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Your contention is that there is some correction curve or similar in these DAT machines that compensates? Interesting. This could be something to investigate via A/B tests etc, though I'm not sure I'll have the time...
And yes, much obliged. I'll be sure to forward your compliments to our tireless transcriber, who works a couple desks over :) 

May 2 2017 3:40 PM, "Lou Judson" <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> Understood - but my experience says that the elusive quality of direct 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 playback 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 <[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]> 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 <[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
Eli Bildirici
(347) 837-8337