I'd forgotten how much "fun" this was ..

martin H

Senior Member
Joined
May 16, 2012
Messages
4,018
Reaction score
6,839
Friday night I was looking at the stack of 60-70 multi-track ADAT tapes taking up valuable closet space, and decide that it was time to archive them all to a hard drive and throw them away. The ADAT's haven't been used for about 10 years now, Should be reasonably simple. (HA!)

10 a.m. Saturday - discover that the bearing on top of one of the ADAT heads that allows the control board to rotate on top of the head has seized. Takes an hour to get it loosened up

11a.m. One of the tape fingers on the other ADAT is jammed. More lube and cycling. Clean heads and pinch wheels.

11:45 Two working ADATS.

12:15 Finally found where I put the ADAT sync cable

12:30 Lunch

13:00 Hooked MOTU 2408 up to ADATS. The MOTU has a PCI-324 interface card that will ONLY run in windows XP. Look for Windows XP machine.

13:15 Find ancient XP machine last used with MOTU won't boot - Flashing cursor

13: 30 Find Discarded Windows XP disk Start formatting and re-loading hard drive

15:00 Now have XP installation - install MOTU drivers, install ancient version of Cakewalk to hold tracks.

15:45 How the hell does the MOTU-ADAT sync work? does it send sync or receive it? Consult online manual

14:00 ADAT sync cables are wired like a standard serial cable but have two male plugs. I don't have a second sync cable needed to connect to the MOTU. Go into roof and root around in box of discarded serial and parallel computer cables to find serial cable and gender changer

14:30 Everything is finally hooked up. Assign 16 channels in Cakewalk to the 16 ADAT channels. Fire up ADAT #1 with a tape. Audio has crackling.

14:45 Remember that, even though it is receiving sync from the ADATs, the MOTU interface still has to be manually told what the sampling rate is.

15:00 Still some random crackling , but only on ADAT 1 - # 2 seems OK

15:15 Switch light pipes and now #2 crackles Go into roof and search for spare light pipe;

15:30 Sixteen channel finally transferring without extraneous noises. Joy!

15:45 Start sorting tapes into pairs. Realize that at least ten have lost labels, or are marked with helpful notations such as "A1" . . . . .

GOD BLESS the DAW and recording to a hard drive!
 

Freddy G

V.I.P. Member
Joined
Mar 18, 2007
Messages
17,323
Reaction score
46,594
haha! I had a hell of a chuckle reading that! Boy I remember the fun with ADATs :)

2 years ago I was tasked with archiving reels of Ampex 456 1/4" tape to hard drives.

Almost 40 years of shows! :wow:

Most of the tapes were deteriorating (sticky shed syndrome) so I had to take them one at a time to our greenroom and ask chef to bake them for me. Oh the looks I got!

It took me the better part of a summer to accomplish.

yep...thanks god for DAWs!
 

martin H

Senior Member
Joined
May 16, 2012
Messages
4,018
Reaction score
6,839
I remember that process. One of the things I wanted to retrieve from the ADAT tapes was a dub of the 2" 24 track masters to our first album that was made about 17 years ago.

We took the 2" tapes into the local studio, and they were completely sticky. The engineer told me about the baking process. I spent a nervous evening with a pile of tapes in the oven at it's lowest setting.

Three of the masters were Ampex, and did quite well when baked. The fourth was Scotch, and was still a bit troublesome.

I've now transferred about 12 hours of tapes, and the ADATs are behaving like troopers considering how bad the tape storage conditions were!
 

Latest Threads



Top