Unexpectedly Quits during DAT transfer

Hi Everyone!

I’m having issues with Audacity during DAT transfers and I’m not really sure what the problem is.

Audacity: 2.1.2
OSX: 10.9.5
Sony PCM-R300
optical cable from DAT machine to the line-in input on the mac.

Issue: Audacity occasionally quits unexpectedly while transferring tapes. I’ve been doing the transfers for quite some time and have not had this issue before.
It seems to quit most often when the “program number” changes on the tape player, either manually or automatically on the player.

Does anybody know what the issue might be? I’m out of ideas, and I’m not sure what any of the info in the report means.

Crash Report:
crashreport.txt (48.9 KB)

On a quick reading, the “IO” failed. That is, the DAT machine stopped supplying data. I could be corrected on that, but I think it’s on pretty firm ground.

And I’m not surprised. DAT machines have terrible reliability. If you have good experiences, then you’re the one. It’s prudent on a DAT production shoot to double record the work because it’s better odds than you think that the show will come from the backup, not the DAT.

So given that, I’d bet you have a damaged tape. I don’t know what kind of error correction those machines have, but given when they were designed and built, I’m guessing it’s not very good, if any at all. It’s also possible the heads are getting dirty and failing to pick up the tape data.

Have you ever cleaned your machine? I don’t know that I’ve ever seen a cleaning tape for a DAT machine, but there must have been one.

They’re little videotape machines inside complete with tiny spinning heads on a drum assembly and little arms that pull the tape out of the cassette, just like VHS. And they get dirty…just like VHS. Are the errors getting more frequent?

You could have something wrong like a bad optical connection. Have you pulled and reseated it on both ends? Did it help—or change the problem? Do you have more than one optical cable?

I wish I could be more of a ray of sunshine, but from where I’m standing, your current experience is perfectly normal.




Where did you obtain 2.1.2 from? Is it an old debug build of 2.1.2-alpha?

Debug builds might crash at an assert where a release configuration build might continue.


I have cleaned the machine before, but it has been a little while. The errors are indeed getting a bit more frequent, and we are using the machine fairly heavily so I can see the cleanliness being the issue.
I have pulled/reseated the optical connection, and I do have more than one cable I have used. The change of cable and reseating did not help the issue.

I’m certainly not under the impression that the process will be smooth sailing, especially with how often it is used (archiving recital tapes at a university).

Thanks for the reply, and the link you posted. I will give that a try!


I got the 2.1.2 from here: http://www.audacityteam.org/

See private message.


Recording with another application such as GarageBand will help prove whether Audacity is part of the problem.


It’s certainly desirable to have a digital transfer (via optical cable). That said, it may be better to have a complete transfer via analog than no transfer at all. Try transferring the same tape using an analog connection.

A new machine may or may not help. Tapes degrade.

– Bill

We may have lost timmmmm. He stopped responding to Private message.


You did not lose me. I apparently not allowed to respond to private messages.

To answer your question though, I’m in Bloomington, IL.

An analog transfer would be pretty easy with our setup.
I will give both of these suggestions a try the next time I am transferring.


That is because you were not yet a fully established user. You can now reply to Koz’s private message if you want.