This article is from the CD-Recordable FAQ, by Andy McFadden (firstname.lastname@example.org) with numerous contributions by others.
Buy a card that will allow you to go from DAT to hard disk digitally. Make
sure you get one that can handle the same digital standard the DAT recorder
uses, i.e. S/PDIF (Sony/Philips Digital Interface Format, sometimes
referred to as "domestic") or AES/EBU ("professional").
Some of the solutions for the PC are:
- DigiDesign AudioMedia - http://www.digidesign.com/
- Zefiro Acoustics ZA2 - http://www.zefiro.com/
- AdB Digital Multiwav Pro - http://www.adbdigital.com/
- Digital Audio Labs CardD+ - http://www.digitalaudio.com/products.htm
- Turtle Beach Fiji - http://www.tbeach.com/products/fiji.htm
The CardD+ comes highly recommended. There may be newer versions of these
products, so be sure to check out the web sites.
Visit http://www.digitalexperience.com/cards.html for a feature comparison
of many different models.
An inexpensive S/PDIF card available from Computer Geeks
(http://www.compgeeks.com/) was evaluated by some newsgroup readers in
mid-1998. Apparently there were some problems with the physical dimensions
of the card (too wide for some PC slots), the documentation is poor, and
the voltage level for both input and output was TTL instead of standard
S/PDIF. You're probably better off with one of the established brands
unless you're sure about what you need.
You should record from the DAT onto your hard drive, and then record the CD
from there. If you try to record directly from DAT you'll likely end up
with a lot of wasted CD-Rs due to buffer underruns or minor mistakes. You
should use Disc-At-Once recording for best results.
One issue you need to be aware of is that some older DAT recorders can
only record at 48KHz, while CDs are recorded at 44.1KHz. If this is the
case with your equipment, you will have to do a sample rate conversion.
The DSP on cards like the ZA2 will do this for you, or you can use an
audio editing program like GoldWave or Sound Forge.
There *are* CD-R drives that have analog inputs, and can record directly
from audio sources. See section (5-12).
If you use a DAT and haven't been to the DAT-heads home page, you should
definitely check out http://www.atd.ucar.edu/rdp/dat-heads/.
If you want to manipulate audio DATs directly from your computer,
you need a DDS drive with special firmware. The SCSI DDS drives
that are typically sold for backups don't have the firmware required
to handle DAT tapes. Most SGI workstations can do this, and Mac
users should check out http://www.demon.co.uk/gallery/StudioDAT.html
[link dead?]. If you have an Archive Python DDS drive, check out
http://www4.informatik.uni-erlangen.de/~eckert/. Reputable Systems
(http://www.reputable.com/) sells DDS-2 drives with SGI firmware,
Archive/Conner/Seagate model CTD-8000HS.
Some other drives can be supported with appropriate firmware updates. See
An interesting combination of technologies is the DAT-Link, formerly
available from http://www.tc.com/. It connects to the digital connectors
on the DAT machine (or MD, DCC, or CD player) and the SCSI interface on
a computer. The device can be controlled from other computers on a network.
If you're interested in mastering production audio CDs, you should take
a look at http://www.sadie.com/.