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iZ RADAR Studio and the return of the PC

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Re: iZ RADAR Studio and the return of the PC

Postby Howdy Doody Time » Thu Oct 08, 2020 6:41 pm

I recorded Blues Guitar Player John Whitehill (Paul Lamb and the Kingsnakes) who was no stranger to recording studios, on my original Radar 24. He said the sound quality was the best he had experienced anywhere.

That kind of endorsement for me says it all. Sound quality is simply not an issue. Of course there are many other issues in recording which are discussed here often. But for me, the important thing is I know that even though I am an amateur, my recording equipment is professional, and my software is professional. Previously I have often felt, and indeed expressed that the unprofessional aspect of my setup has been the use of home computers, whose market is diverse, and whose makers cannot afford to focus on Pro or Semi Pro recording equipment.

iZ have refined everything in the box, including the operating system, with the sole intention of producing a tool fit for purpose, protected against OS updates, and intimately connected by design to all the elements of the hardware. The remote, for example, is a joy to use and can be configured to match exactly the requirements of ProTools if that is your DAW, or those of any DAW for that matter. You can of course use it purely as a 24 track tape deck if you like. I'm lucky enough to have two of them so one is configured as a complete system where you choose your DAW at the startup screen, and the other is just a tape recorder, great for musicians in the room.

If I sound like an employee of iZ, I apologize, it's just that I'm delighted to have found the ultimate set up and all my home computer problems are a thing of the past. I will use them for their intended purpose - as home computers.
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Re: iZ RADAR Studio and the return of the PC

Postby Arpangel » Fri Oct 09, 2020 8:52 am

Howdy Doody Time wrote:I recorded Blues Guitar Player John Whitehill (Paul Lamb and the Kingsnakes) who was no stranger to recording studios, on my original Radar 24. He said the sound quality was the best he had experienced anywhere.

That kind of endorsement for me says it all. Sound quality is simply not an issue. Of course there are many other issues in recording which are discussed here often. But for me, the important thing is I know that even though I am an amateur, my recording equipment is professional, and my software is professional. Previously I have often felt, and indeed expressed that the unprofessional aspect of my setup has been the use of home computers, whose market is diverse, and whose makers cannot afford to focus on Pro or Semi Pro recording equipment.

iZ have refined everything in the box, including the operating system, with the sole intention of producing a tool fit for purpose, protected against OS updates, and intimately connected by design to all the elements of the hardware. The remote, for example, is a joy to use and can be configured to match exactly the requirements of ProTools if that is your DAW, or those of any DAW for that matter. You can of course use it purely as a 24 track tape deck if you like. I'm lucky enough to have two of them so one is configured as a complete system where you choose your DAW at the startup screen, and the other is just a tape recorder, great for musicians in the room.

If I sound like an employee of iZ, I apologize, it's just that I'm delighted to have found the ultimate set up and all my home computer problems are a thing of the past. I will use them for their intended purpose - as home computers.

It is really tempting to go down this route, but I need computer editing, which sort of defeats the object of using RADAR.
Daniel Lanois who I’m a fan of loves RADAR, and it’s surprising who uses it, but it’s a another big spend, that I can’t justify
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Re: iZ RADAR Studio and the return of the PC

Postby OneWorld » Fri Oct 09, 2020 9:42 am

Howdy Doody Time wrote:I recorded Blues Guitar Player John Whitehill (Paul Lamb and the Kingsnakes) who was no stranger to recording studios, on my original Radar 24. He said the sound quality was the best he had experienced anywhere.

That kind of endorsement for me says it all. Sound quality is simply not an issue. Of course there are many other issues in recording which are discussed here often. But for me, the important thing is I know that even though I am an amateur, my recording equipment is professional, and my software is professional. Previously I have often felt, and indeed expressed that the unprofessional aspect of my setup has been the use of home computers, whose market is diverse, and whose makers cannot afford to focus on Pro or Semi Pro recording equipment.

iZ have refined everything in the box, including the operating system, with the sole intention of producing a tool fit for purpose, protected against OS updates, and intimately connected by design to all the elements of the hardware. The remote, for example, is a joy to use and can be configured to match exactly the requirements of ProTools if that is your DAW, or those of any DAW for that matter. You can of course use it purely as a 24 track tape deck if you like. I'm lucky enough to have two of them so one is configured as a complete system where you choose your DAW at the startup screen, and the other is just a tape recorder, great for musicians in the room.

If I sound like an employee of iZ, I apologize, it's just that I'm delighted to have found the ultimate set up and all my home computer problems are a thing of the past. I will use them for their intended purpose - as home computers.

I would go down this route too, go out the box, but what I would miss is all the VSTs I have bought,. On the other hand though I do long for the days when my PC would boot in about 7 seconds. I fee inclined to just lock WIn10 down, see if I can strip it back to bare bones and 'freeze' that installation but of course I have to be on the internet to get software updates, everything seems to need an internet connection.

I used to have a Mackie 24 channel mixer and the Mackie HDR24 and I don't know whether I am reminiscing or genuinely finding that the sound and workflow was better, but there again, to counter that - no MIDI tracks :-(
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Re: iZ RADAR Studio and the return of the PC

Postby Sam Spoons » Fri Oct 09, 2020 11:18 am

I spent about ten years using hardware (Analogue desks with Akai DR8/16 and later an HDR24). I still have the HDR24 and an ADAT card for my X32 Compact so could go back to the hardware setup quite easily but Reaper seems to work for me so will stick with it for now.
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Re: iZ RADAR Studio and the return of the PC

Postby Arpangel » Fri Oct 09, 2020 3:27 pm

OneWorld wrote:
I would go down this route too, go out the box, but what I would miss is all the VSTs I have bought,. On the other hand though I do long for the days when my PC would boot in about 7 seconds. I fee inclined to just lock WIn10 down, see if I can strip it back to bare bones and 'freeze' that installation but of course I have to be on the internet to get software updates, everything seems to need an internet connection.

I used to have a Mackie 24 channel mixer and the Mackie HDR24 and I don't know whether I am reminiscing or genuinely finding that the sound and workflow was better, but there again, to counter that - no MIDI tracks :-(

Interesting, my Win 10 machine boots in about 7 secs, I rarely connect to the internet, as nothing needs updating. I don't use VST's much so I haven’t invested a lot in them, about £50 I think.
I have a Mac that’s a mirror of what’s on my PC, I use the two machines for different purposes.
I can satisfy my longing for "the old days" as I’ve got a Tascam Portastudio, a mixer, and some hardware in the basement, but really, I’d like to integrate all this into one studio, maybe based around a RADAR, and a really nice console, but TBH, I can’t really see that happening now.
I wouldn’t miss the computer, after all, they are a bit of a ripp off, if you let them be.
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Re: iZ RADAR Studio and the return of the PC

Postby Howdy Doody Time » Fri Oct 09, 2020 7:35 pm

The Radar Studio is dual boot, you get the choice of whatever DAW you installed, or Radar. If you choose your DAW, you keep all your VST's and you keep using your DAW. When you choose your Audio interface you will see the iZ Adrenaline listed, complete with 24 ins and outs and super latency numbers. Everything you record and playback is through the radar converters. I've been using Reason Suite today, and it's the best it ever sounded.

If you choose Radar, you get the 24 track "Tape Deck" which includes a 24 track waveform "sequencer" like screen. The remote is a big clicky IBM style keyboard with a backlit screen, transport controls exactly like Otari's, and all the punch in/out and markers you'd expect. You can edit the track waveforms I believe, but I haven't tried it. I just ask for another take.

So you get the best of both worlds! It is expensive, but you'd be out of the rat race of annual upgrades and monthly OS updates, and there are bargains on eBay.
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Re: iZ RADAR Studio and the return of the PC

Postby CS70 » Fri Oct 09, 2020 10:38 pm

OneWorld wrote:On the other hand though I do long for the days when my PC would boot in about 7 seconds. I fee inclined to just lock WIn10 down, see if I can strip it back to bare bones and 'freeze' that installation but of course I have to be on the internet to get software updates, everything seems to need an internet connection.

SSD or rotating hard drive?

I built my main music PC about 5-6 years ago, with a good motherboard, an i5, 16Gb of DDR3 ram and a GX700.. in other words, absolutely no hyperspec. And yet with W10 (always latest update) cold boot time is around 5-6 seconds from start to log in page. From sleep mode is practically instantaneous. Was much slower with W7.

The slower component to boot is - of all things - the audio interface - the driver takes 2-3 seconds to load. SSD is good for speed.
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Re: iZ RADAR Studio and the return of the PC

Postby CS70 » Fri Oct 09, 2020 10:49 pm

Howdy Doody Time wrote:The Radar Studio is dual boot, you get the choice of whatever DAW you installed, or Radar. If you choose your DAW, you keep all your VST's and you keep using your DAW. When you choose your Audio interface you will see the iZ Adrenaline listed, complete with 24 ins and outs and super latency numbers. Everything you record and playback is through the radar converters. I've been using Reason Suite today, and it's the best it ever sounded.

If you choose Radar, you get the 24 track "Tape Deck" which includes a 24 track waveform "sequencer" like screen. The remote is a big clicky IBM style keyboard with a backlit screen, transport controls exactly like Otari's, and all the punch in/out and markers you'd expect. You can edit the track waveforms I believe, but I haven't tried it. I just ask for another take.

So you get the best of both worlds! It is expensive, but you'd be out of the rat race of annual upgrades and monthly OS updates, and there are bargains on eBay.

Can't see how converter nowadays can be "better sounding" - they might be (microscopically) different but I don't think many people in the world, if any, could actually distinguish them in a blind test in any real-world condition... perhaps at the front-end, if the rest is exceptionally clean and the recording space exceptionally quiet... and it almost never is.

But I _absolutely_ love physical haptics with respect to screens or touchscreens, and the Radar seems magnificent in that respect.. and the fact that it manages to beat also the latency bane makes it sound like a really great piece of kit.

I experience the "professionality" (or lack thereof) with a different perspective, which hasn't much to do with kit.. in the studio, rooms are better and I have another person that pushes the buttons. At home, I don't - and that makes the most profound difference to me. If Radar came with a switchable control room engineer, I'd be sold in a minute!

If only I could put Siri or Google in that role... :)
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Re: iZ RADAR Studio and the return of the PC

Postby Howdy Doody Time » Sat Oct 10, 2020 4:35 am

"Can't see how converter nowadays can be better sounding"

I'd have to agree with you, - in theory. However in practice they are.

I made "the comparison" using professionally pre-recorded material, and listening using Audeze LCD-X phones - which takes care of both recording room and listening room.

Now this could be just psychology, Only I listened, only I judged, but then I hadn't expected any difference, and I wasn't judging. I simply wanted to listen to my favourite track at the moment, and loaded it into Reason, which I'd just installed, picked up the nearest phones, and I immediately thought wow! that's nice.

If your theory is correct - and it may well be, then the manufacturers of the latest converters are in trouble. Their way out would be to say the supporting electronics are much improved.

Which is exactly what iZ details in their literature, and which may account for the difference.
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Re: iZ RADAR Studio and the return of the PC

Postby Arpangel » Sat Oct 10, 2020 6:42 am

Howdy Doody Time wrote:"Can't see how converter nowadays can be better sounding"

I'd have to agree with you, - in theory. However in practice they are. xactly what iZ details in their literature, and which may account for the difference.


Yes, and that’s why I prefer some converters over others, if there wasn’t a difference, absolutely, then I wouldn’t notice, and sometimes, the differences aren’t subtle, are quite obvious.
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Re: iZ RADAR Studio and the return of the PC

Postby blinddrew » Sat Oct 10, 2020 11:34 am

I think what we're talking about here isn't the actual converters, it's all the surrounding electronics that come in the same box.
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Re: iZ RADAR Studio and the return of the PC

Postby James Perrett » Sat Oct 10, 2020 12:41 pm

If you look at the paper specs you'll find that the Radar convertors measure worse than many of the typical alternative convertors. For example: dynamic range for the Ultra Nyquist card is quoted as 108dB A weighted whereas a mid range device like the Audient ASP800 gives 116dB. While these differences are minute, could they be audible?
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Re: iZ RADAR Studio and the return of the PC

Postby CS70 » Sat Oct 10, 2020 12:45 pm

The Radar seems a wonderful piece of kit indeed.

For the converter issue, I don't know if it is psychology or not, but it would be fun to find out! (er.. not your psychology but in general). A bit like the famous preamp comparison (see Hugh, not using "shootout"! :D) that SOS did a few years back.

The key is repetition with blind tests in controlled equivalent conditions, which is hard to achieve. Given the effect that even small difference in gain have on our ears, for example, just to make sure that the output is exactly at the same level is a challenge in itself.

I don't doubt two different signal paths can sound different - they do all the time.. what I doubt is that the reason that they sound different are the converters :D But I may be wrong. Nobody knows until we make a proper test.

Love the LCD-Xs - a life changer! I can do mixes in the night now that translate perfectly with no effort at all.
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Re: iZ RADAR Studio and the return of the PC

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Sat Oct 10, 2020 3:16 pm

The issue here is one of objectivity versus subjectivity. Howdy likes what he heard... and that's obviously fine, but it doesn't necessarily mean the converters are accurate. In all likelihood it probably implies they are actually less accurate.

But of course not everyone wants precision and accuracy. Often we actually want some pleasing subtle colourations. A little tilt-EQ, maybe to make it feel a tad 'warmer'. Some LF phase shifts, or some carefully shaped harmonic distortion... All the things we came to love about analogue tape, perhaps.

All the converter chip manufacturers compete to be as accurate as they can because that's the way this industry advances. Some have slightly different approaches in filter shapes and internal processing, which results in some subtle, but explainable, sound differences.

But the converter chip is only one small part of the whole interface. The analogue circuitry (including its power supply) plays a very big part. So does the clocking -- and some systems deliberately now introduce shaped jitter to create pleasing distortion content. And then there are the constructional issues of PCB layouts, screening, grounding and more -- these things all have subtle influences on the sound of the whole system, too.

My take is that iZTech make some superb world-class converters... And so do several other manufacturers. They all sound excellent... And often very subtly different!
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Re: iZ RADAR Studio and the return of the PC

Postby Howdy Doody Time » Sat Oct 10, 2020 4:25 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:The issue here is one of objectivity versus subjectivity. Howdy likes what he heard... and that's obviously fine, but it doesn't necessarily mean the converters are accurate. In all likelihood it probably implies they are actually less accurate.

But of course not everyone wants precision and accuracy. Often we actually want some pleasing subtle colourations. A little tilt-EQ, maybe to make it feel a tad 'warmer'. Some LF phase shifts, or some carefully shaped harmonic distortion... All the things we came to love about analogue tape, perhaps.

All the converter chip manufacturers compete to be as accurate as they can because that's the way this industry advances. Some have slightly different approaches in filter shapes and internal processing, which results in some subtle, but explainable, sound differences.

But the converter chip is only one small part of the whole interface. The analogue circuitry (including its power supply) plays a very big part. So does the clocking -- and some systems deliberately now introduce shaped jitter to create pleasing distortion content. And then there are the constructional issues of PCB layouts, screening, grounding and more -- these things all have subtle influences on the sound of the whole system, too.

My take is that iZTech make some superb world-class converters... And so do several other manufacturers. They all sound excellent... And often very subtly different!

Absolutely.

The issue here was never meant to be the converters, but rather the fact Radar Studio is a carefully crafted recording system, that can use your favorite DAW, while letting you forget all about whether to install the latest OS Version or update, because that's all been taken care of.

In addition, the system is based on (but radically different to) an IBM PC-AT, known to be practically indestructible. (I still have the old battered but still functioning Radar 2, complete with big old SCSI Drive) further examples of pc based gear still operational that I have lying around are a Korg Triton Rack and a Fostex D2424LV

It's the Integration of functions, and the isolation from changes to OS, and peripherals that I was raving about. Remember Firewire?

Also Catalina, on the Macs - it might run Nuendo by now, but who cares?, my Radar running Windows 8.1 runs it flawlessly, and that's what's so nice about a dedicated system.
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