"RADAR is the perfect choice for our studio. The sound is breathtaking, the machine is simple to use and it is the most reliable of what’s available on the market today."
Living the Dream? – The Analogue Café in Hawai’i
Choosing the right equipment for your dream studio…
Based on Music Marcom’s interview with Eric Malamud and Robert Unger, January 18, 2013
Eric Malamud is living the dream. Retired from a successful business career, he moved to the Ka’u on the Big Island (Hawai’i) where he built a recording studio, The Analogue Café – Sound Recording & Design – this last summer.
This dream didn’t happen overnight, it was something Malamud worked toward for a long time. He had grown up around music – his parents started the National Association of Record Merchandisers and industry vets like his mentor, Artie Mogul were family friends. In his words, “I became a success the old fashioned way, nepotism.”
He learned sound recording and engineering as a producer in the musically vibrant age of the post-psychedelic time of the 1970s. The idea behind The Analogue Café stems from Malamud’s experience at Muscle Shoals Studios, Alabama, the place where many famous artists have recorded hit songs and legendary albums, and where he made the best music of his life. Malamud wanted to create an inspiring environment with The Analogue Café for fellow musicians to be able to replicate his experience at Muscle Shoals.
In doing extensive research on how to best outfit his studio, Malamud came across David Lyons from Sonic Circus who recommended a RADAR system. RADAR is the premier choice for hard disk multi-track recording and playback in some of the finest recording studios, scoring stages, theatres, and post-production houses around the world. In The Analogue Café, musicians want to record “as analogue as you can hear”, getting as close as possible to the true sound that they record versus a technically manipulated version. They want to preserve the sound and feel of an analogue recording which RADAR allows them to do. Malamud says: “RADAR is the perfect choice for our studio. The sound is breathtaking, the machine is simple to use and it is the most reliable of what’s available on the market today.” It’s important to Malamud that technology doesn’t interfere with his recording work: “RADAR allows me to use a lot less words. It’s very intuitive and functional and it doesn’t get in the way. It doesn’t crash – unlike computers and Pro Tools. Of course, the hard-disk can crash, but that’s why the RADAR has two hard-drives. Uninterrupted recording is very important for my comfort level.”
Malamud is working closely with his in-house technician Robert Unger. Robert started his career in electronics and recording at an early age; following the lead of his older brother and mentor Bill Unger. Making the decision for RADAR was an easy one when both men looked at RADAR’s construction: “When you invest that kind of money into gear, you want it to sound great, you want it to look great, but you also want it to be reliable and to last.” Unger adds “Working with electronics over the years, I’ve seen a lot of components on the exterior like buttons or knobs that stick out. When you go to and from a gig, those things can get bumped, broken, or knocked off. All the connections of RADAR are internal. When you look at the back of it, everything is recessed. You don’t have to worry when taking this machine to and from a gig; very robust.”
Currently, Malamud and Unger are working on a joint project with Arthur Stone of Wales. Mr. Stone is doing the percussion and other basic tracking – guitars, keyboards – in the U.K., while Malamud and Unger overdub bass, guitar, and vocals in Hawaii. They exchange their files via SoundCloud, and the RADAR system allows them to seamlessly upload the files from their Welsh collaborator. Unger, who has worked as a sound technician for over 15 years, is impressed with the ease of use, the sound quality, and the robust build of the RADAR. “It took only half an hour to learn how to move files around and pretty much everything we need to do.” He adds, “I am even more impressed with the sound quality than with the technical aspects of it. With digital recordings, there is always something missing, you don’t get the same presence, the quality that you used to get from the old-school tape machines. When I first heard the RADAR, I was amazed. I was finally hearing sound like it was meant to be heard, not a computer’s rendition of it.”
RADAR really pulled through when the team had time-coding issues with the files coming from Wales. “Working with RADAR was really beneficial here, because we could see the wave files. We could see a pattern in the wave files Arthur was sending us. We could have spent hours trying to synch the files up with ours, and playing it by ear, but seeing the wave files on the monitor allowed us to synch the files back up within minutes and our workflow was progressing as it should. It saved hours of work.”
Some of The Analogue Café’s projects include on-site recording. That’s where the RADAR will be most beneficial. Unger says “The size is right. It’s not too heavy, it’s not too bulky, and you can easily implement it into any rack situation. It’s unbelievable how easily and quickly you can wire RADAR up to be ready to go for a gig. You can take RADAR with you and know that it’ll perform at the level of excellence that you expect.”
That same level of excellence carries over to customer support by the manufacturer. iZ Technology Corporation is known for their technical support and Unger experienced it first hand when a quick answer was needed to continue to work into the night: “During my career I’ve spent a lot of time talking to companies to resolve issues, and iZ’s technical support is amazing; by far the best of any companies I have dealt with. The most impressive example of iZ’s customer support was an incident that happened at 6 pm, just a couple of minutes after the end of the business day. We called with a quick question to which we needed an answer right then and there to be able to progress with our work that night. iZ’s technicians were able to answer our question, they were easy to talk to on the phone, very professional, and very knowledgeable.”
Recording is easy and fun in The Analogue Café in Hawai’i. Malamud leans back, pulls the tie-dye curtain aside and opens the studio window. He says with a smile: “Who has this view of the Pacific Ocean when mixing for 12 hours? We do.”