Importing video into a computer, turntable hum

Q: I have a lot of Hi8 and VHS tapes I want to import into my computer for editing and burning to DVD. I have a Canon ZR70 digital camcorder that apparently can be used ti convert analog video to digital. How does one go about this?

Hyunchul Shin,
Pittsburgh, PA

A: The camcorder works as a pass-through device, converting incoming video into digital and transferring it to your computer. Connect the camcorder to your computer with a FireWire cable and to the other camcorder or VCR with the audio/video cables. Check your owner’s manual for specific settings to use for pass-through conversion to your editing software.

The ZR70 can work as a VCR as well as a pass-through device. Often it is easier to import video that way. Many camcorders lose the computer connection intermittently when used as a pass-through device. By recording to tape first, you have a more reliable transfer.

Check your manual to learn VCR mode and try copying to MiniDV tape. It is usually as simple as pressing the record button while the camcorder is in VCR mode.

Q: Since I have so many vinyl albums, I took your advice from a recent column and bought a Grado Black cartridge for my Stanton STR8-50 turntable. After installing it however, all I could hear was a very loud feedback hum and very little music. I did have a little trouble re-connecting the wires so assume the cartridge isn’t being grounded properly. After re-installing the old cartridge and noting the same hum effect, I fear I caused some additional problems. I’ve inspected the wires in the tonearm and all look ok, but something must be awry. Do I need to replace the entire tonearm? Any ideas would be appreciated. Thanks for all your advice!


Jeff Grunst
Ottertail, MN

A: Tonearms can be rewired- but it sounds like you have a connection issue somewhere. Are you sure the wires are connected to the proper terminals? Connect them first, then attach the cartridge to the headshell (the part of the tonearm where the cartridge is attached). Is the little ground wire attached?

Is there any way you can take your turntable to a friend’s place and try it there with his receiver, or connect another turntable to your receiver? Before we dig into the tonearm we want to make sure the grounding problem is not at the receiver end.

Used turntables in perfect working order are selling for a pittance these days. It would probably be cheaper to replace the turntable rather than pay the labor charges to have your tonearm rewired. Be sure to explore that option before you have the tonearm rewired.

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