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VHS to DVD dubbing problem

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
I started using my LG RC897T DVD recorder + VCR last year. I started dubbing video tapes that are teenage and older and there was no problem. This year, when I dub tapes that are teenage and older, I get a faint helicopter sound. This sound is not on the tapes when they are played. when they are being dubbed and played back, the helicopter sound is there. I started looking into places where I can get my unit repaired before I begin to finish dubbing the remaining tapes. Right now I am checking the DVDs that were completed already, against a binder I have of the video tapes the DVDs were dubbed from with another unit. The unit broke two years ago. I think it was a drive belt problem with my VCR. It was replaced with a LG RC897T DVD recorder + VCR .


My questions are as follows: (1) Does anyone have this problem with dubbing that sounds like a subtle helicopter motor?
(2) Do I need to get my unit repaired?

(3) Do I need to get the unit replaced? If so, what are the best combo unitls budget wise and are there any units out there that will be able to dub my old video tapes?

(3) I have some personal video tapes with the family. Should I find a professional who will dub them onto video for me. Where would I go to do thiis?

thank you.
post #2 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by escritora View Post

(1) Does anyone have this problem with dubbing that sounds like a subtle helicopter motor?

This is common with VHS HiFi tapes, most recordings will have traces of buzzing or helicopter noise in the background. It occurs with the original VCR and generally gets worse when played on a later VCR. The question in your case is why you can't hear it on straight tape playback, but suddenly notice it in the DVD copies: tough to diagnose. The most likely cause is that the dubbing electronics in your combo deck may be boosting amplification of the sound on the tapes, so that the DVDs play a little louder in that frequency range making it easier for you to hear.

Another possibility is your older deck may have been switching itself to the linear (non-HiFi) audio tracks during tape dubbing. The linear track is lower quality but rarely has problems with buzzing and helicopter noise.

Quote:
(2) Do I need to get my unit repaired?

Probably not. But check some of your older tape dubs: find a tape that you still have that was previously dubbed, perhaps on your earlier machine. Listen carefully to the DVD, with the sound turned up, and see if you hear any trace of helicopter noise. Then play the actual tape, again checking for noise. If you can't hear the noise on both the original tape and the DVD copy, try dubbing that same tape again with your current recorder. If the new disc has the helicopter noise, and the disc isn't much louder than the tape, you *might* have a defect in the internal dubbing electronics of the LG.

The dubbing circuit may be vulnerable to picking up AC power noise, etc. Whether this is worth trying to repair varies: if the unit is less than 90 days old, its covered under warranty, but if older than 90 days, you're looking at a minimum $50 evaluation fee and perhaps $75 additional for an actual repair. Note "repair" may not help if this is an inherent design flaw in this recorder model- such design flaws aren't fixable.

Quote:
(3) Do I need to get the unit replaced? If so, what are the best combo unitls budget wise and are there any units out there that will be able to dub my old video tapes?

DVD recorders are rapidly disappearing, with few choices on store shelves or even websites like Amazon. Really the only combo DVD/VHS models left are the budget tunerless Magnavox/Toshiba twins, starting approx. $155. The LG aka JVC models are now gone, the sole remaining Panasonic is overpriced with many defects, and the current Sony aka Samsung models are terrible. Between the Magnavox and Toshiba, there is little to choose: they're the same units. The Toshiba nameplate costs more, while the Magnavox usually has an extra in-between recording speed. WalMart has a generous no-questions-asked return policy: you could buy a Magnavox, try it out, and return it if you don't hear an improvement in the helicopter issue.

Quote:
(4) I have some personal video tapes with the family. Should I find a professional who will dub them onto video for me. Where would I go to do thiis?
thank you.

Local camera shops, electronics repair shops, some drugstore chains, photography studios, and some video stores all might offer a dubbing service. Usually its an hourly charge of $7-$15, meaning each two hour tape will cost at least $15 to get done. These cheaper services do exactly what you do now: put the tapes in a combo recorder. For the amount they charge, you may as well just try another recorder yourself.

Getting a "high end" transfer done by an expert using top-quality independent VCRs and DVD hardware can easily run $30 and up per tape.
Edited by CitiBear - 8/21/12 at 10:25pm
post #3 of 21
Thread Starter 
Thank you. It is sad these DVD/VHS recorder combos are disappearing. I read even the DVD recorders are disappearing. I do want to do some more research. Maybe if I can find people with the same problem I have, who are living with the problem, I might get used to it.

Thank you again. I will continue doing some more research.
post #4 of 21
There are several other things you can try: it depends on your priorities and how much effort you want to invest.

I should have suggested in my earlier reply that a good way to narrow down the source of your LG problem is to run a specific test with a tape that has given you helicopter noise on the DVD copy. Put such a tape back in your LG, but before activating the dub feature press the audio button on your remote (leftmost of the four buttons beneath the arrow/enter keys) and then use the left or right arrow keys to cycle the onscreen audio choice from "HiFi" to "L" to "R" to "normal." Leave the audio set to "normal," run the dub, and check the resulting DVD for helicopter noise: if its gone, the noise is definitely caused by hifi mistracking in the LG VCR section. If you still have the noise, there could a defect elsewhere in the machine.

"Helicopter noise" is almost always confined to the VHS HiFi stereo audio tracks. The noise is caused by a mismatch in tracking between the audio recording heads and the video heads. Even the original VCR that recorded the tapes can have a mismatch between recording and playback, and the mismatch can get worse and noisier many years later when trying to play old tapes in a new VCR or combo deck. This tracking glitch is an inherent design flaw of the fussy VHS HiFi system: unlike BetaHiFi, which recorded audio and video with the same heads, VHS HiFi uses separate spinning heads for audio and video. These separate heads rarely synchronize perfectly, causing all kinds of annoying background noise and often complete dropouts in the audio.

The only way to work around this is to try different VCRs until you find one with a compatible tracking range for your problem tapes. You need to switch the VCR to manual tracking mode, which usually involves tapping the channel up/down buttons during playback until you get the best compromise between video noise and audio noise (your LG remote works like this). If all else fails, you can completely bypass the annoying HiFi tracks by switching the VCR to "normal/mono" or "linear" audio playback. This plays the audio from the old-fashioned soundtrack on the edge of the tape, much like an audio cassette works. Since this is continuous with no spinning heads to synchrnize, you totally avoid the buzzing helicopter flanging noises and you avoid the playback dropping in and out of HiFi constantly. Unfortunately this reliable linear audio track is much lower quality and not stereo, it can sound a bit muddy and hissy. You have to use your judgement on a tape-by-tape basis and decide which is the lesser of two evils: stereo hifi sound that may buzz and drift in and out, or a steady but lower-quality sound.

Used VCRs are very cheap these days, many people have them sitting around collecting dust. Ask everyone you know if they have one you can borrow: it can't hurt to try different VCRs. You connect them to the line inputs of your LG combo deck, and pretend its a DVD-only recorder. Press "play" on the VCR and hit "record" on the LG dvd, and it will dub just like the combo except using the external VCR. Good VCR brands to try are Panasonic, JVC, Sharp, and Mitsubishi: some can be had from Craigs List or thrift stores or garage sales for just $10. All you need is one nice VCR that plays your tapes better, and you can avoid the expense of another DVD recorder: just use your LG with the alternate VCR.
Edited by CitiBear - 8/22/12 at 12:07pm
post #5 of 21
Thread Starter 
These tapes I have a problem dubbing were done on one of those portable VHS VCRs. I think it had two heads and not four heads. It had short play long play extended play. It was not stereo. I don't know if you remember them. They were two identical units (1) programmed the channels you could record through your VCR and had all motors that helped it run. (2) The other unit top load VCR with all the functioning buttons that one would use in a VCR. The point, which I never took advantage of of the portable VCR was it was precamcorder. The unit cost me $1300, and my first Video tapes cost me, get this, $12.00 a piece. The camera cost about as much as the VCR and so I never bought one. . The idea was to take the battery pack and apply it the video part of the unit, take the handle, yes it had a handle, and plug in the camera, and start making your own movies. I just had one of those entertainment wall units with a shelf, and my two-unit VCR sat side by side on the shelf just being used to record tv shows, movies, or play them, and rented video tapes. I never My oldest tapes are 30 years old and can still be played on any VCR unit. I have not had the unit in over ten years because after quite a few times of taking it in for repairs, finally the day came when I told a repair man that I had a portable VCR and he did not even want to speak to me. The unit kept shutting down when I wanted to record something. I am telling you all this so that you know the history of most of my video tape collection.

I looked over the audio remote and I saw what you were talking about on the videos. I cataloged my video tapes and as soon as I check the catalog against the DVDs I will be ready to experiment. This dubbing process has been going on for 4 years now.

I found plan B, but I don't know how good it is. It starts with the home button and I have to find the audio area. I might experiment with that. I have an entire month to do some investigating. I am ready to search for plans C through Z if I have to. Z, might mean taking this VHS DVD combo in for repairs. Plan Y is I have my previous VHS/DVD combo, but the VCR broke and I think it is drive belt problem. Maybe I can see about getting it fixed. I don't if VCRs can be fixed these days. My only issue from before was that sometimes the picture jumped a little when I played back the DVD after dubbing. It did not happen with all the playbacks. Another drawback, which is actually a plus with LG, was that you could not forward the tape when you pressed pause, like you can with the LG.

I also tried calling customer service for LG and they were no help. There is a site for Fixya, but that act like I asked an insane question and they give me solutions that have nothing to do with the question. It is like saying, What time do you go to work every morning? Someone answers, It looks a little cloudy today, I suppose I will not go swimming today.

You see how the answers have nothing to do with the question. You were the first person to address my problem with some suggestions. I have something to start with. I am making a list of possible repair places and see if I can get more suggestions or perhaps this unit needs to be fixed.


If you have any more suggestions to cure this helicopter sound problem, which I said just started this year and not last year when I started to dub my old tapes. Thank you again
post #6 of 21
OK, now that you've given more background on the tapes, original VCR and the problems with your earlier combo deck, we can try to solve this quicker. If you are quite sure ALL the tapes that are giving you helicopter noise after the LG dubs them to DVD were made on your old two-piece portable VCR, and that portable was a two-head model without the HiFi stereo feature, then we're down to just a handful of possible causes for the noise. To reduce this further I'd need to know what brand that old portable VCR was, and what brand your earlier combo record was. But for now:

It isn't a common VHS HiFi tracking issue, since the tapes are mono, so we rule that out entirely. The soundtrack of those old portables is recorded on the tape edge with no tracking issues. You CAN run into problems if the tape has edge damage, you may want to FF one of these tapes to the halfway point, then carefully open the flap to check if the tape edge is wavy, scratched or creased. This could physically lift the tape off the audio playback head in a rhythmic fashion, potentially causing a helicopter-like sound, more so with 6-hr EP tapes than 2-hr SP.. But that's unlikely since you don't hear the problem when playing the tape directly.

There were two popular brands of portable VCR/Tuner in the old days: RCA/Hitachi, and Panasonic-Quasar-Magnavox-etc. The RCA/Hitachi models were more prone to weird little issues in the video and audio that cause problems years later during DVD dubs, while the Panasonic variety was fairly standardized and not too troublesome as far as video stability and audio head alignment. If you had an RCA/Hitachi, the tapes could be a hair "off" (just enough to cause little problems like picture jumps and sound noise in the transfer). This could of course happen with a faulty Panasonic as well, but those tended to either work perfectly or be obviously, grossly out of whack.

Moving to your other older combo deck, some brands like Sony and Funai/Magnavox/Toshiba are a little oversensitive to invisible glitches in the tape signal which don't appear when watching the tape but turn up in the DVD copies (having been added during digitization). This is an encoder design choice by the mfr and not repairable, you have to live with it, and it may explain the occasional jumpiness you got with dubs on that older unit. (It happens with other brands as well, but more so with these two.) Certain combinations of tape, VCR and DVD encoder just don't play nicely together: its one of the "gotchas" of tape dubbing.

Leaving all that aside, there is still the chance that your LG is simply making bad DVDs and you need another recorder. The only way to be sure is to isolate the LG dvd recorder from its VCR. You will need to borrow another VCR and try to dub the tapes from it to your LG line inputs. If the resulting DVDs lose the helicopter noise, the problem is in your LG vcr section and you just need to bypass it with an external VCR. If you still get the noise, the LG is totally off and you'll need another DVD recorder. One of those two answers will most likely be your workaround.

Mind you, that applies only if you're absolutely certain not even a trace of helicopter noise is actually recorded on the original tapes: You say you don't hear it during direct playback of the tapes: but test again with an external VCR. Play a couple of the problem tapes and jack the TV sound up as loud as you can stand. If all you hear in the background is hiss, with no helicopter noise, the tapes are OK and the problem lies in the LG VCR or DVD recorder section. If you do hear even faint helicopter noise during direct playback from an alternate VCR, it could be the original tapes trigger an amplified version of the noise during digital encoding. This would be hard to fix without using a computer and AV software to reduce or eliminate the helicopter sound from the digital files.

Regarding VCR repair, it doesn't make sense anymore except for expensive high-end models. The simple VCR found in a DVD/VHS combo is not worth fixing for $60 or more when you can get a nice used Panasonic 4-Head HiFi practically for the asking, certainly under $25. The external VCR is almost always better at playback anyway. You could plug it into either of your two combos, to see which has a better DVD recorder section.
Edited by CitiBear - 8/23/12 at 2:49pm
post #7 of 21
Thread Starter 
Let's start with my portable VCR, the portable. That was a Magnovox. I forget the model. After more years than I care to mention, and several repairs, I was trying to record Biography and the unit shut down . I ended up having to buy the prerecorded video version. That VCR was replaced by a Sylvania, which recorded video tapes, but only played DVDs. I think it was a four head and hifi. After owning that for six years, the DVD player broke, and was replaced by a Panosonic, which I sitll have sitting somewhere in my dinning area. This was my first VCR/DVD recorder combo. Things were great for awhile until some of the recordings jumped when I recorded them. The VCR broke after almost three years. Someone replaced that with the LG.


It get's weird. The Panosonic was fine for awhile until it started to jump while dubbing some of the shows I was dubbing, but not all shows. The VCR finally broke and was replaced by an LG. I dubbed my old tapes on that one, and things were fine until I dubbed a 26 year old tape. Now I have dubbed tapes about 25 or 26 before on the same unitl and did not have the helicopter noise until this year. I started using the unit last year. When I am not going to be able to be home to record a show, I like to use video tape that is around 7 years old about. I recorded programs on that tape from the VCR in this unit, and had no trouble at all with the dubbing.

I still have my Panosonic, but now I don't know if I should see if I can get the VCR fixed because I remember the ocasional jumping picture when I dubbed it.

With the LG, everything seemed great at first. I will soon be checking my Courtship of Eddie's Father tape and then I will know exactly when I dubbed it The helicopter noise was more noticeable when there was silence or very quite talking. Most of the time, the sound from the show drowned out the noise.

I keep thinking, I should start dubbing my newer and some of my higher quality tapes and see what happens. By the way, I had a figh quality tape that was dubbed on the Pansonic and that jumped a little.

The cataloging stopped after almos ten years and now it is slowly filling up with checkmarks, so that when I do the dubbing, I will know exactly which shows to dub.

Thank you again for all your help. I really hope we can lick this helicopter noise problem.
post #8 of 21
Thread Starter 
CitiBear: There is a hifi problem with my dubbing. it says right on my LG "HiFi Stereo 4 HD"


I forgot to mention that fact. I think there is a hifi problem. I was trying to dub tapes that were recorded on a 2 head, analog , 2 HD, mono Is there anything in on my unit that will allow me to dub analog, 2HD, mono tapes?
post #9 of 21
As City said, basically there's an alignment problem with the VHS part of your unit. That's nothing new on Hi-Fi LG combos, or even on VCRs, when you try to dub Mono recordings.

My bet:

1. Check the manual to see if your LG let you switch the VCR audio to "normal/mono/left" before the dubbing (I don't think so).

2. If not, the best solution is to try with another brand of VHS, and record from it to the input lines of your LG combo.

3. Why? Because many HiFi VCR let you choose between "normal/mono/left" audio before playing a tape.
post #10 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by escritora View Post

CitiBear: There is a hifi problem with my dubbing. it says right on my LG "HiFi Stereo 4 HD"
I forgot to mention that fact. I think there is a hifi problem. I was trying to dub tapes that were recorded on a 2 head, analog , 2 HD, mono Is there anything in on my unit that will allow me to dub analog, 2HD, mono tapes?

That's just the model info printed on the front panel of your LG, telling what features it has. Nearly all VCRs and Combos made since the late 1990s have been hifi, there was no longer any mfr price advantage to making a model with just two heads and no hifi. When you load an old two-head mono sound tape like yours, the machine auto-detects that there is no HiFi track and switches itself to the "normal" mono track.

I actually worked in a store that sold those cute little 2-piece Panasonic portable VCRs in 1982, and I remember distinctly that none were HiFi (HiFi hadn't even been invented yet, by the time it was consumers had moved on to one-piece camcorders). Still, there is a very small chance you had one of the final models and Panasonic did actually sell a couple of two-head HiFi non-portable models for a brief period. So its possible you may have had an incredibly rare two-head HiFi portable. The way you can tell for sure if your tapes are HiFi is to cycle thru the audio options on your LG while it is playing one of those tapes. See pages 43 and 59 of your instruction manual: the button that brings up the on-screen audio options is the AUDIO button located on the left hand side of your remote under the DISPLAY button. After pressing the AUDIO button, you should see an onscreen display that shows HIFI, L, R, or NORMAL. Cycle thru the four modes by pressing the left or right arrow keys on the control pad. If your tapes are NOT HiFi, the display should remain stuck on NORMAL. If the tapes are HiFi, you should be able to select all four options, and you'll notice a change in sound as you switch among them. If you discover the tapes are actually HiFi, try doing a DVD dub with the tape audio set to NORMAL and see if that gets rid of the helicopter noise (it almost certainly will). Or, with the tape audio set on HIFI, put the unit into manual tracking override by pressing either of the channel buttons repeatedly (you will notice the picture get worse or better depending on the button, and at some point the HiFi helicopter noise will either reduce or the unit will drop audio back to NORMAL mode). To get out of manual tacking mode and return to automatic tracking, just eject the tape and then put it back in.

Most of us solve audio problems by either adjusting manual tracking in HiFi mode, or switching the VCR to NORMAL audio if the HiFi simply won't track without noise.
post #11 of 21
I got my 1st VHS Panasonic portable VCR 10-24-80 Model PV-3200 and the best price I could find was $896 from 47th St. Photo in NYC. It was in 2 units of equal size (VCR)(Tuner/Power Supply). It did not have Hi-Fi audio (I doubt it had been invented yet?). My 2nd VHS Panasonic portable VCR I got 10-22-85 Model PV9600A for $848 and it did have Hi-Fi audio. It also was in 2 units (tuner/PS bottom unit) (VCR top unit). I still use this VCR today for playing the tapes it recorded. My 3rd VHS Panasonic portable VCR I got 6-16-87 Model PV-5850D for $204 I bought as a backup because it was so cheap but it got almost no use. It's P/S Tuner was about half the width of the VCR and it did not have Hi-Fi audio.

My experience with a lot of Hi-Fi VHS VCR's has told me that I can only get true clear audio (no helicopter buzz) if a Hi-Fi audio tape is played on the VCR it was recorded on. No amount of tracking adjustment will help the chopped up audio. You will only get this helicopter audio when a Hi-Fi audio recorded tape is played in a Hi-Fi VCR that didn't record the tape. This bad audio is only heard during dialog, music completely masks it. The 2 Hi-Fi audio heads are mounted on the video head drum and the distance between them is extremely critical. So critical that it varies slightly on every head drum. Video heads aren't critical at all because they switch on and off during horizontal blanking period but audio has no blanking period. So when one audio head switches off, the other one must switch on at precisely the same time. Manufacturers apparently can't hold that tolerance close enough between head drums? So on each revolution of the head drum there will be a slight overlap between the 2 heads and on the 2nd half of that revolution there will be a slight gap (30cps helicopter buzz). Nothing you can do about that except to force your playing VCR to use the linear audio track. If you try enough Hi-Fi VCR's you might find one with the exact same head placement as your recorder had that recorded the tape.

All my HiFi VCR's still work (as far as I know). I have 2 Panasonic AG-1960's and I can tell immediately if I put a tape that one of them recorded, in the wrong VCR. The helicopter sound is there during dialog.

That's my experience. Some people will say I am full of hot air and they may be right? I have been fighting this chopped up Hi-Fi audio since VHS Hi-Fi audio was invented. A lot of people call it head switching noise which is correct and JVC rep told me they had a filter that would take it out so I bought their editing suit for close to $10,000. He told me a lie, JVC Hi-Fi audio has the same problem as everybody else's VHS Hi-Fi. Now Sony figured it out on their 8mm VCR's and camcorders. Their's is perfect but VHS Hi-Fi audio sucks if you can't play the tape on the machine that recorded it.

I hope you find a cure as I never did. I wanted to buy many of the Disney movies on VHS tapes and on the ones I did buy, the Hi-Fi audio was horrible during dialog. The music was fine because the music masked the problem of the Hi-Fi VHS audio.

Good Luck!

Dave
Edited by DaveC E100 - 8/27/12 at 12:08am
post #12 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveC E100 View Post

My experience with a lot of Hi-Fi VHS VCR's has told me that I can only get true clear audio (no helicopter buzz) if a Hi-Fi audio tape is played on the VCR it was recorded on.
Quote:
No amount of tracking adjustment will help the chopped up audio. You will only get this helicopter audio when a Hi-Fi audio recorded tape is played in a Hi-Fi VCR that didn't record the tape.


This is often true, but not always. VHS HifI is such a weird system that it can be completely unpredictable. I have actually had worse problems playing HIfI tapes on the VCRs that made than I've had playing them in other VCRs. The worst offenders were the earliest Panasonic and JVC HiFi models: they couldn't lock audio tracking on their own tapes, never mind Hollywood tapes. Helicopter buzz galore no matter what. By the second generation Panasonic had mostly fixed this issue and their VCRs became better at HiFi tracking, but performance varied from model year to model year (the 1992s were all atrocious, the 1995s were great, etc). JVC continued to be poor at HiFi with every model I ever bought (and I tried all of them, including their re-branding jobs for TEAC etc.) Hitachi-based HiFi models from RCA, Minolta and some other brands were so-so at playback but I find all these years later Hitachi tapes play fairly stable on most newer VCRs (unless the original Hitachi was recording off-spec, which happened more frequently than they'd admit).

Usually the tapes that wouldn't even track on their original VCR when new are hopeless today on other VCRs: the only option is to switch to the dull "normal" track,. But sometimes you do get lucky and chance upon a VCR that will nicely track the HiFi on an older difficult tape. The two VCRs I rely on when I encounter a really twitchy HiFi tape are the Panasonic AG1970 and the VCR section of the JVC DR-MV5 combo DVD/VHS deck. Both are old, the Panasonic is ancient, but they have a wider, finer range of adjustment in their manual tracking system that provides a sweet spot of reduced HiFi error while maintaining a good picture as well. The JVC was especially surprising given my prior bad experience with HiFi on the "classic" JVC models, but I have been thru quite a few samples of the DR-MV5 and must give them credit: every one of those was great at HiFi tracking my most impossible tapes.

Your technical description of the issue as head switching noise jives with other reports I've read. Recent writeups from owners of the very exotic (and rare) JVC WVHS series of analog HDTV-on-VHS vcrs suggest JVC did finally lick the HiFi tracking issue in those models: they do seem to reduce or entirely eliminate the helicopter problem. But they are scarce VCRs, very fragile when shipped, and only a couple of techs in North America were ever properly trained on how to service/align them to achieve their full potential.

The original BetHiFi system avoided all these problems by having the same set of heads lay down audio and video in the same track location, so there is much less incidence of helicopter noise, mistracking and tape interchange issues with Beta. The same system may have been used with 8mm, I don't remember now, but it would explain why you never had a problem with your 8mm tapes. VHS at the dawn of HiFi could not record video and audio with the same heads like Beta did, so JVC came up with the very clever but trouble-prone workaround of having separate HiFi heads. It was the best they could do at the time, but then we got stuck with its flaws forever.
Edited by CitiBear - 8/27/12 at 8:35am
post #13 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by CitiBear View Post

The original BetHiFi system avoided all these problems by having the same set of heads lay down audio and video in the same track location, so there is much less incidence of helicopter noise, mistracking and tape interchange issues with Beta.

Beta System was far much better than VHS for playing, and more important for recording.
post #14 of 21
DaveC, below are you talking about SP or EP (SLP) recordings?
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveC E100 View Post

My experience with a lot of Hi-Fi VHS VCR's has told me that I can only get true clear audio (no helicopter buzz) if a Hi-Fi audio tape is played on the VCR it was recorded on. No amount of tracking adjustment will help the chopped up audio. You will only get this helicopter audio when a Hi-Fi audio recorded tape is played in a Hi-Fi VCR that didn't record the tape. …I have 2 Panasonic AG-1960's and I can tell immediately if I put a tape that one of them recorded, in the wrong VCR. The helicopter sound is there during dialog.

That may be the case with your Panasonic VCRs but that certainly isn’t true with my JVC SVHS decks. 95 percent of all SP recordings in Hi Fi I throw at them – they both will track video and HF audio without any hiccups. Out of the remaining 5 percent, 4 out of 5 tapes will track fine with manual tracking. I’m sure EP recordings would have a much, much lower success rate but I do have very few EP recordings and they track fine on both my JVC decks.
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveC E100 View Post

This bad audio is only heard during dialog, music completely masks it.

That is too broad of a statement. Many music recordings have a very high dynamic range in loudness and in frequency response and in fact low passages like a soft acoustic guitar solo should reveal far more flaws then speech. Especially if it goes through a wide frequency range, a few frequencies at a time.

I gotta agree that Beta Hi Fi was superior to VHS Hi Fi. But I think over time VHS surpassed beta in every spec except lower chroma noise. I have yet to see a VHS or SVHS machine with lower chroma noise then a Beta SuperBeta machine. In all quality tests my newer JVC SVHS Hi Fi VCRs will put to shame my older Super Beta Hi Fi machines. All except chroma noise. Sure they seem light and flimsy compared to my Beta tanks but should I care? My light built JVC SVHS machines have been going strong for 10 years and still work like new.

Oh yeah, some of the VHS portable decks had ½ drum size spinning at twice speed or something like that – to save on size but that could be a culprit to mistracking tapes.
post #15 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Super Eye View Post

I gotta agree that Beta Hi Fi was superior to VHS Hi Fi. But I think over time VHS surpassed beta in every spec except lower chroma noise. I have yet to see a VHS or SVHS machine with lower chroma noise then a Beta SuperBeta machine. In all quality tests my newer JVC SVHS Hi Fi VCRs will put to shame my older Super Beta Hi Fi machines. All except chroma noise. Sure they seem light and flimsy compared to my Beta tanks but should I care? My light built JVC SVHS machines have been going strong for 10 years and still work like new.

BetaHiFi audio benefits from a K.I.S.S. design: you can't beat both audio and video laid down in the same track pitch by the same heads. But I totally agree that overall old VHS holds up remarkably better than old Beta. I recently got bored doing my endless VHS dubs and went back to the Betas for awhile. After being confronted with my usually-reliable SL-HF300 blowing every subassembly for days on end, I bit the bullet and bought a pricey SuperBetaHiFi reconditioned by a retired Sony tech. It works beautifully, but the old tapes are hardly worth it. Back in the early to mid 80s, viewed on a Trinitron, my Beta recordings looked w-a-y better than most of my VHS. Flash forward 27 years to today, viewed on a Sony LCD tv, and most of the Beta tapes look like crap while the "lowly" VHS tapes look surprisingly clean and play without tracking or oxide issues. Beta was fantastic when new, but the (Sony) tapes aged poorly. My earliest TDK 120s from 1981 still play like they were recorded yesterday, but not one of my equivalent Sony L750s plays at all. Even L500s I recorded on a new SuperBeta in the mid-90s look ridiculously bad compared to my VHS of the same era.

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Oh yeah, some of the VHS portable decks had ½ drum size spinning at twice speed or something like that – to save on size but that could be a culprit to mistracking tapes.

Glad you reminded us of that one: easily overlooked and definitely a potential tracking issue now with some VCRs. Some VHS-C camcorders also had the half-size heads.

Perhaps you could remind us of those nifty lower-end JVC SVHS vcrs you've become fond of recently? I can never remember the model numbers, you recommended HR-S5912 I think? These seem to use a transport similar to the JVC DR-MV5 combo recorder, with much better than average HiFi tracking. "escritora" might want to look into one of those later inexpensive JVC SVHS decks if it turns out the problematic tapes are HiFi after all. I tried one based on your reports, and thought it was pretty good. Sadly it got ruined by a freak power surge so I had to discard it.
post #16 of 21
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Originally Posted by CitiBear View Post

BetaHiFi audio benefits from a K.I.S.S. design: you can't beat both audio and video laid down in the same track pitch by the same heads.

True, Beta using the same heads for video and HF is clearly an advantage in design. True, with VHS specs in place JVC did not know how to pull this off and had to use separate heads for HF. True that with Beta HF you usually can track the audio as long as you can track the video. I always compare VHS-SP to Beta-ll as these were the standard consumer speeds. Were VHS HF in SP levels the playing field (somewhat) is with VHS higher linear speed and wider track pitch. VHS-SP will have a wider tolerance due to this spec and in my opinion this kind of levels the playing field. Somewhat.
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Originally Posted by CitiBear View Post

I totally agree that overall old VHS holds up remarkably better than old Beta
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Originally Posted by Super Eye View Post

In all quality tests my newer JVC SVHS Hi Fi VCRs will put to shame my older Super Beta Hi Fi machines.

What I meant by that is that over the years JVC perfected the VHS format to the point were it matched or beat the old not updated since the 80s Beta format in every aspect except chroma noise.

As for old VHS recordings holding up better than old Beta recordings – in my case this is sort of true but my VHS tapes are holding up only “slightly” better than my Beta tapes. I always credited this due to the fact that I use 2002, 2003 VHS decks for playback and 1984, 1985 Beta decks for playback and the newer technology compensates for small glitches and drop-outs better. I still think that this is true to a point (My 2002/2003 VHS decks being able to compensate better than my 1984/1985 Beta decks) I need to say that all my tapes VHS nd Beta are holding up remarkably well - it's just that my beta tapes have slightly more drop-outs and tiny glitches

But since you get better VHS results using an old beta deck against an old VHS deck – there must be more to it. Since the tape stock is pretty well the same than I would guess that the Beta U-Load mechanism is harder on the tapes than the VHS M-Load mechanism. That said the Beta U-load mechanism is a superior design to the VHS M-Load design. I know this from professional experience were production houses have both systems (Sony Betacam and Panasonic M-ll) and since the early days every tech I ever spoke to would say that their U-LOAD systems are holding up better and are far superior. In fact between 1980 and 2000 Sony’s pro U-LOAD decks outsold Panasonics pro M-LOAD decks about 10 to 1. But I guess pro stock tape didn’t suffer from the mechanism being too tough on the tapes. That’s my guess.
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Originally Posted by CitiBear View Post

My earliest TDK 120s from 1981 still play like they were recorded yesterday, but not one of my equivalent Sony L750s plays at all. Even L500s I recorded on a new SuperBeta in the mid-90s look ridiculously bad compared to my VHS of the same era.

I know we talked about this before. The strange thing is that my Sony VHS tapes exhibit drop-outs and are among the worst out of my VHS collection while my Sony Beta tapes are holding up pretty good and are among the best out of my Beta collection. My TDKs are great in both formats.

I never get tired talking VCR talk with you.biggrin.gif:)
Oh yeah my JVC decks are
-year 2002 HR-S3911U
-year 2003 HR-S5912U

Too bad your newer low end JVC SVHS got ruined by a power surge.frown.gif
post #17 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by CitiBear View Post

Back in the early to mid 80s, viewed on a Trinitron, my Beta recordings looked w-a-y better than most of my VHS. Flash forward 27 years to today, viewed on a Sony LCD tv, and most of the Beta tapes look like crap while the "lowly" VHS tapes look surprisingly clean and play without tracking or oxide issues.

A Trinitron monitor? That's unfair for the LCD. biggrin.gif
post #18 of 21
I only used the SP speed. I used my 2 AG-1960 SVHS HiFi VCR's to record our Church services and some weddings. The Church services I edited down to 59 minutes for showing on the local cable public access channel. Sometimes I used the cable companies Panasonic S-VHS editing VCR's and sometimes I used my JVC Edit Desk which consisted of a BR-S500U SVHS player and a BR-S800U SVHS VCR, both controlled by the companion JVC RM-G800 edit controller. When ever there was music I could never hear any helicopter buzz but when the preacher spoke, there was the helicopter again. Tracking never had any effect on the buzz except when it was turned too far and the machines reverted to the linear audio track.

I spoke from memory last night about the cost of the Edit Desk so I just looked it up and I see I overstated it's cost. BR-S500 player = $2000, BR-S800 VCR = $3000, RM-G800 controller = $870. So the total combined cost of the JVC Edit Desk was $5,870, not $10,000 as I originally stated.

All of my Panasonic portable VHS VCR's had full size head drums. I was only aware of most VHS camcorders having small head drums.

Maybe we are comparing apples to oranges here when we are talking about this helicopter buzz? Mine was never effected by the tracking control on the player. Apparently some other peoples helicopter buzz was effected by tracking?

I know that now that I am converting some of this old video to DVD's I will use the VCR that recorded the video to play it back into my E95 DVD recorder and I am not getting any helicopter buzz anywhere in the video. What I have been doing works for me.

Dave
post #19 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveC E100 View Post

I only used the SP speed. I used my 2 AG-1960 SVHS HiFi VCR's to record our Church services and some weddings. The Church services I edited down to 59 minutes for showing on the local cable public access channel. Sometimes I used the cable companies Panasonic S-VHS editing VCR's and sometimes I used my JVC Edit Desk which consisted of a BR-S500U SVHS player and a BR-S800U SVHS VCR, both controlled by the companion JVC RM-G800 edit controller. When ever there was music I could never hear any helicopter buzz but when the preacher spoke, there was the helicopter again. Tracking never had any effect on the buzz except when it was turned too far and the machines reverted to the linear audio track.

I'm annoyed with myself for not thinking of this sooner, but what we're all calling "helicopter noise" can come from several causes. Sometimes it can be dialed out with tracking, but sometimes it cannot: it is actually a permanent part of the recording. A perfect example would be your tapes made on the Panasonic AG1960s, DaveC E100: the AG1960 was a really annoying VCR due to its then-innovative design specs which didn't really quite work. It used a totally-new transport mechanism that Panasonic spent a small fortune developing, to help pay for it they conned Canon into letting them OEM some HiFi VCRs for them based on a de-featured AG1960 chassis. Other than the AG1960 and a couple of rare companion models with the Canon name, this design did not survive more than one generation. Why? Because it had terrible problems with tape interchange: the AG1960 (and similar Canons) record tapes that don't play well on other VCRs. Video tracking is often tricky and the HiFi tracks are about as bad as the horrible JVC/TEAC MV900 (all time champ of HiFi atrocity).

These machines combine faulty HiFi audio circuits with poor stability of original track pitch to create a perfect storm of audio noise in the HiFi. And as you've noted, it is esp obvious during quiet scenes with only dialog: every word is accompanied by a bursts of burbling helicopter noise (which can also sound like a horsefly wedged in your ear furiously flapping its wings). As a rough rule of thumb, I divide my problem HiFi tapes into two groups: those that have a continual buzz or noise in the HiFi track, and those that have this horrible staccato helicopter breathing effect that rises and falls with each word of dialog. The former can be dialed almost completely down with a compatible VCR, the latter never goes away unless you use computer software to filter it out of the digitized video file (which can get real tedious real fast).

BTW the worst possible editing system for AG1960 tapes would have been the pro JVC system you used, or the similar Panasonic version. The AG1960 made funky tapes that had issues on other consumer-ish VCRs, but the issues got worse when played in "pro" VCRs. So its no surprise the JVC BR system did nothing to help back in the day. If you ever wondered why the sleek, expensive-looking AG1960 was replaced by the fat, dull, boring-looking AG1970 and AG1980, it was because the AG1960 design was a big fail. The later 1970 and 1980 are ugly stepsisters on the outside, but inside have old-school, larger, more accurate tape mechanics (esp the 1970 which was the single most durable VCR of the 1950, 1960, 1970, 1980 series).

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Originally Posted by Super Eye View Post

I always compare VHS-SP to Beta-ll as these were the standard consumer speeds. Were VHS HF in SP levels the playing field (somewhat) is with VHS higher linear speed and wider track pitch. VHS-SP will have a wider tolerance due to this spec and in my opinion this kind of levels the playing field. Somewhat. What I meant by that is that over the years JVC perfected the VHS format to the point were it matched or beat the old not updated since the 80s Beta format in every aspect except chroma noise.


It depends on the specific VCR. VHS SP could be nicer in some respects than Beta II, or it could be noticeably worse. In theory the wider track pitch and faster linear speed should have brought the two formats closer to parity, In reality JVC ( and esp Matsushita) tended to screw up a few things under the VHS hood that left Beta holding a lead in some video specs. Whether or not you cared back then depended on your TV monitor and what types of material you recorded. I was making compilation tapes from day one, and at first Beta just buried VHS when it came to second-generation dub quality. Later in the mid to late 80s a handful of superbly-engineered VHS models matched or exceeded the Beta dubbing advantage (I think of this fondly as my personal VHS "Golden Age"). By the 90s Beta was dead so I rarely used it, and VHS had retreated back to its original so-so PQ unless you opted for SVHS which I couldn't be bothered with due to high tape costs and limited trading ability with other people.

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As for old VHS recordings holding up better than old Beta recordings – in my case this is sort of true but my VHS tapes are holding up only “slightly” better than my Beta tapes. I always credited this due to the fact that I use 2002, 2003 VHS decks for playback and 1984, 1985 Beta decks for playback and the newer technology compensates for small glitches and drop-outs better. I still think that this is true to a point (My 2002/2003 VHS decks being able to compensate better than my 1984/1985 Beta decks) I need to say that all my tapes VHS nd Beta are holding up remarkably well - it's just that my beta tapes have slightly more drop-outs and tiny glitches.[...] I know we talked about this before. The strange thing is that my Sony VHS tapes exhibit drop-outs and are among the worst out of my VHS collection while my Sony Beta tapes are holding up pretty good and are among the best out of my Beta collection. My TDKs are great in both formats.


I think the problem is Sony had wildly varying quality control from tape batch to tape batch. Do you remember the endless bickering over whether the "charcoal-box" L750s were better or worse than the "color-striped-box" L750s? Not to mention the "gold-box" high grade Sonys mostly being a sick joke: my most dropout-riddled tapes in either format are Sony Gold. Any Beta tape I have made by TDK, Maxell or Fuji is in dramatically better condition than the Sonys: night and day. In VHS I used mostly TDK and Maxell, then later Fuji and some BASF. Most of these have held up extremely well with no dropouts or glitches, while the Sony beta tapes are a quagmire of screen-wide rolling dark stripes and white dropout bursts. Surprisingly the worst offenders are Sony L750s bought new in around 1994-1996 and recorded on a low-end monophonic SuperBetamax: these are now all but unwatchable, with a couple having lost their video entirely.

As far as older Beta VCRs vs newer VHS, I see your point how that might give an unfair advantage to VHS, but its a bit more complicated than that. Sony had a schizophrenic development cycle with Betamax: the "typical consumer " models actually got worse and worse after 1985 while the pricier, now impossible to find "high end" Betamax models did get better in terms of playback quality. But just like Sony SVHS, the higher-end Sony Beta decks would crap out after a few years and quickly fall into the unrepairable category. Meanwhile the clunky, heavy, simple low-end BetaHiFi models like SL-HF500 just go on and on and on, they need a repair now and then but at least CAN be repaired. Also the older models have the big tracking knobs with finer control: the SL-HF500 I picked up for $100 years ago has more stable tracking and actually a better picture in some ways than the tech-restored SL-HF360 SuperBetaHiFi that just cost me $300. So its difficult to directly compare old Beta vs old VHS or new VHS: few VHS decks from 1985 are still in service, yet the BetaMax from 1985 can still often go toe-to-toe with a good late 90s VHS (if not SVHS using SVHS tape). In my case, I fault the tapes and not the Betamax decks used for playback: my Sony beta tapes are consistently poor while TDK, Fuji and Maxell beta tapes of the same era play fine.

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I never get tired talking VCR talk with you.biggrin.gif:)

Ditto smile.gif, despite everyone else thinking we're a tad nuts wink.gifbiggrin.gif.
Edited by CitiBear - 8/28/12 at 7:05am
post #20 of 21
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...despite everyone else thinking we're a tad nuts .

I ALWAYS thought you were a tad nuts. But thanks for confirming it for me.eek.gif

biggrin.gifbiggrin.gif
post #21 of 21
The video has always been fine but the HiFi audio won't even play right in the other AG-1960. But it plays perfectly in the AG-1960 that recorded it? I did eventually buy a AG-1980 but by that time I was recording audio differently. The beauty of the AG-1980 to me was it's totally separate inputs and outputs for the audio linear track. I could still put the normal stereo mix on the HiFi tracks and put SYMTE time code on the linear track to sync up my 2 Tascam DA-88 digital 8-track recorders. For our concerts on special occasions I could record each microphone on it's own digital channel and then remix the audio during editing. It gave me lot's of options after the concert. Then a little later I got 2 more Tascam DA-38's and daisy chained them together for recording 32 separate microphones. About that time digital video was born and I got burned out doing concerts so that pretty much ended my concert video. Digital8 was my new interest and then came DVD recorders a year or two later. I spent way too much retirement money on all this now electronic junk. It's been an interesting life though.

I marvel at all of CitiBear's VCR knowledge. I probably had/have 20 or so HiFi VCR's, both VHS and SVHS but I never gained even a fraction of the background knowledge that he has. I subscribed to every magazine ever published on these electronic toys and they had some pretty good articles on how the new toy works. Most of those magazines are now defunct or I dropped the subscription. I am clueless how todays toys work. I thought I knew a lot about the old toys until I read about what you all know. But that is OK.

I used the best oscilloscopes made during the prime of my main frame computer manufacturing days and I often have wondered what I would see if I connected a 585 scope to the HiFi audio output on a SVHS VCR? My ears tell me I would not see noise spikes but instead, 30 times a second (once every head drum revolution) I would see a very short gap of silence when a HiFi tape was played that wasn't recorded on that VCR? This would be due to the 2 HiFi heads on the playing VCR not exactly spaced the same number of degrees, minutes & seconds as the heads were on the recording VCR. I think my ears and brain is converting those tiny gaps of silence into what we commonly know as head switching noise or helicopter noise? But that is something I will never know.

Thank You everyone for sharing your knowledge.

Dave
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