I worked at Criteria studios in Miami in the '80's. Cassette machines
there were very high quality, but none the less one had to adjust speed
and other alignment issues weekly for them to be 'perfect'. It seemed
there was no end to the clients that would come back and say "that
cassette you made me was off speed". When we'd check, the cassette was
on speed, it was the getto blaster they used to play it back that was
off. Just the same, when cassettes were the 'rough mix of choice'
delivery, it was always an issue. Heaven knows, we went crazy making
sure our cassette record decks were spot on, but still....
I admit I've had little trouble with DAT playback under controlled
conditions. That being, of course, machines that were in a very high
state of service and adjustment on both the record and playback side.
That said, most people paid little attention as long as the DAT played
back on the machine that made it. Error rate, what is that???
When I worked for Sony later and we were designing and building DASH
reel to reel machines, it was obvious how critical the mechanical and
electronic adjustments were to interchangeability of tapes. Naturally,
it wasn't something that was put forth publically as a manufacturer...
and it grated on me then as well. Misadjust an analog machine, and in
many cases a clever tech or operator can still get something worthwhile
off the tape. Mess that up with a digital recorder, and, well........ it
Just one man's opinion...
From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List
[mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of steven c
Sent: Thursday, February 09, 2006 11:58 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] DAT libraries and issues
----- Original Message -----
From: "Alyssa Ryvers" <[log in to unmask]>
> When I used to work in broadcasting, often, it is true, one machine
> would play back the tape where another one wouldn't. This still was
> alignment problems. But if the alignment was severely out - tough
> and you couldn't get it to play back, unless you could find the
> original machine - I wasn't always around to see if that _always_
> worked, but more often than not, I heard it did; but these were tapes
> that were recorded usually only a few weeks before being played back,
> at best - not years - so the heads on the recording deck usually
> couldn't have gone that far out in the meanwhile...
This is also probably true of analog cassette machines...although it
wouldn't be as critical (unless you wanted the best possible playback?).
I had a speed problem with my two cassette machines...anything that had
been recorded on one machine was slightly off-key if played on the other
machine, since they didn't run at exactly identical speeds. This only
presented a problem if I was trying to play along with the recording
on harmonica (on which the tuning can't be easily changed!)...
Steven C. Barr