Adventures In Audio with Audio Masterclass
Why do some people use equipment that was designed when dinosaurs ruled the Earth?

Why do some people use equipment that was designed when dinosaurs ruled the Earth?


Why do some people use equipment that was designed when dinosaurs ruled the Earth?

Do you still use DAT? CD recorders? Outboard effects units? Come on and admit it – you're a dinosaur!

One thing that people forget about dinosaurs is that they ruled the Earth for a lot longer than we humans have, so far.

So we might think we are the most successful species ever, but we haven't quite proved that we can live up to the achievements of the great lizards.

But there are audio dinosaurs too – equipment that really ought to be extinct by now.

One such is the DAT recorder. DAT stands for 'Digital Audio Tape' and in its heyday everyone had a DAT recorder. And anyone who didn't have one desperately wanted one.

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DAT was used as a stereo mastering format. Before DAT, which means before around 1987, the only option was to master to analog tape (or other ultra-ultra-expensive digital formats post-1980).

Analog tape may have an interesting sound quality that we might sometimes use as an effect these days. But back in the 1980s people hated its murky noise and distortion. DAT was like pure spring water, distilled three times, in comparison.

But then people started mastering directly to computer files, and storing their backups on writeable CD or DVD. Then they started using 24-bit resolution and 96 kHz sampling rate, where standard DAT was only capable of 16-bit / 44.1 or 48 kHz.

So gradually the point of DAT became less and less. And now the only real use they have is to play back old tapes from the archive.


Do you know different? Do you have a DAT recorder that you still actively use?

I'll ask the same question about CD recorders. Do you have a standalone CD recorder that you still use?

Outboard effects units? Why oh why when so many excellent plug-ins are available?

If you are still using any of these types of equipment, please tell us about your motives and experiences, and why you refuse to change with the times.

It could easily be that the ancient dinosaurs of audio are right, and the computerized mammals are wrong. Discussion below…

(By the way, the CD burner illustrated is a recently released product. Someone must be buying it.)

David Mellor

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Producing Lauren Balthrop

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David Mellor