Another one of those annoying 'I'm not quite getting what I want out of a cheap capture setup' guys here.
About 10 years ago I bought one of those EasyCap USB capture units for about £10 off Amazon and never got around to using it, well now's a good a time as any to archive those 30 years worth of AmDram performances that my family have been involved in.
My problem is that of a hissing sound that is coming with the audio that I am capturing. The audio is being captured via the Line In input on the back of the PC and the hiss is there on all VHS that I use, even the bought movies.
Setup is as follows:
Samsung SV-243B VHS player (old one that my parents had in cupboard)
Output is through a SCART (that shape anyway) to RCA Red White Yellow with Yellow going into the EasyCap USB (this lead was also found at my parents)
Red and White leads go into a female Red and Black Phono to Female Mini Jack lead.
Mini Jack male to Mini Jack male goes into the line in.
I've been through all the pieces of equipment being used to see where the fault lies and all that I can determine so far is that when I plug headphones directly into the female mini jack I can hear the audio is very clear albeit very quiet.
I have a small preamp for my DSLR that I tested to use to boost the volume but either with or without that the hiss is present from when it hits the PC.
I've gone through the options of using noise reduction which is an option but given that this is live performances with fluctuating levels of volume from audience laughing and clapping, music playing through speakers etc it can get quite garbled.
Hopefully someone may have some suggestions.
Thanks for reading
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Possibly a pin out mismatch of the female > male mini-jack, or even the male > line in.
Is the line in on the EasyCap or is it to the PC sound card?
Line in is on the PC Sound Card. There are Phono inputs on the EasyCap but I can't get them to work for some reason. What do you mean by a pin out mismatch?
Ok, is there any way of determining what is ground in what way?
With the three cables strung together you can use an ohm meter to see where the red and white + ground end up
on the tip, sleeve and ring.
But then you'll have to do some research to determine if this is what the sound card expects
How loud the hiss is? Any chance of a sample? If the VCR is not HiFi stereo that's all what you're going to get from a linear track if the VCR also lacks the Dolby circuitry for noise reduction.
First up yes I recognise that the gear is low quality, I made light of that in my first post, however a few things:
EasyCap is not dealing with the audio it's going straight from the VHS into a sound card.
EasyCap software is not handling the capture that's being done with OBS
I'm not after perfection, just the ability to hear the performance well enough.
I'm using what I have.
Here is a small sample:
To clarify this goes from SCART out to RCA then into a mini jack adapter lead and then to mini jack to mini jack and into the Line in of the card as pictured. Note that the audio in general is quiet but I can boost that with a small Saramonic Smart Rig that I own but this increases the hiss also.
Also to note that the male mini jack to male mini jack is just a cheap old wire I doubt it has any shielding.
As I could hear a clean sound coming directly from plugging headphones into mini jack female I assumed I might be able to amplify it using a busking amplifier that I have access to but that still presented the hiss, although it did disappear somewhat when I turned the treble right down.
It sounds like normal VHS linear audio hiss along with audio that wasn't recorded loud enough. Look for a Hi-Fi VHS deck and see if there's a Hi-Fi track. It will have much less hiss.
OK that does sound like just poor signal to noise and a very low recording level.
But then you have to consider Youtube has re-encoded the audio and reduced it's quality even more
Does it sound this bad if you connect the VCR to the TV and play it back?
OBS is terrible capture software. It's made for streaming, not analog. If you want analog, then use VirtualDub. Using OBS+Easycrap is doubly screwing yourself.
If you had an uncompressed WAV, from a quality card, this audio could be restored. That's if it was even bad, after using a better VCR.
What you're seeing and hearing is what can be expected from such a low-end crappy setup.
You need a better VCR with Hi-Fi Stereo that could playback the Hi-Fi track if available, Even if only linear track available it would have a Dolby noise reduction chip to get rid of most of that hiss, The reason some VCR's are cheap because they skip features that require paying license fees to Dolby or some other patented features from big brands such as JVC. If you don't want to invest in a better VCR just be happy with what you got.
Also try to clean the fixed audio head it might be dirty.
Last edited by dellsam34; 16th Apr 2020 at 02:22.
Coming back to this after a break. Ive decided that Ill pick up a new VHS player with HIFI stereo sound to see if that improves things, I know much of it will depend on the recordings but a lot of the earliest performances were filmed by a paid company. Can anyone recommend anything to look out for? A good model or brand. All the big brands are dotted around eBay so theres a bit of choice.
Beware of eBay. Lots of "tested" and "working" decks are neither tested nor working.
Well what a bit of luck, I was over at my inlaws today and was upstairs putting my little one down for a nap and noticed they had an old VHS / DVD combi that had all the whistles and bells on it including HiFi Stereo and AV outputs on it. The sound difference is incredible, just what I needed, it also improved the tracking and salvaged a few parts that I thought we would have lost.
It's a Daewoo, yeah a Daewoo... I thought that as well, it's an SH-9810P. All I know is that the sound is infinitely better, pretty much how I expected captures of tapes from the 80's to sound really, never expected perfection.
A reminder that this is what I was getting:
And this is what I'm getting now:
Wow, that's a lot of 2px-length (max) timing wiggle, vibration-like. Ugh. All that movement would give me a headache trying to watch.
But the sound is fine. Now just the picture sucks.
lordsmurf won't be satisfied until you buy an S-VHS deck with a line TBC, a standalone proc amp, a full frame TBC, and a good SD capture card. That will only cost you about US$1000.
I always say, If you have the choice to buy a decent capture device and a decent VCR OR a crappy VCR and a croppy capture device coupled with $1500 TBC, choose the first one because in the first choice you will less likely to use an external TBC and if you do, it will be on a few problematic tapes that you can source out for capturing. An external TBC is only needed when there is frame timing problems, A frame TBC does not improve video quality as most people think, It improves signal timing.