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Discs & Dat

July 04, 1987

In Dennis McDougal's article on digital audio tape ("DAT Recorder Debate Erupts," June 22), the implication is that the ability to record onto DAT will overshadow the benefits of the compact disc. However, there are many disadvantages inherent to DAT that were not mentioned.

First, DAT is not (as stated in the article) read by a laser beam. The tape passes in contact with a playback head, similar to that in a standard audio cassette. This friction produces wear and tear that eventually destroys the DAT. The starting and stopping of the tape transport system produces stretching of the DAT.

Also, there is a beginning and an end to the tape, eliminating the ability to instantly access a given track. Lastly, the largest advantage of DAT is not really that impressive. Being able to make a "perfect recording" is only as valuable as the quality of the source material.

We're back to the compact disc, aren't we?

ROBERT W. BARRETT

owner, Compact Disc Center

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