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744t Upgrade Path


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Hi all - wanted to see what others suggest here. I currently have a 744t and a FP24 (SD Mix Pre) in a PS607 and it works great for the smaller shoots that I do. I have a few projects coming up and I'm currently on the fence about "upgrading" and not sure if I should add a 552 or ditch the whole thing and go the 633 route. I do quite a bit of music recording as well and the 744t is pretty invaluable for that (higher sample rates, word clock i/o). The 788+CL8 would be perfect but unfortunately out of my budget even if I sold the 744t.

I realize this is a very subjective and that it depends on the gig. To be clear, I'm not looking for a "do this, do that" answer - just everyone's collective thoughts, maybe 744t owners / those who have upgraded / those who have moved to something else. 

 

Thanks in advance! 

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I kept my 744(s) for the sorts of jobs you describe and for the same reasons re WC, TC etc etc, and added a 664+CL6 for bigger jobs, esp ones with lots and lots of wireless and/or complex output routing needs.  On a few music jobs I've actually used the 664 rig with a 744 to get a few more tracks going, with the 744 making the WC and TC for both machines and bussing the 744's internally mixed outputs to the 664 link i/o input (to be included in the stereo mix on the 664).  Works great, very compact, very reliable.  633 is a cool rig but I'd miss the WC i/o right away.  Below is the rig we used recently at the Freight and Salvage (Berkeley) to record Regina Carter and her trio.

p

664+744.jpg

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RP - 

I have considered the 442 route given their current sale prices. I have a lead on a 552 for around the same price so I'm leaning towards that. My main concern is flexibility - I use a 552 daily at my "day gig" and have no real complaints with it. I've tried to think about how I could use the two recorders (744t and 552) together to get 6 tracks but haven't come up with anything as of yet that is practical or easily configurable without some serious hacking. 

I do wish I could go the 664 route but the only way to get into that would be to sell my 744 and hope to get above market resale for it. The WC i/o is a definite plus as is the expandability. 

Philip - That is a nice setup! Completely unrelated - but is that gooseneck light powered off the bag or is it one of the freestanding littlelites with the AC cord on it? 

Thanks for the suggestions everyone - keep em comin'! 

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You could get a BDS powered light if you wanted--the one I use for music work is one of the snazzy new LittleLites that fades down from white into red light--very handy for concert etc work! 

Hang on to yr 744 and save your cash to get what you want next.  744 prices are pretty low now anyhow, and you'll be glad you kept it as a backup/utility etc machine.

p

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Hang on to yr 744 and save your cash to get what you want next.  744 prices are pretty low now anyhow, and you'll be glad you kept it as a backup/utility etc machine.

Definitely leaning that way. Curious how you link the i/o of the 664 and 744t - AES out? Has me thinking if this would be possible on the 552 for more flexibility. 

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The rig in the pic has  the 744 as TC and WC master feeding the TC and WC in of the 664.  The 4>2 internal mixdown audio from the 744 was sent as analog to the link I/O port of the 664, which goes on to the 664's stereo mix bus.  In this situation the mix I was making live was to be a ref mix only, for the cameras, dailies and post syncing.  (The eventual real mix will come from all the isos.)  I used the link i/o port for the 744 audio because I didn't want to give up one of the 664's regular inputs for this--thus we ended up with 16 tracks plus a mix track from this rig (plus mono out for the cams TX).

p

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The 552 is inferior in so many ways to any other SD machine. Don't ignore the fact that they are readily available at bargain basement prices. 

Sell 744T and buy 633 or 664 before you consider buying 552. 

Although heavy, 442/744T combo is superior in so many ways. If you must have 6 tracks, get a loan and buy a used 664. I got mine for just over $3200.

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I do notice that the 552 goes for a bit less than the other devices but still above the 442. 

RP - Can you elaborate on why you feel it's inferior? 

And 6 tracks is nice but most of my stuff is 4 or less. I just feel a bit limited by not having the ability to record separate mixes and isos and find myself compromising right now with only a 2 channel mixer feeding 3-4 on the 744t. For anything higher than that I suspect I would use my music rig which is 30 channels. 

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I never warmed up to the 552--the "Dr. Hawking" voice prompt for the menus was pretty widely loathed with good reason I think, and while it's an excellent mixer it is only a 2Tr recorder w/o a real TC gen of its own.  As a sub for 442 it might be lighter and have more inputs but using its recorder on regular dialog bag jobs as a mix-down for the 744 will be a data management pain.  If you need 6 tr and want to stay SD then 633 (or 664/88) is where you gotta go.  If it was me I'd think about watching the used gear zones for a 2nd hand 788….

 

p

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Money is of course important and only you can decide how much money you can part with.

What you should consider is the workflow a bigger mixer/recorder provides and the possibility to take on large and more complex recordings.

Do you do ENG/EFP jobs as well, or just location music recordings?

I went from a SD442 to a SD664 and I couldn't be happier. I work on and off with documentaries and sometimes do music recordings, and every time I fire up the 664 I get a big smile on my face. It's such a versatile machine.

Now I'm adding a SD USBpre 2 to my setup, mainly as a soundcard to bring along with the laptop for acoustic measurements and location music production, but it will also serve as two extra micpres in my bag (when needed). The 664 gives me the possibility to record twelve ISO tracks. I seldom go above eight, but it happens and then the 664 just let's me do that.

I thought about buying the 633 when it came out because of its small footprint, but I'm glad I bought the 664 because I would have grown out of the 633 pretty fast.

If you do a lot of ENG/EFP jobs as well and want to record ISO tracks, you should make it as comfortable as possible and buy one mixer that does the job for you.

With a 664 or similar recorder, you can add/borrow/rent the extra gear needed for a specific gig. The channel count shouldn't be the first thing that holds you back from taking a recording gig, right?

 

Just my two cents

Fred

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If you just need the occasional extra channels, 7000 series machines can daisy chain together and be rolled from one machine.  I have noticed some good deals lately on 702t and 744t machines.  This will make your rig much larger, but that might not be an issue if you are on a cart.

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The 552 has inferior limiters, difficult navigation, no TC generator, etc. It was very briefly a solution to offer ENG mixers recording capability as a back up to camera, or as a primary with the rush to the market of DSLR cameras.

Buying one seems to make no sense at all, with so many fantastic machines to choose from, SD or otherwise. It's so limiting. 

Find a way to finance a used 664, or buy a 442 to pair with your 744T. 

Leaving out weight and track count, 442/744T is probably the highest quality combo ever. I recently bought a 664, but secretly wish I'd never sold my 744T ages ago when I bought a 2nd 788T. Most of my off-cart work would be served with 442/744T. 

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Thanks for all the info. I am watching the WTB forum to see if anything pops up on a 664/ 788/ 442. Unfortunately I'm limited to around 2K for this project to find something so we'll see what I come up with! Will update everyone if I find something. Very much appreciate all of the helpful info and opinions! 

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The 552 has inferior limiters, difficult navigation, no TC generator, etc. It was very briefly a solution to offer ENG mixers recording capability as a back up to camera, or as a primary with the rush to the market of DSLR cameras.

Buying one seems to make no sense at all, with so many fantastic machines to choose from, SD or otherwise. It's so limiting. 

Find a way to finance a used 664, or buy a 442 to pair with your 744T. 

Leaving out weight and track count, 442/744T is probably the highest quality combo ever. I recently bought a 664, but secretly wish I'd never sold my 744T ages ago when I bought a 2nd 788T. Most of my off-cart work would be served with 442/744T. 

He's 100% correct about the 552.The navigation is not logical and can be difficult to change the set-up on the fly.I have sold most of my gear, but held on to the SD442 and SD744t to do small jobs in retirement-----Rock Solid set up.

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Hunting for 442s in better than average shape. Still have the 552 I spotted for $1300 on hold in case the 442 stuff falls through in case everyone was curious. In comparing the specs of the two and the block diagrams, the topology and input / output configuration seems pretty similar. The limiters are different from what I can tell (442s are optical) and obviously there is all of the additional A/D stuff in the 552. 

 

Any other current users of the 442? 552? 

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