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Dirty audio from a bad VHS tape?

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Marcus Gardner
Dirty audio from a bad VHS tape?
on Sep 6, 2015 at 7:00:09 pm

Just finishing up on my archival-video documentary.

One of the tapes was damaged before or during recapture:

http://www.teachingdrum.org/adjul/tape5test.wav

All the audio on the tape sounds like this. I had taken the VHS tape apart and removed a small piece of plastic that was rattling around in the wheel. I didn't quite know what I was doing taking it apart, so I may have done the damage then.

Either way, none of the other 10 tapes gives me audio static like this one, and this was one of the tapes I could've really used the recaptured audio on. Any ideas? I posted this to the audacity guys too to see if it was salvagable. Looking at it in RX4 it's got vertical lines running all through it with no regularity, and passing right through the actual dialogue.

If there's a way I could clean the tape too that might work?


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Marcus Gardner
Re: Dirty audio from a bad VHS tape?
on Sep 6, 2015 at 7:08:32 pm

I should also note that the bad capturing appeared not to have affected the image at all, only sound.


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Bob Peterson
Re: Dirty audio from a bad VHS tape?
on Sep 6, 2015 at 10:04:45 pm

The first thing I would try is to put the tape in a new VHS cassette. If you have a new or spare VHS cassette, very carefully take it apart. Pay close attention to the tape path, and what pieces go in what place. Then, take the tape out, and put your old tape into the new housing, and put the housing back together. Be sure that you don't touch the oxide surface of the tape which is what will face inward when the cassette is reassembled. If you don't want to try it, perhaps a friend or a place that transfers VHS tapes can do it for you. Putting the old tape into a new cassette shell may resolve the audio problem.

If not, I would try the denoiser in RX4. Find a small section of the audio which has nothing except the noise that you are trying to eliminate. Select that area, and press the "Learn" button. I usually set the reduction to 21db. Expand the selection to include the entire audio file, and press the "Process" button. Listen to a portion of the audio to be sure that it has not been adversely affected. If you like it, save it and move on. If not, back out the denoiser and post again. Perhaps another suggestion will surface.


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