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DAT?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
Ive been reading about these on minidisco...Yeah, I know they are bulky and so on...but is it possible they sound better than MD?
post #2 of 14
Thread Starter 
the reason I ask is because my beloved sharp 821 was stolen, and i already have the setup for digital/optical audio recording
post #3 of 14
Yes, DAT has the potential to sound better than MD, since DAT doesn't use any compression. However, remember that DAT is magnetic tape, so you get degredation over time, you can't edit like you can with MD, the size is much bigger, battery life much shorter, etc., etc., etc. DAT is basically used for professional non-compression recording. For pretty much every other use, MD is more convenient and more reliable.
post #4 of 14
Thread Starter 
hmm...okies, i see what you mean...sheesh...i might as well wait for portable sacd to replace the cost of my MD
post #5 of 14
Tim,

I went through the same thing last year (2001 ) and did some research on DAT. The models I had in mind are Sony's TCD-D100 and PCM-M1 (these are siblings; M1 may have been discontinued).

DAT has the potential, in theory, to sound better than CD because of its 48kHz sampling rate. Also, on the word of mouth front, most DAT users love it, definitely of a higher percentage than MD. If you're doing live recording, the AGC (recording level control) on these DAT portables are said to be very good, much better implementations over the MD walkman ones.

However,

(1) DAT being tape-based doesn't necessarily mean quality degradation, but it might mean dropouts from time to time.

(2) Often it's recommended that you have the head professionally cleaned after a year or two. That's kinda laborious if you don't have a store in your area (I would've had to buy from other states).

(3) The D100 and M1, while small, are still relatively bulky. I think they don't take the normal mini-jack or "square-head" optical cables, you have to buy Sony's attachments, which means another $80-100. And these are usually hard to find.

(4) DAT enthusiasts pointed to the D100/M1 mechanism as being very slow, 12 seconds or so to go from search to playback IIRC.

Summary: I'd be paying around $700 for a good portable with good amp, but with the troubles of (1)-(4). MD, while compressed, is relatively maintenance-free by comparison.

It's also a pity, because I can see DAT becoming more user-friendly if they received the development resources MD did. So we could've had a very small DAT portable today.. *le sigh*
post #6 of 14
Quote:
Originally posted by leon
(1) DAT being tape-based doesn't necessarily mean quality degradation, but it might mean dropouts from time to time.
Leon, what I meant by "degradation over time" is that since DAT is based on magnetization of a layer on the tape, over time the signal will degrade


Quote:
Summary: I'd be paying around $700 for a good portable with good amp, but with the troubles of (1)-(4). MD, while compressed, is relatively maintenance-free by comparison.

It's also a pity, because I can see DAT becoming more user-friendly if they received the development resources MD did. So we could've had a very small DAT portable today.. *le sigh*
You're quite right. The only drawbacks that would have been hard to overcome are those related to the tape-based nature of the media: tapehead timing, degradation of the tape surface, no fast random access, etc. But they definitely could have been much more successful than they are.

On the other hand, what would REALLY be a great recording medium is compressionless MD. Take the sampling rate and recording technology of DAT, but put it on a higher-capacity MD with no ATRAC compression. You'd have a killer setup with the advantages of both platforms. It's certainly doable, since it's possible to have MDs with 700 or more MB at the current size. Unfortunately, Sony won't do it because of piracy concerns.
post #7 of 14
Quote:
Originally posted by MacDEF


Leon, what I meant by "degradation over time" is that since DAT is based on magnetization of a layer on the tape, over time the signal will degrade
Sorry Mac, but I gotta chime in on this one. Yes the signal will degrad over time, but unless the tape is stored in a harsh environment (as defind by the tapes manufacturer) the signal degrading will not be enough to distort the sound. The information is stored on the tape in 1's and 0's taking the form of + & - charges on the tape. The charges them self have a lot of room (relitively speaking) to exist as a + or a negitive. So even with signal degredation over time, as long as the deck reads a charge as a +, strong or weak, it gets interprited as a +.

Now granted, after a hundred tapes, SOME are likely to develop problems, but, with normal storage (not leaving them in the car all summer) the vast majority will make it just fine

The key thing with dat is that as long as they hold up physically, they should hold up sonically.

All this being said...

Tim, you can get both a CD Burner and a killer MD for the price of a good(not great) DAT.

Your time, your money, your addiction: feed it as you like.
post #8 of 14
Quote:
Originally posted by MacDEF
On the other hand, what would REALLY be a great recording medium is compressionless MD. Take the sampling rate and recording technology of DAT, but put it on a higher-capacity MD with no ATRAC compression. You'd have a killer setup with the advantages of both platforms. It's certainly doable, since it's possible to have MDs with 700 or more MB at the current size. Unfortunately, Sony won't do it because of piracy concerns.
I keep seeing those Data MD's that store 650Mb's...damn if only they made a MD player/recorder that used this kind of MD media. Another cool thing would be to have the ability to turn off/on Atrac.

George
post #9 of 14
Audio Redneck: good point about the 1s and 0s. Very true that DAT exhibits much less degredation than traditional magnetic tape media.
post #10 of 14
Seems that quite a few of us like the idea of MD with straight PCM signal, no compression... but given Sony's desire to morph into less of an equipment maker (I'm sure they've got a bank somewhere now), it's probably not going happen.

Remember the NT ("non-tracking"; digital microcassette)? Another thing that Sony let go of after two models.
post #11 of 14
Quote:
Originally posted by leon
Remember the NT ("non-tracking"; digital microcassette)? Another thing that Sony let go of after two models.
Um...clue me in, i'm interested to hear/read more

George
post #12 of 14
gloco,

NT is literally a digital microcassette, developed and only marketed by Sony. The format itself is 32kHz, 12-bit, which Sony says offers a 10Hz-15kHz frequency response, 80dB+ dynamic range and S/N ratio. Tape runs at 6.35mm per second, and the head drum rotates at 3000rpm for playback. Track pitch is 9.8 um.

NT (non-tracking) refers to the system's design, in which tape is guided solely by the head assembly. Therefore, there's no need for any kind of guiding mechanism within the cassette itself. I think the longest NT cassette runs for 120 minutes.

There were only two NT recorders, the NT-1 and the NT-2. After the NT-2's release it's rumored that Sony disbanded the development team and let everyone go. The NT-2 is either still in production, or still available from stock, not sure which.

Here's a catalog page of the NT-2. From the supplied remote and earbuds you can sort of approximate its age (launch Nov 21 1995). The MSRP in Japan was 128,000 yen. The NT-2 was also sold in the US, I think for close to 1,000 bucks.

http://www.sony.co.jp/sd/products/Mo...rary/NT-2.html

Here in Japanese, a data page of the NT-2 brought to you courtesy of Sawada Denki.

http://www.asahi-net.or.jp/~LP1S-SWD.../dat/sony/nt2/

Some NT-2 features:
- two-mode digital AGC (speech/music)
- display shows: tape counter, amount of tape remaining, L/R level meter.
- date stamp
- Can be connected for DAT/MD/CD recording via external "station" attachment
- unit has line-in, line-out, mic-in, adaptor in.
size: 22x112.8x63mm, 155g empty, 210g when in use.

The difference between NT-1 and NT-2 are mostly in features. NT-2 has mega bass, remote, AVLS, line-in/out on the unit, and so on. Despite these changes, which seem to be music-oriented, it seems that the NT format neither do track marks, nor very speedy with FF/REW.

Edit - here's the URL from Sony USA. MSRP is a whopping $1699.95.

http://www.sel.sony.com/SEL/consumer...es/index.shtml
post #13 of 14
Quote:
Originally posted by MacDEF
Audio Redneck: good point about the 1s and 0s. Very true that DAT exhibits much less degredation than traditional magnetic tape media.
The tape manufactures are really plugging away at tape life for DAT and working with computer DATs daily I trust the tapes (I carry last nights backup in my shirt pocket home with me everyday and my backup tapes get overwritten no less than 12 times before they are retired).

Of all the DIGITAL mediums I have heard (and I think I've hit most of them) I like DAT the best (even over CD). I don't know if it is the medium itself of the design quality of the equipment I auditioned. The DAT mechanism is inherantly more complicated than a CD (more and bulkier moving parts) and appears TO ME as it would require a greater technical skill to make it work well. Another reason that DAT ain't cheap (computer DATs are pretty pricy as well)

Someday I'd like to have one, but not before I make major improvements in other parts of my system. I see MD comming to live at my house I long time before DAT unless I can find a legitimate business use for it (ie, make it pay for itself)
post #14 of 14
Hey Leon,

Thanks for all the info and links, hmm, sounds like something between tape and CD. I wonder how it sounds...gee, i wonder why it never became popular! $1699?! Insanity!

George
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