With an external video monitor connected, I was able to observe the computer going through its diagnostics on boot-up. It turns out that the particular RADAR 24 I had was a 667 MHz Celeron-based machine, running the BeOS operating system. While it is not well known, the BeOS is understood to be a highly stable and mature software platform. And it showed — at no time during several weeks of recording and editing did I experience so much as a glitch, let alone a crash. This box is very solid.
RADAR 24 has no built-in effects processing of any kind — no EQ, no compression, no reverbs — but then you don’t get any of that on a multitrack tape recorder either. Likewise, there isn’t any sort of mixing facility, so using outboard gear with RADAR 24 required the use of auxes on my mixing console, just like it was when I used tape. Since there’s no mixer in RADAR, I used the console and a stand-alone CD recorder to generate a stereo master of my projects. Remember, RADAR 24 is a very capable multitrack tape recorder with computer editing functions. It’s not a full studio-in-a-box.
Having said that, the RADAR 24 worked as advertised. As I continued to work with it I found myself looking more and more at the VGA monitor and less at the buttons. Given enough time I’m quite sure I could become a reasonable touch-typist with the Session Controller.
The audio quality of the RADAR 24 is superb, from one end to the other. It is probably much better than is currently necessary for radio production, but it might keep you and your business ahead of the quality curve as digital broadcast comes into use.
One facility I missed sorely is the ability to import audio from a production library CD. However, iZ reassures me that the RADAR 24 will support import and export of Broadcast WAV files via DVD-RAM in an upcoming release of system software. This will allow drag and drop file importing into PC- and Mac-based workstations using DVD-RAM and DVD-ROM drives.
I was also impressed with iZ’s support staff, which actually seems to work 24/7. They provide software updates online, along with complete instructions on how to download them and put them on a floppy, which can then be used to upgrade the system.
PRICING AND CONFIGURATION
Since iZ re-acquired distribution rights for the RADAR from Otari Corp., it has lowered the base price of the RADAR from $25,000 to a mere $4995. While at the outset this appears to be a great price, you’ll almost certainly end up spending more than that to build a useful RADAR system. Foremost of the add-ons is the Session Controller Remote at $1195, and the Meterbridge 24 at $495, bringing the total to about $6700. Add another $300 for a nice big video monitor, and we’re at seven grand.
iZ’s decision to make TDIF digital the only standard multichannel I/O on the RADAR 24 is an obvious nod to post production and recording studios, where DA-88’s are widely used. However, DA-88’s are not widespread in radio production, and iZ’s decision would likely force you to get an optional analog card. The Classic Analog I/O will do nicely, adding another $1995 to the total.
You’ll also probably want the integrated backup system to back up your sessions. The least expensive backup option is the DVD RAM drive at $695. You can also opt for one of the Exabyte Mammoth tape drives for backup, ranging in price from $1995 to $4995 with capacities from 18GB to 150GB.
So realistically, a minimal RADAR 24 system for production will run you just shy of $9700. That amount will get you a complete system that features 16 or 24 bit performance at up to 48kHz sampling. And while $9700 is not chump change in radio, when you consider that the other popular hardware workstation for radio production is nearly $17,000, the RADAR 24 looks quite the bargain.
Add to that RADAR’s wealth of dedicated recording and editing keys, and you have a serious production machine. The RADAR 24 shines during tracking and basic audio editing, and offers excellent audio quality in a rock-solid package. If your work routinely requires more than eight tracks of audio, you’d do well to look at RADAR 24.
The base model RADAR 24 system carries a suggested price of $4995. For more information in the US and Canada, contact iZ Technology Corporation at 604-430-5818. For more information worldwide, or to purchase a RADAR 24 online, visit www.izcorp.com.