I have moved some steps further. I found a utility, fat32format.exe, that did the job – the usb-connected Seagate disk was now recognized by the Tascam. To be sure, I also did a Quick format on the Tascam. I am glad to report that disk size remained 930 GB, I was afraid the Tascam would take it down to 32. And the disk was still recognized when I plugged it back into my PC. Good news!
However, I could not quite make it work, in wireless mode – the disk insisted on coming up as a media unit, treated by the Windows media player, which does not recognize .dsf files or the like (as if DSD never happened).
Nevertheless, I now have a portable library of analog-sounding music, 250 albums or so with a 1 TB disk, that can be brought along with the Tascam or any other DSD-capable player that accepts an external USB-connected drive. Great. I don’t have to bring a little box of SD-cards, but can have it all in one place. Also, the disk works fine in USB 3 mode, files transfer at 105 mb/s - very good. Perhaps it is the battery inside - I don't need an external mains adaptor (which I hate, anywhere near my analog system), the disk works just fine connected just from the Tascam USB port.
However, I met a brick wall regarding recording to the hard disk. Whatever I tried, a message came up: “Format limit – cannot record”. As in George Harrison: It don’t come easy
Very interested in your progress on this. Want to record my vinyl to 2x DSD and was at first excited about this unit and just assumed since it has a USB port that it would also act as a DSD/PCM USB DAC and record directly to an external hard drive as well.
But... I wondered about the SD card and so I called them and they confirmed that it isn't a USB DAC at all. Bummer!!! Why not??? Maybe so as not to monopolize sales of their UD-501?
Well, they lost my patronage on that point and I decided to fence sit until something with better connectivity comes along.
But... It sounds like you do in fact have it working as a USB DAC directly from your hard drive?... How do you catalog 250 albums with the User Interface on the Tascam alone?... I was hoping to hook it up to a music server running J-River. Am I asking too much?... I've waited 30 years for digital to finally come of age and don't mind waiting a few more if this isn't ready to record and play DSD files directly to and from my computer based music server.
>It sounds like you do in fact have it working as a USB DAC directly from your hard drive?
Yes. You can use it for playback from a large external drive formatted by Fat32format.exe. Although I have not (yet) managed to record to the drive, I can record to a SD (or CF) card, and then transfer to a PC.
>How do you catalog 250 albums with the User Interface on the Tascam alone?
I don’t. I just take note of what LP sides go to which dsf file. Then, when the SD card is full, I put it in my PC and transfer the files wherever I want them. I do all the folder naming and file tasks on the PC since the Tascam like all similar devices I have used is inferior in this regard.
I can use the Tascam is several modes:
1 Recording vinyl (or live music), just described.
2 As a standard DAC for playback of digital sources. I set Monitor on, and select between AES/EBU from my CD player and Spdif from my Logitech Touch.
3 As a semi-portable vinyl playback unit – bringing the drive along, I can playback ca 250 albums in 2x DSD format. Or live recordings, etc. This includes playback of LPs I borrowed and recorded.
So for me, the DA-3000 is a very good value, even if the DAC in the UD-501 is probably a bit better (and the Astell & Kern 240 more portable).
I have never used J-River. Since it seems to recognize .dsf files, it should work? I saw this debate:
Best of luck. Fully agree regarding digital coming of age. Should have happened long ago.
I looked at the Tascam and decided not to get it partially because of the small disk issue. I got a Korg MR-2000 instead. Unfortunately, they are only available used. I write to the internal drive on the Korg and then connect the Korg to a PC via usb to transfer the files to the PC. Like you, I find the digital version very close to the vinyl. I am waiting until I get a DSD DAC before doing all the conversions. I want to decide if I should do it in PCM or DSD. The advantage of PCM is the ease of declicking. As far as I know there is no inexpensive option to declick DSD. I originally was looking at a unit that connected directly to the PC through usb, but decided it was better to go directly to disk and avoid any timing issues with usb and the PC.
It sounds like you might be storing the whole side of a record as one file. If you want to turn that into tracks, you might want to look at Vinyl Studio. It works with DSD files and allows you to pretty easily separate individual tracks. It connects to an online database (can't remember which one) and offers your options to identify the recording and then imports the track titles. You can then separate into tracks, which is a manual process. But you do not have to type in all the track names. It takes a little getting used to, but I can now separate into tracks in 10 or 15 minutes, depending on the album. It also will declick your file, but requires you convert to PCM first. If declicking is of interest, you might try converting to 24/192 and declicking and then compare that to your 2x DSD. There is a free trial version of Vinyl Studio that has all the features, it just does not allow a declicked file to be output. The full version is only $29.
And, yes, J River does handle DSD files. It can also convert DSD to PCM and vice versa.
Thanks! I am on holiday now, and will take a look at the program later.
I've had the Korg MR-2000 and now the Tascam DA-3000. Both very good recorders, but I personally feel the Tascam is better, especially when it comes to digital processing. There are large SD and CF cards that are very fast too so transfer to a computer is easier. The Korg USB interface is rather outdated since it is not USB2.0 certified.
However, IMHO, both Korg and Tascam units need substantial hot-rodding in order to come close to vinyl (at least my vinyl). To my ears, the DA-3000 with all-linear power supplies, new clocking and transformer-coupled ADC input (no Op Amps) is the closest to vinyl when recording in DSD.
Alex - the usb on the Korg is only used to transfer files. As long as it does that, and it does that fine, I don't see any issue with it being certified. To transfer files I just go into usb mode and move the files onto the PC with Explorer. Easier and cheaper than moving a card.
My Korg has the Busman input mods. I do not plan to use it for playback. I prefer to use J River for playback.
Comparing vinyl to digital, either PCM or DSD, is very dependent on the DAC. When comparing PCM to DSD people are usually comparing the characteristics of the DACs rather than the formats.
Dtc, sure, that is the case with the Korg, but compare to 100MB/s transfer via USB3.0 using CF or SD card that are linear powered.
I had done a very extensive work on the Korg before giving it up. This includes external linear power supply and ADC input stage, as well as other things. Still I prefer the Tascam.
I never used the Korg or the Tascam for playback. Monitoring was done through a digital interface directly to my DAC.
Sure, I agree. However, I've don't know of a PCM DAC that can perform as well as DSD.
I have a Korg MR-2000s and am waiting to see if Tascam markets a recorder with a DSD256/11.2 MHz converter with BNC digital input/output for DSD (supports SDIF-3, etc. and DSD-raw formats).
It would be interesting if the Mytek Manhattan DAC/Preamp offered SDIF-3, etc., DSD support.
Nice setup, O_holter, btw :-)
Alex - so a Schitt Loki is better than any PCM DAC :) I wish it were so. It would save us all a lot of money.
Even for a product like the Ayre, some people like the PCM better than the DSD. Different strokes for different folks. For example, I can hear a difference between PCM and DSD using the Korg as a DAC, but I would be hard pressed to say one is significantly better than the other.
Just to make things more interesting, as you know, most of the DSD DACs actually convert to a multi-bit format for final playback and some convert to PCM for playback.
Dtc, good points! :-)
After trying many PCM D/A conversion configurations, for me, DSD is closer to analog.
The DSD stream can actually be compared to analog, because even with a simple RC low pass filter it is already converted to analog. Don't try this with PCM. :-)
If I remember correct, the Korg has CS4398 DAC. Interesting experiment is feeding this DAC with PCM and then with same PCM information but previously converted to DSD. In both cases data is processed through the multi-level DSM, but, for some reason, DSD sounds superior. :-)
In my experience, most DAC chips (with the exception of those converting DSD to 176.4/24) sound better with DSD compared to PCM. It is probably the digital filtering involved. This is the reason why many current manufacturers use the DAC chips with external digital filter programmed to DSP or FPGA. Still, DSD sounds more analog to me. :-)
Fund times indeed.
First the good news. I brought the Tascam and harddisk along on holiday - as source in the Ming Da amp and Aurum Cantus speakers system at our cottage. It sounds great. Better than the Korg Mr1. Not surprising perhaps, but i am glad i can get such a large percent of the sound in the main system - in a very modest system like i have here. It is more open and layered than with the Mr1. Less sterile and cold than Sacd from my other source Oppo 981. Also, changing the driver tubes in the Ming Da to NOS Rca 12bh7 and 12ax7 has helped.
Dsd pcm debate - agree with both sides. Dac means a lot. But to my ears Dsd is better. Not heard top class pcm dacs though.
Interesting news. There is a modded version of this Tascam available by Decware. I have 3 Decware amps and speakers. I'm very happy with their products. This Tascam might be worth checking out, as soon as I have the money.
A little update, regarding the DA-3000. All in all, in my situation, it does very well. The DAC is fairly good, not much worse than my former Stello, and in some respects better (so I sold the Stello). Mind you, I am not that much into digital anyway, since in my system, it is outperformed by the vinyl / analog source. So "fair enough" mid level DAC performance is good enough for me, and the DA-3000 used as DAC delivers that.
Also, it delivers recordings from analog - and it is this capacity that matters most for me. Especially now, when my Aesthetix Io Eclipse phono stage is in for repair. I can't play LPs but I can play the Tascam recordings of some of some of these LPs.
All in all, the recordings sound good, much better than web downloads, with the exception of some very good hi-res web downloads. Most of the problems I hear, reside in the source, not in the DA-3000. Although it is not quite the "direct" analog. There is a little extra digital "sheen", even with 2 x DSD speed recordings, especially in high dynamic parts of the music, but mainly, the recordings are much better than lower format digital recordings.
So the DA-3000 is maybe not quite a replacement for my old work horse, the Revox A-77, the analog tape recorder, but it is getting close...
Hi, any luck with the recording onto the hard disc?
Hi - an update from my side.
No, I cannot record directly to my external hard disc. But it mostly plays OK, used as a file library.
I have about 600GB of DSD files on my 2TB Seagate wireless plus external hard drive, cable-connected to the Tascam USB port. I am not sure, how much the disk can take, before the Tascam gets into trouble (too many files, out of filename space, or whatever) - but so far so good. I have had some problems though. Once, doing a huge 100 or so gigabyte copy from my pc to the Seagate, something went wrong, and Tascam would no longer recognize the disc, I had to reformat it.
But it mainly works fine and the only problem with this solution - as long as the disc and recorder cooperate - is a long starting time. The Tascam tape recorder icon starts to spin and keeps on spinning for 2-3 minutes for the Seagate disk.
On the other hand, the Tascam is then transformed into a formidable media player with a 300 album library at hand, so for me, this has been a great solution.
FWIW, I use a FAT32 formatted external 250GB SSD plugged into my DA-3000 USB port and it works fine.
O_holter, I was reading with interest your posts on connecting a Tascam DA-3000 to your Aesthetix Io. I am considering exactly the same configuration to start digitizing some of my vinyl.
As I recall, you have the Io with volume controls, correct? This is what I have in my system (but not the Eclipse, for which I envy you!).
Are you connecting the Tascam to the RCA or the BLR outputs? Are you experiencing any frequency balance problems due to impedance loading with both parallel outputs in use?
Glenn at Aesthetix told me he thought this would work as long as I’m willing to deal with managing the volume control setting. It looks like you’re actually doing it and it’s working for you. Are you still happy with the results you’re getting?
rushton, I have the Io also. I bought the a/d converter by Benchmark. I connect the Io into the Benchmark with rca interconnects and then use a digital coax cable to connect to the Tascam 3000. Its set up as a slave so it lets the Benchmark do the converting and then its passed through to the Tascam and puts it on the flash card. This does a better job than the Tascam alone. I record in 24/176 where both machines are set. I use the meters on the Tascam which are a lot better than the meters on the Benchmark for the recording level. I don't leave both outputs connected to the io at the same time when I'm recording. I think it sounds better this way. I attach a B & W portable speaker monitor connected to the output of the Tascam as my monitor instead of headphones.
Jwm, thank you for sharing how you're doing this! Since you're recording to PCM, I understand your preference for the Benchmark. I'm strongly considering going with double DSD for my recordings, so the DA-3000 makes sense for that based on what I'm reading.
I'm hoping to record while I'm listening and to have a recorder always connected for that purpose. So, I'm not surprised, but a bit disappointed, that you're hearing an improvement in sound quality by disconnecting the parallel cable to you amp when you're attaching the Benchmark. I see that Benchmark's analog input impedance (through it's XLR inputs) is 200k ohms. The DA-3000 is only 22k for the RCA inputs and 10k for the XLR inputs. This suggests that the Benchmark would be better isolated from the second parallel output on the Io, but it still is an audible degradation to have both connected. Too bad. :-(
Another question about the Benchmark... The specs show it as having only XLR analog inputs but you say you are connecting with RCA interconnects. Are you using an RCA-XLR adapter going into the Benchmark from the Io?
Yes cardas adaptors. I'm not impressed with dsd even 2x. 24/176 I feel is much better.
There has been no comments from me, due to no recording on the Tascam. My main source, the Aesthetix Io has been repair for a long time. Now, it is back.
Rushton: using the Tascam to its best capability double DSD is the best way, I believe. And, I prefer recording to the Tascam through a good preamp (I use Einstein The Tube) rather than direct from the Io. An ideal might be the Io through the Callisto or an Atma-Sphere MP1 but the Einstein does a good enough job for me, now. I tried some recording from the line out SE taps on the Einstein, but the balanced out (with volume) sounds better, Volker at Einstein writes - "by far".
This makes the recording more of hassle - I have to change the balanced out cables, unplug from my amps, plug into the Tascam, to record. Such is life.
Better digital streaming (Tidal Master, etc) has narrowed the gap to my vinyl drops, but vinyl still has an edge.
Jwm - why 24/176 - not 24/192? Not impressed with DSD - maybe you have the wrong DAC, it is not optimal with the Tascam? Judging from the Tascam alone, I have experienced that double DSD is what it does best..
I was a bit surprised that a preamp maker told me to use balanced out (volume controlled) rather than line out, for recording. In the old days it was always "use line out". I recorded many vinyl drops on my trusty old Revox A77, and the line out was the way to go. Are there others, recording from vinyl, who have experiences in this regard?
The purist philosophy has been formulated as 'straight wire with gain'. My experiences point to the fact that the right combination of gain stages is a key for this 'with gain' part to work.. For example, having a Riaa with volume controls, I can tune it optimally as a source for my preamp. My preamp volume takes over, from there. Much like getting the right juices flowing, or mixing a sauce right. One might think, introducing one more gain stage is bad, but sometimes, it is not. However, it is very dependent on the quality of the gain stage. A lower quality gain stage will compromise the whole amplification chain. A nice thing about the "mixed" approach where amp stages can be volume controlled, is that you can tune them to the level where they sound best. - Just my five cents, from testing various Riaa stages and preamps, in my system.
I am using the Tascam as my main DAC. I either record from vinyl, play vinyl recordings, or play digital music. My source for digital is the Squeezebox Touch. This can play 192/24 bit files, now, with the EDO plugin (Enhanced digital output and Kernel updates). The Tascam performs all tasks, but switching between recording mode and digital input DAC mode is a bit of work. Recording mode - DSD 5.6. Digital playback mode 192/24 PCM. Recording levels need adjustment too. I sometimes get a warning message "Digital input is illegal" in playback mode, yet it plays and records ok.
While I am at it - one last thing. Don’t record too polite and low, on the Tascam. I went down too low on my early DSD recordings, and have to turn the volume way up - 15-20 percent to sound standard loud, on playback devices like the Fiio X3ii. It sounds pure but too weak. It is probably OK to record DSD files a bit lower than the over-compressed "modern" sound standard, give them more room to breathe, but I overdid it. I am testing, what is the right level.
I really enjoy my Tascam 3000. And I agree that you must try to come close to max out on the peaks when recording. I have used it to record the analog out from SACD, DVD-A, LP's, Blu ray concerts and live TV broadcasts. I then transfer those recordings to my external hardrive for playback through my Bryston BDP-2 player.
But, I don't think that using the units Dac for playback is a good thing.
Ozzy - nice to hear. So what do you use as Dac?
Just picked up a used Decware modded version of the DA3000. Jury is still out but I do like what I'm hearing. I like the NOS Dacs, but this unit with upsampling and Decware output stage takes this unit to a completely new level! Steve provides a sample card recorded in DSD which is exceptional and rivals many of the best stock/modded Dacs I have listened to over the last many years!
If you want to take the DA-3000 further and can justify $900, synchronize its clock input to an external oven-controlled clock. To record at DSD128 I connect it to an Antelope LiveClock at 44.1kHz. This significantly improves both ADC and DAC sections of the Tascam. The LiveClock has a 12-18Vdc power port that can be upgraded with a good linear power supply as an alternative to the stock wall wart. The LiveClock can also be synchronized to an 10mHz master atomic clock. This may seem like overkill, but with this set-up DSD128 recordings played back through my Esoteric K-01X get very close to the LP. It’s been rather astonishing to "listen to" a clock with at least 50x more precision than the Tascam’s internal clock.
I thought about but didn’t pop for the Decware mods, as it appears that Decware does nothing to improve the ADC section.
If I use the DA 3000 for playback only (SD Cards, SPDIF Input)
1) Does the Live Clock improve the sound?
2) How would I install (which connections to use) the Live Clock to benefit SD card/SPDIF playback?
The Tascam has a Word Clock Sync 75ohm BNC input for connection to an external master clock, and a setting on the screen menu to switch from internal to external master clock. A higher precision master clock will improve both recording and playback of SD files, and also conventional DAC operation from the SPDIF input.
It’s a significant improvement: more detail, more accurate pitch and timbre, tighter LF, bigger soundstage, livelier dynamics, calmer background. Of course the old recordings that you made with the internal clock won’t sound as good as new ones.
Thank you for the response and the information :)
Looking into one and hope to purchase soon.
I have another question which is kinda basic but before I jump into an external clock I need to ask...
To connect the Live Clock I would use a BNC Cable from the Word SYNC Out from the Tascam to a Word Clock In on the Live Clock, Then another BNC cable from the Live Clock Out to the Word Sync IN connector on the Tascam?
Then go through the menu and sync accordingly?
Sorry if this is too basic but my gear in the past was always internally modded with upgraded clocks.
Sorry OP not trying to hijack the thread...this is my last post regarding the live Clock
Just one 75ohm BNC cable from LiveClock Word Out to Tascam Word Sync In. Set LiveClock to 44.1kHz for DSD and to intermediate frequencies up to 192kHz for PCM. If you decide to purchase one, Sweetwater has great customer service. They also sell Canare BNC cables in various lengths.
Thank you dgarretson for your help! :)
I’ll sum up my experience after nine months with a DA-3000. The stock unit is capable of very good DSD128 recordings. Quite convincing, if recordings are played back through a better DAC than the one that’s incorporated in the unit.
With lite internal modifications to the ADC and power supply sections, the recordings become nearly indistinguishable from the LP source.
Externally, the unit responds to a better power cord, footers(Stillpoints Minis), and above all, synchronization to a good Word Clock(Antelope LiveClock powered by a Hynes LPS).
Tascam is unresponsive to requests for schematics, so I limited the scope of internal modifications to what I could understand from inspection and a manual trace of the ADC section. The simplest upgrade is to replace the three-pin regulators on the power board with Belleson +/-12V discrete regulators. This is an improvement, but nothing like digging into the ADC section.
The ADC section is a simple circuit, comprised of two stages of electrolytic coupling caps and NE5532 SOIC op amps, a balanced JRC NJW1195A volume control chip, and a Burr Brown PCM4202 ADC chip.
The NE5532 is a generally well-respected op amp. The twenty or so coupling and power supply filtering caps in the ADC section are mediocre Suncon/Sanyo parts. I replaced them all with Panasonic FM and raised the value of the op amp filtering caps from 22uf to 100uf. I bypassed eight 47uf electrolytic coupling caps with a combination of small film caps (.01uf MIT RTX polystyrene and .01uf Russian FT-1 teflon.) This was a bit of work, but nothing beyond what a basic technician could do in 2-3 billable hours.
The modified ADC and power supply section takes the unit up several notches. Now it’s close enough to the analog source to confuse me as to which is which. You sit on the couch, stroking your beard, musing that what looks like and prices out for the Pro Audio market, is really anything but.
There is little on the DIY or Pro forums about modifying the unit. The DECware mod addresses just the DAC section. Lampizator tried converting the DA-3000 ADC section to tubes, but doesn’t appear to have productized the modifications. In any case, the above mods are within the reach of anyone with good soldering skills and a spare afternoon.
@dgarretson...How did you mount and isolate the Belleson SPZ’s to/from the heat sink? Can you recommend a particular isolation kit? We’re you able to reuse the M4(?) screws that held the original 78/7912’s in place? Thanks for all the info on upgrading this unit.
@mre28m5... The Bellesons are drop-in replacements for the original regulators. I reused the original thermal pads and screws.
BTW, desoldering the stock Suncon electrolytics from the audio board requires a little technique. The OEM solder is so dry and desiccated
that it won't melt for extraction without first flowing on a bit of fresh solder to reactivate it. Thereafter extraction goes smoothly with removal braid or a vacuum bulb. The multilayer PCB is of high quality and there is no tendency for pads or traces to detach.
Good luck if you try it! Now I just need to find the motivation to re-record everything I did prior to the mods.
The Belleson SPZ’s arrived today and I installed them. In response to a question from me, Belleson support contacted me last weekend and kindly offered to include insulator kits at no extra cost. That’s great customer service. Insulator kits are Mouser p/n 532-4880.
I used the screw insulator insert from each kit over the original heat sink screws. The kit also included an insulator sheet identical to the originally installed 78/79XX tab insulators, which I used. If I had to do the installation again, I would use both the original and the Mouser insulation sheets. It can’t hurt.
I suppose that the insulators aren’t needed on the SPZ78 because the tab of the TO-220 is at GND. However, the center tab of the SPZ 79 is the unregulated input, so isolating the SPZ79 is necessary. I wonder if I ordered a different part or if Belleson changed their design recently. (?)
In any case, the unit works post-modification. I haven’t had a chance to make any recordings yet. Can’t wait to hear the results. Turntable is being set up at the moment.
@dgarretson... Thanks for doing the R&D. I hope you won’t mind if I ask a question or two re: the capacitor mod at some point in the near future.
Glad that worked out for you. I had forgotten that I used insulating shoulder washer Digikey p/n HS418-ND to float the Belleson metal tab from ground.
Now that the audio board mods are breaking in, I’ll take a shot at tracing the circuit on the power board. Tascam uses four 2200uf and 6800uf Panasonic FK filtering caps that are keepers, but there are two Suncon 100uf filtering caps that appear to be at output of the Belleson regs and three small Jamicon electrolytics that may be worth replacing. IIRC, Belleson recommends a higher capacitance than 100uf at output of the SPZ-- which is why I increased filtering capacitance at the downstream op amps from 22uf to 100uf.
If you try the audio board mods, be gentle with the wide, flat ribbon cable. It has many tiny foil traces, several of which began to fray and peel back a mm or so during reinsertion. The solution was to use long sharp scissors to trim back the ribbon a tad and restore clean traces. As this type of cable is not designed to survive many reinsertions, it’s best to get all ADC mods done in one pass.
The Panasonic FM electrolytic coupling caps for the ADC should have their .01uf film bypass caps placed on top and soldered point-to-point to the legs of the FM cap before mounting the FM to the PCB. There not enough room to do the bypassing as an afterthought.
Just an update that I replaced the remaining stock Jamicon and Suncon electrolytic caps on the power board with Panasonic FC. This produced a modest improvement in SQ in DSD128 recordings, but worthwhile given the small effort of removing the power board once more. I think this is the finish line for the Tascam.
This little project has progressed in parallel with SACD rips via PlayStation 3. With a decent cartridge, tonearm, turntable, and phono stage as analog source for DSD128 recordings(in my case Stanton 981LZS>SME 3012R/Kuzman 4P>Luxman PD-444>modified Pass XP-25), vinyl recordings on the modified Tascam DA-3000 are on par with DSD64 SACD files. Playback for all files is QNAP TVS-882>SOtM modified D-Link EN switch>SOtM SMS-200 Ultra>SOtM USBultra>Esoteric K-01X, with all components synchronized to a Stanford Research Systems Perfection 10mHz rubidium clock and powered by a four-rail Paul Hynes SR7 linear power supply.
In short, the Tascam is a sleeper and a killer.