DA88 errors

Discussion in 'DRTS Multi-channel Recorders' started by timo, Apr 24, 2015.

  1. timo

    timo New Member

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    hello, i have a DA88 that I just turned on after about four years. I have a bunch of tapes that i want to transfer to protools. For some reason it's giving me error messages -- the tape is too thin or it isn't the proper type of cartridge...but they are the right cartridges and were the very tapes originally used in the machine. Ever heard of this? any idea? am I SOL unless i want to pay to get it repaired?
    thanks for any feedback!!

    hope this is the right place for this question
  2. Gravity Jim

    Gravity Jim Well-Known Member

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    It may simply be deterioration of the tapes. About 20 years ago, I synched MOTU's Performer to a DA-88, which I sometimes took on the road to record vocals parts in other studios. Just about 10 years ago, before I sold the DA-88, I tried flying some of those tracks into the computer (just as you're doing now), and found that the tapes wouldn't play, or would have 30 second drops across all 8 tracks, etc. The horror of those early digital 8 tracks, ADAT and DA-88, was that the data just fades away... it was not durable storage in any way.

    So, like mine, I would guess that your DA-88 would record and play back fresh audio just fine, but the tapes you want to transfer are shot, simply from sitting around getting old.
  3. timo

    timo New Member

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    Thank you Jim. Not what I was hoping to hear, but thank you.
  4. Gravity Jim

    Gravity Jim Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, it's a bummer. If you have a clean tape, you might try recording and playing back s couple minutes, even just time across all 8 channels, just to make sure... But it's likely just old tapes. :(
  5. rontoz

    rontoz New Member

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    Are you able to [test] play your tapes on another machine?
    I still have my old Tascam DA-50 DAT machine, and have had great luck recording with it on occasion, and especially playing archived tapes. But because of normal wear to those helical heads, I due find it necessary to keep the heads very clean, as well as making sure the tape back tension/reel torque adjustments are optimum.
    Your machine might respond very well to some tweaking.
    My Tascam gear has been quite durable [and repairable] for me over the years.
  6. Gravity Jim

    Gravity Jim Well-Known Member

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    It's probably not the deck, and DAT proved to be much more stable than digital 8-tracks. ADAT and DA88 masters are widely known to lose their data. But, like I say, by all means... check the machine.
  7. wkrbee

    wkrbee Active Member

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    It's the machine.After setting for years,the lube has dried up and the transport parts are not moving correctly.By the way I service these.In So.Cal.
  8. Gravity Jim

    Gravity Jim Well-Known Member

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    I disagree. My 88s were running perfectly, but the tapes had deteriorated, and would not play on my machines or on the continually used 88s that belonged to a friend of mine (he dragged them around for location recording). It would take decades for modern lubricants to dry up, if that's even an issue: why would the transport points be lubricated with anything when even the tiniest bit of goop on a tape or a helical head would ruin the recording? Don't all these parts turn on silicon bushings?

    To restate, it's probably the tapes, but check the machine. You can't know what's wrong by reading a paragraph on the Internet.
  9. wkrbee

    wkrbee Active Member

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    Some of the tapes sold at the beginning of the DA- 88 lifetime were pretty crappy.Dic Dat ,Ampex 288 and 488 tapes for instance.You didn't say what brand or type,(MP or ME),tape you were using Jim.The ME,(metal evaporated), tapes didn't hold up. I have both DAT and DTRS tapes recorded during the 90's on known good tape that still work fine. Also, unless the machines were verified to be in alignment,there could be compatibility issues.The OP is describing a very common failure of non-use-the back tension arm which regulates tape back tension fails to move into the correct position due to the lube gumming up.Since the arm is moved into position by the tension on a very small spring,it doesn't take much to cause a problem.Without correct back tension,(too low), the heads on the drum cannot read the data.

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