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TomBoisseau

Sound Devices 688 - Opinions From USERS Please

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I am considering selling one of my 664's and possibly replacing it with a 688, mainly for the automix capabilities, the convenience of the SL6, and the somewhat newly released CL12.  That being said, the comments on this board from actual USERS has been very limited.  I would very much appreciate some personal opinions / reviews regarding the 688 in real day to day usage.   I am concerned about battery life - how does it compare say to a 664 or a 788 - and how well the automixer works (my primary experience with automixers is with the Shure SCM810 and various Dugan units) and any other issues that you might care to bring up, either good or bad.   

Chances are if I were to purchase the 688, it would likely be used 50/50 between in the bag and on my cart.

I did the usual searches here and via Google while referencing JW Sound, but the information seemed very limited.  So here it is, an "new" topic.  Forgive me if I erred terribly!  Hopefully too much "tough love" will not be necessary.

Thanks so much for those of you who are willing to help.  I appreciate it.

Tom

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Derek H   

I rented one for a shoot with a high track count. Loved it. Ergonomics are fantastic, fast, efficient, and easy to make changes to the setup on the fly and with confidence. Perfect for doc and reality style work.

I like how the PFL channel setup system works compared to the 664. There's some small behavioral difference but it felt more natural to me.

Say what you will about the mini faders but I really like that you can actually mix more than 6 inputs on it without any awkward accessory panel bolted on or having to mix with a menu knob.

The screen brightness is also much improved over the 664. Big difference on my shoot which was mostly outdoors. 

It's great. I think I actually would have preferred a 10 iso track version with 5 full size faders and 5 mini faders as it's quite rare I'd need all twelve inputs (though I have done it..) and a slightly less wide mixer would be preferable if you ask me. But, they were in a pissing match with the Nomad at the time so I suppose they had to make it a 6 channel...

Kudos to Zax for getting 6 faders in the same space of a 442, BTW.

In a nutshell, if you're already happy with your 664/s you'll love the 688. It's a nice refinement.

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Well...

This is not very encouraging. Only one person here has used the 688 and is willing to talk about it?  I'd certainly appreciate opinions from other users... if there are any!

Thanks,
Tom

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There's a lot of 688 owners on this board who may eventually chime in, including Whitney Ince, Cory Choy, Jason Kuppig, Matt Brodnick, Tom Craca, etc. I've only heard praises from their end.

If you are on Facebook, visit the Sound Devices group page, and you'll find a few threads by users about their 688s.

Regardless, imo the best thing for you to do is to go and check it out for yourself. Being that you're in Atlanta, GA, you have two wonderful dealers by you, Gotham Sound and Trew Audio, who can show you the unit and all its features. Rent it for a day, play with it at home and/or on the field. The dealer would probably apply the rental price towards the cost of purchase if you ask them to.

I just saw the CL-12 first-hand yesterday, and was very much impressed. I think it makes the 6-series recorders, the 688 in particular, that much more appealing.

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I have been using a 688 since May and have had nothing but excellent experiences. Prior to that I had been using a 633 and a 442 before that so I have been in the Sound Devices camp for some time. 

I have come to the opinion that the 688 is NOT an updated 664, rather it is a larger 633. The 688 is an all digital mixer like the 633 while the 664 is analogue. Basically, the 688 is 2 633's together with Mix Assist (which I have used and I like it very much). It's not completely set it and forget it but it is helpful.

As such, you can expect that it is, while running with multiple channels and features, nearly twice as thirsty as a 633 which normally takes 1 and 1/4 Audioroot batteries on a heavy day so I expect to use 3 Audioroot batteries on a full day with 688. The longest of days I MIGHT go to the 4th battery but we're talking long into OT at that point and leaving it running over lunch and walks etc. Mini faders I got used to fast on the 633 and obviously the joystick transport doesn't bother you if you have other SD gear already.

SL-6 is very nice indeed. I have it full with Wisy MCR-42 receivers. At this point Super Slot is young. Scanning through the mixer is not yet supported but it is the most requested feature for Super Slot's future development so I'm sure that Sound Devices is working on it. The standard will only continue to expand. Overall, the SL-6 is convenient. No cable clutter and makes things simple. A pain though if you need to move receivers from one kit to another if you don't have other Unislot RF distro. (HINT to manufacturers: I want a 2 slot for my 633 bag)

I also have a pre-order for the CL-12 Alaia in maple. Saw it yesterday with Jose at the Sound Summit. Looks like an excellent piece of hardware and I'm looking forward to getting it. I also use the 688 both in bag and on cart so it is a natural purchase for me. Will be picking mine up from Gotham next week. 

As Jose said, if you can rent/demo it, go for it but I don't think a 688 would let you down if it fills your needs. 

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boomhead   

I bought a 688 for a specific job needing the MixAssist function and was happy with the result.  The automation was very smooth and the mix blended microphones nicely when multiple people were talking simultaneously.  Coming from a 442/744T combo I love the screen/menu's though the metering I don't like as much as the old LED's.  Like Derek said above I too would have preferred a 10 channel version as I rarely need more than 4 wires and a boom and the large size is kind of a bummer as I'm a skinny guy.  I'm still looking for the smallest bag and will probably get some of the new Remote Audio XLRLP connectors for the input side.  So far I've been getting 5 hrs per NP but that is usually with a low track/input count.

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Tom,I switched from 644 to 688/SL6 in august.In the 688/SL6 combo ON (also during lunch) all day (10 hours) I use 3 NP-1's batterywise.I guess you can power the 688 (single,no SL 6) with 2 NP-1's for a 10 hour day.Mixassist: was not to pleased with it when two (wired) actors where standing close to each other,and it tends to be a little 'late'(you miss part of the first word of the sentence because Mix assist has to 'open') Anyway this is the smallest (688/SL6 with 3 dual receivers) recorder/receiver bag I ever used ,and it has it all!Sold my Sonosax SX-ST 8 because this machine can do the same ,and more.(OK no eq...)Tom I think you should get one!Sold my 644 and got a really good price for it!!  

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It would be great if it had a CL-WiFi type thing to run an app on a phone or tablet. or even if it was "hard wired" with a usb cable.

Anyone know if this is in the works? It's the one thing holding me back from getting one at this point.

Edited by OneLouder
more info

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Battery life on the 688 is closer to 788T consumption than 664. Still does not pull as much power as the 788T. The brighter screen makes the 688 well worth it. No more issues reading the meters in bright sunlight. Mix assist works pretty good, very similar to the 788T. Overall, I feel the 688 is what the 664 should have been in the first place.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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"Overall, I feel the 688 is what the 664 should have been in the first place."

Yep! But what is it (the 688)?A mixer with record function,a mixer/recorder,a recorder with a mixer.....?Opinions on this vary...bigtime.

I regard it a mixer/recorder,as I regard a 788 a recorder with mix functions.D 

 

 

 

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It would be great if it had a CL-WiFi type thing to run an app on a phone or tablet. or even if it was "hard wired" with a usb cable.

Anyone know if this is in the works? It's the one thing holding me back from getting one at this point.

The Ambient Beetle is in late(ish) stages of development for 6 series compatibility.  This will be connected over the 6 series' USB port and will work with Ambient's Tone Meister App.  There is even a USB port for loop through in the CL-12 to the Ambient Beetle and also the Time Code Buddy Wave which is also in development and compatible with Movie Slate.  Once these become available there will be more functionality than with the CL Wifi.  It is also worth noting that at least some of the chips in the CL Wifi are becoming difficult to source so in the near future it looks like wifi control will at least for a while be exclusively over third party hardware.  This was explained to me the other day at the Sound Summit by Ed of Sound Devices.  But rest assured, wifi control is coming.

"Overall, I feel the 688 is what the 664 should have been in the first place."

Yep! But what is it (the 688)?A mixer with record function,a mixer/recorder,a recorder with a mixer.....?Opinions on this vary...bigtime.

I regard it a mixer/recorder,as I regard a 788 a recorder with mix functions.D

It is a mixer/recorder.  Sound Devices says that the 6 series was never built to replace the 7 series recorders.  Their overall use however has become so diverse that people are buying the 6 series instead of the 7 series.  According to SD, the 788 was built to be a recorder with limited mixing functionality and primarily on the cart while the 664 was built to be a mixer with multitrack recording but exclusively for the bag.  The 688 expands on the recording technologies of the 664 and the digital hardware and power systems of the 633.  Mix Assist is of course a carry over from the 788.  But even at the beginning of the 688 it was not designed for the cart or to replace the 788.  In this was it was intended as more of a mixer with multitrack recording rather than a dedicated recorder.  SD will tell you that at time of release they were actually AGAINST a control surface such as the CL-12.  In fact, the connection for it did not exist.  Keep in mind that the USB port was originally just for a keyboard.  However, bag/cart hybrid users (like myself) embraced the 688 as a best of both worlds mixer and overwhelmed SD with requests for a control surface so much that they changed their product plans and managed to squeeze as much power as possible out of the keyboard port.  I for one commend them for being so responsive to their user base in this way.  As a result, I believe that the 688 is now one of the most flexible systems available, capable of run and gun reality with medium to high track counts to cart based work for tv and features.

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Thanks guys for your input.  I'm probably going to head down to my local Trew Audio and check out the 688 myself.  The more I consider it, I can't think of a better way to go, especially because I'm already heavily into the 600 series with 2 664's and 1 663.  The fact the all of these devices work with (or soon will to some extant) the CL12 makes a 688 purchase sound rather sensible.  Now I just hope my wife can see that same sense of "logic"!

Tom

 

 

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Well, I DID end up getting a 688 with the SL6 and the CL12.  Thanks to those who provided me with much helpful input.  

So, I already posted this on Sound Devices forums, but I thought it might be beneficial to post it here as well. I had something happen yesterday that I suspect might be indicative of why Sound Devices strongly encourages us to alway use the included 1/4" headphone jumper cable.  And yes I was using and had connected the original/included Sound Devices 1/4" and USB cables.

We were shooting in a "carpet" showroom.  It was a cold, dry, day.  I noticed immediately that static electricity was a issue for everyone on the set (we kept "zapping" each other and ourselves if we touched anything metal after walking across the carpet).  After the 688 with the SL6 and CL12 was powered up, I noticed on numerous occasions, when I would come back to my station and touch the 688 or CL12, that a message would appear on the 688 saying the CL12 was disconnected, and in fact all the LED's on the CL12 would go out.  After just a second or two, it would come back alive.  It even seemed (perhaps my imagination) to happen after walking across the room and getting just within a couple feet of the 688/CL12, without me actually touching them.  Although I suppose there may be other reasons.  I was feeding 2 cameras with the 10p Hirose outs and a third camera with the XLR outs and the "B-mini plug jack return", so I suppose it's possible the cameramen may also have had static issues that, going down the lines, may have triggered the message and disconnect of the CL12.  Also all the cameras were using AC power supplies, however I was running off of an NP1 battery.

Anyone had any similar experiences or care to comment.  I'm a bit concerned about if this had happened during a take, which fortunately it did not.

Tom

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On 30. Oktober 2015 at 0:22 AM, Matthew Sonnenfeld said:

The Ambient Beetle is in late(ish) stages of development for 6 series compatibility.  This will be connected over the 6 series' USB port and will work with Ambient's Tone Meister App.  There is even a USB port for loop through in the CL-12 to the Ambient Beetle and also the Time Code Buddy Wave which is also in development and compatible with Movie Slate.  Once these become available there will be more functionality than with the CL Wifi.  It is also worth noting that at least some of the chips in the CL Wifi are becoming difficult to source so in the near future it looks like wifi control will at least for a while be exclusively over third party hardware.  This was explained to me the other day at the Sound Summit by Ed of Sound Devices.  But rest assured, wifi control is coming.

I hear  from Ambient that they will bring out something different than the Beetle but not only for the 6-Series - 788 user will also profit from this (Yes we aren´t lost in this newer days with just this super duper F8 toys) , cause CL-Wifi discontinued and they say that i should not buy an beetle now. (in december) 

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On 7-1-2016 at 3:57 PM, TomBoisseau said:

Well, I DID end up getting a 688 with the SL6 and the CL12.  Thanks to those who provided me with much helpful input.  

So, I already posted this on Sound Devices forums, but I thought it might be beneficial to post it here as well. I had something happen yesterday that I suspect might be indicative of why Sound Devices strongly encourages us to alway use the included 1/4" headphone jumper cable.  And yes I was using and had connected the original/included Sound Devices 1/4" and USB cables.

We were shooting in a "carpet" showroom.  It was a cold, dry, day.  I noticed immediately that static electricity was a issue for everyone on the set (we kept "zapping" each other and ourselves if we touched anything metal after walking across the carpet).  After the 688 with the SL6 and CL12 was powered up, I noticed on numerous occasions, when I would come back to my station and touch the 688 or CL12, that a message would appear on the 688 saying the CL12 was disconnected, and in fact all the LED's on the CL12 would go out.  After just a second or two, it would come back alive.  It even seemed (perhaps my imagination) to happen after walking across the room and getting just within a couple feet of the 688/CL12, without me actually touching them.  Although I suppose there may be other reasons.  I was feeding 2 cameras with the 10p Hirose outs and a third camera with the XLR outs and the "B-mini plug jack return", so I suppose it's possible the cameramen may also have had static issues that, going down the lines, may have triggered the message and disconnect of the CL12.  Also all the cameras were using AC power supplies, however I was running off of an NP1 battery.

Anyone had any similar experiences or care to comment.  I'm a bit concerned about if this had happened during a take, which fortunately it did not.

Tom

Hey Tom good thing you got the 688/SL6/CL12 combo!I've had the 'usual' freeze once,and had a strange issue with the 688 behaving strangely:freerun timecode was freezed in standby mode and started running when I started recording....when I played back a test recording it sounded as if it was in fastforward...I reset the machine and it was fine.The static thing you encountered is new to me!(but I don't use a CL 12) I guess you contacted Matt Mayer at SD about this?

David C

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freerun timecode was freezed in standby mode and started running when I started recording....when I played back a test recording it sounded as if it was in fastforward...I reset the machine and it was fine.

It wasn't accidentally set to RecRun TC, was it? Certainly wouldn't explain the playback behaviour anyway.

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It was on 24HR free run tc.I switched the recorder OFF after 'wrap' ,and the next day after switching ON this shit...Reset does the trick,so no 'problem' in my opinion'.Just pain.....D

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On January 7, 2016 at 11:42 AM, Christian Hermans said:

I hear  from Ambient that they will bring out something different than the Beetle but not only for the 6-Series - 788 user will also profit from this (Yes we aren´t lost in this newer days with just this super duper F8 toys) , cause CL-Wifi discontinued and they say that i should not buy an beetle now. (in december) 

That's true. The roadmap for the beetle has changed a bit and there is something else coming for sound devices wifi control. I've spoken with Ambient about this recently and it is a good solution. It is more expensive, but more versatile. Can't say what it is but I was pretty happy to hear it. 

The problem with the beetle is that it uses Bluetooth, not wifi. Bluetooth has too much latency to transmit real time timecode so the beetle could not work with the other ACN devices which all communicate via wifi. The solution that ambient is working on now will integrate with ACN. 

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On ‎1‎/‎7‎/‎2016 at 9:57 AM, TomBoisseau said:

Well, I DID end up getting a 688 with the SL6 and the CL12.  Thanks to those who provided me with much helpful input.  

So, I already posted this on Sound Devices forums, but I thought it might be beneficial to post it here as well. I had something happen yesterday that I suspect might be indicative of why Sound Devices strongly encourages us to alway use the included 1/4" headphone jumper cable.  And yes I was using and had connected the original/included Sound Devices 1/4" and USB cables.

We were shooting in a "carpet" showroom.  It was a cold, dry, day.  I noticed immediately that static electricity was a issue for everyone on the set (we kept "zapping" each other and ourselves if we touched anything metal after walking across the carpet).  After the 688 with the SL6 and CL12 was powered up, I noticed on numerous occasions, when I would come back to my station and touch the 688 or CL12, that a message would appear on the 688 saying the CL12 was disconnected, and in fact all the LED's on the CL12 would go out.  After just a second or two, it would come back alive.  It even seemed (perhaps my imagination) to happen after walking across the room and getting just within a couple feet of the 688/CL12, without me actually touching them.  Although I suppose there may be other reasons.  I was feeding 2 cameras with the 10p Hirose outs and a third camera with the XLR outs and the "B-mini plug jack return", so I suppose it's possible the cameramen may also have had static issues that, going down the lines, may have triggered the message and disconnect of the CL12.  Also all the cameras were using AC power supplies, however I was running off of an NP1 battery.

Anyone had any similar experiences or care to comment.  I'm a bit concerned about if this had happened during a take, which fortunately it did not.

Tom

 

I decided to do a follow up to my own message.  I contacted Sound Devices, but they said they are completely unaware of such an issue.  I'd be very curious to know if someone else here with the same 688 / CL12 combo has experienced something similar.  I guess that fact that no one has yet responded should be construed as a positive.  I don't seem to have enough static electricity in my own home right now to make this happen again, but next cold, dry, day we have I'm going to see if I can recreate the scenario.

Tom

 

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Hello, what does it means in this comparison http://sounddevices.com/products/mix...ure-comparison
Digital Mixing, Processing and Routing : "SD688 - DIGITAL" and "SD664 - ANALOG"
What is exactly analog in 644 and no in 688?

Pretty much what it says: in the 664 the mixing happens in the analog domain (before going to the a/d converter, whereas with the 688 it all happens in the digital domain

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