Test Drive: DA-302 Dual Digital Audio Tape Deck from Tascam

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by Jerry Vigil

How many times have you needed to make a dub from DAT to DAT and had to transfer the audio to another medium first because you only had one DAT deck? With DAT becoming a standard several years ago, it’s surprising that a dual DAT deck didn’t appear much sooner. Tascam figured it was time, came up with a versatile unit, and priced it at an affordable $1,999 list.

At first glance, the DA-302 Dual Digital Audio Tape Deck is rather unique. On either side of its handsome, black front panel are the two decks, a little narrower than the decks of a dual cassette unit, and each with large dark windows for easy viewing of the loaded DAT. And there are quite a few keys totally new for a DAT deck. Even loading a DAT into the DA-302 is a bit unusual at first. The DAT is inserted downward into the holder with the top label side of the DAT facing outward instead of inward, as is the case with many other decks.

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Connections

The rear panel of this 3U rack-mount unit provides unbalanced analog I/O on RCA connectors. There are two outputs, one for each deck, and one input which is shared between both decks. The Cascade output is another set of unbalanced RCA outs that is used when additional DA-302s are connected to each other. The signals at these outputs can be selected between the signal at the analog input or the playback output of either deck. An optional LA-D302 balanced analog I/O kit is available with XLR connectors.

RCA connectors also provide the digital I/O. There are separate inputs and outputs for each deck as well as a digital Cascade output which provides digital versions of the signals mentioned earlier for the analog Cascade outputs. Both AES/EBU and S/PDIF formats are supported.

External Control connectors use an optional cable for connecting additional units to each other. Finally, the Remote In connector connects to the wired remote control (no wireless infrared available).

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