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Radar II / Radar 24 (Which -- does it matter?)

Discussion in 'Recording' started by YodaGetsFunky, May 21, 2001.

  1. I'm a little (make that a lot) confused as to the difference between Radar II and Radar 24. I know, from reputation, that the Radar system has a solid reputation for being solid, amongst those who are used to analog recording. I know Radar 24 has brought the price down, and uses BEos (actually that long Internet name).

    But here's the thing: A local dealer has Radar II. I don't know the price they'd go for (I really don't even "get" while it is still available there... is it old stock, or is Otari continuing with Radar II, but just not going to further developments which will be under iZ's name and distribution?), but it's more or less been hinted that the same configuration would be similarly priced (between Radar II and Radar 24).

    The dealer went on to talk about Radar II's interface being "proven" and solid, while hinting that might not be so with Radar 24. Please understand that I am not necessarily believing that at all, but it is more than a little confusing. I noticed on one thread there is a person that has both - Radar II and Radar 24. I would assume he/she knows the differences in running the systems and whether or not one words or sounds better than the other, etc. Or, whether they are virtually the "same", which seems a little impossible, given that the operating system (if I understand correctly) is different.

    I have more questions about Radar in general, but I will post those separately. Congratulations on being nominated on the TEC Award for the newest Radar 24. That should answer some of my questions (and it does help), but even with the price drop, something like the Analog Lovers Bundle, which is close to what I would get, plus cables and probably a couple of extras (not sure about the digital in/out for my system)... well that is a sizable enough purchase that I have to know.

    Considering my feelings about the complicated world of digital, I suspect I'd be "back" in analog heaven's HEAVEN if I was Radar-ing. :)
  2. Good questions...let's see if I can get them all

    RADAR II is old stock being sold off by Otari. It will not continue to be developed, or gain new features. RADAR24 is at least as solid if not more so than RADARII. (Remember I'm the support guy, not the sales guy, I know!)

    If you get the Nyquist boards with the RADAR24, it will sound better than the RADARII. If you go with the Clasic boards, they'll sound the same.

    You're right about analog heaven. I just finished recommending a fellow buy a analog console to use with RADAR instead of a digital one. There is much digital out there that doesn't sound good.


  3. Curve Dominant

    Curve Dominant Active Member

    Apr 13, 2001
    >>There is much digital out there that doesn't sound good.<<


    There's plenty of analog out there that's not gonna win anybody any Popeye Pins, either, Doc. If ya can't get a good recording out of 20bit/44.1K, ya need more kung fu, in my humble opinion.
  4. You're right that there's lots of analog gear that doesn't sound so hot either, but specs (20 bit, 44.1 khz) have little to do with sound quality. The point being that those people who thought their sound quality problems/worries were over when they moved to digital (whether 20 bit or 48 bit)are in for a big surprise. RADAR24 sounds good; very good. If it didnt, we'd have problems.

  5. Yep... I think the thing is this: when digital was introduced, it was perceived to be the magic bullet that was going to cure all our audio ailments — and for much less money! I remember specifically lots of talk about multiple generations, and how they don't matter at all — pure sound coming and going, in and out, here and there... no sweat.

    Hey, I do love digital at its best, and if the setup and configuration and all the equipment is properly matched, much of the promise is fulfilled. But, in my opinion, for digital to do what those original promises seemed to imply would mean it would have to stand up against a brand new Studer 24 track with the best configuration there is for noise specs (if that's 30 ips or Dolby S or something else or any combination). That is a TALL order, and I don't believe the bulk of the digital solutions are quite there. From what I gather about Radar, is that they have put all their efforts into simply doing what I've just described. They've blown off (for the time being) added functionality (except for no wait cue points that are a given with non-linear HD recording) and all sort of workstation audio manipulation in order to let someone who has HAD (or wished to have) full-blown analog multi-tracks make the switch, retaining or gaining in specs and adding benefits such as no dropouts or tape degradation, etc.

    When I think of comparing digital to analog, I think only of comparing it to absolute state of the art analog. In other words, sure... my CD player sounds better than any cassette player I ever had. But how does it hold up against a 1/2" full track stereo master? The reason I hold digital to such high standards is because of all the initial hype. Digital is digital, so it wasn't supposed to matter if your CD player (or DAW or DAT or HD recorder or whatever) was inexpensive or high dollar. "Digital is digital... it's just numbers". I heard that a lot. :) In theory, maybe, but in reality, I've heard plenty of digital not sound so hot. When CDs came out, I was disappointed at the sample rate. It put a hard ceiling of frequency response too near the ear's limit. That is going to be fixed soon.

    For me, and I admit to being stuck in old methods, all I want is something that behaves for the most part like a good analog system. I want to be able to do lots of playbacks without worrying about the effect I'm having on the master. I want to be able to have an ABSOLUTE backup. I want instant cue points. And I want some UNDOs for those little accidents. And I want the sound to be as musical and "pretty" (non-technical, sounds good on anything from a live string quartet to good ol' rock 'n' roll) as the best analog. And I'll happily accept improvements in distortion, wow and flutter, and noise; so long as the actual sound is as good.

    Can digital do that? Yes. But hardly ANY were doing that at the beginning, and even now you have to pick and choose. The word "digital" is not synonymous with quality. And from a functionality viewpoint, I get the impression that most makers of digital audio are throwing so many bells and whistles into the soup that it is no wonder that message boards are full of people who are frustrated over doing the simplest tasks; tasks which, back in analog days, were so easy they were absolute no brainers. I read all kinds of stories about people who spends thousands, take the stuff home, and it is six weeks before they can put down a track and then put down another track in sync with it — basic multi-tracking. That stuff scares me. It is possible this is a generational thing to some extent. Younger people have been raised on computers. Picking commands windows deep and navigating software comes much more naturally to people raised on the paradigm. However, I think even people who are total whizes with OS command structures can appreciate the simple beauty of dedicated buttons for recording specific tracks.
  6. Wow, well put!

    That's what I was trying to get at. I bought into the hype at the beginning as well! For many people, moving from a good 2" analog tape machine to digital was a rude awakening, depending on what kind of system they got into.

    It really sounds like you're going to love RADAR :)

  7. Paul,

    If I can get myself to that price point, I know I would love it. I realize that the price is much more attractive than before, and for a pro studio, I don't see how they can keep from it :), but at this point, after having done the project studio for business for some years, I have only one real goal: to finally record a lot of my own material from way back and that keeps coming, and to occasionally do a project of someone else's that I feel similarly about. That means I can't get the Radar with visions of studio rental paying it off. I may or may not pay it off in the long run with music (CD) sales, but this is the kind of thing that I would do without any guaranty. That means I'm footing my own bill. I have a sizable investment from back to 1978 and earlier, so it isn't like I am going ground up. I've already got an "actual" studio (studio/drum booth/control room, triple glass on windows, and lots of acoustic treatment, etc.) and mixer, outboard equipment, "Ultramation" automation for analog board, instruments going back to the sixties, and a sizable MIDI system in hardware and software. However, I will be needing another computer as a DAW support to the multi-track and to host some softsynths/softsampler. My instrument weakness is in the sample-playback arena. My only real leaning towards sampling is using it as a fancy Mellotron :), and I've not upped from my old S900. I've heard some excellent Rhodes (Real Rhodes) and string samples that are much better than any ROMpler I have, and since I do utilize such sounds, authenticity matters to me.

    When it comes down to it, as far as the DAW functions go, it has never really mattered to me to be able to do big time slicing and dicing. I'm thinking out load now in order to help myself get real here. I suspect that when you get down to the way I've always done things, stuff like time stretching and all the heavy DAW functions people do to utilize loops sounds like another world to me. I enjoy some music that does it (I get a big kick out of Fatboy Slim, for instance... creative, fun, and musical) but I have not desire to even try it out. I would like to be able to get twelve backup vocal tracks and sub-mix them to stereo in the digital realm, though, and have those tracks residing comfortably on something like the Radar 24, ready to rock! But when it comes to all these "corrective" things many people seem to spend hours and hours on in "post production" (a term that used to apply mainly to films, not making pop music), if something isn't quite right, I am more inclined to just do it again. However, the one thing I can see saving lots of valuable time in some situations is something like the Antares pitch correction software/device. If you have a vocalist that has given a perfect performance in every way except for one soar off key note, being able to fix that note without messing up anything in the process sounds really cool to me. There have been many times that has happened, and punching in one line over and over can be pretty hard for some vocalists. Keeping the feel and the sense of continuity isn't always easy.

    Really, all I've ever really wanted is a solid twenty-four track machine. Shoot, I don't even want more tracks, because I need that limitation to keep me from just adding tracks all day. I suffer from bit of track-adder's disease... I just keep thinking of new lines that "go". Do enough of that, and the phrase, "less is more", starts making a helluva lot of sense. :) So, 24 tracks! OK, I admit it — I wouldn't mind adding maybe another 8 tracks, but not for more instrumental tracks and musical lines. I'd use them as four stereo pairs to utilize Bruce Swedien's suggested trick of running "like tracks" through a pair of speakers and then miking their playback (with a stereo pair of like microphones) from maybe six to eight feet away, in order to "localize" those sounds in the playback room's space. I got that from his video, and having heard the before and after of that technique's use, I was convinced that it sounds really good. It did wonders for synths and other direct instruments. Even drum machines! So, I'd use two tracks for all things percussion, two tracks for all things synth, two tracks for vocals, and two tracks for guitars or whatever. I'd have to limit it to the 8 unless I had extras left over from the 24. He'd use more, but that's his budget. Thing is, with some planning and careful use of the procedure, I think I could use my old spare 16-bit black face ADAT strictly for room sound sweetening, bringing it into the mix via auxiliaries or playback buses, and use all 24 Radar tracks (or whatever device the Multi-track Faery allows) for "real" tracks, and that would be pretty doggoned OK! I could add tracks all day. What fun!

    Anyway, back to topic — if I do find myself at that place where my multi-track allotment can cover the Radar 24, I'll be doing handsprings! :)

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