Technical Information about DCC (Digital Compact Cassette)
Information about, and software for Digital Compact Cassette.
By Jac Goudsmit
This Github repository contains all the information I have about DCC, except for the DCC-FAQ. The purpose is to get this information back into the world, add newly found knowledge and prevent it from being lost.
The information here focuses somewhat on (arguably) the most important DCC recorder: the DCC-175 which, in combination with the PC-Link cable, was capable of being controlled by a computer with a Centronics printer port, running Windows 3.x or 9x. The DCC-Studio software was an easy to use program that was capable of copying tapes to hard disk and vice versa, edit music tracks and use a keyboard instead of a remote control to edit title information. It was also possible to create compilation tapes (“mix tapes”) without the need to stay close to the recorder, and the Studio program would record the text information at the start of each track on the fly while it recorded the music to tape.
Nevertheless, any text that was recorded on “Super User Tapes” (using a third-generation recorder or using DCC-Studio) could not be read and/or shown on the display of first generation recorders (or on the DCC-134, DCC-170 or DCC-175, even though they use third generation chips – evidently their firmware was finalized before the Super User format was defined). There was never any hardware or software available for DCC owners to create a tape that had the same information as a prerecorded tape, i.e. song titles of all songs (not just the currently playing song) and time codes of all songs (so that players could determine which way to wind/rewind to find the start of a specific song title). This repository may or may not be the start of a new project to reverse-engineer the prerecorded format, and reproduce it using either the PC-Link cable or using a hacked DCC recorder, and possibly a microcontroller and some extra hardware.
The documentation folder contains a number of documents that were gathered from the internet. As far as we can tell, this information is public domain.
The Software folder contains software that was made available to DCC recorders, and possibly other useful software that was created based on reverse-engineered information.
My DCC-FAQ is currently located at https://www.dcc-faq.org. It hasn’t been really maintained since 1997 and though there is interesting information in there, it’s definitely outdated and incomplete, and perhaps incorrect where I made assumptions from second-hand information. A better source of generic information about DCC is the English Wikipedia page which I also mostly wrote, and maintain on a somewhat regular basis (I go there a few times a year and check the latest edits to make sure nothing bad sneaks in).
Another good source is La Taverne de John John, a YouTube Channel, and Blog site by Jonathan Dupré (both in French). He has a lot of information about all the DCC recorders and players, and has repaired most (if not all) of them.
There are also some great pages at Dutch Audio Classics. For example, they have some pictures of an early prototype based on the FC-567 twin analog cassette deck, and (at the other end of the history of DCC) pictures of a double-deck analog cassette recorder / DCC recorder which was never released. Well worth visting.
All the information and software in this repository is open source. Documentation such as data sheets and service manuals was downloaded from collection sites such as FreeServiceManuals.info and are assumed to be in the public domain. Documentation generated by contributors (e.g. reverse-engineered protocols and schematics) is licensed under CC-BY-SA. For software licensing, refer to the licenses included with each program.