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Looking to upgrade recorder next spring. Torn. Appreciate your opinions.


AudioMTL
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Hey crew. 

 

Will try to bring you up to speed with my thoughts / needs and hoping for some opinions. Sorry if this post is a little all over the place. 

 

I have been using a Fostex PD-6 for some years now and frankly love it aside from a few things. Namely the time consuming data transfer at the days end, and some specific functionalities.

 

Have always ogled over other mixers using the Devas and feel like I'd much prefer Zaxcom than a Sound Devices. 

 

I am primarily a cart mixer however the past few shows have required fast switching between cart and portabrace bag set ups. Therefore I have built a smaller "bag cart" and been mixing without the EX-12 extension to the PD-06 (read as: more annoyance with data management/transfer)

 

I must point out that I am young and in a state of growth. Starting to work on larger productions. The Fostex was a great solution for some years due to the price point and bang for buck. 

 

Wanting to move to something with less hassle transferring and managing media, I considered the Nomad, however for many reasons I considered the SD 664 but 48kHz max is a deal breaker. I record SFX libraries as well and need high sample rates. I've ruled both the Nomad and Fusion out.  I've come to the conclusion that the Deva is the way to go (after reading a lot of user manuals, still have not tried any of these and plan to.) 

 

I will be buying used. I would like to find a Deva in good condition with accessories, (cables, portabrace, hard case, drive caddy's etc..) just as I did when buying my PD6 years ago. 

 

Since the driving factor is moving to solid state / flash media, I believe that the Deva 5.8 to be the best option. However, I do not see many used compared to the Deva V. I am aware the Deva V can use flash media (via USB?) but is this only to transfer data after its been recorded? 

 

I very much like the idea of being able to burn a DVDRAM (I still have many, and the luxury of handing some disks to DIT and going home is quite nice,) That said, does the Deva V burn regular DVDs or DVDRAM?... Additionally I like the idea of having CF cards as well and the internal spinning hard disk for longer record times etc.

 

Regarding price and being realistic, a Deva V seems so much more attainable at my current budget level and based on availability (looking in the JW buy and sell and Trew audio consignment for example) However having only 4 pots for mixing in a bag is a concern to me and also the lack of integrated compact flash media (unless plugging in via a reader is truly reliable?) I will eventually get into a mix-8 or mix-12 for the cart so a Deva V would be more workable mix wise, however I don't want to shoot myself in the foot with buying a machine thats "too old" like the FostexPD6..

 

Part of me keeps coming back to the Fostex PD-606. Perhaps I am jumping too far ahead and should consider the PD606.. I like the Pd6 and always thought I would advance to the bigger brother in the Fostex line. However I am really trying to get away from "buy cheap , buy twice" 

 

Once again, sorry for the scattered thoughts in this post. I plan to buy in the spring / summer of next season so I do have some time, but this investment is weighing a lot on my mind and I would like to really hash some things out by getting the opinions of some folks who have first hand experiences with these machines. 

 

Thank you for taking the time to read this. I will answer any questions you may have and post more thoughts and details as they come to mind. I appreciate your opinions!

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The PD-6 was great for its time but it's definitely time to change.

 

If you're not planning to buy something new until next spring, I would wait until NAB in April. There's always some surprises there. If you need more than 4 pots, the Deva 5.8 & Nomad has 6 pots, and the 788 has 8. I find DVD-RAM is pretty much going away and I think CF cards are a simpler, more reliable media nowadays. 

 

Zaxcom and Sound Devices are the "Mercedes and BMW" of the business and both make fantastic, reliable, cost-effective machines. There are pros and cons with everything all the way down the line and no single solution will work for everybody. I used a 788 for more than 2 years and used a Deva 5.8 for 2 years, and I could step up and use one today and be used to it in an hour. Both are well-designed and do what you need. A lot boils down to cost, size, weight, and features; the basic quality of the machines are very close. But each has their fans and detractors.

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I think Marc's advice is very good and comes from experience with the two machines, Zaxcom and Sound Devices, that have been in use very successfully for many years. The availability of used machines is not something I know a lot about currently, though I will say that I bought my second Deva as a used machine from someone I totally trust who was getting out of the business. I have both an older Deva IV and the Deva 5.8 which I use as my main machine. The Deva IV and the V can both do DVD-RAM (but DVD-RAM as a deliverable is absolutely on the way out and for all the right reasons) and they can both do full normal real time mirroring to CF card using an external CF card reader/writer on the Firewire bus.

 

I'm not sure you will find one machine that is perfect for the cart AND for highly mobile bag work. Many people when making these decisions have to look very closely at what sort of work they are doing (and the sort of work they hope to be doing) and the usual transition is from lots of bag work to hopefully sit down cart work. For those, a bag appropriate recorder that may once and awhile sit on a cart is a good way to go. If you are not interested in Nomad or 664/663 for whatever reason, you are cutting your options for a really nice bag rig. Lots of Deva owners have done some bag work with their Deva but it is not ideal.

 

Hopefully others will chime in with their ideas and some helpful advice may be offered.

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Ok.. my 2 cents worth.

I owned a Fusion, and have sold it and bought a 664.

I did use my Fusion both on cart and in bag.

 

I have used Sound Devices, Zax, and Fostex devices.

I did not find the Fusion experience different than a Deva (they have the same menus), as I don't burn dvds, and don't need to use an internal hard drive.

I am comfortable with a 48kHz for my clients and workflow.

I find that I like the workflow of the 664, and its 12 track capability and simplicity for going from bag to cart (which I did on two days last week). 

I just didn't acclimate as well to the Nomad architecture.

I miss my touchscreens, however.

I like the lighter weight of the 664 for a high track count bag.

I did find that Zax seems to be moving on to focus more on their Nomad, Max, and updated wireless, with very little ongoing evolution of the Deva/Fusion visible to the outside world. (Not sure what Glen and Howy's secret plans are... of course)

I do not care about having a hard drive anymore, since I used the Fusion sucessfully for last couple of years.

 

My goal is a more compact high track count dialog cart, and the 664 is looking like a great way to achieve that.

It's price point new, with accessories, is very close to the cost of used Zaxcom Deva outfits.

I can't say absolutely which one you will like better. 

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If you thought the 664 was good, but didn't like the 48k max, you should take another look at the 788 with CL-8, which can be found used easily, and later you can add the CL-9. 788T works really well in the bag or on the cart. Also there is the Nagra 6, which may be a bit big for the bag, but I'll bet it feels more like you PD6 than any of the other recorders. But really, choosing a recorder is pretty subjective, so I would recommend that you rent each of the contenders, ideally for a whole project, and then decide

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You can buy a used 788T and a new 633 (or maybe even a used 664) for the price of a good used Deva.  The 633 will get you through most things you need to jump in the bag for. Then you just keep everything hooked up. And you have a backup with the same file structure as your primary.

 

I have learned that in terms of waiting for something new, you're better off deciding on exactly what you want that's in the market now, and look for a good deal on something used.  Only buy new if you absolutely need something in a hurry and that's all that is available. A great time to buy used is when something new comes out, and lots of people try to dump gear to buy the new and shiny offering.

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I use a 788T for bag and cart use for precisely the versatility reason.

With CL-8 and a few dual-channel RX, you get hardware pots for input gains and fader levels. I added a NP-1 power solution that powers the whole bag.

My bag can do more than some smaller Deva/Venue carts with a separate 8-ch mixer.

If possible, I place it on top of my cart - which is basically storage for mics, comteks, stuff, and holds monitors and the script.

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Audio: " hoping for some opinions. "

I should have expected...

OK, Audio, you are a grown up big person, and you have been around long enough...

you are going to make this decision yourself, based on your personal requirements, both objective and subjective, and not from our various opinions.

 

reading your posts, I'm wondering if you are charging proper rates..?  if so, then you should be able to deal with the upgrade you are seeking, and sooner, rather than later if your PD-6 is becoming even more of an issue.

 

you need to realize that there is probably no perfect choice, if only from reading here on jwsoundgroup.net how everyone wants something a little different from every unit...

 

and there are some other options worth considering, particularly from TASCAM, and Roland

Edited by studiomprd
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If you are used to the Zax ecosystem then I'd wait for whatever comes next--Zax is kind of due to overhaul it's "Cadillac" top-end machine (Deva), maybe they'll be a new model with all sorts of cool new stuff.  I don't think a used Deva is a great investment right now if you think you'll only use if for a short while then want to sell it.  If you want to stick with it for some years then there have been some really good deals going by on used ones...

 

p

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I keep my 788t mounted on my cart, and have my 633 in a bag. It seems like every project I've done in the recent past has required both cart functionality and bag mobility. I keep both setups with me and can switch between the two (having a lectro venue and comtek base station on the cart, and 411 receivers and comtek transmitter in the bag). This has enabled me to be very versatile and not be stuck in any situation. RPSharman's suggestion to go this route works well for me, and for the price point you really cant go wrong with this scenario, although you will likely invest more into other item like wireless and IFB.

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TV: "Exciting things must surely be coming at NAB.  "

of course,  and maybe even a few of interest to us folks, although many of our "usual suspects" have been announcing and releasing products at not only other shows, but also at any time!.. (like: whenever they are ready to!)

and then there are often (usually?) gaps between the (NAB) introduction, and actual delivery...

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Thanks again everyone. I will wait till we hear some news from Zax. At the least, it may make a 5.8 more affordable to buy used. I must say the Tascam HS-p82 and the fader extension are interesting to me , but I don't want to work with a fancy toy, I am more interested in a serious machine. No doubt the Timecode is wonky on a thing like that as well and I can't imagine it stacking up next to a Deva! Oh well, I will keep reading user manuals and waiting for the next big thing from Zaxcom! Cheers!

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Used Deva prices are dropping like a brick, for good reason.  Their hardware is antiquated.  You can get by with it for a few more years but it will only get harder to try to keep up.  I'm going to catch flack for saying that, but it's the truth.  Save your pennies if you're thinking Deva. 788, 664,633 & Fusion are your best bang for the buck and staying power at the moment.

 

 

PS. Fusions are over priced

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audio: " but I don't want to work with a fancy toy, I am more interested in a serious machine."

I do not believe the TASCAM is a toy, I and others consider it a serious machine

"No doubt the Timecode is wonky on a thing like that as well" 

sorry, more disagreement

" and I can't imagine it stacking up next to a Deva! "

well, while I think it could stack up rather well, considering the differences (like price  8)  )

the DEVA is a more premium machine, but at a more premium price...

and considering you are currently working with technology practically from the last century millennium that is showing its age...

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A new Deva 16 has $15.000

A new Cantar X3 has $20.000

 

I tend to believe the new Cantar X3 is not overpriced for what offers.

A little search in the gallery of sound carts you will see a separate mixer and recorder in the price of new Cantar.

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...

You can get by with it for a few more years but it will only get harder to try to keep up.

...

This is one of the more obfuscated comments I've read lately. Keep up to what? Having the latest, shinniest device? ...or, perhaps newer machines record dialog before it is spoken.

While (IMO) a Nomad is a significantly better bag mixer/recorder than a Deva, I find the Deva is still superior as a cart recorder.

In the Deva, I use Compact Flash media as the internal drive and have had no issue whatsoever finding external FireWire CF reader/writers. I also have the option of DVD-RAM deliverables for the few clients who still want them. The Deva has some features that no other recorder offers at any price.

If you are strictly cart-based, a used Deva (IV, V, or later), can be a "best buy."

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