Stupid S-VHS Question on Sound

Henry Colonna

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Oct 20, 2000
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I am confused about getting surround sound of any type on VHS. I could swear that back in 1990 my Twin Peaks VHS tapes that were made on a high level Sony SVHS VCR were recorded in a Surround Mode. That was one of the first broadcast surround TV shows - in fact very occasional dialogue is dropped very briefly on a stereo system.

But I'll be darned if I can get any sort of surround out of the tapes either on a JVC 3800 or 7800 VCR with a Kenwood HTB504.

Do I have the receiver in the wrong mode?

Or is all surround digital and am I SOL?

How do I record my La Femme Nikita eps from DirecTV off my TIVO, which have great surround sound onto my 7800U?

These are probably dumb questions, but thanks
 
J

John Morris

Guest
Henry: For my SVHS tape playback, on my receiver or pre/pro, all I do is select the source(VCR) and then set the mode for Dolby Pro Logic. I think that, as long as the original was broadcast and recorded in Stereo on the tape, it should play back correctly in dolby surround. I'd put in a tape and see if it plays back in stereo first, then switch the receivers mode to DPL.
 

Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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Sometime VCRs are finicky about tapes that were recorded on another machine.

If you're having trouble with all tapes and all recording, check the VCR’s menu. Make sure the “Audio Monitor” is set to “Hi-Fi.” If it is set to “Norm” you will not get surround sound.

To record from the Tivo, send the line out RCA jacks (both audio and video) to the VCR’s line in jacks. There are two sets, one on front and one on back. On late model JVCs the input jacks are selected in the channel line-up between the highest and lowest channels. When the screen says “F-1,” that is the front jacks. “L-1” is the rear jacks.

Good Luck,

Wayne A. Pflughaupt
 

Henry Colonna

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Oct 20, 2000
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120
Thanks, Wayne, that did the trick. I was using regular old cable type cable to connect the VCR. I think that seems to mean that I have no surround - but I do now with the RCA attached. I get an even better picture using an SVHS cable, but unfortunately my TIVO only has 1 SVHS output. So I sent the tivo through the VCR. I don't seem to notice any signal degredation between Tivo-->VCR-->TV verses Tivo-->TV although I was warned earlier NOT to route my DVD player through my receiver.

Would a higher quality SVHS cable be worthwhile or is that whole cable argument mess just in reference to component cables?

Thanks again.
 

Ken Chan

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I can't say I've ever seen noticeable improvement in picture quality using a more expensive cable of the same type. This is over many years connecting dozens of different VCRs, disc players, TVs, and so forth.

When you're only using the antenna-type cable to connect the VCR to the TV, you're watching the VCR on channel 3 (or 4). Whenever you do this, any stereo sound, whether on the tape or directly off the air, is mushed back into mono.

While you may not see degradation going through the VCR, it probably does mean that the VCR has to be on for you to watch the TiVo via S-Video.

Connecting a DVD through a receiver should not be a problem as a general rule, but connecting a DVD through a VCR definitely is.
 

Henry Colonna

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Oct 20, 2000
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That's true...but the "on off" button on a VCR seems to serve little function other than change the display on the front from counter to time. In other words, I don't think anything extra is "running" by leaving it on and I don't think that it is detrimental to it. But I guess I could be wrong.
 

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