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ADS Pyro A/V Link vs. Canopus ADVC 110

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Stuart Pearl
ADS Pyro A/V Link vs. Canopus ADVC 110
on Mar 1, 2005 at 12:21:16 am

Being new to this site I apologize for having posted this in the wrong forum initially.

I’m trying to decide between the ADS Pyro A/V Link w/Premiere Elements and the Canopus ADVC 110 for a project to convert our old analog VHS and Hi8 home movies to DVD. I’m looking in the $150 - $300 range as I feel this is necessary to get a quality prosumer device that I can figure out without wasting a lot of time.

At nearly twice the price of the ADS, the Canopus seems to offer superior image and hardware capabilities (and better quality control per some posts; ie- earlier ADS firmware/dropped frame issues). But it may be overkill for my needs – hopefully other users can offer their experiences here. I don’t mind spending a little more for quality gear if that’s what it takes to get the job done; but you don’t really need a Cadillac to run for groceries if a Chevy will get you to the store just fine.

I’ll be converting standard VHS tapes made from 1984-1995, and Hi8 tapes shot from 1996 to the present. All footage wash shot on quality media and stored in a dust free climate controlled environment (house has A/C, no basement or attic storage). The movies still appear to be in very good condition. By converting these tapes I’m looking mainly for preservation, not George Lucas. Special effects gimmicks are not my goal. I’d like to do a little authoring/chaptering, add basic titling as well as a little cleanup in situations where the shooting conditions were less than ideal. I realize you get what you pay for, but don’t want to overbuy a pro level item if a moderately priced prosumer item will do the job well.

All work will be performed on a new Dell Dimension 8400 with 3.4Ghz CPU, 2GB of 533Mhz RAM, 160GB SATA int. HD, 120GB external firewire HD; both drives are 7200 rpm, Plextor PX 716A DVD Burner.

Although ADS has a very good rep for quality gear, I’m concerned by posts and articles I’ve read regarding frame drop and synchronization problems for the Pyro A/V. Has this been corrected with more recent models and firmware upgrades?

Is this primarily an issue with older and/or slower computers attempting to convert poor analog tapes? On the plus side the Pyro seems a little more robust than the cheaper stuff, users do like it, and this model comes bundled with Premiere Elements. Adobe makes excellent software.

By comparison the Canopus ADVC 110 supports locked video (the Pyro at approx. $159 does not?) which would reduce or eliminate dropped frames “assuring perfect audio and video synchronization” according to the brochure. But, there’s no software bundle – a minor annoyance – and unless I have 6-pin firewire port in my PC, I’ll have to buy an external power supply. This will further drive up the approx. $289 cost of the Canopus There’s no question this is a fine unit, but is it really more than I need?

Considering the power and currency of my PC and the good condition in which my tapes have been maintained, should I just ignore the negative comments on the Pyro A/V? Thanks in advance. - Stu






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