The Sony PCM-F1 was introduced around 1982. The PCM-F1 recorder was a portable system that could run on a 12-volt battery. In addition to the PCM-F1, the PCM-501, PCM-601ES, and PCM-701 AC-operated processors from Sony and the PCM-100 from Nakamichi. The PCM-601ES had a SPDIF output on an RCA jack. The digital data could be recorded on a VHS, Betamax, or ¾” video recorder.

While the F1 format was intended for consumer use, it also developed a small footing in professional circles. Creative Audio Works provides PCM F1 transfer for both VHS and Betamax formats.

Although not that common, there are times when VHS and Betamax tapes have a white powder-like substance present. You can usually see this through the VHS tape’s plastic window. This is a binder issue with the tape formulation, similar to Sticky Tape Syndrome. Therefore, the tape(s) must be cleaned/processed before the transfer begins.


Due to its age, sometimes there can be additional charges depending on the condition of the tape and if there are any dropouts that occurs in the transfer process. f there are significant dropouts, sometimes they can be repaired by making a second pass of the transfer and adjusting the tracking on the VHS deck in those sections, then editing the elements together to create a continuous recording without any dropouts.

Other formats also used blank videotapes but did not record in video format. These are The Alesis ADAT, which used S-VHS blank tapes, and the TASCAM DTRS, which used Hi-8 tapes.

Creative Audio Works provided transfer services for Screaming Trees. We undertook the task of transferring their studio recordings, outtakes, and live shows from Betamax tapes dating back to the 1980s, originally recorded on a Nakamichi PCM-100, essentially a rebranded Sony PCM F1. These tapes posed challenges due to their age and the onset of Sticky Shed Syndrome. Each tape required a two-week stint in our Fisher Scientific incubator for rejuvenation, followed by meticulous cleaning using modified video decks.

Please contact Creative Audio Works for more information regarding your Sony F1 transfers.