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Hello friends,

Ben here from Vancouver, finally joined this great group here's my first post.

I have a friend who can sell me a 664 that's in great shape for a good price. I'm also going to grab a Cl-12 at the same time. My question is this: should I wait and purchase a 688 instead? I am aware of the technical differences of the 2 units but want to hear from people who use one (or both) in the field.

What do you think? Is the 688 so much ( about 3k more for me) better or will the 664 do the job just fine?

Thanks!

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Hard to say without knowing which kind of jobs you're doing and which features are important to you ; )

I'd say, if the 644 does what you need get one, start working and sell it at little loss when the time comes you feel you need to upgrade to a 688 (or other).

If the 644 doesn't meet your needs keep renting and save up.

 

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Yeah it's really your decision to make. I don't own either but for me i think the mini faders for inputs 7-12 are what makes it the more attractive option. If you've ever needed to mix with the menu knobs for an extra channel or two you'll really be missing those mini faders.

And that nice horizontal metering mode.

But for most day to day jobs they would be indistinguishable.

 

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If you are getting 664 at a good price, then it seems to make sense to buy that machine and get to work. If you are busy, and decide the functionality of the 688 will be better for you, and you can afford the new machine, either buy the 688 and keep the 664 back-up, or sell the 664 for a small loss and upgrade. If you are quite certain you'll be doing jobs with more than 6 channels all the time, then it'll probably be smart to buy the 688. But I'm guessing from your post that you are just starting out, so lots of jobs with 6+ sources seems unlikely.

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Welcome Ben.

I have a 633 and a 688 w a SL-6 and Lectro Srb's and a CL-12. All good for my commercial world.  My question to you, are you going the SL-6 radio mic option? That is 688 only feature. Obviously only you know your world but if you go w the 664 & CL-12 you will have a lot of fire power available.

CrewC

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The 688 has automix, the 664 does not.  Ditto input delays.  The 664 has front mounted continuously variable low-rolloffs for inputs 1-6, the 688 does that in menus (or via CL12).  The 688 has "tiny-pots" on the front for level control of inputs 7-12, the 664 in 12 channel mode without an add-on like CL6 or CL12 requires you to set the chan 7-12 levels by highlighting the channel in the display and turning the select encoder to change levels.  (The CL6 works great, BTW, and is pretty cheap and weighs very little, but it does double the height of the machine.) 
 The 3 band EQ accessible with the CL12 on the 688 is not present in the 664, CL12 or no.  The 664 is an analog front end attached to a digital recorder, with the routing limitations that scheme makes (although you CAN route anything to anything almost in the digital routing page, but that output from the 664 is digital thus).  The 688 is all digital, so the routing is much more flexible (if you need that).  One sometimes overlooked but very important feature of the 664 for me is the Link i/o port, which allows one to "bus in" (or "cascade" as we used to say) audio from an external source like another mixer-recorder etc onto the 664's mix bus to up your channel and track count.  The 688 lacks this feature, but has more output ports/choices.  664s are a really good deal now used, at the prices I've seen.

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I am a happy 664 owner and I mix narrative TV with an analog front-end on a cart. I will be upgrading to a CL-12 though, and if I do that, I will lose what little EQ I have, which is my main reason for even considering the 688.

I know that post 99% of the time goes straight to the isos and remixes and EQs everything anyway, but it's really more for the dailies mix and scripty and director on set. We do a lot of lavs in ties.

If I did get the 688 though, I would make that my primary recorder and keep the 664 in the bag for breakaway bag work. My 2 cents.

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Probably not of interest to most folks, but something of a fix re EQ on 664:  I got an outboard 2 channel para EQ unit that I sometimes use via the prefade aux sends and return to unused channels (usually one of 7-12 @ line level) OR to the Link i/o port.  Not ultra portable but fine on a cart or a table setup.  This way I can have pre-EQ isos but can do a lot of EQ to that same audio as it goes to the mix I'm recording.

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I have been pondering this as well.  The Cl-12 will work with a 664.  the 664 will record 12 inputs. 

The fact that the analog side of the 664 keeps right on mixing and passing through signal has helped me on an efp job or two which had client provided bad media cause recording lockups. 

the 688 won't do this.  if it locks up, the outputs quit as well.

I have mixed commercials and overlap days on tv, and dialog unit on features on the 664.

I would have liked the imporved matrix assignment capabilities of the 688, but they were not essential.

 

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I've gotten around some of (comparitive) routing and submixing shortcomings of the 664 by using the digital routing page, and then using an inexpensive outboard D to A to get that feed to analog (like for custom monitor submixes etc).  The digital routing page is a really cool thing and a very powerful tool. 

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The reason I bought my Nomad 10 over a Maxx a few years back, was I wanted a foundation I could build on vs. one that I was already "Maxxed".  These mixers/recorders seem to have reasonably large shelf lives (788 as a perfect example), so my advice is buy the gear that will help you where you want to be in 3-5 years, not necessarily what is necessary right now. 

That being said $3k is a pretty large difference, and could be used for other essentials.

YMMV

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1 hour ago, Philip Perkins said:

So does 664, Crew--that aspect of the machines is identical.  They both actually have 2 pairs of mix tracks since you can record the Aux tracks if you want.

Yes. Forgot about the aux trks.    I read Mike saying 8 tracks total. Perhaps I read it wrong.  I have a 633 and the 688 but I've never been around a 664 but if it's like it's siblings, I know it's a good recorder/mixer. We live in a good time for pro gear.   

CrewC

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hey everyone,

Thank you all so very much for your comments. Sorry I'm late with this reply, things in Vancouver are so busy right now it's hard to keep track of things right now.

I really appreciate the insight into these great machines. I am going to go with the 664 and get to work :) most likely by the end of the year I'll end up with a 688, that sl-6 combo is quite enticing, but for now the 664 wins out.

Cheers!

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