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Are TascamX48 converters better than the IZ Radar classic ad converters?
Old 28th November 2008
  #1
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JOHN's Avatar
 

Are TascamX48 converters better than the IZ Radar classic ad converters?

Are TascamX48 converters better than the IZ Radar classic ad converters?
Has anyone tested this yet please comment thanks in advance.
Old 29th November 2008
  #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JOHN View Post
Are TascamX48 converters better than the IZ Radar classic ad converters?
Has anyone tested this yet please comment thanks in advance.

Are you being serious?
Old 29th November 2008
  #3
Lives for gear
Having owned the MX2424, the converters on that are quite nice.
Old 29th November 2008
  #4
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Mo Facta's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by JOHN View Post
Are TascamX48 converters better than the IZ Radar classic ad converters?
Has anyone tested this yet please comment thanks in advance.
Umm, I would say NOOOOOO. IZ converters have long been hailed, ahem, 'the best AD converters in the woooooooorld'

Don't have any experience with them though. I just believe the hype.

Here's what Barry, the president of IZ has said directly on this issue to disgruntled RADAR users:

"The X-48 96 kHz analog board is called the IF-AN24X and it is available at a price of only $899, Link: http://www.digitalproaudio.com/tascam-if-an-24-x.html
One could divde by 2 to separate the price of the A/D from the D/A, or even make the A/D more valuable and split it 2/3 to the A/D and 1/3 to the D/A. This would make the retail value of 24 channels of 96 kHz A/D = $899 x 2/3 = $599. We all know that the manufacturing cost mark up from raw parts and labour to retail is between 4 to 5, so being conservative, the raw parts+labour cost of the A/D portion of the IF-AN24x would be $599/4 = $150. Therefore, the raw manufacturer parts+labour cost per channel of the A/D portion of the IF-AN24x would be $150/24 = $6.20. Lets even assume that the labour cost in comparison to the parts is negligible, then just the raw parts cost per channel = $6.20.

My question to you Paul, is this: How does one convert an extremely delicate low level analog signal into a high quality, 24 bit digital signal for six bucks? Think about that...The components in the A/D path are, the connector, the impedance matching resistors, the noise chokes, the coupling capacitors, the signal conditioning circuitry, the high slew rate op amps(high slew rate operational amplifiers means signal amplifiers that can accurately track fast transients - these alone can cost $30 to $40 per channel), the anti-aliasing filters and filter op amps, the magnetic isolators(very expensive in the iZ Nyquist converters), the A/D converter chips themselves, the digital buffers on the output side of the converters, and the multiplexing logic.

By comparison, a set of 24 channels of iZ Nyquist boards cost $6000. Using the 2/3 rule of thumb for the A/D to D/A split gives $4000 for 24 channels of A/D. Since we sell through only one dealer level, we don't have the additional distributor and rep network mark ups that Tascam has, so our raw parts manufacturers mark up is only about 2. Therefore, you can estimate iZ's raw manufacturing cost for 24 channels of A/D at $4000/2 = $2000, which when divided by 24 channels = $83 per channel. This is 13 times more than the cost of Tascam's per channel A/D cost. $83 is barely enough to buy all the components that iZ considers to be the absolute minimum required to get good sounding audio from the input connector to the hard drive."

If you wanna read the whole thread go here:

TASCAM X-4 - Radar 24 features from 2004 - Topic Powered by eve community

Cheers.

Last edited by Mo Facta; 29th November 2008 at 11:31 AM.. Reason: Found some more info
Old 29th November 2008
  #5
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StudioKing's Avatar
No, the RADAR convertors are excellent. The Tascam ones are just OK, not rubbish, just OK.
Old 30th November 2008
  #6
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u b k's Avatar
 

imo it is better to own very good converters than to not own amazing converters.

so if the tascams are the ones you can afford to own, then yes, they are better.


gregoire
del
ubk
.
Old 30th November 2008
  #7
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allencollins's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by u b k View Post
imo it is better to own very good converters than to not own amazing converters.

so if the tascams are the ones you can afford to own, then yes, they are better.


gregoire
del
ubk
.

That's a great way to put it
(not being sarcastic)
Old 5th December 2008
  #8
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Gearhero's Avatar
 

"This is 13 times more than the cost of Tascam's per channel A/D cost. $83 is barely enough to buy all the components that iZ considers to be the absolute minimum required to get good sounding audio from the input connector to the hard drive"

Says it all. You get what you pay for. I'll bet the RADAR sounds night and day different.
Old 5th December 2008
  #9
Lives for gear
 

It all boils down to doing an A/B test which the other posters have not done. Some of the price difference is due to economy of scale which no one has considered. Tascam buys parts, manufactures, and distributes at rates any small company like IZ couldn't come close to. Newer is often better with converters. Keep your fingers crossed someone here has done an A/B test and chimes in or do it yourself and report back for the rest of us to learn from your experiences. There are some threads here on how close the D/A converters are getting to each other so there might not be much of a difference on the D/A side. If you only need a few A/D converter channels, you could get a top end A/D and combine it with the Tascam if you need lots of D/A (like for analog desk mixing). There are other 24 channel converter units to consider also. If you post your converter needs (both input and output) and reasoning behind it, others may chime in with more suggestions for you.
Old 5th December 2008
  #10
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bassmankr View Post
"...Newer is often better with converters..."
Not all converter chips are equal and the newer ones are not necessarily better than the older ones. RADAR uses older, but very expensive converter chips. The Many of the newer chips are designed for cost reduction, not for sound improvement. However, for argument's sake lets assume that all converter chips are of equal quality, then the main factors affecting the sound in digital converters are:

1) Noise, ripple and common mode rejection inherent in analogue power supplies that provide power to the analogue sections of the converter chips and the other analogue components.

2) Analogue supply voltage rail levels which affect headroom and signal to noise ratio (In RADAR the voltage rails are +/- 18 volts - most other recorders are +/- 12 volts).

3) Clock line treatment - i.e. to minimize jitter induction, all internal clock lines to all A/D and D/A channels must be balanced, differential and properly shielded and terminated.

4) Power supply isolation - RADAR uses expensive magnetic isolators - many converters and recorders don't use any isolators since all digital and analogue components are powered from the same power source - RADAR has two separate digital and analogue power supplies that are completely isolated from each other.

5) Coupling capacitor quality - RADAR uses high quality low leakage caps - 2 for each input and output = 96 total - this makes a significant difference in sound quality.

6) Op Amp quality. There are also 2 input stages per channel that use high slew rate op amps. The slew rate is critical - if the slew rate is not high enough, the converter won't accurately track the transients of the analogue input signal resulting in distortion. RADAR uses very expensive high slew rate op amps - big factor in the sound quality.

7) Resistor noise. There are hundreds of resistors in multi-channel converters and each one of them is a noise generator - low noise resistors - like the ones we use in RADAR are expensive.

8) Clock stability and clock jitter: RADAR has the lowest clock jitter on the market. Clock jitter has a huge impact on sound quality.

The design aspects listed above combined have a much greater impact on the sound quality than the converter chips - and they have a much greater impact on the cost. The bottom line is - you can't make good audio without paying attention to these details.
Old 5th December 2008
  #11
Quote:
Originally Posted by bhenderson View Post
Not all converter chips are equal and the newer ones are not necessarily better than the older ones. RADAR uses older, but very expensive converter chips. The Many of the newer chips are designed for cost reduction, not for sound improvement. However, for argument's sake lets assume that all converter chips are of equal quality, then the main factors affecting the sound in digital converters are:

1) Noise, ripple and common mode rejection inherent in analogue power supplies that provide power to the analogue sections of the converter chips and the other analogue components.

2) Analogue supply voltage rail levels which affect headroom and signal to noise ratio (In RADAR the voltage rails are +/- 18 volts - most other recorders are +/- 12 volts).

3) Clock line treatment - i.e. to minimize jitter induction, all internal clock lines to all A/D and D/A channels must be balanced, differential and properly shielded and terminated.

4) Power supply isolation - RADAR uses expensive magnetic isolators - many converters and recorders don't use any isolators since all digital and analogue components are powered from the same power source - RADAR has two separate digital and analogue power supplies that are completely isolated from each other.

5) Coupling capacitor quality - RADAR uses high quality low leakage caps - 2 for each input and output = 96 total - this makes a significant difference in sound quality.

6) Op Amp quality. There are also 2 input stages per channel that use high slew rate op amps. The slew rate is critical - if the slew rate is not high enough, the converter won't accurately track the transients of the analogue input signal resulting in distortion. RADAR uses very expensive high slew rate op amps - big factor in the sound quality.

7) Resistor noise. There are hundreds of resistors in multi-channel converters and each one of them is a noise generator - low noise resistors - like the ones we use in RADAR are expensive.

8) Clock stability and clock jitter: RADAR has the lowest clock jitter on the market. Clock jitter has a huge impact on sound quality.

The design aspects listed above combined have a much greater impact on the sound quality than the converter chips - and they have a much greater impact on the cost. The bottom line is - you can't make good audio without paying attention to these details.
There you have it;

8 reasons why IZ makes a better, more boutique, higher end product than Trashcan does.
Old 6th December 2008
  #12
Lives for gear
 

Barry and Adam, I didn't dis Radar. Products earn a good rep over time by delivering the goods and Radar has a good rep however my points are all still valid.

"newer is often better with converters" is a general rule with exceptions as all general rules have exceptions. All you have to do is look at Digi's products to prove this point as with time they have gotten better as with most the manufacturers (including Radars). If cost of the converter or how good the analog/component side is were the biggest issue, we would still be using $250K Sony PCM3348's.

"the D to A may not be that different" a quick check of threads here about A/B tests of D/A converters gives gearslutz members first hand experiences with this issue, I'm just repeating the info and told the poster to check into it.

Tascam has "economy of scale" working in it's favor for price, what's to argue here. The more units of a part you buy the cheaper per unit it costs, the more units you manufacture the cheaper it is per unit to manufacture, the more units you distribute, the cheaper it is per unit to distribute. Tascam has economy of scale, period.

The thread poster was not specific about his needs, so my suggestion that there may be other better options is valid, specifically if he only needs a few channels A/D conversion and lots of D/A conversion, like with using an analog desk for mixing. While I'm not a big Tascam fan either it doesn't mean they don't make the best product for his particular needs, hopefully he will get more specific. Trashing any product without firsthand experience is just lame. If one hundred people post that through their own experience product XYZ is crap then it's something I'm going to consider. If a competing gear manufacturer or gear dealer says product XYZ is crap then that's called marketing and it's of no value to me.

No one here yet has posted their experiences A/B'ing the Radar to the Tascam so while we can suspect what the outcome will be, who the hell really knows. The best advice we harp here about all gear is to use your OWN ears. Oh, that was one of my points too LOL.
Old 6th December 2008
  #13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bassmankr View Post
the thread poster was not specific about his needs,
That's because he is a troll. I've yet to understand one post he has made.

Quote:
If cost of the converter or how good the analog/component side is were the biggest issue, we would still be using $250K Sony PCM3348's.
I would of course, completely disagree. You can certainly "paint" with circuits, which is an art form in itself. I think the analog circuitry has a lot to do with the issue because its still before the AD stage, and after the DA stage.

Quote:
if a competing gear manufacturer or gear dealer says product XYZ is crap then that's called marketing and it's of no value to me.
I don't mean to bash Tascam. Its just that I've been calling their equipment that for years. Its a love/hate thing, ya know! I just have a problem comparing these devices on a build/sonic quality level. Its not fair. Lately, I read these threads and it seems everyone just wants to know "the best" [there is no best by the way], compare converter chips and op amps, when really these boxes are about the sum of their design/parts, and the term "best" is end user specific only. I think there are other things that matter in a converters inception and design. The power supply, clocking, analog circuitry, might mean WAY more to the outcome of a converters response, than the chosen chip or op amp.

I'm sure the X48 will provide years and years of service for anyone who needs a multi-track recorder, and its more than likely a great choice for anyone who appreciates its features and economy minded design. But these products are more than likely only comparable in basic form and function. They are both recorders, and they both record audio. There is no point in arguing that. BUT, the IZ RADAR is NOT a MASS PRODUCED PRODUCT, and it is a BUILD TO ORDER device. It has discrete power supplies for each function of the unit....its clocking has made every converter I have clocked from it, sound a little clearer, and bigger in some form, it records the "time" and "air" in our room in a way that is indescribable through a post.
Old 7th December 2008
  #14
Gear Maniac
 
spockstudio's Avatar
 

Roc,
I've always enjoyed your posts, and share many of your points of view.

Although I think its fair to blast Tascam on their current rep, anyone who has been around long enough to remember the DA-88 (or the 3340 if you've "really" been around...) will at lest give props to the fact that they did some things right. They arent Behringer.

I personally remain unimpressed with the x48. Kooster seems to dig it.
Old 7th December 2008
  #15
Gear Maniac
 
Gearhero's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by bhenderson View Post
Not all converter chips are equal and the newer ones are not necessarily better than the older ones. RADAR uses older, but very expensive converter chips. The Many of the newer chips are designed for cost reduction, not for sound improvement. However, for argument's sake lets assume that all converter chips are of equal quality, then the main factors affecting the sound in digital converters are:

1) Noise, ripple and common mode rejection inherent in analogue power supplies that provide power to the analogue sections of the converter chips and the other analogue components.

2) Analogue supply voltage rail levels which affect headroom and signal to noise ratio (In RADAR the voltage rails are +/- 18 volts - most other recorders are +/- 12 volts).

3) Clock line treatment - i.e. to minimize jitter induction, all internal clock lines to all A/D and D/A channels must be balanced, differential and properly shielded and terminated.

4) Power supply isolation - RADAR uses expensive magnetic isolators - many converters and recorders don't use any isolators since all digital and analogue components are powered from the same power source - RADAR has two separate digital and analogue power supplies that are completely isolated from each other.

5) Coupling capacitor quality - RADAR uses high quality low leakage caps - 2 for each input and output = 96 total - this makes a significant difference in sound quality.

6) Op Amp quality. There are also 2 input stages per channel that use high slew rate op amps. The slew rate is critical - if the slew rate is not high enough, the converter won't accurately track the transients of the analogue input signal resulting in distortion. RADAR uses very expensive high slew rate op amps - big factor in the sound quality.

7) Resistor noise. There are hundreds of resistors in multi-channel converters and each one of them is a noise generator - low noise resistors - like the ones we use in RADAR are expensive.

8) Clock stability and clock jitter: RADAR has the lowest clock jitter on the market. Clock jitter has a huge impact on sound quality.

The design aspects listed above combined have a much greater impact on the sound quality than the converter chips - and they have a much greater impact on the cost. The bottom line is - you can't make good audio without paying attention to these details.
Could you post some level matched unlabled samples of Radar versus any other converter so we can clearly hear the difference unbiased? Everyone says you make the best conversion out there.
Old 7th December 2008
  #16
Lives for gear
Let me start by saying I own an MX2424 and it still serves me well.
I also spent a very enjoyable afternoon with Barry Henderson back when the Radar/MX24 wars were in full swing and he made a tremendous case to Radar at that time. If I wasn't heading to PT, I might have gone to Radar.

I like my MX2424, but I do feel that Radar has far surpassed THAT converter technology. I'm not a Tascam hater, but I do feel that if I were in the market for that kind of unit today Barry Henderson's passionate promotion of the Radar Platform over the years would way very heavily in favor of Radar over any product made by Tascam, which despite the dogged efforts of the US staff, continues to try to shoot itself in the foot but failing to support products in the US market. Aside from that, I'm sure the X48 sounds good and is a great tech achievement. But Radar sounds great..period.

And no, I am not Barry's mon.
Old 7th December 2008
  #17
Gear Maniac
 
Gearhero's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by bhenderson View Post
6) Op Amp quality. There are also 2 input stages per channel that use high slew rate op amps. The slew rate is critical - if the slew rate is not high enough, the converter won't accurately track the transients of the analogue input signal resulting in distortion. RADAR uses very expensive high slew rate op amps - big factor in the sound quality.
Wait!!! I read that RADAR has used inferior opamps (5532s) in the output stage. The 5532 has an orders of magnitude lower slewrate than any decent opamp on the market today. Wouldn't this result in a degradation in sound quality? It is used in prosumer gear.
Why did you choose to use cheap op-amps at all if you are saying they add distortion and are such an influence on the sound quality? This isn't making sense to me.
Old 7th December 2008
  #18
Lives for gear
 

Does this mean a two channel $1000 Lavry is better than Radar? I mean, how much per channel is a Lavry Blue?



Okay... I'm being a troll... but seriously... is it? Or do you have to listen to find out?

I don't think the cost of quality parts can ever be the final arbiter by itself, though in pro audio it certainly comes into play. How does that explain something like a Behringer ADA8000 which has pretty good sounding conversion for that very cheap price?

I mean besides the fact that they steal other people's ideas instead of doing R&D. heh

From what I can gather though... for whatever reason... Radar seems to sound "more like analog" (less like what people don't like about digital) than most other digital systems... whatever that means. According to those that use them. It's a very popular front end for PT, many PTHD users (I take it) track through RADAR.
Old 7th December 2008
  #19
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gearhero View Post
Wait!!! I read that RADAR has used inferior opamps (5532s) in the output stage. The 5532 has an orders of magnitude lower slewrate than any decend opamp on the market today. Wouldn't this result in a degradation in sound quality? It is used in prosumer gear.
Why did you choose to use cheap op-amps at all if you are saying they add distortion and are such an influence on the sound quality? This isn't making sense to me.
Interesting point. I am interested in Barry's response regarding this.

As far as the analog thing goes, I know it's part of RADAR's marketing slogan but seriously according to the specs they are some of the most transparent converters out there. When I think of analog sound I usually don't think of transparent, I think of subtle, pleasing distortion. It just goes to show you how buzz words are used to stir emotion with little thought of what they actually mean. Analog=good, digital=bad, etc.
Old 7th December 2008
  #20
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Cameron Johnson's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by u b k View Post
imo it is better to own very good converters than to not own amazing converters.

so if the tascams are the ones you can afford to own, then yes, they are better.


gregoire
del
ubk
.

Well-put! If you can actually get it, use it to it's best and it'll sound infinitely better than not having anything at all...
Old 7th December 2008
  #21
Gear Maniac
 
Gearhero's Avatar
 

LOL!
Old 7th December 2008
  #22
Quote:
Originally Posted by spockstudio View Post
Roc,
I've always enjoyed your posts, and share many of your points of view.

Although I think its fair to blast Tascam on their current rep, anyone who has been around long enough to remember the DA-88 (or the 3340 if you've "really" been around...) will at lest give props to the fact that they did some things right. They arent Behringer.
I'd agree completely.
Old 9th December 2008
  #23
Gear Maniac
 
Gearhero's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cato View Post
Interesting point. I am interested in Barry's response regarding this.

As far as the analog thing goes, I know it's part of RADAR's marketing slogan but seriously according to the specs they are some of the most transparent converters out there. When I think of analog sound I usually don't think of transparent, I think of subtle, pleasing distortion. It just goes to show you how buzz words are used to stir emotion with little thought of what they actually mean. Analog=good, digital=bad, etc.
yeah it seems like there are so many contradictory things being thrown out in the audiophile gear world.
Old 9th December 2008
  #24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gearhero View Post
Wait!!! I read that RADAR has used inferior opamps (5532s) in the output stage. The 5532 has an orders of magnitude lower slewrate than any decent opamp on the market today. Wouldn't this result in a degradation in sound quality? It is used in prosumer gear.
Why did you choose to use cheap op-amps at all if you are saying they add distortion and are such an influence on the sound quality? This isn't making sense to me.
The Tascam MX-2424 used BurrBrown opamps. The Radar 96 used MC33078 input opamps at 5v/us slew rate and NE5532 output opamps at a 6 v/us slew rate. The X-48 I have not seen yet. The 5532 is a bit long in the tooth at 33 years old now.
The Radar 96 also used AKM 5393 ADC's, the same part was used in the Alesis Masterlink and HD24XR. The DAC is a AD1855, an obsolete part replaced by the AD19xx series.

Jim Williams
Audio Upgrades
Old 10th December 2008
  #25
Gear Maniac
 
Gearhero's Avatar
 

Thanks for the info Jim! Very interesting indeed.

Hope Carlsbad is nice this time of year.
Old 10th December 2008
  #26
Seventies on the beach today, not bad.

Keep in mind this is not an endorsment. As Barry said, a lot more is going on insides like the clocking, power distribution, etc. This was just a parts line up.
I personally hate switching power supplies. Some day I might rip out the + - 12 volt rails and install a complete linear supply for the audio section in the HD24XR I use.

Jim Williams
Audio Upgrades
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