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Topic: OT:Does DAT Matter

  1. #1
    Senior Member Patthoven's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Chicago, Illinois

    Talking OT:Does DAT Matter

    Hi Guys,

    Interesting question about the 44.1, 48 & 96 Khz recording thing and to see who uses what.

    Given that in our culture, the audiophile ( a person who actually sits down to listen to music) is .... well.....dead.

    He's been replaced by a guy on bike in the city street wearing two ear buds, a helmet, and water bottle. So, the only places people appear to really be "captive" to audio, is when they are sitting in a supercharged movie theatre..... who's days may also be numbered.

    But it does appear that "mobile audio", and Home theatres are the future of sound in the the ol U.S. of A. So for me anyway, announcements about "new breakthroughs" in audio purity kind of fall on " deaf ears" so to speak.

    In any event, I have a Panasonic DAT Machine that I've had since 1998 and it has about 2 hours of use on it.

    Is anyone out there really using their DAT's anymore? Or has all of the technology in our computers put that beast out to pasture as well?

    I just want know how people are using them,..... if they still are,.... and the reasons that they keep them.

    Otherwise, maybe my old / new DAT is destined to be an E-bay retiree?

    comments please....

  2. #2

    Re: OT:Does DAT Matter

    Hey Patt,

    I found myself in the same situation about a year ago, as I stared at my DAT machine that had been sitting in the closet since about 1996, with a grand total of 2-3 hours of use in it. I haven't seen them in use since computers started coming with cd burners installed, although I've seen a few post-production places that still have them as a "just in case" sorta thing. I put my $700 Sony DAT player on ebay, and only ended up getting about $150 for it... sadly, it feels like the world kinda skipped over DAT.

    Mr. Kerry Muzzey

  3. #3

    Re: OT:Does DAT Matter

    Same here. I have about 100 dats from projects that I have attempted to transfer to CD but it's such a daunting task I've tended to put it off and consider it a project for later. When I'm not working. Like now.

    Maybe tomorrow.

    But that baby worked hard for me (FostexD-10- I think)
    Kerry- Beautiful site. I love the color. Wow- what a career.Very cool.

  4. #4

    Re: OT:Does DAT Matter

    Quote Originally Posted by Lee Blaske
    Anybody who has anything important on DAT tape should be making plans to transfer it. DAT is not a long-term storage medium.
    Hm, I can' say that.
    My first DAT-Tapes are from 1990 and play as well as on the first day.
    My oldest CDs are from 1996 an none of them plays anything anymore today.
    I also would not trust HDs unless you use two copies of each data.

    In my experience DAT is a great backup.
    I also often suggest Dat-machines as cheap A/D converter for video studios.
    If it has a optical digital out, it a good solution to get analog audio in a mac without using the analog input.

    I use my old panasonic (1996) as a headphone pre-amp with digital input. ;-)

    Chris Hein
    Chris Hein - Horns / Chris Hein - Guitars / Chris Hein - Bass

  5. #5

    Re: OT:Does DAT Matter

    up until very recently... like a couple of weeks from now<G> I have used my DAT for location recording. I also use it to back up project audio, and I too have older project backups that need to get transferred to something, though I'm not sure CD is all that much more reliable than DAT.

    I also still use a pair of 1/4" machines and a 2" machine, so I'm probably not the one to ask<G>!

    The other thing, for DAT, is that I have two of the old SGI SCSI DAT drives, so when I bring a DAT back from the field I can transfer it into the computer at 2X realtime, and with great reliability.

    The future? Well, I am working on audio for a short in a couple of weeks (the infamous 48 hour compeitition), and I am going to use the computer to record. I'll probably be a wuss and take the DAT along too.

    In the past, for serious film/video projects I have always rented a timecode capable DAT, but for this project none of the dialog is on-screen, so mostly I'm recording effects and walla, which I'll mangle before printing anyway, so placement is part of the work.

    I had considered buying a portable DAT (mine is the Fostex D-5, which was a rack mount unit), but now I am looking at the portable memory based recorders, like the new Tascam and the little M-Audio device. I really like the one from M-Audio for it's size, and I had a chance to play with it not too long ago and if you record to uncompressed files it sounds fine. I used an external preamplifier because I don't think anyone can build a good preamplifier that fits in a case that small and runs from such low power... but that's me and my prejudices.

    DAT was mostly overlooked because the copy protection scheme (SCMS) caused problems even on professional machines. I have in my home stereo an alleged pro machine from a radio station, and while it was built before SCMS it too has problems from time to time. (One of the things I love about the SCSI DAT drive... it knows nothing about SCMS!!)

    Too bad too, because it wasn't a stretch to fit 24 bit wide data on it, and it wasn't a huge stretch to use higher sample rates... but by the time folks added those features it was too little, too late.

    For the reliability I may still end up getting a portable DAT... but I'd really love to skip that step.
    Bill Thompson
    Audio Enterprise

  6. #6
    Senior Member Richard Berg's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Chapel Hill, NC

    Re: OT:Does DAT Matter

    Tape media is still the best way to do portable / location recording in many cases. Buying 8hr of HiMD tapes is way way cheaper than buying 8GB of flash media. If I still had my DAT machine I'd no doubt find uses for it.

    I'm not sure what DATs have to do with audiophiles, though. As mentioned, SCMS destroyed its potential as a consumer format. (not that it would've made a particularly good one anyway -- much more inconvenient than CDs and no quality difference) Were DATs ever popular with audiophiles? Why? Just to be different?

    I also disagree that audiophiles are a dying breed. The "iPod generation" are people who'd never consider an audio salon in the first place. In most cases, they are now listening to far more music than they would without lossy compression technology -- a great thing. Plenty of folks still go the hi-fi route...just look at how the # of boutique brands continues to multiply.

  7. #7

    Re: OT:Does DAT Matter

    Well, I for one rejoice that, if a choice need be made, a lot of young people are placing emphasis on actual music over the technical aspects of recording and reproduction. Sure, in a perfect world we'd have both, all the time. But go hang out on AVS forum and listen to people gushing over the most gawdawful movie soundtracks just because "the bass made my whole house shake, dude!!" There's your audiophile for the new millenium. Give me people who still cling to scratchy transcriptions of 60+ year old classical recordings just to be carried away by the performers of yesteryear. No, if it takes lossy compression at 128 kbs or worse to get people back to the experience of discovering new music then have never heard before, I say bring it on.

    Now as to the topic, I haven't hit the on button on my DAT in about 8 years. No telling if it works....

  8. #8
    Senior Member Patthoven's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Chicago, Illinois

    Talking Re: OT:Does DAT Matter

    wow.... thanks for all the insights guys. I feel like such a stooge. My DAT hasn't got a scratch on it because I tae such fanatical care of anything musical I own in my studio.

    But after listening to to likes of you guys, I think it would be therapeutic for me to get over my neurotic behavior of keeping all of my gear in pristine condition( because I'm so afraid I'll never be able to get any new gear again), and pull it out of the old rack and drag it out to my church and beat the snot out it a few times recording the choir and then throwing it in the trunk.

    Then at least I think I'd feel as if I'd gotten some mileage out of the thing.... but it looks so pretty in rack!! .... ugh!.... who cares!!! get over it... its a tool and a dying one at that.. beat that thing.

    Good Lord and to think I thought it was the coolest piece of gear I had...... Sheesh!!!!

    I do however remember a friend on mine saying the AD/DA converters on that particular machine were better than converters on the Pro Tools NUBUS stuff back then...... but that failed to turn me into a recording genius as well.

    So,... in any event, thanks again for all og the insights.

    By the way, what the hell is an audio salon? And what planet are they found on? All I know is that, to most people, the thought of putting Magnepans or the like, in their family room is equivalent to a "sacreligious act" from a sheerly aesthetic point of view,...... which kind of lets us know how much weight the whole "audio purity" and "high fidelity thing" carries these days.

    I can't speak for the rest of you, but in my neighbohood, most wives win the war hands down ensuring that the speakers are tucked well behind the plants or the end tables. Any argument on the matter,..... usually results in a prolonged dry spell. Oh, we musicians and music lovers are tormented souls!!!!!

  9. #9

    Re: OT:Does DAT Matter

    Quote Originally Posted by Patthoven
    <snip>By the way, what the hell is an audio salon? <snip again>
    It appears you do know the answer already<G>...

    The audiophile community is alive and well, and still spending scads and scads of money on that last 20% of audio performance. I think it is become somewhat more underground than it was in the late 1970s, but it is still there, and they do continue to make some real advances, as well as the usual snake oil based $400 power cords!

    Quote Originally Posted by Patthoven
    I can't speak for the rest of you, but in my neighbohood, most wives win the war hands down ensuring that the speakers are tucked well behind the plants or the end tables. Any argument on the matter,..... usually results in a prolonged dry spell. Oh, we musicians and music lovers are tormented souls!!!!!
    Indeed, this has become one of the predominant problems, much more so than it was 20 years ago. But an even bigger problem is "home theatre!" The demands for home theatre are, if not mutually opposed, quite different at least from high fidelity. And most non-audiophiles will choose a home theatre over an audiophile class stereo every day of the week.

    It's all about education, and balance. If people who enjoy music hear a fairly accurate playback they are often impressed. But there are so many things to balance - space, appearance, cost, etc - that actually realizing the new system remains tricky!

    I have an old Heathkit stereo tube amplifier (for those keeping score it was the successor to the Williamson design) that sounds wonderful driving a pair of Polk Model 5's with their sub-woofer. Not sure why, but the combo is wonderful! I also have a first generation NAD CD player... four buttons, no features, you know you remember<G>!

    I had hooked the pair up in my infant son's nusery when we were putting it together, mostly for giggles. I put on one of my wife's favorite CDs, and in less than a minute she came RUNNING up the steps to see what the heck was going on. She had never heard such a sound!!

    Sadly, the rig got split up! I did manage to get a home for the loudspeakers in our new house, but the amplifier lives in the basement studio.

    Oh well...

    Bill Thompson
    Audio Enterprise

  10. #10

    Re: OT:Does DAT Matter

    Quote Originally Posted by Ernstinen
    Ha! What a memory --- Heathkit was located in my hometown in S.W. Michigan. My dad built us kids a Heathkit AM/FM radio which was on 18 hours a day!
    My Dad was a huge Heathkit fan... over the years we had two B&W TVs, two color TVs, and at least three complete stereos, including one that was built for quad! His speakers were also Heathkits!

    We also had at least three shortwave receivers, and my first novice transceiver came from Heathkit, and there are still a handful of Heathkit test instruments on my bench today.

    The best part, for me, was the local store... it is where I would hang out (pretty pathetic for a teenaged boy eh?). The guys there told my parents to buy me two books that still sit on my shelf - Don and Carolyn Davis's "Sound System Engineering" (actually the first two editions sit on the shelf, and the third edition should be here this week), and Robert Runstein's "Modern Recording Techniques" (the first edition was sadly the last good edition.)

    And they answered questions, and every once in a while they'd have some silly little freebie for me... a very cool group of guys.

    I was thrilled when I was able to give a little bit back when I was in college, I had a comp-sci minor, and Heath/Zenith was just introducing their Z80 based systems, and I had several tricks up my sleeve. I clearly remember teaching them how to use the ROM monitor to find a bad memory chip... thought I was the coolest thing on earth I did<G>!

    Quote Originally Posted by Ernstinen
    Yea, I took my awesome Definitive Technology speakers to my studio because my wife says they were "too big." Looks like Bose cubes are in our future.Ern
    A constant battle. My Polk Model 10s are still in their boxes because they don't "fit" in our living room.

    Oh well, perhaps they'll look nice in the new studio???
    Bill Thompson
    Audio Enterprise

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