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Transfering DAT to DAW..the best way?

Discussion in 'Recording' started by sound_forward, Dec 15, 2005.

  1. I have some older 16-bit DAT tracks that I will have to transfer to DAW so I can deliver them to mastering studio...they do not have DAT anymore :(

    I have Tascam DA-20 mk2 DAT.

    I can connect it to RME multiface spdif input digitaly and record to Cubase SX.

    I am pretty much experienced with multiface/cubase sx working both in 16bit and 24bit mode and I can tell you that there is something wrong when recording in 16bit.

    It sounds very inferior in comparison with multiface at 24bit and even to some other 16bit converters in my studio. I think that multiface (or maybe cubase) perform some nasty truncating or dithering when recording in 16bit mode. Probably it just truncates 24bit signal from AD converters from multiface to 16 bit and the result is pretty bad.

    I want to avoid that by doing following...

    Connect DAT via spdif to multiface and leave cubase in 24bit mode to avoid truncation or dithering.
    My understanding is that I will get 24bit recording in cubase where the top 16-bits will be identical to DAT and the other 8-bits (below 96dB) will be zeros.

    Than, if I perform a simple truncate to 16bit function inside cubase, the zeros will be truncated and the final 16bit signal will be identical to DAT tape?

    True or not?

  2. TrilliumSound

    TrilliumSound Active Member

    Jul 29, 2004
    Montreal, Qc, CANADA
    Home Page:

    The best thing is to bring your Tascam and DAT tapes to the Mastering studio, they will take care of the transfert if they need to do so. I think this is what they will prefer, well, I would.

    I have done some transfers from DAT to Cubase and other softwares in the past and I did not have any problem in term of sound degradation either in 16 or 24 . What do you mean by sound inferior? Did you try with another software?
  3. audiowkstation

    audiowkstation Active Member

    Jun 29, 2001
    I concur, the DAT machine that made the tapes (if possible) would be the best candidate for transfer. I keep a DAT machine in the rack for transfers and since you are asking the "best way"..I generally run the SPDIF out to SPDIF In, and roll the entire DAT tape at 24/44.1, then edit the songs down to each. If by chance, the DAT levels are "too hot" I may choose to use the analog out of the DAT machine, through the console, back to digital. (or to 1/2" analog) Be certain to let the DAT tapes have 4 full hours of room temperature "warm up" before putting them in the DAT machine..if exposed to the outdoor elements.

    I use an SV3800...it is very compatable with everything I throw at it.
  4. Michael Fossenkemper

    Michael Fossenkemper Distinguished past mastering moderator Distinguished Member

    Sep 12, 2002
    NYC New York
    Home Page:
    if you are transfering 16 bit dats. just do a digital in from the deck to the DAW at 16 bit. You should be good to go.
  5. Thanks,

    I just got an answer from RME (great customer support, by the way) that multiface simply to not have a 16bit output mode. It always goes out at 24bit and cubase truncates 8-bits when set to record in 16bit mode. This is probably the reason why it sounds so bad when recording in 16bit mode - no dithering of any kind.

    But, when recording via spdif, it is OK to just record it in 16bit mode because rme will fill other 8bits with zeroes and cubase will truncate them so the 16bit signal from DAT stays the same.

    I will be doing mastering in other country so bringing DAT with me is not an option.

    Thanks for replys!

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