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Ed Denton

Sound Devices 788t as audio interface

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The Sound Devices 788t has eight of arguably the best preamps and ADCs in a portable piece of sound equipment. It also has firewire ports. On top of that it is the industry standard for location based mutitrack recorder: most sound mixers either have one or are at least familiar with their use. Wouldn't it be AMAZING if this piece of equipment could be used as a computer audio interface? All the pieces are there. Its seem like it is only the software that is holding this machine back from becoming a whole new beast. I already use mine for its preamps in my project studio and then run it through a ADC/interface into Pro Tools. This would cut out a whole section of the signal chain that is already there built in to to 788t.

One of the first questions you would ask is, would people really need this functionality? I can't speak for everyone but for me absolutely yes! I do a lot of location based recording to computer such as choirs, musicals, plays and concerts. The ability to record straight into a Pro Tools session would be an incredible function. Hell, I could even use it for drums and instrument tracking in my project studio.

This has been discussed on another forum on the link below but I felt the topic was ripe enough to make a serious conversion on JWsound. I really hope Sound Devices is listening. This could be a huge winner for them especially given the noise that the Nomad is making. This thread could almost equally apply for the Nomad except that the Nomad doesn't have a Firewire port and I'm not sure if USB 2.0 would be fast enough for multitrack recording to computer.

http://www.gearslutz.com/board/remote-possibilities-acoustic-music-location-recording/647987-who-would-like-use-sd-788t-soundcard-their-computer.html

Ed

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I use the 788t as a front end for doing ADR session.. Use the Hosa Model CDL-313 Coax - AES/EBU converter to interface the 788 with my Protools system. It's works great, same mics I used on the day with the same preamp/limiter... Nice match.. You COULD have a special cable made to interface the Digital outputs into your favorite interface..

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" I really hope Sound Devices is listening. "

you sound (read) like a competent, grown up person...

why don't you contact them?? :unsure: email, telephone, and they are at lots of trade shows!

they also have a users forum...

They are really receptive, friendly, helpful folks, and they don't bite customers!

:wacko:

Edited by studiomprd

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@ Robert, what is more likely would be a small footprint interface with spdif. One can get an AES to spdif barrel adapter if need be. I'm not sure if the 788 has spdif outs, but i do recall the 744 having them.

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@ Robert, what is more likely would be a small footprint interface with spdif. One can get an AES to spdif barrel adapter if need be. I'm not sure if the 788 has spdif outs, but i do recall the 744 having them.

It's the need for 8 outs which precludes SPDIF, I believe. And I think the hope is to utilize the 788 for all conversions, so the least invasive way of getting digital out into FW in is what is desired.

I don't know anything about this really. Just trying to help fish for an answer, for curiousity's sake.

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My chain is AES TA3 out of 788t to the Hosa link - RCA out into an Mbox 2 or Apogee Ensemble. For multiple outputs, you need a custom cable built and go into something like this from MOTU

Firewire - http://www.motu.com/video-products/v4hd

PCIe Card - http://www.motu.com/video-products/hdx-sdi

I've never tested them with Protools, but if they present the inputs to the Mac OS, then Protools will see them.

Here's the HOSA box I use

http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/CDL313/

I only need the one channel when I'm doing ADR on set but If I really wanted the multiple tracks that MOTU interface would be nice..

I use the Mbox when using the AVID Mojo interface because it hogs the FW port. Do a direct monitor out the Mbox 2 and you get no delays..

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I contacted Sound Devices directly and the very quickly responded with the following email:

"Glad to hear that you're happy with your 788T and I appreciate your input for this feature request but this will never be possible. There is no connection between the streaming digital audio and the firewire ports. No software could ever be implemented that would allow the 788T to be used in that way. If you have any other questions/concerns, please feel free to contact me".

I guess that puts the topic to rest. Hopefully it's something that Sound Devices consider implementing on the next generation of the 788t.

Ed

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http://www.weiss.ch/afi1/afi1.htm

TC electronic had a box (discontinued + cheaper) that did the same sort of format translation. The 788 would serve as the preamps and converters and the data would simply transit through the box.

It is cost prohibitive though. You could buy two Travelers and a pair of AES / Spdif impedance matching transformers and get the same AES input count + field operation at significant savings.

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The Sound Devices 788t has eight of arguably the best preamps and ADCs in a portable piece of sound equipment. It also has firewire ports. On top of that it is the industry standard for location based mutitrack recorder: most sound mixers either have one or are at least familiar with their use. Wouldn't it be AMAZING if this piece of equipment could be used as a computer audio interface? All the pieces are there. Its seem like it is only the software that is holding this machine back from becoming a whole new beast. I already use mine for its preamps in my project studio and then run it through a ADC/interface into Pro Tools. This would cut out a whole section of the signal chain that is already there built in to to 788t.

One of the first questions you would ask is, would people really need this functionality? I can't speak for everyone but for me absolutely yes! I do a lot of location based recording to computer such as choirs, musicals, plays and concerts. The ability to record straight into a Pro Tools session would be an incredible function. Hell, I could even use it for drums and instrument tracking in my project studio.

This has been discussed on another forum on the link below but I felt the topic was ripe enough to make a serious conversion on JWsound. I really hope Sound Devices is listening. This could be a huge winner for them especially given the noise that the Nomad is making. This thread could almost equally apply for the Nomad except that the Nomad doesn't have a Firewire port and I'm not sure if USB 2.0 would be fast enough for multitrack recording to computer.

http://www.gearslutz.com/board/remote-possibilities-acoustic-music-location-recording/647987-who-would-like-use-sd-788t-soundcard-their-computer.html

Ed

Hello Ed, I agree with you Whole-heartedly. this is exactly what i am currently going to be doing for my studio with the ADC conversion. But it would be perfect if i could cut that out of my studio chain and use this as an "all in one" box.  One Question for me is SounDevices 788t with cl9 OR The Nomad Lite?? (not sure if it is possible to use a Mixer control surface with nomad?).. Also I was very curious to know what are you currently using for your ADConversion from your Sound Devices? could you talk a little bit more in detail about this? Thanks so much for your post. 

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I have hoped for a Sound Devices machine that will also double as an interface for a long time now :(  I have been using my 664 into o1v into pro tools for a bit now on a web series and have loved it...sure would be nice to go straight from 664, 788 or the like :) 

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The problem is that people don't have a concept of what firmware actually is.  All firmware is - is software written to control a specific piece of hardware in a device.  Most recorders will contain things like a hard disk writer controller, DSP, some sort of screen, etc.  Not having an understanding of this concept seems to keep leading people to believe all it takes is a little bit of code to completely transform a device.

 

All of these components have their own firmware.  The firmware written for these devices and controllers can not go beyond the hardware limitations.  Firmware will not turn your Frosted Flakes into Fruit Loops.

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788t has 6 analogue and 6 digital outputs. Either would work if fed into a daw. All you need is the appropriate cables, ta3 to XLRm, pkus a DB-25 to XLRm for output 5-6. The digital output would be better because you would add less a-d/d-a delay.

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788t has 6 analogue and 6 digital outputs. Either would work if fed into a daw. All you need is the appropriate cables, ta3 to XLRm, pkus a DB-25 to XLRm for output 5-6. The digital output would be better because you would add less a-d/d-a delay.

But you would also need an interface to go into your computer and that is exactly what the OP was hoping for, the ability to cut out this interface.

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Love your idea. May be I can use my Nomad10 as a Digital-Preamps to recording some classic concert.About multi-tracks I think we need some gear that can trans AES to ADAT (Most of better Interface has ADAT) .There are two 1U(A half U )RME gears can do that. 

ADI-192 DD 
  • 4 x AES/EBU I/O (XLR)
  • 2 x ADAT I/O (optical)
  • 2 x TDIF I/O (D-sub)
  • 1 x SPDIF I/O (optical)
  • 1 x Word Clock I/O

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