Analog recording to VHS?

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Analog recording to VHS?

Postby Mathieu Benoit » Tue Sep 18, 2012 12:31 pm

Hey Malcolm, I had a conversation with Roach Sunday night where he was telling me about the "old days" when you used to record to analog tape. I thought he meant a reel-to-reel tape machine but then he said no, it was to VHS. I had never heard of recording analog audio to VHS, but I know that the ADAT format will allow you to record digital audio to an S-VHS tape. But he said that it was definitely analog.

I figured it was just easier to ask you than to argue with him. So... were you in fact recording analog audio to VHS tape? If so, I'd love to hear more about this.
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Re: Analog recording to VHS?

Postby Malcolm Boyce » Wed Sep 19, 2012 10:46 pm

Sorry so slow getting on some of these threads. Down with a nasty cold the last couple of days.

Yes. Most definitely analog two mix to HiFi VHS tape. In it's day, it was a convenient format to use that sounded a hundred times better than just mixing to a cassette deck. Dubs could then be made from the VHS machine that wouldn't sound nearly as bad as a cass-cass copy. You have to remember this was pre DAW of any kind for me.

The first couple of tracks on this list would have been mixed to my Sony HiFi VHS deck. I have a pile of tapes squirreled away with a ton of stuff mixed to that format.

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Re: Analog recording to VHS?

Postby Mathieu Benoit » Thu Sep 20, 2012 8:05 am

Well, whatdya know. I suppose if the alternative is cassette tape, then anything would be an upgrade.

I'm sure glad I wasn't around in those dark times though.
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Re: Analog recording to VHS?

Postby Malcolm Boyce » Thu Sep 20, 2012 11:37 am

Mathieu Benoit wrote:I suppose if the alternative is cassette tape, then anything would be an upgrade.
It was a medium of convenience. For me, mixing various formats etc., and already having the machine.... and it sounded good. I was too much of a cheapskate to buy a DAT machine, which in hindsight was probably a good thing. Plus digital still really sucked then.
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Re: Analog recording to VHS?

Postby Mathieu Benoit » Thu Sep 20, 2012 11:55 am

So explain it to me... Were you actually using a VCR? How was it connected? I'm curious about the technical side of it.
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Re: Analog recording to VHS?

Postby Malcolm Boyce » Thu Sep 20, 2012 12:45 pm

You have to remember, these weren't the average person's VCR. I had/have what was at the time Sony's high end Stereo "HiFi VHS" machine. The audio quality of these machines when they were new was pretty great for a consumer format. Although you could use any VHS tape, there were several widely available brands of "HiFi" tapes that did yield considerably higher quality and consistency.

Connection was just through the RCA line jacks which would be -10 and that would be one thing you would need to be careful with. The deck itself, because of it's intended use, doesn't have any input metering so whatever device you had feeding it needed to be properly calibrated for you to know what you were sending level wise.

I certainly wasn't the only guy using these machines for mix down back in the day.
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Re: Analog recording to VHS?

Postby Mathieu Benoit » Thu Sep 20, 2012 1:22 pm

Well now I'm glad I asked the question. This has been fascinating indeed. So what did you do with the VHS tape at that point? Send it off to your mastering house to get ready for replication? I take it that this was how all project studios operated?
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Re: Analog recording to VHS?

Postby Malcolm Boyce » Thu Sep 20, 2012 1:27 pm

Nothing I mixed to VHS would have been for proper commercial release. I'm sure copies of stuff were sold as was the practice back in the day, but nothing that would have been properly handled i.e. "mastered".
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Re: Analog recording to VHS?

Postby Mathieu Benoit » Thu Sep 20, 2012 1:30 pm

So then they were dubbed to a cassette deck or something and then distributed from there? Around what year was this? I was picturing the mid 80s in my head but then I remembered that Roach isn't that old.
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Re: Analog recording to VHS?

Postby Malcolm Boyce » Thu Sep 20, 2012 1:36 pm

Mathieu Benoit wrote:So then they were dubbed to a cassette deck or something and then distributed from there? Around what year was this? I was picturing the mid 80s in my head but then I remembered that Roach isn't that old.
Yes. The VHS was the "master" and you dubbed from there. Early to mid 90s for me.

You have to remember, people were still selling cassettes at that point... :)
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Re: Analog recording to VHS?

Postby sean.boyer » Thu Oct 25, 2012 2:30 pm

My old man "mastered' all his home recordings to VHS.
The campus radio station used a stack of 4 VCR's to log their output as they would record for hours and hours in SP. We also used them in place of carts as we could fit entire 2 hour pre-recorded shows on them easily.
God, that seems like forever ago now. That makes me feel old. Ha!
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Re: Analog recording to VHS?

Postby Mathieu Benoit » Thu Oct 25, 2012 2:51 pm

sean.boyer wrote: God, that seems like forever ago now. That makes me feel old. Ha!


What are you, like, 53?
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Re: Analog recording to VHS?

Postby Malcolm Boyce » Thu Oct 25, 2012 3:59 pm

sean.boyer wrote:...as they would record for hours and hours in SP.
"EP".... "SP" is the fastest of the three speeds.
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Re: Analog recording to VHS?

Postby Scott DeVarenne » Thu Oct 25, 2012 4:23 pm

SLP
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Re: Analog recording to VHS?

Postby Malcolm Boyce » Fri Oct 26, 2012 12:57 am

Scott DeVarenne wrote:SLP
Yes... The other name for "EP".

I've also seen special decks for surveillance that run super slow, don't know exactly what the format is, but the quality is almost unwatchable.
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Re: Analog recording to VHS?

Postby Alain Benoit » Fri Oct 26, 2012 6:18 am

sean.boyer wrote:.......We also used them in place of carts as we could fit entire 2 hour pre-recorded shows on them easily.


Cart, there is a format I haven't seen in a bit.

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Re: Analog recording to VHS?

Postby Mathieu Benoit » Fri Oct 26, 2012 8:07 am

Alain Benoit wrote:
sean.boyer wrote:.......We also used them in place of carts as we could fit entire 2 hour pre-recorded shows on them easily.


Cart, there is a format I haven't seen in a bit.

A.


Is Boyer really Connor MacLoad or something?
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Re: Analog recording to VHS?

Postby Malcolm Boyce » Tue Oct 30, 2012 12:36 am

Details for the nerds: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/VHS#Hi-Fi_audio_system

Wikipedia wrote:Both VHS Hi-Fi and Betamax Hi-Fi delivered flat full-range frequency response (20 Hz to 20 kHz), excellent 70 dB signal-to-noise ratio (in consumer space, second only to the compact disc), dynamic range of 90 dB, and professional audio-grade channel separation (more than 70dB).
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Re: Analog recording to VHS?

Postby RoadDog » Thu Jan 30, 2014 12:57 pm

I was just looking through some threads while bored at work, and this one jogged my memory. The first time that I witnessed a mix to a VHS machine was back in '88 at a little place called Cherry Beach. I was hanging out after an educational session when this was being patched in. Inquiring minds wanted to know so I asked...
The deal was this, the 2mix was sent post a pair of LA4 comps into a "magic box" and then into a consumer grade Sony VHS machine. Turns out the magic box was a Sony PCM-F1 converter. Now this, as explained at the time, converted the audio up into the Video spectrum, thus eliminating any analog noise with the storage medium. The resulting playback was to say the least - astonishing!
This was a commercially available digital converter and was used at about the same time as DAT was being professionally introduced. In fact, the next week, a side by side was done with a brand new Sony PCM 2000 DAT. I did not witness the test, however, the DAT remained behind for the next 2 weeks as a project was being completed.
Digital Audio Tape over at Wikipedia has more...
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Re: Analog recording to VHS?

Postby Alain Benoit » Thu Jan 30, 2014 1:51 pm

So the converter converted the analog audio signal to what exactly?
The output of which was fed into the VCR's composite video input?

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Re: Analog recording to VHS?

Postby macrae11 » Thu Jan 30, 2014 5:45 pm

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Re: Analog recording to VHS?

Postby Malcolm Boyce » Thu Jan 30, 2014 9:56 pm

RoadDog wrote:I was just looking through some threads while bored at work, and this one jogged my memory. The first time that I witnessed a mix to a VHS machine was back in '88 at a little place called Cherry Beach. I was hanging out after an educational session when this was being patched in. Inquiring minds wanted to know so I asked...
The deal was this, the 2mix was sent post a pair of LA4 comps into a "magic box" and then into a consumer grade Sony VHS machine. Turns out the magic box was a Sony PCM-F1 converter. Now this, as explained at the time, converted the audio up into the Video spectrum, thus eliminating any analog noise with the storage medium. The resulting playback was to say the least - astonishing!
This was a commercially available digital converter and was used at about the same time as DAT was being professionally introduced. In fact, the next week, a side by side was done with a brand new Sony PCM 2000 DAT. I did not witness the test, however, the DAT remained behind for the next 2 weeks as a project was being completed.
Digital Audio Tape over at Wikipedia has more...
Now, where did I put my non conductive bias pot tweaker?
I remember seeing that exact setup at probably around the same time in the day. It's almost impossible for the younger crowd to imagine such a workaround to mix to a "digital" machine in what was a reasonably substantial studio at the time.
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