I've done a couple hundred DATs total by now and have not seen the problems you describe. I have
not, however, had any at 32khz. Most of mine have been 48K although some have been 44.1. I did have
one where an unrecoverable glitch jammed up the sync with the DAW. What I did was rewind the DAT a
little, get to the glitch plus less than a second, then pause, then start recording on the DAW, then
play out of pause. Locked right up again with no problem. Was also able to find the same note that
was glitched and repair the song in the DAW and the client was happy.
Don't you think that, no matter what the problems or challenges, one with a collection of valuable
material on DATs should transfer the material sooner rather than later, whether or not the DATs may
or may not have whatever alleged shelf life? The reason would be, the playback equipment is fast
submerging technology that is not easily revived nor will there ever be a market to revive it. In my
opinion, it's a classic case why digital is so much better for format migration. Sure, there will be
a certain percentage that is challenging to migrate, but most DATs (based on my experience and I
think Richard's and others), migrate just fine and with no audible changes.
-- Tom Fine
----- Original Message -----
From: "Parker Dinkins" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Saturday, February 17, 2007 10:44 PM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] DAT Archival Housing
> One of the problems with DATs is that there is no one machine that can play
> all formats. For example, there was the 32kHz LP format (12 bit) that cannot
> be played on some 32kHz capable machines. There were also two flavors of
> time code, the regular SMPTE version, and LTC on the PCM-2000. The DA-45HR
> was a 24 bit machine, and there were probably other varieties as well.
> The problem with playing DATs digitally out to a workstation is that
> workstations need some time to lock to the input; if a DAT has a sample rate
> change or a surprise on/off/on cycle (and they often do), then the DAW will
> usually choke, and lose much more program material than necessary.
> To illustrate, when we used to supply CD masters on DAT, we needed to supply
> 120 seconds of digital black before first audio, and 30 seconds after last
> audio. While not particularly on topic, this particular DAT format was
> accepted as the cutting production master, provided it was striped with 30Hz
> ndf time code and frame accurate start-of-track marks. It was, of course,
> 44.1khz, 16 bit.
> We just preserved/reformatted/archivally re-recorded (take your pick) almost
> 100 very informally documented DATs, and they all played beautifully - once
> the proper format was discovered.
> Some of the biggest problems can occur with consumer DAT machines, and not
> surprisingly, the least problems occur with the PCM-7000 series machines.
> And there are still good high end machines to be found. Recently we were
> able to find an unused PCM-7040 (with no hours) to replace a PCM-7050 which
> was destroyed.
> Parker Dinkins
> MasterDigital Corporation
> Audio Restoration + CD Mastering
> on 2/17/07 3:55 PM US/Central, Tom Fine at [log in to unmask]
>> Richard is 100% right. And, unlike reels and disks and cassettes, it's hard to
>> argue with any science behind you that you cannot get EXACTLY what is on a
>> non-damaged DAT and put it on your hard drive, using a simple digital cable.
>> If a DAT was recorded at 44.1K sampling rate, then the same can be said about
>> a simple S/PDF or AES connection between a DAT machine and a CD recorder.
>> So I can't see any reason to make a big deal about "preserving" DATs. I CAN
>> see making a huge deal about transferring DATs to other digital media ASAP
>> since DAT mechanisms are no longer made and it is a fast-submerging format
>> that is unlikely to be usable in a decade or two.