Università degli Studi di Pavia

Centro Interdisciplinare di Bioacustica e Ricerche Ambientali

Via Taramelli 24 - 27100 Pavia - Italy
e-mail : cibra@cibra.unipv.it

DAT to PC connection

Most high quality PCI sound boards now include digital I/O capabilities to transfer a recording made with a DAT to the PC digitally, without any further conversion. A digital connection allows to transfer the recorded materials to the PC and back without any further degradation related with additional - and not needed - AD and DA conversions. In this way the quality of the recording is completely preserved.

The most advanced boards have both electrical (SPDIF and AES/EBU) and optical (TosLink) I/O; some also have an ADAT interface for connecting 8 channels ADAT peripherals.

Other than on PCI boards for desktop PCs, digital I/O is also available for notebooks through many USB audio interfaces and the recently introduced FireWire audio interfaces.

Though, it is important to carefully verify the digital I/O capabilities of the board you choose: some cheap devices don't perform direct digital transfer of data but they do perform a real-time sampling rate conversion (SRC) in the digital domain. This might be sometime useful, for example to downsample to 44.1kHz a 48kHz DAT recording for CD mastering purposes. Unfortunately, in these devices, sample rate conversion may occur even if transferring a 48kHz DAT recording to a 48kHz sound file!! This unnecessary data conversion introduces artifacts which corrupt the quality of the original data. To preserve the quality of the original data the sound boards should get the incoming sample rate to transfer samples to the PC as they arrive, without any further processing.
Often technical documentation does not provide information about this feature and only an accurate test can show if SRC happens or not. Look at our tests page to learn how to verify if SRC occurs or not.

To know more...

Related Links

Core Sound - cables and accessories

Auditronics - monitoring errors on DATs


Digital Audio Sound Cards

Sound cards' benchmarks 1

Sound cards' benchmarks 2

The Sony D7/D8 Resource Guide

CIBRA Home Page

Page updated on March 17th, 2002.