DAT recorder question for home theater

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Kevin C Brown, Jul 12, 2001.

  1. Kevin C Brown

    Kevin C Brown Producer

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    Not really, but I couldn't figure where else to put this. [​IMG]
    Any opinions on 1-above-entry-level DAT machines?
    Tascam DA-40
    Sony PCM-R500
    Sony DTC-ZA5ES
    Any others? (Good used machines? Tascam DA-30 Mk II, etc.)
    I have the entry level PCM-R300, really like it, no problems, questioning whether I should upgrade or not. (Upgrade-itis!)
    Thanks!
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  2. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Kevin, this is as good a place as any for a question about a DAT recorder. Are you going to use it in a studio or just for music playback? I'm the only person I know who owned a DAT deck for music playback (i.e., playback of mixes) rather than for a studio. Unfortunately, I sold the deck, and I wish I hadn't. Anyway, when I researched this, I was told to go with Tascam over Sony. For good DAT information, talk to the friendly folks at Oade Bros. (1-912-228-0093 or 1-912-228-4480). Besides selling stereo and home theater gear, they sell a good number of DAT decks and tapes. They sell Tascam and Sony and told me to go with Tascam as their equipment is more reliable. I was considering your PCM-R300 for $600 and the Tascam DA-20mkII for $675 from Oade Bros. and was told in absolute terms to get the Tascam. Jim Oade told me that he sees many more Sony decks come back for service (worn heads) than Tascam decks.
    The Tascam DA-20mkII served me very well, but I sold it because I felt at the time that I didn't have enough time to use it. As I said, I wish I hadn't parted with it. DAT may not be the most convenient format out there (that honor goes to minidisc), but no other recorded format offers two hours of continuous CD-quality music. In any event, the DA-20mkII is a very solid component. You appear to be looking at decks that are a step up from the DA-20mkII, so I would recommend the Tascam DA-40. Two other decks in that range that are well regarded, but that I have no experience with, are the Panasonic SV-3700 and SV-3800. I believe the '3700 was the predecessor to the '3800, but I am not sure if the '3800 is current, and if it isn't, what, if anything, replaced it. Anyway, I see used Panasonic units on eBay frequently.
    I would pass on the Sony DTC-ZA5ES. Again, I have heard better things about Tascam decks, but also, as a home deck, the 'ZA5ES lacks SCMS bypass, which pro decks offer. Furthermore, I think you can get a quality deck for much less than the 'ZA5ES ($1600 retail). Oade Bros. discounts heavily on DAT decks (and other gear), but they don't carry Sony's home decks. I was told that this is because they can sell the Sony pro decks for the same price and they are better than the home models. Their clientele probably prefer pro decks anyway.
    You might also contact Vince Maskeeper on this board about DAT decks. I think his background is in studio work. Hopefully he will partake in this thread. Good luck!
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    [Edited last by KeithH on July 12, 2001 at 08:34 AM]
     
  3. Kevin C Brown

    Kevin C Brown Producer

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    Keith- Thanks for the response!
    You are the 2nd person to mention Tascam over Sony.
    Oh, my use is simply for archiving lps and recording tracks from CDs that I don't keep.
    I had another person mention the Fostex D-5. Also a 4 motor mechanism like the Tascam DA-40 and Sony R500, but only around $600. Made (covertly) by Pioneer. But Fostex specifies the freq response as 20Hz to 20kHz +/- 1 dB, while all of the others are 20 - 20 +/- 0.5. Don't know if that means anything or not.
    I did check out the Tascam DA-20 Mk II, but it didn't have an error counter for the heads. Useful to tell when the heads need cleaned. (Although on the R300 I have now, I clean them every 20 hrs, and haven't really seen any error counts above 0.)
    Stuff to think about...
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  4. David Susilo

    David Susilo Screenwriter

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    Most recording studios around the world uses Tascam over Sony, especially the DA-20MKII. Just for the built quality, I go with the Tascam over Fostex (which is HHB, which Pioneer's pro-audio division).
    I used to use Sony for my field recording unit but it loves eating my tape rendering hours of field recording into garbage. I literally slammed it onto the ground since it somehow 'forgot' to record the time-code on my tape which, again renders my two-day work useless.
     
  5. Vince Maskeeper

    Vince Maskeeper Producer

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    Most studios use Panasonic 3700 or 3800 (most use outboard convertors however). This isn't an entry level solution, but they are good machines.
    I have a Tascam Da-30 clunker, and it's a good little machine. Reliable, quiet, easy digital input/output.
    I would easily recommend a DA-30 if you're in the market.
    -Vince
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