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Judging the condition of your Video Heads

A great deal of the video playback quality quality depends on the condition of your video heads. This is why many VCR manufacturers often suggested changing the video heads after 1000 hours of use.

Now that there's no new heads available, we all have to get by with used ones. On a used video head, wear is sometimes hard to judge without the right equipment. However, a good indicator is in the VCR's ability to play back tapes with HiFi sound. A worn video head starts to be fussier about setting up the HiFi sound. The video head drum contains several "head tips" some are used for the video signal, and others are used for the HiFi sound. 

Test your VCR using several HiFi tapes. With the TBC turned "off", load a tape and don't adjust the tracking. If your VCR sets up both the HiFi sound and the picture within 4 seconds of loading, it usually has good heads. It's important to mention, however, that a VCR that is out of alignment, can often produce a clear video picture but no HiFi sound.

Tip: when playing back HiFi sound, look for an illuminated "HiFi" icon on the front of your VCR. Don't assume the HiFi heads are working, if the HiFi heads are bad, the sound defaults to the linear audio soundtrack.

At TGrant Photo, our reconditioned VCRs always have the best available video heads. Heads in poor condition or heads that won't play HiFi always end up in the trash!

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