BTW only "Hi-Fi" VHS decks qualify here. VHS decks involve an extremely sophisticated (and huge) rolling/spinning tape head with the tape going at a pretty good speed, while audio cassette decks involve a primitive (and tiny) fixed head with the tape going at a pretty slow speed.
Non-hi-fi recordings involve laying down audio onto the edge of the tape using a fixed audio head; the rolling head was originally just for the video. It is a wacky solution, but that's what was done.
People eventually figured out how to lay down audio using the video (rolling) head, without interfering with the video which is recorded onto the same exact portion of tape. All hi-fi decks still include the mono fixed audio head, and can both playback and record with it, but can also record with the fixed head or both, or playback one or both. Newer ones can't playback both at the same time; when I say newer i still mean old, but my family had an old deck with a physical switch, and when you played back both simultaneously, you'd get a flange effect.
So Hi-Fi VHS audio is theoretically a much better analog recording medium than audio cassette, and I knew one person who did it, but my problems with the reality of it were this:
most VHS decks did not have record level controls; they were auto; this bugged me, and took away control (also no fade-outs/fade-ins). But even worse, most decks never included even a visual meter to give any indication of the optimal input levels. Because of this, you never knew if you'd get compressed sound, or too-soft sound--both undesirable. That was my major problem--absolutely no control. Very old deluxe decks did sometimes have these features.
no headphone out on most decks, nor output control, but this is no biggie
many decks would not output sound unless there were a video signal included with it!!! I did some long nature sound recordings in one location using a VHS deck, only to find that I couldn't get playback (at least on my deck) because I did not include a video signal, and all I got was a blue screen--but the deck censored the audio too.
VHS decks in their own right are noisy. That is a big problem for an audiophile who wants to hear "all" his music, and without distraction. Any person serious about sound playback reproduction is gonna get angry when his gear starts making its "own music".
most later VHS decks required the TV to be on to see the counter and modify settings. To many audio enthusiasts, this is a distraction.
Of course, the advantages were, if you could get around the above problems, great sound, long recording times, physical digital counters (sometimes), and cheap media compared to high-quality audio cassettes of the time (which could be $3-6 apiece, even back then). It just shows to what level people were going to to get good sound before hi-quality audio became easy and affordable with computers.
Any good sound card's Line In will do just fine from the RCA stereo outputs of the hi-fi VCR. Keep your old VHS recordings, though. My guess is that, despite the (I think ridiculous) claims of CD-R media makers, the VHS tapes will last a lot longer than the CD-R's or DVD-R's. I don't know about you, but I am less than impressed with some of my CD-R burns which are only a year or two old and have been kept in a book the whole time.
And yep, it was all entirely analog. Even the "digital counter" was just a digital expression of an analog measurement. I remember watching a British documentary (I think it was "The Secret Life of Machines"?), where they would dissemble things like microwaves and cars and explain how they work. One episode was on VHS decks, and he stated impressively that the home video recorder was the most sophisticated device a person owns. That was right before computers (the documentary was old even when I saw it years ago).