Digital Audio Tape

Digital audio tape (DAT) is magnetic recording tape on which binary digital data can be recorded. In digital audio recording, tape noise is practically eliminated because such noise is analog in nature. Some electronic noise is generated in the analog amplification stages following D/A conversion, but this is minimal compared with the noise generated in older, fully analog systems. The reduced noise in DAT equipment provides more true-to-life reproduction than is possible with analog methods.
 
With DAT, multigeneration copies can be made with practically no degradation in audio fidelity. The reason for this is the same as the reason a computer can repeatedly read and overwrite data on a magnetic disk. On DAT, the bits are represented by distinct magnetized regions on the tape. While analog signals are fuzzy in the sense that they vary continuously, digital signals are crisp. Imperfections in the recording apparatus, the tape itself, and the pickup head affect digital signals less than they affect analog signals. Digital signal processing can eliminate the minute flaws that creep into a digital signal each time it is recorded and played back.