Beta had very good audio recording quality. Sony positioned Beta for more than just the video market, but since it never went anywhere, they didn't develop it further.
Sony did develop 8mm to offer 8 hours of extremely good 16/48 PCM audio. They had a few machines in the early 90s that worked a lot like ADAT, but again, it never went anywhere.
Now there is Blu-Ray....will it go anywhere? It's Sony....who knows.... ;)
Was Beta as good as or better than reel to reel?
I very much doubt it, Mitch. Also, btw, I think you mean to refer to "Beta HiFi," not to the plain Beta format.
The main reason Beta HiFi was able to CLAIM top-notch performance as an audio recorder was its specified dynamic range of 80db or so, together with excellent wow and flutter specs. However, as noted in this Wikipedia article
Despite initial praise as providing "CD sound quality", both Beta Hi-Fi and VHS HiFi suffered from "carrier buzz", where high frequency information bled into the audio carriers, creating momentary "buzzing" and other audio flaws. Both systems also used companding noise-reduction systems, which could create "pumping" artifacts under some conditions. Both formats also suffered from interchange problems, where tapes made on one machine did not always play back well on other machines. When this happened and if the artifacts became too distracting, users were forced to revert to the old linear soundtrack.
I have one of the near top-of-the line Beta HiFi vcr's, btw, an SL-HF750, which was built like a tank and still performs very well playing back tapes I recorded in the 1980's. I think I remember trying it in my main audio system at one point in those days, though, with considerably less than stellar results.
How about VHS Hifi?
I have tapes I recorded back in the 80s also in that format. Haven't played them in awhile though.
It was definitely better than cassette in regards to noise levels and dynamic range. Not sure if it matched reel to reel or not.
I had a vhs hifi machine back in the mid-80's. I used it to make audio recordings. It did an excellent job, but it sounded nowhere near as good as my Dokorder reel-to-reel machine. I'd heard so much about how good beta was supposed to be for audio back then. Admittedly, most of what I read was what was in the Sony advertisements.
As Al's research references the carrier buzz was a problem. I recorded many a Beta HiFi tape at the fastest speed and all suffered from this buzz.
I'd have to say when it worked it worked well, but not as good as reel-to-reel or any high end cassette deck for that matter.
Now DAT is something else.
Absolutely not! But 8-track and Elcasette were much better.
Elcassette! How old are you anyway???
53 last month. I didn't say that a wire recorder was better. And if you don't know what that is Goggle it!
Although I am 46, I remember the mini 8 track tape, anybody else ???
Viridian, I'm older than you are. After Googling the wire recorder, I feel very fortunate to experience the audio wonders of the 21st century.
Slikric, never heard of the mini 8 track tape. Googled it, and it was one weird animal.
I googled it also but I don't remember it folding, but then again I was only 7 yrs. old.
Before the car 8 track players there was a brief period of time when they made 4 track units. They didn't have the pinch roller in the tape, but it came up out of the deck to hold the tape against the head. I had the first one in my area and had to have a 12 volt battery in my trunk to play it in my 1952 Dodge.
Lol. Isnt googling something you do after brushing your teeth? I had a nasty dose of VHS once...
You must mean Goggleing! LOL, now that I'm old I can remember archaic audio crap, but I can't even spell. Now where's my house..........................
vhs hi fi was better than consumer level reel to reel; beta had better video, but I can't recall if the sound specs were as good. The reason was, that head was spinning very fast, effectively yielding a very high tape speed. I used Canon. It was difficult to keep those machines working right, esp portable ones; very complex. wouldn't recommend them for that reason.
I had an Akai hifi VHS unit I bought in an audio shop (yes audio only) that was the bomb that I fixed several times to keep running. It was the bomb for vhs hifi recording.
I still have the Sony hifi vhs that replaced it. Not bad, but I lost interest in recording to vhs hifi when recordable cd-r for music came out.
Of course you can still buy hifi vhs recorders I think. I suspect a good Sony or equivalent to sound pretty good!
Still keep the old Yamaha cassette recorder hooked up to my system but never record there anymore, mostly used to play cassettes I recorded years ago. Other than higher background noise levels than digital, the sound is pretty good.
Beta was considered superior to VHS. But Sony patented the Beta so competitors produced the VHS, and made VHS the consumer choice because there were simply more of them.
From what I remember,VHS gave a longer record time over beta.The consumers chose the extra time over the better picture quality.
Yes, record time was the big reason why VHS won out over Beta. Picture quality was said to trend a bit towards Beta but in all reality both were comparable. Beta tried to trump VHS when it introduced Beta Hi-Fi. Sony reasoned that VHS by design would not be able to make VHS into a full frequency Hi-Fi setup because there was no room between the video scans to layer in full band width audio as Beta allowed. The VHS group just created multiplexing burying the Hi-Fi audio deeper into the tape layer and created heads that could detect and construct the audio. Once that happened Beta was going down. SVHS combined with VHS Hi-Fi was stellar in analogue video record and playback. Super Beta came out and was said to again have a slight picture edge but it was all but over by then... JVC had licensed way more makers to sell VHS machines Sony never did establish a big enough licensee base.
Tape sound quality count on track's width and speed, that is why cassette tape out of the game after CD came out, but digital still can not win all analogs, vinyl still here, VCR has width track but very slow speed, reel to reel tape can only have record time for half hour in 15 ips speed.that will be a big sound different in between
"VCR has width track but very slow speed"
That is misleading. The tape head in a SuperVHS HiFi deck is large, and spinning very fast, so even though the tape itself is not moving that quickly, the speed of the head relative to the tape is very fast. Also, it is writing the data semi-vertically to the tape, kind of like slash marks, in discrete stips. So they actually had better specs than anything else a normal human could afford. Very complicated mechanism, hard to keep them working, and not user-alignable, as far as I know.