I'm currently looking at options for a 4 x input stereo mixer. I currently use an SD 302 in front of a 702T. It's a combo that I'm very happy with for the majority of my work (mostly interviews, voiceover work, SFX gathering, and the occasional dramatic exercise, although nothing too large scale, obviously). I really only got a mixer initially to ride levels on a mono track, usually using a single, boomed mic. But the interface has been invaluable to me for its great metering, limiters, etc., and the SD has never hiccuped. I've grown into it happily.
I do occasionally find the need now for more inputs, now that the work has become a bit more complex, with wireless systems now more available, and even the occasional two-boom setup. I'm also simply curious about the sound quality provided by other top shelf work horse units. I was recently helping someone who was managing dialogue on a Cooper CS-104 and was treated to a set of cans during a few takes, and I was impressed with the sound that I suspect the mixer was providing. Really clean but steeped in character when booming. The rest of the kit/mixing approach was pretty familiar to me, so this is why the CS-104 caught my attention. He was a big fan of it, and from my research I'm fairly familiar with what it offers in it's unmidified version(s).
I'm looking at a CS-104 currently that is in really good condition and that comes with some cables and a bag. It has peak meters. But with the recent slump in enthusiasm for the separate mixer / recorder paradigm, in favor of the recent combined mixer/recorder offerings from Sound Devices and others, the 442 and other once prohibitive options are super reasonably priced. Can anyone speak to the integrity of the Cooper as a workhorse whose sound and robustness is worth the trouble of owning a discontinued unit? Is it simply dumb to pick one up when the 442 is now so havable? Build quality, ease of use, and sound are definitely my top three requirements. I'd be interested to hear about how this mixer works for those who have to make a bag setup work for just about everything, and who want to get as much original dialogue on set as possible via boom and a few wireless units.
It's been awhile since I've attempted to post here, but needless to say the info from this group has been very helpful to me in recent years. I know the post is long but I just thought I'd provide some background and see what advice folks can offer a young guy trying to maximize a modest setup. Thank you so much in advance. Isaac