Personal computing discussed

Moderator: Captain Ned

 
setaG_lliB
Gerbil First Class
Topic Author
Posts: 122
Joined: Wed Mar 03, 2010 6:02 pm

Hi-Fi VHS: It really does sound good

Mon May 29, 2017 1:37 am

The vintage audio geeks here at TR might find this interesting. I recently found a JVC VCR capable of recording Hi-Fi tapes. To put the machine through its paces, I hooked it up to my stereo and recorded some music from a few of my LPs last night. I'm completely blown away by how good stereo audio sounds on these NOS tapes. This is easily better than the best audio cassettes I've heard, and actually quite similar to good reel tape. I think those old claims that VHS can do 20-20000 might be true. :o

I made a quick video of the machine in action. Yes, you are hearing it through my DSLR's mic, but it's not that bad as far as built-in mics go.
 
JustAnEngineer
Gold subscriber
Gerbil God
Posts: 18217
Joined: Sat Jan 26, 2002 7:00 pm
Location: The Heart of Dixie

Re: Hi-Fi VHS: It really does sound good

Mon May 29, 2017 1:54 am

S-VHS Hi-Fi records the audio in diagonal stripes across the tape (like the video) instead of in a linear strip along the edge of the tape as regular VHS does. More tape covered per second = higher quality, given the same magnetic media and head capabilities. The 18½-year-old VCR in my AV stack is a JVC HR-S7500U. It's been at least two years since I turned it on.
Last edited by JustAnEngineer on Mon May 29, 2017 1:58 am, edited 1 time in total.
i7-8700K, H100i v2, RoG Strix Z370-G Gaming, 16 GiB, RX Vega64, Define Mini-C, SSR-850PX, C32HG70, RK-9000BR, MX518
 
Captain Ned
Gold subscriber
Global Moderator
Posts: 27273
Joined: Wed Jan 16, 2002 7:00 pm
Location: Vermont, USA

Re: Hi-Fi VHS: It really does sound good

Mon May 29, 2017 1:57 am

You're not far wrong. The main 2 audiophile mags (Stereophile and The Absolute Sound) both reviewed Hi-Fi VCRs back in the mid-late 1980s and loved the sound, but eventually came to the conclusion that the physical tape dynamics (narrow tape, rapidly spinning head) meant that tape life was abysmal.
Humans sleep soundly in their beds because rough cats stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm.
 
Chuckaluphagus
Silver subscriber
Gerbil Elite
Posts: 815
Joined: Fri Aug 25, 2006 4:29 pm
Location: Boston area, MA

Re: Hi-Fi VHS: It really does sound good

Mon May 29, 2017 12:19 pm

I was just talking about this over the weekend, as an example of a format I'd never seen nor heard of back when VHS tapes were actually a common thing. I only found out about them in my twenties, from a very eccentric coworker who swore up, down and sideways that they were the best-ever audio format, infinitely superior to CDs.
 
morphine
Gold subscriber
TR Staff
Posts: 11477
Joined: Fri Dec 27, 2002 8:51 pm
Location: Portugal (that's next to Spain)

Re: Hi-Fi VHS: It really does sound good

Mon May 29, 2017 12:23 pm

And today on "formats I never heard of..."
There is a fixed amount of intelligence on the planet, and the population keeps growing :(
 
just brew it!
Gold subscriber
Administrator
Posts: 51540
Joined: Tue Aug 20, 2002 10:51 pm
Location: Somewhere, having a beer

Re: Hi-Fi VHS: It really does sound good

Mon May 29, 2017 12:30 pm

Captain Ned wrote:
You're not far wrong. The main 2 audiophile mags (Stereophile and The Absolute Sound) both reviewed Hi-Fi VCRs back in the mid-late 1980s and loved the sound, but eventually came to the conclusion that the physical tape dynamics (narrow tape, rapidly spinning head) meant that tape life was abysmal.

IIRC it wasn't digital; I believe it recorded an analog frequency modulated carrier wave on the tape alongside the video track. No error correction obviously, so imperfections in the tape could cause dropouts. But on a new tape it did indeed sound quite good.
Nostalgia isn't what it used to be.
 
BIF
Gold subscriber
Minister of Gerbil Affairs
Posts: 2299
Joined: Tue May 25, 2004 7:41 pm

Re: Hi-Fi VHS: It really does sound good

Mon May 29, 2017 12:46 pm

Yeah, I think I'll pass.

I got rid of a dreadful tape-eating VHS machine many years ago and then decided just not to buy another one. I never missed it.

Long before that, I used to record radio programs with high capacity VHS tapes. Now I stream better content in podcast format.

I will NEVER miss tape devices. Ever. Good riddance.
 
morphine
Gold subscriber
TR Staff
Posts: 11477
Joined: Fri Dec 27, 2002 8:51 pm
Location: Portugal (that's next to Spain)

Re: Hi-Fi VHS: It really does sound good

Mon May 29, 2017 1:14 pm

"I absolutely love handling tapes." -- Nobody.
There is a fixed amount of intelligence on the planet, and the population keeps growing :(
 
toki
Gerbil Team Leader
Posts: 288
Joined: Fri Nov 08, 2013 3:55 pm

Re: Hi-Fi VHS: It really does sound good

Mon May 29, 2017 1:23 pm

lol, in the mid 90s I used to hook my stereo up to the VCR and record samples off of the tapes for tracks I would try to make and so on.
 
Captain Ned
Gold subscriber
Global Moderator
Posts: 27273
Joined: Wed Jan 16, 2002 7:00 pm
Location: Vermont, USA

Re: Hi-Fi VHS: It really does sound good

Mon May 29, 2017 1:37 pm

just brew it! wrote:
IIRC it wasn't digital; I believe it recorded an analog frequency modulated carrier wave on the tape alongside the video track. No error correction obviously, so imperfections in the tape could cause dropouts. But on a new tape it did indeed sound quite good.

You are correct. Pure analog. The tape degradation due to multiple replays was so quick that the nervosa mags quickly rescinded their recommendations. That said, there was about 12 months where VCR manufacturers tried to grab a new market.

EDIT: As JAE alludes to above, the putative benefits of recording music to VHS came only if it was on the helically-recorded video portion of the tape.
Humans sleep soundly in their beds because rough cats stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm.
 
ozzuneoj
Gerbil Elite
Posts: 524
Joined: Tue Jan 21, 2014 1:27 pm

Re: Hi-Fi VHS: It really does sound good

Mon May 29, 2017 4:07 pm

Interesting, I've never heard of HiFi VHS. I can definitely see why it didn't catch on though. It doesn't matter how good it sounds the first time if it degrades as quickly as VHS (video) tapes did. I've listened to audio cassettes that sounded fine after years of use, but most home-recorded VHS tapes look wonky the first time you play them and they get worse every time. Lets not even talk about recording over tapes multiple times.

While I can accept the fact that true analog recordings have advantages, its hard to imagine most of them being noticeably superior to a high quality digital recording, and the digital recording will never change no matter how many times the data is moved around or copied.
Desktop - i5 2500K@4.5Ghz - MSI P67A-G43 - 16GB DDR3-2133 - PNY GTX 970
HTPC - i7 4790 - Asus B85 - 8GB DDR3-1600 - EVGA GTX 1050 Ti
Selling lots of cool PC stuff on Mercari. Use code VBGQMM for a $10 sign up credit!
 
just brew it!
Gold subscriber
Administrator
Posts: 51540
Joined: Tue Aug 20, 2002 10:51 pm
Location: Somewhere, having a beer

Re: Hi-Fi VHS: It really does sound good

Mon May 29, 2017 7:15 pm

Tapes still have a niche as an archival data storage medium where cost/GB and/or archival stability are important. LTO tape is pretty impressive tech.
Nostalgia isn't what it used to be.
 
TheEmrys
Minister of Gerbil Affairs
Posts: 2450
Joined: Wed May 29, 2002 8:22 pm
Location: Northern Colorado
Contact:

Re: Hi-Fi VHS: It really does sound good

Mon May 29, 2017 7:47 pm

There was a video making the rounds a month or so ago HD VHS footage of NYC. Let me see... Yeah, here it is.
https://petapixel.com/2017/04/10/hd-video-new-york-city-1993-hard-fathom/

There are two YouTube videos embedded. One is the video, and another is about HD VHS itself.
Sony a7II 55/1.8 Minolta 100/2, 17-35D, Tamron 28-75/2.8
 
Heiwashin
Maximum Gerbil
Posts: 4508
Joined: Wed Dec 13, 2006 1:21 pm
Location: Denham Springs, LA

Re: Hi-Fi VHS: It really does sound good

Mon May 29, 2017 8:03 pm

morphine wrote:
"I absolutely love handling tapes." -- Nobody.


:lol:
No room here for a audiophile tape group i see.
Looking for Knowledge wrote:
When drunk.....
I want to have sex, but find I am more likely to be shot down than when I am sober.
 
jackbomb
Gerbil XP
Posts: 334
Joined: Tue Aug 12, 2008 10:25 pm

Re: Hi-Fi VHS: It really does sound good

Mon May 29, 2017 10:52 pm

Most movies on VHS had hifi stereo tracks, at least in the 90s. Some even had Dolby Surround embedded in the stereo track. They did sound good, but laserdisc always seemed to have a lot more low frequency oomph.

Free Man in Paris is a great song.
Like a good neighbor jackbomb is there.
 
just brew it!
Gold subscriber
Administrator
Posts: 51540
Joined: Tue Aug 20, 2002 10:51 pm
Location: Somewhere, having a beer

Re: Hi-Fi VHS: It really does sound good

Tue May 30, 2017 6:16 am

jackbomb wrote:
Free Man in Paris is a great song.

I agree. Were you listening to the original Joni Mitchell version, or someone else's cover version?
Nostalgia isn't what it used to be.
 
TheEmrys
Minister of Gerbil Affairs
Posts: 2450
Joined: Wed May 29, 2002 8:22 pm
Location: Northern Colorado
Contact:

Re: Hi-Fi VHS: It really does sound good

Tue May 30, 2017 6:46 am

jackbomb wrote:
Most movies on VHS had hifi stereo tracks, at least in the 90s. Some even had Dolby Surround embedded in the stereo track. They did sound good, but laserdisc always seemed to have a lot more low frequency oomph.

Free Man in Paris is a great song.


I actually preferred our RCA Videodisc to our VHS VCR. It had stereo output, but the picture quality was awfully clear and never got worse.
Sony a7II 55/1.8 Minolta 100/2, 17-35D, Tamron 28-75/2.8
 
Aranarth
Graphmaster Gerbil
Posts: 1126
Joined: Tue Jan 17, 2006 6:56 am
Location: Big Rapids, Mich. (Est Time Zone)
Contact:

Re: Hi-Fi VHS: It really does sound good

Tue May 30, 2017 7:09 am

On a similar note:
Did you know you can record binary data on VHS tapes?!
Yes there is a standard for it...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/D-VHS

Looks like you could store 50GB on a tape.
Main machine: Core I7 -2600K @ 4.0Ghz / 16 gig ram / Radeon RX 580 8gb / 500gb toshiba ssd / 5tb hd
Old machine: Core 2 quad Q6600 @ 3ghz / 8 gig ram / Radeon 7870 / 240 gb PNY ssd / 1tb HD
 
just brew it!
Gold subscriber
Administrator
Posts: 51540
Joined: Tue Aug 20, 2002 10:51 pm
Location: Somewhere, having a beer

Re: Hi-Fi VHS: It really does sound good

Tue May 30, 2017 7:14 am

There was also a multi-track digital audio recorder (from Alesis IIRC) which used VHS tapes as the media.

Edit: 8mm video tapes were also a popular data storage medium for a while back in the '90s. Exabyte was the biggest vendor of drives IIRC. Fermilab used a lot of them; with all the data that place handled they were always looking for cheaper ways to store massive (for that time) amounts of data. Unfortunately the 8mm tape transports did not hold up well under continuous 24x7 pounding and needed to be repaired or replaced after just a few months. For a while I had the dubious distinction of being the in-house "go to" guy for extraction and data recovery of eaten 8mm tapes. Had my set of Torx and small Phillips screwdrivers, and various makeshift implements fashioned out of bent paperclips, etc for disentangling the eaten tape from the mechanisms surrounding the head drum... :lol:
Nostalgia isn't what it used to be.
 
ultima_trev
Gerbil XP
Posts: 363
Joined: Sat Mar 27, 2010 11:14 am
Contact:

Re: Hi-Fi VHS: It really does sound good

Tue May 30, 2017 7:17 am

Ah.....................

Memories!

I had a Phillips/Magnavox Hi-Fi VHS back in the late 90's to early 2000's. By the time the PS2 came around I pretty much abandoned VHS for DVD in home theater use.
Ryzen 7 1800X - Corsair H60i - GA AB350 Gaming - 32GB DDR4 2933 at 16,16,16,36 - GTX 1080 at 1924 / 5264 (undervolted) - 250GB WD Blue SSD - 2TB Toshiba 7200rpm HDD
 
The Egg
Gold subscriber
Minister of Gerbil Affairs
Posts: 2358
Joined: Sun Apr 06, 2008 4:46 pm

Re: Hi-Fi VHS: It really does sound good

Tue May 30, 2017 8:59 am

On a related note, if you guys haven't digitized your home videos yet, you might want to get on that. I did a combination of 8mm and VHS a few years back, and both formats were starting to get some significant degradation. I know some of the old archival movie films have held up well, but consumer-grade stuff from the 80's and 90's absolutely does not. If I had waited another 5 years, much of it may have been lost.
 
jackbomb
Gerbil XP
Posts: 334
Joined: Tue Aug 12, 2008 10:25 pm

Re: Hi-Fi VHS: It really does sound good

Tue May 30, 2017 10:23 am

just brew it! wrote:
jackbomb wrote:
Free Man in Paris is a great song.

I agree. Were you listening to the original Joni Mitchell version, or someone else's cover version?

Was just listening to the original Joni Mitchell version that the OP was playing in the video. Definitely my preferred version. I'll have to find my copy of Court and Spark when I get home from work. :)
Like a good neighbor jackbomb is there.
 
just brew it!
Gold subscriber
Administrator
Posts: 51540
Joined: Tue Aug 20, 2002 10:51 pm
Location: Somewhere, having a beer

Re: Hi-Fi VHS: It really does sound good

Tue May 30, 2017 10:25 am

jackbomb wrote:
just brew it! wrote:
jackbomb wrote:
Free Man in Paris is a great song.

I agree. Were you listening to the original Joni Mitchell version, or someone else's cover version?

I was just listening to the original Joni Mitchell version that the OP was playing in the video. Definitely my preferred version. I'll have to find my copy of Court and Spark when I get home from work. :)

Ahh, OK. I didn't realize it was in the video, as I hadn't watched the video yet. The title cut and "Raised on Robbery" are great songs too.
Nostalgia isn't what it used to be.
 
ludi
Lord High Gerbil
Posts: 8022
Joined: Fri Jun 21, 2002 10:47 pm
Location: Sunny Colorado front range

Re: Hi-Fi VHS: It really does sound good

Tue May 30, 2017 10:34 pm

TheEmrys wrote:
There was a video making the rounds a month or so ago HD VHS footage of NYC. Let me see... Yeah, here it is.
https://petapixel.com/2017/04/10/hd-video-new-york-city-1993-hard-fathom/

There are two YouTube videos embedded. One is the video, and another is about HD VHS itself.

Quite fascinating. There is one thing that unequivocally dates it, though: not one mobile device anywhere. Anyone who is talking is either engaged with a nearby person or praying to a preferred deity.
Abacus Model 2.5 | Quad-Row FX with 256 Cherry Red Slider Beads | Applewood Frame | Water Cooling by Brita Filtration
 
Captain Ned
Gold subscriber
Global Moderator
Posts: 27273
Joined: Wed Jan 16, 2002 7:00 pm
Location: Vermont, USA

Re: Hi-Fi VHS: It really does sound good

Tue May 30, 2017 10:43 pm

just brew it! wrote:
Ahh, OK. I didn't realize it was in the video, as I hadn't watched the video yet. The title cut and "Raised on Robbery" are great songs too.

Just beware that if you have the original CD version of "Court and Spark", you have one of the most abysmal CD transfers ever. Quant noise is everywhere (What? We can't run it into the red on digital??). Overplayed original vinyl is better than the original CD version.
Humans sleep soundly in their beds because rough cats stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm.
 
just brew it!
Gold subscriber
Administrator
Posts: 51540
Joined: Tue Aug 20, 2002 10:51 pm
Location: Somewhere, having a beer

Re: Hi-Fi VHS: It really does sound good

Tue May 30, 2017 11:14 pm

Captain Ned wrote:
just brew it! wrote:
Ahh, OK. I didn't realize it was in the video, as I hadn't watched the video yet. The title cut and "Raised on Robbery" are great songs too.

Just beware that if you have the original CD version of "Court and Spark", you have one of the most abysmal CD transfers ever. Quant noise is everywhere (What? We can't run it into the red on digital??). Overplayed original vinyl is better than the original CD version.

My CD of it was purchased within the past couple of years. It's HDCD encoded, which strongly suggests it was mastered in the late '90s or early aughts. There's some noticeable clipping in a few isolated spots, but without having the original vinyl for comparison (I did not become a fan until later in life) I have no basis for saying whether this is a problem with the CD transfer or something that was present in the original source material. Overall, I'd say the sound quality is OK but not fantastic.
Nostalgia isn't what it used to be.
 
Glorious
Gold subscriber
Gerbilus Supremus
Posts: 11087
Joined: Tue Aug 27, 2002 6:35 pm

Re: Hi-Fi VHS: It really does sound good

Wed May 31, 2017 7:44 am

Captain Ned wrote:
Just beware that if you have the original CD version of "Court and Spark", you have one of the most abysmal CD transfers ever.


Haha.

Have you ever seen the original DVD release of Outland?

Most abysmal DVD transfer ever.
 
Captain Ned
Gold subscriber
Global Moderator
Posts: 27273
Joined: Wed Jan 16, 2002 7:00 pm
Location: Vermont, USA

Re: Hi-Fi VHS: It really does sound good

Wed May 31, 2017 7:54 am

Outland.

Haven't seen that flick in decades, but I do remember it well and liked it when it was on cable 24/7. High Noon in space, but this time Grace Kelly gets out of Dodge and Frances Sternhagen has to play the role. Peter Boyle was good as well.
Humans sleep soundly in their beds because rough cats stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm.
 
jackbomb
Gerbil XP
Posts: 334
Joined: Tue Aug 12, 2008 10:25 pm

Re: Hi-Fi VHS: It really does sound good

Wed May 31, 2017 11:52 am

I believe I have the original CD release. From 1990. It doesn't sound too bad, although a bit thin in bass compared to that LP (vinyl??) to VHS dub...lol.
I had lots of fun revisiting Court and Spark last night. "Twisted" was such a fun way to end the album. :)

TheEmrys wrote:

I actually preferred our RCA Videodisc to our VHS VCR. It had stereo output, but the picture quality was awfully clear and never got worse.

I never saw RCA's videodisc, but back in the 90s a friend of mine had an awesome Laserdisc rig and yeah, it beat VHS to a pulp. The picture was oh so clear and the audio was even better. I'll never forget the time I first heard/felt those T-rex thumps in glorious AC3.
Like a good neighbor jackbomb is there.
 
setaG_lliB
Gerbil First Class
Topic Author
Posts: 122
Joined: Wed Mar 03, 2010 6:02 pm

Re: Hi-Fi VHS: It really does sound good

Wed May 31, 2017 5:42 pm

BIF wrote:
Yeah, I think I'll pass.

I got rid of a dreadful tape-eating VHS machine many years ago and then decided just not to buy another one. I never missed it.

Long before that, I used to record radio programs with high capacity VHS tapes. Now I stream better content in podcast format.

I will NEVER miss tape devices. Ever. Good riddance.

Yup, VHS is indeed a cumbersome way to store music. I'm not going to sugarcoat it; CDs and even MP3s sound just as good. But having grown up in the 80s-90s, I long associated the format with terribad mono sound. I was just really surprised when my recording came out sounding so good.
Last edited by setaG_lliB on Wed May 31, 2017 5:54 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest