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Old February 17th, 2003, 09:22 PM   #1
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Tascam DA-P1 DAT Recorder

Recently I purchased a used Tascam DAT recorder. Is there anyone else who has or uses the DA-P1 for their production? I just wanted to know if there were any recommended settings I should look out for or any thoughts on this recorder in general would be greatly appreciated.

Additionally, unless I overlooked it somewhere, I think this community should have a dedicated Production Audio forum. What do you think?
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Old February 17th, 2003, 10:44 PM   #2
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Christopher,
Nice piece of gear! I decided to go the MiniDisc route with the HDR MD-500.

I've no experience with the Tascam but I came across this fellow who's way over the top on the DA-P1. Maybe he'll have some useful tips for you.

Matthew Haydman's Digital Audio Resource Page

Have fun Christopher!
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Old February 17th, 2003, 11:22 PM   #3
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Hey Ken, thanks for the great link! Always interesting what people are submitting to the web, so much information around. I plan on emailing the person responsible for the page for more info. For example, I'm curious if there's a way to determine the total number of hours used on the unit (and verify for sure whether mine indeed has "low hours"). Don't know about the rest of the data but I'm sure it will come to use one day.

I was thinking about going MiniDisc too but I gave in and purchased the DAT. I'm not familiar with the HDR MD-500, is it on B&H's website?
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Old February 17th, 2003, 11:32 PM   #4
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...is it on B&H's website?
'Tis, but it would have saved me much $ if 'twasn't.

HHb MD-500 PortaDisc @ B&H

I've posted some supplemental info on it at this thread.

The LA Final Cut Pro Users Group also did a very good review on it.
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Old February 18th, 2003, 01:01 AM   #5
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That looks like a solid double-system solution to me - you're making me second guess my purchase! Since I just got my DAT today I've only tested it briefly but I have to admit I know nothing about sound aquisition.

How is your setup arranged? Do you connect your camcorder as backup in some instances? Right now I'm confused about recording stereo since I plug the mic into either left or right XLR ports - how do you do this, I end up with only one channel? Sorry for such a newbie question.
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Old February 18th, 2003, 01:39 AM   #6
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The HHb PortaDisc is very similar in usage and features to the DA-P1. It features left and right XLR audio. (It actually also has an onboard mic, although not very practical for use.) For most of my applications a single channel of audio acquisition is fine and actually buys additional record time on a single disc. I normally spread or pan single-channel audio across left and right channels in post-production.

I can capture 2-channel stereo on the PortaDisc by using a stereo mic, like my Audio-Technica AT822, which features separate L/R plugs. You would do exactly the same with your DA-P1.

DAT has historically been the gold standard for audio due to its sampling rate and lack of compression. But, for me, MiniDisc was a more practical and economical alternative. It's compression and slightly lower native sampling frequency pose no real degradation to the audio that I can discern. While transfer of audio to the computer must be done in real-time, like the DAT, the MiniDisc makes individual tracks (ie. individual recording segments) randomly and immediately accessible.

In terms of expendables, MiniDiscs cost lest than $2 versus DAT tapes which cost around $5 for comparable capacities.

PortaBrace also makes an excellent field case specifically designed for the PortaDisc, just as they do for your DA-P1.

So, for me, the compromises seemed very small compared to the overall performance and ease of use of MiniDisc.

If you're interested in learning more you can view the product's brochure and its users manual at the HHb site.
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Old February 18th, 2003, 06:04 PM   #7
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Ive owned several pieces of Tascam gear -DA30 mkll dat recorder - cd recorder - multitracks etc. they build the equipment like tanks and every major studio has at least one piece of tascam in it at some point.

Ken ive been looking into that HHB MD looks like a fine pice of machinery!
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Old February 18th, 2003, 08:23 PM   #8
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Hey Matt, that is good to hear, and seems to be the consensus from people I've spoken to about the Tascam DAT recorder. It does seem very solid and the tape heads sound like they can take heavy abuse (no pun intended).

If I understand correctly then, I can only record to one channel unless I either purchase another microphone or perhaps some cable adapter? I have a Sennheiser ME66...

I follow your reasoning, Ken, I especially like the lower media price and MiniDisc's capability for tracks. How many shoots have you taken this unit out on already?

Here is how I will connect the Tascam to my computer for digital download:

http://www.edirol.com/products/info/ua1d.html

I haven't downloaded anything yet but I'll report back later what I think of the process.

(How do I place websites with words and sentences instead of the entire URL?)
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Old February 18th, 2003, 09:30 PM   #9
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This should help with the code. If you're still having problems, email me and I'll try to help. It's difficult to type on the site because everything gets turned into a link.
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Old February 18th, 2003, 10:08 PM   #10
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Christopher,
At this posting I've only had the HHb for a relatively short time so I've only been able to use it perhaps 8 times. As with any such equipment, experience counts. I felt very comfortable with it after the first 2-3 sessions. The key to it's easee of use is to properly establish the presets, some of which I noted in the other mini-disc thread.
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