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How To Read a Mini DV Cassette ?

I have a lot of hours of precious tape on these:

The way to go is to read these cassette with your recorder and plug the recorder on your TV.

My recorder is old and cannot read the sound (but the image is perfect).

I make a lot of research to find a Mini DV reader and did not find it.
The only solution is to buy a new recorder with mini DV but they are really expensive.

Am I crazy or Mini DV reader don't exist?

I'm looking for a kind of walkman for Mini DV Tape with multiple outs for my computer and TV.

Thank you.

Comments

  • No sound when playing back on the camcorder screen either?

  • @Montreal_Music said:
    I'm looking for a kind of walkman for Mini DV Tape with multiple outs for my computer and TV.

    Did you look on eBay?

  • Maybe paruse your local Montreal Kijiji for a preowned one. That’s what I would do.
    Reading and writing to cassette: I used Sony Vegas ( V. 7 or 8) with the mpeg audio plugin on PC laptop with a firewire port.

  • @CracklePot said:
    No sound when playing back on the camcorder screen either?

    I have sound, but I cannot hear anything. At max volume it sounds like volume at 1 out of 10 with distortion.

  • @Simon said:

    @Montreal_Music said:
    I'm looking for a kind of walkman for Mini DV Tape with multiple outs for my computer and TV.

    Did you look on eBay?

    Yep, they are pretty expensive.

  • @Montreal_Music said:

    @Simon said:

    @Montreal_Music said:
    I'm looking for a kind of walkman for Mini DV Tape with multiple outs for my computer and TV.

    Did you look on eBay?

    Yep, they are pretty expensive.

    Buy one, transfer your data and then sell it again on eBay.

  • There were typically not miniDV readers, definitely not sold into the consumer market. I recommend buying a used Sony Handycam. Sony's cameras were very well made and no reason a used one will not work for years. Panasonic would be a good second choice. They should not be that expensive if you are patient. The market was flooded with them 20 years ago.

  • @kidslow said:
    There were typically not miniDV readers, definitely not sold into the consumer market. I recommend buying a used Sony Handycam. Sony's cameras were very well made and no reason a used one will not work for years. Panasonic would be a good second choice. They should not be that expensive if you are patient. The market was flooded with them 20 years ago.

    Thank you, I will do that.

    Thanks all!

  • Does it have a separate headphone output?
    Check if it has better sound from there.

    The audio issue could be from leaking capacitors on the audio out board.
    Some capacitors leak like batteries after the device hasn’t been powered ON for a long time.

  • Doesn't your camcorder have a Firewire port?
    MiniDv is a digital format and it can be transferred digitally to your computer.

  • Yes all the miniDV cameras I saw also supported Firewire.

  • I had a LOT of experience with mini dv. Be very careful with any second hand playback unit. It will be older, and probably not well maintained. There’s a non zero possibility your tape won’t play properly or might even get munched.
    If you go this route - in the camera, make sure you fast forward the tape to the end, then rewind it to the start before you attempt to play it.
    However … if I were you I’d send the tapes to a conversion service. There’s tons of them on the web. At least their machines will be in good shape and they will have to tools to deal with a bad tape mechanism.

  • edited January 19

    @ltf3 said:
    However … if I were you I’d send the tapes to a conversion service. There’s tons of them on the web. At least their machines will be in good shape and they will have to tools to deal with a bad tape mechanism.

    If you trust letting the master tape out of your hands and into the postal service...

  • I am a noob when it comes to miniDV. I'm going to split it into two posts because it's long. The first post (this one) is what I'm wondering and not understanding as a very newbie to miniDV. The second post is an edited list of solutions to problems I found on the net. No need to reply to either post. If it helps, that's fine. If it is not useful, ignore it. (However, if I have written harmful information that could harm someone, it would be helpful if anyone could point it out or correct it).

    -Were all the miniDV tapes with no sound in OP(@Montreal_Music)'s possession shot with the same camera in SP mode?
    -Did OP not replace any hardware and suddenly the sound stopped working?

    Both of the above two questions are about whether the tapes are in SP mode or LP mode. If the tapes are all in SP mode, then the lack of sound is probably a hardware problem. And if there are LP mode tapes in the mix, then the sound should still come out if the hardware has not been replaced. If so, it is still a hardware problem. (Another possibility is that the tape may have deteriorated, but I don't know because I don't have the knowledge to guess what it has to do with the sound).

    Also, I was wondering if OP currently owns a camcorder, and if it is DCR-HC52 in the image, if it could be output with an ilink cable. (I haven't done any searching in that area, so I don't understand how ilink sound and video data is handled).

  • I could not find any inexpensive new hardware. Searching the Internet, I found that there were roughly the following 5 ways to deal with the problem. (Also, I'm not sure what the difference is between Store, Shop, and Company. Read them differently as appropriate).

    -Take your no-sound hardware to a repair shop. (Some repair shops may be able to help you even if the official manufacturer's repair period has expired).
    -Borrow hardware from someone you know and transfer the data to something else. (SSD, HDD, recorder, USB flash drive, Blu-ray, DVD, Cloud, etc.)
    -Buy used hardware. (If you are buying used hardware, it might be a good idea to find out in advance which hardware you are buying and which repair specialists can fix the same product).
    (If you may have LP mode tapes, it would be safer to choose the same model as the hardware you used when you recorded, or one that is compatible with it).
    -Order a copy or dubbing company to transfer your data to something else. (There is a good chance that they can deal with the problems caused by the difference between LP and SP recording modes. Also, there's a possibility that professional equipment can avoid tracking problems caused by tape deterioration).
    Another advantage is that you won't have to buy anything new that you may not currently have (e.g., digital cables to transfer data, machines to record data to disk, or video data editing software. However, if you have a laptop or desktop, you may be able to get by with just buying cables with conversion function. However, I do not know if such cables or free software exist or not).
    You may get better results if you send the camcorder you used to record the video along with the tape. (To increase the chance of success if the tape is in LP mode?)
    -Rent hardware from a rental store and move your data to something else. (Rent everything you need to transfer data, including cables).

  • If I were you, I would:
    1. buy a used MiniDV camcorder from reputable seller that has FireWire output
    2. Transfer every tape to PC or Mac and convert to .mp4
    3. Make backups of the digital videos (external HD and/or online service)
    4. Toss the old tapes
    5. Sell the camcorder

    It’s only going to get harder and more expensive to restore from old media, so the sooner you can just transfer to digital is better.

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