transferring ADAT tapes to Windows via USB port

I’m probably not the only one who needs to do this. I want to convert/transfer my 8-track ADATs to .wav files, and, ultimately, into Audacity (possibly as a .mogg file). My computer only has a USB input so I guess I need a piece of hardware to do this, taking the firewire(?) output of the ADAT and eventually going into the PC (loaded with Windows 7). Any tips? What’s the cheapest piece of gear that would allow me to do this? If it could sync more than one ADAT, that would even be better, but I imagine that gets more expensive. Help! :slight_smile:


But you probably won’t be able to record eight channels at once into Audacity as shipped, unless the device supports EWDM drivers (or WDM-KS, for which you will need Audacity 2.0.4). More information at


I recommend you start with the documentation/user manual for your ADAT machine. Or maybe there’s a forum for your ADAT machine?

I assume there’s a way to transfer the files without “recording” them. Either way, it may require a driver. (Note that Audacity, as distributed, does not support ASIO drivers.)

If there’s any mixing capability built into the machine, there’s a chance that the USB port is only for 2-channel stereo (that’s common for USB mixers). That would only apply to digital recording via USB… If you are transferring files it would be OK.

Then once you get the files on your disk, for multi-track mixing you are probably better off with a DAW (REAPER, SONAR, Cubase, etc.). Audacity is an awesome audio editor (and FREE!) and it’s a LOT easier to use, but it’s not really optimized for multi-track editing/mixing.

That is certainly possible. Please give us the make and model number of the ADAT machine if you need help.


Thank you for your advice and input! It’s the Alesis LX20 digital 8-track. If possible, I’d probably want to go straight to Audacity, unless there’s some other good, cheap software that would make this go smoothly. I’m not really much of a techie.

If you don’t have the LX20 manual to hand, I found it at

There doesn’t seem to be any transfer method. They suggest you record the LX20 playback using their own “Alesis ADAT-PCR” computer interface card. That requires your computer has a PCI slot, but there are USB alternatives in the search link I suggested.

The problem with using Audacity remains that you may not be able to record all eight tracks at once.


The only afforable solution to get ADAT I/O I know, is the MiniDSP ADAT:

It’s around a 100 $.

Only worry is if it’ll work on Windows. That depends on your Windows version, but fortunately MiniDSP also provides an ASIO driver. That doesn’t work with Audacity, so you’d need another recording software. I think on Win7 it might work.