I can see only disadvantages to recording digital to tape. Tape is inherently prone to wear and breakage, plus there's the cost of the media itself. Why not just record direct to HD or SSD?
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Hi Uber, I used R-DAT in studios without any issue. Fast, accurate cue-ing, indexing features and excellent SQ. One studio was NFL Films where all sound was shot using DAT. It worked flawlessly in the field and studio. First generation decks had some bugs.
I encountered a consumer grade DAT once while working in a studio, and although it had equally high quality sound, the transport wasn’t as accurate for cue-ing and some tapes had tracking errors.
In my friend’s home DAT sounded fantastic. He used it for archiving and mixed tapes for partys.
If you go DAT, my suggestion is to buy a professional-grade recorder. It has a time code channel for sync even if you don’t intend to take advantage of it, ie, editing.
You’ll have to weigh cost and benefit of tape vs other other digital recording devices.
Portable DATs are cheap on Ebay, I have no knowledge of their quality.
I had a Sony DTC75ES I bought in 1990. I found some of the DAT tapes I recorded had dropouts 5 years later. A few years ago, I offered the Sony deck to my brother who is in a jazz band. He wasn’t interested and my thinking of it being a dead format, brought the deck and tapes to a place that recycles audio equipment. I am still kicking myself in the ass for that dumb mistake.
I can only vouch for Sony; made in Japan, excellent build quality, worked very well. They have the typical Sony PITA menu dialogue as their other components.
In a pro setting, a sync generator is required to lock the deck’s data to other machines. I think in a home setting it is set to internal sync.
Uber, I have reservations about the longevity of the cassette tapes. The tape is extremely small and thin but the transports handled them gently during FF and Rev. I don’t know how the oxide and the winding of the cassette holds up over time.
Although, during the era of the DAT, we would eject tapes and toss them around and they were physically very sturdy. They do sound excellent in a home system, but as stated it is a dead format.
Due diligence required, don't buy an early production model. DAT had some bugs in the beginning.
Digital tape has one advantage over recording to computer - according to RIAA it is legal to copy any music to digital tape (including friends CDs) because royalties were paid by tape manufacturer. Audio CD-Rs and MiniDisks are also legal, but copying CD that you don't own to plain data CD-R or computer's HD is illegal.
Recording to Audio CD-R seems easier than DAT, but it cannot be erased.