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    Back in the days of my musicstudio, I recorded audio onto VHS. It seemed a good alternative to DAT-recorders.
    I'm talking about the early 90's.
    I finally have time to digitize those recordings, but the big question here is: what hifi-recorder should I use to get the best results?
    I currently have a Philips VR720, but when playing back tapes I hear a kind of rumble when there is only a low level of audio (like at the start or end of a song).
    I think it might be due to bad tracking.

    At vcrshop.com I found 3 JVC decks; SR-S388, HR-S9500 and HR-S9600.
    If you had to choose between those 3, which one would be your best pick?

    Again, it's not about the video quality, only High Fidelity Stereo Audio!
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  2. Try "denoising" or messing with any other setting in your daw software before concluding a new deck is needed
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    s-mp, I rather optimise the source than "fixing" the "destination".
    I do not record in a DAW but a regular audio-recording app. In my case Sound Studio on my Mac Mini M1 through Presonus StudioLive 16R.
    The audio path is very clean, so no apparent additional quirks.
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  4. You need a VCR known for much better than average HiFi performance. There aren't as many as you'd think, and most of those are expensive and/or unobtainable/unrepairable. Most of the JVCs aren't too great with HiFi tracking, but ironically their Japan-market WVHS (analog HDTV) models were the ultimate best HiFi players. These completely eliminated the common rumble or buzzing issue, but they're rare, fragile, and pricey. The first thing that tends to irretrievably break in these WVHS decks is their audio circuit board, so not really a good risk. A couple of very late model JVC studio SVHS in the BR-S series also had this HiFi circuit, but again hard to find, typically defective, and unfixable.

    So unless you're unusually lucky, chances are you won't find a deck that completely suppresses the rumble-buzz inherent in the HiFi audio system. The next best thing is to locate a VCR known for flexible wide range tracking lock with HiFi audio: such VCRs "mechanically" minimize the rumble-buzz by having a more consistent steady tracking lock when playing the HiFi. Best among these are the late-model Mitsubishi HS-U448, 449, 748 and 749 (identical HiFi, some video feature and cosmetic differences). All four have an excellent reliability rep, and usually survive shipping well. Nearly as good at HiFi tracking are the Panasonic AG-1980 and AG-1970 (NV-SF100 and 200 in Europe), but those are much older (and the 1980/200 is notorious as the most trouble-prone, expensive to repair VCR still popular for digital transfer).

    Note only the few exotic scarce JVCs noted above included the (proprietary) circuit that cancels out rumble-buzz completely. That intermittent buzz that becomes esp apparent during loud passages or silent moments is otherwise an unavoidable artifact inherent in the way HiFi is recorded/played on the tape. While a VCR known for excellent, steady HiFi tracking will be much better at minimizing this than average, don't expect perfection: that buzz will still break thru occasionally. But it will be less frequent and probably less intrusive than the rumble-buzz you'll get from other VCRs.
    Last edited by orsetto; 6th Sep 2021 at 12:59.
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    Thank you Orsetto. Your reputation of the "know-it-all"-wizard preceeds you

    I think this also means that TBC isn't that important to audio tracking or is it?

    I found an Mitsubishi HS-M1000 (499 euro), JVC BR-S600e (450 euro) and JVC BR-S800e (700 euro) in vcrshop.com
    Mitsubishi HS-U748 ($130, incl. shipping to the Netherlands) on Ebay.

    Please advise me on this.

    Edit: Also found JVC BR-S605EB on Ebay (200 euro)
    Last edited by AstrAir; 6th Sep 2021 at 10:51.
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  6. Correct: you do NOT need to pay extra to get the TBC/DNR feature if all you want to do is make audio transfers. The TBC/DNR is only critical for the video signal.

    Of the models you listed above: for audio-only VHS HiFi dubbing, the two I would select are the Mitsubishi HS-U748 (affordable, reliable, excellent HiFi tracking) or the JVC BR-S600e (expensive, risky, but has a dedicated HiFi buzz elimination circuit similar to the JVC WVHS models). The other models you're considering are not known for amazing HiFi performance: they might be OK, but not worth the asking price for your specific task. My personal choice for HiFi-only use would be the Mitsu 748: the JVC BR-S600e is far too expensive and far more likely to be defective. The only way I would buy the JVC 600 would be if I could visit the owner and test it first, then take it home in my car. The large heavy professional VCRs do not survive shipping very well.
    Last edited by orsetto; 6th Sep 2021 at 11:30.
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    Thank you so much. I will proceed with the Mitsu ...

    If that one isn't delivering what is "promised", I can go for the JVC anytime.

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  8. Formerly 'vaporeon800' Brad's Avatar
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    Even without video, wouldn't your tapes be incompatible with the US Mitsu due to differing playback speed?
    (Formerly vaporeon800)
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  9. Originally Posted by Brad View Post
    Even without video, wouldn't your tapes be incompatible with the US Mitsu due to differing playback speed?
    UGH, somehow I overlooked that was the only VCR in OP's list that wasn't obviously a PAL unit available in his country.

    AstrAir, I do hope you see Brad's warning in time to avoid making a mistake: please be certain the Mitsubishi HS-U748 from that export seller is a PAL format VCR compatible with your tapes! If the seller is in North America or Asia, that 748 will be an NTSC version that won't work for you. If the seller is somewhere in Europe, you should be OK.
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    Damn, forgot to ask about that. I'm afraid it's too late now ... It's already shipped.
    I contacted the seller about this just now.
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    Reply:
    Hello, According to the information found in Google with the model of this product is NTSC.

    MITSUBISHI
    Tape Format: S-VHS / VHS 1/2 "high-density
    Power Source: 120V AC; 60 Hz
    Power Consumption: Approx. 25 W
    Video Signal System: EIA standard; NTSC color

    In all, I'm sc@wed
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    Found another interesting article on the dutch wikipedia:
    https://nl.wikinew.wiki/wiki/VHS#Hi-Fi_audio_system

    Issues with Hi-Fi audio
    Due to the path followed by the video and Hi-Fi audio heads being striped and discontinuous—unlike that of the linear audio track—head-switching is required to provide a continuous audio signal. While the video signal can easily hide the head-switching point in the invisible vertical retrace section of the signal, so that the exact switching point is not very important, the same is obviously not possible with a continuous audio signal that has no inaudible sections. Hi-Fi audio is thus dependent on a much more exact alignment of the head switching point than is required for non-HiFi VHS machines. Misalignments may lead to imperfect joining of the signal, resulting in low-pitched buzzing.[49] The problem is known as "head chatter", and tends to increase as the audio heads wear down.

    Another issue that made VHS Hi-Fi imperfect for music is the inaccurate reproduction of levels (softer and louder) which are not re-created as the original source.[49]

    "low-pitched buzzing" is what I experience with my current VCR
    Last edited by AstrAir; 12th Sep 2021 at 01:45.
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    A reference from that article (#49): https://stason.org/TULARC/entertainment/audio/general/14-18-Is-VHS-Hi-Fi-sound-perfect...nd-perfec.html
    Says it all about HiFi audio on VCRs.

    Now I know it's not a good alternative to DAT ... in the long run.
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    Originally Posted by AstrAir View Post
    JVC BR-S600e (450 euro) and JVC BR-S800e (700 euro) in vcrshop.com
    I see it is also possible to rent these models.(why didn't I see this before? )
    10% of the total price for each week used. I think the '800' would be the better choice in this.
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  15. Capturing Memories dellsam34's Avatar
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    Do you have access to other VCR's thru family or friends, I would try those first before buying or renting, I see that you bought a door stop from the US, Sorry about that.
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    Originally Posted by dellsam34 View Post
    Do you have access to other VCR's thru family or friends ...
    No, they all kept going forward as time moved on.
    That's the thing with recordings; using devices specific to an (long gone) era where the majority of people moved away from. Evolution is the cause.
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  17. At the time Beta HiFi and VHS HiFi were introduced, they were about the best you could get in terms of price/performance. So its a bit unfair to the formats (and yourself) to regret using them as part of your audio archives back then. It was a few years before anyone fully realized JVC had come up with a funkier-than-expected knockoff of BetaHiFi with added potential for mistracking noise artifacts. BetaHiFi works somewhat cleaner with less buzz because the audio is multiplexed directly into the video signal, greatly reducing the tracking disparity between audio and video. VHS format could not handle this method, so JVC was forced into an elaborate system of additional spinning audio heads and multi-level signal embedding in the tape. While in theory it should have worked perfectly, in practice most VHS HiFi VCRs could not track HiFi without dropouts and buzz. Some models were better than others, but they were difficult to identify prior to web forums and even now aren't that common.

    Originally Posted by AstrAir View Post
    Originally Posted by AstrAir View Post
    JVC BR-S600e (450 euro) and JVC BR-S800e (700 euro) in vcrshop.com
    I see it is also possible to rent these models.(why didn't I see this before? )
    10% of the total price for each week used. I think the '800' would be the better choice in this.
    Actually no, the BR-S600e is more suited to your work. In some cases like this, the higher model model number doesn't indicate "better" so much as the category the mfr places that VCR in. When it comes to studio VCRs, most mfrs employed a naming scheme where the higher model number indicated expensive editing features were included, while lower number indicated a play-only or non-editing recorder which a studio would normally purchase more of to feed the editing version.

    Between the 600 and 800, the 600 lacks the video editing features you don't need but does apparently include the very hard to find JVC-exclusive "HiFi switching noise reduction circuit", which was developed to address the exact problem you linked to and are experiencing. This was only available in a handful of JVC decks: very desirable for audio-centric projects. The 800 is from a different model year and does not have the unique audio circuit. Of course, if your specific HiFi tapes were originally recorded on a VCR with significant tracking errors, the 600 HiFi buzz reduction circuit may not be able to fully compensate for mistracking. But it is likely your best possible chance at reducing/eliminating the buzz.

    In all, I'm sc@wed
    Unfortunately we didn't initially notice this 748 was incompatible, as you placed it in the middle of a list of obviously PAL vcrs you were considering so it appeared to be PAL at quick glance (and mfrs often sold both PAL and NTSC versions using the same model number). It also seemed likely you understood the PAL/NTSC issue since most of the VCRs you listed were professional models, so I/we didn't think to question you.

    What website did you use to purchase the 748? If eBay, you may still be able to cancel the purchase and return it. It was not unreasonable to expect a seller to confirm usability with you before shipping to a foreign country. You might be able to get at least a partial refund and pay only the shipping.
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    https://www.ebay.nl/usr/miastore1
    is the reseller. I just sent a message asking for a compensation if I return the VCR. Mostlikely not, but have to try.

    About the '600' and '800'; thanks for elaborating on the differences between the 2, and the history of HiFi on VCR's.
    As the rental price is lower, it saves me even more money (besides the money already spend on 2 decks).

    I don't blame anyone but myself for not noticing the 748 is NTSC.
    Never too old to learn new things/acquire more knowledge.
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    miastore replied:
    "If you are not happy with the product you bought you can return it, just make sure to return it in the same condition that you received it please.
    I would have loved to answer your questions before you buy it.
    That product is very rare to find, do not worry, return it.
    Thanks"
    Now considering the item price($51), shipping cost($53) and import duties($27). If I calculate the extra cost: the return-cost - moneyback ; it's not worth to do so.

    second reply:
    "I can tell you that you can sell it, if you look at Ebay they sell it for $ 80, you could even get a profit if you resell it."
    So that is what I shall do.
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    Originally Posted by orsetto View Post
    You need a VCR known for much better than average HiFi performance. There aren't as many as you'd think, and most of those are expensive and/or unobtainable/unrepairable. Most of the JVCs aren't too great with HiFi tracking, but ironically their Japan-market WVHS (analog HDTV) models were the ultimate best HiFi players. These completely eliminated the common rumble or buzzing issue, but they're rare, fragile, and pricey. The first thing that tends to irretrievably break in these WVHS decks is their audio circuit board, so not really a good risk. A couple of very late model JVC studio SVHS in the BR-S series also had this HiFi circuit, but again hard to find, typically defective, and unfixable.

    So unless you're unusually lucky, chances are you won't find a deck that completely suppresses the rumble-buzz inherent in the HiFi audio system. The next best thing is to locate a VCR known for flexible wide range tracking lock with HiFi audio: such VCRs "mechanically" minimize the rumble-buzz by having a more consistent steady tracking lock when playing the HiFi. Best among these are the late-model Mitsubishi HS-U448, 449, 748 and 749 (identical HiFi, some video feature and cosmetic differences). All four have an excellent reliability rep, and usually survive shipping well. Nearly as good at HiFi tracking are the Panasonic AG-1980 and AG-1970 (NV-SF100 and 200 in Europe), but those are much older (and the 1980/200 is notorious as the most trouble-prone, expensive to repair VCR still popular for digital transfer).

    Note only the few exotic scarce JVCs noted above included the (proprietary) circuit that cancels out rumble-buzz completely. That intermittent buzz that becomes esp apparent during loud passages or silent moments is otherwise an unavoidable artifact inherent in the way HiFi is recorded/played on the tape. While a VCR known for excellent, steady HiFi tracking will be much better at minimizing this than average, don't expect perfection: that buzz will still break thru occasionally. But it will be less frequent and probably less intrusive than the rumble-buzz you'll get from other VCRs.
    I found such a VCR in excellent condition with my grandfather in the garage.
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    Appoloh, please keep an eye on this post.
    "such a VCR". Which brand/type you refer to?
    I might ask you to lend or sell that VCR to me in case the rental isn't working.
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  22. Video Restorer lordsmurf's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by orsetto View Post
    Most of the JVCs aren't too great with HiFi tracking,
    That's not accurate. JVC works quite well with HiFi. The problem with JVC is the linear can be a hissy mess. Most linear is nasty, from most decks. This is a reason that many of us own Panasonic S-VHS decks as well.

    So unless you're unusually lucky, chances are you won't find a deck that completely suppresses the rumble-buzz inherent in the HiFi audio system. The next best thing is to locate a VCR known for flexible wide range tracking lock with HiFi audio:
    No. The next best thing is to find a deck that is easier to realign (misalign on purpose), and that's certain JVCs.

    Originally Posted by AstrAir View Post
    TI think this also means that TBC isn't that important to audio tracking or is it?
    TBCs do not process audio whatsoever. Do not confuse the TBC-1000 audio in/out with the TBC. The audio bypasses the TBC inside, routes directly to the VP-299 distro amp. The amp is why it has 4x outputs (2x pairs).

    And very often, with tapes like this, you must capture twice. Adjusted deck for the audio, a completely different deck for video (and that one has the TBC). Sometimes to get audio perfect, you won't get anything but snow on screen, it's that far out of alignment.

    Originally Posted by AstrAir View Post
    Found another interesting article on the dutch wikipedia:
    "low-pitched buzzing" is what I experience with my current VCR
    Indeed interesting. I'm able to de-buzz audio right often adjusting (misaligning) the left tape guide. This isn't something for tech-averse people (scared of internals), or for those who don't document EVERY step (photographs before adjusting), and are not hamfisted brutes (fine gentle tweakings required).

    I don't necessarily "suggest" this to others, but merely want to mention that recovery of the signal is possible. It'll take some funds, work, and patience to make it happen.
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  23. Originally Posted by lordsmurf View Post
    Originally Posted by orsetto View Post
    Most of the JVCs aren't too great with HiFi tracking,
    That's not accurate. JVC works quite well with HiFi. The problem with JVC is the linear can be a hissy mess. Most linear is nasty, from most decks. This is a reason that many of us own Panasonic S-VHS decks as well.
    My experience going back to the mid-80s JVC models, including premium one-offs they OEM'd specifically for audio brands like Teac and Sansui, has been consistently dismal in terms of HiFi performance. Half the time they were crap at tracking HiFi tapes they recorded themselves: the most excessive level of buzzing and constant fallbacks to linear I've ever endured with any VCR brand. Forget JVC tracking HiFi tapes made on other brand VCRs, or other brand VCRs (Panasonic, Hitachi, Sharp) tracking HiFi tapes recorded on my JVCs: hopeless. The various Hitachi-made brands were next runner up with this issue, but even they weren't nearly as piss poor: considering JVC was the inventor of VHS HiFi, most of their models were shockingly inept at playing it properly. I've probably owned every single model of JVC HiFi VCR ever sold, at the time they were current, except the WVHS, some of the DVHS, and highest-end early 9000 series. Of those, my only JVCs with broadly-compatible HiFi tracking were the final SR-V101 and the DVD/VHS combos DR-MV5 and SR-MV50. My three SR-MV50s are exceptionally good trackers for both HiFi and video, equal to my Panasonic AG-1980s or Mitsubishi HS-U748s.

    The muddy virtually unusable linear audio track playback was an inexplicable regression in later model JVCs, which unfortunately includes 90% of surviving desirable-for-capture DigiPure models. Earlier JVC HiFi models I owned from the 80s thru early 90s had perfectly normal linear audio playback no different from comparable Panasonics of the era. Recent VH posters researching that topic discovered the poor linear playback in later JVCs is caused by factory-incorrect stationary head alignment: apparently linear performance can be significantly improved by adjusting the height and pitch of the stationary audio head. This is a bit tricky to do, as mounting of the linear audio head varies between model years (some are more easily adjusted by ear than others which require more precise tools).

    Originally Posted by lordsmurf View Post
    Originally Posted by orsetto View Post
    So unless you're unusually lucky, chances are you won't find a deck that completely suppresses the rumble-buzz inherent in the HiFi audio system. The next best thing is to locate a VCR known for flexible wide range tracking lock with HiFi audio:
    No. The next best thing is to find a deck that is easier to realign (misalign on purpose), and that's certain JVCs.
    Maybe if one doesn't mind such geekery and risk, or is flat broke and can't afford a top-rated-tracking VCR, or has insanely off-spec tapes incapable of being tracked without such VCR hacks. I'd wager most of us would rather just pick up a VCR model with highly-compatible HiFi tracking and decent video performance (very late-model JVCs, or AG-1980). JVC WVHS and a handful of select JVC BR-S studio models included a unique switching buzz elimination system, for maximum HiFi performance along with excellent video playback, but are scarce/pricey in any condition (usually found as-is defective). The Mitsubishi 448/449/748/749 are a good low-budget option for those who need to capture HiFi audio-only: HiFi tracking range is similar to AG-1980 at a fraction of the cost and 10x the reliability. Unfortunately video playback is typical late-90s mediocre: just OK at best (no line TBC or DNR, so grainy video output).
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    Originally Posted by orsetto View Post
    My experience going back to the mid-80s JVC models
    Well, if you go back that far, sure.

    I only go back to about 1996, the 7600+ and 9600+ decks (with honorable mentions to the 75/9500), when I adopted S-VHS players. My hobby years saw tapes that were way worse than what most people would see in a lifetime. But I didn't need a Panasonic deck for years. I'd set aside truly awful tapes, borrow Panasonics when needed, but it wasn't until about 2006, a full decade later, that I actually broke down and bought my own. At that point in time, everything was used, the decks were no longer $2k anymore, not even $1k from EOL. About $500 got a "good" decks (caps not yet replaced), or $100-200 got you a deck needing caps work for about $350. but that was 15 years ago, things changed, for the worse. With JVCs, it's about condition, and exact model. With multiple decks, I never had HiFi issues as you describe, only mono/linear problems with tapes made on cheap cameras/VCRs.

    Yes, those MV decks can be nice, and sometimes as nice as AG-1980 as you state (SOMETIMES! not always, not even half the time), but finding one that's not abused (internally, not just outward appearance) is hard. Those were made for education and government, sold at places like CDW, and hamfisted handled by low-knowledge users: students/interns, underpaid schoolteachers, gym/sports coaches, etc. The kind that beat it with a book when it didn't do what they wanted, such as record on their cheap office store DVD+R (and it only took DVD-R). Even so-called "new" decks (NOS) are often screwed. I'm dealing with somebody right now that bought a "refurbished new never used in original box" (a contradictory statement right there) unit off eBay. It's looks new, but the internals are shot, it eats tapes.

    It's amazing how much we start to disagree, but then are not disagreeing whatsoever.

    Originally Posted by lordsmurf View Post
    Maybe if one doesn't mind such geekery and risk or is flat broke and can't afford a top-rated-tracking VCR, or has insanely off-spec tapes incapable of being tracked without such VCR hacks.
    - Yes, there is risk, that cannot be understated enough.
    - Funds/budget rarely has anything to do with this exact issue (assuming we're talking about S-VHS decks).
    - It usually is the tapes simply badly misaligned.

    I'd wager most of us would rather just pick up a VCR model with highly-compatible HiFi tracking and decent video performance (very late-model JVCs, or AG-1980).
    What I refer to is tapes that are playing badly in those decks. So correct, if not yet using one of those decks, do so. That is step #1.

    JVC WVHS and a handful of select JVC BR-S
    Zero way to repair those. Costly money pit decks.

    The Mitsubishi 448/449/748/749 are a good low-budget option for those who need to capture HiFi audio-only:
    Certain '96-98 era Sharps are also good here. Those track well, too. But even non-TBC JVCs give better image.
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    Today the BR-S600E was delivered at my house. When I play a tape I still hear that low rumble sound so now and then (in low level passages), but even worse are the drop out gaps and sometimes crackling. Varying from +/- 150 ms to +/- 600 ms or so. Sometimes the number of dropsout in a song is manageable, as I could copy/paste certain parts from other places onto the gaps. That's a lot of extra work, maybe not willing to do.
    The overall sound quality seems better (transients).
    Disappointing ...

    It seems to get worse after each rewind/skip back.
    Last edited by AstrAir; 17th Sep 2021 at 17:39.
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  26. Capturing Memories dellsam34's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by lordsmurf View Post
    And very often, with tapes like this, you must capture twice. Adjusted deck for the audio, a completely different deck for video (and that one has the TBC). Sometimes to get audio perfect, you won't get anything but snow on screen, it's that far out of alignment.
    Yes, I came across a tape from low volume publishing house that can only playback HiFi if I manually miss-track the tape using Ch+/Ch-, So I ended up capturing it twice, One time with automatic tracking to get a perfect picture with only mono audio and the second time with manual tracking for a perfect HiFi audio and a noise bar at the bottom of the screen, Then I just swapped the mono track with the HiFi stereo one in software for the first capture.
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    Originally Posted by AstrAir View Post
    It seems to get worse after each rewind/skip back.
    Open the tape gate. Is the tape perfect shiny smooth black? Or does it have tiny light refractions. I'm betting the latter. It's entering late stages, before oxide shedding. Working with the tape gets tricky now, as every play ruins it.
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