OT: recommendations for for Mini-DV deck - NOT JVC

ScottW wrote on 3/21/2005, 4:48 PM
Sometime back I purchased a JVC SR-VS30U to do my captures to PC; I recently discovered (after much troubleshooting) that the dang thing is dropping frames - not just one or 2, but 5-8 typically at a time; it didn't used to do this, but now can't seem to go longer than 4 minutes without dropping. A little research on the net seems to suggest that this deck is well known for dropping frames.

As this is the third time I've been burnt by poor quality JVC equipment (I've got 2 DVD/VHS recorders that have thermal issues if left plugged in too long), I have no desire to purchase another JVC product. However, surfing around B&H's web site doesn't suggest many alternatives for a mini-DV deck, which doesn't mean they don't exist, just that I have to look someplace else other than B&H.

Can anyone recommend a reliable mini-DV deck? It need not have all the features that the SR-VS30U has. I guess one option would be to get a cheap single CCD camcorder and use it as my deck.



Coursedesign wrote on 3/21/2005, 5:10 PM
The least expensive deck that works all the time and reads the tapes others can't read is the Sony DSR-11. It's about $1600.

Only silly thing is that you will probably break the little plastic door within a week or so, but you don't need to have that door to use it.

JJKizak wrote on 3/21/2005, 5:21 PM
I have JVC, Panasonic, Sony decks that I use sparingly but have never had any problems other than dirty heads. Hard use I can't say. The Mini-DV Deck is the Panasonic AGDV-1000.

Yoyodyne wrote on 3/21/2005, 5:24 PM
We had a bunch of JVC 600s I think they were - finally replaced em' all with dsr-ll's. Those doors are pesky though!
filmy wrote on 3/21/2005, 5:26 PM
When did you get your deck Scott? And have you gotten ahold of JVC and talked to them directly about the issue?
craftech wrote on 3/21/2005, 6:09 PM
And have you gotten ahold of JVC and talked to them directly about the issue?
JVC ranks at the bottom of the big three for customer service and quality control. None of them are great, but their products don't go bad as often as JVC products do. The Panasonic AG-DV2500 would be a good choice IMO.

BarryGreen wrote on 3/21/2005, 7:23 PM
Actually, the AG-DV2500 is one of the few products that is shared between Panasonic and JVC. I have the JVC version, the BR-DV3000, and it's identical in all ways to the AG-DV2500 (except it's black, and was $100 less).

I'm not thrilled with it. It's not bad, but I swear it causes more "sparkly" dropouts than playing the footage back from my DVX does. That bothers me.

If I had it to do over again, I'd definitely get the DSR-11 instead. It's only a little more, and it doesn't have the (fairly useless) audio meter readout, but the DVCAM recording capability would be worth it. I used to do a half-hour local TV show, and delivering a full half-hour with no dropouts at all was tough with the JVC deck, I'd feel much more confident delivering it on DVCAM.
InterceptPoint wrote on 3/21/2005, 8:10 PM
I bought a JVC SR-VS30U about a year ago. It had a power supply failure after about a month but JVC fixed it quickly and I have not had any problems since with one exception that might apply to your issue.

I have a Sony TRV-900 and have always used Sony tape. The VS30U reads these tapes perfectly. All except one, alll of the sudden. To resolve the issue of camera versus bad tape, I switched to Panasonic tape. The result was that the SR-VS30U dropped frames from the Panasonic at about a 5% rate. Totally unuseable tape. Tried it with a second Panasonic tape and got the same result.

I went back to Sony tape and have never seen the problem again.

The message for you is that you might just try a different tape brand. The SR-VS30U is certainly sensitive to some difference in brands and that could be your problem.
ScottW wrote on 3/21/2005, 8:29 PM
Would that I could get in touch with JVC. I tried to contact them about my issues with the DVD/VHS machines - hah! good luck. ANout the only thing it looks like I can do is basically send the equipment to the closest authorized service center and hope for the best - even when I tried to call the service center all I got was a recording.
ScottW wrote on 3/21/2005, 8:34 PM
InterceptPoint - thanks for the suggestion about the tape; I may give this a try though I've been using Sony tape - midrange stuff. If I have a chabce I'll try the premium Sony tape and I have a few panasonic tapes floating around I can try.

Still it's frustrating. My XL1s can move the video across to the PC fine (source tape was from 2 different GL2's), but not the JVC deck.

Well, live and learn.
Stonefield wrote on 3/21/2005, 9:19 PM
I know I've asked this before but there seems to be a lot of new names here and I gotta see if I'm not crazy...

I SWEAR that when the Panasonic AG-DVX100 first came out, there was a sister product that came out that was basically the DVX camcorder only without the huge lens. It was just the tape deck part of it. Not sure if it had a built in LCD screen or not but I swear I saw this little deck online.

If anyone knows what I"m referring to, or remembers what I'm talkin about, please post a link to a pic of it if possible.
filmy wrote on 3/21/2005, 10:01 PM
FWIW I also have the same unit and not had any issues with it - that is why I asked how long you have had it. JVC makes solid products IMO. I have had a JVC S-VHS deck for going on 20 years now that has not had any issues. Still on the original heads and all.

We all have sides. Sony sucks big time, they have sh**** customer service and I have heard story after story about how they take their sweet time with any sort of repair or service issue. I hear this from people who deal with Sony gear day in and day out, I experianced Sony's crap first hand after September 11...the world in mourning and Sony too busy maerketing their "Make it a new day tommorrow" deal to give a flying ****. But yet people always recomend Sony gear despite how crummy Sony is. JVC on the other hand - much to my surprise they are more than willing to help out with even the simplest issues. I even had the VP of JVC Pro call me to answer some questions I had.

If you do a search you can find many people with issues about mixing tape stock, playback from XL cameras verse deck playback and so on. I only use Panasonic stock in my deck and camera. I clean my heads before all major projects.

Don't get me wrong - I too have heard about frame drops with the deck. I just have not had it happen. Hopefully it never will but if it does I will pick up the phone and call JVC.
ScottW wrote on 3/22/2005, 5:18 AM
FIlmy, thanks for the suggestions!

I'm not saying that JVC doesn't make good products - it's just my experience with 3 of them have been very poor, hence when I look to replace the deck I have, I won't be looking at JVC.

To have 2 of the exact same model of VHS/DVD combo units fail in exactly the same way doesn't seem very good to me, and then to find a number of poor reviews on the net for my deck, all describing the exact same symptoms....

FWIW, the deck didn't drop frames when I first got it about 9 months ago - 5-8 frames is a large gap and it's something I would have noticed. The frame drop behavior started about 1 month ago. Hopefully this is something you won't encounter on your deck.

I have tried to call JVC - so far I have not been able to speak to a human, no matter what options I use on their phone answering system.

farss wrote on 3/22/2005, 6:06 AM
We are in the process of getting rid of our last piece of JVC junk, the 500 is a great camera if you can somehow get JVC to fix it, we didn't care what it costs, we just wanted the bleeding thing fixed and you'd think six goes should have been enough, nah. Next job it goes out on half way through a wedding the thing bluntly refuses to eject the tape. Imagine how impressed the client was with that. Yeah sure, great pictures on the tape, pity you needed half an hour with a screwdriver to get the thing out of the transport. So after that debacle JVC finally took our pleading to heart and replaced the entire transport (yeah at our cost, that was never an issue). Well things have gotten a bit better, tapes don't get jammed now, just a crap shoot every time you load a tape if it'll snap the tape loading it or not.
Our worse experience with Sony service, we had to take a camera back a second time once for a very obscure tracking problem, tapes recorded in it in when played back on some VCRs would drop TC.
If you want a good, reliable deck get the DSR-11. It'll handle DV and DVCAM and the large tapes and it'll do NTSC and PAL. The only deck that's really got anything better is the DSR 2000 and they cost huge amounts but if a 2000 will not track a tape nothing will.
Ah, just one word of warning, the DSR-11 from what I've seen will NOT play anything recorded in LP, don't know why you'd want it to anyway.
Cheno wrote on 3/22/2005, 6:40 AM
I've got both the JVC BR3000U and have had nothing but problems with it. So many in fact that it just sits and collects dust. Sending it back to JVC for the second time here shortly.

The DSR-11 is a workhorse. I've had some playback problems with mine with low hours but it's the nature of DV. Keep it clean, have it serviced regularly and it should provide you with a good lifespan.