PCM Encoded VHS and Beta Digital Audio Tapes

We can transfer the audio from PCM VHS and Betamax tapes to stereo audio files.

Before DAT machines and DAT tapes, Pulse code modulation or PCM encoder/decoders (sometimes called PCM adapters) were used to deliver the digital master tapes for CD duplication. This technology existed between 1979 and 1987, just before DAT tapes were invented. PCM encoders would encode audio as a video signal to video tape at 16 or 14 bits, by recording the video to the input of a VHS VCR or Betamax machine. The video signal could then be played back from tape, into the PCM decoder (usually the same machine) to get digital quality audio playback from the analog outputs. Many professional and home studios used this medium for their two track masters. They also saw heavy use in TV and radio stations. In the days before CDRs and DATs and the waning days of test pressings, the PCM tapes were sometimes distributed to radio stations by labels before the single’s commercial release, as the sound quality would be better than cassette, ¼ inch analog 2 track, or cart. After DAT machines were first released in 1987, the manufacturers such as Sony discontinued the PCM encoder units, but at the same time they were seen as a cheaper alternative to DAT machines for home studio owners. VCRs and VHS tapes were ubiquitous and affordable.

If you have a VHS or Umatic tapes that displays this image on a TV screen during playback, you have a PCM encoded audio tape. We can only decode tapes that used the "proumer" encoders such as Aiwa PCM-800, Nakamichi PCM-100, Sansui PC-XI, Sansui PC-XII, Sony PCM-F1, Sony PCM-10, Sony PCM-100, Sony PCM-501, 501ES, Sony PCM-601ES, Sony PCM-701ES, Technics SV-100, Toshiba DX900. At this time we cannot decode Sony PCM-1630 or 1600 tapes but we will in the near future. Send us your tape and allow us to transfer it to stereo wav files (at this time serving customers with tapes that originated from North America only).

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Why Choose Deep Signal Studios?

  • File conversion work and tape transfers can be tedious and frustrating. Your time as an artist is better spent working on your music and mixes on a platform you know.
  • All work is completed by certified engineers with over 20 years experience with DAWs, MIDI sequencers, notation software, synthesizers, samplers, and tape machines. We have comprehensive knowledge about everything that has come and gone, as well as all current and emerging platforms.
  • Services are performed by native English speakers in the recording capital of the world, Los Angeles, CA.
  • Your files are secure. All work is performed in-house and in strict confidentiality. Client files are archived for 30-days upon completion of the project, and promptly destroyed thereafter.