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03-27-2022, 01:17 PM
thestarswitcher thestarswitcher is offline
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As I'm sure everybody here will agree, the audio aspect of capturing is as equally important as perfecting the video side of things- and having the two of them in perfect sync is wonderful (without any crazy audio resampling).

My question for you guys for an open discussion, how do you capture your VHS audio? Do you plug the RCA cables straight into your capture card, or do you plug your cables straight into your PC's Line In?

Line In has the benefit of previewing the audio without ticking the "enable audio preview" in VirtualDub, as you're getting a demonstration straight out of your computer's speakers through the sound card. You also get the opportunity of capturing at a higher bitrate, but then again this is VHS we're talking about for the subject.

Do you see a difference when capturing differently? Let me know, would love to hear your thoughts!
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  #2  
04-25-2022, 08:15 PM
thestarswitcher thestarswitcher is offline
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Bumping this thread- I'm interested in hearing your thoughts
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  #3  
04-26-2022, 04:22 AM
timtape timtape is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thestarswitcher View Post
As I'm sure everybody here will agree, the audio aspect of capturing is as equally important as perfecting the video side of things...
Sadly that doesnt seem to be always the case, which is a shame. I'm probably more skilled in audio than the visual but I wouldnt dream of discounting the importance of the visual side...

Quote:
Originally Posted by thestarswitcher View Post
My question for you guys for an open discussion, how do you capture your VHS audio? Do you plug the RCA cables straight into your capture card, or do you plug your cables straight into your PC's Line In?
It used to be true that using the standard Line or Mic input on a bog standard PC was a recipe for poor results as the converters in these older PC's were nothing special, designed for ordinary tasks by the average user not specially interested in good quality audio, especially recording. Certainly AD and DA converters have steadily improved in performance and come down in price over the years but I'm not familiar with the recording ability of the average PC these days. For recording I still avoid using my PC's audio recording hardware, but do use its inbuilt playback facilities unless the playback quality needs to be critically high.

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Originally Posted by thestarswitcher View Post
Line In has the benefit of previewing the audio without ticking the "enable audio preview" in VirtualDub, as you're getting a demonstration straight out of your computer's speakers through the sound card. You also get the opportunity of capturing at a higher bitrate, but then again this is VHS we're talking about for the subject.
Again the Line In uses the PC's standard preamplifier and AD converter. It may not be great quality, perhaps especially in the noise department but YMMV. I dont go for sample rates higher than 48kHz unless I want to capture audio frequencies which only bats can hear !!!

Bit rate? For standard linear audio tracks anything above 16 bit is a waste. 24 bit might be worth it with HiFi audio. But the audio is only as good as its weakest link. Again, that weak link may be the PC's standard analog to digital audio converter rather than whether it's recording at 16 or 24 bit. But check it for yourself especially the background noise when there is no audio signal from the VCR but the cables are all connected.

Of course there can be other issues such as setting correct recording levels and getting a good audio signal from the tape and VCR but that goes beyond your questions here.
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  #4  
04-26-2022, 09:25 AM
RobustReviews RobustReviews is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by timtape View Post
Sadly that doesnt seem to be always the case, which is a shame. I'm probably more skilled in audio than the visual but I wouldnt dream of discounting the importance of the visual side...



It used to be true that using the standard Line or Mic input on a bog standard PC was a recipe for poor results as the converters in these older PC's were nothing special, designed for ordinary tasks by the average user not specially interested in good quality audio, especially recording. Certainly AD and DA converters have steadily improved in performance and come down in price over the years but I'm not familiar with the recording ability of the average PC these days. For recording I still avoid using my PC's audio recording hardware, but do use its inbuilt playback facilities unless the playback quality needs to be critically high.



Again the Line In uses the PC's standard preamplifier and AD converter. It may not be great quality, perhaps especially in the noise department but YMMV. I dont go for sample rates higher than 48kHz unless I want to capture audio frequencies which only bats can hear !!!

Bit rate? For standard linear audio tracks anything above 16 bit is a waste. 24 bit might be worth it with HiFi audio. But the audio is only as good as its weakest link. Again, that weak link may be the PC's standard analog to digital audio converter rather than whether it's recording at 16 or 24 bit. But check it for yourself especially the background noise when there is no audio signal from the VCR but the cables are all connected.

Of course there can be other issues such as setting correct recording levels and getting a good audio signal from the tape and VCR but that goes beyond your questions here.
This makes perfect sense.

Onboard audio has come a long way, it's not perfect but it's worth a try, even if you just A/B your two options and have a listen, it's not a lengthy or complicated experiment.

For VHS linear monoaural (and stereo for that matter) then all bets are off anyway, it's a dreadful source and can be neatly quantised at the lowliest standard settings, with a dynamic range of around 40dB and frequencies rarely exceeding 10kHz it's not worth getting too worked up over. It's worse than a name-brand ferric audio cassette by some margin and if you add in LP/EP speeds it's truly dreadful and well below standard audio cassette tape fidelity. NTSC fares a bit better due to relative improvement in head/tape speed, but it is still 'minimum viable' territory.

For HiFi it is for all intents and purposes analogous to CD quality 44.1kHz @ 16 bits will very neatly reproduce the full range (with a small bit overhead, the dynamic range of VHS HiFi falls below CD), although if you want to invest more into it, 24 bits isn't required but meh... Anything more than that is just wasteful though.

Most of the sources for HiFi audio were CD-quality PCM anyway, so there's little practical benefit in really trying to squeeze more out of it than that, plus the very highest frequencies on HiFi tend (from experimentation) to be compressed. My hearing tops out well before then these days so I can only determine this by FFT or other analysis.

Some audio cards produce noise, this will only be determined by experimentation with your explicit setup, but despite some of the tales of woe, you'll read about on-board audio devices some of them are at least placed in the system with more forethought for application now, even if the underlying chipsets are decades old. We're blessed with a mixture of E-MU and Creative Sound Blaster-Z here and whilst they do make a difference, it's often not the night-and-day difference for videotape application.

A/B your two options first, you may need a few passes with the audio card to determine your gain settings if they're adjustable. But only you can determine which sounds better to your ears, with your sources. Good headphones are continuously overlooked in this hobby, but use the best pair you have available for initial gain-setting and sonic decisions.

Throw any headphones made by Sony in the bin where they belong!
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  #5  
04-26-2022, 04:15 PM
dpalomaki dpalomaki is online now
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Some would argue that for many if not most viewers good audio is more important than pristine video. The brain can filter out and "patch" warts in video, but out of sync audio, distortions, and noise can be much more distracting to the program material. Obviously the objective is to get it all right.

Motherboard audio has come a long way from the early days in the VHS era. Give it a try before investing in new sound cards. However, W2K-and XP-based system may have MBs with less than stellar audio capability.

48 kHz 16-bit is standard audio for digital video and more than adequate for VHS HiFi.

Using separate (not integrated) audio and video capture devices may introduce issues of latency and potential drift due to variations in sampling clock speed, especially with long captures. This is a function of the gear being used and with luck will not be an issue. Latency issues can be compensated.

I generally use integrated capture devices such as the BMD Analog-to-SDI mini converter and DeckLink mini-recorder these days. But they are not among the favored work flows here.

Headphones are very much a matter of personal preference. At least in the USA the Sony MDR7506 is a favorite used in the music industry. If you have Sony cans and like the sound there is no reason to dump them. Keep in mind headphones will make all the warts and noise in a capture much more apparent than they are in a typical viewing listening environment. So listen to you final in a typical viewing environment to check the results.
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  #6  
04-26-2022, 04:30 PM
RobustReviews RobustReviews is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dpalomaki View Post
Some would argue that for many if not most viewers good audio is more important than pristine video. The brain can filter out and "patch" warts in video, but out of sync audio, distortions, and noise can be much more distracting to the program material. Obviously the objective is to get it all right.

Motherboard audio has come a long way from the early days in the VHS era. Give it a try before investing in new sound cards. However, W2K-and XP-based system may have MBs with less than stellar audio capability.

48 kHz 16-bit is standard audio for digital video and more than adequate for VHS HiFi.

Using separate (not integrated) audio and video capture devices may introduce issues of latency and potential drift due to variations in sampling clock speed, especially with long captures. This is a function of the gear being used and with luck will not be an issue. Latency issues can be compensated.

I generally use integrated capture devices such as the BMD Analog-to-SDI mini converter and DeckLink mini-recorder these days. But they are not among the favored work flows here.

Headphones are very much a matter of personal preference. At least in the USA the Sony MDR7506 is a favorite used in the music industry. If you have Sony cans and like the sound there is no reason to dump them. Keep in mind headphones will make all the warts and noise in a capture much more apparent than they are in a typical viewing listening environment. So listen to you final in a typical viewing environment to check the results.
Your right here, Sony do make very good headphones around that price point. There's a bit of a joke over here though with those pseudo-can style things that Sony knock out for about 30 over here with sound horrendous. Often no better if not worse than some no name commodity headphones in the same or cheaper price band.

It's irritating as you imagine that with the Sony name they'd be halfway decent but they truly are offensive.
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