It keeps happening.... I'm hoping this is not an issue with the machine itself.
Hi everyone, after finally getting my capture setup ready, I popped in an SLP cassette containing non-Hi-Fi mono linear audio and the audio sounds really distorted, like if you're playing an instrument out-of-tune. I also had the same issue popping in another SLP tape w/ linear audio, it was like that at the beginning, then the Hi-Fi tracks came in and I think the audio was still distorted (possibly worn tape?). I doubt it's an issue with the tapes themselves because my Panasonic PV-9450 consumer VCR never had this issue playing them! What I do know right now is that I did pop in a SVHS cassette before containing stereo SP/SLP content testing only the linear audio sounds fine, no distortion whatsoever, good condition tape. So I'm not sure my SR-MV45 needs and alignment or what (I already cleaned the heads when I received this machine), no capacitors that I see look blown or bulging. Maybe the Panasonic AG-1980 refurb'd won't have any audio distortion on SLP cassettes compared to JVC machines b/c Panasonic? (I've seen the research here on the debate between JVC and Panasonic TBC VCR machines; though my SR-MV45 worked flawlessly as I tested the machine days ago). Let me know what you guys think, I attached the video down below. Thanks.
Intel Pentium 4 HT 2.40 GHz
2 GB RAM
Windows XP Home SP2 x86
120 GB Crucial SSD (system drive, SATA)
1 TB WD Blue HDD (secondary, SATA to IDE)
ATI All-in-Wonder 9000 Pro
JVC SR-MV45 VCR/DVD recorder w/ TBC turned ON
Prime Image TBC/Freeze II w/ DTL set to HIGH
I captured using S-Video and the VCR audio is going straight to my Creative Sound Blaster Live!, not bypassing audio from the AIW to the Live card due to low volume. Huffyuv is used.
EDIT: I decided to add a bonus here and attach another clip (audioIssue3.avi). This time same issue, except on Hi-Fi tracks, JVC TBC is turned off due to V-rolls, so I turned on stabilization instead (The SR-MV45 seems to hates this tape, probably an issue with the cassette itself). BTW the SVHS that I explained earlier has some VHS crackling in the Hi-Fi track, linear has no distortion (audioIssue4.avi)
Last edited by ChunkDaMan; 08-07-2019 at 07:31 PM.
Are you sure you don't have both mono/linear and stereo/hi-fi tracks turned on at the same time? I think it was called "mix" or something like that on some decks.
The "idea" I think was to record the sound to both methods/tracks, mono was as a side stripe on the tape, stereo was as an embedded track orthogonal to the video across the helical video tracks on tape. The idea was that one (usually the mono) could in theory be dubbed over for narration or other reasons and "mixed" with the actual sound recording made at the time of the recording.. but it could also be used as a "backup" in case one or the other was recorded at the wrong levels or sound recording equipment failed. Leaving it in "mix" when you have duplicate backup tracks in mono and stereo could produce echos, syncopation and various interference patterns in the audio when played back.. experienced people from back then would set the audio from norm/stereo/mix to the proper playback mode based on what they had or needed and how they intended to compose the sound score for the tape.
Consumer decks didn't always have the three choices. They only had the binary toggle mono or hi-fi to prevent getting them (pun) "mixed" up.
Studio quality equipment included the "mix" setting... for the reasons described.
Incidentally.. the stereo tracks usually can't be saved from old tapes. It was a weak imprinting method that suffers the most over time and from using poor quality tape when making the original recordings. Most people would like to get the stereo captured.. but the tracking is usually off.. especially for SLP.. and people have to settle for capturing the "mono" track only. The problems are many but the audio suffers from time base problems the same as the video from tape age, stretching and contraction, warping, and head switching "helicopter noise" which rides the opposite edge of the tape from the "mono" audio track.. hence why the "mono" track is immune to the head switching noise.. its as far from that source as possible on the opposite edge of the tape.
There are a few VCRs that are reportedly better at Hi-Fi playback than others, but finding one is hard, and in the mean time you can usually capture the "mono" track and people settle for that. Also usually you'll want those tapes to have been recorded on premium quality tape and at high speed with very stable mechanics.. which of course you can't go back in time and do.
False alarm... maybe... The audio distortion was THAT tape itself, as also my PV-9450 had distortion on NORM track, mono only. I'm blaming the previous owner, probably had crapped heads on their VCR.
Originally Posted by jwillis84
Are you sure you don't have both mono/linear and stereo/hi-fi tracks turned on at the same time? I think it was called "mix" or something like that on some decks.
I never use both Hi-Fi and NORM at the same time. I'm playing Hi-Fi only audio where available, if the audio has been recorded in mono by a non-Hi-Fi VCR, then the JVC plays the audio on "NORM" only. These cassettes weren't originally mine as I bought them off eBay, so the previous owners had [cheap] mono VCRs (audioIssue3.avi and audioIssue4.avi have the JVC machine playing on "Hi-Fi" mode only while audioIssue.avi have the audio set to "NORM").
The SVHS I have here is one of those high-end cassettes (TDK XP Super Pro). I looked at the cassette tape on this one and I see some light crinkling every half inch on the side of the tape. (Possibly why audioIssue4.avi has some crackling on the Hi-Fi track?) According to TGrant's page here, they say this causes terrible playback but luckily this cassette here plays the picture fine (audioIssue4.avi). The crinkling probably happened on the previous owner's VCR, I'm sure my S-VCRs didn't cause that but I can't confirm.
To see if my MV-45 is having audio problems again, I decided to pop in an old HBO recorded cassette that's been with me for almost 2 decades, very worn at the beginning (blame me, I REW'd and FF'd the beginning constantly as a kid ). I said earlier that the MV45 was randomly playing the audio at NORM during the first minute of playback on that cassette, but the audio is actually Hi-Fi, even said by my PV-9450. I captured both w/ both VCRs at the same segment, both may have different reactions to the V-roll using the AIW 9000 Pro and Freeze II. I also have the same segment capped with my former Startech SVID2USB23 from 2017, no external TBC used there (audio off-sync, but less V-rolls). The MV45's TBC has been disabled so I can enable stabilization for this cassette when using that VCR. Luckily the MV45 cooperated and played the Hi-Fi tracks this time , though had distortion at the beginning (not shown on the clips), but that's due to the calibration the machine has.
BTW I'm aware that the AG-1980 does a better job with SLP cassettes, but I already spent my budget for now. There shouldn't be a need to clean the heads on my MV45 again since they've been cleaned days ago. I would clean them every couple of days worth of playback or I accidentally popped in a super dirty cassette.
The Hi-Fi audio track is written and read by the hi-fi heads on the video drum, "below" the video track in a sense. So, if there is noise in the video, hi-fi is also going to be affected. This unlike linear audio which is like a normal audio tape track at the edge of the tape which is much more resistant to misalignment (but much lower quality.).
Both the audioissue3 and 4 clips seem to have some tracking or alignment issue. On 3 it's quite visible at the top, on 4 you can see a bit of noise at the bottom. EP and SLP modes are more sensitive to tracking/alignment issues that SP as the video tracks are narrower, especially troublesome when it comes to hi-fi audio. You may want to try to manually adjust tracking to see if you can make the noise lines go away, if not you may need to adjust alignment on the playback VCR to match the tape if you want to get a good capture. I don't know if it's the VCRs or the original recording that would be off.
Also, as jwillis84 notes, on very worn tapes with lots of dropouts, you may have no choice as the hi-fi track has degraded too much.
I haven't looked at your samples. From what you describe, and my experience with a JVC S-VHS machine, you may have to do some alignment adjustments by the video drum and/or the Audio/Control head to resolve video/audio issues you describe.
Hi-Fi audio issues like crackling would come from tape vs player (i.e. most machines are not calibrated, and so the original recorder and the capture player could be quite different) alignment of the video drum. The linear audio issues obviously come from the Audio/Control head (which has 3 screws for JVC, and a service manual is advised to know which screws do what, although probably the same on most models). The vertical roll could be caused by tape vs player alignment on either the video drum or the A/C head (i.e. the control track on the tape and player are not lined up). I have experienced all of these when playing with the alignment of video or audio/control heads of a JVC trying to get an EP tape to play without vertical or audio issues.
Alignment of the player should be done to something known to be good, like a pre-recorded video. These contain hifi and linear audio. So be sure to switch audio source to test both audio tracks. I happened to have both SP and EP prerecorded tapes from major studios to use as a good source for calibrating. SP gets you most of the way there. EP is then best for fine tuning, because tolerance is much smaller here.
However, once you start playing your own tapes, things can go bad because of the alignment of the player that made the tape, or just deterioration/stretching of the tape. It isn't true of all EP tapes. But there will be some that have issue. What I found with the JVC I have, vs Panasonics I have (1980, PV-S45/6 series, PV-9451, PV-4561), is some EP tapes required me to tweak video or audio/control head alignment to get the tape to play w/o audio issues or video jitter/roll. This is not ideal, because now you have deviated from the calibration you did with a known good pre-recorded tape. So you will have to do a lot of tweaking back and forth from tape to tape. Of course, always try to adjust manual tracking on the machine first. But for issues you describe, that goes beyond manual tracking. Perhaps once you calibrate from a pre-recorded tape, you'll need less alignment tweaking and can rely on manual tracking of the machine.
This is something to do only if you feel comfortable enough or really want to get the best capture you can from the tape. Be sure to have a steady hand, relax, and be patient. Grounding yourself is also advised. I make it sound scary, but it isn't once you try. Most important thing is to not tweak too much at once or more than one thing at a time. If you tweak something and it gets better, that's good. If not, you can always undo it, so long as you remember where you started. Be mindful of the position of the screw head. You shouldn't have to turn it that much to know if it's better or worse.
The good news is JVC are much more friendly to make such alignment adjustments on than Panasonic. See here for an overview on how to do the video heads http://www.digitalfaq.com/forum/vcr-...c-vhs-vcr.html Maybe there's something else on this site for JVC audio alignment, but I used the service manual, and remembered the positions of screws before I adjusted them and adjusted them very carefully and slowly and only one at a time to easily remember their original position. I may have only had to adjust one of those. I think 2 of the 3 are adjusting the same thing, one is for finer adjustment and one is for bigger adjustment (which is not likely needed). The 3rd may have been to rotate horizontally, which I would think is not as likely if it plays other tapes decently. I adjusted video first, then moved to audio if needed. Because adjusting height of tape path coming off the video drum can cause different height traveling across the a/c head.
Also of great importance is to avoid adjusting the video alignment such that the tape rides up on the roller that is just before returning to the take up reel of the tape. You should notice that this roller (for JVC models) has a head on top that is greater in diameter. This is a potentially dangerous thing, because if the tape can ride high enough to roll over this head, it damages the edge of the tape (feathering). This happened to me initially when I got my JVC, and so I had to fix the video alignment to eliminate this. Try to use unimportant tapes when doing any of this work, as I learned the hard way. Fortunately, in my case, the edge of the tape I had feathered was not enough damage to harm audio during playback.
Of course, if you are just talking audio issues, and don't want to go this route, you can always capture from another machine and then save the audio as Wav in Virtualdub, then use direct stream copy of the video from JVC, selecting that Wav file as the audio source. This muxes the video and audio together without any recompression. Not ideal, I know, but it is an option if you literally don't want to start screwing around .
One more thing, sometimes I could come back and play the tape another day on the same JVC, and some of the audio issues I had (which were minor to begin with) would not happen. I don't know if it was because I had rewound the tape and let it sit a while. Sounds very unscientific, because it is. But, perhaps if you try some "voodoo" like FF/Rew the tape, let it rest a day or two, then try again. Maybe it works. I dunno. It is hard to explain. Sometimes I think it might be as random as a slightly different level of height that the tape has across the heads compared to the last time it was inserted. I know, this all sounds crazy. Because it is. I normally don't waste my time trying these things unless I'm really desperate. I just move on to another machine or tweak the machine for that tape then tweak it back to where it was.
The OP has problems with two tapes only, So I don't think it's a wise idea to mess up the alignment because of a faulty two tapes.
Now what I think happened is during the recording of that tape the capstan struggled with the tape either due to some dirt on the capstan, humidity that made tape slips ...etc or simply a badly miss aligned VCR, The drum would still record a playable video fields even if you have a slight wow and flutter on the capstan.
Now the audio track is distorted permanently unless you apply some sort of wow and flutter correction software on the transferred files, But I don't think the software is cheap enough to use it for this purpose.
I absolutely agree not to mess with alignment over 2 tapes. Get the best you can out of the tape using how many ever players you can throw at it to get the best video and audio, then work digitally to make the best of it.
Yeah don't mess with alignment on your prize deck for misaligned tapes. Personally I use a cheaper VCR that I don't mind messing with + a Pioneer/Sony or Panasonic DMR-ES10 DVD recorder for line TBC for tapes with messed up alignment so I can tweak the guides for proper playback.
For me, the SR-V101 tends to be easiest to misalign. The lightweight smaller form-factor helps. Not a big heavy deck to lug around. Easy to pull out, plug in, fiddle with, put back up. Though you need to make a custom tool using a flathead screwdriver and a Dremel. And it isn't the easiest to realign. But I'm not trying to put it back to spec anyway.
Yeah, I have a lot of decks.
I'd never, ever, mess with something like my AG-1980, or my A+ graded JVC MV45/VS30 decks. As stated, don't mess with prized decks.
If you didn't get that MV45 from me, there's a chance it has bad audio heads. That's something I check for. The audio heads on the MV45 can give out faster than the video heads. And since many MV45 decks came from abusive environments, it's very possible. Likely even. You must be careful where you get gear. It's not as easy as buying a "good model", and used condition matters more.
Well great, I was away watering the garden, then after that, I took hodgey's word before and started trying to realign my MV45, putting in my Jurassic Park tape which I got sealed for 50 cents. After doing that and possibly screwing up something, I came back here and was told to not mess with the alignment... Even worse, I don't have a waveform scope to "nudge" everything up to speed...
I have a feeling I accidentally bumped my screwdriver on the drum head while messing with the transport, but that could be my fears talking. I wasn't paying attention to the screw as I was looking at the screen and suddenly my screwdriver fell off the transport, saw the picture badly corrupted for a second, So far the picture looks fine but obviously looks better with the TBC on (No external TBC used for alignment here). Now I'm going to worry about not having a perfect alignment or ruining the drum head... First time alignment, whattda expect?
I don't use a scope for alignments. I have such a diverse and large test bed for tapes that I don't need to.
Hitting heads with a screwdriver ... ouch.
My first time aligning a deck, years ago, was with a 3800 that had issues. I made it worse. Took a long time to get a handle on which screws to turn, and how much. It's a skill, an art.
I can realign MV45, but those are more work than the average JVC. The SR Pro decks are a more advanced SR-V10 sort of mechanics. These can track better, sometimes as good as a AG-1980, but can also be much worse than average if abused or poorly aligned. The tolerances are smaller, a micro-turn can really wildly change it.
The picture and sound are really crispy clean after my alignment, I probably hit the tape outside the drum really hard on accident (between the metal post and the audio head (right of the drum head). Hopefully, I'm lucky otherwise the picture would have looked... dead. Sorry LS. I'm playing a pre-recorded cassette w/o the line TBC turned on just to see if the picture is fine and so far nothing wrong.
I bought the MV45 from eBay for $120, listed as "tested" and "working", worked better than expected when I tested and cleaned the machine after getting it, just hoping I didn't damage something b/c I don't have time and money to take this guy to a shop for a head replacement or what.
EDIT: While playing back the Jurassic Park tape to monitor playback, I'm getting V-rolls while the line TBC is on and some crackliness in the right channel audio. I'm still having to make sure I've guesstimated my alignment correctly. Does anyone know which transport controls V-rolls and audio playback besides the heads?
Last edited by ChunkDaMan; 08-08-2019 at 05:48 PM.
After doing that and possibly screwing up something, I came back here and was told to not mess with the alignment... Even worse, I don't have a waveform scope to "nudge" everything up to speed...
Oh man, I'm sorry I didn't clarify in my post. Granted if the commercial tape was having playback issues I suppose the VCR may already have been out of alignment.
A scope can be useful to fine-tune, but it's certainly doable to get it close without one. Listening for hi-fi crackling can also be helpful for fine-tuning.
If V-Rolls are the result of alignment, it's suggests the entry guide being off. Each video field (half-frame) is one line/track on the tape, which goes diagonally from the top to the bottom of the physical tape. The drum spins counterclockwise, so if the entry guide is off, the head will be furthest away from the center of the video track at the beginning of the field.
Nope, those clips came from recorded cassettes. I'm sure the issues were recorder and tape independent, not an issue with my machine. My goodness do I regret trying to align...
Later on, I did even more aligning and confirmed by LS, a scope is not required (unless for precise adjusting).
Using pre-recorded tapes, I manage to fix the "crackles" by adjusting the left transport and the V-jitters on the right. I'm hoping this makes the alignment near perfect this time. If not, then more precise aligning will be done. If the tape from audioIssue3.avi is going to require me to manually tune those transports...
Originally Posted by lordsmurf
I think the deck has some underlying issues, independent of any potential alignment issues.
I seriously doubt that because my MV45 has worked like a champ, just aligning for the first time changed things. After thinking I banged on the drum head, nothing wrong is happening. The picture is looking grand, sound is crisp and all 4 heads are sticking out, nothing looks pushed in, etc. The last thing I need is to pay hundreds to get a nice deck repaired. Tired right now, brb tomorrow.
Since you already messed up the alignment may as well try those bad tapes and see if you can recover the most out of them, I doubt though the distorted audio can be improved by miss aligning the VCR.
Make sure when you're done with the final alignment to apply some nail polish on the p guides nuts otherwise they will get loose by time. Don't apply glue or locktite.
So you're saying to put acetone on those transport nuts using cotton swabs? I'm going to wait for a confirmed approval before doing that step. I popped in another studio pre-recorded tape today and I see fuzziness at the bottom after yesterday's alignment. (possibly auto-tracking misaligned something again?) How loose will the nuts become over time, within months or every time I pop in a tape?
Last edited by ChunkDaMan; 08-09-2019 at 11:15 AM.