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  1. Member
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    Apr 2018
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    Czech Republic
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    Hi guys. I have to digitize some Hi8 and Video8 tapes, but their audio is really poor. I think the tapes are ok, maybe the head is bad. I have no other camcorder to try it, but when I plug the cam to PC switched to camera mode (not player), sound from mic in VirtualDub is good. The audio is horrible even if I play tapes on the cam, so I can exclude broken TV card.

    Is it the head? I didn't clean it, but it doesn't seem dirty. Does Hi8 system have separated audio head like VCR has? I'm sorry to bother you, but don't another camera in the neighborhood I could try. And sorry for my bad English.

    Example of bad sound: https://youtu.be/1MUUnx0Gg_k
    Sound from camera internal speaker: https://youtu.be/RinO_GvQk-8

    Thanks, Tom
    Last edited by malytom; 17th Apr 2018 at 16:43.
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  2. Hi, Tom;

    I'm assuming the sound is bad on both Hi8 and 8mm tapes? In any case, I don't think cleaning the heads will make any difference, the audio and video are "multiplexed" on the tape via the recording heads (no separate linear audio track on 8mm) so if your picture is okay (it looks okay to me) then I suspect the heads are fine. I looked at your test video and it reminds me of "motorboating" which I used to have a problem with on a hi-fi VHS deck I had a long time ago, what you're hearing is switching of the video/audio heads as it moves through the camcorder -- I'm guessing some kind of alignment issue between the tapes and the camcorder, or maybe even RF interference from some leaky radio device. This may sound odd but you might try taking your camcorder to different locations, preferably as far away from any electro/mechanical devices as possible and try playing a tape, see if the sound problem persists. If it goes away, then great, it's RF interference ... but then I don't know what to do about that except try moving your equipment around your flat and see if that helps.

    Is this the same camcorder the tapes were recorded on? If not, then I'd strongly suspect a head alignment issue, which means looking for a different camcorder, preferably the same make/model as the one used to make these tapes. Good luck!
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  3. Member
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    Thanks, ozymango. Some ot the tapes was recorded with the same camcorder (Sony CCD-TRV418E), but still sound awful. I was in a basement where there is no RF signal from outside (TV, radio, mobile carrier, Wi-Fi etc.), but it didn't help.

    It's my brother's camcorder and he said that five years ago it worked fine. He has not used the camera since then. Some tapes are from two other people, so they shouldn't be all damaged by magnet or something.
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  4. Well, drat, there goes my beautiful theory. Sigh. Now of course it could just be that the camcorder has some circuit going out and you're just stuck ... but along those lines, I have a DV camcorder I only use every once in a while to transfer tapes and if it sits for a while it gets very cranky until I record/play an entire tape, that seems to "warm it up."

    Do you have any new/blank tapes you can experiment on? If so, try recording at least half an hour of video -- it doesn't have to be of anything in particular, you could just set the camcorder up on a table or tripod, press REC, and let it run for a while -- then rewind, and play it back, and see if the sound gets worse, gets better, stays the same, etc.

    Beyond that I would suspect it's just a bad circuit and time to start searching eBay for a good used camcorder. Drat.
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  5. Member
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    I'm betting on a problem in the circuitry. Probably not worth fixing. The garbage is just on the right channel so you can remux the audio to one channel (left only) or copy the left channel to the right channel.
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  6. Dinosaur Supervisor KarMa's Avatar
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    If all your tapes play this visually noisy, then it certainly could be a dirty head. So unless all those samples were recorded that way, then it could be a noisy head on playback. These tapes are probably 20-30 years old now and tape shedding on the head is going to be a big possibility, especially if they have not been played much since they were recorded decades ago. I almost threw away some Video8 equipment until I used a Sony Cleaner tape, which fixed my visual noise problem. I use a Sony 8mm Head Cleaner tape.

    Originally Posted by malytom View Post
    Is it the head? I didn't clean it, but it doesn't seem dirty.
    How do you know this? If the video only has a light amount of noise in the video signal then you are not going to be able to visually see any debris on the tape head.
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