Hi videohelp and Baldrick people,
This is the craziest post here I guess.
I am the last Mohican trying to use a Betamax vcr.
Before you start asking questions. I do not expect 4k quality from it.
I am just an enthousiast with too much sentimental feelings having fun at the attic
to play old betamax tapes.
I have a sony betamax SL-HF100 here. Bought it recently. http://www.palsite.com/100tech.html
It is working fine wile playing. Amazing 30 year old tapes can still produce a stable picture.
Ok, it is what you want to see I gues...
All tapes I have run fine. Only for mono recorded tapes the sound gets down and not clear.
All pre recorded movie tapes I have have a great sound, they are hifi recorded. (blockbuster type, but clean)
My question is about recording. The machine seems to record when I connect a DVD player as source.
One of the hifi recorded tapes, which played a michael jackson concert perfectly, I used an empty part at the end of the tape to record a minute of video.
I could set a record volume, and wile recording the sound was coming allright through the vcr and it is sent to my tv.
When I rewinded the tape afterwards and played the result, there was a reasonable image, but the sound
is very soft almost nothing. The volume indicator only gives 1 dot instead of 6 (of the total 10 dots in the indicator or so...)
Is the reason for this the age of the betamax tapes I use? Since it is not produced longer I can't buy new.
Is the audio head that plays the video the same one that records a video?
How to know if the recording function and the heads are working all-right?
Why do you want to record on betamax?..... Well, just to see if it is working and because I am weird
and curious. These machines were also used as audio recording machines, for it it said they had a good sound quality
in the day.
Thanks for any help.
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Last edited by leeuwtje; 6th Jun 2022 at 13:52. Reason: improvement
If you are getting a muffled audio that means the deck is not recording in HiFi stereo, As far as I know Betamax uses the same video heads for both video and HiFi audio at least for PAL land, There are several reasons why and the only way to find out is through a diagnosis procedure using a multi meter and /or an oscilloscope based on the service manual values, If you can't do this yourself have someone repair it for you in your area. This is not something that can be troubleshooted over forum posts.
Yes, that is correct, it is a PAL betamax vcr.
So, according to your answer, the poor recorded sound is not because betamax tapes are generally just too old?
(in Europe betamax tape stopped around 2000 I was told).
At least it is playing in stereo sound when playing pre recorded tapes. A Very good sound for this old device
The volume indicator shows a good signal when playing an existing recorded movie or so.
I agree these things can not be determined by posting on forums. Still it was worth trying so.
Would it be possible in 2022 to fix that? Are parts available?
In June 1983, Sony introduced high fidelity audio to videotape as Beta Hi-Fi. For NTSC, Beta HiFi worked by placing a pair of FM carriers between the chroma (C) and luminance (Y) carriers, a process known as frequency multiplexing. Each head had a specific pair of carriers; in total, four individual channels were employed. Head A recorded its hi-fi carriers at 1.38(L) and 1.68(R) MHz, and the B head employed 1.53 and 1.83 MHz. The result was audio with an 80 dB dynamic range, with less than 0.005% wow and flutter.
For PAL, however, the bandwidth between the chroma and luminance carriers was not sufficient to allow additional FM carriers, so depth multiplexing was employed, wherein the audio track would be recorded in the same way that the video track was. The lower-frequency audio track was written first by a dedicated head, and the video track recorded on top by the video head. The head disk had an extra pair of audio-only heads with a different azimuth, positioned slightly ahead of the regular video heads, for this purpose.
IIRC, because of the depth multiplexing of PAL Beta Hi-Fi, the Hi-Fi signal was weaker, [making playback problematic] possibly because of bad/worn audio heads.
As a Betaphile, I chuckled with glee when Sony announced that because of the difference between the way Beta and VHS were recorded, VHS could never achieve Hi-Fi audio the way they did with the original NTSC Beta Hi-Fi. You PAL-landers just had to have Hi-Fi and opened the door for VHS. Darn you PAL-landers! J/K!
Last edited by lingyi; 7th Jun 2022 at 01:17.
So I had it the other way around, I know there is a difference between PAL and NTSC I just wasn't sure which one used the video heads and which one used separate HiFi heads, It still rules out the heads being the problem because he stated he could playback HiFi Beta pre-recorded tapes with no problem.
As I recall from my audiophile days, magnetic recording requires a higher strength magnetic field than playback. Which is exactly what the OP is experiencing. Playback is fine, but the recorded signal isn't strong enough, especially because it's laid under the video track.
I can't find a cite, but I seem to recall this was an issue with VHS Hi-Fi also.
Yes it could be the recording amp, But the actual heads are used for both recording and playback, If it's the head itself mechanically or its coil electrically have problems he wouldn't be able to playback the HiFi audio from the tape. As I suggested before the voltages and waveforms have to be checked in the audio circuit boards with a VM and an oscilloscope to pinpoint the fault.
Thanks a lot for all these statements so far. It gives a good direction.
I understand now the head for hifi playback in a SL-HF100 is the same one that records hi-fi sound.
So if i understand correct, it cannot be damage or an issue with the hi-fi stereo head since the vcr
plays back hifi sound correct. Yes, let's see if I can open contact to a betamax guru here in west-europe.
Also thanks for the contact details.
ps. If it would be an amplifier problem, would it be a matter of just replacing that device?
Would micro soldering be needed, or is it just a component with a connector on the circuit inside the vcr?
Is it possible to buy second parts like that on ebay for a friendly price?
Is the beta set to record in hi-fi?Check to see if it's not in regular sound mode when recording.I worked on many sony betas back in the day when they were popular.I think,therefore i am a hamster.
Ahhh...good point. I think a Hi-Fi indicator should light up on playback.
*SIGH* I miss my machines!
Thanks for pointing that out.
After my first attempt to record didn't work out,
I tried a second time while playing with that hifi switch on / off and all other switches.
None of that did have any improving influence after playing back the result.
I can try again, but I don't have much hope.
1.While playing an pre recorded hifi music concert tape, the hifi button improves the sound when i switch it to hifi. Not only for the stereo effect, the sound has a sharper tone after switching to hifi. (treble effect) Can't say i heard this while recording earlier this week.
2. Yes, the hifi led lights up when playing that concert tape. Also it was the same tape on which I tried to record a sample.
On your recordings does the hi-fi indicator light up even though the sounds are muffled?I think,therefore i am a hamster.
I didn't have the time to reply yesterday, sorry for being late.
I recorded again. I used a tape that was recorded with a concert in hifi. I used the end
of the tape to try out. Thanks John. This time I payed attention
for the hifi LED. When I play back the old concert the LEDS comes up.
When I record a piece of DVD with this vcr, while the hifi switch is set to 'auto'
the vcr records it like it did before. When I play back the result, the LED goes off!!!
So, it seems the vcr is recording in mono and plays back a muffled mono track,
where it should record in hifi stereo.
Only 3 leds of the volume indicator come up. Very low signal.
What does this mean?
Try adjusting the tracking to see if hi-fi gets switched on.I think,therefore i am a hamster.
Really? Ok I will try.
I forgot to mention that the tape of the hifi recorded concert which plays back in hifi fine and clear (LED comes up),
was used at the last end of the tape, to try out that sample hifi recording. (with the vcr' hifi switch to normal)
Just to be clear.
Last edited by leeuwtje; 11th Jun 2022 at 10:22. Reason: spelling
I will describe exactly what happens while using the tracking on the moment of recording:
-All experiments here are on the same tape.
1. To be clear. When I play the old concert part on the tape, the hifi LED goes on, the sound is absolutely stereo.
2. Fast forwarding to the empty last part of the tape. I switch on the DVD player and let it play. (connected with tulip stereo connectors and yellow video composite.)
(The hifi LED on the vcr is on all the time when recording the DVD movie.)
During the record, I play around with the tracking wheel. The LED stays on in all positions of tracking.
3. After 1 minute I rewind to check the result. After I press the play button, the green hifi LED suddenly disappears.
The sounds becomes unclear, obviously mono sound and when it plays the parts where I changed tracking, nothing really happens.
Only the sound tune goes up en down some stripes in the image.. THE hifi LED stays off all time. While recording, the hifi switch was on 'auto' and should record in stereo.
Why is that happening? Someone said 'old tape'. All-right i understand an old tape could make the sound quality less,
but is it a reason hifi stereo recording stops working completely?
Thanks guys, for helping and your idea's
I tried this. I could play the record again and use the tracking knob to see if that makes a difference.
I think I tried all.
In the U.S. Beta Hi-Fi was first introduced in the mid-range SL-5200* (note no HF designation). The next release was the top of the line SL-HF2700, followed by lower to mid-range Hi-Fi ready machines that required an optional adapter. I believe SuperBeta was introduced in the top of the line SL-HF900 and SL-HF1000, then mid and lower range machines were available in both Hi-Fi and non Hi-Fi models, for example the SL-HF350 and SL-300.
*I would have bought a SL-5200 if I didn't know from Japanese magazines that the SL-HF2700 was next in line. I also passed on the SL-2500 for the same reason.
All the ED-Beta line EDV-7500 and EDV-9500 semi-pro machines had Hi-Fi and of course the ultimate SL-HF2100. The ED-Beta line in Japan ranged from the mid-range EDV-5000 to the top of the line EDV-9000.
In Europe, to my knowledge there were only two Beta Hi-Fi machines. The mid-range SL-HF100 and high end (would be mid-range in the U.S.) SL-HF950.
Edit: Just checked palsite.com and I was wrong. There are several Beta Hi-Fi machines. I think the SL-HF100 and SL-HF950 were the only SuperBeta Beta Hi-Fi machines.
Edit: Visit mrbetamax.com for a list of all NTSC Betas and palsite.com for European machines. I don't know of any complete list for Middle East and Brazil machines.
Last edited by lingyi; 14th Jun 2022 at 01:43.
I was definitely tempted to acquire a SL-HF2100 back in the day (hell of a unit, per many reports), but the price was exorbitant. Knew of ED-Beta, but never saw one outside of photos. HF B1s mode (SuperBeta) was the best videotape quality I ever saw, IMO well exceeding SVHS. But this judgment is necessarily limited to consumer or "prosumer" models. I did see some Sony U-Matic models in well-appointed offices, but did not really observe them much in operation.
I had a SL-HF2100 and yes, it was amazing! However, the touchscreen remote was a pain to use because you had to look at the screen and deliberately push the center of the button. I also had two EDV-7500's which IMO had the best picture quality of all my machines.
It's been a couple of years since I've read comments about MrBetamax, but reports were that he wasn't responding to any messages, so I don't know if he's still active.
It's been a while since I last checked, but there was little active discussion about Beta there.
Tangentially related good links to keep in your bookmarks. lddb.com for Laserdiscs and cedmagic.com for CED. There probably is a forum for VHD, but I haven't stumbled across it.
Unlike S-VHS, SuperBeta didn't require the use of Y-C output a.k.a S-Video socket, Only the ED models and I believe two SuperBeta machines had S-Video out including the SL-HF2100. Composite hinders chroma quality due to limited bandwidth, although S-VHS or SuperBeta is not about improving chroma just the luma however keeping it separate from luma starting from the source improves it a bit not to mention that it also improves luma sharpness due to less chroma interference.
The SL-HF2100 was the only non-ED-Beta with S-Video out. No PAL machines had S-Video.
I think there was a multi-region Betamax, possibly an ED-Beta model that had S-Video out.