Hi Fi Vhs for Audio,

Discussion in 'General Audio Discussion' started by noobydoo, Sep 24, 2018.

  1. noobydoo

    noobydoo Active Member

    North Bay Ontario Canada
    Hello. Way back in the late 80's I had a friend who recorded his whole vinyl collection onto hi fi vhs video tapes using just the audio track. I seem to recall the quality was near that of CD's. Anyone here still us vhs for audio? Cheers
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2018


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  2. pskaudio

    pskaudio No user serviceable parts inside me... Subscriber

    I don't now, but I have a friend who still does. Those high end S-VHS decks from the late '80s had input level and balance controls along with decent level meters. Up to six hours of pretty high quality sound. Great for parties.
  3. jobrewer1983

    jobrewer1983 AK Subscriber Subscriber

    San Jose, CA
    I have a co-worker who uses VHS for audio... he loves it. Never once used it myself.
  4. dosmalo

    dosmalo T-Totaled Subscriber

    OK, I guess I'm going to ask a stupid question: What's 'CS'?
  5. safebet

    safebet Long live vintage! Subscriber

    New England
    Did a lot of recording on Beta and VHS HiFi back in the 80's. Good on the surface but ultimately dismissed due to audible compander and tracking issues between decks. High frequency saturation was an issue too if you recorded too hot. Excellent though with video.
  6. safebet

    safebet Long live vintage! Subscriber

    New England
    Guessing CD's.


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  7. dosmalo

    dosmalo T-Totaled Subscriber

    I see,
    thought maybe I was missing out on a new medium.
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  8. Lavane

    Lavane AK Subscriber Subscriber

    northern cal.
    As stated above you had to be careful not to record too hot. It takes a little time to get it right. Anyway, it did for me. But after a time those big tapes start taking up space. I did it through the eighties and stopped in the early 90's. The HI-FI VHS decks sounded better than regular cassette tapes to me. But in the end I still have two cassette decks and plenty of tapes. The VCR and tapes are long gone.
  9. lini

    lini just me...

    Munich, Bavaria
    Personally I found VHS hifi good enough for decent movie sound, but not good enough for music listening, due to that faint head-switching noise. I.e., I had six different VHS hifi recorders myself over theyears (1x Goldstar, 2x Grundig, 1x Philips, 2x Panasonic - with the Philips and one of the Panasonics being S-VHS hifi models) and have heard quite a few others, but I've yet to hear one that wouldn't make that faint "pfft, pfft, pfft, pfft..." noise.

    Greetings from Munich!

    Manfred / lini
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  10. MKG

    MKG AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Chehalis, WA
    Back in the early 2000’s when I was a wannabe douchebag dj and semi-competent budget producer I used to use vhs as a constant session recorder, last in line before the amp and monitor speakers. Something that was always recording to pick up those awesome random jams when a track wasn’t live.
    Partly because of the length but also because of the quality- it was higher than cassette or anything digital (affordably) at the time, and much cheaper than a dat recorder.
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  11. twiiii

    twiiii Addicted Member

    west Texas
    Back in the 80's we sold a lot of Sony SL 1800's to discos for long term use, before the DJ showed up. Some of the clubs would open in the early after noons for kids getting out of school and would serve soft drinks, and the club assistant manager would load prerecorded Beta Hifi tapes for the kids to dance to. L 500 tapes gave two hours as I remember and there was a longer tape L 750 and L830 that gave over three. The sound quality was much better than a Revox playing at 3 3/4 its. I still have my JVC 9000 series S-VHS to play back video tapes which are up sampled by my MX 151 and with a little added contrast look fairly acceptable on MY 61" Plasma. As far as sound goes its way better than the picture and better than my Nakamichi 582Z and 682 cassette decks. The issue is tape. You just can't go down and buy decent MAxell or Sony Video tape any more in either format. The advantage of tape is over digital its fairly easy to erase the defect and start over again if you make a mistake. Its not always so easy even on rewrite discs. Its easy to make up programs and download to discs on computers, however. Most of the time I just make up a program and either use Apple TV or Airport Express to feed the Stereo system and forget about making discs. I might make a disc for back-up some times to for the cars. I haven't used video tape in 20 years so knowing which ones hold up better would be a guess. I will say recordings made on Maxell R2R, VHS, and Sony Tape for Beta, lasted over 20 years. MY Maxell cassettes are till going strong after 35 to 40 years and I have Maxell metal Cassettes that are new that I use to make tapes for the 2001 Dodge Ram Diesel. Times have changed. I can remember us ordering 1000 cassettes a month in the beginning. We use to order 7" reels of tape from Maxell, Ampex and BASF by the Gross. We were the largest Pioneer Cassette Machine dealer in the Rocky Mountain time Zone. We did a great business with Nakamichi, too. Tape was a big business for us in all formats for tiny audio Micro cassettes to 1 and 2 inch wide 14 inch in diameter R2R Audio tape. We did well with video tape for consumers, too. Radio stations bought cart tapes by the tons. They bought machines to load tape in their old cart tape cartridges. They bought tape in pancake form to fill 7" and 10 1/2 inch reels. We would stack reels at the radio stations to gain more time for doing remotes. Time goes by fast with a 1200 ft roll running at 15 its. Some times an extra 2 or 3 minutes would make a big difference. We never used 1 mil tape until it became back coated because of print thru issues. And the big old Ampexs, 300 series, could stretch tapes of I mil thickness if not adjust properly. 1/2 mil tape was left for consumers with the understanding we would not replace the tape if deformed by a tape machine. Its been fun thinking back about tape, its some thing I haven't done in a while. Ampex sure double crossed us with their Grand Master series. The original audio tape with sticky on it. I can remember us becoming a Scotch audio tape dealer when they Pioneered their 200 series. It gave tape machine any where from 3 to 6db more dynamic range. And Maxell UD gave another 4 or more Db. Plus the Maxell had much better HF properties. I imagine gaining over 10 to 12 Db of Dynamic range do to tape improvements even with old Magnecord and Ampex tubes studio machines. Thats like putting a turbo and fuel injection on your old V8 engine from the 60's or 70's.

    I just remembered the Radio Station had one Ampex that was 15/30 IPS and as the head engineer did want me loading reels in the rewind or FF modes I would use the HS ampex to load all the reels at 30 IPS. . He installed a switch on the deck to by pass the shut-off arm circuit so we could dump old tape on 7 inch and 5 inch reels. 10 inch reels we would remove the flanges and cut the tape off with a carpet knife. The HS Ampex could either be 1/4 inch or 1/2 inch depending on which head stack we used. We installed the extra flutter filter and adjustable tape guides ourselves. The 300-4 I used was strictly 1/2 inch, 7 1/2- 15 its. Mine was special as I used AME equalization designed by MR Dolby himself when he worked for Ampex. It was a pre cursor to Dolby professional noise reduction. He and some others I don't remember developed multi channel sound for movie theaters while at Ampex.

    I Was so busy at work and having fun I have no conception as to when audio tape started it downward spiral, DAT tape along I there some where and all of a sudden analog tape was gone.

    My part of the country is always behind the times. Recessions come later and recoveries come later. We are slow to get new ground breaking technologies and old technologies stay longer. But now that we have an Apple Store and Best Buy is trying to compete things seem to happen faster. And the internet makes a big difference. One reason why we are slow to change is because of our connection with old Mexico and the fact that its 600 miles to a major city, North, West or East. We are a desert island out in the middle of a Big Desert. I know people in Phoenix are going to be offended. But they are no LA/ Denver/Dallas-Fort Worth/ or Houston. And rich folks don't buy stuff here they go to Dallas or LA. Its to cold and polluted to go to Denver. If they are True Texans, they go to Big-D. Dallas or New York.
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2018
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  12. BigElCat

    BigElCat Mmm Hmm Subscriber

    South of Kansas City
    The sound quality on HiFi VHS is exquisite...rivalling RTR in my opinion.

    Accessing and queuing up songs is a PITA.
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  13. restorer-john

    restorer-john Addicted Member

    It was until the index and addressing points on TOTL machines came out in the very late 80s. I have a gorgeous Mitsubishi E70 SVHS deck which allowed up to 99 individual track numbers to be assigned and carefully shifted to be exactly where you wanted them (just like DAT).

    It was a phenomenal audio machine recorder in its own right until I bought a DAT.
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  14. mjw21a

    mjw21a Super Member

    Brisbane, Australia
    Dad used to use Maxell tapes on his Sony Betamax for parties. Better sound quality than VHS... Apparently
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  15. JoeESP9

    JoeESP9 ESL's & tubes since 83

    Philadelphia PA
    Back then I had Beta HiFi and VHS HiFi. IMO/E Beta sounded better. It didn't have the head switching noise. It also had a better picture (more lines) than VHS.
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  16. vwestlife

    vwestlife Well-Known Member

    Up until quite recently, many radio stations used VHS HiFi to record their broadcasts, to save for later re-runs/promos, or to have as proof that a client's commercial was played the agreed-to number of times per day.
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  17. kfalls

    kfalls Super Member

    Dennison, Illinois
    For commercials, radio stations used Cart machines with continuous looping tapes, similar to 8-Track. We have radio customers who want to archive their Cart collections. We currently have two playback decks Mono and Stereo and looking for more. Radio stations had several decks where they could queue up multiple commercials ready for playback after the song ended. I'm not sure what format they use, but I don't think it's VHS or Beta.
  18. savatage1973

    savatage1973 AK Subscriber Subscriber

    NW Pennsylvania snow belt
    I had a couple rather "high-end" VHS decks that did excellent audio recordings, but finding stuff on the tape was kind of a PITA--IIRC, they were Mitsubishi's. I never used them much for that, since I had R2R and cassettes already. IMO--and that of many others, Beta was far superior to VHS for both audio and video, but that is a whole different discussion.
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  19. mhardy6647

    mhardy6647 AK Subscriber Subscriber

    I've done it for years, with good results -- even did some live recordings to VHS HiFi stereo audio (with a reel to reel deck running as backup, too).
    There were very good decks that were purpose built for audio (only) recording as well as normal hifi audio/videro use (i.e., as VCRs); that's the way to go, IMO.

    This "Zenith" (JVC OEM, I think) has served us well for decades.

    [​IMG]holidaydubbing121209 by Mark Hardy, on Flickr

    Beta HiFi
    is said to be even better :p
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  20. John Daly

    John Daly Active Member

    Wicklow Town, Ireland.
    Yes indeed, Was also used on a Station I worked at for overnight music.

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