(click thumbnail)I recently found myself liquidating a majority of my former studio equipment, with a move to a new home and the termination of my oldies Web stream.
While in the process of building a smaller, personal studio, I decided to downsize from the large console I had been using.
I discovered the Arrakis Advanced Radio Console series while researching the resale of my former 1200-15s board. My ARC console purchase occurred after crossing paths with another user who was liquidating his own studio; his console wasn’t even two months old.
The quality of Arrakis products influenced my decision to buy, and the offer to purchase the console at a significant discount clinched the deal.
Less is more
Arrakis offers its ARC-10 console in three configurations.
The first two feature unbalanced inputs to accommodate direct connection to consumer audio equipment; the third is equipped with balanced inputs. Configurations feature two balanced microphone inputs and seven stereo line channels, as well as a dedicated channel for use with a telephone hybrid with balanced in and out and logic control.
The middle- and high-end console configurations include a USB audio interface on Channel 9, allowing direct connection of a computer for automation and production uses.
Arrakis includes a free “ARC version” of its Digilink Xtreme automation software. The console also supports the optional, full-feature Digilink Xtreme system; and thanks to the console’s on-board serial connector both versions allow control of the automation via the Channel 9 on/off switch.
Product CapsuleArrakis ARC-10 Advanced Radio Consoles
- Long-life LED illuminated switches
- Optional built-in Windows sound card
- Digilink Automation-friendly
- Low-profile design
- Headphone cue mutes monitor audio
- No schematics supplied
- Non-transferable warranty
$1,599 (ARC-10U), $3,495 (ARC-15BP)
Arrakis Systems at (970) 461-0730 or visit www.arrakis-systems.comAdditional features common to ARC configurations include two stereo program bus outputs along with corresponding mono mix-downs, monitor muting, input channel on/off logic with tally, VU meters that follow monitor audio switching, a built-in headphone amplifier, studio talkback, integrated cue system with speaker, LED illuminated switches with electronic audio switching mix-minus output for hybrid use and an external power supply.
The ARC-10 is designed to be an economical console, so the sliders do not have the familiar cue detent at the bottom of its stroke. Each line input may be placed into cue by pressing the button above the corresponding slider.
Inexperienced operators may panic at the loss of monitor audio in their headphones should they forget to take a source out of cue.
I would have preferred a split cue system similar to the 1200 series consoles, one ear with monitor audio and the other ear with cue audio. I think this would remind the operator that an input had been left in cue mode, as well as being helpful when joining a network or remote feed.
The console is well suited for various uses from production and on-air applications to audio/video and podcasting. The target audience seems to be those with minimal technical background, as the manual does not include any detailed schematics for troubleshooting.
While most ICs are socketed, readily available and accessible by removing the bottom of the console, it would have been nice to provide a more detailed technical manual schematic for those who desire it.
Given that the board is touted as serviceable by “modular replacement,” I don’t think many would be happy to discover they must return the console for repair or slider replacement even when they have a qualified and competent engineer on staff. This may not be a terrible thing with a small studio, but users of the more recent ARC-15 console may not like being without the use of a studio.
A sore point with me was that Arrakis only offers a warranty to the first end user. I had purchased my console from the original owner, who had it less than two months. Arrakis informed me that it was no longer covered under warranty.
In a time where cars and computers offer transferable warranties it seems rather draconian to disallow a subsequent end user the remainder of the original warranty. While this may not be a common scenario for many, it bothers me just the same.
The ARC series of general-purpose consoles will meet the needs of on-air and production studio applications, and its low-profile, sleek design and clean layout will make the operator feel at home.