Glenn Sanders wrote up a good listing of frequently asked questions regarding the Zaxcom Nova recorder.
Zaxcom Nova FAQs
• Can I use all of Nova inputs at the same time?
Yes, there are no limitations all 12 AES inputs and 6 analog inputs are always active and use separate connectors for each input.
• What are the ergonomic benefits to a Nova bag?
Overall the Nova with its internal receivers is about 1/3rd the size weight and power consumption of other solutions on average.
• Does Nova produce any interference to the internal or external wireless receivers?
No, the Nova has been designed to eliminate the typical interference that can be caused by mixer/recorders spraying low level RF radiation that interferes with wireless microphones that can cause loss of wireless range.
• I am a bit uncomfortable with the 5 continuous faders will that be something I will get used to?
This new system of control will most likely become the standard for bag production mixers. Nova offers the ability to control 25 sources with 5 banks of the 5 faders with instant access to related input trim values. Zaxnet remote control is instantly accessed as well. Nova fader control is just amazing in its simplicity speed, feel and accuracy.
• Can the Nova be used on the sound cart as 4 channels of wireless receiver and as a backup recorder with the ability instantly change it to a sound bag configured system?
Yes a single connector on Nova will take in up 4 channels of AES audio and output the audio from the 4 internal receivers to the main cart recorder. The 4 receiver isos and the mix from the main cart are recorded on Nova for emergency backup. A memory can be recalled to instantly configure Nova for cart or bag operation.
• Is the Nova Mirror card compatible between Deva24 and the Nova so I can hand in one media at the end of the day? Yes the same mirror card can be used in both recorders recording audio for post to different folders.
• When will auto-mix and MP3 recording be available?
We hope to have both available before the end of the year. The Auto mixer will be a new improved version of our Nomad auto mixer. Now that Nova is delivering we can announce the MP3 feature as we now know we have excess processing capability to do it.
• How long will Nova run in a sound bag on a single charge with 4 channels of wireless?
With a 98WH inspired energy battery 7 hours of continuous run time is typical.
• How long does it take to set the frequencies on the 4 channels of wireless controlled by Nova?
After a frequency scan by Nova the 4 transmitters and 4 receivers can be tuned to the 4 quietest frequencies in 1 second through Zaxnet control with no need to disturb the talent. Nova will also disable the 4 transmitters during the Scan and then automatically re-enable them so that all frequencies can be properly scanned.
• Are transmitters automatically set to the receiver frequencies?
If the function is enabled the transmitters will automatic follow the receivers channel selection.
• Can I use any Zaxcom transmitter with the Nova and is there compatibility with any other brand of wireless?
Yes you can use any Zaxcom transmitter. No, there is no compatibility mode for other brands.
• Does the internal micplexer filter the RF outputs of the Nova?
Yes the 35 MHz tuned flux capacitor filter is in line and external receivers will benefit from the filter and the Nova intermodulation free design. All external receivers must be tuned within the 35MHz window.
• Can the Nova power external antennas?
No. It would not be an advised thing to do as the powered antennas will degrade the receivers in the Nova on both a filter basis and a noise basis. An unpowered shark fin will work best with Nova even with long runs of coax.
• Will the Nova support Oasis and Mix16?
It will support Oasis but not mix 16
• Will Nova generate a sound report?
Yes it generates the CSV file that Nomad and Devas do. We will be adding more data fields as well.
• Will a URX work with the Nova?
No but an ERX3TCD will. Zaxnet is on 2.4GHz and a URX is a UHF receiver. The URX can monitor all of the Zaxcom bodypacks and would require a UHF transmitter to be connected to Nova to monitor it directly.
• What external gear must be added to Nova for ENG use? For the most part none. Nova functions as a mixer, recorder, 4 channel wireless receiver, time code distribution, IFB transmitter and Zaxnet remote control transmitter. The only addition might be a stereo link transmitter if 2 channels of audio to camera is a requirement.
• How much would a Nova sound bag weigh?
With the Ktek Jr bag and a 98WH battery about 6.5 pounds. The Nova itself weighs 3 pounds 7 oz.
• Can each of the 2 plug in receivers use different 35MHz windows?
No. They must both be within the same 35MHz range. Any external receiver fed by the Nova must be as well. This is actually an advantage as it gets rid of a lot of interfering signals.
• Why does Nova not use multiple batteries?
With the MARF operating system there is no need for more than one external battery. Power can be lost at any time without corruption or loss of the recorded audio data. The system automatic closes files on power up allowing recording to immediately start again with no loss of recorded audio. Multiple batteries do nothing to prevent loss of recorded audio data in the unlikely event of a system lock up. Multiple batteries add significant weight to the sound bag and unnecessary time, effort and expense needed to keep multiple batteries charged. Nova provides 2 redundant power inputs to allow for any external power choice with no need for more than one power source.
• What can Nova and Zaxcom wireless offer over other solutions?
The integrated system has many benefits. Remote transmitter gain control, automatic frequency selection and instant receiver and transmitter tuning, remote transmitter sleep control, time code distribution with no hardwire jam of recording transmitters, remote transmitter naming, automatic transmitter name identification and transfer to and from Nova ISO tracks, virtual multitrack recording and playback with Zaxcom recording wireless (Patented) , Power roll automatic transmitter power control (Patented), Automatic wireless transmitter transport control and transmitter scene/ take file metadata from Nova are some of the benefits.
• I am not a Zaxcom owner now, can I benefit from the Nova without Zaxcom wireless?
No matter what wireless you may own now you can use that with the Zaxcom Nova. Nova will accept up to 12 channels of external audio via its AES inputs providing the best audio quality enabled by the digital connections. With Nova you also get the benefit of the internal Micplexer that enhances the performance of any connected wireless receiver from any manufacturer with all of the operational benefits of the NOVA track tuned wireless filter. Nova outputs RF with 3dB of RF gain that can go through an external RF splitter with no loss of signal to external receivers. Optional Receiver replacement modules offer both Nova AES inputs and RF outputs to the external receivers.
• Do I need to use proprietary media?
No, any store purchased CF Card media should be fine.
• Will Nova ever have Dante?
No. Dante is great for getting lots of audio from point A to point B over a long distance. It is not necessary or desirable in a sound bag as the power to encode and decode the Dante format would almost double the power consumption of the Nova sound bag. AES connection between an ENG receiver and the Nova is both power efficient and fool proof as there is no Dante routing to set up or to go bad. AES is the more desirable interface to use allowing multiple unlocked AES sources to be utilized at the same time.
• Why does the Nova not have a word clock interface?
The Nova has sample rate converting AES inputs that eliminate any need for a word clock reference. This allows all AES sources and the Nova itself to operate at any sample rate with no issues.
• How easy is it to change out the wireless receivers?
They are held in with a single screw and can be hot swapped in seconds.
• What are the channel effects and are they available on all inputs analog and digital.
Yes the effects are common to all channels. Variable frequency high pass, 2 notch filters, compressors and delay are available on all inputs. Input trim level is also available on AES inputs.
• Can I use AES42 microphones?
Yes, 2 separate AES42 mics are supported with 4 channels of audio input.
• How good are the Nova preamps?
With 140 dB dynamic range from input through the dual A-D Neverclip conversion stage and the 32bit floating point mixing engine nothing can compare to the Nova analog inputs. Input compressors are not needed and their use is limited only to artistic preference.
• Is this a new headphone amp for Zaxcom.
Yes, it uses a very high resolution D to A converter with better low frequency response that can drive impedances as low as 16 ohms.