the Kramer VS-4X4YC Vertical Interval Switcher. I use one of these with four JVC SVHS decks and it makes for a very versatile arrangement. The Kramer box is a 4X4 Matrix switch which allows any input to be routed to any or all outputs. All inputs and outputs are Y/C and Composite plus stereo audio. It does not do Y/C->Composite conversion.

Most of my work right now is VHS, so by connecting my NLE to one input, I can make four copies at once directly from the computer and then use one of those as a master and make three at a time while editing other projects.

http://www.kramerelectronics.com/group2/vs4x4ycpic.html

I bought mine from BTX.com for $412. Their website doesn't have a very good description although the printed catalog is better. The BTX product number is VP-MS44YC. About the only other dealer I found was Markertek, but they want over $100 more.
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Old October 24th, 2002, 11:49 AM   #9
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Ed, that's a nice piece of equipment. However, I think in the future I'm (hopefully) going to need something that runs a lot more decks. That only outputs 4 at a time, correct?
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Old October 24th, 2002, 02:24 PM   #10
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It's a 4 X 4 matrix switcher (router). It does not necessarily have a DA built in, most don't. It gives you the ability of sending multiple sources to multiple destination within the matrix, simultaneously.

Jeff
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Old October 24th, 2002, 03:31 PM   #11
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Most VCR's also output (mirror) the signals they get for recording. My experience is that these output signals (often used for monitoring) are an (alfmost) perfect copy of the input signals (bandwidth, noise, chroma...) and certainly more than good enough for 4 "feed throughs" if only VHS quality is needed. So just chainlink the vcr's a wait for buying distribution amps. B.t.w. Video matrixes are of no uses for copying work and thus a complete waste of money.
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Old October 24th, 2002, 04:19 PM   #12
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<<B.t.w. Video matrixes are of no uses for copying work and thus a complete waste of money.>>

For mass duplication operations, you may be correct dre..., but it has been quite valuable to me. It has eliminated a bunch of cable swapping that I had to do before, depending on what I was copying, and by connecting one output to my monitor, I can monitor any of the four inputs by pushing a button. Product literature also states that one application could be as a 1X4 DA or two 1X2 DAs, so I'm assuming that this particular unit does have DAs built in, but I might be wrong about that. Your statement that it is a complete waste of money is not true in my case.

Dylan, this model does only have four outputs, but if you believe dre..., you could daisy chain 4 units on each channel and still have some flexibility to make copies of more than one master tape at a time. I currently daisy chain two of my decks on one channel and agree that there is no noticable difference in the copies, but I haven't tried more than two.
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Old October 24th, 2002, 05:18 PM   #13
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Agree Ed. It's the way to go if you have multiple sources to switch. Although I used to design routers, (and my company still sells them for ATC applics) I don't know of cheaper ones but the VI switching certainly boosts the price. It's only usefull if you want to use it for live switching in a genlocked environment. I also read that you use a copy as a master. I would not advise to do so. Not only the lower quality, but the timebase instabilities deteriorate the quality, unless you add a TBC.
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Old October 24th, 2002, 06:01 PM   #14
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A router certainly has a place in duplication facilities. It allows the sourcing from many different VCR's without the hassle of rewiring every time you want to make a dupe. One of the outputs is generally to a DA or series of DAs depending on the number of VCRs. Daisy chaining the VHS VCR's is not recommended for the best quality (do you want this client to come back to you or is this a one time deal?).

Since you're sourcing from mini DV a TBC is not necessary. If you source from analog a TBC is highly recommended to maintain signal quality.

Jeff
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Old October 25th, 2002, 04:23 AM   #15
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Jeff, I first advise you to reread ED's post from oct 24, then you will understand why a he needs a TBC. Secondly, VHS never exceeds bandwidths beyond 3Mhz. Active feedthroughs in VCR's have bandwidths exceeding 10Mhz (in Y and C channels). So daisy chaining is OK and I hope Ed will one day try it ( hopefully before he waste his money with a distribution amplifier) and report to this forum. And of course a duplication facility needs apart from several types of source machines, TBC's...also routers (without VI switching).
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