DA-38 machines with DA-88 tapes

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Joined: 01/12/2004

I'm just wondering if I could use a DA-88 tape to play on a DA-38?

I worked for a big time rap group who one member just passed away in December. I'm in charge of converting all of his masters onto cd (and finding them as well). I have a whole thing of DA-88 tapes but he no longer had any DA-88 machines but i found a cheap DA-38 machine off of ebay and was wondering if I could use the DA-38 to convert the DA-88 tapes onto cd?

Joined: 02/12/2009

Yes! ...with a few notes:

Audio recorded on a DA-88 will play back on a DA-38. They are both capable of recording and playing 16 bit audio at either 44.1k or 48k sampling rates. Just pop the tape recorded on a DA-88 into a DA-38 and it will automatically switch to the correct sampling rate. (Only 24-bit tapes recorded in the later 24-bit DTRS machines with "HR" in their names wouldn't play back in a DA-38.)

These are most likely unmixed multitrack masters, although they could be stereo mixes. Multitracks could be really useful for remixing as they allow discrete access to each instrument/voice.

If the original sessions had more that 8 tracks (ie if any of the tapes are labeled "tracks 9-16" "tracks 17-24" etc), you'll need more than one DA-38 to play the tapes back as a set. A common scenario these days is that people transfer the tapes into a computer workstation. If so, it's possible to transfer only 8 tracks at a time but it then takes some work to "line up" the tracks again.

But if the original recording sessions used SMPTE timecode to lock up these multitracks to an automated mixer, the DA-38 can't access that timecode.

I've got tons more info on these recorders, how they work and what cables you'll need here:


And here's the details on the DA-38:

p.s. If you're in the SF Yay Area I can help out with DA-38 or DA-88 rentals (but not outside Northern Cali).