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  #1  
03-07-2021, 07:43 PM
MarioGuy789 MarioGuy789 is offline
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Hello all, this is my first post on this forum, I apologize if this question has been asked before, but I've been perusing various posts on this specific topic and haven't found much in the way of an answer. I'm not sure if this is due to me phrasing my concern in the wrong way, but I'll give it my best go here.

I recently invested in a good D-VHS VCR for transferring my collection of mostly prerecorded consumer tapes in the best quality that I could get. The model I chose was the Japanese Victor HM-DHX1, which is just the JVC HM-DH40000U, except more affordable in my specific case. I received the unit in the mail some time ago and confirmed all the operations I could shy of being able to read and speak Japanese. I have actually been able to capture feed direct into my PC via the unit's FireWire (i.link) capabilities, but what bugs me is that I can't seem to figure out if it's possible to listen to the audio that's being captured over the FireWire connection at the same time it's being transferred.

Thus far, I have tried using Vegas Movie Studio 13 Platinum for capturing, which did work, but as I said previously, I was not able to hear the audio as the transfer was happening, only when the transfer was complete and I had the recorded tracks in the timeline could I hear the audio. I used this version of Vegas because newer versions (like 18, which I use for video editing) do not have the ability to capture from FireWire anymore, or at least, that's what I read.

If there are any other pieces of software that I can potentially use to preview the audio while the recording is happening, I'd very much appreciate it.

Thanks for your time.
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  #2  
03-08-2021, 05:16 AM
timtape timtape is offline
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A workaround I have is a standard stereo hifi amplifier with quality speakers. It allows me to switch from the PC's audio output to the playback VCR's audio outputs. It also gives me a headphone output with or without the speakers, and separate volume, balance and tone controls for listening comfort while transferring.

For me, the audio capture quality is just as important as the video, and good monitoring is an essential part of that.
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  #3  
03-08-2021, 12:09 PM
latreche34 latreche34 is offline
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Use CapDVHS software, Don't worry about audio, it will be captured in the stream. You can also capture with VLC and you should be able to see the video and hear the sound.
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  #4  
03-08-2021, 08:34 PM
MarioGuy789 MarioGuy789 is offline
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@latreche34

Thanks for the suggestion of VLC, I have actually gotten it to work perfectly. I do have one last question though: I'm not sure if it has to do with the unit being a Japanese model, but for some reason the left and right audio channels appear to be exact copies of each other, no matter whether I'm plugged in via FireWire or by composite audio in my media room. I followed along the best I could with the HM-DH40000U manual, but I'm not sure if there's something I'm missing. Other than that, thanks a bunch to both of you!
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  #5  
03-08-2021, 09:40 PM
timtape timtape is offline
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If it was a mono recording, by definition left and right channels will be the same and the sound will emanate from the centre, between the speakers. Some recordings may be mono but recorded on just one channel. Normally in editing we centre this active track and mute the other as having the mono sound come from way over one side of the picture sounds weird.

Last edited by timtape; 03-08-2021 at 09:53 PM.
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  #6  
03-08-2021, 10:24 PM
MarioGuy789 MarioGuy789 is offline
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@timtape

That makes sense, I'm just not sure what the proportion is of mono-mixed consumer tapes is to those mixed to stereo. After capturing I was going to what you already suggested and just center the mix in editing, I've had to do this in several different projects before, so that's not a problem. Thanks for your explanation, I do believe I'm ready to begin transferring to digital now.

Actually, one more concern (I know I already said that, but I actually want to know if this is relevant): In the user manual, JVC specifies a certain type of cassette for cleaning D-Theater heads rather than just standard Maxell or what have you. I'm not sure if this needs to be taken into great account, since I've never owned a D-Theater machine before, and I don't want to risk damaging it by using the incorrect kind of head cleaner, as I've read about DV cameras getting destroyed by using the wet head cleaner or something like that. If I remember correctly it's on a brand-by-brand basis.
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03-08-2021, 10:39 PM
latreche34 latreche34 is offline
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There is no difference between D-VHS and S-VHS/VHS machines heads, The same cleaning procedure applies to both, Don't use cleaning tapes unless you don't want to open the machine.
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  #8  
03-09-2021, 12:22 AM
timtape timtape is offline
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It still leaves a question in my mind why JVC seems to have recommended a special cleaning tape for that digital model. I've serviced a few HD DV machines and from memory, in HD mode the video heads spin much faster than with standard DV. If the digital VHS format spins the heads faster than in analog VHS, perhaps the cleaning tape needs to be different too? I dont know. Just a thought.
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  #9  
03-09-2021, 10:56 AM
MarioGuy789 MarioGuy789 is offline
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@timtape

I'm not sure either, I'm just going off what I saw in the manual, which it states on page 5: "Use a cleaning tape designed specifically for D-VHS video heads (JVC D-VHS video head cleaner DFC-2) to clean the video heads." I'm sure this is in part to sell you more of their own products, and while I'd assume the best way to clean heads is to actually open the machine and do it manually, I just don't want to mess anything up permanently by doing so, which is why I'm asking, because I'm also not sure what the best method of cleaning is once I get into the machine itself.
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  #10  
03-09-2021, 11:22 AM
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Best = open, clean.
90%+ IPA
Not cotton, no open-cell foam.
The "copy paper method" is what I now use, as good swabs are impossible to find now.

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  #11  
03-09-2021, 03:11 PM
MarioGuy789 MarioGuy789 is offline
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@lordsmurf

So standard copy paper, not cloths, swabs, tissue paper, or anything else, correct? Are glasses/screen cleaning cloths also not good? I do have 90%+ alcohol and a good amount of copy paper just laying around, so that's a good start.

I'll have to open up my machine carefully because sometimes during play there's a bit of a squeaking sound and I'm not sure what that's about. I've also had a single incident where the tape got stuck in the loader while trying to eject, but I unplugged and plugged the unit back in and it was fine. I guess the loading mechanism is slow for some reason, maybe I can provide more information on that also when I get the chance. The unit functions fine otherwise.
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  #12  
03-09-2021, 03:19 PM
latreche34 latreche34 is offline
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Yes D-VHS heads spin faster in D-VHS mode than in S-VHS/VHS mode but it doesn't make them special, The exact same tape formulation is used for both S-VHS and D-VHS so why they use a different head cleaner. Yes manufacturers want to sell you stuff for more money, S-VHS tapes are labeled D-VHS, miniDV tapes are labeled HDV, UHF/VHF antennas are labeled HD and 4K antennas... I can go on but you got the picture.
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  #13  
03-10-2021, 10:34 PM
MarioGuy789 MarioGuy789 is offline
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So, I do have some other questions which go beyond the scope of this initial topic, most of which I think are relatively straightforward.

1. I've seen a couple of users state that capturing analog signals for digital transfer is ultimately inferior than just using digital, such as FireWire in my case, because all imperfections are preserved in analog. I want to know, for the sake of saving me money at this point, if VCRs with HDMI out (like the Victor HM-DHX2 or equivalent) are worth my time if I'm not concerned with D-VHS captures, as I can't get any more quality out of an image than was already there.

2. My new VCR has digital audio out, however, I have no way of actually capturing that, as most capture cards don't support optical cables or coaxial digital, at least not from what I've been able to gather (not that it matters anyway because the digital sound gets transferred via FireWire anyway). If I were capturing, say, my LaserDisc collection, should I get a player that has optical/digital out over the one I have currently which doesn't? How much of a difference does digital audio really make? (I'm not an audiophile and I'm quite deaf to sound differences if they aren't immediately obvious).

3. On the subject of LaserDiscs, the way I capture them is by running the S-Video and composite audio out into an upscaler, and then across HDMI into my PC's capture card (don't worry, I've made sure to preserve the 4:3 aspect ratio). As I mentioned earlier, analog capture is not as good as digital, but in the case of LaserDisc, no players (that I'm aware of) support anything higher than S-Video, except for some Elite models which have Y/Pb/Pr out, but that's just for the DVD Player, if I recall correctly. Long and short, is this pretty much the best I can do in this case? The only real analog capture card I have is the crappy ElGato one, so I'm not sure if running my signals through that raw would be a downgrade or not. The upscaler is more meant for game consoles than recorded media, it's a Retrotink 2x Pro, though I'm not sure if this is beyond the scope of this forum.

Anyway, sorry for the barrage and getting far off topic from my original post, I'll ask all of these separately in appropriate threads if requested.

Thanks guys.
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  #14  
03-11-2021, 02:49 AM
latreche34 latreche34 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarioGuy789 View Post
1. I've seen a couple of users state that capturing analog signals for digital transfer is ultimately inferior than just using digital, such as FireWire in my case, because all imperfections are preserved in analog. I want to know, for the sake of saving me money at this point, if VCRs with HDMI out (like the Victor HM-DHX2 or equivalent) are worth my time if I'm not concerned with D-VHS captures, as I can't get any more quality out of an image than was already there.
For NTSC, Best capture from S-Video to lossless AVI, Good via D-VHS deck into MPEG-2 and okay via S-Video to DV.
For PAL, AVI lossless, then DV and lastly MPEG-2

Quote:
2. My new VCR has digital audio out, however, I have no way of actually capturing that, as most capture cards don't support optical cables or coaxial digital, at least not from what I've been able to gather (not that it matters anyway because the digital sound gets transferred via FireWire anyway). If I were capturing, say, my LaserDisc collection, should I get a player that has optical/digital out over the one I have currently which doesn't? How much of a difference does digital audio really make? (I'm not an audiophile and I'm quite deaf to sound differences if they aren't immediately obvious).
Some people prefer the multi track digital audio out of laser discs, if you are a stereo guy then don't worry about it.

Quote:
3. On the subject of LaserDiscs, the way I capture them is by running the S-Video and composite audio out into an upscaler, and then across HDMI into my PC's capture card (don't worry, I've made sure to preserve the 4:3 aspect ratio). As I mentioned earlier, analog capture is not as good as digital, but in the case of LaserDisc, no players (that I'm aware of) support anything higher than S-Video, except for some Elite models which have Y/Pb/Pr out, but that's just for the DVD Player, if I recall correctly. Long and short, is this pretty much the best I can do in this case? The only real analog capture card I have is the crappy ElGato one, so I'm not sure if running my signals through that raw would be a downgrade or not. The upscaler is more meant for game consoles than recorded media, it's a Retrotink 2x Pro, though I'm not sure if this is beyond the scope of this forum.
Laser disc is a composite format, therefore it is best captured as is in composite to lossless AVI, HDMI is the worst method of all methods mentioned above.
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  #15  
03-11-2021, 06:31 PM
MarioGuy789 MarioGuy789 is offline
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@latreche34

Thanks for your explanation, but I'd like to enquire why specifically HDMI is the worst method of transferring/recording analog media, I'm not doubting you, I just don't know why this is and I'd like to be better informed. I know that upscaling is more of an issue that's geared toward gamers, and since I am one, I got an upscaler I could use to output in "higher quality." I'm not sure if that's just simply buzz words because HDMI is versatile and is the standard for high definition and 4K. I know that I can't get any more quality out of an image than was already present, as I said earlier, but why is digital upscaling less good for this type of stuff? I saw you list capturing S-video was better for VHS than FireWire, again, I just want to know why.
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  #16  
03-11-2021, 07:45 PM
latreche34 latreche34 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarioGuy789 View Post
@latreche34

Thanks for your explanation, but I'd like to enquire why specifically HDMI is the worst method of transferring/recording analog media, I'm not doubting you, I just don't know why this is and I'd like to be better informed. I know that upscaling is more of an issue that's geared toward gamers, and since I am one, I got an upscaler I could use to output in "higher quality." I'm not sure if that's just simply buzz words because HDMI is versatile and is the standard for high definition and 4K. I know that I can't get any more quality out of an image than was already present, as I said earlier, but why is digital upscaling less good for this type of stuff? I saw you list capturing S-video was better for VHS than FireWire, again, I just want to know why.
It's not the HDMI port fault, It's great for HD and 4k contents, But analog video doesn't work that way, You want to capture lossless first in 4:2:2 and once you have the lossless content you can do de-interlacing, frame edge treatment, resizing or upscaling if you want all in software, When you do all the above on the fly via an HDMI processing every artifact is baked in and cannot be reversed.
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  #17  
03-11-2021, 07:54 PM
MarioGuy789 MarioGuy789 is offline
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@latreche34

Okay, so I guess the next question is what the best capture device for S-Video and other composite media is, because, as I said before, all I have is the ElGato analog capture card, which I've been told is not that great, which is why I invested in an upscaler which accepts all composite media and outputs over HDMI so that I can run that into my better capture card and capture live, then edit, but as you've just told me, this is less preferable.
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  #18  
03-11-2021, 09:32 PM
latreche34 latreche34 is offline
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If the elgato is a S-Video capture device you can still give it a shot, Put a VHS tape in your D-VHS deck, hook it up to elgato via a S-Video cable, Make sure the stabilization is on in the D-VHS menu and try a capture using AmarecTV or vdub and report back.
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  #19  
03-11-2021, 11:38 PM
MarioGuy789 MarioGuy789 is offline
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@latreche34

I'm still working on this, but I need help because I literally can't figure some of the stuff out about the menus, some of which I'll probably need to get the best captures out of, so what I've done is record a video with the ElGato card and am going to post it here. I've not made any recordings of tapes yet because:

1. I'm most likely going to need an explanation of what the stuff in the menus are

AND

2. The ElGato card was being very picky and would only let me record with its proprietary software, which only outputs in mp4. Great!

Anyway, the attached video is of me flipping through just about every menu I could find, some of which are relevant to Japan only, and presumably I can skip those, but in case I can't, I'll leave that up for discussion.


Attached Files
File Type: mp4 No.mp4 (52.24 MB, 2 downloads)
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  #20  
03-11-2021, 11:51 PM
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Elgato earned the nickname Elcrapo, waste of time to mess with it.

The ATI 600 USB cards, or clones, and specific sub-versions of Pinnacle cards are usually what you want. Remember to also check the marketplace forums here on the site.

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