The majority of the problems I have encountered with DAT tapes had to 
do with alignment of the heads on the DAT machine - the alignment is 

So...if the DAT was recorded with a machine that was misaligned (which 
commonly happened over time), it would only play back on the same 
machine _without_ it having been serviced or the heads re-aligned. If 
it turns out that your whole collection isn't playing back, I would 
suspect that the machine(s) your working with may have misaligned 
heads. Best to bring one of the machines to a repair person and see if 
that corrects the problem.

The "physical" problems I have encountered with DAT tapes, have been 
digital dropouts - that, I'm afraid, I don't know what, if anything, 
can be done about; and they are, as many of you know, more significant 
than analogue dropouts. Yep, digital...


Alyssa Ryvers

Composer / Sound Engineer
Music North
On 6-Feb-06, at 6:39 PM, seva wrote:

> i've read many threads on issues surrounding playability. the one 
> looming now, for many people, are DAT tapes.
> after completing a large archival transfer of hundreds of analog 
> tapes, and having very little trouble (only a few needed baking, they 
> were Ampex 407), i found it ironic to consider the next phase for most 
> collections.  when mentioning the analog tape transfers, many 
> non-professional friends immediately wondered "wow! they were 
> playable?", and i mentioned that they were very much so, and that my 
> worries were much more toward the digital age media.
> some who got the point mentioned that their early digital video tapes 
> were not playing well, and even the high-density 8mm and Hi-8 video 
> tapes... i think these were evaporated metal or metal particle, not 
> sure, but certainly different from Scotch 111 or 207...
> i wouldn't be asking for a discussion if i'd found an archived thread 
> on this, so please forgive me if i overlooked it.
> are there any known methods for playing DATs which don't want to play 
> even on the original recording machine?
> anyone willing to mention competent DAT repair places, DAT machines 
> which seem to be more tolerant, and more gentle, to the tapes?
> etc.
> -- 
> w/best regards,
> seva
> mastering engineer
> || |  |   |     |        |             |                     |
> Things are not what they seem to be; nor are they otherwise.
>   -- Lankavatara Sutra