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Quite easy to do once you have the right hardware. The software is out there
in the public domain and works decently although not perfectly (Read: you
have to nurse-maid it a bit) and requires a VERY specific DAT drive
(specifically, a Sony SDT-9000 but ONLY with SGI specific firmware). Other
drives can and do work (Archive Python, etc) and a google will yield far
more info. The only drive I've had any luck with is a SGI/Sony drive. 

Here's a bit more info (http://winkin.phpwebhosting.com/~firmflash/dat/)

Here's the software I use. It's no longer supported but works well enough
with the occasional hiccup. (http://web.ncf.ca/aa571/dat2wav.htm)

Note, you will need SCSI support which these days involves a PCI SCSI card
with the appropriate internal or external connections. You'll likely need to
order the cables, nobody except perhaps Fry's is likely to carry anything
suitable. I use an old Adaptec AHA-29160 I had lying around but have tried
their lower end cards and those seem to work fine as well. 

Jeff


-----Original Message-----
From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List
[mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Rob Poretti
Sent: Tuesday, August 19, 2008 3:05 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] [04.82] [ARSCLIST] DAT transfer question

Hi Martin,

The tape-to-head speed of a rotary head system probably prevents a
stationary head design for DAT playback.  I believe the technical hurdles
relating to this was one of the reasons that S-DAT lost the war to R-DAT...

As far as I know "data" DAT formats still used rotary-heads.  If there is
something out there, it would be a pretty serious custom project...

Cheers!

Rob

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Rob Poretti
Sales Engineer
Cube-Tec North America
Vox.905.827.0741
Fax.905.901.9996
Cel.905-510.6785
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-----Original Message-----
From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List
[mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Martin Fisher
Sent: August 19, 2008 2:19 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: [04.82] [ARSCLIST] DAT transfer question

Ya'll "fergive" me if this is a completely idiotic question.

Is there any way to transfer audio DAT tapes directly onto a hard drive 
without going through the process of playing and recording in real time? 
I'm thinking of the data backup and storage drives here which might use 
stationary heads.  Hey!....Never hurts to ask.

Martin