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Hey ARSClisters,

I'm an intern in the archives department at Democracy Now! and have come across a couple hundred mixed-frequency DAT tapes, many of which have 12-bit/32kHz content on them. (And yes, this is the same issue an archivist from DN! posted about nearly ten years ago, here (http://www.cool.conservation-us.org/byform/mailing-lists/arsclist/2007/07/msg00380.html).) We'd like to make bit-perfect digital copies, but don't have a SCSI DDS drive at the moment, and in any case would like to know if there's a reliable alternative path to digitally copying DATs, especially those recorded at a bit-depth of 12, via S/PDIF and capture cards. I attempted to copy a portion of a tape recorded at Redbook rates using our main deck - a Sony PCM-R500 - with an M-Audio FireWire Solo and Audacity to record, but this was full of pops and clicks that, I assume, are the result of the M-Audio failing to lock onto the tape deck's clock. (The pops and clicks only show up during recording and are not on the tape itself. Actually, I suspect Audacity may in part be to blame, since the pops and clicks are absent when monitoring via the M-Audio control panel app on OS X...but I digress.) I've also found that external sound cards based on the C-Media CM6206 chipset - cheap and plentiful on eBay - reportedly support 16-bit/32kHz input, as does the S/PDIF input of our aging PowerMac G5. But that doesn't help us with 12-bit content, and nor do we know whether clock syncing will pose an issue and how to deal with it if it does. My suspicion is that, while there might be an economical and reliable solution to recording DAT tapes with 16-bit content (at least at 44.1 or 48 kHz sample rates) without a DDS drive, that we're out of luck for 12-bit content - but, any advice/confirmation/refutation would be most welcome.

Thanks,
Eli

Eli Bildirici
(347) 837-8337