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I agree with Lou and Ted.  Especially if these are spoken word recordings,
there is little point in trying to avoid AD conversion.  Just play them
back on a good DAT deck that can handle a 12 bit recording (assuming you
can find one--finding any good DAT deck in good playing condition is
getting harder and harder these days), and then capture the analog output
with a new digital recording. I would suggest doing that at what is now the
standard archival rate of 96/24.  Then do whatever editing you want to do,
and you could choose to downsample to 44/16 for the final product (or
not).  Where you have recordings on the DAT tape that are at 44/16 or
48/16, you could always just take the digital signal out from the deck and
preserve that, if you really want to go to that trouble.

Keep in mind the dirty little secret of DAT tapes--they developed drop-outs
after very few playings.  You might need to do some repairs to the sound
after you have recaptured everything.

Best,
John Haley




On Tue, May 2, 2017 at 3:39 PM, Lou Judson <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> Understood - but my experience says that the elusive quality of directm
> non-linear digital and then conversion will not be much better, and a whole
> lot more troublesome…
>
> Plus I have a secret thought, not verified technically, that the DAT
> decks’ analog playback somehow compensates for the deficiencies of the A/D
> conversion of the day. It was a system, in my view, from analog to DAT to
> analog, and is not improved by direct digital playbck with modern
> equipment. Many of my DAT transfers were from 48k DAT analog out to A/D at
> 44.1., back in ye olde days of CD media. THIS century, we have much better
> conversion from one sample rate to another, especially with Izotope RX. I
> use RX5 Advanced, about to upgrade to 6…
>
> I’m a big fan of Democracy now, but only as transcripts, having an
> aversion to the interview style and host voices. Great material though! I
> wish they were print journalists as they could do so much more coverage
> more economically. Purely my personal opinion, not really appropriate on
> this list :-)
>
> <L>
> Lou Judson
> Intuitive Audio
> 415-883-2689
>
> On May 2, 2017, at 12:15 PM, Eli Bildirici <0000000fd3a0d01d-dmarc-
> [log in to unmask]> wrote:
>
> > Hey Lou and Ted,
> > Appreciate it but I'm trying to avoid the quality loss, however minor,
> of a D-A-D conversion. Once the 12-bit files are created, resampling to a
> more standard format e.g. Redbook should be trivial by using a good
> resampler like SoX (or Izotope if you could afford it) right? In any case
> there is also Redbook and possibly 48kHz content on these tapes and it just
> seems silly to do D-A-D on those, lacking even the motive of moving to a
> more standardized format. I'm only even asking for this because I figured
> it would be beneficial to know an alternative to the preferred way of
> making these copies (DSS drives and ReadDAT or DATXtract). Of course if
> neither of these ways work out, doing a D-A-D conversion will have to do,
> and probably won't make much of a difference given that there is very
> little content here that isn't straight-up voice (we're a radio show after
> all). But it's still not ideal :/ In any case, thanks for chiming in.
> > Regards,
> > Eli
> >
> >> May 2 2017 2:48 PM, "Ted Kendall" <[log in to unmask]
> myzen.co.uk> wrote:
> >> If memory serves, the 12-bit convertors were non-linear anyway. Best to
> >> convert to something civilised via analogue.
> >>
> >> May 2 2017 2:24 PM, "Lou Judson" <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> >> Sigh, nonstandard formats are a problem!
> >>
> >> But as a small time archivst myself, I would take the analog outut of
> the deck and re-encode it at
> >> 16 bit for archiving purposes. There is no way you waould actually want
> “bit-perfect” 12 bit files,
> >> as that would just pass the problem down to your successors.
> >>
> >> Play the DATs, record the output in a normal format, and it will be far
> better than any kluge you
> >> can do with 12 bit digital.
> >>
> >> I used Sony 12 bit 32kHz for some extended recordings back in the day,
> and this was the best way I
> >> found for the transfer.
> >>
> >> I’ll be interested to see if anyone has a better suggestion!
> >>
> >> <L>
> >> Lou Judson
> >> Intuitive Audio
> >> 415-883-2689
> >>
> >> On May 2, 2017, at 10:56 AM, Eli Bildirici <0000000fd3a0d01d-dmarc-
> [log in to unmask]> wrote:
> >>
> >>> 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
> >
> > Eli Bildirici
> > (347) 837-8337
> >
>