Quantcast Ingest PC build for VHS archival project? - digitalFAQ Forum
  #1  
07-22-2021, 08:51 AM
tylerpenn tylerpenn is offline
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Hi all-
I've been dabbling in VHS capture over the years, mainly using a Panasonic AG-7350 paired with a Canopus AVDC330, both of which seemed to be much maligned on here, well at least the Canopus gear.

It's been a while since I really looked into this world and I'm pleased to see that the ATI All-In-Wonder cards are in good standing, it's been a long time since I've dealt with an AGP port

So why am I here?
I'm revisiting some of my dad's old home movies from the 80s as well as a large tub of about 50 VHS tapes I got from my uncle so the goal is squeeze the highest uncompressed video from these tapes to create archival masters I can house on my NAS.

I'd like to build out a proper ingest PC with an ATI card running XP. A few questions:
-Which ATI card is the best that I should look for on eBay? Do they have direct ports or a break-out cable generally?
-Is my AG-7350 up to snuff for this purpose or should I look for a different VCR?
-Presumably I need a TBC as well to put between my VCR and the capture card?
-I've been building PCs since the mid-90s but I don't quite remember the specs of an old XP machine that would have had an AGP port, are we talking IDE hard drives and Pentium CPUs?

Thanks for any help and glad I found this place
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  #2  
07-23-2021, 08:54 AM
ffmpeguserss ffmpeguserss is offline
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The AIW capture card is definitely a good choice, I went with that based on the advice here. Just make sure it's complete with the breakout cables. Plenty of guides here on which model, AGP or PCI.

Ah, the mid-90's, 486DX2's and Pentium chips. I think BBS's were still active around that time too. And of course Bill Clinton.

You'll be looking at mostly Pentium 4 with the AGP slot; there are a few versions of that slot, it shouldn't be too much worry if the motherboard is relatively modern. SATA with two drives, one for cap the other OS. Gigabit ethernet if you can, otherwise 100Mbps ethernet is usually built-in.

Store the tapes vertically in a cool dry place. Check for mold or dirt, don't rewind them until you're ready to capture or preview.

Good luck and have fun!
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  #3  
07-24-2021, 06:23 AM
dpalomaki dpalomaki is offline
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The main rub on the ADVC series is they use DV compression. It is lossy and quality suffers with typically noisy home video sources.

Compression in and of its self is not naturally bad, but lossy compression is best avoided if you plan to do any post capture processing beyond simple cuts editing.

Be aware that the ATI card family had various different, not interchangeable, breakout cables. It is not easy to find the correct one. Be sure what you buy comes with the breakouts it needs, or have the skills needed to make one.

Keep in mind that buying off ebay can be risky. While it offers buyer protection if the item does not match the listing, sellers are not vetted for technical competence and may not really know (or care) the condition of what they are selling and you won't know what you are getting until it shows up. Items with moving/wearing parts are especially risky (e.g., VCRs)
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  #4  
07-24-2021, 10:59 AM
haoyangw haoyangw is offline
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-'Best' ATI All-in-Wonder cards are those with the Rage Theatre 200 chip, aka:
  • ATI All-in-Wonder 9000
  • ATI All-in-Wonder 9200
  • ATI All-in-Wonder 9600/9600 XT/9600 Pro
  • ATI All-in-Wonder 9700 Pro (PAL)
  • ATI All-in-Wonder 9800 Pro
  • ATI All-in-Wonder 2006 Edition (AGP 8x)
  • ATI All-in-Wonder X800 VE (AGP 8x)
These all don't have direct ports, so make sure when you're checking listings, check the pictures/description or ask the seller if it has the purple breakout dongle. Usually, they don't. If the pictures don't show the dongle, assume it's not included. Even when it's in the pictures, if it's not in the description too, I'd check with the seller just to be sure.
-I'll have to say for best quality, get another VCR. Does it have a line TBC and S-Video input/output ports? Check the VCR buying guide thread on this forum for the recommended Panasonic/JVC VCRs. As a general rule, get a JVC first, followed by a Panasonic, then thirdly a JVC. Reason being some tapes play better on JVC, some on Panasonic. And even different models from the same company can play tapes differently. So you never know, you might get better quality captures from a different VCR. While you're at it, find a Turtle Beach Santa Cruz card too, it's the most recommended sound card to pair with All-in-Wonder cards(for capturing audio). Watch out for lousy sellers though, make sure they package the card securely, not with just an envelope(like mine). And be careful of sellers who claim 'taken from working system' or 'tested' without a description of what kind of testing. Better to ask for details so you don't buy an expensive paperweight!
-Yes! Either a DataVideo TBC-1000(generally great for NTSC, but needs mod for proper performance. So buy from a video professional like lordsmurf!), or a green(important, never buy the black kind) Cypress/AVToolbox/TVOne AVT-8710. Average price nowadays is about $1500-$2000 unfortunately, so be ready to spend some cash D:
-Pentium for sure, yep, IDE drives would be when AGP is at its prime so they can be a sign. PCIe started taking over in 2004ish, AGP appeared in 1998ish, so something from that time period would have great AGP slots. That was back when DDR1 RAM just appeared, no DDR2 RAM yet. And BIOS still had those 'Energy Star' logos. SATA appeared starting in 2003 so not having SATA is likely a better sign. But for a mix of convenience and speed, it'll be good to get a motherboard with both AGP slots and eSATA ports. Not sure if that's even a possible combination, but according to lordsmurf's experience eSATA works better with Windows XP than USB 3.0(don't expect USB 3.0 to work well, if at all) while providing decent transfer speeds for connecting hotplug-able external hard drives. And if you value security, never connect your Windows XP computer to the Internet. LAN maybe, but never open it to WAN. For performance, use Windows XP SP2 x86(aka 32bit), not the x64 version(buggy) or the SP3 version(extra features that you don't need for capturing, will only 'slow' the computer). Generally a Single-Core Pentium with 1GHz+ would be ok, plus 1GB RAM minimum. Dual-Core would be better.
-->Pro-tip: Get good heatsinks and CPU fans, make sure the All-in-Wonder GPU and the CPU are both actively cooled, they can really heat up when doing captures, especially for long projects. Further, keep your desktop in a well-ventilated room. Additionally, get an Uninterrupted Power Supply(UPS) with Automatic Voltage Regulation(AVR)! Protects vintage electronics, especially TBC and VCRs which are super sensitive, from power surges, and as a bonus (the above +) your capturing desktop from power outages as well.
Hope this clears up most of your questions

Last edited by haoyangw; 07-24-2021 at 11:14 AM. Reason: Additional info
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  #5  
07-24-2021, 03:58 PM
Bogilein Bogilein is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by haoyangw View Post
As a general rule, get a JVC first, followed by a Panasonic, then thirdly a JVC.
Who says so? That's a rule for people who have nothing to compare. The recorder should match your tapes, your capture card and your TBC. The answer should be 2 different recorders or preferably 3 or more.
Some prefer the JVC image, others the Panasonics and I prefer a Hitachi (although I own several of the recommended JVC's and Panasonics). Each has its strengths and weaknesses.
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  #6  
07-24-2021, 04:03 PM
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lordsmurf lordsmurf is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bogilein View Post
Who says so?
I do, as do many others.

Quote:
That's a rule for people who have nothing to compare.
Hogwash. I have at least 20 models of decks, including JVC, Panasonic, and others.

The Panasonics have some definite strengths, for certain sources. But as the best all-around unit, when you have varied sources, or even unknown sources, JVC is the weapon of choice. Panasonic excels at EP/SLP, VHS-C, and some other niche areas.

Neither Panasonic nor JVC is better than the other, both are just different.

But that was oddly you conclusion as well...

Quote:
The recorder should match your tapes, your capture card and your TBC. The answer should be 2 different recorders or preferably 3 or more.
Some prefer the JVC image, others the Panasonics and I prefer a Hitachi (although I own several of the recommended JVC's and Panasonics). Each has its strengths and weaknesses.
So...

We agree.

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  #7  
07-24-2021, 05:03 PM
Bogilein Bogilein is offline
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I knew this answer would come.
The discussion of who is better JVC or Panasonic is as old as video forums exist. There are also many who say that the Panasonics deliver a better picture.
Just because you say so doesn't make it a general rule. But since many always blindly believe everything without making comparisons. You could say that Funai's are the best video recorders. You would only have to repeat it often enough.
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  #8  
07-24-2021, 06:40 PM
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lordsmurf lordsmurf is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bogilein View Post
The discussion of who is better JVC or Panasonic is as old as video forums exist.
Yep, Kirk vs. Picard. -- and Picard, of course!

Quote:
There are also many who say that the Panasonics deliver a better picture.
Sometimes it is. Source tapes matter.

Quote:
Just because you say so doesn't make it a general rule.
It's a general rules because it's generally true. JVC is generally the best choice, for multiple reasons -- everything from clean image, to upkeep maintenance costs (which are REALLY high on Panasonics).

Quote:
But since many always blindly believe everything without making comparisons.
I've done comparisons so others don't have to. And my personal VHS collection, and experience with others tapes, is vast, and stretches across multiple decades (90s,00s,10s,20s). I've been sharing my knowledge and experience with VHS and analog capturing (Video8, Hi8, etc) for decades, and I'm not going to stop now.

Quote:
You could say that Funai's are the best video recorders.
Not without saying "BAZINGA!" afterwards.

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  #9  
07-24-2021, 06:43 PM
hodgey hodgey is offline
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Yeah there isn't any clear answer, there is also variance between models from a brand. They all have their pluses and quirks, some more than others.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tylerpenn View Post
-Is my AG-7350 up to snuff for this purpose or should I look for a different VCR?
It's not a bad vcr for SP tapes, PAL is SP only, NTSC is SP+SLP but no hi-fi on SLP, has a very solid tape transport with direct drive reels, though manual tracking and pretty basic video noise reduction/post-processing. Also has linear stereo which may or may not be useful. Since it does not contain a built-in tbc you would want to pair it with something else that can do that job, like certain dvd-recorders. The AVT/Datavideo TBCs don't feature this, so they're best paired with a VCR that comes with a built in TBC like the ones in the VCR buying guide.
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  #10  
08-02-2021, 11:25 AM
tylerpenn tylerpenn is offline
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Excellent, thanks all

I have a AIW 9600 XT in hand now, it unfortunately didn't come with the purple input block, but I have one of those on the way from eBay as well. Also spec'd out a nice 2003-2004 era motherboard/RAM/CPU combo that I'll be building out over the next 2 weeks or so. Excited

As for getting an improved SVHS deck, presumably getting one with a remote is a must as I would imagine turning of any OSD information is probably only doable with that...

Also is VirtualDub the defacto open source standard for high quality capture? Any concerns with audio capture or does the AIW+VirtualDub handle that with no issues?
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  #11  
08-02-2021, 08:53 PM
haoyangw haoyangw is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tylerpenn View Post
Excellent, thanks all

I have a AIW 9600 XT in hand now, it unfortunately didn't come with the purple input block, but I have one of those on the way from eBay as well. Also spec'd out a nice 2003-2004 era motherboard/RAM/CPU combo that I'll be building out over the next 2 weeks or so. Excited
Have fun!

Quote:
Originally Posted by tylerpenn View Post
As for getting an improved SVHS deck, presumably getting one with a remote is a must as I would imagine turning of any OSD information is probably only doable with that...
Well it is best to have a remote if possible, but very early VCRs from both JVC/Panasonic have everything as buttons on the deck, so you have to check which buttons are available to decide. Sorry don't know enough to help with that

Quote:
Originally Posted by tylerpenn View Post
Also is VirtualDub the defacto open source standard for high quality capture? Any concerns with audio capture or does the AIW+VirtualDub handle that with no issues?
Yep, capture lossless into VirtualDub(with a codec like HuffYuv) then do software processing to fix any remaining problems with Avisynth.
Hmm for best effect a sound card is recommended as the onboard sound chip of AIWs are lackluster, but if you absolutely want to, you can also use your onboard sound card. Some Realtek onboard sound cards are decent, so if you're considering this you should research a bit on the sound quality of yours before trying. The recommended way is to get a Turtle Beach Santa Cruz Sound card, as that pairs up well with an AIW for capture. These sound cards are also marked 'Dell 038FRH', which simply means they were pulled from a Dell desktop(like a Dimension 8200) which came with one. Something like this on eBay, it's one of the more expensive cards on eBay but it comes with warranty so it's safer. eBay is a huge gamble so it really depends on how much risk you're willing to take to save costs. Stuff that are claimed to be 'tested' or 'pulled from a working system' usually are merely checked if it can be powered on(no functionality test) or pulled months or years ago, and something happened then. So be wary of such claims. Also, most importantly ask for proper wrapping. Many forums members have bought sound cards that are merely stuffed in an envelope(no protection this way), maybe with a thin layer of bubble wrap around the card(like mine, won't do squad against bending), making the card prone to snapping or having PCB components broken. Would be a huge waste of time and good hardware if your stuff comes broken simple because of wrapping!
Besides Turtle Beach Santa Cruz(most recommended), you also may try one of the Creative SoundBlaster Live! cards which are gimmicky(has a lot of features that are marketing BS or not useful) or may not work well with an AIW. It's a series of cards, so there are multiple that you can choose from, though they each have their issues because of weird Creative decisions. By the way, don't worry about the 44kHz or whatever rating of these cards, they don't matter much. Still, a Creative card can still be better than an onboard sound card, unless in specific configurations, so it may depend(sorry to have to say this). Creative cards have a complicated history that forum members have discussed a lot around the forum so if you're curious can search it up. The short version is a working Turtle Beach Santa Cruz card is less problematic than a Creative one, you're gonna get less headaches setting them up.
A minor note, if you're getting a 'dedicated' sound card, get a MPC-4 to SoundBlaster cable or MPC-2 to SoundBlaster cable(both are fine, no difference) to connect the sound card directly, internally, to the AIW, which can minimise dropped frames. The MPC-2/MPC-4 is the black head of the cable, the SoundBlaster is the white head of the cable, something like the picture below:
MpcToSoundblasterAudioCable.jpeg
This is the best way, but alternatively you can also connect the sound card via a black adapter that comes with the AIW(by right), it should look like this:
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Plug the 3.5mm headphone jack of the adapter into the sound card microphone/input 3.5mm jack. This may cause dropped frames, so it's less recommended, also you have to select the sound capture option in the ATI MMC program to pass sound to the sound card this way. The last, least recommended way is to connect the VCR/TBC directly via RCA audio cables to the sound card. This can cause audio sync issues(I think), so it's the least recommended.
Hope this helps! The drivers for the All-in-Wonder card and the Turtle Beach Santa Cruz card are both available on this forum, just search it up. Not sure about the Creative SoundBlaster cards sorry.



Last edited by haoyangw; 08-02-2021 at 08:55 PM. Reason: Corrected spelling mistakes
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  #12  
08-14-2021, 06:14 PM
RobustReviews RobustReviews is offline
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The Panasonic AG-7xxx range gets a dreadful write-up on here but to be honest I've got a rack full of them and providing you watch out for the cheese-soft heads I've personally never found them better or worse than any similar machine.

They're easy to maintain and well documented which is always a bonus, as mentioned the transport is probably one of the strongest in existence given they met a curious need in the marketplace at the time. I can only speak of PAL machines but with a bit of love, I can't really speak any ills against them. I've got 14 working VHS machines in my office (mostly Panasonic and Sony) and to be honest, those machines give me the least trouble, but it's not just forum conjecture, the heads really are soft on them and half of mine can't muster consistent HiFi playback anymore.

My first transfer machine was the AG-7350 and it ran for about 3000 hours before the heads were so worn it was time for the bin.
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