iZ Technology RADAR V Recorder

Currently, there are thousands of RADAR (Random Access Digital Audio Recorder) units in use on scoring stages, major live tours and in recording studios around the world. U2, Janet Jackson, Sting, Celine Dion, Stevie Wonder, Sarah McLaughlin, Eric Clapton, Elton John, Paul McCartney, Santana, and Shania Twain are just a few of the thousands of artists who have relied on the performance of RADAR to capture their performances in the studio and on stage.
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Fast FactsApplications: Studio, project studio, broadcast, post production, location recording

Key Features: 24-track; up to 192 kHz; Adrenaline Plus recording engine; basic editing functions; timecode; Gigabit Ethernet; choice of I/O

Price: $14,995 - $19,995

Contact: iZ Technology at 800-776-1356, www.izcorp.com.Currently, there are thousands of RADAR (Random Access Digital Audio Recorder) units in use on scoring stages, major live tours and in recording studios around the world. U2, Janet Jackson, Sting, Celine Dion, Stevie Wonder, Sarah McLaughlin, Eric Clapton, Elton John, Paul McCartney, Santana, and Shania Twain are just a few of the thousands of artists who have relied on the performance of RADAR to capture their performances in the studio and on stage.

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iZ Technology, the developer of the RADAR recording system, has introduced the new RADAR V with the Adrenaline Plus recording engine and 3.37 software. The RADAR V combines over a decade of professional hard disk recorder development into a powerful audio recording machine. Constructed on Adrenaline Plus recording engine technology, the RADAR V delivers better sonic performance while maintaining the simplicity and familiarity RADAR users expect. The unit provides four times the speed and power of the RADAR 24, a lower jitter clock, cleaner power supply and a whole new suite of workstation compatibility tools. Older RADAR 24s can also be upgraded with the Adrenaline Plus engine.

Features

There are four different types of RADAR V recording systems. The RADAR V Digital is an all-digital version of the RADAR V with no converters, The RADAR V Classic has converters and can record 24 tracks at 24-bit/44.1 kHz or 24-bit/48 kHz, the RADAR V Nyquist has converters and adds the ability to record 24 tracks at 88.2 kHz and 96 kHz, and the RADAR V S-Nyquist adds the ability to record 24 tracks at 176.4 kHz and 192 kHz. The older RADAR 24 lost track count as the sample rate increased (only 12 tracks at 96 kHz and only six tracks at 192 kHz) but now the ability to record a full 24 tracks at 192 kHz is possible.

The unit I reviewed was the fully decked out RADAR V S-Nyquist which, depending on the features, has a price tag in the $20k ballpark. New to RADAR is the Adrenaline Plus recording engine which provides for Dual Disc recording on SCSI, Serial ATA or Parallel ATA drives in FAT-32 Native Broadcast WAV (BWF) file format for direct disk transfer to DAWs. The system ships with Gigabit Ethernet, and features FileFlat instant file consolidation. The Adrenaline Plus DSP core combines the latest high speed DSP technology with iZ's proprietary large-scale integrated Trinity chip to record on a single disk at sample rates from 32 kHz to 192 kHz with no track count reduction. All real time digital audio operations are performed by dedicated, hand-optimized high-speed logic cells that leave host-based, latency-prone systems gasping for clock cycles. The Trinity chip ensures that every precious byte of your audio data is delivered to the disk with clock-edge accuracy for absolute faithfulness to the original signal.

The RADAR Voss rear panel is equipped with all the necessary connectors to interface the box with virtually any piece of studio equipment. Six DB-25 connectors provide 24 channels of balanced analog input and output. The box operates at +4 dBu with four user-selectable reference levels.

The RADAR V includes two channels of AES/EBU and S/PDIF digital I/O. Optional multichannel I/O cards are available for AES/EBU, TDIF and ADAT lightpipe formats. Three DB-25 connectors provide standard TDIF digital I/O. Three additional connectors allow for optional AES or lightpipe connections. The box simultaneously outputs analog and digital signals and track input can be assigned as either digital or analog.

Sync reference BNC in and out connectors and digital I/O sync (word clock) BNC in and out connectors are included to insure clock sync between the RADAR V and other digital devices. MIDI in, out and thru ports are also included. The RADAR V supports two formats of machine control, Sony 9-pin (RS-422) and MMC (MIDI Machine Control). These control protocols allow the box to be controlled from other equipment such as video decks, mixers, computer workstations, etc. The box also reads and writes SMPTE timecodes and MTC.

The RADAR V ships with a Gigabit Ethernet card that can be used for backing up, restoring, importing and exporting files. The machine can be connected to a server-based network, LAN or directly to a PC or Mac. RADARLINK provides in and out ports (both 9-pin) allowing multiple RADAR V units to be linked together. The SVGA port provides a graphical display of waveforms, track meter values, sync settings and edit parameters via any standard 800 x 600 or 1024 x 768 SVGA monitor.

The Session Controller ships standard with the RADAR V and connects to the rear panel's 9-pin D-sub connector and the power receptacle labeled remote power. The Session Controller provides dedicated track arming buttons, transport, auto-locate and edit controls as well as 48 track arming buttons so 48 tracks can be easily operated by a single controller. The Session Controller's Macro Keys enable common button-press sequences to be stored and then recalled at the touch of a button. A 24 channel or optional 48 channel meter bridge connects to the Session Controller.

The SCSI port allows the RADAR V to be connected to an external disk drive chassis allowing additional SCSI drives to be connected for expanded recording capacity. The rear panel's power input module accepts a standard IEC power cable and the voltage select switch allows the unit to be switched between AC 60 Hz, 100/120V or AC 50 Hz, 220/240V.

The front panel of the box includes the power on/off switch, a small drive slot for floppy drive or Iomega Rev drive for file imports/exports and backup, and three drive bays. Drive bay 1 holds a single high-capacity hard disk drive in a removable carrier. Drive bay 2 holds a single high-capacity hard disk drive in a removable carrier and Drive bay 3 holds a DVD Multi-Drive for DVD-RAM, DVD-R, and CDR burning (including Redbook Audio), file backup and software upgrades.

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In Use

If you can use a tape machine you can use RADAR. That's one of the things that I've always loved about this system. If someone walks into my studio and they have never used Pro Tools, there is no way in hell that I can have them up and running on that DAW or any other within a reasonable amount of time (for some engineers it could take a day or more). If the most computer-illiterate engineer in the world is working at my studio, I can have him rocking on RADAR in a matter of minutes. Now when it comes to more intense editing I don't like the fact that RADAR doesn't support grid mode or any more advanced editing features that are standard in Pro Tools or Nuendo, but its sound can't be beat.

The day the RADAR V arrived I was scheduled to record a live performance of Charlie Peacock and his amazing band that includes members of Tower of Power, Bela Fleck and the Flecktones and Venus Hum. I was planning on recording to my RADAR 24 at 24-bit, 44.1 kHz but I decided at the spur of the moment that I'd give 24 tracks of 24-bit, 192 kHz a try. There isn't another system out there that I’d feel comfortable pushing that hard right out of the box but, as I anticipated, the RADAR V worked like a charm. I was using all 24 tracks of the 70+-minute show and I'm happy to say the operation was flawless. Not only did it provide flawless performance, but its sonic performance was nothing short of spectacular.

After getting the machine back in the studio, I ran it through the paces and I’m pleased to report that its converters are the finest I've ever heard, period. The sonic depth, resolution and detail are phenomenal and in most cases I couldn't tell a difference between the recording and the real thing.

Besides the stellar sound, one of my favorite RADAR features is the Session Controller. This no-compromise remote makes you feel like you are actually driving a professional recorder, not playing with a $1,500 home computer adapted to work in the studio. In addition to providing this great feeling recording environment, the Session Controller includes lighted buttons and a jog/shuttle wheel that greatly simplifies editing.

Summary

The RADAR V is easy to use and it feels like a real tape machine. A lot of people don't remember or never knew the feel of a real tape machine but for those of us who do, this machine is a reminder that there is a difference between professional and consumer recording gear.

Although it has a price tag well beyond the reach of most project studios, the RADAR provides an unmatched sonic performance. And with the host of new features it's a must-have if you can afford it.