Audio Professionals Forum
DAT player digital outputs
DAT player digital outputs
by Mary Waitrovich on Jun 24, 2012 at 8:09:26 pm

I am so glad this forum exists!
I have finished digitizing my boxes of cassette tapes, and now I'm on to the DAT tapes. I have a Sony PCM-R300 DAT deck which I used a lot in the 90s to record live shows and radio shows. All I ever used were the analog ins and outs. However, now that I want to transfer most of this audio to my hard drives, I'm wondering if it would be worth it to figure out how to stay digital during the transfers; worth it either quality-wise or time-wise.
That's a link to a photo of the deck back. There are digital "coaxial" and "optical" outputs, but I don't know what kind of cable to use for the coaxial and the optical output has me completely baffled (do you use bare wire under the screw or what?).
So I would appreciate any advice I can get on the best and most efficient way to transfer about 40 DAT tapes into Sound Forge. If I can come digitally out of the deck, how do I get it into the PC without going through the analog jacks?
Or should I just not bother with all this and go into the computer through the analog sound card?
Thanks much people!

Mary Waitrovich
Media Plus You, LCC

Re: DAT player digital outputs
by Richard Crowley on Jun 25, 2012 at 5:13:27 am

Do not touch the screws! They hold the optical connectors in place.

It will make no difference in time whether you capture the recordings in digital or analog. It may not make any difference in quality, either, given the quality of the original signals.

If you really want to do the capture in the digital domain, there are small and inexpensive adapters available to take digital audio signals and input them into your computer via USB.

Re: DAT player digital outputs
by Peter Groom on Jun 25, 2012 at 8:36:35 am

Id say try to capture digits if possible, that way you wont lose any more quality from what may already be a "not brilliant recording"

Which connection to use comes down to what your computer already has.
You can use either really coax or optical. Co ax (the phone sockets) is prob easiest as it will take an embedded stereo signal down 1 un bal phono. If your machine (or its perfiferal has aes ebu IO then you can use that 2 but youll need a phoneo to Mxlr cable (not very likely id not think.
The adapter to USB is a good option. I found the behringer U-control series good on quality for almost no money. Just make sure you get one with Optical or Coax (may be called SPdif) in and USB out.
Good luck.

NB remember if youre going digits, you must set your recording software to record the same sample rate and bit rate as the dats are.

Post Production Dubbing Mixer

Re: DAT player digital outputs
by Mary Waitrovich on Jun 28, 2012 at 8:44:27 pm

I am considering buying this external sound card for this project:
Audiophile 2 In/2 Out 24-Bit/96 kHz FireWire Audio Interface
However, I have 64 bit Windows 7 and a review on Amazon suggests that this card will only work with 32 bit Windows 7.
Do you know if that's true?
I used to have an M-Audio firewire sound card at a job where I worked and I loved it. Now I'm afraid to buy any used or older stuff for fear it won't work with my 64 bit Windows 7 machine.

Mary Waitrovich
Media Plus You, LCC

Re: DAT player digital outputs
by Richard Crowley on Jun 28, 2012 at 9:45:33 pm

1) That device does not appear to have digital inputs or outputs. You initially stated that you were interested in capturing your digital recordings in the digital domain.
2) That device uses Firewire interface to the computer which is a dying commodity. Newer generations of computers (those that even had Firewire) are replacing it with USB3. So it isn't surprising that driver support for any Firewire devices will decrease in the future.
3) It is not at all clear that using a device like this has any significant advantage over simply running the analog output from your DAT player into whatever analog inputs are already available in your computer.

Re: DAT player digital outputs
by Mary Waitrovich on Jun 28, 2012 at 9:57:39 pm

Thanks. I understand and agree about firewire. However, my machines still have it and I have used it extensively in my video work. Do you know of any usb 3 or thunderbolt audio interfaces? I was unable to find a usb 2 card with digital in. I might buy the m-audio Firewire 610.

Mary Waitrovich
Media Plus You, LCC

Re: DAT player digital outputs
by Richard Crowley on Jun 29, 2012 at 12:42:08 am

Yes, most of my current systems have Firewire. But you can bet that it is disappearing even as you read this sentence. It is not something I would invest in going forward. In their typical corporate style, Apple demanded high-price royalties for each Firewire port which kept Firewire from ever reaching the popularity and ubiquity of USB (which is royalty-free). And USB3 has now overtaken Firewire in both speed, and implementation price. This and other developments (like Thunderbolt) spells doom for Firewire.

You don't need USB3 even for several channels of SPDIF/AES3. USB2 is plenty fast enough. That is why you don't find many audio devices with USB3.

I found several SPDIF to USB gadgets on eBay. Most are < $15.

The device you cited does NOT appear to have digital inputs or outputs, so it is still not clear exactly what you are asking about here?