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  1. Hello

    I'm trying to find the best way to record the audio from my vhs (movies), the video doesn't matter to me. Usually I record audio in uncompressed format with virtualdub or using an Audio Mixer Application like Voicemeeter banana.

    Seeing that my vhs has an optical audio option (output), I wondered if there would be an advantage to go through the optical rather than the RCA cables. Would the sound be of better quality?

    I saw that the Hauppauge Colossus card had an optical input option, that's why I was asking myself this question ...

    My capture card is an old hauppage internal card HVR-1255. I get good audio results, but i'm always looking for improvements. Anyone has recommandation for a better capture card if I'm only interested by the audio ?

    Any advice are welcome !

    Thank you for your time
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  2. Member DB83's Avatar
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    Just curious.


    What vcr is this that has optical output ?
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  3. It's a Panasonic DMR-ES35V, dvd/vhs combo.
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  4. Since the audio on the tape is analog it will depend on which device has the better A/D converter. The DVD recorder or the analog capture device. And any other noise sources.
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  5. Member
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    Are you sure the optical works for the VCR portion? It may be just for the DVD output.
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  6. I'm a Super Moderator johns0's Avatar
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    Easy way to find if it works is to try it out.
    I think,therefore i am a hamster.
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  7. Optical seems to work for both vhs and dvd, just like all RCA plug behind the vcr. But I'd have to try to be sure.....
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    I do have in my VHS /SVHS VCR´s collection a Panasonic DMR-ES35V. I have it for at least 3 years and I never noticed it does have an optical output.
    Yes it works with VHS , in this VCR every output works with any source. I connected it to a SPDIF input in a USB Sound Blaster HD that I have connected and I could get sound with Vdub, captureflux whatever. I cannot guarantee that the sound is better without specific tests, and it will depend on the alternative A/D audio capture card.I tested it with a Disney VHS tape and it does has excellent sound and I noticed good stereo channels separation . I would not be surprised if the result is better, especially if the capture card or the sound card integrated in the PC are not the best in class. In the video part, all outputs also work with any source, namely component that usually provides a signal marginally more stable and better than through Y / C output . This VCR is quite good and sometimes I get better results from it then from my JVC´s SVHS HR 9600 and HR DVS3 .
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  9. Thank you for your answer FLP437

    Good to know that it works. Now it is just the matter to know how I could capture the audio from this optical output. I only found a few capture cards that have an optical input and they are a bit expensive.

    So if I understand, you could get your vhs audio to pc via a Sound Blaster HD ? Look like an interesting option to get audio quality...

    Optical cable also seems to have the advantage to be immune to Electro-Magnetic Interference and Radio Frequency Interference.
    Last edited by Altruo; 18th Oct 2020 at 22:49.
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    The card I used for the test was a Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi HD USB that sells now for about 88$. I bought it 4-5 ,years ago it is an external usb audio card , positioned in the higher segment but not one of the best. It still continues to sell has there is not a lot of innovation in these cards. You can probably buy a better one easily but that one at the time did have a good performance/ price ratio and did what I wanted from her.
    As you are interested only in audio you can use audacity to record is free and is a fine software and you can use it to denoise reduce hum, clicks etc.
    If you intend to process a lot the audio file is probably better to record in 24 bit and dither to 16 after processing the file.
    it's likely the VCR A/D process natively to 44.1KHz/ 16 bit that is CD quality and this is enought.
    VHS HiFi and Betamax HiFi delivered flat full-range frequency-response (20 Hz to 20 kHz), excellent 80 dB S/N ratio, some up to 90dB (in consumer space, second only to the audio compact-disc), and studio-grade channel-separation (more than 70dB).
    The Pana DMR 35v do have 3 heads for audio 2 FM heads and 1 normal head (for VHS) HiFi: 2 track Normal: 1 track
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    24 bit recording and playback is currently available only on very good quality soundcards, such as the Creative Audigy 2 and they are expensive.

    Audio drivers are also known to be sometimes a limitation . Asio drivers used to only work up to 16 bits/48 Khz but 24 bit/96 Khz recording worked however with WDM drivers.
    Audacity WASAPI drivers does support 24-bit recording devices but not MME or Directsound

    You can also try a device like this one not sure what audio drivers it does support. I do have one but I I have not used it for a long time. If I find it I can try if it does work fine in this situation.

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/InLine-Converter-Toslink-192kHz-24-bit/dp/B0147RHV3K

    You will have both spdif and RCA aparently supporting native 24 bit recording and up to 192KHz and the price is about the same ( 100 $) of the creative sound blaster HD .
    Last edited by FLP437; 20th Oct 2020 at 13:52.
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  12. Thank you for your reply FLP437

    My audio driver, from my motherboard, allows me to go up to 24 bit, 192 Khz, so that's not a problem.

    The problem is more to have a sound card or a capture card that has an optical input.

    This one is quite cheap, but seems to have a problem with EMI / RFI shielding,

    https://www.amazon.com/StarTech-com-7-1-Channel-Sound-Card/dp/B00X7B2NY0/ref=sr_1_2?dc...tronics&sr=1-2

    This one is a bit more expensive but can only record up to 24bit / 96Khz, but I don't know if that would make such a difference considering that I only want to record vhs audio.

    https://www.newegg.com/creative-sound-blaster-z/p/N82E16829102048?Description=24%20bit...quicklink=true

    With external sound card or other type of analog usb converter, I'm affraid that it would degrade audio quality or be more vulnerable to noise from EMI / RFI. But that I don't know for sure. Since I am a noob when it comes to audio, i guess I still have to do a lot of research to get the right gadget to pick up this optical signal.

    Anyway, Thanks for your inputs
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    If you intend to use the VCR optical output it doesn’t matter the quality and specs of the audio card , as long as it has a SPDIF input and works fine , any will do as the analog audio has been already digitized in the VCR A/D converter , so you are only transferring the digital stream from the VCR to the PC, and the quality and specs have already been fixed and are the ones from the VCR A/D converter so quality cannot improve even if you do some bit depth conversion to 24 bit for instance or up sample. Each of these operation if done will have some small losses so no benefit only if you pretend to do a heavy pos processing and even in this case probably not interesting also as applications to process audio usual convert internally to 32 bit float or more bit depth to decrease losses during filters and effects processing.

    I don´t know exactly what are the characteristics of the VCR audio A/D converter however I suspect that probable will be 44,1KHz sample rate and 16 bit more then enough for the VHS HIFI audio.

    However if you intend to assure that your audio master as the best possible quality and also you buy a future proof audio card you should buy one that do support at least 24 bit/192Khz but you will have to use the VCR analog signal ( through the RCA outputs).

    With similar A/D specs from the A/D converter´s VCR and audio card the VCR may have an advantage as it can access the signal near the source ( FM heads) , with short paths and less connections reducing losses and getting the best possible signal to work with. Also after conversion the optical signal has no significant losses and are immune to Electro-Magnetic and Radio Frequency Interference.

    I haven't been following the audio card market recently so I'm not the right person to recommend an excellent card at a fair price, other members may possibly make such recommendation
    Last edited by FLP437; 20th Oct 2020 at 13:54.
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  14. Originally Posted by FLP437 View Post
    With similar A/D specs from the A/D converter´s VCR and audio card the VCR may have an advantage as it can access the signal near the source ( FM heads)
    Almost certainly not. Combo units usually have an off-the-shelf VHS mechanism internally. They simply route its composite video and line level audio outputs to a cheap off-the-shelf A/D A/V converter. So the only advantage is not running the signal through a few feet of external cabling. My guess is he will get 48KHz 16 bit stereo digital audio -- as that's what is needed when the unit burns a DVD.
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  15. Well I guess I'll have to try and see. Basically, this is about A/D converter and noise interference (EMI, FMI, cables connections, etc.). So having a good sound card with optical input and RCA input will give me the option of choosing between the VCR A/D converter or the sound card converter.

    Instead of choosing a sound card, does anyone know a good analog converter? (Less than a 100$) Knowing that I want to record at 24bit / 48KHz.

    Plus, I have a question, can a capture devise (ex: hauppage internal card) be use only as an audio input for the motherboard, so without the audio beeing first processed by the capture card ? So let say I record from audacity or virtualdub in pcm 24bit / 48KHz, is the audio first converted by the capture devise or is it process by my motherboard sound system?

    Thank you for your time, it is very appreciated
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