DAK Industries was founded by Drew Alan Kaplan, made famous in the 1980s by his catalog of electronic gadgets. Before that, he specialized in a series of private label reel to reel and cassette tapes.
Like many private label tapes, it is difficult to know the specifications of the tapes made. Were they as good as the major brands? Were they rejected lots like Shamrock? Were they cut computer tape? Did the tape actually match the description? Was it just junk?
We received a large lot of DAK tapes and have tested them. The ones we have are labeled “Low Noise High Output”. Our tests have shown that the quality of these tapes is OK, but doesn’t really fit the description (not really low noise or high output). They seem to perform like the Ampex 671, with a similar high bias requirement. They will sound good on older machines, but like the 671, will also have a lower output. The good news is that there is no sticky shed or squealing with the tapes we have, and that they can be used today.
A forensic analysis points to the manufacturer probably being Audio Magnetics, with similar reels and tape that looks similar to the XHE. This does not mean it will perform similarly.
We will investigate further batches of DAK and update as we learn more.