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good DAT machine?

Discussion in 'Pro Audio Equipment' started by sammyg, Dec 23, 2007.

  1. sammyg

    sammyg Active Member

    Hi all,

    was wondering which DAT machine is a good little workhorse, I want to get one second hand to record my stereo mix bus onto, im finding that the "export audio/ bouncing" process within the software changes the end result slightly. I dont really want something with a stack load of features, just something that will continue working! ( I usualy hang out in the recording section but I thought this post is much better directed here).
    Any help is greatly appreciated,


  2. AudioGaff

    AudioGaff Well-Known Member

    Panasonic 3500, 3700, 3800 and the Tascam DA30, DA30MKIII were all studio standards back in DAT days. My DA-30 still works great and is still making me money doing trasnfersfrom time to time.
  3. drstudio

    drstudio Active Member

    Not sure why would mix to DAT. It's a kind of a dead format.
    My opinion is to mix back to a file on your software. package.
    I had a 3700 for years, but it collected dust for about the last 4 years.
  4. bent

    bent No Bad Vibes! Well-Known Member

    Lot's of folks still mix / archive to DAT.

    Many acts that come down my way bring a DAT with sweetner tracks, intro's, you name it...
  5. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    Purchase a ZOOM H4, set it to record in ".wav"@44.1kHz 16 or 24-bit, take your pick. This would be more advantageous than a DAT machine for you. You don't need an old mechanism of mechanical failures. You buy an antique car if you like upkeep and maintenance, same for recorders. So record into a flash based recorder, no moving parts. Less upkeep, less maintenance, more reliability, newer converters!

    Thinking inside the little box
    Ms. Remy Ann David
  6. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Or go over the top and get either the Korg or Tascam DSD units to mix to two track with...

    I'm DIGGING the Korg! Sweet, smooth, buttery sound unlike anything I've ever heard in the digital realm.
  7. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    Jeremy! How did I forget to mention that KORG unit?!?! Especially since I'm the one that hates PCM with a passion. Hey! I just got done with a monumental week of holiday concert recording. Brain is in power down mode for the holidays. Maybe always?? Or a lack thereof.

    Missing a few
    Ms. Remy Ann David
  8. JoeH

    JoeH Well-Known Member

    DAT is dead, alright. I only use it to transfer old stuff for clients who want to remaster older projects.

    For the same specs involved, you're better off getting a CDr. (16/44) The blank media is cheaper (about .30 per disc involved vs. about $4-5 for a 90 minute blank tape- IF you can still find them.) CDrs are of course random access, DATs are not.

    You MIGHT find a good machine that doesn't need any servicing, (or even a new one), but most used ones will cause you more problems than they're worth. (And they're not worth fixing, in most cases; the cost of a basic refurb is about $350 to start, which is just about what old/used ones are selling for these days.)

    I'd get the M-Audio chip recorder (higher specs like 24/44, 96, etc.) or any of the other ones, like Marantz, Zoom, etc.
  9. bent

    bent No Bad Vibes! Well-Known Member

    Speaking from a live perspective-
    Not quite dead yet.

    I'm not going to mention any names, but there are still a few who rely on them, as I mentioned above, so that they don't have a Milli Vanilli incident. :roll:

    Occasionally these types will bring a CD and I'll transfer it myself to DAT.
  10. JoeH

    JoeH Well-Known Member

    Oh, go ahead...name names! :twisted:

    I can't think of a single professional live act that would risk a castrophy live onstage with anything as unreliable and finnicky as a DAT machine these days. Once upon a time, sure, it was all the rage.

    Timecode DATs even triggered video displays and laser shows, even other musicians, but not any more. It's too risky, takes too long to cue up, and doesn't like being "Parked" in pause/play for very long. (Most machines will stop after 20 minutes or so after being put into Pause/play - to save the heads and stop tape shedding.) Disabling that feature is just stupid and eventually ruins the tape.

    Every play of the tape risks a wrinkle, break or jam. Hard Disc (with backups) are always the preferred system, ditto for CD and Chip-based recorders, with instant-access cue points.

    Trust me, really, I loved and used them for a long long time, but DATs are gone, unless you can't afford anything else.
  11. bent

    bent No Bad Vibes! Well-Known Member

    I totally get where you're coming from, but consider this:

    I work in a part of the country where regardless how much concrete you throw down it still becomes a humid swamp at night. I've had many such nights where you press play on a hard disc unit and it just stares at you, or if you're lucky it jumps to another location (Fun!). And CD's are absolutely out of the question - there's nothing like doing a rehearsal at 3am with mist all around and a show director who's pissed at YOU because you can't get the CD to play back cues once you've hit the dew point. Granted, in that situation, even DAT's get wacky on you.
    I have filled many more requests lately for 360 IR's (had to purchase 5 to keep up with demand), as opposed to DAT's (or CD players for that matter), and AR200's are making their way onto our parade float systems, as well as our smaller show installs.
    However, at the risk of beating a dead horse, I just confirmed with some of my fellow employees who are lucky enough to be working today, that the last time one of our 3800's was used on an event was our last Night Of Joy concert (this past September).

    That being said, the natural state of the industry is to constantly gravitate towards new technology - so of course, for all intents and purposes, you are correct Joe, DAT is dead.
  12. Space

    Space Well-Known Member

    Solid on both sides of the issue...I appreciate both of you guys for having an opinion and making it known.
  13. drstudio

    drstudio Active Member

    I personally have not seen a Dat machine being used for cues or tracks in a long time.... That being said, I can see Bent's point for use in certain climates.
    I would much rather use the Instant Replay, or Sport Sounds Software for cues.... but if DAT works for you, then cool.

    My point earlier in the thread, was speaking more to the original question about mixing to DAT. I just think it's an antiquated medium, the tapes themselves fall apart in time, and the mechanism is known to be faulty.
    I think everyone who has mixed to DAT has had a scare when the machine tries to eat your master for breakfast. I personally have had to rip apart machines to try to salvage tapes.

    Again, this is only my opinion, and I don't mean to start any kind of argument.

  14. bent

    bent No Bad Vibes! Well-Known Member

    Hey, there's no argument here.

    My personal opinion is that DAT's are done ( :wink: ).

    But, the fact remains that there are still acts out there that rely on them - for better or worse - and I've still got to keep a supply on hand (and keep them properly maintained), just in case.
  15. natural

    natural Active Member

    In the absence of any computer technology, then DAT would be your next choice. It's stand alone, doesn't require a computer, and fairly portable.
    But it's a temporary storage medium at best. At the next best opportunity you're going to want to archive to something a bit more stable.
    So If you're not already using a DAT machine, I don't see any reason to start now. I would do some research and find out why your mixes are not transfering properly.
    Remember, once you mixdown to DAT you then have to transfer it something else to burn CD's. This can get painfully tedius after several albums.
    OTOH- DAT machines sell on the used market for about 10% their original value. Where as Cassette Decks can bring in about 30%. Go figure.
  16. drstudio

    drstudio Active Member

    Also, not sure if you are going in Analog or Digital, but a lot of those machines have really crappy converters. Something to consider.
  17. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    There is just nothing nice about humidity and spinning heads at 2000 rpm. Can you say "Sticktion"? Bent, are you telling me that you find that hermetically sealed hard disc drives are more susceptible to humidity than rotating scanners? Of course, the circuit boards for hard disk drives are quite exposed and probably where you had the problems with the humidity? Or, so I suspect? Either way, I hate rotating scanners but without them, we wouldn't have VHS nor Beta, 2 inch quadraplex, 2 inch segmented helical scan, 1 inch B and/or C format helical, DV or DAT . Thankfully, technology marches on.

    Left, right, left, right, again, you can do it, breathe in, breathe out.
    Ms. Remy Ann David
  18. bent

    bent No Bad Vibes! Well-Known Member

    Nope, not what I said at all.

    Water on circuit boards, and other exposed bits - most definitely.
  19. sammyg

    sammyg Active Member

    as usual you guys have been great, got me thinkin'. Thanks heaps.
    Perhaps a cd recorder is the way to go, will investigate and make up my mind.

    Much appreciated guys, Merry Christmas by the way!


  20. Link555

    Link555 Well-Known Member

    I have a Tascam DA-30 MK II DAT Recorder that I never use anymore. It served me well, let me know if your interested.

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