VIDEO CAMERA 1993

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GRAND SLAM

 

INTRO

Super VHS video recorders have been pretty thin on the ground lately but Mitsubishi are doing their best to make up for the shortfall with the M1000, the long-awaited replacement for the ageing B82

 

COPY

Super VHS has had only limited success as a home recording format, the lack of any pre-recorded software has been a major hindrance, and it's not helped by the fact that S-VHS recordings of off-air TV programmes do not look significantly better than those made on normal VHS machines. One area where the system has been welcomed though, is in video movie-making, where it is the preferred medium for editing from high-band camcorders, and mastering copies onto standard VHS, minimising quality losses.

 

Mitsubishi have long championed the cause of Super VHS and have been at the forefront of this particular technology, so the M1000 has a lot to live up to, not least the fact that it replaces the B82, one of the best specified Super VHS machines to date. In the past Mitsubishi's S-VHS machines have been a breed apart but it's a sign of the times that the M1000 is based on the HS-M59, one of their existing VHS decks. They've tried hard to differentiate the two models by giving the M1000 and its remote control handset a distinctive silver livery. We rarely feel the urge to comment on VCR colour schemes, they all look pretty much the same, but the M1000 sticks out like a sore thumb. Silver harks back to an earlier age -- about five years ago --when brushed aluminium was all the rage on video and audio equipment; the M100 looks distinctly odd next to currently fashionable black and anthracite-coloured boxes.

 

Like most Mitsubishi video products the M1000 is loaded with features, some really useful, others less so; the one's we're interested in are those directly concerned with editing and picture quality; we're pleased to report they include the four essential facilities that determine whether or not a VCR deserves to be called an edit deck, they are insert edit, audio (and video dub), front-mounted AV terminal and a jog-shuttle dial. In addition the M1000 has a pre-roll mode and edit terminal which are used when this machine is connected to another compatible Mitsubishi VCR, simplifying deck to deck editing and copying.

 

Mitsubishi are famous for giving every tweak and widget a name or acronym which is usually plastered all over the front panel; they've been a little more discrete with the M1000 and only the Digital DCF, double SCART sockets, front AV terminal, AV dub and 16:9 compatibility makes it to the fascia. DCF, by the way, stands for dynamic comb filter, which reduces colour patterning and bleed. That's not to say the M1000 is any way short of acronyms, look closer and you will discover that it also has Twin IP (intelligent picture) playback, which controls sharpness, according to tape grade and signal quality, DJ4 recording heads, PA noise correction, and  New SSS (swift servo system) which gets a picture onto the screen in double quick time. Whilst they were at it Mitsubishi have also reduced switching noise on the stereo hi-fi recording system, and included NTSC replay (to most recent PAL TVs), date recording and one-button timer programming.

 

IN USE

Routine functions, such as time and date setting, tuning and timer programming are all helped by a clear and easy to follow menu-driven on-screen display. This also puts up useful status indicators, including tape transport mode, real-time counter, channel name and number and tape remaining. Just about everything can be controlled from the handset, which sports the machines one and only jog/shuttle dial, for quick and accurate control over the machine's impressive array of trick-play facilities. Control layout and operation are both  good, the machine is generally predictable and very well behaved, as it should be.

 

PERFORMANCE

The M1000 holds very few surprises, it's almost an old friend and apart from the silvery cosmetics and extra circuitry and switches needed for the Super VHS recording system there's not too many differences between it and the M59, which we road-tested in the May issue. The M1000 test results echo the M59 with the horizontal resolution on VHS recordings just above 250-lines, noise levels were lower than average and colour accuracy is exceptionally good. In the S-VHS mode horizontal resolution climbed to just over 400-lines, and if anything noise levels were even lower, producing a clear, sharp and well-defined picture. Picture stability during still and trick-frame replay was exceptional, and insert editing cut-points were clean and noise-free.

 

The impact of noise any suppression circuits on the hi-fi tracks is hard to judge, the M100, like the M59 before it sounds very good indeed, and the manual recording levels controls will be welcomed by anyone interested in serious post production. Mitsubishi VCRs with stereo sound systems have been criticised in the past for clicky soundtracks, sometimes blamed on auto tracking systems; we are happy to say that we have not experienced any problems, and our sample emerged with a clean bill of health.

 

VERDICT

The B82 was a fine machine but it had been around for over two and a half years, which makes it almost an antique, as far as VCRs are concerned. The M1000 has most of the B82's most important features, plus a few new ones besides and picture performance is comparable; furthermore it's smaller, lighter and cheaper. Normally at this point in a summary there's a few ifs and buts.  Not this time, the M1000 receives an unconditional commendation, though if anyone at Mitsubishi is listening we wouldn't mind the option of a black, or anthracite finish, in fact any colour except silver...

 

SPECIFICATIONS

Make/model                   Mitsubishi HS-M1000

Recording format           S-VHS-C/VHS

Guide price                    800

 

 

VIDEO DECK

Max playing time              8-hours (E-240 tape, LP speed)

Timer                                31-days/8-events

Tape speed (mm/sec)       23.39(SP), 11.70(LP)

Remote control                 full-function, inc. jog/shuttle

 

VIDEO

System                              Super VHS/VHS, PAL, SP/LP, HQ, NTSC replay

Replay speeds                  14x, 7x, 3x, 2x, 1/5x, 1/10x, 1/28 normal speed, both directions

 

AUDIO

System                            FM stereo hi-fi, mono linear

Main facilities                 NICAM stereo, insert edit, audio dub, quick-start deck, 16:9 record & replay, NTSC replay, unified VCR/TV remote control, auto head cleaning, index search, intro scan, child lock, on-screen displays, auto recording speed, date recording, blank portion search, encore replay, time search, front-AV terminal, next function memory, one-key timer programming, edit control & pre-roll (with compatible Mitsubishi VCR)

 

GENERAL

Sockets                           rear: 2 x SCART AV in/out, stereo line audio output, edit control (phono) S-video in, RF bypass; front: S-Video in, composite video and stereo audio in (phono), headphones and microphone (minijack)

 

Size (mm)                       425 x 100 x 354    

Weight                           6.7 kg

 

PERFORMANCE

Resolution                   >400-lines (S-Video), >250-lines (composite VHS)

Colour fidelity              excellent

Trick play stability       excellent   

Colour bleed                none          

Audio performance      very good

Edit functions               very good

 

VC RATINGS

Value for money         9

Ease of use                 8

Performance               9

Features                     9

 

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(c) R Maybury 1993 1105

 

 

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