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Panasonic SV-3700 DAT recorder

Discussion in 'Pro Audio Equipment' started by k1, May 25, 2005.

  1. k1

    k1 Guest

    please advice about quality of this unit, i can buy this as recorder for my mixes. i use hardware samplers, analog mixer. i compose/produse electronic music - breaks/dub/ambient/experimental.
    thanx.
     
  2. drumrob

    drumrob Active Member

    The Panasonic SV3700 was the standard in the industry for a 2-track mixdown deck for a number of years. I still own one, though it does not see much use these days. It has come in handy for live-to-2-track recording of shows and to be able to input people's old projects from DAT. If you get one in good shape, then I think you would be happy with the quality of your mixdowns (though we coud have a debate about the sound of DAT versus tape, hard drive, etc.). Since DAT is basically a dead format, however, I would suggest at least looking at some alternatives. Many people are using the Alesis Masterlink these days. You can also mix down directly to a hard drive, or CD recorder. I hope others will chime in with suggestions as well.

    So to restate, for me the bottom line is that if you already have an SV3700 or can get a good one REAL cheap, then it will serve its purpose. If not, look at other options.

    Have fun!

    Rob
     
  3. k1

    k1 Guest

    why DAT is dead? what i have heard, it still widely used to send master to labels or duplicating companies. some specialist say CD is not good enough because its errors quantity are much more than DATs.

    also, the same specialist advised me NOT TO RECORD MIX BACK TO COMPUTER througn ASIO drivers, at least if don't have Apogee or Merging converters, which are too expensieve for me.

    but thanx, as i see from your post, this is professianal quality unit, and i will try to bid it.
    also will check that alesis posiibility. did not heard about it before.

    thanx a lot and have a good day!
     
  4. JoeH

    JoeH Well-Known Member

    The SV3700 was a great machine in its day, and it was almost the de-facto machine for a lot of places for mastering to 16/44 mixes. (Never as good as 1/2 track analog, but it got the job done.)

    These days, with computer HD space so cheap, it's much easier and smarter to do high res. mixes inside the box, at 24/96, etc., and then dither/SRC down to 16/44, burn a CD and be done with it. You don't have to lose the hi-res mixes either, just back them up to a DVD-R, or yet another spare HD.

    The problem with DATs (including the 3700) nowadays is twofold:

    1. They haven't made many new machines (specifically the 3700) in a while, so anything you're looking at is used. You may not be able to tell what's right or wrong with it from an Ebay ad. Buyer beware!

    2. The cost of repairing them now exceeds their resale value. Heads, (usually the cuplrit) and tape path are the two main repairs, and a good tech doesn't come cheap. Neither do the parts. Expect to pay between $300 to $800 for a total DAT makeover & refurbishment. (That's with a pro; all bets are off with the local tinkerer/VCR repair guy.)

    Unless you've got a huge archive of DATs that you're backing up or transferring, there's not a lot of demand for DAT anymore, and you wont find all that many places that require them. (As soon as CDrs became so popular, people started dumping their DATs in droves.)

    CD'rs have essentially the identical specs as DATs, but without as many problems:

    1. They're cheaper. Blank CDs: as little as .30 each. Blank DATs are still $4.99 for a 90 minute blank, last time I bought 'em.

    2. Good brands of CDr's are every bit as reliable as DAT's, and they don't get eaten by bad transports, nor do they shed when shuttled back and forth many times during sessions. (DAT's were NEVER a good medium for multiple pass playback, punchins don't work well, either, very tedious process.) Backup/clone copies take a few minutes to run off, DAT's have to be done in real time, and error checking takes even longer.

    3. Random Access of CDs is nearly instantaneous. DAT's have to be shuttled back and forth, often over a 1 or 2 hr length of tape. (See above for the horrors.)

    4. THe basic specs are identical: 16/44, and you can find many CDr's with digital input, so there's no A/D issues either. Many pro CD recorders also have +4 balanced analog in/outs, too. (Yes, DATs can and did do other sample rates like 48, 22, etc.)

    5. In the middle of the night, when you're out of blanks, you can probably find a Walmart or CVS open that sells blank CDr's. Doubtful they carry DATs anymore, if they ever did.

    6. When DAT's fail, they fail big time. It's not like Analog where you can get SOMETHING off the tape, with DAT's it's usually some horrible garbled sound with extensive dropouts, when they play at all. CDr's can fail of course, too, but the whole system has settled down now into good, solid, reliable drives (esp Plextor, Sony, Panasonic, etc.) and good blank media. (Plus again, backups are stupid/silly/cheap to run off and store offsite somewhere.)

    I used DATs for almost a decade, and they certainly had their good points. (I never shuttled them for sessions, however, and I often just used them for backups/masters, and once the job was over, I'd put them away tails-out, hardly having run them more than a handful of times when used. I was luckier than most.)

    Both of my 3700's need some serious service, and I dont' know when I'll have them done. They don't play back properly now (tape path & maintenance problems) and I hardly use them for archive retrieval. I would NEVER use them to record anything serious nowadays anyway.

    Every pre-glass master that leaves here is on DVD-ROM, CDr, etc., and every broadcast we do goes on out TWO sets of CDrs, one clearly marked as the master, and one "Safety Backup". In almost 8 years of CDr-based radio broadcasts (about 1 pr week), I've never had a problem with on-air CDr problems. (Knocking on some serious wood here...)

    DAT is dead, so is tape for the most part, unless you're looking for analog warmth & specs. Do yourself a favor, get out while you can, and don't look back.

    Cheap DATs are just a siren song, and you don't need the hassle, trust me. There's no cache of cool, no hip side to using DATs, you're better off with a good CDr, Masterlink, etc., and be done with it.

    Think hard before you buy someone else's cast-off, dead-format problem. IMHO, of course. :wink:
     
    audiokid likes this.
  5. anonymous

    anonymous Guests

    My very 1st piece of pro audio gear was a Sony A7 DAT machine. That was 14 or 15 years ago. I sold it, after I saw the CD recorders hit the market. It was $799
    I now work with the Alesis Masterlink. That is a big, big step up from any DAT machine. And it sounds AWESOME
    MO don't waste your time looking at DAT's.
    DAT is dead :cry:
     
  6. k1

    k1 Guest

    seen, thanx guys.
    your arguments are clear and 'hard'.
    thanx, i have not bought it.
    i will better look for a good AD cobverters... going to mix in analog domain anyway.
     

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