[ProAudio] DAT Transfers

Keith and Mary Taylor kandmtaylor at bigpond.com
Tue Apr 6 04:57:34 PDT 2021

I have an Otari DTR-8 machine which is still in use. I use a Motu Pre4 interface, and apart from software settings that mysteriously become miss set, the transfer via SPDIF has always been blameless. Around 8 years ago the DAT machine had a near death experience! A stylus in the form of an aluminium casting that tracks a spiral groove in a nylon disc broke off. I was not too hopefull about getting a replacement part, but ordered one from the agents in Sydney. They, in turn, contacted Otari in Japan who informed them that they already had one in their parts store. Problem solved.


Sent from Mail for Windows 10

From: James Perrett via ProAudio
Sent: Tuesday, 6 April 2021 7:02 PM
To: jim at audiosystemsgroup.com; proaudio at bach.pgm.com
Subject: Re: [ProAudio] DAT Transfers

I don't know the MOTU 8D but MOTU usually make good gear.

I'm using a Zoom U-44 USB audio interface for DAT transfers here and it has worked well for the last couple of years. It has both optical and phono connectors for S/PDIF and can handle sample rates between 44.1kHz and 96kHz (so it won't do long play DAT's but, as quality is unlikely to be critical for these I'll transfer them via analogue). I mainly use a Pioneer 96kHz capable DAT machine but I also have a Tascam DA20 which currently has an intermittent fault but has worked well in the past. Mechanically they are just about identical as they're both Pioneer machines under the cover but the electronics are much simpler on the DA20. The great thing about the DA20 is that you can check error rates with it - the DA20 Mk2 has a button for this, while you need to press a particular combination of buttons on the original model.

The Zoom U-44 is a current model and appears to be in stock at the usual online sellers. I picked up a DA20 for a friend for under £100 a while ago though prices seem to have crept up a bit.

Hope that helps.


On Tue, 6 Apr 2021 at 07:04, Jim Brown via ProAudio <proaudio at bach.pgm.com> wrote:
I need to transfer a few dozen DATs to a hard drive for archiving before 
it's too late to find hardware on which to do it. 20-25 years ago when I 
was recording this material, I had a tower machine set up as a DAW with 
all the interfaces needed to do the transfers. It's been 15 years since 
that machine was booted, and it was more than ten years old then. And I 
don't remember the logon. :)

  So I need advice about hardware. I still have the Tascam DA-P1 on 
which they were recorded, but I'm not sure it will live long enough. 
I'll try it first. It outputs S/PDIF, so I need an interface to get into 
my Windoze machines. All use USB, but I think I might have one with 

I found a MOTU 8D with USB 2.0 and S/PDIF I/O. David Josephson has 
cautioned me that some interfaces may not sync well enough to the stream 
for a clean transfer. Can anyone advise about this particular product? 
The material is all acoustic jazz with important artists, so quality is 
paramount. Most if not all of the masters are 44.1.

Can anyone suggest another interface? Also suggestions of a source for a 
good used DAT if mine doesn't make it through the process? I'll be 80 in 
the fall, my last recording was 12 years ago, this project is going to 
be a one-off, so I don't want to spend big bucks if I don't need to.

Thanks, Jim Brown
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*       James Perrett
*       JRP Music Services, Hampshire, U.K.
*       Audio Mastering, Restoration, Recording and Consultancy
*       Phone +44 (0) 777 600 6107
* e-mail james at jrpmusic.net
* http://www.jrpmusic.net

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