How do I record from a DAT machine using C12?

I just updated to 8.5 Pro and have a Steinberg C12 box. I bought a DAT machine off of Ebay in order to transfer old DAT tapes into mp3 files. Cubase recognizes my C12, so I know I set up that aspect properly, but I don’t know if I should use an audio, MIDI, or ? track to record. I’ve tried, but don’t see soundwaves moving when I hit “record.” What steps have I missed?

Firstly if the DATs are really important to you the C12 probably isn’t the best bit of kit to transfer them to your computer. DATs are digital in format so it’s better to copy them via a digital link such as sp/dif or toslink, both commonly used on DAT machines, that way it’s a straight copy (for these purposes) of your original material.
The only way you will be able to do it with your interface is to use the analogue outputs of your DAT machine and connect them to the inputs on your C12. This will convert them to analogue and then back to digital inducing noise and possible errors, then converting them to mp3 will also degrade the audio quality further, depends on how important the tapes are if this is acceptable or no to you though.
Also it would be worth you spending some time with the manual, hitting you tube for how to videos and finding out the difference between audio and midi as it’s kind of important :wink:

Personally if the tapes were important and i was in your position i’d think about getting either someone you know who has the facility or get them done professionally… or see if there’s anyone in your locality on this or other forums who might be able to transfer them for you.

Thank you for responding and explaining. Before I bought the DAT machine, I paid an engineer to do the same (transfer from DAT to digital). These are interviews, so there’s isn’t much that can go wrong with a person talking. But I do have some music and don’t understand what you mean by “sp/dif or toslink, both commonly used on DAT machines, that way it’s a straight copy.” What software do I need in order to transfer these DAT files into my computer? Please explain as if you’re talking to a student because I’m new to all of this and trying to learn. Thank you very much!

okay, I looked those terms up and see that those are cables. But don’t I still need an interface to record into Cubase? If so, what?

Your C12 IS your interface…

Ok DAT has either analogue or digital inputs and outputs, on the type of dat machine you might have at home (prosumer is what this type of gear is generally referred to) you’ll most likely have standard phono jacks as you would find on any piece of stereo separates such as a tape deck or tuner, if it’s a professional unit you will likely have xlr (microphone) type ins and outs too for analogue and possibly digital signals.
what is the make and type of dat machine you have? that might help.

where your C12 is concerned you ONLY have analogue inputs and outputs which means if you want to transfer your tapes you will need to use the analogue outputs from your dat machine into the analogue inputs of your c12 somehow. this will depend on the connector types on your dat machine, hence me asking the make and model.

sp/dif stands for ‘sony, phillips digital interface’ and toslink is a digital connector that uses an optic fibre connection, they’re both ways of passing digital audio signals from one digital device to another, if you have a modern A/V amp you’ll most likely have one on the back of that to accept a signal from a blue ray or dvd player. using a digital connection such as these is more likely to give you a perfect copy, using the analogue outputs will introduce noise into the signal though and having to convert to analogue from dat (which the dat machine needs to do because your c12 does not have a digital connection) and then back to digital inside your c12 is going to introduce at least some noise and will increase the chance of digital errors too.

I suspect you most likely have a prosumer unit there (high end domestic kit basically) but without knowing for sure i cannot say.

I used “chat” on B&H Photo and they solved this. You helped send me on the right trail. Thanks. They recommended the correct interface and cables. I’m set. Thanks!

Great stuff!

Good to see you sorted :smiley: