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Crunch time=/ 633 vs 702. Experienced Advice Sought!

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Hi folks,

I’m a radio producer/sound designer and I’ve been researching a field recorder for several months. Work dictates that might have to decide very soon but I could really benefit from some experienced advice at this stage.

It would be used for a range of applications, high quality sound effects, interviews, classical music (choral) recordings and possibly work with camera down the line.

I’m very keen on the Sound Devices 633 for several reasons.
1. it’s really flexible and has more than 2 inputs so I could get really creative recording events simultaneously from different acoustic perspectives. I love doing this.
2. love the storage options
3. intelligent power handling

4. Would allow me to experiment working on film sound (2 lavs + boom).

The only thing holding me back on it is the quality of the preamps. I’ve read anecdotally on here that they can be noisy in some circumstances. I’d be using a Neumann 191/DPA 4060 but who know what tomorrow?

Ultimately would it be wiser to opt for a Series 7 recorder like the 702T which would have a better front end? It’s the sound quality that matters in the end. A 744/788 is out of my budget. re. multiple inputs.

Could some members who have used the 633 and 7 series comment on their experiences re. the relative quality of the pre-amps on these two products? or offer some thoughts/advice?

Appreciate your time.



 

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While I don't own a 633, I use a lot of different gear and try to stay abreast of current offerings. I've not heard anything negative about 633 preamps. Could you please cite your source?

Internet rumors easily perpetuate and we should either prove this one or squelch it. There are a lot of 633 users here, so we should have no difficulty achieving a worthwhile consensus and putting this one to rest.

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I can't imagine Sound Devices putting out a unit so much more sophisticated than a 702 and then skimping on the preamps. It would be akin to putting out a 2015 Mustang with an engine from a 2010 Malibu. I would think that the 633 would have preamps equal to or greater than the 702.

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As some who has owned a 702T, 744T , 302, 442, 552 and now owns a 633 664 788. The preamps in the 633 are great and the extra features will be great for you 

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I own a 633, and have used ( not owned ) 7series recorders in the past.

I've done several music recordings on the 633 with satisfying results.

In most cases (at least for me) the locations l work in have many more challanges to be faced. The pre's of either the 633 or a 7series recorder belong to lower ranks of my concerns. In case you work in places were everything is 100% ideal and you might listen back in a very audiophile environment you might challenge yourself in blind testing the pre's.

I bet that any of these devices are will be helpful tools/companions in Doing the job you love.

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Many thanks folks! Some reassuring praise for the 633. Just very keen to assuage any doubts before dropping that much money.

 

 

 

While I don't own a 633, I use a lot of different gear and try to stay abreast of current offerings. I've not heard anything negative about 633 preamps. Could you please cite your source?

 

Certainly. It was just from reading the "Sound Devices 633…What do you think?" thread on this forum Pg.6.

 

member soundslikejustin-

“The 7 series have differing Pre-amp technologies - the 744 (and 702/722) are very similar, but the 788T is a completely different design.

 

......the equivalent input noise specs of the 633 are higher than that of the 744T and 788T, equal with those of the 552 and 664. You would have to compare them to see if they fit your needs. I can hear slightly more noise in my 633 than my 744 at mic level with both trims opened fully. The difference in the noise spec between the 744T and the 633 is 4dB. (-126dbu vs -130dbu)”

 

The 633 specs are listed online as -

 

THD + Noise 0.09% max

 

and the 702 is listed -

 

Mic: 0.004% max (1 kHz, 22 Hz–22 kHz BW, gain control down, -15 dBu input); line: 0.004% max (1 kHz, 22 Hz–22 kHz BW, gain control down, +16 dBu input)
 

-------------------------------

 

I'm not one to overanalyse spec sheets but another user chrismedr wrote on the same page.

 

"on a bit more useful note: 

i've done a comparison between a 702T, 302 and 633 with a MKH 8050 a while back - it wasn't very scientific or controlled but i couldn't hear a difference between the three.

 

on the other hand i did a mic comparison which was quite surprising:

MKH 50, MKH 8050, Schoeps MK41, Neumann 185 on a 633.

 

the MKH 50 had the least noise, the MKH 8050 and Schoeps MK41 somewhat more, and the 185 was very noisy (so much more that i had it checked because i thought it was broken). somebody told me that the SD preamps get noisy at high gain, and since all these are excellent mics, this seem to confirm that- the old MKH 50 series has hotter output then the 8050 or the MK41, and the neumann needs quite a bit of more gain. repeated the test with a MKH416 and again got very clean results (and as a side note - matches very well to the MKH 50 - so much that at times it's hard to know which is which).

 

made me appreciate the MKH50 and 416 again because this also helps them to work well on cheaper recorders like zooms etc."

 

--------------------------------

 

Don't get me wrong I know there's a wide degree of variability/subjectivity with these things, I was just throwing it open to hear what other users experiences had been like.

 

thanks!

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I like the 7xx pres and limiters better than those in my 6xx recorders, but the diffs are pretty minor.  The 633 does so much more for you than the 702 in terms of routing, multitrack, reporting, # of inputs, powering etc that I'd recommend you go that way if you have the $.   If you don't like the 633 you'll be able to sell it easily, the 702 not so much anymore.

 

philp

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I like the 7xx pres and limiters better than those in my 6xx recorders, but the diffs are pretty minor.  The 633 does so much more for you than the 702 in terms of routing, multitrack, reporting, # of inputs, powering etc that I'd recommend you go that way if you have the $.   If you don't like the 633 you'll be able to sell it easily, the 702 not so much anymore.

 

philp

 

Thanks Philip. Good point. I sense the 7 series is due an update/overhaul.

 

 

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I have used all of the 6 and 7 series recorders.  I own the 664, and also use a friend's 633 from time to time.

as a "swiss army knife" of location recording, the 633 will serve you better than the 702t.

You will be very glad for the extra tracks and other features. 

The noise level difference will not be noticable in the field.

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I just spent 6 days on a job with a 633 and could not be happier with the machine/recorder. It's a 1000 times more recorder than the Nagras and DAT recorders we use to use. A 702 & 744 t are good units but they don't record 10 tracks in a form factor that is this rugged and versatile. I don't like to advise anyone on gear because what I like they may not, but this is a well engineered pro piece of gear that does so much. Test drive one, then decide.

CrewC

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unfortunately test driving isn't too easy based on my location, hence speaking up here. Thanks for taking the time to share your advice. The flexibility of the unit is indeed extremely appealing.

 

I'm just toting up how much power chargers, batteries, cables and bag will add (ouch!)=]

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Well that car was recently for sale...

 

James Bond Lotus Esprit submarine up on eBay for $1 million

Perfect for blasting pesky Bell Jet Rangers out of the sky.

 

http://www.roadandtrack.com/car-culture/videos/a8903/james-bond-lotus-esprit-submarine-for-sale-on-ebayfor-one-million-dollars/

 

 

And could you make it over to Manchester or down to Dublin (presuming they keep these two SD recorders in stock)?

http://www.shuredistribution.co.uk/brands/sound-devices/sound-devices-dealers

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In my experience I have used both and I would pick a 633 over a 702 any day. The power up is faster, the size is amazing, and the versatility of the unit is awesome. Overall I personally think the design is better, it feels better, larger knobs and the screen is easy to see. Not to down the 702 but I would never consider spending that much on a two track recorder when I could spend a little more and have the features of the 633. 

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re. Jim. I have mailed some relatively local retailers and hopefully a trip to dublin might be in my very near future. Creamy guinness and a new recorder sound like an excellent way to spent the week;)

 

Thanks Harlow. Another solid vote for the 633.

 

Out of curiousity is there anyone who's used both who would very much favour the 702 over the 633, and if so why?

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I've used the 744T, 788T and 633 (briefly). I think the 744T is incredible. The 633 has similar limiters, on more channels, and has way more "options". The 788T is the bigger daddy, but I find its limiters harsh and unpleasant. So much so that I use a 442 in front of it. If I didn't own the extra 788T (as a backup) and the 442, I'd probably buy a 633 to use for smaller/bag work.

If you really just need 2 tracks, the 702 is very impressive, and can probably be found used quite inexpensively.

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I've used 744T, 552, 664 and 633. The 633 is the best sound tool I've ever had and suitable for almost every production. Recently I used it with a stereo mike for atmo recording + 1 boom + 2 wireless + 2 camera hops demanding completely different input levels (solved via X1X2) + 1 wireless camera return. Everything in this small box.

Since the 633 is all digital, there is no more difference in quality to the 7 series. 664 and 552 are analogue mixers with a recording stage at the outputs - so these two are no comparision to the 7 if digital recording is the most important feature for you.

BTW: The other day I tried to take out the hard disk from the 744T to save weight and energy, because CF cards have enough space nowadays and are reliable. The 744T would not accept this and annoyed me with stupid formatting messages.

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Mungo,

I believe the 633 and 644 have the same analog path on the front end as the 702 744T 442 302, whereas the 552 788T are digital all the way.

Please correct if I'm wrong. I'd like to know for sure

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The 633 all the way. No moving parts. Good limiters. Decent preamps. IVe owned a 744. Own a 788, 302, 633. I use my 633 even for drama. You'd be hard pressed to notice a difference in fidelity between it and the 700 series from SD. Also track selection is a pain. You have to go in the menu to alter certain things ( been a while since I used it - sold it a while back ). 633 is one of the best sound purchases I've made

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My 442 doesn't have any moving parts in it, and yet it's fully analog...

The input stages of the 633 and the 7-series are clearly different as you can easily tell by the specs. Whether that's good or bad, is a personal decision. I think generally, the preamps of the black mixers series are one group, the metallic recorders another. There are of course differences within each group.

Limiters however, are a totally separate issue and seeem to be all over the place. I agree that those on the 788 are not the greatest. My personal favourites are probably still those on the 744

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