Alignment, error correction limits of a particular deck, AND digital data 'signal level' being read off the tape are all factors in getting a good playback with DAT tape.
Not uncommon for different makes of decks to vary in relative alignment, and if off by too much, most decks have a 'mute' function that decides on 'silence is better' than you hearing something very awful.
Alignment issues can cause both lowered data signal level (data recording level can vary on same recording deck solely from maker's DAT tape formulations) and/or increased read errors where either or both conditions if too bad can cause the playback deck to mute.
In addition, cassette shells need adequate precision to handle tape in certain consistent manner for providing some range of supply reel friction/low friction take up reel. This is much less a concern with multiple motor DAT decks with full 4-motor transports able to handle most of the worst cassettes with relative ease. Sony miniDAT decks are 1 motor types for recording playback, so cassette shell needs be in very good condition for low data errors
So you've got recording deck's ability to produce a 'low error' count tape, its tape alignment relative to playback deck, cassette shell issues during both recording/playback, type of tape formulation producing adequate data signal, and error correction ability of the playback deck to consider when having problems playing DAT on various machines.
I guess it's NO WONDER many have dropped recording to DAT very soon after Flash/HD decks became affordable considering all that can go wrong.
Most found DAT reliable if sticking with new tape from proven good runs from reliable tape manufacturers, didn't let their recording heads wear down too much to not self clean by themselves anymore, and used reliable standard size playback decks with multiple motors for rewind/playback/transfers. Reliable DAT service providers helped keep everything working as needed.
For the rest of us tapers, seems most compelling reason for moving past DAT was the time-consuming tape transfer process. This, I think THE main reason the rest of us finally retired our DAT decks and soundcards for newer flash/hard drive models, most now also having 24 bit depth recording ability. I feel likely that once hooked on 24 bit recording modes, most are finding it very hard accepting 16 bit depth all that adequate anymore.