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nevo

Control surface vs mixer

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I'm thinking about a front end for the sd664 .

I have an opportunity to purchase a used 8 channel film mixer for the same price as the cl12....original price on mixer is 3 or 4 times the control surface.

In 2017, with a sd664 ,is the control surface the logical option.?

In my mind it's smaller, lighter,but I guess a one trick pony .

I'm throwing this out there really as a discussion.

I know I'll get a lot of "it depends"but the why it depends is what interests me.

The other apples with apples option is a sd688 cl12 vs a dedicated mixer recorder?

The sd688 /cl12 adds the Eq and multiple bussing options that you get in a mixer and gives access to 4 xtra channels.

Although I've just finished a large show with a bag/ cart rig with no mixer or surface....getting quite good at mixing the mono track on rotaries......

Weight wise the surface wins hands down,

Cost wise about the same.

Upgrade wise the cl12 fits in if I choose to buy a sd688 in the future.

Anyway I'm sure there's a lot of people out there who have used one or the other or both, I'm interested in your thoughts in our ever changing tech environment.

Cheers Nevo

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I use the 664/CL12 combo. Prior to that I had a Cooper and for a short time I used a Soundcraft board.

I much prefer the combo of CL12 to the front end of another mixer... Mainly because the 664/688 is already a mixer.

Dont get me wrong, a Sonosax or a Cooper is obviously superior but maybe not the best combination with the 6 series. Gain staging, extra patching from RX to mixer to 664. So many fail points.

I am obviously missing out on key features of the CL12 by still using the 664 but it's been a great combination for me.

CL12 is still a fairly new product for SD. I use it with my 633 as well. And I'm looking forward to using it with new 6 series products down the road.

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My other thoughts are about how our job has changed with multi tracking.... We used to really have to work harder with the tools to get balance and eq right as we were mixing to 2 tracks.
Now I find the more problematic parts of the job can be all the bussing of signal around set... I work a lot of TVC jobs with different video guys and equipment. And the various problems they throw at the sound dept
And putting my post prod hat on ...clean isos with not a lot of eq or limiting, no wind or rustle is what I'm happy delivered to me
Anyway I'm just riffing on a stream of audio consciousness... 3 days on from 4 x 80 hour weeks... my brain is awaking


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I use the 664/CL12 combo. Prior to that I had a Cooper and for a short time I used a Soundcraft board.

I much prefer the combo of CL12 to the front end of another mixer... Mainly because the 664/688 is already a mixer.

Dont get me wrong, a Sonosax or a Cooper is obviously superior but maybe not the best combination with the 6 series. Gain staging, extra patching from RX to mixer to 664. So many fail points.
I am obviously missing out on key features of the CL12 by still using the 664 but it's been a great combination for me.

CL12 is still a fairly new product for SD. I use it with my 633 as well. And I'm looking forward to using it with new 6 series products down the road.

I'm leaning towards the cl12 as it fits in nicely with my mini cart ethos
And it will also work seamlessly with my 633 bag.
And yes there will be more 6 series recorders in the future it will integrate with


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CL 12(or 6) with 664 is a nice rig--with an actual mixer you night get more routing options, as well as channel EQ, and the mojo of whatever preamps are in play.  But there is the extra weight / size / powering deal.  It's a tossup, I think.  Given a 688 instead of the 664 then I'd say the scales tip to the CL12.  But if you can make your jobs work without a fader surface OR a mixer, just on the rotaries, then good on you.  Simple is good.

Meanwhile--HEY SD!  How about that 6 fader mini surface for the 633????

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I went the control surface route over a Cooper, although I still dream of owning a Cooper. 

My reasoning was mainly based on size, weight and powering requirements. I drive a Mazda CRX5, not a van so the cart needs to be fairly compact. I also live in a fourth floor walk up apartment, so I need to be able to lug the cart up and down the stairs by myself. Being in an apartment storage is a premium and a control surface takes up less space when not in use. For me these were more important factors then workflow. 

Best of luck in deciding what fits your needs and Cheers. Nate.

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Yep I've managed 25years without long throw faders

And as a ISO gatherer (haha )rather than a mix engineer it' would be a nice luxury....

I have used the cl12 on jobs and while I found it nice, I didn't have any epiphany moments.....

I have some coin to burn but am thinking the mixpre6 rig may be my ultimate small bag project

As I work a lot of tvc jobs more often than not I'm using limited channels so I'm not sure the cl12 would get used to its full potential,

Maybe next drama job I'll pick one up.....

Thanks guys just this bit of dialog has cemented my thoughts that I don't need a dedicated mixer.

 

 

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At first I missed my  01V96... but after time I got used to the workflow on the CL-9 and then the CL-12... Now..I like the CL-12 control surface.. I think I saved 20 lbs. off the cart. at least it feels like it.

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Another thing to consider is if you'll be using your 664 in the bag as well as on the cart. With a mixer, you'll have multiple cables for ISOs, mix, power, etc and could be cumbersome to switch back to "bag mode". Much easier to accomplish this with the CL12.

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1 hour ago, CMSD said:

Another thing to consider is if you'll be using your 664 in the bag as well as on the cart. With a mixer, you'll have multiple cables for ISOs, mix, power, etc and could be cumbersome to switch back to "bag mode". Much easier to accomplish this with the CL12.

Yep I think this is a key point, if you are switching from bag to cart mode when using the same rec for both I'd go (did) for the control surface. Makes it a quick simple change, great for fast drama when you're doing car inserts and a bit of guerilla run n gun stuff. I've only recently gone to a full 2 rec set up and would contemplate an analogue board again now as there is a lot of things to love about them but that said I'm often using up all 12 sliders of my current system and that size analogue board would weigh and cost a ton. Sonosax or AD149 could sway me one day, great boards.

Either option will do the job well and return the same rental.

C.

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I have a separate sd633 bag with matching RX , tho having just one cable with a controller is appealing...



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I use my cl-9 with my 788 because of the flexible routing and dedicated functions. It is a nice and compact control surface. However when I can get away with it, I like to use my analog mixer because the sound is really something impressive. Yes it is big and heavy and draws a lot of power, and all those cables are a pain. But it's worth it for the right projects :D

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I pine for the days when I got to sit behind a cart on a stage and mix through one of my analog mixers.  I loved the big-iron sound and the fine control of levels and the console EQ.  I'm not getting to do that sort of work anymore, and what I do do is a lot about speed, compactness, flexibility, and did I mention speed?  Small is not only good, it is vital.  This model ceases being effective when the track count goes way up, either due to the complexity of the job or to meet requests for redundancy--then a console etc seems to be the way to go.  Today.  Soon....who knows?  But even on my music work, which used to involve racks of pres, a console and racks of recorders and/or computers with drives, the need-for-speed thing has come bigly into play, and those rigs have had to be massively downsized as well to keep up.

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Not one of the SD users here, but have been quite happy with the rather small and simple Nomad/Mix8 combo for fast paced drama productions with several lavs in addition to one or two booms. For commercials, I guess a throw fader board makes a good impression but not sure if I would really need it. Sometimes I have wished for more EQ options, but post tends to dislike EQed tracks and the mix is often almost only for editorial anyway.

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I have a Zaxcom Cameo mixer I'll make you a deal on. Outstanding routing options.

IMG_6608.jpg

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1 hour ago, Philip Perkins said:

I pine for the days when I got to sit behind a cart on a stage and mix through one of my analog mixers.  I loved the big-iron sound and the fine control of levels and the console EQ.  I'm not getting to do that sort of work anymore, and what I do do is a lot about speed, compactness, flexibility, and did I mention speed?  Small is not only good, it is vital.  This model ceases being effective when the track count goes way up, either due to the complexity of the job or to meet requests for redundancy--then a console etc seems to be the way to go.  Today.  Soon....who knows?  But even on my music work, which used to involve racks of pres, a console and racks of recorders and/or computers with drives, the need-for-speed thing has come bigly into play, and those rigs have had to be massively downsized as well to keep up.

Philip,  basically speaking - whatever recorder of today - is not as reliable as a Nagra or Uher or Studer or whatever.... ++

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A big part of "Depends" is what analog mixer are you thinking about buying. I have a Cooper 106 and a Solice from PSC that I use to use w a Deva 4. That worked great for many years until the track counts were going higher than 8. (Now days I use them as back up or in my home studio).  Can't go wrong w either mixer IMO. I now have and use a CL-12 / SD688 / SL6 setup with a Lectro Venue for 12 radio tracks available. Also I have a 633 & 2 Srb Lectro receivers as a bag rig. I really like this system for today's work flow with high iso counts and radio boom and lav's. I doubt anyone could tell the difference between the 2 methods of recording that we find ourselves in covering 99% of production sound recordings.  If your current system works for you now, I'd wait a year before buying. The next gen recorder/mixer will most likely be a 16 track all in one unit that is the best of the 6 and 7 series from SD.  This is only a guess. I have no relationship w them or insider knowledge. Just seems like the new sweet spot for cart based system if they think there is a large enough market for that.   

 Also I'll second P P. "Where's the CL- 6???"   Love to have one too....

CrewC

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12 hours ago, soundtrane said:

Philip,  basically speaking - whatever recorder of today - is not as reliable as a Nagra or Uher or Studer or whatever.... ++

Hold on sir!

It's now 2017 and from my 20 years of Nagra plus 10 years of hard disk plus 5 years of Sound Devices

recorders have got more capable, reliable and less power hungry and smaller

I have no analogue romance, but my recording task is now easier and I can deliver rushes and

a paperless invoice on line

Is that an improvement or what?

mike

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I agree Mike. Love my Nagra years but I'd never go back or would want to. Onward.

CrewC

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9 hours ago, old school said:

I agree Mike. Love my Nagra years but I'd never go back or would want to. Onward.

CrewC

Cheers

I suggest us old school members have graduated to being new school graduates!

mike

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"Roll out!"

D.

 

Speaking of which, I am stress-testing my 24-track Dante rig, and I recorded 24 tracks for 8 straight hours with not one error.  8 hours of 24 tracks!

D.

 

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26 minutes ago, tourtelot said:

"Roll out!"

D.

 

Speaking of which, I am stress-testing my 24-track Dante rig, and I recorded 24 tracks for 8 straight hours with not one error.  8 hours of 24 tracks!

D.

 

Go on then - you big tease - tell us some more about your new 24 track Dante rig, please!!!!  sb

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I am a fan of the control surface. I thought for a bit about a Sonosax sx-st. they had a very nice sale a couple of years ago. I ended up using cl9-788t rig on the cart, and Cantar x1. In the bag. I even had the bag with Cantar on the cart when I started, but track count mounted and routing became an issue. I settled this time on a Cantarx3 And cantarem. Could not be happier. Is the sonosax the better sounding rig... ok maybe, but not by much. I love the small footprint, resistance to the elements, and I can have the same sound in the bag. If your a nut about the preamps, sonosax wins over the SD stuff. Cantar for me gives me the best of both world.


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It's been interesting to me that the min. track counts have climbed past 8 for commercial stalwarts like Crew and AFMY--two folks who I know like to be well equipped but are not into any sort of gear overkill.  Zax will have a 16 track rig soon if not already, I guess SD and probably Zoom will follow, maybe make some kind of fader surface that works with 2 688s at once etc.   As I said earlier, at some point in the proliferation of tracks going (back) to computer-based systems may end up making sense (as in the music world).  Maybe that's where SD etc will go: a fader surface front end (multilayer, like digital consoles) for an indeterminate number of tracks with a computer as the engine...

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