Without doubt, the future of digital mastering lies in the use of hard disk based systems and it might be easy to assume that tape has had its day. The biggest problem with digital mastering on tape, of course, has been editing. DAT is cheap and produces excellent results but it is not an easily editable medium and so analogue tape has to be used if any editing is to take place, and in these days of extended mixes and alternative mixes, analogue still remains king when the scissors and Sellotape are taken out! Even something simple like removing the hi-hat count-in is almost impossible on DAT and it must also be pointed out that there are doubts as to DAT's long term stability and reliability. Despite this, however, mastering onto tape is still an attractive option because it is a removable medium and can be freely transported from one location to another.
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