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Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by shane_watson, Sep 14, 2002.
If I'm not mistaken, it can give you Dolby Pro-Logic as well if you're hooked up to a Pro Logic receiver. But does NOT give you Dolby Digital or DTS.
There are no standard VHS tapes with Dolby Digital or DTS recordings, they are ALL Dolby Surround (Pro-logic is processing, not a recording format). This obviously does not include D-VHS. All Dolby Digital receivers are capable of Dolby Surround, since it is simply an older version of Dolby encoding/recording.
As Carl said, it is essentially passing stereo analog signal to the receiver, which can decode, or "extract", the Dolby Surround information that is present in the stereo signal.
VHS tapes can carry analog signal only. Original VHS tapes were MONO, followed by Stereo, followed by Hi-Fi Stereo. To say or suggest (as the posters before me had) that Hi-Fi means stereo is untrue- there can be Stereo WITHOUT being Hi-Fi and there can even be Mono Hi-FI material... so Hi-Fi and stereo, while related, are not the same thing or a cause/effect of the other.
The problem is that "Hi-Fi" is a catch all phrase applied to audio equipment that traditionally simply meant "High Fidelity"-- but had no real technical definition or standard. However, in the case of Hi-Fi VHS it actually is a special format for writing audio carried on a separate dedicated audio "track" and offering better fidelity over the standard linear audio track previously offered.
Hi-fi audio is recorded using high speed rotary audio heads (similar to the way video is recorded). Normal linear audio tracks are recorded with stationary heads as the slow moving video tape goes by. In general, the faster the tape moves past the recording heads, the better the sound reproduction. In fact, hi-fi audio recording produces sound quality close to audio CDs and, in fact, well into the specification ranges used for professional audio recording equipment (I know guys who, before they had DAT machines, would mix albums onto HI FI VHS masters because H-Fi vhs decks were more affordable than pro reel to reel machines!).
Actually, technically speaking- with Hi-Fi and linear audio, VHS tapes could contain 2 different soundtracks, one track on the standard Analog audio carrier, and a different one in the HI FI region (I have a couple I made that are this way by accident).
On the issue of surround- Dolby pro logic decoding can be applied to ANY stereo audio source- including CD, cassette tape and VHS (actually it could be applied to any audio source including mono- but with mono all the material will be sent to the center channel).
As such, DPL can be applied to any VHS soundtrack, Hi-Fi or not. However- in the VHS world the popularity of programs created specifically to be heard using DPL and Hi-Fi audio sparked around the same time- so often most Hi-Fi stereo VHS tapes are also DPL "encoded".
So, in a nut shell- Hi-FI is just a slightly better fidelity audio carrier system for analog VHS. It writes to a different area of the tape, using a different "format"- so a special HI-FI VCR is needed to read these tracks...
Hope that helps.
Rats. I was all ready to write out what vince said but he got to it first :/
Respectfully,it's more than "slightly better" audio. The HI-FI spec is 20hz to 20Khz while mono audio falls off to -6db at 6Khz if I remember the original manuals correctly. The VHS HI-FI format also introduces video distortion if you know what you're looking for. We had a heck of a time explaining to people , who just shelled out big bucks, that the background flickering on loud scenes was normal. It was easier to get the factory engineers to admit it was normal. (which they did). Beta-HiFi did not have the distortion.
Literally? Hi Fi is short for High Fidelity.
Note that older non-Hi-Fi stereo tapes will only play in mono on most Hi-Fi VCRs, which is a big shame. I have one of the few consumer decks that has both soundtracks in stereo, and several music videos that will probably never be put out again.