Hands On - Casio DA-7 (part 2)
The first thing you need to do, obviously, is supply power to the DA-7 and switch it on. This is normally not a problem with most pieces of equipment, but here you have to be careful. The DA-7 can be operated from an external mains power supply or from its internal rechargeable battery. If you are using the mains supply then be absolutely sure that you connect it the correct way round, with the cable coming from the right hand side of the power socket, as you look at the socket itself. It is possible to force the connector in the other way round and if you do this the machine will emit a small puff of smoke and cease to function. Another essential point is that if you are using the mains supply then you must set the switch on the rear panel to AC/charge. If you dont, then you will be running from the battery and it might run down when you least expect it. In the studio, this is an inconvenience and an embarrassment, in a live recording situation its a disaster.
Whether running on battery or mains power, switching the DA-7 on is a simple matter of flicking the power switch to the right. If you do only this, then the machine will switch itself off again after six minutes. Designers do this to irritate us and for no better reason that I can fathom. Fortunately, there is a way round it - hold the Stop button down as you switch on and things will be as they should.
At this stage, you really need to know something about how the DAT system works. Your newly unwrapped tape will be completely blank with the magnetic fields of its metal particles randomly orientated. When you record onto the tape, the record head lays down a pattern of tracks which contain the digital audio data. If you subsequently erase this recording by recording over it with the input level set to zero, then the pattern of tracks will still remain. Thus there is a difference between an unrecorded section of tape and an erased section, the latter has a pattern of tracks recorded on it. The DA-7 can sense the difference between the two.
Lets assume that you are using a new DAT tape for your recording. Press the Eject button and bung it in, Im sure you know how. If you are recording from the Line inputs then make sure that the Input switch, on the top of the machine, is set to Line. On many machines, recording is initiated by pressing the Record and Play buttons simultaneously. On the DA-7 you may do it like this instead:
- Press the Rec/Mute button. The red LED will flash to indicate that the machine is recording a five second blank space at the start of the tape (It is recommended practice to have at least thirty seconds of recorded blank at the start, but I can understand Casio thinking that most users wont be prepared to wait). During this period there will be no level indication on the meters nor monitor signal from the output.
- After a short time, the Pause symbol will appear in the LCD display and the LED will continue to flash. You will now be able to set the recording level, and if you are monitoring the signal from the outputs you will now be able to hear something. The recorder is now ready.
- Press Play or Pause to start recording.