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-   -   Good VHS player for mono tapes? (https://www.digitalfaq.com/forum/video-capture/12976-good-vhs-player.html)

denfin 09-20-2022 06:35 PM

Good VHS player for mono tapes?
 
I recently got a JVC HR-S7600EU S-VHS player, quite impressed with the quality and so, except one thing, seems the audio on old mono tapes recorded from TV is not as good as I hoped for. The audio is a bit muffled and low, and seems to be more hiss i guess. It's also kinda like this on a Panasonic DMR-EX98V combo unit I got. But I also got a very old top loaded VHS player from like 1980, an Akai vs-9700, and on that one the audio is quite a bit louder, and more clear and does not really feel muffled, but yeah, the problem with that one is that it's kinda worn out and probably has bad belts and stuff, cus the audio is a bit wobbly, and the image can have some noise. So how come those more modern really nice ones have worse mono audio? And what may be a really good VHS player for mono tapes? Cus guess it's best to have a good separate one for just mono tapes if it's like this.

themaster1 09-21-2022 03:40 AM

Check here for your audio problem: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fazL...nel=12voltvids

timtape 09-22-2022 08:58 AM

The YT clip is a bit over the top for the purpose. The Azimuth screw is normally the only screw needing adjusting for the tape played. Not all three screws.

pthebest19 09-22-2022 09:55 AM

The best VCRs for mono audio I used are the Panasonic NV FS200 and the multistandard NV HV60 released in Australia (not sure about the European and Japanese models). The later European S VHS models don't have as good linear audio.

I have a JVC HR S7722 and the linear audio is pretty bad.

latreche34 09-22-2022 10:18 AM

I wouldn't recommend messing with alignment, JVC linear audio track problems are most likely aging electronics related, unless someone knows how proceed do not attempt such thing. Especially if you see the factory red/green seal not broken on the alignment screws.

dpalomaki 09-22-2022 11:12 AM

Be aware that the linear track audio head also contains the control track head, so misalignment could also impact reliable tracking as well. Aligning to play a bad tape may mess up the ability to play otherwise good tapes in the future. Once any alignment seals are broke it becomes easier for alignment to drift in the future. Best undertaken if you have the necessary skill set and tools.

Linear head tracks are about the same width an the old compact cassette, but VHS tape speed is substantially slower 33.3 mm/sec for SP, 11/1 mm/sec for EP/SLP vs ~45 mm/sec with a cassette, so frequency response will be correspondingly poorer. EP/SLP audio is usually the pits, many folks consider it usable for voice only, but not music.

Some linear tapes may have been recorded with Dolby noise reduction, which will effect the sound if played on a non-Dolby player, and vice versa. Buying another VCR is one option (not low cost if looking for good video playback as well). An option would be to use audio tools such (e.g., Audition) to sweeten the sound including adjusting levels, equalizing tone, and reducing hiss. Also, one could record the audio only from the player you like and use it to replace the audio from the player you do not like.

timtape 09-22-2022 06:51 PM

2 Attachment(s)
The ideal is to carefully adjust the audio head azimuth to each tape played. Lost highs and greater hiss due to misaligned azimuth cannot be recovered later, even with the best software tools.

Some high quality audio cassette decks had a front panel azimuth adjuster built in. See first picture. On some cassette deck models it could even be adjusted from the remote control.

I've added a custom external control knob to some of my VCR's. See second picture. So for every customer VHS cassette I digitize, I can easily align the audio head azimuth to the tape played without opening up the player.

But for most people, adjusting it from inside the machine is just too difficult and perhaps even dangerous so they skip it and put up with the poor sound, perhaps hoping that some sort of digital audio restoration software will fix the hissy, muffled sound. Unfortunately it doesnt fix it... and never will.

timtape 09-22-2022 08:05 PM

Just to clarify, this is an ongoing problem for audio on many such tapes and there seems no simple one step solution for most users.

denfin 09-22-2022 08:38 PM

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Hm, yeah, not sure I want to mess with the audio head too much, and at least not mess with the other screws, only that azimuth screw then, or maybe I should check out some other machine then for mono perhaps, cus I feel the audio is kinda low on the JVC, not sure. but sounds good to try adjust the audio head to get the audio as good as possible for each tape, are there not any proffesional players that can adjust the audio head? like on some cassette players? Sound nice you added your own adjust knob tho timtape! Was it hard to do?

Here is some samples btw between the JVC S-VHS player and the old top loaded Akai VHS player, there is quite a difference in the audio. Too bad the Akai audio is a bit wobbly, but yeah other than that, it's clearer and louder.

timtape 09-23-2022 02:40 AM

2 Attachment(s)
Quote:

Originally Posted by denfin (Post 86840)
Hm, yeah, not sure I want to mess with the audio head too much, and at least not mess with the other screws, only that azimuth screw then,

Yes I think it's wise to limit adjustment to just the azimuth screw, and very careful adjustment. Less than 1/4 of a turn is usually more than enough.

Quote:

Originally Posted by denfin (Post 86840)
or maybe I should check out some other machine then for mono perhaps, cus I feel the audio is kinda low on the JVC, not sure.

Yes the JVC audio is quite muffled compared to the Akai but hard to know how much is azimuth misalignment. Maybe the JVC audio head needs a clean too, or is worn or tilted back a little.

Quote:

Originally Posted by denfin (Post 86840)
are there not any proffesional players that can adjust the audio head? like on some cassette players?

Not that I know of. Great if there are.

Quote:

Originally Posted by denfin (Post 86840)
Sound nice you added your own adjust knob tho timtape! Was it hard to do?

No but this one is very basic and just for my use. It took me less than an hour to knock up with simple hand tools, bits from my junk box and a dab of household glue. I made it before digitising a friend's VHS family tapes as I was tired of the hassle of poking a screwdriver into the machine for each tape. They say necessity is the mother of invention and I thought the small effort would be worth it in the long run. It was.

It's very important to first correctly identify the azimuth screw. Also a fixed adjuster only works where the azimuth screw is positioned behind the head face. On some Panasonic decks I have, the screw is in front of the head face and an extended adjuster would foul and probably damage the tape as it is pressed onto the head face.

Quote:

Originally Posted by denfin (Post 86840)
Here is some samples btw between the JVC S-VHS player and the old top loaded Akai VHS player, there is quite a difference in the audio. Too bad the Akai audio is a bit wobbly, but yeah other than that, it's clearer and louder.

Thanks for the samples. Yes the Akai is much clearer in the highs with less apparent hiss. More hum though. It looks like your digital recording level was a little low on both. You may need to boost the signal before it reaches your digital recorder.

themaster1 09-23-2022 03:17 AM

The trick is to play an Slp / Ep tape like said in the video. By turning 1/4 inch (perhaps 1/2 inch) with the screwdriver on the Azimuth that should give you an idea imo and not damage the tracking. What i know is that by doing nothing you get nothing

hodgey 09-23-2022 06:22 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by pthebest19 (Post 86825)
The best VCRs for mono audio I used are the Panasonic NV FS200 and the multistandard NV HV60 released in Australia (not sure about the European and Japanese models). The later European S VHS models don't have as good linear audio.

For the NV-FS200, the non-SVHS hi-fi variants from the same time (NV-F55, F65 and F77) use the same audio setup, mech and most other stuff besides the video circuit so the audio side should be the same on those (other than lacking the tape stabilizer/impedance roller of the SVHS variants, no idea how much difference those make in practice.) Early 90s decks from the higher end manufacturers like Panasonic, JVC, Sony, Philips/Grundig in Europe, etc might be a good bet in general for linear audio.

Commercial releases very often will have the audio recorded in linear stereo with dolby NR, so in the case of commercially released tapes without hi-fi, something that features linear stereo and dolby might be the optimal bit. The most available option for that might be the Panasonic AG-7150/7350 decks (or other similar type "broadcast" decks - the smaller ones like the AG5700, AG5250 etc do not have linear stereo), or alternatively one of the few mid 80s consumer linear stereo decks but those are pretty rare, especially in PAL areas. The former are unfortunately big and bulky, and possibly a bit costly, while the latter are going to be older with not quite as nice tape transports and such and probably rather hard to locate so tricky either way...

timtape 09-23-2022 04:02 PM

Yes linear stereo players aren't very common which is a shame including for playback of original mono audio such as many camcorders. Playing back a mono recording with a stereo head makes azimuth alignment less critical. The audio is often clearer. The test is in switching the audio playback from stereo to mono, mixing left and right. If the audio goes muffled, cancellation is probably happening. The head is not aligned to the tape.

denfin 10-12-2022 01:39 PM

Thanks for the tips I got, I picked up a Panasonic NV-F55 VHS player now, and the linear audio seems like just as good as the Akai player I have, so don't think I will mess around with adjusting the audio head now, but the audio is still a little bit lower than the Akai. And timtape, you mentioned it would be good to boost the audio, can you like just get any audio amplifier to do that? Like an amplifier you normally use for cassette, CD, and record players etc you use in your stereo setup? But yeah, instead of hooking it up between like a record player and some speakers, you hook it up between the VHS player and the capture device (or in my case, DVD/HDD recorder)? Would that be a good idea? cus yeah might be nice to get louder audio when capturing.

dpalomaki 10-12-2022 02:31 PM

One can insert an audio mixer between the playback output and the recorder and use it to adjust audio to the desired levels. Useful if going directly into a recorder, especially if the recorder does not offer controls.

Many mixers have equalization (tone) controls and meters as well, and they are not expensive.

I've used a Mackie 802VLZ3 or a similar Behringer for this in the past.

denfin 10-12-2022 04:37 PM

Aha yeah I see, I did not thought about mixers, maybe I look for a decent smaller mixer then! I looked around a bit, guess maybe a Behringer xenyx 502 might be good? Seems kinda cheaper and not so big.

dpalomaki 10-12-2022 07:12 PM

That can work, but I believe that the equalizers are founf only on the mono/mic input of the 502. You may want to consider the 802 model if you want equalizers for stereo inputs. It also give a second mic input for added flexibility in the future.

denfin 10-12-2022 07:25 PM

Okay, yeah saw it had less controls on the stereo inputs, but yeah, will be using it with mono tapes and not sure what else I might use it with, cus hi-fi tapes audio level is often pretty loud and don't really need boosting I think, and I liked the 502 also cus it was quite small, but we will see what I might get then! :) Thanks for the tip!

traal 10-12-2022 07:41 PM

I just use Audacity to normalize the audio after capture. Some tapes were recorded with the audio set too high, so I attenuate it before it reaches the capture card, and if Audacity still shows clipping, I'll adjust and recapture.


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