Transfering DAT to DAW..the best way?

Discussion in 'Computing' 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?

    Thanks
     
  2. TrilliumSound

    TrilliumSound Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2004
    Location:
    Montreal, Qc, CANADA
    Home Page:
    Hi,

    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

    Joined:
    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 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2002
    Location:
    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.
     
    audiokid likes this.
  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!
     
    audiokid likes this.
  6. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2000
    Location:
    BC, Canada
    Home Page:
    I'm finally going to do a DAT to DAW transfer with all my past work. Everyone concur, the above is the best method?
     
  7. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2002
    Location:
    77 Sunset Lane.
    if you are doing an archival transfer then why do it into a DAW? can't you just record it as a file into any media player the computer has at 16 bits thus doing a bit for bit transfer sans any truncation or other processing?
     
    kmetal and audiokid like this.
  8. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2000
    Location:
    BC, Canada
    Home Page:
    I don't know. I haven't played the DAT tracks in years but would like to get all the songs ITB and be able to save it all there. OR, open those masters up in example, Sequoia / Samplitude and remaster them if necessary .
     
  9. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2006
    Location:
    UK
    Home Page:
    I would agree with Kurt - don't use your standard DAW ( Samplitude?) in the DAT transfer. I don't remember what audio interface you are using these days, Chris, but you need one that has a serial input of a type that matches the output of your DAT machine (either S/PDIF or AES/EBU). The digital format of those two is the same except for some header bits, but the signal levels are different. You would need to sync the interface from the incoming serial input.

    For this sort of transfer, I often use Audacity, as I have inspected the code and satisfied myself that it can pass bytes through from the interface input to the .wav output file without any bit change.

    Once you have done the file transfer, you can play with the file in your main DAW knowing that you have an unmolested copy saved.
     
    kmetal and audiokid like this.
  10. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2000
    Location:
    BC, Canada
    Home Page:
    Thank you both.

    I don't have any pro interfaces right now. Can I use the stock desktop soundcard S/PDIF for that?
     
  11. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2006
    Location:
    UK
    Home Page:
    That depends on your DAT player. If it has an S/PDIF output on an RCA connector, then you should be able to feed that straight into a motherboard S/PDIF input and go from there. Use a 75Ohm RCA-RCA lead for this - the common ones with yellow plug caps usually work OK.

    If your DAT player has only an AES/EBU output, you have to do a bit more. I have seen adaptors containing a step-down balun transformer and having an XLR on one end and an RCA socket on the other. I'm sorry I couldn't locate one online when I did a quick check just now. I don't suppose there is an electronic hardware store bordering your lake....
     
  12. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2000
    Location:
    BC, Canada
    Home Page:
    Awesome, I have a DAT with S/PDIF

    I have those as well but won't need them.

    No, you got the right!

    Thanks Bos.
     

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice