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Dat Question

What ever happened to DAT? It seemed like an incredible format at the time (could perfect copies of CDs be stored on DAT?) but then it seemed as if it ceased to exist in the consumer market.  Does anybody know of any affordable DAT decks?
-Andrew-

Dat Question

Reply #1
I don't think DAT systems were ever introduced in the consumer market.

Dat Question

Reply #2
Well, it depends how you define consumer market. There are still some systems (Sony and other brands), but still quite expensive. You could have a look at EBay. Usually there are a lot of systems for sale.
I have one colleague who has a DAT player. He used to record a lot of classical music from digital radio and now thinks about moving to a PC based solution. The challenge is to transfer the music from DAT to the PC hard disk. Of course you can use the Digital Out from DAT to Digital in from the soundcard, but that takes ages (of course depending on the amount of data).
I read somewhere that a Sony SDT 9000 DDS drive (something normally used for Backup, not audio) should be able to read also the DAT Audio format.  Other DDS Drives usually are not able to read the Audio DAT format due to diferences in the Drive firmware (DDS adds an additional layer of error correction).
Does anybody has some practical experience with this approach?

Dat Question

Reply #3
I wouldn't advise getting a second hand DAT deck. The heads wears quickly and are awfully expensive to replace (380 € to change the heads on a Sony DTC 55ES, originally a 1000 € deck). I used the deck daily, and had to change heads every 2.5 years.
The DAT is not a very reliable format, sometimes the deck looses the track, and produces a glitch in the output. It can be heard on some commercial CDs. It happens about once every 10 hours of playback. More often if the tape or the heads are in bad condition.
However, it is still used in home studios, or by semi pro people, because it is a digital lossless portable tape recorder. Minidisc is lossy, CD recording is read only, and not portable.

Dat Question

Reply #4
dropouts seems to be always in the same sentence with dat (altho i never heard one), i have one behind my back, but it wasnt even turned on for ages (studer d-780), what is even worse than dat are different 8-ch digital recorders that were using small casetes from consumer video formats usualy, especialy considering clumpsy and slow handling coming naturaly by its 'linear nature' + rotating head problem (dat could be rated as very robust when compared to those),
random access is just 2 nice and classical tapes are still here only becouse of very high storage/price ratio, dat is exception here as well, it was always very pricey.
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Dat Question

Reply #5
Quote
The DAT is not a very reliable format, sometimes the deck looses the track, and produces a glitch in the output.

I have the same experience with the Sony DTC 55ES recorder.
But now I can use it as a good DA converter to playback my MPC files.

Dat Question

Reply #6
Quote
But now I can use it as a good DA converter to playback my MPC files.

Me too. But someone rcently came and claimed that all CD players and amplis had the same sound. So I recorded the analog output of the Yamaha CD player in the computer through the DAT, and compared, with the DAT converter (soundcard digital output->DAT deck), the analog record of the CD player, and the CD extracted to wav.

So the files were :

CD-Yamaha CD player (CDX860, 1991, 450 €)-Sony DTC 55ES recording-Marian Marc 2 digital input-SoundForge recording to wav-Marian Marc 2 digital out-Sony DTC 55ES DAC

and

CD-Extraction by EAC-Marian Marc 2 digital out-Sony DTC55ES DAC.

The copy of the CD player output can't sound better than the CD output itself. Assuming the Sony has a better sound than the CD player, it must have an even better sound than the copy of the CD player.

Listening carefully with HD600 headphones, on an Arcam Diva A85 ampli, I couldn't hear the slightest difference in the sound of the files. They sounded exactly the same.

Dat Question

Reply #7
Quote
Listening carefully with HD600 headphones, on an Arcam Diva A85 ampli, I couldn't hear the slightest difference in the sound of the files. They sounded exactly the same.

I did also made a comparison between a CD player with analogue output and a DAT recorder as DA converter.

I connected the analogue output from a Sony X707ES CD player to a amplifier and the digital output to the Sony ES55 DAT recorder. Switched the DAT recorder as DA converter and also connected the analogue output to the amplifier.

With this setup I can't hear any difference between the CD-player output and the DAT recorder output.

Dat Question

Reply #8
interesting...
Next time I'll test the Marian anolog output.

There was also the blind test with the M-audio soundcard, where no difference could be heard even after 4 or 5 loopbacks. But this time I'll try with a harder CD.

Dat Question

Reply #9
Quote
But someone rcently came and claimed that all CD players and amplis had the same sound.

Well, if you are referring to me, I didn't say exactly that. IIRC, what I more or less said (or wanted to say) is that any decent cd player or amplifier (no need to be expensive) is really very difficult to tell apart, and very likely impossible, in most cases, from any other decent cd player or ampli.

But  I'm sure that a crappy ampli or cd player, if crappy enough, can be told apart from a good one. As to amplifiers, it depends also on the listening volume level and/or if connected to extreme loads (speakers).

As to other possible multi-pass tests over a sound card, what kind of music/signals are you thinking of? I'm interested too.

Dat Question

Reply #10
Quote
But someone rcently came and claimed that all CD players and amplis had the same sound.

It is very difficult (or not possible) to hear any difference between cd-players.

But for amplifiers it is not so difficult.
Try to compare a Sony or Yamaha against an Acuphase, Rotel or Marantz amplifier in the same prise range.
I bet you can hear the difference when switching between them.
I must say the difference is subtitle.

The difference in damping factor of an amplifiers is good to hear (mostly more expensive amplifiers have a higher damping factor).
The higher the damping factor, the more control the amplifier has over the speakers.

Dat Question

Reply #11
Quote
As to other possible multi-pass tests over a sound card, what kind of music/signals are you thinking of? I'm interested too.

Well, just something more to my taste.
I miserably failed to distinguish the Sony from the Yamaha with the beginning of Transwave - Vision Quest. Brutal sharp and clean electronic treble.
This time, I think I'll use the beginning of Lisa Gerrard - The Human Game. Heavy analoguish sythe-violin sounds.

Dat Question

Reply #12
"I connected the analogue output from a Sony X707ES CD player to a amplifier and the digital output to the Sony ES55 DAT recorder. Switched the DAT recorder as DA converter and also connected the analogue output to the amplifier.

With this setup I can't hear any difference between the CD-player output and the DAT recorder output."




Well,

sounds familiar to me


I have a Sony DAT DTC 670.
My parents a CD Player Sony X 33 ES
bought around the same time, I bought my DAT a year later, beginning 90s. These CD X33, DAT  670 and your CD X707 / Sony DAT 55 ES had all excellent DA-converter and analogue output. That's the money was worth it.

So, in early 90s, i recorded a lot CDs digitally from Sony to Sony.
Additionally I bought  DSR (Digital Satellite Radio, with one packet of program 16 stations on one frequency = Tv channel) on cable in my location.)
Unfortunately they let it die.
The quality was too fine !!!

Still I enjoy the perfect analogue output of that DAT. My 90 tapes (later i bought 3 hours DDS PC-tapes, very cheap...) are still living, and I hope to record them (best of) digitally in my PC -> mpc, starting this winter.

Some time ago, I compared the digital and analogue output of a cheap Sony CDplayer.
Digital output in DAT, which converted analogue to amp.
And analogue output of that simple SonyCDplayer in that amp.
Guess what ?
The analogue output was not so brilliant at all...

IMHO there are listenable differences between different analogue outputs of players. If they are cheap and you compare to a good one.


btw, in that time I did a comparison DAT Longplay 12 bit 32 kHz vs. DAT originally recorded in 16 bit 44.1 kHz from CD.
Quite easy to hear the difference. Eg. the piano "beats" of "The Köln (Cologne) Concert" were easy to pick out.


Comparing amps:

Roughly 1.5 years ago i bought a Denon 1801 5 channel receiver. It is not the cheapest and had good test results.
But I felt, that it sounded too smoothly.
Lack of dynamics.
Studying more exactly the tests, I found, that the sound was described as "very well for classic, too, "chiffon_like" (hmm, hope you understand chiffon ? - means sound would be a kind of smooth.)
They described as advantage, and after that my sound impression was confirmed.
I had comparisons with little HK 620 amp (perfect sound for such a small and quite cheap amp), powerful Denon 1060 amp (very powerful, more expensive at that time as little HK 620, but HK was / is still a little bit clearer in sound) and that new denon avr 1801.
The Denon 1801 was clearly worse than my 2 other amps.
I sold it after 2 month at ebay, spent some money extra, and got the HK AVR 5000, which fantastic Logic7 switch i detected later during listening, previously I thought "all Surround trials in stereo music are crap", but Logic7/DPL2 changed my mind. I had good luck !

 

Dat Question

Reply #13
I use my DAT (Sony DTC-790, Second-Hand from EBay) for Vinyl Recording and DA conversion only ... I do analog recording and levelling @ 44,1 kHz (that's a seldom feature for a customer DAT) and transfer to PC via SPDIF connection. On the other hand, my EWX2496 is connected with the DAT's digital input for DA conversion on PC playback (Music/Games/DVD) ... I heard a lot about dropouts as well but never encountered any due to using decent media (TDK, Sony ... no 180 Min. Tapes) and seldomly using the skip & search functions. And the DTC 790's head is being automatically cleaned every 10 hours ... all in all, this second-hand DAT is an investment that I could not regret yet ...

I had two portable AIWA's before (HDS1/HDS100) which truly ate tape after tape ... real crappy stuff, that was ...
The name was Plex The Ripper, not Jack The Ripper

 
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