Ah' Yes, The Alesis 8 track SVHS digital tape machine, at times misunderstood, but easily the most widely used 8 track digital tape machine for home studio musicians everywhere. It changed recording History forever, and for the better. The sound quality is still very good even by today's standards, even with all the newest computer sound cards, hardware and DAW software.
Yes ADAT tape machines still can be useful today because they are portable, and they still sound very good. Plus they are easy to setup and to use right away, as any tape based machine is.
I will be explaining why they can be still useful,
They do sound as good as any DAT recorder, and even better than CD audio quality at 48 khz sample rate. 8 tracks can be recorded to tape live at once through its professional analog +4 dbv inputs/outputs (also it has regular -10 db line level tape RCA or 1/4" 8 ins/outs you can use at the same time) and also record through it's ADAT Light pipe connection for digital 8 track transfers live at once without any digital audio compression or analog loss.
ADAT tape machines sound far better than many portable digital multitrack machines on the market because most of them still use some form of audio compression. And many portable recorders do not have 8 ins and outs that you can use to record and playback at once in a live recording situation.
Also by using the ADAT ELCO snake connector you have eight professional audio level recording ins/outs at +4 dbv audio pro level with all Alesis ADAT machines. (except the LX20 model.) +4 db audio level recording and playback is very important for audio quality especially when using an analog mixer. When recording your live instruments at pro audio levels you will have cleaner dynamic audio and the signal to noise ratio will be better as well.
It is a good idea to become familiar with the BRC and ADAT tape machines through reading it's manuals so that you know how to operate them, and know exactly what they can do for you. You can download these manuals for free online at Alesis website.
You may consider using a ADAT tape machine because of their reasonable used price, excellent build quality, they can be racked, and also portable too so you can easily record live from room to room or place to place for recording anything audio,
And the machines do set up quickly and have plenty of inputs/outputs that can be used all at once. Also they will enable you to operate on a budget so you can afford to buy other live recording audio gear that you will need in the studio or outside the studio, such as mic pre-amps, microphones, mic cords, mic stands, analog processing gear and analog mixers, etc.
First I would like to describe the different ADAT tape machine models available on the used market today;
Alesis first made the original blackface ADAT and then the newer models starting with the XT, LX20, XT20 and then the flagship model the M20. The difference being that the blackface and XT models are both 16 bit recorders, and the three newer models being the LX20, XT20 and M20 machines record at a higher 20 bit rate, and a slightly higher quality recording and more features. All the newer 20 bit ADAT tape machines have good 24 bit digital to analog converters in them, but they only record still at the 20 bit format.
This is not a problem really since all the 20 bit ADAT tape machines have good 24 bit digital to analog converters in them, the end results with mixing through an analog mixer is very close to a 24 bit Master. And or very close to a good quality reel to reel machine, of course without the background tape hiss.
For slightly better audio quality, it is a good idea to keep it in the digital domain using the ADAT 8 track digital light pipe connection to transfer all your tracks in the digital domain. In this way it is the best audio quality when transferring your ADAT tracks, and it keeps the generation loss to a minimum or nil.
But it is not always a must, you can still mix down all your ADAT tracks through the ADAT analog outputs, only one generation loss but with fantastic sounding results. Many engineers today still prefer this since you can boost your audio levels, use EQ and effects, and or add harmonic warmth to the sound using good quality analog gear processing.
Many pro sound engineers like the way analog summing mixes the sound, it adds not only depth and clarity, but it also often widens the stereo field. Although digital software is now getting better at mastering the mix and processing audio signals, the end result can be good too.
Digital transfers with ADAT using light pipe is a very easy way for you to do machine to machine track copies, clone tracks, do tape backups and transferring all of the ADAT tracks to a computer and without losing any quality(analog generation loss) in the transfer.
It is far easier today to mix in the box using a computer DAW software, rather than using an analog mixer. But for some, mixing tracks in analog is the only way to go, especially if you already have good analog gear and are familiar with it. Analog mixing is really hands on and both feels and sounds right to most people. And it can be allot more forgiving than digital audio, since most analog gear has more audio headroom to work with than digital, before distortion sets in.
And you just might like the analog sound quality allot better and enjoy a different hands on approach to mixing and mastering. Rather than just doing everything in the computer DAW software every time, try it both ways and you may hear a big difference in audio quality. Maybe you will hear a little more added punch, depth and clarity and a much wider stereo mix.
But for many money is a big issue, so to keep it in the budget, digital software mixing and mastering may be the only way to go for you and you can still get good audio results. Just make sure to keep the audio signal below the digital distortion level, which is anything above digital 0 db.
So is there a big sound quality difference between ADAT tape machines ?
Well the answer is not allot, the newer machines like the LX20, XT20 and M20 use 20 bit and sound a little bit smoother than the older blackface and XT machines that are 16 bit, but not by a huge difference.
Some actually prefer the sound of the 16 bit blackface converters. All the 20 bit ADAT tape machines sound very close to the new 24 bit format because of the quality D/A and A/D converters they have built in them.
The blackface ADAT has actually 18 bit A/D and D/A converters, so it is not bad sounding at all, the next up the XT ADAT has 20 bit converters, a little better, although both machines still only record in 16 bit. But they do still sound better than a CD because of their sampling at a higher 48 khz sampling rate. Results are better quality, CD's are only 44 khz sampling rate.
So getting a little better now, the 20 bit ADAT machines having actually good 24 bit converters in them makes them very close in sound quality to a good 24 bit sound card, even though they still record in only 20 bit format.
But keep in mind, even a very well designed 16 bit converter can sound as good or better than even 24 bit converters, depending on the quality and accuracy of the A/D and D/A conversion, and it depends on the oversampling filters, error rates, and quantization errors..
And keep in mind all ADAT machines can still record at 44 khz at 16 or 20 bit mode, so they can stay within the CD format, if you need to master to CD.
The ADAT tape machines can still keep up with modern 24 bit recording quality. Just remember to set the recording audio signal levels properly for maximum digital audio resolution. There will be very little difference in sound quality 20 bit versus 24 bit, and even 16 bit If you have a full volume good quality audio signal going in recorded, then you will have a full volume good quality audio signal coming back out on play back.
Especially this is true if you are using the ADAT +4 db ELCO pro audio snake connector, it gives you analog 8 ins/outs and you are recording all your instruments at the highest volume signal possible. But be careful of digital clipping above 0 db, so record at slightly below 0 db for enough digital headroom and watch for dynamic audio peaks. Make sure the audio peaks stay at a little below 0 db on the ADAT audio signal meters to make sure there is no digital clipping distortion. This will ensure full digital audio resolution and full audio headroom without going into digital clipping.
Remember you can always control the mix (on playback) adjust the audio volume levels later after you record, but it is very important to get the audio levels recorded hot enough for the maximum digital audio resolution possible for your converters. The same applies for all digital audio converters made today to get the best possible audio quality with less background noise when cranked up.
In this regard it would be impossible to tell what machine, DAW or hardware recorded what if you always set the audio recording levels correctly on what ever recording device you choose to use.
Remember that most people can not tell the differences between a 16 bit audio recording, versus a 24 bit audio recording, when the recording and mastering is done at the same professional audio levels and the recording source is exactly the same.
Only when recording 16 bit audio at very low volume levels the differences become more obvious, you will hear slightly more background distortion and less dynamics and a bit more harsh sound quality than a 24 bit recording at the same low level recording. Then you can hear the differences between the two when cranked up to a higher volume on playback. But this is not how music is mastered or recorded, it is usually done at the highest audio recording level possible without going into digital distortion, to utilize the best digital audio resolution the digital converters can achieve.
But when doing A and B double blind test at the same pro recording levels, most people find it impossible to hear any differences in audio quality between both formats (16 bit verses 24 bit) when both are played back at the same audio level. So the same applies to 20 bit recordings and so forth.
You can use ADAT digital tape machines for live recording and for storing several versions of your master stereo tracks,.
And it is far easier to use an ADAT machine when you don't have enough physical inputs or outputs on your computer sound card to record or playback all of your live instrument tracks that you may need when playing with a big band.
Go and try to find another digital 8 track machine on the market today being sold at the price of an ADAT machine that has true eight +4 dbv professional audio level inputs and outputs, and also has eight -10 dbv inputs and outputs, and the 8 track ADAT light pipe that you can use all of these connections at the same time for recording and playback. And you can also expand to even more tracks ins/outs all the way up to 128 tracks by syncing together additional machines as your needs grow.
And what audio gear today has an external LRC remote and a really nice professional BRC remote to control and sync up everything together, and also sync up to a computer using digital light pipe sync, MTC sync, and video SYMPTE, all at the same time.
ADAT machines also have an easy to use foot pedal input to punch in and out of any audio track easily and seamlessly. Also you can set several locate points easily and create loop points as well for punching in/out automatically. All these features are already built into all ADAT machines and any machine can control any other ADAT machines all without the BRC remote.
And SVHS tapes will still play back fine today, even recordings that were made back in 1992 that I have, still play back fine today. So the SVHS tape format has proven to be of archive quality and will hold up over time. Can you say that about other backup mediums ?
With the affordable used market on eBay, you can easily get at least two good working ADAT 8 track tape machines and a BRC remote. Two machines gives you the ability to make backup tapes, clone tracks and move tracks, for doing your final two track stereo mixes, surround sound mixes and also gives you a total of 16 tracks in/out to record live.
The BRC does come in handy for controlling more than one ADAT machine, and you can setup several different locate points on seperate Adat machines and name the different locate points in your songs such as bridge, chorus, intro of your song etc. And then you can store several songs worth of numerous loop points, locate points, auto punch ins, and allows you to move tracks around for copying say a chorus track some where else in your song. You can save all of your BRC data to one SVHS tape for easy recall later. To restore all the song data back to the BRC remote just play back your tape from the beginning, all it takes is less than a minute to load the data to the BRC. So all your edits and song track names will be there stored with all your locate points, sync settings and all the various settings you made for each song/album, the BRC will be all ready to go work on your songs again.
You may not need a BRC if your just doing basic stuff like controlling another machine with simple recording and playback, and a few simple locate points with a few punch ins. But the BRC remote is so very nice to have and very handy for all the many things it does very well. If you would like to sync up to your computer DAW using the BRC MTC sync, and or do SYMPTE sync for video and audio. And also if you have many ADAT machines to control and song edit points to keep track of, then absolutely you will need a BRC remote.
There are so many features on the BRC remote, yet it can be very simple to use without ever going into or ever needing the more complex features that it is capable of. I suggest reading the BRC manual to see if you need one.
You can also use one or two ADAT tape machines for a cost effective way to get extra inputs and outputs into your computer DAW using the convenient built in ADAT Light pipe hooked up to your sound card. Of course you will need an ADAT light pipe connection on your computer's sound card.
ADAT Mic pre-amp mixers come in real handy to get mic inputs into your computer DAW using light pipe and or for getting phantom powered microphones into your ADAT machine(s) directly for live use, such as recording a full drum set, then you will need the Behringer ADA8000 mic pre-amp mixer for this.
ADAT machines can also be used to playback in 5.1 surround sound. It sounds awesome when you master your song in true uncompressed surround sound, and without the need for Dolby Digital software encoding/decoding crappy compressed surround sound audio quality. All you need is a good home theater surround sound receiver amp and plug the ADAT audio in the 5.1 direct RCA audio connections in the back of your receiver amp to your ADAT analog track outputs. 8 tracks are plenty for even 7.1 channel surround sound, without the need for DTS or Dolby Digital.
ADAT is also used for tracking drums, vocals, piano or whatever room to room, or place to place because it is a self contained recorder. Since it is portable and easy enough to setup to record anything anywhere that has 110 volt power. Then later it can be easily transferred to the computer through light pipe and or mixed and mastered through analog gear..
Also you have an option of giving an ADAT tape to a musician friend, so he/she can collaborate music ideas with you more quickly. You can send him/her a tape with a quick 2 track stereo mix idea on it, they can then record extra tracks to the same tape all while listening back in sync to your quick stereo mix and it will be in perfect sync with all your other ADAT tapes you may add later for extra tracks, and so you will be ready and in perfect sync when it comes time to mix all your ADAT tracks down to two track master.
The internet is great but it still can take you a long time to upload and download and collaborate 8 tracks or more of quality uncompressed digital audio, and still have it all synced up correctly.
With the ADAT tapes all the music tracks and stereo mixes are already to go in perfect sync, the time sync stays the same with each additional tape, and all ready for you to add even more tracks or tapes if needed all in perfect sync with each other. You can also do different master stereo mix versions of your song on yet another tape if you want. Just make sure to clone all your ADAT tapes with the same ADAT tape sync time format you used on your first tape, so all your ADAT tapes will be in perfect sync with each other. .
Things to check first and look for before buying a tape based ADAT machine and a BRC;
People may have or may not have issues with an ADAT machine and or a BRC remote, but however it is good to know if you do come across the following;
When you do decide to purchase an ADAT 8 track tape machine, it is a good idea to check first with the eBay Seller to see if it actually does record and play back tapes perfectly. If it does not and or the Seller does not really know, then you may be taking a chance that the machine does not work correctly. So I would if I were you, move on to another Seller that actually does test out their ADAT machine(s) before they sell them on eBay.
Most of the time the only thing needed to get a ADAT machine to record and playback again is a good head cleaning, allot of error 7 problems is because of dirty rotary heads. It is fairly easy to do it yourself, but they have to be cleaned properly or you could damage the heads.
If you have to replace the ADAT rotary heads, then that can cost you far more than what another used working machine would cost you. So save yourself the headaches and your money and move on to another Seller. One who can promise that his or her machine has been fully tested and it functions in both record, playback, rewind and fast forward.
However you may still want to buy a mystery condition ADAT digital tape machine just for parts, depending of course if the price is reasonable and depending on what part(s) you really need. Most people will not know how to repair ADAT machines, so if you don't know how then buy one that you know does fully work.
Also important to ask the Seller to check if the rewind and fast forward works well. If it does not and or if the ADAT machine displays an error code, and or eats SVHS tapes, it most likely is a problem with the rubber idler wheel. It means the rubber idler wheel is either worn down and needs to be replaced, and or the rubber idler wheel just needs to be cleaned, also you will need to clean anything it comes in contact with in the tape rewind transport. Then it should function reliably.
You can take a chance buying one that has these issues, but only if you know how to work on an ADAT tape machine.
But don't worry too much, most ADAT machines just need cleaning and servicing from time to time, to bring them back to life again like new, and most do not need the rubber idler wheel to be replaced, just cleaned thoroughly about every 1,000 head hours or more of operation.
It is good to learn how to work on these machines yourself to keep your maintenance cost way down to very inexpensive
Clean the rubber idler wheel inside transport when you began having transport slippage in rewind and fast forward. The XT and XT20 models also have a re-caliberate mode to re-adjust the rewind transport. The info on this is in the manuals and online.
Rarely if you do need to replace the rubber idler wheel, it is a pretty straight forward replacement part, running you about $12 to $18. There is info online on where to get one and how to replace it. There are many good online web sites that cover the basic maintenance and cleaning procedures for the ADAT tape machines, as well as the ADAT error codes and what they mean, so it can allow you to trouble shoot. And the type of SVHS tapes to buy for ADAT for different recording lengths. I suggest using at least the shortest T-60 minute SVHS tapes if you are recording only one song or just a few short songs, the shorter the tape the faster it is to rewind and fast forward. Also the shorter length tapes are much easier on your ADAT transport.
Things you should do when you first purchase an ADAT tape machine and the BRC remote:
When you first purchase an ADAT machine, and or a BRC, it is a good idea to reset the internal software. This will make sure it is back to the original factory settings. Just resetting the ADAT and or the BRC software to factory settings will many times solve some errors or problem(s) you may be having.
Also a good idea to check to see if your ADAT data sync cables are properly plugged in the back of your ADAT, and also be sure to check on your Light pipe cables as well. You may have a bad cable somewhere in the chain and or plugged into the wrong input or output that can create errors and weird problems. Eliminate each cable until you find the problem. Always a good idea to use only short as possible high quality Light pipe fiber optic cables and good quality 9 pin computer data sync cables that are double shielded. Hosa ADAT sync cables are good quality and recommended for ADAT machines.
Sometimes your digital in and out settings n the ADAT machines are incorrectly set and may cause audio and transport issues. Also as with any digital audio connection it is good to make sure you are running in either 44k and or 48k digital sync clock mode, set all machines to the same digital sample clock speed, and your computer too, and all other digital gear that is connected as well, when recording and playing back through ADAT light pipe.
How to reset the ADAT and BRC internal software:
Hold down the record and play buttons while the power is off, then turn the power back on while still holding those two buttons mentioned above, the display should read "INIT". The same goes for all ADAT model machines.
You may need to reset the internal software sometimes to eliminate certain errors just like the Windows operating system can get confused or overloaded at times.
ADATs and the BRC usually run like clockwork so no worries.
Here is an important Alesis BRC remote Tip for you: You will not find it anywhere on the Web or in the manual !!!
Here is how to do a full BRC Diagnostic check, this will enable you to see if all the lights, the display, buttons and internal software is all working correctly on the BRC:
First Turn off the BRC and then hold down the two track buttons on the top left, hold down track buttons "1" and "8" together while turning on the power to the BRC, the BRC will then go into a Test mode and it will rotate through all the display lights and buttons, then the display will test its self for proper function, then it will test its internal software, it will then ask you to press any button to test all the buttons and contacts to see if they are all working, it will display on the display what button you just pressed, this way you can test to see if the BRC remote is fully functional. You should have the Seller do this before buying one used.
Alesis made all button contacts on the LRC, BRC and ADAT machines with high quality parts and you should not have any issues with any of the buttons, unless someone spilled food, drinks, water etc. on them.
But it is a good idea to have the Seller do the BRC Diagnostic Test described above before he or she sells the BRC remote to you, so ask for them to do this test before you buy it. Most BRC remote units still work fine today, but it is a good idea to do this diagnostic test first, who knows if the Seller or previous owner spilled coffee or Coke, or worse and possibly ruined the BRC and its button contacts. Better safe than sorry.
Also very important is to check to make sure before you buy one that the ADAT tape machine have the latest firmware installed, and also check the software version on the BRC if you are buying one too. Again you can go online to check for the latest firmware versions for all model ADATs and the BRC. It is a good idea to check this out before buying. Most machines have been updated but some may not have been.
Another tip For your ADAT machines;
You should write down on a white paper sticker when you do any maintenance to your ADAT tape machines, write down on this paper sticker the current date, the rotary head hours, and what servicing you did do to the machine. And then put the sticker with this info on the top of the machine where you can see it. So you will know exactly when and what you did on this date and time.
And if you have more than one ADAT machine then it is good to label them in order A, B, C, D or whatever so you know what machine is what. And to keep track of what machine you use the most for recording and playback, and for rotating the machines that don't get used that much. So you don't wear out one machine over another.
So what does the ADAT Rotary Head hours really mean and should you really be concerned about it ?
Well to find out exactly how many ADAT head hours you do have on your machine, hold down these two buttons together, the "set locate" and the "stop" buttons at the same time, you should see the hour meter on the front display the head hours. If for example it reads 0019 then it means you only have 19 hours on the rotary head, this does not mean total time of your ADAT machine turned on, no rather just the time your rotary head has been in contact with your SVHS tape in play and record..
ADAT tape machine rotary heads can last well over 6,000 hours !! Yes that is allot of recording time ! So ADAT tape machines with less than 3,000 head hours have allot of useful life left in them, especially if they are well maintained.
Machines with more than 3,000 head hours will continue to work good but as they come up in rotary head hours, from say 3,000 to 6,000 head hours, you may experience a little more cleaning intervals and maintenance, due to the other parts wearing slightly. You may have to replace a few simple wear items possibly like the rubber idler wheel. But again the Alesis ADAT digital tape machines are robust and do not require allot of servicing or part replacements. Just cleaning and lubing from time to time to keep them working, just like your automobile.
According to ADAT Service Technicians the ADAT heads really do Not actually wear out. The SVHS tape rides on a cushion of air on the rotary heads, another words, an air bubble is formed because of the spinning rotary heads and the tape movement causing air lift, so it really does not come in contact with the heads. The SVHS tape does come very close to the heads, but only close enough so that the heads can read the digital information recorded magnetically on the tape.
SVHS tape is very reliable as long as you play the tape in a well maintained machine and store the tape in its dust cover, out of strong sun light and heat sources, as well as away from really high humidity. If in doubt about the ADAT machine in question, then play a tape you don't care about first in the suspect machine, so it does not damage your master tape. And always make tape backups as soon as you possibly can.
A Warning: Do Not overuse SVHS dry type cleaning tapes, overtime they will wear down your ADAT rotary heads !! So don't' use them unless you absolutely have to in a recording emergency. It's almost like using very fine sandpaper on your heads.
Always manually clean the rotary heads, but do keep in mind that you don't need to clean the heads often. Only when you notice ADAT error codes happening allot. It could also depend on the SVHS tape you are using and the environment. Try first switching the brand of SVHS tape, it may make the error code or problems go away. Some brands of SVHS tape rarely do cause problems,but if a tape is acting up replace it with another good one. Always try a different SVHS tape before opening up the machine to clean the heads.
I have some old "blackface" ADAT' tape machines with well over 5,000 rotary head hours on them and they are all still working fine. This is testimony to just how well these digital tape machines were made.
Warning: This is the part about doing some serious ADAT tape machine maintenance, so if in doubt about your skills in doing any of this, and if you are not sure, then you should give your machine over to a good ADAT technician.
But you can do it yourself, just be sure to be very patient and willing to learn how, at your own pace, and read all you can, before you do it yourself. You can save allot of money doing maintenance yourself. So if you want to own any audio hardware it is good to know the following.
The following is things you should do for your ADAT tape machines to keep them working both smooth and reliable for years to come. It is a good idea to do it when you first buy one used.
If your ADAT rotary head become noisy when spinning up try this solution:
You can re-lube the small top visible rotary bearing only, it just needs a few drops of Marvel Oil or a light Sewing machine oil, not too much oil though just enough to saturate the top rotary head bearing to properly lube it. Don't over lube otherwise oil will fling off the rotary head bearing and on to your tape and guides, not good', you will have to re-clean everything. A few drops on the top bearing will do you. This will increase the life of the rotary head motor and the bearing. And lubrication can also reduce the ADAT error codes due to the rotary head maintaining its' proper speed.
Also Very important:
If you are getting ADAT error codes and already tried cleaning the tape transport and heads, and you tried a brand new tape, then You should try to unplug and re-plug and re-seat all wired plug in connectors on the tape transport and rotary head, and put contact cleaner or Caig De-Ox-It cleaner on all the plug in wire pins before re-seating them. This will get rid of any oxidized plug in pin connections that could be causing intermittent ADAT error codes and or various problems. Sometime connectors come loose inside the ADAT machines, very rare but it can happen, and it just may need to be re-plugged in.
Allot of ADAT error codes and problems can be due to loose and or oxidized electrical plug in connections not making proper electrical contact with the pins. So it is good idea to be thorough and unplug and re-plug re-seat all wired plug in connectors throughout the ADAT machine just to make sure. Especially if your ADAT machine has been sitting for a long time in bad storage conditions and oxidation has set in. Just sitting in Earth's Air oxygen atmosphere oxidizes anything even humans......and especially if you live in the smoggy cities and especially if close to the ocean.
For better rewind and fast forward speeds and also to prevent the ADAT tape machine from eating your precious SVHS tapes, be sure to check the rubber idler wheel and clean it thoroughly and anything it touches. Also clean both the fast forward and rewind black plastic hub wheels, and very important to clean the knurled brass wheel thoroughly that contacts the rubber idler wheel. You can use a "Rubber Renew" product on all rubber parts to restore the rubber, but be very careful to not get it on any plastic parts. "Rubber Renew" will melt regular plastic, so be careful to not get it on any plastic parts like the black plastic rewind and fast forward plastic parts.
Also Make sure to wipe off any excess "Rubber Renew" after soaking the rubber with a Q-tip. And you should Replace the rubber idler wheel if it looks like the rubber is really worn down. They can last a long time depending on how much tape shuttling around you do with the machine and if it was kept clean.
While you are at it, also clean all rubber belts and rubber parts like the rubber pinch roller. You can also use Formula 409 on any rubber parts(instead of Rubber Renew, and 409 is safe on plastics) to clean them as well. And use 99% denatured Alcohol to clean plastic and metal parts only, do not use alcohol to clean rubber, it will dry rubber out and possibly crack it.
Use 99% pure denatured Alcohol on all metal parts, plastic and nylon tape roller guides. Like the metal capstan shaft, the shiny polished aluminum rotary head drum, and the lower rabbit tape guide on the rotary drum. You can use cotton swabs Q-Tips on most things except Do Not use Q-Tips on the rotary heads , the cotton swab hairs will stick to the tiny heads and possibly ruin them !!!
You should pay attention to the following tips, it is very important to do it as described below exactly:
You should use only a good quality LCD Lint Free cleaning cloth for cleaning the ADAT Rotary heads. Also the use of Chamois synthetic leather cleaning pads or others is Not recommended due to its head grabbing qualities, I once accidentally broke off a DAT rotary head using a chamois pad !!! So Don't use them on rotary heads !!! However you can use them safely on larger stationary reel to reel heads and cassette tape heads. Chamois pads do polish metal parts very nicely. But you can pull or break off rotary heads way too easy with them, so please do not use them for rotary heads.
I would rather have you use a good quality LCD lint free cleaning cloth cut into small 2" by 2" squares, they will Not scratch polished metal parts, they do polish metal very nicely and Without grabbing the tiny small rotary heads, which is very important!!!
Just apply even light pressure and do Not move the cloth, keep it stationary while you turn the rotary head drum counter clockwise direction with your other hand and finger. Always use 99% pure denatured Alcohol on the LCD cleaning cloth pad and repeat with another one until clean. You can do a final cleaning by using a dry LCD cleaning cloth pad applied to the rotary head drum the same way, please go online for more info regarding this critical cleaning procedure.
Important: You need to learn how to clean the rotary heads the right way before attempting, remember rotary heads can be damaged so please do it correctly.
I hope this helped and if you have any questions feel free to contact me,
Long live the ADAT digital tape machine !!!