Originally Posted by timtape
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!