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Author Topic: DAT archiving transfer - digital 16 bit or via analog to 24 bit?  (Read 694 times)

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Offline ArchivalAudio

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I know everyone has on opinion so I thought I'd ask here. ;)

While I still working on transferring my  master recordings that I made on cassette years ago, some now over 30 years I also need to archive my DAT's too.

One method obviously would be to do a direct digital transfer without any sample rate converting and keep them in the 16 bit 41k or 48k realm.

Another could be to play the DAT's (which has to be done anyway) and take the xlr analog out and archive in 24 bit 48k or 96 k or...

I am transferring my cassette masters to 24/48
I also have a few VHS Hi-Fi and Beta Hi-Fi recordings to transfer as well.... however both these start in the analog realm and than get digitized.

What are pros and cons to transferring digital DAT's  out via analog to 24 bit vs keeping the digital 16 bit stream intact.

In my mind I see the benefit to doing a 24 bit version, though maybe I am overlooking something.

Thanks in advance
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Offline admkrk

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Re: DAT archiving transfer - digital 16 bit or via analog to 24 bit?
« Reply #1 on: July 21, 2017, 09:37:51 PM »
What are pros and cons to transferring digital DAT's  out via analog to 24 bit vs keeping the digital 16 bit stream intact.

In my mind I see the benefit to doing a 24 bit version, though maybe I am overlooking something.

Would you see a benefit to recording MP3 > analog > 16 bit? While that might be more of an exaggeration, the principal is the same. You can easily take away, but you cannot add back in.

Conversions can introduce errors. Even going 16 bit > analog > 16 bit is not likely to produce the same result, and the final result is more likely to be worse than the original. Once you do digital, it is best to keep it in that realm.

DAWs generally "do their work" at 32 bits, but that is a different scenario. They are adding, or subtracting, something; gain, effects, whatever. In this case, the additional information minimizes rounding issues, since there are more "points" to round to. This way, when they take away, go back to 16/24 bits, it will produce a better representation.

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Re: DAT archiving transfer - digital 16 bit or via analog to 24 bit?
« Reply #2 on: July 21, 2017, 10:56:49 PM »
I would do a raw bit perfect digital transfer.  IMO, getting a bit perfect copy of your DAT at the beginning is crucial.  After that, you can do whatever you want...

If you need a 24bit version of something later, you can make the conversion.  A 16>24 conversion via software will give you "better" results than a D>A>D step to get a 24bit recording. 

But if you decide you want to get a D>A>D 24bit recording, you can set up a 16bit playback rig with your raw transfer.  It will be exactly the same as playing your DAT (ie bit perfect), but without the wear and tear on the tape, etc.

Like I said, once you get the raw bit perfect Transfer, you can do whatever you want...

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Offline morst

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Re: DAT archiving transfer - digital 16 bit or via analog to 24 bit?
« Reply #3 on: July 22, 2017, 01:28:49 AM »
I vote for straight digital transcription.

Also I'll caution you that doubling the sample rate (88.2 and 96kHz in this case) will double your file size and add nothing to the audio, except maybe noise. I recommend against that.
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Offline yousef

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Re: DAT archiving transfer - digital 16 bit or via analog to 24 bit?
« Reply #4 on: July 22, 2017, 10:31:10 AM »
I know I've said this before on similar threads but the problem I had when trying to make digital copies of my old DATs was that I kept getting glitches that were not present when I took an analogue feed out of the same player.

I could only assume that somewhere along the the latter route there was some  error correction being applied that simply didn't happen when taking a straight digital feed.

For me any perceptible deterioration in quality in going D>A>D was outweighed by not having any gaps and clicks.

I imagine that experience will vary from one machine to the next (mine is a Sony 55ES) and depending on the state of the tapes themselves...
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Offline morst

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Re: DAT archiving transfer - digital 16 bit or via analog to 24 bit?
« Reply #5 on: July 22, 2017, 03:31:23 PM »
I know I've said this before on similar threads but the problem I had when trying to make digital copies of my old DATs was that I kept getting glitches that were not present when I took an analogue feed out of the same player.

I could only assume that somewhere along the the latter route there was some  error correction being applied that simply didn't happen when taking a straight digital feed.

For me any perceptible deterioration in quality in going D>A>D was outweighed by not having any gaps and clicks.

I imagine that experience will vary from one machine to the next (mine is a Sony 55ES) and depending on the state of the tapes themselves...

Sounds like the analog output HAD the error correction and it was working well. Unfortunately, it also sounds like the tapes weren't playing back properly in that machine.
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Offline yousef

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Re: DAT archiving transfer - digital 16 bit or via analog to 24 bit?
« Reply #6 on: July 22, 2017, 05:14:54 PM »
That's what I assumed. I keep meaning to find a power supply for my D8 and see if they transfer any better in that but have never got round to it.

If memory serves, the D8 may have been showing its age when it was last used 10 years ago.
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Offline nak700s

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Re: DAT archiving transfer - digital 16 bit or via analog to 24 bit?
« Reply #7 on: August 10, 2017, 05:47:27 PM »
DAWs generally "do their work" at 32 bits, but that is a different scenario. They are adding, or subtracting, something; gain, effects, whatever. In this case, the additional information minimizes rounding issues, since there are more "points" to round to. This way, when they take away, go back to 16/24 bits, it will produce a better representation.

Would you please explain this to me.  When uploading 24bit files into Audacity to edit, I have always changed the 32bit to 24bit because I thought I was supposed to.  Now, I'm wondering if I've been doing the right thing.
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Offline admkrk

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Re: DAT archiving transfer - digital 16 bit or via analog to 24 bit?
« Reply #8 on: August 10, 2017, 08:49:09 PM »
I am not familiar with Audacity, so I am not sure what you are changing. A quick look at the documentation turns up this:
Quote
Generally, Audacity imports files at the sample format (bit depth) specified at Default Sample Format in Quality Preferences. This setting defaults to 32-bit float. Therefore by default an imported file will show in the Track Control Panel as 32-bit float, even if its original bit depth is lower. This is best for high-quality editing. 
To me, that sounds like 32 bit is the working rate. If all you are doing is splitting tracks, it really does not matter what it is set to. On the other hand, if you are adding fades or doing just about anything else, then you are probably better off leaving it at 32. Keep in mind that you will also need to dither it when rendering (saving) to 24 bit. Even if you change the working rate to 24 bit and later render to 16 bit, you should be dithering also.
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Offline nak700s

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Re: DAT archiving transfer - digital 16 bit or via analog to 24 bit?
« Reply #9 on: August 11, 2017, 12:50:46 PM »
I am not familiar with Audacity, so I am not sure what you are changing. A quick look at the documentation turns up this:
Quote
Generally, Audacity imports files at the sample format (bit depth) specified at Default Sample Format in Quality Preferences. This setting defaults to 32-bit float. Therefore by default an imported file will show in the Track Control Panel as 32-bit float, even if its original bit depth is lower. This is best for high-quality editing. 
To me, that sounds like 32 bit is the working rate. If all you are doing is splitting tracks, it really does not matter what it is set to. On the other hand, if you are adding fades or doing just about anything else, then you are probably better off leaving it at 32. Keep in mind that you will also need to dither it when rendering (saving) to 24 bit. Even if you change the working rate to 24 bit and later render to 16 bit, you should be dithering also.

I do my editing (reducing claps, bring up levels, fade ins and outs) in Audacity.  I track everything out in CDWave.
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Offline dolphinsmile

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Re: DAT archiving transfer - digital 16 bit or via analog to 24 bit?
« Reply #10 on: August 14, 2017, 03:32:07 PM »
digital sixteen FFS i cant beleive you would even ask.

 

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