DA-88 Frequently Asked Questions

Prepared with help from Robert Burton at

Audio Rents, Inc. Los Angeles, CA

How much time do I get on a tape?

On a 120 minute Hi-8 video tape, the DA-88 provides 1 hr. 48 min. of record time. Using the new Hi-8mm tapes specifically designed for digital audio recording, the actual record time is indicated as part of the name (ie: H-113 = 113 minutes).

What kind of tape should I use?

TASCAM does not specifically recommend a particular tape, although you should be using an MP (metal particle) grade tape as opposed to a ME (metal evaporated).

Do I need to format a tape before recording audio?


Do I need to feed video sync while striping timecode?

No, but if you do, make sure your timecode generator is locked to your video sync generator.

Why does the DA-88 periodically "hiccup" when locked to video and timecode?

If an external timecode generator was not locked to video sync when the tape was striped, or the timecode and video are at different rates, the video sync and timecode can drift. Turn off video sync, set S1, #7 down, and lock to timecode only (see above). Video sync must be connected if the DA-88 is set to video emulation.

Can I stripe timecode while formatting tape?


When the DA-88 displays "E. CLOCK", what does this mean?

The clock switch is set incorrectly, no clock is coming in, the PW-88S sync cable is incorrectly connected, or the machine ID switch is set incorrectly.

Can I locate to timecode numbers instead of ABS time?

Yes. From the ABS display:

Why is my DA-88 slow to locate when I use the 9-Pin from my editor?

If internal dipswitch S3, #6 is set for 100x fast forward and rewind speed, some edit controllers will have difficulty with repeated overshoots when locating. Setting switch S3, #6 for a wind speed of 8x play speed will solve this problem.

When recording external timecode, why does nothing come out of the timecode out jack?

The output of the timecode out jack is muted when timecode record is pressed.

How can I quickly capture a timecode offset?

    Park the DA-88 at the desired offset.
    Push DISPLAY successively until you arrive at the DIFF window.
    Press and hold both UP and DOWN arrows,
    the offset will be automatically captured.

Is there a faster way to scroll through the numbers when defining a timecode offset?

Yes. While holding either the UP or DOWN arrows to set the time, press DISPLAY to scroll faster.

How do I set the timecode generator frame rate?

    Press and hold DISPLAY, press the DOWN arrow and release.
    Press the UPand DOWN arrows simultaneously.
    Press either the UP or DOWN arrow to select the desired frame rate.
    Press DISPLAY 3x to return to the TC display.

How do I display incoming timecode?

    Press and hold DISPLAY, press the DOWN arrow and release.
    Press and hold the UP arrow, and press DISPLAY
    The display now shows incoming timecode. While in this mode the Timecode LED will flash.

What timecode frame rate is on my tape?

    Press and hold DISPLAY, press the DOWN arrow and release.
    Press the UP and DOWN arrows simultaneously, window will show timecode generator frame rate.
    Press DISPLAY, display will now show time code frame rate on tape.
    Press DISPLAY 2x to return to the TC display.

How can I chase timecode when the tape isn't striped?

    Press and hold DISPLAY, press the DOWN arrow and release.
    Press the Up and DOWN arrows simultaneously, then release.
    Press either the UP or DOWN arrow to select the timecode type.
    Press DISPLAY 2x.
    Use the UP or DOWN arrow to select "t.out Abs" in the window.
    Press DISPLAY.
    [You will probably need to enter an offset for proper sync.]

Can I copy timecode at the same time that I'm making a copy?


How do I make a digital copy?

    Set the Source and Target machines to different ID numbers.
    With power off, connect Source DA-88 SYNC OUT to Target DA-88 SYNC IN using the PW-88S Sync cable.
    With power off, connect Source DA-88 TDIF port to Target DA-88 TDIF port using the PW-88D Digital Dubbing cable.
    Turn both DA-88s ON.
    On Source DA-88, press and hold the UP arrow, then press DIGITAL IN (the display will toggle between ANALOG and DIGITAL each time you do this). Select DIGITAL.
    Load Master tape into the Source DA-88 and a formatted tape into the Target DA-88.
    Make certain that the Master tape is not write protected - if it is, the record function cannot be engaged.
    Make certain that all REC FUNCTION switches on the Source DA-88 are NOT ENGAGED.
    On Target DA-88, engage CHASE so that the recorder locates to the same position as the Source DA-88.
    On Target DA-88, engage DIGITAL IN and arm all tracks.
    On Source DA-88, hold RECORD and press PLAY.

How often should I use the Head Cleaning tape?

Cleaning tape use was originally considered "safe," but it does reduce head life by as much as ten hours and should therefore only be used during emergencies, such as a head clog that causes audible anomalies and / or you experience excessive error light flashes.  The heads can be manually cleaned as often as you like.
    Eject any tape that may be inside the unit.
    Turn the DA-88 OFF.
    Power ON the DA-88 while holding both the UP and DOWN arrows, this places the DA-88 into Cleaning mode.
    Insert the HC-8 cleaning tape. The cleaning process will commence automatically.
    Upon completion of this process, the tape will be ejected and the DA-88 is ready for use.

What is a Pull-Up / Pull-Down?

Film and video run at different speeds. When film is transferred to video, or vice-versa, there is a .1% speed change that occurs. This speed change is referred to as a Pull-Up or Pull-Down.

When do I Pull-Up or Pull-Down?

When the transfer is made from film to tape or tape to film.

How do I Pull-Up or Pull-Down?

    Press and hold DISPLAY, press the DOWN arrow and release.
    Press and hold the UP arrow, press the "Fs" key and release both.
    Use UP or DOWN arrow to select "PUL UP" or "PUL dN".

How do I set the timecode generator?

    Press DISPLAY successively until GEN LED lights.
    Use the UP and DOWN arrows to define the starting timecode address.
The scroll speed can be increased by holding UP or DOWN arrows and pressing DISPLAY successively to move from minutes to hours.

How do I record timecode from the internal generator?

    Set the timecode generator frame rate as defined above.
    Press "TC REC".
    Press RECORD and PLAY.
    Press TC GENERATE.

How do I record timecode from an external source?

    Feed the timecode to be recorded into the TIMECODE IN jack on the rear panel of the DA-88.
    Press TC RECORD.
    Press RECORD and PLAY.

How do I format a tape?

    Unpack the new tape by fast winding end to end and back.
    Position the blank unformatted tape to the very beginning (BOT) if not already there.
    Press FORMAT 2x, then select the desired sampling frequency.
    Press RECORD and PLAY.

If the question you have is not listed here please call TEAC at 323-726-0303 ext. 623

e-mail Jim Lucas