As Tom nicely points out in his summary of the life of the DAT, it  
indeed was never meant to be a professional format.

After Sony realized their misstep in the market, they hurriedly tried  
to figure out how to re-coup their development costs. The thinking  
being: Hey-if consumers won't use it, maybe we can dump it on the pros!

Subsequent to my experience using DAT recorders to record sync sound  
for a feature film ("The Package")in 1988, I sat on a panel discussion  
at the New York AES show, discussing the pros and cons of the format  
for pro use.

At that meeting, I distinctly recall pointing out the numerous  
shortfalls of the format for pro users, and was nearly booed off the  
stage by a contingent  who thought it was the greatest thing to come  
around since the introduction of the CD. Hey, perfect sound, right?

Funny-I haven't really heard too much from that crowd lately...

--Scott D. Smith

Chicago Audio Works, Inc.

Quoting Tom Fine <[log in to unmask]>:

> When DAT first came out, the original press on it was "here's a
> cassette-like home medium for the digital age." But the copy-protection
> scheme made it impossible to use it as many people were using cassettes
> at that point (tape-to-tape copies), duplication of DATs was a costly
> endeavor since they can't be run off on a mass-duper like cassettes.
> Remember that at that time period -- the Walkman era -- cassettes were
> the primary mass medium for music in the US, having passed LP numbers
> in the late 80's. So a cassette replacement needed to have a major
> pre-recorded component. The record companies had invested or were
> investing billions in CD plants, that's what they wanted to be the
> _ONLY_ consumer mass-medium. So it was another case of clever hardware
> engineering for a market that wouldn't buy in quantity. BUT, DAT was
> immediately and enthusiastically embraced by the portable-recording
> market, specifically higher-end radio recording, recording of events at
> colleges and other venues, and the Grateful Dead taping army, among
> other audiences. So, quickly, quantities of recorded DAT tapes started
> piling up in various organized and non-organized archives. Also at that
> time, recording-industry people realized DAT was a good way to make a
> listening/proof copy off the same digital buss feeding the
> U-Matic-based mastering system. After all, any producer or record
> company exec could have a DAT machine in their home or office, but few
> to none could have a 1630 playback system. So more DAT tapes started
> piling up. Then, lower-end studios and self-recording folks adopted DAT
> due to convenience and cost. Many more small studios than we'd like to
> think were mastering to DAT throughout the 90's and even into this
> decade. Also the commercial/industrial sound production business. And
> sound-for-picture.
> So, yes, never intended for the professional uses which became its market.
> -- Tom Fine
> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Ted Kendall"
> <[log in to unmask]>
> To: <[log in to unmask]>
> Sent: Thursday, January 21, 2010 6:05 AM
> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] DAT ripping
>> As far as I know, DAT was never intended as a professional medium   
>> at all, but a domestic one. The anti-copying furore in the US which  
>>  led to SCMS scuppered that, so the Japanese had to sell it as an  
>> F1  replacement.
>> Agreed, though - those first generation machines can be very   
>> tolerant of marginal tapes. Whether this is a mechanical thing or   
>> more generous interpolation, I wouldn't know. I also harbour   
>> memories of a particular DAT which refused to play at all on any   
>> machine except a Fostex D20 - and that had the error light   
>> continuously on! The audio, however, was quite OK.
>> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Paul G Turney" <[log in to unmask]>
>> To: <[log in to unmask]>
>> Sent: Thursday, January 21, 2010 9:18 AM
>> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] DAT ripping
>> Further to this, you will find that some mechanisms perform better   
>> than others, the PCM 2500 for example will play tapes that the 7000  
>>  series won't.
>> And often more plays will yeild a better file, but DAT was always   
>> meant to be an editing medium, not long term storage.
>> Paul Turney
>> Sirensound Digital Audio
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: Shai Drori [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
>> Sent: Thursday, January 21, 2010 09:14 AM
>> To: [log in to unmask]
>> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] DAT ripping
>> Okay, that I understand, but I am thinking about correctable   
>> errors. We are then assuming that both systems will correct the   
>> errors the same way since both use the schemes implemented. How do   
>> we know which system has fewer errors over the other? My experience  
>>  with rotary head systems is that sometimes second or third reading  
>>  yielded better results, I think due to "cleaning" actions of the   
>> previous playing. Maybe we should compare five readings of the same  
>>  cassette?ShaiTed Kendall wrote:> In my view, yes.>> Consider - you  
>>  have two data files. One is a text document (for the > sake of   
>> argument). The other is a digital audio file. Both have errors > in  
>>  the storage medium. This is inevitable, so we devise error >   
>> correction strategies (redundancy, check codes, etc). These allow   
>> us > to correct errors completely and accurately.>> Suppose now   
>> that there is an error in the storage medium which is too > large   
>> to be corrected. This will cause an obvious error in the text >   
>> file, which is unaceptable, so the system does not allow for it and  
>>  > declares the file corrupt. The audio file, however, can be   
>> rendered > inoffensive by interpolation, and this is implemented in  
>>  the DAT audio > format. If we retrieve DAT audio in a system which  
>>  does not admit of > interpolation, we therefore know that the data  
>>  are accurate, as any > uncorrectable errors are recorded as   
>> such.>>>> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Shai Drori" > To: >   
>> Sent: Thursday, January 21, 2010 7:37 AM> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST]   
>> DAT ripping>>>> My own experience with dat is that almost all tapes  
>>  have some form of >> errors on them. I think the idea in dds is   
>> that errors are better >> fixed than dat machines. There were many   
>> machines that came off >> assembly lines not at spec, thus making   
>> the tape not a standard tape. >> Some machines are better at coping  
>>  with these (my experience with >> Sony is better than tascam for   
>> example, but I suspect this is highly  >> subjective). All in all,   
>> I think the DAT format was the word digital >> format I have ever   
>> come across.>> Also' checking two files one against the other will   
>> not necessarily >> prove one format better than the other. If you   
>> get some audio, how >> can you be sure one stream is correct and   
>> the other is corrupt? >> Either the dat or dds stream could be   
>> better, or am I missing >> something in the methodology?>> Shai>>>>  
>>  Tom Fine wrote:>>> I'm happy to do a SPDIF to hard drive transfer   
>> and then exchange
>>>>> tapes with someone using a PC-drive transfer system so we can do the >>>
>> comparison Richard mentions.>>>>>> Please ping me off-list if you   
>> have a working PC-drive transfer  >>> chain and want to exchange   
>> DATs and computer files.>>>>>> -- Tom Fine>>>>>> ----- Original   
>> Message ----- From: "Richard L. Hess" >>> >>> To: >>> Sent:   
>> Wednesday, January 20, 2010 5:14 PM>>> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] DAT   
>> ripping>>>>>>>>>> Hi, Tom,>>>>>>>> After I saw your post and   
>> re-read Jim's post, I think I understand >>>> where he is coming   
>> from.>>>>>>>> What we _should_ be able to do is take the DDS ripped  
>>  file and an >>>> AES/SPDIF'd copy of the DAT from an audio DAT   
>> machine, align the >>>> starts, invert the phase of one, and get   
>> dither or silence.>>>>>>>> In both instances, we're pulling numbers  
>>  off the tapes (although >>>> the basest representation of the   
>> numbers is analog on the tape, the >>>> processing in both   
>> instances interprets these analog signals as >>>> either ones or   
>> zeros).>>>>>>>> I would not, without doing the tests that Jim is   
>> talking about, be >>>> 100.0000% confident that the two files are   
>> identical.>>>>>>>> I think that the DDS reading could be "better"   
>> than the audio DAT >>>> reading as there is no error concealment   
>> stage in a data recorder, >>>> so if you grabbed all the bits via   
>> the DDS route, you could be sure  >>>> that they were   
>> correct.>>>>>>>> These are all subtle differences and are probably   
>> not as large as >>>> the "Interstitial Errors" that Chris Lacinak   
>> is talking about here:>>>>   
>>>>>>>>>>>>>> I would expect some burst differences between the two methods,
>> and >>>> those bursts would be where the audio DAT's error concealment
>>>>>> kicked in. Other than that, they should be identical, presuming
>> you >>>> haven't introduced an interstitial error in one copy or   
>> the other.>>>>>>>> I'm glad to see Chris offering to help. I am   
>> interested in this. I >>>> would also like to know who is set up   
>> with the DDS Mass Ingest of >>>> DATs as I am sometimes asked who   
>> can do large DAT collections. At >>>> the moment, I am not   
>> interested in doing any because of anticipated >>>> remaining   
>> headlife on my machines, the growing lack of parts for >>>> DAT   
>> machines, the need to transfer my own DAT collection first, and   
>> >>>> the analog work that I have piling up.>>>>>>>> Cheers,>>>>>>>>  
>>  Richard>>>>>>>> At 04:27 PM 2010-01-20, Tom Fine wrote:>>>>> Hi   
>> Jim:>>>>>>>>>> How could the data be "better" than a direct-digital  
>>  out from a  >>>>> properly-working player (ie no head problems or   
>> mechanical >>>>> issues)? I thought the main advantage of the   
>> computer-drive method >>>>> was to save time. Is there more to   
>> it?>>>>>>>>>> --  Tom Fine>>>>>>>>>> ----- Original Message -----   
>> From: "Jim Sam" >>>>> To: >>>>> Sent: Wednesday, January 20, 2010   
>> 12:45 PM>>>>> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] DAT ripping>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>   
>> All,>>>>>>>>>>>> First, Dave, that information is very   
>> helpful.>>>>>>>>>>>> That said, I didn't ask because I'm worried   
>> about the theory. I >>>>>> was asking>>>>>> for a collaborator in   
>> testing.>>>>>>>>>>>> The theory's been discussed before on this   
>> list, and I'm aware >>>>>> that more>>>>>> than one   
>> person/organization has experimented with this to some >>>>>>   
>> success. It>>>>>> was also *briefly *discussed at last year's   
>> conference in DC.
>>>>>>>> However,>>>>>> every time I've seen a discussion about the
>> topic, it has never >>>>>> come along>>>>>> with what matters to   
>> me: testing to make sure what's coming off
>>>>>>>> the DDS>>>>>> drive is the same (or better) data than what would go
>> down the >>>>>> AES/EBU>>>>>> pipeline.>>>>>>>>>>>> I'm still   
>> extremely interested in this situation, and after >>>>>> having had  
>>  to>>>>>> deal with other similar formats, I've got ideas for   
>> testing that >>>>>> I'd like to>>>>>> do. But I don't have a   
>> working DDS setup here. I could build my
>>>>>>>> own, which>>>>>> I might do, but that's a can of worms, and there's
>> other things >>>>>> to be gained>>>>>> by having a collaborator in   
>> these tests.>>>>>>>>>>>> Thanks,>>>>>> Jim>>>>>>>>>> Richard L.   
>> Hess email: [log in to unmask]>>>>> Aurora, Ontario, Canada   
>> (905) 713 6733 1-877-TAPE-FIX>>>>> Detailed contact information:   
>> >>>>>>>>>> Quality tape  
>>  transfers --  even from hard-to-play tapes.>>>>>>>>>>