An Interesting Video on DAT

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An Interesting Video on DAT

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Postby Squigsquasher » Mon Jan 23, 2017 8:22 am

I was browsing YouTube and found this rather cool video on Digital Audio Tape (DAT), which is of course the format Shinji's music player uses. Worth a watch for anyone interested in learning more about our unfortunate hero's favourite format.

Some facts worth noting if you can't be bothered to watch the whole thing...

>Shinji must be very, very careful with his player, or the bizarre technology standstill must have advanced the durability of the technology, because portable DAT players were notorious for breaking.
>The format actually sounds better than the CDs of the era, and was still used by the recording industry for a long time. Which is ironic, because...
>The recording industry of America tried to get the format banned due to the theoretical ease of making copies of CDs or recording off the radio (which is rather silly considering what a slow process recording/copying music with DAT was) which is the primary reason the brand never made it big outside Japan.

A shame it'd take absolutely forever and cost a fortune, because otherwise I'd try and transfer the S2 Works to DAT format, just for funsies.
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Re: An Interesting Video on DAT

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Postby pwhodges » Mon Jan 23, 2017 9:11 am

Not a bad video.

DAT, as developed by Sony, is also known as R-DAT, because it uses heads on a rotating drum that the tape wraps around - just like in a VHS or BetaMax video recorder. I have a library of DATs, as I used the medium for live concert recording, for studio recording of the first CDs I made, and also for a time for archiving copies of my older analogue cassettes. I still have both portable and home DAT machines in full working order and properly aligned (alignment of the tape guides and the rotating drum is crucial to correct operation, as in video recorders). The "Super Bit-mapping" mentioned in the video is a dither with noise-shaping, and is thus excellent if the recording is to be final, but not so suitable for use if it is to be digitally processed and edited subsequently.

The term S-DAT was used in contrast for a short time to describe a system with stationary heads which was developed by Philips but didn't make it out of the lab*. Considerably later Philips instead introduced a stationary head system called DCC which used digital compression, and so was a competitor for the later Sony MiniDisk, which also used compression.

* The lab machines used many tracks across the tape, and it was actually harder to keep the domestic-width tape sufficiently well aligned to the head in these systems than in the rotating systems, which is why the S-DAT systems lost out. However, big studio digital machines with two-inch tape were less of a problem and were made and used for a considerable time.

So it turns out that the term "Sony SDAT" used in Evangelion is a fictional format name (presumably a slight modification to avoid copyright or trademark issues, as often happens in anime), even though the logo looks like the Sony "DAT" logo. None the less, Shinji's machine looks very like the Sony TCD-D3 which I used in the mid 1990s (and which had a lead-acid battery!).
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