Flying Erase Head

VCRs work somewhat differently than an analog audio cassette deck used for recording music. The recording head in a VCR (and video cameras) is cylindrical, and tilted at an angle. It spins while the tape moves past it, giving a higher effective recording speed (amount of tape moving past the head per second). The signal is thus recorded at an angle on the tape. The video signal plus stereo sound (with Hi-Fi VCRs) is recorded at this angle. Audio with this type of recording head is very good, even at slow recording speeds. On better machines, the erase head is also on the spinning cylindrical head, sometimes called a flying erase head. This produces sharp breaks when stopping and starting recordings in the middle of the tape. If your VCR does not have this feature, then the beginning of a recording has streaks of color that move up and down for a few seconds. So, flying erase2000-06-flying-erase-head-primer-videodiagonaltape.gif heads are very nice, particularly if you are editing home videos, but also just for recording in general. The problem with the spinning head, present in all VCRs, is that it is very delicate, easily scratched if you are not careful when cleaning the VCR, and is one more moving part in a component filled with such parts. This results in the VCR being the most often repaired component in home electronics.