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DA-88 vs ADAT, your thoughts?
Old 14th March 2003
  #1
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DA-88 vs ADAT, your thoughts?

I'm considering a purchase, anything I should know about?

I thought my two MOTU 896 and (at the time) best G4 TiBook I could buy would work well together. I guess MOTU expects you to only want to be tracking for a few minutes.
Old 14th March 2003
  #2
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The Adats are dirt cheap secondhand, and easy to get serviced. Decent enough sound quality "Bitter Little Pill" Alanis Morrisette was recorded on those. Maximum record time of 60 mins though.

DA88's favoured by the film fraternity, not so common as the Adats. These will cost you more secondhand, 90 min + recording.

I would respectfully suggest you should look at the 24 track Adat HD24. Its for no money and records direct to hard drive. Other options would include a computer based system, maybe running DP3, Logic, Nuendo etc.

Tip: If your budget is tight and you aren't into the Mac thing, your money goes a lot further on a PC. Top spec PC's are nearly twice the speed of top spec Mac's.

Regards


Roland
Old 14th March 2003
  #3
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I would seriously look into the HDR option, but if given a choice between a DA series tascam of any variety and any ADAT, I wouldn't even turn on the Alesis to make a decision, the Tascam units kill them in every aera, IMHO. They lock faster, more consistantly, the tape fromat is more solid, the transport is better, more record time...
Old 14th March 2003
  #4
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i agree with steve, If you have one adat, fine. but locking them up is a joke. And the "hooveresque" sound they make is disconcerting. We have a NO ADATS ALLOWED policy at our place. no joke. The six daxx machines we own have been really reliable, in house and on the road. Can't say enough good things about em!
Old 14th March 2003
  #5
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You can get a used DA88 for around $500.00. Why bother with ADAT?

If I got an ADAT for free, I would sell it, scrape up some additional bread and get the Tascam DA88. But that's just me.
Old 14th March 2003
  #6
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If you've decided on a stand alone digital recorder definitely check out the HD24. I've had mine now for about a year and a half... nothing but love. I'm pretty pleased with the sound of the converters, particularly considering the price point of the unit. It's a total breeze to use, has all the basic editing stuff on board (copy, cut, paste, etc.) and blows the **** out of any of the "tape based" MDM's out there!
Old 14th March 2003
  #7
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Quote:
Other options would include a computer based system, maybe running DP3,
I have 2 MOTU 896's and DP3 and a 100gig 7200rpm external. My MAC is a TiBook 800mhz with 1.12 Gig of RAM. I like it but I need to be able to stabley track 16 tracks at 24bit 48khz and so far I'm not being able to get it to record for more than 15mins or so without getting pretty bogged down. The buffer indicaters don't go over 25% but they get erratic and the counter numbers move sporatically. I've talked to tech support and I think I have all my setup optimized. in Nov this was the nicest TiBook you could get ($3500) and now you can get a much nicer on for $1000 less.

I was thinking of getting DA-88's for tracking and then I can import to DP3 for mixdown.

Anyone run a simular setup and know more than the goofball techs there?yuktyy
Old 14th March 2003
  #8
jho
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Quote:
Originally posted by Roland
Top spec PC's are nearly twice the speed of top spec Mac's.
????? this is incorrect; you can't base speed comparisons off of the megahertz ratings. apples and oranges.
Old 14th March 2003
  #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by cleantone
... I was thinking of getting DA-88's for tracking and then I can import to DP3 for mixdown.
Not at 24/48k you won't, the "88's" are 16 bit. The "78's" are the only 24 bit tape based MDM's IIRC. Adats only got as high as 20bit (Xt20). Any particular reason you have your heart set on digital tape as opposed to H-disk?
Old 14th March 2003
  #10
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Well, yes. Read the post above the last couple. I know 88's are 16bit, I didn't know that 78's are 24bit, thats good! I have seen some 88's new for $1000 though. I bought my setup for this purpose I just have been trying to get it running perfectly sine November and without 100% success. The hard part is that I want to track 24 48 for a couple hours straight at least. Yes I know that 88's are 90min. ADAT is very compatable with alot of studios but I'd prefer to go Tascam, if at all. I'd really prefer for my current set up to work like I want it to. Wht if I wanted to do 24 96, what kind of computer would you need for the new 192khz MOTU interfaces, sheesh!grudge
Old 14th March 2003
  #11
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Remoteness's Avatar
Hold on a minute!

The DA78HR is not the only 24 bit recorder.

DA98HR & DSD98 both can do 24/48 plus 24/96 and 24/192.
The DSD98 can also handle the new DSD configuration.

All Tascam DAxxs can record at least 113 minutes of information.
That's 23 minutes more then 90! Many times I can get up to 116 minutes out of a single cassette tape.

Reliability is why I still use tape based digital. Even when we're recording to HD, we always back it up to tape.

The tape backup saved our ass' the other day on a high profile date! We were recording to ProTools and the system decided to stop recording after about 40 minutes of live video/SMPTE lockup. Luckily for us, our DA78HRs didn't fail. We were able to lock the 78s to the PT and punched into the section that lost the audio record...

Originally he didn't think we needed the tape backup. Needless to say, the engineer walk away very happy that the live performance was saved. We don't leave home without it! Tape back up that is. I honestly don't think a second PT rig would have saved our ass'.
Old 14th March 2003
  #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by Remoteness
Hold on a minute!

The DA78HR is not the only 24 bit recorder.

DA98HR & DSD98 both can do 24/48 plus 24/96 and 24/192.
The DSD98 can also handle the new DSD configuration.
You are indeed correct sir. I forgot about those... my bad.

Quote:
I honestly don't think a second PT rig would have saved our ass'.
Hmm, what makes you say that... do you think they both would've "coughed" at the same time?
Old 14th March 2003
  #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by Remoteness

All Tascam DAxxs can record at least 113 minutes of information.
That's 23 minutes more then 90! Many times I can get up to 116 minutes out of a single cassette tape.

Unless you are recording a live show where you need more than an hour of continous music, the length of time per tape is inconsequential. ADATs can hold up to an hour of music, and the only time that has ever been an issue for me is live recordings where the lenght of DA... tapes would not have helped. If we were talking about the cost of 2", it would be an issue. All MDM tapes are cheap compared to 2".

I have been using ADATs for 8 years now, started with blackface and now have 3 xt20s that still see use. Keep them maintained and calibrated, they work fine.
Old 14th March 2003
  #14
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Tim L's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally posted by cleantone
... The hard part is that I want to track 24 48 for a couple hours straight at least. Yes I know that 88's are 90min. ADAT is very compatable with alot of studios but I'd prefer to go Tascam, if at all.
Agreed, if I had to go back to "tape based" digital it would be the Tascam's. That being said, the HD24 can handle just about any size IDE currently manufactured (up to 2000gb). You can do 'hours' of uninterupted recording across 24trks, 24/48 with the right size drive. I dunno... might be worth a look see. I do hope you can get the rig you have now working though. Good luck with it.

Regards,
Old 14th March 2003
  #15
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I am considering the HD24, I would hope that it is very stable considering it's a all in one box thats not comunicating with other things. Tape based is good because you can do just the tracking and let them take the tapes somwhere else if desired. Not to mention I have had people call me and say they have session tapes and would like to work on them, I have to say [idiot voice] "Duh, I don't have ADATS or DA-88's" [/idiot voice]

One issue is that I'm little more than a hobbiest trying to get work. I actually went to that "Full Sail" school years ago thinking ti would gte me into the industry, yeah right!

So I want to be a freelancer and spent all my savings on my current set up, I've saved a few thousand since but I work little more than part time for $15 and hour, and am staying with the folk for the last 1.5 year just to pull this off.

Alright now every can point and laugh...fuuck
Old 14th March 2003
  #16
Super Moderator
 
Remoteness's Avatar
Quote:
Originally posted by Tim L
...Hmm, what makes you say that... do you think they both would've "coughed" at the same time?
Well, in my opinion, backing up a HD with a HD is not really a backup...

But, like I said, that's my opinion.

Individually or at the same time, "coughing" is forever on a location recording. I'm not certain, but there's a fair possibility that they could have "coughed" at the same time. We had video black & SMPTE TC coming from the video truck. What took down the PT in the first place, could have done it to both of them.

I'm not really sure about it, until we do a test before the next live video shoot with PT. But either way, it's a HD and anything can happen to the drives.
Old 15th March 2003
  #17
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Quote:
Originally posted by jho
????? this is incorrect; you can't base speed comparisons off of the megahertz ratings. apples and oranges.
That's correct, they both use different processors, but you can when independent people do tests using Apples own benchmarks. I believe it was a mac user site that I originally saw that test on.

Truth is that Pc's have been quicker than Macs for quite some time. I feel able to comment on this due to the fact that I own fast examples of both (dual 1ghz Mac and Pentium P4 2.2 ghz).

Pc's are running fsb speeds of 533 mhz as against 133 that my Mac does. Being that they are both PCI buss this is a direct comparison.

Another test that doubters might like to run is the Logic audio reverb test. Set up several stereo tracks and open up platinum reverbs on each. The dual 1ghz is capable of between 19 and 21. A PC with a 2ghz chip should manage around 35. This test is a great one as it shows directly how much computing power is available to the application. Don't get me wrong, I have in the past been a great supporter of Mac's and still own and use 3 on a daily basis. IMO they have unfortunately fallen victim to the greater investment that backs the PC platform. Its a shame that music people still hold onto the mac is the world ideaology.

Apples vs Computers!!!

Regards


Roland
Old 15th March 2003
  #18
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Quote:
Originally posted by Remoteness
Well, in my opinion, backing up a HD with a HD is not really a backup...

But, like I said, that's my opinion.

and mine.. I think the only reasonable backup to use on a live gig ( or any critical tracking gig,for that matter) is a Backup that will survive a total system failure. A tape based recorder can lose a power supply, die comepletely, experience loss of word clock, fall, get kicked, and you will not lose the information that you have already recorded. show me a hard drive that can do that, and you have a replacement for tape. Maybe.

And speaking of crashes, problems, Steve, have you ever had a Tascam DA series deck give you grief that it caused ?( getting ****ty word clock source from someone doesnt count that isn't the machienes fault, that is our own fault for trusting a video truck....)

I have used 88's 38's and now have 6 78's and they have NEVER EVER taken a dump on me. Never not locked. As long as you pre-pormat tapes and weeb out any bad media, these machienes are rocks, IMHO.
Old 15th March 2003
  #19
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Quote:
Originally posted by Steve Smith
and mine.. I think the only reasonable backup to use on a live gig ( or any critical tracking gig,for that matter) is a Backup that will survive a total system failure. A tape based recorder can lose a power supply, die comepletely, experience loss of word clock, fall, get kicked, and you will not lose the information that you have already recorded. show me a hard drive that can do that, and you have a replacement for tape. Maybe.
All good points but nothing's indestructable... nothing. I've had zero prob's backing HD to HD ( on a large piece of exotic hardwood) but I can certainly see the wisdom behind running two separate formats simultaneously. Particularly on "location" work.
Quote:
I've used 88's 38's and now have 6 78's and they have NEVER EVER taken a dump on me. Never not locked. As long as you pre-pormat tapes and weeb out any bad media, these machienes are rocks, IMHO.
I've seen them go down... but I must say it was due to owner/operator neglect as far as cleaning and maintanence.
Old 13th February 2011
  #20
Gear Head
 

I know how old this thread is but I have to say this...

dfegadTascam DA-88 versus Alesis ADAT ??? Almost a decade later and I have to set the record straight........

I have talked to several tech's on this matter of repairing the Tascam DA-88 machines and some of their other Hi-8 tape based machines, and they and I have come to this conclusion:

They were by no means more reliable than ADAT machines. Why? After only a measly 1,000 rotary head hours or less you will need to replace the rotary heads because of the lousy tape tension problems from the piss poor tape transport design on the DA88. They shipped them with Way too much tape tension and it wore out the Tascam rotary heads and the tape prematurely. Also the tape transport had problems with locking up the tape and causing a tape spill crash, possibly ruining both the rotary heads and your recorded tape if you could get it out of the machine ?

So Tascam DA Hi-8 machines versus the Alesis ADAT SVHS machines ? I am not saying ADAT's were perfect either but they did not have major problems such as this and they did cost way less new than Tascam.

Almost all ADAT tape based machines are still working today ! Just some people cleaned their ADAT rotary heads the wrong way destroying them in the process. But no ADAT rotary head has been ever replaced due to it wearing out. ADAT Tech's have replaced a few damaged heads and motors, rubber idler wheels, and maybe some rotary head motors on a few ADAT machines, but that was about it.

Otherwise the Alesis ADAT tape based format is rock solid, and according to the tech's, they only need to be lubed and cleaned every couple of years and they keep on running. If taken care of, ADAT tape machines will still work fine even today. Many have less than a 1,500 head hours, so they have plenty of life.

Also the SVHS tape format is far more wide and more durable than the small cassette sized TASCAM Hi-8 tape format.

Also the ADAT tape transport is far easier to keep clean and is far more robust and does not wear out as easily as the Tascam tiny little Hi-8 transport. What makes it worse is the Tascam DA-88 has a problem with sucking in dirt into the heads and tape path from a power supply cooling fan. Thus shortening the life of the machine and the tape even further. ADAT has no such problems and stays cleaner much longer.

On multiple ADAT XT-20 machines and their time to lock up to each other, well they are just as fast or faster than TASCAM Hi-8 machines.

It was true that the older blackface ADAT machines were a bit slower at the lock up time with multiple machines, but still it is not as bad as people lead you to believe.

But people are so very impatient today. For example, lets say you get a flat tire on your car, rather than bother replacing your car tire, nope it's time to buy yet another brand spanking new car instead. The same if your car battery goes dead oh well time to get yet another car. Must be nice to have endless money and endless deep pockets to throw everything away that is still good ?

I have several blackface ADAT machines still in use today with well over 5,000 head hours on them still working fine.

I can't say that with the many thousands of TASCAM DA-88's out there dying after only a 1,000 head hours or less ! Most of the TASCAM rotary heads are toast today and the transports are dirty and jambed up from the cooling fan sucking in dust.

Strange that the TASCAM DAT machines never had these problems, most are working fine today. Except stay away from the Tascam DA-40 Dat recorder, it was designed poorly and had many tape transport issues.

ADAT Lightpipe Optical format is widely used in allot of hardware, however the TASCAM TDIF digital connection format is or never has been widely used and has completely died off.

The only people using TASCAM machines are video production studios and most wanted for years to replace the DA Hi-8 machines with something far more reliable. A thousand head hour lifespan after spending several thousands of dolllars on one Tascam DA machine, what a big waste of money !!! Although they were good for a longer recording time for doing 2 + hours of video sync and audio 8 tracks using only one machine.

But ADAT can do video sync audio just as well using the BRC. ADAT has almost endless record time when using multiple machines taking over after the first machine, its SVHS tape runs out about 60 minutes or so.

Of course it is still easier to deal with only one machine and one tape for a 2 + hour video' though and that is why the DA88's won over for video production work.


So why would anyone still use ADAT today? Well for one thing, its' reasonable cost and easy expansion for more tracks when needed. It is dirt cheap now for a good used ADAT tape machine and second, It has far more inputs and outputs for recording and playback than anything else on the market now for the price and features. And I like ADAT's BRC to make things easier to control.

And third, it forces me to play Live, linear tape recording, and makes me practice harder and to become a better musician'. Rather than just cut, paste and loop the life out of my music using a DAW, which can be good for some music.

And four, I never worry about computer software and email distractions because I am not using a computer when I need to record.

And number five, It's easy to set up to track drums or whatever in a another room or house when I don't feel like running long ass cords to a mixing console desk. And I can easily bring it with me to record a piano in a friends house some where, I just bring a descent XLR pre-amp small mixer and some good condenser mics along.

I can't believe what used gear sells for now a days, penny's on the dollar verses the original cost of retail back then !

Playing Live breathes Life and Humanity into music, I know for a fact that Pro Tools can suck the life out of music if you get crazy with it. No matter what you use to record with, make it simple and make it sound good......

Last edited by aarowsmith; 13th February 2011 at 05:45 PM.. Reason: I digress, I will keep my opinions to myself from now on
Old 14th February 2011
  #21
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Remoteness's Avatar
...Well, there you go then.

That being said, I'm still glad I waited for the Tascam DA*8 series of DTRS machines.

They were a much more pro recorder for us; as they said, YMMV.
Old 28th May 2011
  #22
Gear Head
 

Thanks for your post aarowsmith. It's a good followup to a long forgotten subject. You hit the nail on the head when you said these machines are cheap now! Crazy cheap compared to their original prices....and they could still perform today.
Old 28th May 2011
  #23
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UnDeFiNeD's Avatar
 

wow...2003..this must be those vintage tape machines you guys are allways talking about!
Old 28th May 2011
  #24
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For what arrowsmith said,
I have known many a tech and many a user who while agreeing the rascals had head life problems, the ADAT had many more transport problems! That cheap superseded JVC transport was not designed to run at high speed neither was the head!
Now the rare ADAt based on the Panasonic professional transport was a thing another story but less than 500 were made!
Do you know how Alesis got the License to use SVHS ? The deal was they had to use the crappy transports JVC couldn't Dump on anybody else! Go have a drink with the JVC guys, mention ADAT and and suppository and watch them laugh !
Oh that DA88 transport, that was a version of the flight recorder transport, they did cheapen it a bit , but then there was a reason the only ADAT you would find at a post house was for transfers.

And yeah a sold a ton of both!
Old 28th May 2011
  #25
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Remoteness's Avatar
Right on ddageek!
Old 28th May 2011
  #26
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Both ADAT's and DA-88 units have their tape transport issues, but the greater tape surface area of the SVHS tape used in the ADAT makes it a better archive format. Like a lot of project studios, I used black face ADAT's for many years back in the 1990's. I always recorded on Maxell SVHS tape. Every once in awhile I have to transfer one of those tapes and they always play perfectly. I may have an occassional issue with an ADAT machine, but not with the tape itself. If you could keep a machine working, I bet those Maxell SVHS ADAT tapes would still play 30 years from now.
Old 29th May 2011
  #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ddageek View Post
Oh that DA88 transport, that was a version of the flight recorder transport, they did cheapen it a bit , but then there was a reason the only ADAT you would find at a post house was for transfers.
The reason DA88's became the standard in post houses was because the format stripped smpte to the tape, on its own track. You pop that tape out, insert it into any DA88 deck and the smpte code pops right up.

Adats didn't stripe smpte to the actual tape. Smpte was created by the BRC remote which calculated it from adat machine time code. The result was that you needed to know what the smpte settings and offset were and enter them into the BRC. I believe there was a way to store smpte settings in the 1st two minutes of tape, but can't remember if it was thorough. Either way, this was just too complicated and time consuming for post and the simplicity of having smpte directly on it's own tape track was why DA88's became the standard for post.

The M20 adats came out to address that issue, with smpte being stripped to its own track on tape. But it was WAY too late then, DA88's had already flooded the post market and became the standard. It also was the beginning of the end as HD costs started to drop greatly.

I have 4 of the M20's that I got dirt cheap when Alesis went belly up. they are by far the best video tape format audio recorder made. Though that is a moot point now....
Old 29th May 2011
  #28
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fleaman View Post
I have 4 of the M20's that I got dirt cheap when Alesis went belly up. they are by far the best video tape format audio recorder made. Though that is a moot point now....
Would you like to sell one dirt cheap??
Old 29th May 2011
  #29
Um...forgive me for saying so, but is someone having a conversation with a straight face about buying ADATs or DA-88s in 2011? For the price of one of either of those machines, you can have a PC that can record a basically unlimited amount of tracks, never mind mix, process, etc. etc. Even the first PC I ever used to record anything serious (Pentium II 233 mHz with a staggering 64 MB of ram) takes an ADAT to task. Why in the name of high school football would you piss away 5 bills on such an ancient device?

Yes, I know, tons of you have tons of ADATs and DA-88s that run just fine, and good on you, it means you took care of them and your investment paid off...but why would get one now? ****, for 500 bucks you can get an iPad that does basically the same thing as an ADAT with more tracks, and last I checked you couldn't check your email on a blackface. (Not that one needs to neccesarily, I'm just illustrating the total obsolesence of those old machines.)

I am SURE you could spend that money more effectively, whether it be on a cool interface or whatever, but buying one of those now would be like walking into an audio/video store and asking for a VCR. Nothing wrong with them, and they were great in their day, but if you pay more than 50 bucks for one you're getting ripped off.
Old 29th May 2011
  #30
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Fleaman DA88 did not stripe SEMPTE to tape like the ADAT it recorded it's own digital sync that was converted to SEMPTE via the optional sync card ( ADAT used brc or jlcooper box or the fostex which had SEMPTE card built in !
The DA synced better because of the transport !
Your machines were the exception!

As far as archive both suck , tape width isn't as big a deal in digital helical scan. I give DA88 slight edge because the hi8 tape was a slightly berthed formulation and Sony held licenses to a slightly higher standard!
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