DAT tape question


Feb 16, 2005
A friend picked up a couple of DAT tapes for me but ended up buying different tapes than I was expecting. They bought Verbatim "Computer Grade Data Cartridges" I'm just wondering if there is a difference between these and the TDK or Sony audio DATS that I have used before. I'd rather not unwrap and try them if they won't work.

Thanks for any advice.


Well-Known Member
Feb 10, 2001
snyderman said:
Computer Grade Data Cartridges
Derek, they will not work, those kind are for data storage. That is most likely NOT the right tapes for your DAT.
Those are for computers.


Actually they will probably work. However they will most likely sound like complete ass. They're probably a lot thinner tape and therefore more likely to get chewed up in the decks transport. They tend to have a thinner tape and a longer record/play time. The main application I've seen people use Data grade DAT is hobbyists taping live concerts. The tapers like the ability to get 3 hours on one tape. For studio I would stick to audio grade DAT because it will sound better and probably have a lot fewer errors. This makes the mastering engineer a lot happier.


Well-Known Member
Dec 31, 2003
Stay away from anything longer than 90 minute tapes in particular, they'll stretch and cause incorrect record/playback speed.


Jan 4, 2005
They absolutely will work, and the tape itself often comes off the exact same "spool" as an audio grade tape. The big difference is they are designed for computer storage and ZERO data loss (even though this isn't possible). So they should in theory result in fewer errors on the tape over its lifetime. They are manufactured to a much higher QC standard because of this.

I've used both computer and audio DATs for years and there is absolutely no difference between the two (except about $10 per tape) when it comes to using them for audio purposes. I use only DDS tape in my machines (when I even use a DAT) unless someone gives me an audio grade tape.

Audio grade will NOT work in a DDS drive however, because the one difference between the two types is the leader on the data grade tape identifying it as such. Audio tape does not have it and will not be recognized in a data drive. The leader is totally irrelevant for audio use though.

I do support the assertion that the thinner tape is riskier though. 60m data grade = 120 minutes, 90m data grade = 180 minutes. Same size shell, same size workings - how do they fit all that extra tape in there? :twisted: