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Sonosax SX62R


Roderick Matte
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I've owned my SX62R for two years and have experienced the good/bad/ugly of this unit with respect to firmware issues/hardware issues/customer service issues.

 

I would like to share my unresolved queries and ask for feedback and additional comments to provide momentum which could be carried to Switzerland as an expedience maker of resolutions.

 

When I contacted Pierre at Sonosax in November, he was gracious yet feedback is limited & answers were unclear. As for example, I've given my feedback about issues with limited capabilities of metadata handling (i.e. folder naming limited to 8 characters) as compared to Sound Devices/Zaxcom and assured that solutions would be worked and he'd get back to me in January (4 months ago).

I've emailed him several times without reply.

Timecode still drifts following a firmware upgrade. Audio cuts out of digital outs when editing playback metadata which requires repowering of unit (very irritating when working on-the-fly) That was 6 months ago. 

I'm not impressed and would appreciate support to encourage improvement to customer service.

 

Any thoughts?

 

Onward,

Roderick

 

 

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I've had my Sonosax SX8D for seven years. I've been waiting for a proper internal recorder as promised, since I bought it. Sonosax does not follow up and is too small to provide the kind of updates and feedback you get from Sound Devices and other vendors. If Sound Devices came out with a similar mixer/recorder, I suspect that would be the end of Sonosax. Beautiful products, but too mom and pop for professional users.

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  • 9 months later...

Well I was going to start a thread in order to get ideas from current users about purchasing an SX62R, but then I saw this thread and is not looking good so far. 

 

I have no means to test one but was hoping to replace my 788T with something new as its getting old and saw some deals on this unit. 

 

So, any updates on the issues?

 

Would you still recommend it Roderick? 

 

Thanks

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I've owned my SX62R for two years and have experienced the good/bad/ugly of this unit with respect to firmware issues/hardware issues/customer service issues.

 

I would like to share my unresolved queries and ask for feedback and additional comments to provide momentum which could be carried to Switzerland as an expedience maker of resolutions.

 

When I contacted Pierre at Sonosax in November, he was gracious yet feedback is limited & answers were unclear. As for example, I've given my feedback about issues with limited capabilities of metadata handling (i.e. folder naming limited to 8 characters) as compared to Sound Devices/Zaxcom and assured that solutions would be worked and he'd get back to me in January (4 months ago).

I've emailed him several times without reply.

Timecode still drifts following a firmware upgrade. Audio cuts out of digital outs when editing playback metadata which requires repowering of unit (very irritating when working on-the-fly) That was 6 months ago. 

I'm not impressed and would appreciate support to encourage improvement to customer service.

 

Any thoughts?

 

Onward,

Roderick

 

I feel your pain. You mentioned you "have experienced the good/bad/ugly of this unit..."

What was the good (which i guess kept you together)?

 

dan.

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  • 5 months later...

The good of this unit is the infallible preamps. Whisper to scream, it handles with grace. Sonosax was kind to replace my faulty unit after a year with a new one. (Still had the same issues...)

The bad:

1. The most important factor in keeping clients and getting respect from post production houses: TIMECODE - metadata interpretation for 29 and 23 timecode rates with many post house's editing software when ingested.

2. Fussiness with CF cards

3. Failure of digital outs when in playback mode.

4. Sending my unit back to Switzerland several times for poor build: touchscreen initially froze often due to dust around the seal which confused the interactive surface, faulty connection for ch 7/8 through the return input, internal battery too small for rechargeable battery length).

5. And lastly, an AES Out diagram is missing in the SX62R online manual and I was instructed to take the diagram from the SX-ES64 desktop mixer diagram. The online manual has yet to be corrected.

I'm disappointed due to the lack of resolution on critical issues which I've experienced over the past two years.

Although Sonosax's recent offering are beautiful and enticing, I wouldn't trust them until they fix the critical timecode issue for NTSC clients. PAL and 24 are stable. I've attempted to assist Sonosax in troubleshooting the issue but I'm not a programmer of iXML metadata. I simply know that the timecode clock IS accurate when feeding/sending. The issue is how it is stamped on the internal audio files and, when sent out, interpreted by various editing software. Sonosax swears that the issue lies in software bugs (Wave Agent, Media Composer 7) but I've never had TC issues with Sound Devices, Nagra, Fostex, Zaxcom, Tentacle Sync or Ambient products.

Sonosax is wonderful in the analog world yet has to mature in the digital/timecode/UI department.

I'm still awaiting a long overdue firmware update (2 years).

 

I have been on the fence with my SX62R for over a year. I own an SX-S10 and love it - no issues. Unfortunately, these may be my last Sonosax purchases if client needs aren't met and respected.

R

 

 

Edited by Roderick Michael Matte
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Hey Roderick and Erkal, hey all!

Long time Sonosax SX-R4 & SX62R user here. I happen to live a few miles away from the Sonosax headquarters and I was one of the beta testers of the 62R. I'm testing the new SX-R4+ these days and the software is coming along nicely, although there still is a lot of work to do. I'll post my review of the R4+ in the appropriate thread once we've ironed out the biggest issues.

As for the SX62R, I've been working with this recorder since day one, I guess I've recorded well over 30'000 takes with the 62R on several TV series, TV movies and features since early 2011.

In terms of hardware, the 62R is a fantastic piece of gear, it is basically a portable version of the SX-ES64 mixer.

Roderick, I'm sorry for all the hardware issues you've had with your recorder! Mine's been running perfectly in every situation you could imagine. The chassis of my 62R has turned copper-colored over the years due to heavy exposure to direct sunlight and splashes of salt water. Nevertheless, I've never had issues with the touchscreen, even now that it's quite a bit scratched from the heavy use. Your issue with the faulty 7/8 line input sounds familiar. I haven't seen this on the 62R, but I've seen it on my R4. Apparently, the miniature ribbon cables that connect to the TA3 connectors of these recorders are extremely fragile and usually need to be replaced almost every time the machine is disassembled for repair. I don't really use the internal batteries in these machines, although I have a few Energizer plastic barrels in the 62R which allow the use of eneloop AA batteries instead of the D-cell batteries as an emergency backup. They are light and fit perfectly in the battery compartment and provide emergency power for an hour or so.

Concerning the CF cards, you need to format them as FAT32 on a Windows computer with the "Quick format" option UNchecked, which may take some time, after that, the Sonosax recorders have been working perfectly with even the cheapest CF card I could throw at them. Even SD cards in CF adapters work nicely once they have been thoroughly formatted as FAT32 on a Windows computer.

As a side note, I also own a SD 633 recorder which didn't work all that well with my (SD-approved) SanDisk Extreme SD cards neither. Formatting them with the Quick format option unchecked on a Windows computer also did the trick for these cards.

But I totally agree with you guys that the software still has a few quirks that need to be addressed by Sonosax. As I know their team quite well, for their discharge I can only tell you that Vincent, the software engineer, works all alone on all the SX products, and that's why it sometimes takes a long time between software updates. Usually, the major issues are resolved in a timely manner by the SX crew, for instance the pre-record and timecode issues discovered in software revision 4.3 were fixed within a few days.

As another side note, it took Sound Devices more than a year to update the software for the 633, which had some really nasty issues upon its first release.

As I live in PAL-land, I can't comment on the timecode issues you guys seem to experience in the NTSC world. Similarly, as I work entirely in the analog domain, I can't comment on AES issues neither.

And I can only hope that some of the developments made for the R4+ will make their way into a new update for the 62R as well, as the touchscreen interface is basically the same...

As for now, with the latest software revision 4.4.271 released in July 2013, the machine is very stable, but there are still a few things that could be improved, especially when compared to products from other manufacturers:

BUGS

- The 62R hangs when you attempt to format or record on a CF card which wasn't inserted in the CF slot at boot-time

- Emptying the TRASH folder on the internal SSD or on a CF card always gives an error message the first time you attempt to empty the trash, but eventually succeeds after a second or third attempt

- The Take number is not reset to 1 when you change the Scene name in the EDIT METADATA screen, it is however handled correctly when the Scene name is modified in the main METADATA screen

- The Take number is not always updated to the current take when you return to a Scene number for which you have already recorded a few takes, at least when there are already many files in the current daily folder

- There are a few spelling errors in the INFO screens

- The LAST TAKES list is not repopulated for the CF card after a reboot

 

WHAT COULD BE IMPROVED

- There's no NOTES field in the TAG LAST TAKE screen

- No notes list from which you could select frequently used notes/remarks

- No track name list from which you could select frequently used characters/actors

- No scroll or INSERT/DELETE buttons in the NOTES/SCENE/TRACK NAMES screens. You have to delete characters in order to edit them

- No possibility to view the incoming timecode and/or to compare it to the internal timecode and view the offset

- No way to adjust the TONE volume or frequency

- Playback isn't routed to the MAIN STEREO and MONO outputs

- Playback of the ISO tracks isn't routed to their respective DIRECT OUTS

- The output limiter factory default is at -20 FS, may only be adjusted to another value at the factory

- No USB keyboard support

- All ISO tracks sent to the AUX and BOOM outputs are pre-fader

- Pre- or post-fader functionality for the inputs is global for all six inputs (but may be set individually for each input through a setup text file)

- No internal sound report functionality

- Editing METADATA in PLAY isn't mirrored to the files on the other media. If you edit Metadata for a file on the SSD, the modifications are not mirrored into the corresponding file on the CF card (same as on the SD 744T)

- No USER BITS

- No subfolders below the PROJECT folder

- No auto-record when incoming timecode starts rolling

 

All right, that's my list of things that should/could be improved in the SX62R. Some of these are already implemented in v0.8 of the software of the R4+, so maybe we will see them coming to the 62R some day (cross fingers).

Best from sunny Lake Geneva!

Jürg

Edited by jlempen
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Hey Roderick and Erkal, hey all!

<snip>

As another side note, it took Sound Devices more than a year to update the software for the 633, which had some really nasty issues upon its first release.

<snip

Sound Devices generally does not speak on other manufacturers products or their threads, but I wanted to step in here to clear this up. 

The 633 was released Nov 19, 2013. 

Firmware 1.01 was released approximately 2 weeks later on 12/3/13.

Firmware 1.03 was released 8 weeks after that on 2/28/14.

Firmware 1.04 was released February of this year and is the current release.

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Thanks Matt for your input!

I'm sorry if my last post sounded offensive to the Sound Devices software development team!

I merely wanted to illustrate the fact that even companies who probably have much more personnel available to work on the software of their products than a small company like Sonosax sometimes need quite some time to push out firmware updates to fix minor issues and add features to their products as well. But I'm confident that every manufacturer of professional equipment reacts very quickly with firmware updates when a mission-critical issue is discovered.

I used the SD 633 as an example for the fact that it took SD a year to push out the v1.04 of the firmware which fixed issues I personally considered to be nasty in firmware v1.03, namely the issue with the file date stamp on exFAT formatted SD cards.

Thanks again Matt!

Cheers,

Jürg

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After reading my last (and huge) post concerning the SX62R, I'd like to add a few observations.

In all fairness to the Sonosax team, my post and especially the list of limitations may give the impression that the 62R is lacking features.

So why have I relied on this machine since 2011 for all my drama work? I could have bought any other recorder, and I have tested almost every other recorder which was available back in 2011. I decided to go with the 62R because it fitted perfectly into my workflow back then and it still does.

So what makes the 62R perfect for me?

- The support I got from Sonosax over the years has always been excellent

- The sound is fantastic

- Lightweight and sturdy aluminum chassis

- The analog section features individual buttons for filters, pan, solo and gain for each of the six inputs

- Direct analog outputs for all inputs and main L/R outputs on a convenient DB-25 connector, pre- or post-fader

- Very flexible monitoring section

- Very flexible Private Line section with internal or external phantom-powered microphone

- Two large, user-defined function buttons allow direct access to frequently used functions, namely TRACK ARMING/NAMING and METADATA in my case

- The large touchscreen is very convenient for my aging eyes

- Four headphones outputs, one 6.35mm on the right side, one 3.5mm on the front panel, one on the binder HEADSET connector and one on the 26-pin 3M accessory port

- Separate configurable BOOM output for one or two boom operators

- Quick switching between multiple user settings

- The user settings are simple text files which may be stored and modified on any computer

- Quick tagging of the last take as WILD TRACK, CIRCLED TAKE or NO GOOD

- The file names are independent of the scene name, thus no duplicate file names within a project

- User-definable file name prefix for every project

- Optional AES input/output board available if I ever need it

- The RETURN inputs may replace the two mix tracks

- Separate main MONO output

- Main outputs on full-sized XLR connectors

 

Thus, in my workflow, the SX62R is the main routing device for all audio signals. All my wireless receiver outputs are permanently connected to the 62R's inputs and recorded pre-fader on their ISO tracks and simultaneously fed to my mixing panel through a multicore DB-25 cable. Then, my two channel mix is fed back to the 62R through the RETURN inputs and assigned to the two main MIX tracks.

The 62R's MONO output feeds an IFB transmitter for directors/continuity/video village, the AUX outputs feed IFB transmitters for two independent camera scratch tracks and the BOOM outputs feed IFB transmitters for one or two boom operators.

And when I need to go portable, I simply disconnect the DB-25 cable, load my BAG user setup and I'm ready to mix on the 62R in a remote location away from my sound cart.

BTW, my sound reports are made with MovieSlate on an iPad Mini, so I just snap the iPad off the cart and throw it in the front pocket of my bag when I need to go portable.

This SX62R-based setup is extremely compact, portable, powerful and flexible. And it sounds fantastic!

So in a nutshell, perhaps the 62R is not the ideal solution for everybody, but it is for me!

Best,

Jürg

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The Metadata issue sounds similar to what to issues with original R4.  But, they fixed it and it worked perfectly.  Issue with TC at north american frame rates.  I know Roderick has mentioned that his issue is a bit different but in my case they did get a handle on it.   

 

I am still sad to have let that unit go.  It sounded great and was so tiny.  

 

 

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Hey john if it makes you feel any better I'm using it right now for a promo/epk on the "Royals". Still sounding great and i do a lot of 23.98 for US clients shooting in the UK - no problems so far. 

  I do intend to buy the newer version but I am quite conservative with kit so I would rather give it some time to hear some feedback and make sure everything is stable before I commit. 

 

      Lisala

Edited by dolo72
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The Metadata issue sounds similar to what to issues with original R4.  But, they fixed it and it worked perfectly.  Issue with TC at north american frame rates.  I know Roderick has mentioned that his issue is a bit different but in my case they did get a handle on it.   

 

I am still sad to have let that unit go.  It sounded great and was so tiny.  

 

 

John, what was the metadata issue you had with the R4 and how was it fixed?

I do find the lack of metadata mirroring on previous takes between HDD and CF annoying, and also the 'please wait' loading the metadata screen where I think it reads all the previous files (I've been told that won't be a feature on the R4+).

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I was having metadata errors at one point and TC drift as well.  

I honestly do not remember exactly how it was fixed but it happened with the latest version of firmware.   It was explained to me that technically sonosax is following the Ixml standard perfectly and it is the other devices/applications that are using a nonstandard approach to read and utilize the metadata.  Apparently, not all devices handle the info the same way...  I wish could enlighten you more but it was awhile ago..  when it was fixed, it was solid after that.  

 

 

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I was having metadata errors at one point and TC drift as well.  

I honestly do not remember exactly how it was fixed but it happened with the latest version of firmware.   It was explained to me that technically sonosax is following the Ixml standard perfectly and it is the other devices/applications that are using a nonstandard approach to read and utilize the metadata.  Apparently, not all devices handle the info the same way...  I wish could enlighten you more but it was awhile ago..  when it was fixed, it was solid after that.  

 

 

Hi John,

What firmware version turned out to be the successful one?

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