Technics SV-P100 - Digital Audio on VHS tapes - in 1981
- Published on Jul 10, 2020
- Before the CD came out, you could record your own digital audio - on video tape.
Have a look at a HiFi unicorn, the Technics SV-P100 - the first integrated digital audio tape recorder.
In this video you'll get a demo and hear about the history of PCM recording onto tape.
This all took place years before the introduction of DAT in 1987 - (Digital Audio Tape).
If you’re interested, here's a video all about DAT: thexvid.com/video/F4K1QKKPX_g/video.html
02:34 A tour of the machine
04:38 Cutting-edge for 1980
08:14 Getting around the tape
15:53 A potted history of PCM
20:30 A quick look inside
22:04 Digital in and out?
26:43 What about VHS HiFi?
28:38 Wrap up
31:17 14-bit play-out
All music is from the TheXvid Audio Library.
I Have a Reservation - Tracktribe
So Smooth - Danny Kean/Doug Maxwell
The Jam - Slynk & Mr Stabalina
Over Time - Vibe Tracks
Special thanks to the following invaluable online resources.
Q) What would happen if you tried to play a normal video on the SVP-100?
A) It’s mentioned in the video at 26mins 21secs - but you can see for yourself at 24mins 20secs just after I turn the machine on.
You can see here what the output from the SV-P100 looks like with no tape playing. B&W stripes. That's the only video output the machine will produce. It’s either this screen with digital data or this screen without. Also the sound would be silent, because there no analog audio capabilities on the SV-P100.
Q) Could you dub the digital output signal to a normal VHS machine?
A) It might be possible but also consider how Technics only recommended one specific Pansonic U-Matic machine as a suitable dubbing device even though at this point Panasonic also made a whole range of VHS video recorders. This is likely because a normal VHS recorder couldn’t record a sharp enough signal. I believe that U-Matic by this point had around 330 lines of resolution as opposed to approx 250 on VHS.
The composite video output circuitry in the SV-P100 was specially configured for the digital video signal transmission. It’s highly likely that it will output slightly more resolution than a normal VHS machine would be capable of capturing. The SV-P100 can however capture that resolution on its built-in VHS tape recorder because the video recording circuit isn’t standard, it’s monochrome for a start and no doubt it’s able to record a slightly sharper black and white video than a normal VHS video recorder could.
Perhaps a decent 1990s VHS machine might stand a better chance than a 1981 VHS recorder, but even if it worked perfectly - it’s all academic as the only recordings I have on PCM VHS are just copied off an MP3 player. It would be easier to copy those MP3 files instead. If I had some rare original PCM VHS tapes that I wanted to back-up, it would be better to try and capture these with a video capture card to get an off-tape backup. Alas though I don’t have any PCM tapes other than the ones I’ve recorded myself from MP3s.
Q) Have you heard of ADAT? That was also on VHS
A) Yes I have - that came later - this video is about a device from 1981 - The *First* integrated Digital Audio Cassette Recorder. That's what makes this unique. You can only be the first, once.
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Over Time - Vibe Tracks thexvid.com/video/VSSswVZSgJw/video.html
------Outro Sound Effect------
ThatSFXGuy - thexvid.com/video/5M3-ZV5-QDM/video.html
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