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06-08-2024, 02:21 AM
Glitchy Windows 3.1 Glitchy Windows 3.1 is offline
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Hello so I recently purchased a Panasonic AG-1980P VCR from Deter and it works pretty well except for one thing. Seems that the audio creates a hiss/static noise, if you will, when playing tapes. I have tried a variety of tapes to see if the issue is common among all which it can be, but not for all tapes. For example, a VHS tape of "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly," has the audio hiss issue, but can correct itself or you can manually do it with the "AUDIO OUT" button. I believe for that VHS tape, having both the [L] and [R] indicators removes the hiss. As an interjection lordsmurf in VideoHelp says that the hiss should be removed when both indicators disappear:

Quote:
Originally Posted by lordsmurf
It's the AUDIO OUT button. Press it a few times until the L and R channel icons disappear from the LED display.
https://forum.videohelp.com/threads/...asonic-AG-1980

For me it was when both the [L] and [R] audio indicators were on was when the hiss was gone. Could be due to different tapes or the fact that I had "HiFi/Normal Mix" switch "off". In the case of "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly" the "HiFi/Normal Mix" does seem to also remove the hiss as well. Anyways, this is on a movie, in terms of home recordings, the hiss is present and the [L] and [R] indicators are not present; pressing the "AUDIO OUT" button has no effect. Lordsmurf did have this to say:

Quote:
Originally Posted by lordsmurf
It may be a damaged linear track, too, if removing L and R has no effect. Odd, however, if the JVC plays it where the Panasonic won't. This isn't one of the Panasonic's stronger points -- keep that in mind. Not the best machine for audio. It tends to pick up extra noise with the signal, in my experience. Sometimes ground loop hums, too.
Luckily I still have my JVC HR-S7600U, but I hope to not use it unless absolutely necessary as the it causes tape feathering which seems to be the case except in playback. One problem people have said that it could be is sticky-shed syndrome on the tape's part, but the problem does not exist on other machines, especially on the Panasonic AG-1980P I just got. To not go as off-topic as I have already did, I will make a separate post for this later.

So from what I have read, this issue from the Panasonic is just because audio is not its strong suit which is a bummer. Which brings me to another question as lordsmurf mentions this:

Quote:
Originally Posted by lordsmurf
The audio will likely be muffled some, making hardware audio boards all the more important after the VCR, to correct for it. Hiss increases too, but software can filter that.
Can someone provide the name of the software that could remove the hiss to the best of its ability. I know it isn't going to remove it without affecting the rest of the audio. Also, all quotes from lordsmurf are from VideoHelp which I provided a link to.

Last edited by Glitchy Windows 3.1; 06-08-2024 at 02:22 AM. Reason: For clarity
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  #2  
06-08-2024, 02:45 PM
timtape timtape is offline
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You probably know there were two separate audio systems in VHS: normal/linear and HiFi. But many recordings are normal/linear only. They're often considerably hissier than HiFi. This is normal.

There is usually no way to really remove hiss without affecting the wanted audio. Dehissers mostly just give the impression of fixing the problem. But if you want to go the dehisser route there's free Audacity to Izotope RX and many others out there.
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  #3  
06-08-2024, 06:06 PM
Glitchy Windows 3.1 Glitchy Windows 3.1 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by timtape View Post
You probably know there were two separate audio systems in VHS: normal/linear and HiFi. But many recordings are normal/linear only. They're often considerably hissier than HiFi. This is normal.
Oh yeah, most likely most likely the tapes were not recorded in Hi-Fi which is why is was creating the hiss. Even with a Hi-Fi recorded tape, you could hear the hiss if the "Audio Out" is not configured correctly.

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Originally Posted by timtape View Post
There is usually no way to really remove hiss without affecting the wanted audio. Dehissers mostly just give the impression of fixing the problem. But if you want to go the dehisser route there's free Audacity to Izotope RX and many others out there.
I was wondering and was something that I feel I did not convey clearly in the original post which is if there is a way I can still use the Panasonic. More specifically if there was a way you could tackle the issue on the hardware level and not the software as it does affect the audio one needs. By the way, just to add on since I do not want put it in another post, maybe doing it on the hardware level (if possible) will also effect the audio; but I'm trying to keep any software as color correction only. Other than that, I would like to fix any issues on the hardware level. Again, if it comes to just simply using the JVC machine, so be it. I just want to make sure I do not gloss at any potential solutions.
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  #4  
06-08-2024, 07:56 PM
timtape timtape is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glitchy Windows 3.1 View Post
Oh yeah, most likely most likely the tapes were not recorded in Hi-Fi which is why is was creating the hiss. Even with a Hi-Fi recorded tape, you could hear the hiss if the "Audio Out" is not configured correctly.
That too is normal.
Set to "HiFi or "L and R" a HiFi track is given priority, but of course only if it is there on the tape.
Set to "Normal" or "Linear", it will only play that track (which is nearly always there) but will not play the HiFi track even if it is there.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Glitchy Windows 3.1 View Post
I was wondering and was something that I feel I did not convey clearly in the original post which is if there is a way I can still use the Panasonic. More specifically if there was a way you could tackle the issue on the hardware level and not the software as it does affect the audio one needs. By the way, just to add on since I do not want put it in another post, maybe doing it on the hardware level (if possible) will also effect the audio; but I'm trying to keep any software as color correction only. Other than that, I would like to fix any issues on the hardware level. Again, if it comes to just simply using the JVC machine, so be it. I just want to make sure I do not gloss at any potential solutions.
Unfortunately whether hardware or software add ons, it cant really be done. I dont believe this problem will ever be solved.

The only solution left is the one which experts have used for decades which is playing back the tape at its best, maximising the wanted audio signal and minimising adding anything unwanted, like extra noise coming from the playback VCR itself. Unfortunately many later HiFi equipped decks skimped on good clean playback of the normal/linear track, perhaps assuming owners would always be using the quieter HiFi system.

If you can upload a short sample of the audio, in a loud passage as well as a quieter passage, we can advise on ways to make the best of what audio you have on these recordings.

Last edited by timtape; 06-08-2024 at 08:25 PM.
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  #5  
06-08-2024, 10:02 PM
dpalomaki dpalomaki is offline
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To add to the above.

There also were some recorders that could record the linear track in stereo. These were fairly rare. While the recordings would play (in mono) on a machine with a mono linear track it generally would have higher hiss level. Some machines may have Dolby noise reduction implemented for their linear track to help reduce hiss.

The HiFi tracks should be comparatively hiss free. Of course the audio source could also provide hiss.

Audio editing software such as Audition, Audacity, and audio plugins to NLE system can provide noise reduction capability. Worth a try and while it can color music it may be less intrusive if the audio is mainly voice or non-musical..
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  #6  
06-08-2024, 10:49 PM
timtape timtape is offline
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Yes try the modern software tools on your sound tracks. Many companies offer a generous free demo for a period of days and then after that, ongoing use but with no ability to save the result, which can still be useful for evaluation purposes.
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  #7  
06-08-2024, 11:52 PM
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I can't read this whole thread at the moment, just skim quickly, but here's a quick take...

VHS tape audio quality heavily depends on the recording camera/deck.

VHS was either linear (not necessarily mono), or HiFi, or both. The quality of one can be excellent, and the other can be terrible. Or both excellent, or both terrible.

No VCR perfectly extracts audio -- and sometimes (if quality really matters, something important or rare), the video and audio get captured separately, and re-merged in an editor (anything from VirtualDub to Premiere/FCP/etc). And that is when TBCs matter more than normal, too.

On the Panasonic, you have L+R HiFi (left+right channels stereo), L-only or R-only, or linear (no L/R shown). And I believe the 1980P shunts all the audio to mono for linear output, if the tape recorded linear was stereo linear (which it usually is not).

If you have an issue here, you need to contact Deter. Just note that Deter will be unavailable for a while, so it can't/won't be fixed for several months. But at this time, I'm not convinced anything is wrong. So perhaps just tell him "I ran into an issue, but I'm not yet sure if it's this VCR, or my tapes. I was told you'll be unavailable for a while, so it won't get fixed if there is a problem, and I understand, that's fine. But I just wanted to mention the possible audio issue now, rather than wait a few months to tell you." -- or something to that effect.

For audio restoration software, the quick kludgy hatchet-job freeware is Audacity. More refined is Sound Forge (Pro), but I've not used the current Magix versions (only the Sonic Foundry then Sony versions, before Magix bought it). That said, it probably still is amazing software, maybe a bit harder to use now, judging from the Youtube videos on it.

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  #8  
06-09-2024, 08:54 AM
dpalomaki dpalomaki is offline
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Also, it is possible that a somewhat misaligned audio/control track head (relative to the original recorder) could net a higher hiss level relative to the desired audio output.

The recorded track width on tape of the each channel of linear stereo is roughly 1/3 the width of the normal mono track recorded with. That in part accounts for the worse signal to noise ratio. Also tape speed has a significant impact on linear audio quality, EP being substantially worse than SP

While VHS came out in the 1970s, the Hi-Fi recording system emerged later, in the mid 1980s. Stereo and later HiFi were offered on higher end VCR and camcorder models so many home recordings and low budget commercial tapes have mono linear sound only. Commercial tapes (e.g., Hollywood movies) released after the mid 1980 typically had stereo HiFi and may have has stereo linear tracks, and DolbyB for the linear track.

The AG-1980 offered a number of audio recording and playback options including separate linear track access.
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  #9  
06-09-2024, 08:59 AM
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Mmm, yeah, good call, very accurate, audio head can often use finesse realignment for problem tapes. But you must be careful with this realignment, especially on the Panasonics.

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  #10  
06-09-2024, 12:06 PM
Glitchy Windows 3.1 Glitchy Windows 3.1 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dpalomaki View Post
While VHS came out in the 1970s, the Hi-Fi recording system emerged later, in the mid 1980s. Stereo and later HiFi were offered on higher end VCR and camcorder models so many home recordings and low budget commercial tapes have mono linear sound only. Commercial tapes (e.g., Hollywood movies) released after the mid 1980 typically had stereo HiFi and may have has stereo linear tracks, and DolbyB for the linear track.
So the one of the home recordings was a quinceanera recorded from 2002 on VHS. Whether it was a DVD master that was transfered on a VHS as that was the case with my cousin's tape is unknown to me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lordsmurf View Post
No VCR perfectly extracts audio -- and sometimes (if quality really matters, something important or rare), the video and audio get captured separately, and re-merged in an editor (anything from VirtualDub to Premiere/FCP/etc). And that is when TBCs matter more than normal, too.
The thing is that the hiss is too loud in this case, maybe it may be less noticeable in a loud setting with the 2002 quinceanera tape. However, with a tape where there are people talking, the hiss drowns out their conversation.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lordsmurf View Post
If you have an issue here, you need to contact Deter. Just note that Deter will be unavailable for a while, so it can't/won't be fixed for several months. But at this time, I'm not convinced anything is wrong. So perhaps just tell him "I ran into an issue, but I'm not yet sure if it's this VCR, or my tapes. I was told you'll be unavailable for a while, so it won't get fixed if there is a problem, and I understand, that's fine. But I just wanted to mention the possible audio issue now, rather than wait a few months to tell you." -- or something to that effect.
If it comes to that I'll ask him but I do not think it needs repair, maybe an adjustment that I am not going to do as I do not know my way around a Panasonic AG-1980P.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lordsmurf View Post
Mmm, yeah, good call, very accurate, audio head can often use finesse realignment for problem tapes. But you must be careful with this realignment, especially on the Panasonics.
Yeah , good idea since I do not want to mess with the Panasonic machine just yet.

Quote:
Originally Posted by timtape View Post
If you can upload a short sample of the audio, in a loud passage as well as a quieter passage, we can advise on ways to make the best of what audio you have on these recordings.
Most likely I can send one tomorrow as we have been doing a lot of traveling, especially today since we are going from Houston back to our house.
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  #11  
06-09-2024, 02:10 PM
dpalomaki dpalomaki is offline
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Quote:
So the one of the home recordings was a quinceanera recorded from 2002 on VHS.
Any idea what (make/model) recorder was used?
What speed is the recording (SP, LP, EP/SLP)?

Audio hiss level will generally increase with copies of VHS tape linear tracks while desired audio level will generally remain about the same.
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  #12  
06-11-2024, 10:02 PM
timtape timtape is offline
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Another cause of excessive hiss is simply a dirty audio head (A/C head). The dirt pushes the tape minutely away from the head, enough to make the sound very muffled. What remains is the deck's own preamplifier hiss which by comparison now sound very loud. But once the dirty head is cleaned the audio returns to full brightness, masking the preamplier's hiss.
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