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joaohpc

Sound Devices recorders - which way to go?

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Hi all,

 

So i've always been a SD user and fan and i'm a bit confused regarding which should be the appropriate choice to me. I do some docs, commercials, but also drama / features.

 

At the moment i own a 664 with CL 6, but i feel like using the line inputs at unscripted drama is a nightmare. Many of you guys will say that if i have a correct gain staging at wireless, with transmitters peaking limiters at louder bits im gonna be fine. But i don't feel like that. First of all, i hate hearing tx limiter, and when you deal with directors that want to move on without rehearsals sometimes you dont have time to set levels correctly. And also, to adjust gain at 664 you have to use a rotary button at channels menu (talking about chs 7-12).

 

Thats why i thought about buying an used 788T. I like its sound and limiters more than my 664 and it also has 8 preamps. But... At the same time it has the limit of 8 ISO tracks, which sometimes is not enough. Also, i feel really disappointed that SD seems to be giving up on it, by, for example discontinuing CL-Wifi and putting all its efforts on 688. I feel that any day the recorder might also be discontinued.

 

Then i thought about buying a 688, and when needed, i could use my 664 as a mixer for the channels 7-12. That seemed like a good way to go, with the automixing features, phase inversion on every channel and flexible output routing. But then i remembered of when i had a 633 and i was really annoyed by its pre amps, and also by the more than 30 freezes and reboots i had to do on it in less than 2 years. Im not sure if the design is exactly the same (preamps, limiters and freezes) at 633 and 688, but i read some reviews of folks who said 688 pres weren't as good as 664, and also many posts about freezing and re-booting. 

 

I think that pres and limiters really make a difference when you're doing features and you need a better quality dialogue.

 

What do you guys think? I'd appreciate opinions about 688 pre amps for doing features and if you guys think 788T is still an option, without CL-Wifi and with less channels for a market that each day demands more and more ISO tracks.

 

Thank you!

 

 

 

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I've used a SD788T with CL8 on a dynamic feature film, with gunshots, screams, and general dialogues. Dynamic range which 788 preamps provide is pretty much what is required for the type of content stated. The 688 or 664 have reboot issues plus the word around about the preamps not being the same for 6's as the 7's series.

There are screams towards the end, which were not scripted, plus the run and gun indi film setup. You can hear the limiter hitting peaks. Have a listen for a quick example on how the 788T preamps sound with limiters. The mic used is a mkh416 directly.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rBOEGgC7Jvo

 

 

20904958_258470611336002_8281259179381882880_n.jpg

 

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sounds to me like you'd want a sonosax or cantar : )

 

If 8 channels is enough then by all means get a used 788T, they are bargains on the used market (heck you can always resell with minimal loss if you find it doesn't cut it anymore).


but otherwise, the 688 sure is a fine machine, I've never heard of freezes (and neither on the 633 except in the very beginning) - of course if you don't like the preamp (which is clearly something only you can decide, so maybe rent for a few days?) then you're stuck with other options

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I have been a SD 6 series user since the first run of 664s hit the market. I currently own 2 x 688 and a 633. All 3 machines have hundreds of production days racked up. I’ve used the machines in many environmental conditions with tracks maxed (24b/48K). Only 2 lockups between all 3 units, and my 664 never locked up (I sold it when the 688 was released). I have done shoots that have pushed the machines quite hard. AES and analogue ins with every output used. I believe both lockup’s were due to faulty CF as it happened on the first roll of the newly inserted/formatted cards (cards had been cycled many times). I have used Lectro receivers exclusively - SRC, SRB, 411a and 201. RXs always outputting +5, line in on all recorder inputs. I’ve never had a gain stage issue, or needed to rely on TXs operating too hot to produce adequate signal - SM series between 17-20 level, UM and LMa around 9:30-10 o’clock. Mics are Sanken COS-11. HM always sends strong signal when used in conjunction with 641 and 81i. 

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Transmitter limiter and recorder limiter are two separate things and you won’t improve one by changing the other. 

 

Any recordee can freeze at any time, but with SD it seems particularly important to use only authorized media.

 

For me personally I‘ll stick with my 788 setup. I have one on my cart, another in a bag and if I need more tracks or inputs I can cascade two recorders easily with just one cable. Then it turns into a 16 input recorder. I did a job like that last year and I used a CL-9 for one recorder and a CL-8 for the other. I remoted the CL-8 so it could sit almost on the CL-9. I also have a keyboard on my cart for metadata, so to be honest I couldn’t care less about the CL-Wifi. I never missed it, and it never worked well, either. 

 

Think about this: you can buy three used 788, plus two CL-8 and a CL-9 for 24 great sounding analog and/or digital inputs and still come out cheaper than a Cantar X3. You can easily merge the files from all recorders into one file, if needed, so post won’t even know the difference. 

Maybe SD comes out with a larger recorder again, but at the moment it doesn’t look good

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8 hours ago, Constantin said:

Transmitter limiter and recorder limiter are two separate things and you won’t improve one by changing the other. 

 

Any recordee can freeze at any time, but with SD it seems particularly important to use only authorized media.

 

For me personally I‘ll stick with my 788 setup. I have one on my cart, another in a bag and if I need more tracks or inputs I can cascade two recorders easily with just one cable. Then it turns into a 16 input recorder. I did a job like that last year and I used a CL-9 for one recorder and a CL-8 for the other. I remoted the CL-8 so it could sit almost on the CL-9. I also have a keyboard on my cart for metadata, so to be honest I couldn’t care less about the CL-Wifi. I never missed it, and it never worked well, either. 

 

Think about this: you can buy three used 788, plus two CL-8 and a CL-9 for 24 great sounding analog and/or digital inputs and still come out cheaper than a Cantar X3. You can easily merge the files from all recorders into one file, if needed, so post won’t even know the difference. 

Maybe SD comes out with a larger recorder again, but at the moment it doesn’t look good

 

Yup. This.

 

I have my trusty 788T on the main cart with my PSC Solice, but lately have been using it with the CL9 on my mini rig. It's pretty great. But I have also been using my 664 on other stuff, which is also pretty great. There is the option of a used 442 to get you up to 10 input tracks with great pres and limiters. I have one of those too, and the 664/442 combo is a pretty good one.

 

I feel like my ideal setup on high track count would be inputs 1 (mix) through 8 (7 ISOs) on 664 being fed from Solice, 788T/CL9 feeding 4 additional ISO tracks to 664 and recording 4 additional ISOs, if required. The mix output of 788T mix would go to an open input 8 of Solice so as to make the main mix on the 664. Or something like that. I've had a few drinks :-) 

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7 hours ago, RPSharman said:

There is the option of a used 442 to get you up to 10 input tracks with great pres and limiters. I have one of those too, and the 664/442 combo is a pretty good one.

 

I feel like my ideal setup on high track count would be inputs 1 (mix) through 8 (7 ISOs) on 664 being fed from Solice, 788T/CL9 feeding 4 additional ISO tracks to 664 and recording 4 additional ISOs, if required.

 

Actually it might be a good idea to mix both of your ideas - i should get a 788T and use it as main recorder, and when needed i could use my 664 for 6 inputs and use 788T 4 outputs for 4 additional tracks. That doesn't sound bad! But yea, i also thought about buying a 442 and that could also work, but maybe having 2 recorders is smarter. Actually my backup is a Tascam 680, wouldnt trust on that!

 

16 hours ago, Constantin said:

Any recordee can freeze at any time, but with SD it seems particularly important to use only authorized media.

 

For me personally I‘ll stick with my 788 setup. I have one on my cart, another in a bag and if I need more tracks or inputs I can cascade two recorders easily with just one cable. Then it turns into a 16 input recorder. I did a job like that last year and I used a CL-9 for one recorder and a CL-8 for the other. I remoted the CL-8 so it could sit almost on the CL-9. I also have a keyboard on my cart for metadata, so to be honest I couldn’t care less about the CL-Wifi. I never missed it, and it never worked well, either. 

 

I had authorized media. But by the time i had a 633 they didn't have WM-Connect yet, so i used a Rii mini keyboard (the one recommended for 633) but it froze many times anyway.

 

How did you monitor both 788s together? And how would you do with 3?

 

21 hours ago, DanStewart said:

I have been a SD 6 series user since the first run of 664s hit the market. I currently own 2 x 688 and a 633. All 3 machines have hundreds of production days racked up. I’ve used the machines in many environmental conditions with tracks maxed (24b/48K). Only 2 lockups between all 3 units, and my 664 never locked up (I sold it when the 688 was released).

 

My 664 never froze. Thats why im afraid to go 688's way. How do you feel about its pre's compared to your old 664? Im afraid they might have different pres. I noticed an improve when i got my 664 compared to the 633.

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3 hours ago, joaohpc said:

How did you monitor both 788s together? And how would you do with 3?

 

I sacrificed an input on machine one into which I routed the mix of machine 2. That still left me with 15 inputs. Same with three recorders, into two inputs perhaps, or you can use a tiny mixer and route an output from each recorder to it to monitor. The advantage of using an input, though, is that you can have all 2 (or three) mixes mixed into one mixdown on the main machine. Depending on what it is you are recording you can even use MixAssist on one or two recorders. 

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That too!!

 

Mix assist on recorder 2 going to input 8 on recorder 1, or if you are doing 3 machines, inputs 7 and 8. You will still only be giving up 2 tracks. Let's face it, as good as we might be, we really can't mix much more than 8 tracks any better than mix assist, especially if moving hands from one mixer to another. So the mix assist will likely do a better job. And realistically, unless there's a lot of overlapping, the mix assist tracks on the primary recorder are in fact all the ISOs from the other two machines.

 

My only hang-up on this arrangement is the work at the end of the day using the computer to combine the files to a single POLY for post. Last thing I want to do after recording 15-22 tracks!! But if the mix assist tracks are good, the extra cards can be handed off and archived.

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On 3/19/2018 at 12:25 AM, joaohpc said:

. But then i remembered of when i had a 633 and i was really annoyed by its pre amps, and also by the more than 30 freezes and reboots i had to do on it in less than 2 years. Im not sure if the design is exactly the same (preamps, limiters and freezes) at 633 and 688, but i read some reviews of folks who said 688 pres weren't as good as 664, and also many posts about freezing and re-booting. 


What in particular annoyed you about the pre amps in the 633?

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On 3/18/2018 at 5:12 AM, Anuroop Kukreja said:

The 688 or 664 have reboot issues

This is just plain Bulls*&t....   I have used one for a long time now and I have never had "reboot Issues"..

 

"plus the word around about the preamps not being the same for 6's as the 7's series."

The Preamps are just fine...   Why don't you make a judgement for yourself rather than re barfing  "the word around"?

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I own both a 664 and 633. The 664 since it first came out. I have never had any issues with either machine  “freezing up”.

Pre amps are great on both machines.  

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Are we talking location sound recording use here?

Are we talking about location sound recording with like a couple of, if not all, TXses taking over 'preamp duty' away from the actual recorder?

Are we talking about location sound recording with like a ton of other real world scenarios are like a factor 200 more of an influence on a taped track before one can even notice a difference in a preamp?

Are we talking about location sound recording for motion picture, television or documenteries with usually a complete post audio overhaul of the tracks we give them with tones of music tx etc? 

Did any post audio guy ever complained about a certain transient aspect or something else regarding the preamps of a given audio file to them?

 

(Or are we talking music recording?)

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On 19.3.2018 at 5:27 PM, RPSharman said:

 

My only hang-up on this arrangement is the work at the end of the day using the computer to combine the files to a single POLY for post. Last thing I want to do after recording 15-22 tracks!! But if the mix assist tracks are good, the extra cards can be handed off and archived.

 

Agreed. However, if you have the chance to get the data wrangler or assistent editor on board you can probably ask them to do it, as it is only a 5 minute thing for them. 

Not wanting to fire up my laptop after wrap is one of the main reasons I never use the recording function on some of my transmitters...

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On 2018-03-19 at 9:14 AM, joaohpc said:

My 664 never froze. Thats why im afraid to go 688's way. How do you feel about its pre's compared to your old 664? Im afraid they might have different pres. I noticed an improve when i got my 664 compared to the 633.

 

What is the improvement you noticed in the preamps of the 664 over the 633?

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20 hours ago, edward chick said:

I own both a 664 and 633. The 664 since it first came out. I have never had any issues with either machine  “freezing up”.

Pre amps are great on both machines.  

+1

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3 hours ago, DanStewart said:

What is the improvement you noticed in the preamps of the 664 over the 633?


A little strange though, as the 633 is newer than the 664

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5 hours ago, Matthew Marzano said:

 

664 is completely analog. 633 & 688 are not. 

I work with both and can say for myself that 664 sounds a little warmer. But there is no difference in preamp noise: both are excellent

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On 3/22/2018 at 5:38 AM, afewmoreyears said:

The Preamps are just fine...   Why don't you make a judgement for yourself rather than re barfing  "the word around"?

 

Although rented gear in India is not the best for comparison, but i will do that for sure.

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They are all machines of exceptionally high quality. It just depends on what you want it to do, and what you can afford to spend.

 

I love my 664, but I have used 633 before too, and it's also great. I also have my 788T, which I like for many reasons and use as my primary machine, for now, but I prefer the analog front end of the 664. I still think nothing compares to the 442/744T combo.

 

It's really just splitting hairs.

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I've used all the 6xx and 7xx machines, and owned most of them.  They all sound great.  They all sound slightly different from each other.  This was most noticeable in music recording in somewhat controlled circumstances, and not noticeable at all out in the mosh of a go-go dialog prod sound job on location.  If you are running out of inputs @ 12 then you go to a higher track count location recorder (Cantar, Deva 24) if you have the $$ or you go with a less complete multitrack like JoeCo or a computer with Boom Recorder and configure around it, or start stacking up multiple SD location recorders in various configs and live with the hassles of multiple media and monitoring multiple machines at the same time.  There are drawbacks to all of these approaches, not the least of which is cost and complexity, so you have to ask yourself just how often you will really need that higher track count, and what the working situations will be like.   On a stage or interior location?  Or out in the rain, on and off of insert cars and in and out of tiny, difficult-access locations?

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