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Audio From a SCSI DAT Drive

See What's New (Last Update 18 May 2024)

NOTE: Before you email me with questions, please read all of the information that I have posted on these pages. Even if you don't understand the technical stuff, you will have an understanding of what is involved, and hopefully won't ask me something that is already posted here.

If you do a search on the various internet newsgroups, mailing lists and web pages, you will find that many people have asked the question "Can I use my DDS data drive to read and write audio DAT tapes?". I asked this question  myself some years back. The answer, in a nutshell, is maybe. That maybe is a very specific, qualified maybe. To see why, read the Background Information page.

In late 1998, I managed to acquire an SGI DDS drive that was capable of handling audio tapes. As a challenging project, I decided to see if I could gather enough information to write a program to read and write audio data with this drive. At the time, I mainly used Windows 95/98 and Windows NT, so that was my chosen platform. I make no claim to being a programmer, but I had written some programs in VisualBasic over the years, so VB was my chosen language.

I managed to write some subroutines to talk to SCSI devices, using the Adaptec ASPI for Win32 interface. The ASPI documentation and subroutines are written for C programmers, so things did not work at first. I determined that a wrapper DLL was needed to interface with VB to reverse the order of parameters passed on the stack (see the Source Code page for more information).

After some additional research and trial and error, I was able to read audio data from a pre-recorded audio DAT. I was able to save the audio data to a WAV file on disk and even play the audio through the Windows sound device (this needs work). I had gathered enough information to begin writing routines that would allow me to write audio data to a DAT, with minimal timecode data included.

Due to some difficulties getting VB to do what I wanted, the project stalled. I decided to post the VB source to my partially written program, additional technical information that I have gathered, and other useful tidbits for the benefit of everyone.

I would appreciate being kept informed about what use is being made of this information. I can act as a central point of contact, and will be happy to add additional information or links to other web pages.

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Copyright 2000 by Joseph Gray
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