Peter Groom on this forum previously advised me: "you must set your recording software to record the same sample rate and bit rate as the dats are."
I'm starting this project now and the DAT deck does display the sample rate, but not the bit depth of the recording. I found this statement on Wikipedia:
"The DAT standard allows for four sampling modes: 32 kHz at 12 bits, and 32 kHz, 44.1 kHz or 48 kHz at 16 bits."
Here is the question: some of my tapes are 32k and I think I did that because I was recording radio shows longer than 2 hours. So when the tapes were used that way for "long play" should I set the bit depth in Sound Forge to 12 bits rather than 16 bits?
Also, I assume there is nothing to be gained by doubling or otherwise increasing the bit depth above 16, and would only be making larger files for no good reason - right?
Peter is correct if you are transferring digitally from DAT to a digital system. What's most important is sample rate. If you can get the DAW to record without complaining, you'll likely hear occasional ticks due to sample rate error unless the software has realtime sample rate conversion.
You can use 16-bit, because the tapes themselves are 16-bit. If you plan on doing a lot of processing after you get the material in, then use 24-bit to allow for more headroom.
What's your intended output format? If it's CD, the sample rate is fixed at 44.1, 16-bit. That means you'll have to convert the 32kHz sample rate long play at some point. You could bring the material in from the DAT analog outputs and re-record it at 44.1, 16 or 24-bit. You could also transfer all 32 kHz material digitally into one production, edit it and then export it at 44.1 kHz 16-bit.