Zoë Blade\'s notebook

Alesis ADAT

ADAT tech specs

  • Tracks: 8
  • Inputs: 8 balanced + 1 ADAT lightpipe
  • Outputs: 8 balanced + 1 ADAT lightpipe
  • Sample rates: 48 kHz (40.4 kHz to 50.8 kHz)
  • Sample resolution: 16-bit
  • Height: 3U

The ADAT multitrack recorder was released by Alesis in 1992. It was essentially a VCR — an actual S-VHS videotape recorder — that could record and play back 8 tracks of 16-bit, 48 kHz audio. Its main rival was the Tascam DA-88, released a year later, which used Hi-8 videotapes to do the exact same thing.

Despite its name, ADAT has nothing to do with Sony's DAT format, besides both using magnetic tapes to digitally store audio.

Up to 16 ADAT machines can be linked together, providing a total of 128 tracks.

It was made obsolete by DAWs, but for those who prefer an older style setup without modern computers, it was perhaps more satisfyingly superseded by Alesis's own HD24, which sported a plentiful 24 tracks of 24-bit, 48 kHz audio. Up to 5 HD24 machines could be linked together, providing a total of 120 tracks.

Even though ADAT recorders themselves are no longer used, the "lightpipe" fibreoptic cable used to send eight tracks of digital audio became a defacto standard used in many other machines by different companies.


Multitrack recorders: Alesis ADAT