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I've been thinking of recording my vinyl record to tape for a while now considering the finite live of cartridge and the fact replacing my cartridge will cost more than $2000. The obvious choice is going cassette or reel to reel. with reel to reel being a more expensive one. But on my research found this interesting information. Has anyone tried this before?

 

A snippet of the tech spec

 

"The first part of this video is dedicated to the amazing sonic capabilities of a VHS tape. Over 90db of dynamic range, 20Hz-20Khz of frequency range, more than 75db of signal to noise "

 

 

 

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Haven't been able to watch the video, but we used to use Super VHS tapes in the recording studio, in an ADAT machine. Quite common in the late 90/ early 00's. I believe Alanis Morrisette's Jagged Little Pill was recorded on ADAT. 

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13 minutes ago, mikizee said:

Haven't been able to watch the video, but we used to use Super VHS tapes in the recording studio, in an ADAT machine. Quite common in the late 90/ early 00's. I believe Alanis Morrisette's Jagged Little Pill was recorded on ADAT. 

A bit different with ADAT its using digital conversion where using VHS HiFi it uses analog only

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1 hour ago, mloutfie said:

I've been thinking of recording my vinyl record to tape for a while now considering the finite live of cartridge and the fact replacing my cartridge will cost more than $2000. The obvious choice is going cassette or reel to reel. with reel to reel being a more expensive one. But on my research found this interesting information. Has anyone tried this before?

 

A snippet of the tech spec

 

"The first part of this video is dedicated to the amazing sonic capabilities of a VHS tape. Over 90db of dynamic range, 20Hz-20Khz of frequency range, more than 75db of signal to noise "

 

 

Yes.  Had a very nice early Sanyo HiFi VCR and used a couple of high quality TDK tapes and made up 4-hour compilations of music for parties, background, relaxation, etc.  Worked a treat.

 

However, in this day and age, why would you backup to tape rather than a NAS or hard drive?

 

If you really want them on tape for playback, I'd be inclined to digitize your vinyl to a hard drive at a high bitrate with a high quality sound card or external ADC first, then use those files to create your tapes.

That way you have backups that won't deteriorate, as well as your tapes, which will.

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41 minutes ago, surprisetech said:

Yes.  Had a very nice early Sanyo HiFi VCR and used a couple of high quality TDK tapes and made up 4-hour compilations of music for parties, background, relaxation, etc.  Worked a treat.

 

However, in this day and age, why would you backup to tape rather than a NAS or hard drive?

 

If you really want them on tape for playback, I'd be inclined to digitize your vinyl to a hard drive at a high bitrate with a high quality sound card or external ADC first, then use those files to create your tapes.

That way you have backups that won't deteriorate, as well as your tapes, which will.

What he said! 

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17 hours ago, mloutfie said:

@surprisetech @Addicted to music cos I was thinking it would be better than using consumer quality ADC. Or do you have a suggestion on a good consumer ADC that is better than using tape?

If you do a search on the Forum for "ripping vinyl" and similar terms, you will find a few suggestions here on StereoNet.

Or a Google search on "ADCs for ripping vinyl" will give you heaps of options.

The Schiit Jil, Thorens MM 008, Rega Fono Mini A2D, NAD PP 4, all look like great consumer solutions and I doubt the VCR solution would better them.

 

While there are pro-audio internal sound cards for PCs that have appropriate shielding etc. and can provide excellent results, having your ADC device external to the PC (so that PC noise cannot be induced on the analogue signal before conversion), is a much more cost-effective solution.

I probably don't need to tell you not to bother with standard internal sound cards or sound cards built in to motherboards!

 

I digitized a little bit of vinyl and a lot of cassettes a few years ago.  Products like the USB phono preamps listed above weren't around then, but there were a few very good and affordable pro audio products to choose from and there are even more now. 

Downside of the pro-audio products is that you still need a phono preamp.

I used an A.R.T. USB Dual-Pre for the ADC and Roxio software with excellent results.   The ART USB Dual-Pre is only 16-bit/48kHz.  I consider that to be more than adequate for vinyl or cassette ripping given the FR, DN & SNR of those mediums, but current products do offer much higher bitrates if you feel it's necessary.

For the vinyl ripping I used the Phono pre in a Rotel RA-870BX. Connected the Rotel line out to A.R.T. inputs with a stereo RCA>Phone cable, then ART to PC via USB.

For the Cassettes I went straight from a Yamaha KX-500A deck to the ART inputs.

 

The VHS hifi audio specs are impressive, but technology has moved on and even my humble ART USB Dual-Pre matches or exceeds them.

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@surprisetech I've tried rega phono mini and wasn't impressed with the quality compared with the vinyl. Mind you I only have a really basic digital recording experience. I am getting better new phono with digital output capability (ps audio no wave phono) might give that another go. another reason I was interested with the VHS is because it's all analogue no digital conversion. but if you reckon the sound quality is worse than digital rip that you're right there is no point.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Another consideration is that VHS machines are no longer manufactured and spare parts like heads are probably no longer available for popular models.

Your tape archive one day may no longer be playable if your machine/s give up the ghost and you cannot find replacements.  

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I used a Phillips (Marantz) 4 head hi fi vhs back in the mid 80s to do what you're planning. The SQ was actually quite good and still sounded analogue. I think the methods recommended above will lose some of that analogue glory, however, I do agree with the other posters about the longevity of such. One of the better converters would be the PS Audio one, it's a good phono stage with multiple inputs to boot.

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On 23/08/2020 at 4:24 PM, t_mike said:

I used a Phillips (Marantz) 4 head hi fi vhs back in the mid 80s to do what you're planning. The SQ was actually quite good and still sounded analogue. I think the methods recommended above will lose some of that analogue glory, however, I do agree with the other posters about the longevity of such. One of the better converters would be the PS Audio one, it's a good phono stage with multiple inputs to boot.

Yeah I didn't really think about the longevity of the player. yes now I think the PS Audio way is the more sensible option

Edited by mloutfie
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i still have a bunch of VHS comps from the late 80's early 90's. It was a wonderful tape format (much better than compact cassette) for music that few seemed to latch on to.

 

 

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I still have my Panasonic Hi-FI VCR. an NV-F70 HQ which I bought new in 1991. It stopped working some years ago, but just needed new capacitors and worked fine after I had them replaced. It is quite a well built and well featured machine, and audio quality sounded pretty good to my ears.

 

I haven't used it now for quite some time, but am holding on to it because I still have a stack of VHS tapes lurking in the back of a cupboard. I did try copying a few albums to VHS and using it as an audio-only player, and was quite pleased with the sound quality. Certainly much better than audio cassette.

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

HiFi VHS was good technology at the time - certainly an improvement on the linear audio track previously used for VHS audio.  In the 1980's the audio guy at ABC-TV told me that he used them for archiving music for use in productions. 

 

However, I've read articles that suggest that as an audiophile recorder it has limitations due to the technology.  An upper-end cassette deck will give very good reproduction, and an upper-level reel-reel will give even better reproduction (but will be much more expensive for a tape deck, maintenance and tapes). 

 

I agree that unless you want nostalgia, a good digital recorder will give better and easier results.  I've read many audiophiles are very satisfied with the results of Tascam, Sony and Zoom handheld digital recorders (although I believe that the Tascam line-in runs "hot" and would benefit from an in-line attenuator). 

 

 

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  • 1 month later...

Chiming in a couple of months late but wondering how this went?

actually I’m hoping you let your ears decide.  Love to know 😊

Be well 

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My audiophile journey began with hearing my mate's dad's system in 1986 (I was yr 8). His front end was a top of the range Stereo Hifi VCR and top quality tapes. He recorded from both vinyl and cd which friends owned and used to bring over. The VHS recordings sounded AMAZING! Not sure what the amp and speakers were but think NAD and Rogers speakers.

Edited by blakey72
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  • 1 month later...
On 23/08/2020 at 1:24 AM, t_mike said:

I used a Phillips (Marantz) 4 head hi fi vhs back in the mid 80s to do what you're planning. The SQ was actually quite good and still sounded analogue. I think the methods recommended above will lose some of that analogue glory, however, I do agree with the other posters about the longevity of such. One of the better converters would be the PS Audio one, it's a good phono stage with multiple inputs to boot.

Something I noticed on VHS hifi machines was that the recording speed did make a difference.   SLP/EP always seemed to result in head switching noise being audible with the way the AFM compansion NR worked.   Using SP and LP didn't suffer the same.   Still sounded pretty decent but not for being used for mastering/archiving.  

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  • 4 weeks later...

An interesting idea!  I'd stick to using higher grade tapes (SVHS tapes will record/play back just fine).  Some thoughts, though.

 

* NTSC VHS decks run at 3.3cm/sec vs PAL decks that run at 2.3cm/sec, plus the heads spin faster.  NTSC also used a wider track width vs PAL, but I can't recall the reason for that.  I would speculate better audio quality from an NTSC recording if your deck can support it, but worth investigating.  

* There are solutions to encode audio via PCM and record it digitally.   You could therefore afford the luxury of both a digital and analog recording on the very same tape.  Something like a Sony PCM-501ES could do the trick nicely, but these start to get costly - plus, it's only 16/44.

* The video circuitry may introduce interference and noise.
* The VHS deck will produce physical mechanical noise.

* People are throwing out VHS decks now, which means in 5+ years, I expect these to become scarce, and expensive (especially HiFi decks, which are not as common - I inherited three Panasonic SJ200 decks from family members in the last two years, and they're mono only). A good HiFi, multi-system deck like JVC SVHS ET deck is starting to become valuable.

 

Be really careful with storage.  Out of all magnetic tapes that I've owned, I've found video cassettes are easily attacked by mould, so don't ever go storing tapes in a shed or an area where there might be moisture.

 

Another option is to get a high end professional audio interface (these can really get expensive - anywhere from 150 bucks for something that does 24/192 with decent pres, to a few grand if you want 32/384 (you can even go 32/768 but I am questioning my sanity and very existence at this point).  There may also be some options to do this in DSD.  

 

I'd really be interested in listening tests with the VCR solution.  Running high quality tape at 3.3cm/sec might be a good option. 

 

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On 03/11/2020 at 1:07 PM, blakey72 said:

My audiophile journey began with hearing my mate's dad's system in 1986 (I was yr 8). His front end was a top of the range Stereo Hifi VCR and top quality tapes. He recorded from both vinyl and cd which friends owned and used to bring over. The VHS recordings sounded AMAZING! Not sure what the amp and speakers were but think NAD and Rogers speakers.

Remember 78 very well.

Did 13 months in Europe travelling with a mate in a van😀

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I think many people who commented have missed the point. of why you would do it. If i didn't have dedicated RTR machines i would have adopted this approach.  Some of the benefits have been mentioned in the thread. 

 

The use of the VCR is not just as a storage device but to have a high quality recording/playback machine. A proper HIFI VCR was advanced at the time as far as sound reproduction goes beyond the video reproduction. This was due to fast rotation speed of the head per second beyond even studio level RTR, good size audio heads and amount of surface area of tape recorded on were the main factors and many machines had good quality audio output circuits . And - all analogue. with the added bonus of having lots of hours on the tape.

 

The key is to get a machine that has L&R audio level adjustment controls so you can set the recording level as you would on tape decks and buy good  blank tape which is still available today.

 

This topic is some months old now - so what happened, did you get a VCR and record on it?

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On 27/01/2021 at 8:59 AM, ENIGMA said:

This topic is some months old now - so what happened, did you get a VCR and record on it?

I got a dsd digital converter with Ps audio nuwave. But since I've upgraded my phono I might look at this recording method again

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  • 3 weeks later...

I used VHS for my wedding music back in the late nineties. I recorded it all on a decent hifi VCR with SVHS tape and played it through an Arcam amp and Mordaunt-Short speakers in our backyard, which sounded great. I used long play mode which gave us six hours of music on a 3 hour tape. A jolly good time was had by all.

 

It was definately my biggest ever mix tape and took several days to put together. I eventually converted it all to mp3 and still listen to it occasionally. Back in the day, it was great idea for partys.

 

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