Copy DAT music to FLAC

I have an old TASCAM DA-20 MKII Digital Audio Tape Deck, that although quite old, still works. I also have over 100 DAT tapes I would like to copy to FLAC or burn to CD to save the contents of this tape. The only digital output of this deck is Coaxial. Is there any way possible to copy these using the DSD through it’s coaxial input and somehow transferring it to a computer for further processing? Any help on this matter would be greatly appreciated. THX!!

You need to send the digital output of the DAT to the digital input of your computer using appropriate software.

You can send the digital output to the DSD to listen to it, but the DSD will not help you record the digital stream. You could, however, record the DSD’s analog output as a new digital recording but I would not advise this approach as it involves going from digital, to analog, to digital again.

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Yep - a USB “soundcard” with coaxial digital input is what you need, if your computer doesn’t already have a coaxial dig input.

But do they exist? The only one I now is a sound blaster for a desktop. How does that work with a laptop?

There are all sorts of stand alone audio digital interfaces which plug into the computer.

Many manufacturers also make cards which go into desk tops.

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google is your friend :slight_smile:
“USB sound card coaxial input”

Any toslink examples?

I did as you suggested and all that was returned was coaxial to analog, or usb to coax. Can you provide some real word links to actual products that allow spdif or toslink input via usb and let you save the result to your hard drive?

not many, in all fairness, most folks want an analogue or TOSLINK out from their PC via a USB gadget, but there are some, a “pro audio” site is probably your best bet, Canford have something (but a bit dear at 800 quid ish)

Yes, I did find some examples at this sort of silly prices some time ago, but Sound blaster did the whole thing for about £50 but only via a desktop a decade ago

looking like an old PC with an old soundblaster card may be your best bet.
also Mac Mini’s have optical in as well as out, cheaper than some of the pro audio gear to find an old (e.g. 2009 vintage) mac mini, they is a combo 3.5 mm and optical in a single connector - optical / coaxial converters are cheap on amazon.
Alternatively if you don’t want to spend big, just use the analogue out. as @Elk says this is not “purist” but will work, and probably sound fine…

If I understand what you are looking for, here is one example:

One caution, pro optical (ADAT) is different from TosLink even though they use the same cable. ADAT is eight channels and a different format than two channel TosLink. It is sort of like HDMI v. I2S. If you are looking for optical make sure you get the correct type of optical for your purposes.


yep that looks like it would do it - annoying to have all the bells and whistles though - I remember old soundblaster cards had SPDIF ins and outs…

Thanks Elk, looking at the spec it takes s/pdif. Provided you can get a toslink 2 spdif converter that can handle 48kz, and assuming it can record bitperfect then it should do the trick. Amazon uk also has it at £218 at the moment as well.

i was looking at optical coaxial converters on amazon the other day…

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There are all sorts of options, dozens, including interface cards. One just needs to some sorting and looking.

Sound Blaster still makes cards, too.

i googled plenty, but gave up after ten minutes :wink: