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03-28-2013, 05:28 PM
luckybob luckybob is offline
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Like every other person on this planet, I have more than one ongoing project. I've been wanting to convert my old VHS-C and regular VHS tapes to something that I can actually watch and share with family members. Either DVD or even blu-ray, and its been sitting on a back burner for far too long. I've been trying to gather as much information on my own. In fact I've been watching these forums for a good month now. Read most of the guides, etc. I'm hoping I'm posting this in the correct area, I am after all still "planning" this project out.

That said, this project is now next up for the front burner. I have all the parts to "get the job done", but I feel I'm really lacking in the capture department. I'm a collector of vintage hardware. In fact, my current project that's "almost finished" is an IBM 8086 all-in-one unit. (google IBM model 25-004) In the future I would like to make a few videos of me restoring said vintage computers. Just for my own enjoyment, hi-def is of no importance.

A. Player
A while back I acquired a pair of professional quality VHS players. Panasonic ag 7750's. Got them from the local university auction. $20 for the pair. They appear in good shape but I haven't played with them yet. I can't imagine BOTH being bad. *famous last words* They have the TBC cards installed, as well as the dolby audio.

B. Cables
I have no cables to speak of. The s-video cables I currently have are either 20 years old or cheap walmart crap. I'm not going to go buy a $100 cable. A quality cable should be relatively easy to find. The VHS however uses balanced XLR outputs. I have none of these. I have a background in electrical engineering, so I'm quite familiar with the nitty-gritty of amplification,shielding,etc works. I was looking for a way to PROPERLY convert the XLR to "standard" stereo when I happened across this: http://www.ebay.com/itm/190792940903

C. Capture
This is where it gets a bit fuzzy for me. I WANT that Matrox card, it is a bit rich in price and I would need to build a computer to house it. I can't get over the feeling, the card and the player were just made for each other. I'm a big fan of Matrox products. here is a list of what I have currently

1. pci rage 128 all in wonder
2. ati X850XT PE (supposedly has vivo)
3. 2-3 1990's pci capture cards. based on bt878 chips iirc.
4. ati pci-e 550 pro

I'm really leaning for the Matrox card, as all I would need are a few short extension cables (no adapters) and its ready to go. Downside is, It's another computer on my desk taking up space. That would be true with the other options save for #4. I have a more modern computer already in the area where I would be doing the recording, but it only has pci-e.

I guess these are my questions:

1. If I don't get the Matrox card, what is the preferred option for audio recording?
2. Are there any downsides to usb audio cards?
3. What would be the best way to convert the XLR to 3.5mm plugs?
4. Would the VIVO function on late-agp based video cards (ati theater chips) be a good alternative to full AIW cards? not having the tuner doesn't matter to me.
5. I'm converting roughly 60 VHS-C tapes and maybe 20 regular VHS. I have no real time constraints but is it worth the time to transfer the small cartridges to normal size? Which is less-risky in terms of destroying a tape? (adapter or re-winding)

I'm not concerned with software at the moment. I got one of those free copies of adobe CS2 when they released it and I'm fairly certain I can get anything else I might need either free or used. I'll be happy getting everything digital for the moment. Thanks for reading my wall-of-text. I hope it was easy to understand. Just because I think I know what I'm talking about doesn't mean I do.
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03-28-2013, 06:49 PM
volksjager volksjager is offline
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i would ditch the AG-7750's.
those big tank broadcast decks are generally not good for doing home recorded tapes.
get an Panasonic AG-1980 , a JVC deck with TBC or a Mitsubishi HS-HD2000U

if you have an Windows XP PC with a AGP slot get a 7000 or 9000 series ATI AIW card - they are among the best and are dirt cheap.

the VHS-C tape are prone to being eaten - i transfer the tape into full size VHS shells
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03-28-2013, 11:23 PM
luckybob luckybob is offline
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I was under the impression that the AIW cards and the normal agp cards with vivo used the same theatre chip, the only difference being the tv tuner portion.
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04-08-2013, 08:32 PM
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lordsmurf lordsmurf is offline
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The Panasonic 7750 are really not that good. They're probably not even worth $20, I'm sad to say. (I hate being the bearer of bad news.) Those are not good for playing back VHS tapes; were only really okay for recording tapes.

A s-video cables from Walmart is going to be a Philips, and those are really not bad. S-video cables are more durable and need less shielding than coax or composite. The choices for s-video and composite gets smaller as the years go by. Radio Shack, Amazon, Lowe's (yes, the DIY home improvement store!), Walmart.

From what I can see, those are mostly old cards. The only one I'm not sure about is the "ati X850XT PE" card. You'll need to confirm it has the Theatre Rage or Theatre 200 chipset, and is compatible with ATI MMC and/or VirtualDub. I'm also not sure what the draw to Matrox would be. Which one, and why?

1. Audio? Matrox is video, not audio.
2. USB video, no. USB audio, yes. (If not part of a video card.)
3. Best Buy and Amazon have good adapters for this. I have some myself for mixers.
4. I don't really know.
5. It's tedious, but yes. The little VHS-C clamshells are lousy to work with. The shells themselves can cause "tracking" issues due to poor alignment.

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