31 March 2007
DAT'S DAT (REQUIEM FOR A DYING FORMAT)
The urge for a bloody good Spring-clean has come upon me and, as part of the effort to rid my groaning shelves and choked cupboards of all superfluous flotsom, I took the decision to finally dispose of all my DAT tapes. This is not something I do lightly: Those DATs represent nearly a decade of personal musical expression and experimentation. But I haven't had a working DAT player for several years and besides all the best stuff got transferred to cd-r ages ago. I had half a mind to try and sell them, but I'd only do that if they were blanked first, which I have neither the time, inclination or facility to do. So they've been consigned to the dustbin, for the sake of a few extra precious inches of space in my little den.
It occurs to me that there might be some readers who don't even know what DAT tapes are. For a quick history check the Wikipedia entry. DAT tape never caught on as a serious alternative to cassette or cd in the consumer electronics market, but by the early nineties it had become the standard format for mastering in professional and amateur studios alike. All your favourite tunes from the early hardcore/jungle days were almost certainly recorded on these babies. I bought my first DAT recorder in 1993 - a budget model by Aiwa - and it completely revolutionised my recording methods, simply because I was able to record, copy and playback music in perfect digital fidelity for the first time. Those tapes weren't cheap - about a fiver for a 90-minute version - but I loved them. I remained loyal even when mini-discs came out offering cool editing features. Yet now, in the age of cheap hard disc recording solutions and even cheaper supplies of CD-r/CD-wr/DVD-r , they seem as archaic as the old 8-track cartridges of the seventies.
Farewell, my beauties, you have served me well...