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Tips for recording to vhs and back?
Old 27th October 2014
  #1
Gear Nut
 

Tips for recording to vhs and back?

I just picked up a vcr at goodwill and I've been recording stuff to it using cables i've found around the house. I haven't done too much experimenting with it yet, but I was wondering if some of you might have some pointers to guide me in the right direction, like what I should use to drive the audio and make the tape clip, should I bother with generation loss, etc.
Old 27th October 2014
  #2
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Ephi82's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jcolon View Post
I just picked up a vcr at goodwill and I've been recording stuff to it using cables i've found around the house. I haven't done too much experimenting with it yet, but I was wondering if some of you might have some pointers to guide me in the right direction, like what I should use to drive the audio and make the tape clip, should I bother with generation loss, etc.
What is you expectation of what you will get by recording to a VHS machine?

If you are hoping for the tape saturation and compression that was present in pro level 4,8,16 and 24 track machines it aint going to be there.

What you will get is something that sounds like a cassette tape. lo fi

If you record to a VHS Hi FI video machine (with adjustable inputs and meters) you will have the ability to record a stereo master with less noise and better fidelity than a cassette. No tape saturation, no tape compression however. VHS Hi Fi decks were the poor mans DAT back in the 4 track Porta Studio days
Old 27th October 2014
  #3
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ephi82 View Post
What is you expectation of what you will get by recording to a VHS machine?

If you are hoping for the tape saturation and compression that was present in pro level 4,8,16 and 24 track machines it aint going to be there.

What you will get is something that sounds like a cassette tape. lo fi

If you record to a VHS Hi FI video machine (with adjustable inputs and meters) you will have the ability to record a stereo master with less noise and better fidelity than a cassette. No tape saturation, no tape compression however. VHS Hi Fi decks were the poor mans DAT back in the 4 track Porta Studio days
I am not expecting the subtle kind of saturation you'd find in pro equipment, since I have a couple plugins that achieve that sound pretty well. I know this is going to make some of the older guys on here cringe, but I'm actually trying to get a super lofi sound—super warm, exaggerated mids, warbly wow and flutter—which is why I chose vhs as my format, since it has lower quality audio than an audio cassette. I also like the super compressed, limiter-like sound you get when you make the audio clip (like what you'd hear on an 80's educational vid), but I'm not sure of how to go about achieving it. I have an audio interface, so maybe i could drive the audio with that...idk.

Generation loss can create some pretty cool sounds but it does tend to bring the noise level up a lot, so I don't know how far I should go with that. Here's an example:

Old 27th October 2014
  #4
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Jeff Hayat's Avatar
 

Have a look here:

The same warmth with VHS and reel to reel?

That thread turned into a debate about what the op''s intentions were, but there is some good info along the way. Specifically mine.

If you like the super compressed, limiter-like sound you get when you make the audio clip, try a tape emulator plug. Nomad Factory Magnetic II, Slate Digital VTM, Waves Kramer Master Tape, etc.

Cheers.
Old 28th October 2014
  #5
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Hayat View Post
Have a look here:

The same warmth with VHS and reel to reel?

That thread turned into a debate about what the op''s intentions were, but there is some good info along the way. Specifically mine.

If you like the super compressed, limiter-like sound you get when you make the audio clip, try a tape emulator plug. Nomad Factory Magnetic II, Slate Digital VTM, Waves Kramer Master Tape, etc.

Cheers.
Wow you weren't lying! I think you had some of the only correct info on that entire thread. And yeah, I have u-he Satin and that sounds pretty fantastic, and speakerphone for beat up vhs effects, so I'm probably just gonna stick with those.
Old 28th November 2014
  #6
fvd
Gear Head
 

Recording on VHS can give you some pretty deep analog effects. I often work with VHS to give my masters expressive characteristics. I master the track to MC tape also, and combine the best of the two worlds. I often work with two VHS decks and 10+ steps of generation loss and Long Play mode to provoke some really dirty VHS glitches. As always when recording to lofi tape its a good idea to boost high frequencies before going on tape, as you will lose some of the HF in the process. BoC also works with VHS btw. as they stated in an interview with NY times. There are some Expensive VHS decks with balaned XLR in- / and outputs, but any VCR has its own characteristics and glitches, and you can even get compatibility issues between worn out old decks, so its really something to experiment with.
Old 4th December 2014
  #7
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by fvd View Post
Recording on VHS can give you some pretty deep analog effects. I often work with VHS to give my masters expressive characteristics. I master the track to MC tape also, and combine the best of the two worlds. I often work with two VHS decks and 10+ steps of generation loss and Long Play mode to provoke some really dirty VHS glitches. As always when recording to lofi tape its a good idea to boost high frequencies before going on tape, as you will lose some of the HF in the process. BoC also works with VHS btw. as they stated in an interview with NY times. There are some Expensive VHS decks with balaned XLR in- / and outputs, but any VCR has its own characteristics and glitches, and you can even get compatibility issues between worn out old decks, so its really something to experiment with.
Thanks for the informative comment! Any tips on getting the noise floor lower during generation loss?
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