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Analog Audio Capture

5 Replies, 771 Views

Hi all,

Have been battling with getting set up for lossless VHS captures using a JVC deck with a built in TBC. Tried with Virtualdub but couldn't get the audio to sync so moved on to AmarecTV which seems to work fine. I've been capturing without deinterlacing then using QTGMC in Avisynth and the results seem good.

The only problem is the audio is just too loud! It's clipping and causing distortion. I've turned the volume on laptop my line-in right down but it doesn't seem to help. Looking at the display on the VHS player, there's a volume level meter and it look's like it's maxing out all the time. The only problem is there doesn't seem to be a way to turn it down.

Just wondering if anyone else has encountered something like this before? I'm wondering whrther running to audio through some sort of mixer with the option to lower the signal gain before it got to the capture card would work?
You could either get a proper audio interface, which would be advisable for quality and low audio distortion anyway, or you could see if you can find a so called "pad" to put in between the player and your capture input. They exist for XLR, but I'm not sure about whatever you use. eBay or aliexpress might have something either way.
My VHS player only has rca audio outputs, no balanced option. My friend has an old DJ mixer he said he could lend me to act as a go between so will try that first. I assume best so stay away from these cheap sound mixers I saw on Amazon? (one review mentions cutting off higher frequencies!)
Does your capture device have any input settings? You may be able to reduce the incoming signal that way. I think I read somewhere that VHS outputs are occasionally a bit too 'robust' and they exceed the input range of the capture device. There's usually a trim pot for adjusting the level but I'd steer clear if you're not electronically inclined. It's definitely worth cleaning the heads though to improve the signal quality but again leave alone if not sure, it's easy to do it wrong and wreck the heads, there are lots of tutorials online.

Give your friend's mixer a go, that should do the job. It may be worth looking at a dedicated sound card/USB device if you plan to do a lot of capture work in the future.
Personally I would probably avoid mixers since they add a lot of components into the chain and each component is an extra potential source for distortion. I mean, they have EQs, various faders, sometimes effects etc, and the signal has to travel through all of them.

But your response gave me an idea: Why not just get an XLR pad if no other one exists and then use it with adapters? Should make no difference. There's also so called DI Boxes that can go between balanced and unbalanced, but I think that might as well be overkill for this simple purpose. Hell, I wouldn't be surprised if something simple like adding some kind of resistor thingie could already do the job, but that's something to google.
(This post was last modified: 2021-07-23, 08:25 PM by TomArrow.)
If Alex has but a few tapes he wants captured then the mixer will do the job (and costs nothing). If EQ turns out to be a problem then some test tones can be run through it to get a flat response

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