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Donald Kauffman

633 or 788T HDD

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Hi folks

 

I have been looking out for a second hand 633 to upgrade from my 442/F4 combo.

 

But now I may have the chance to buy a 788t (older version with hdd) with the CL8 for around the same price as a second hand 633.

 

I'm still gravitating towards the 633 as it's a newer product, more lightweight and consumes a lot less power. But am I mad?

 

Cheers

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19 minutes ago, Donald Kauffman said:

Hi folks

 

I have been looking out for a second hand 633 to upgrade from my 442/F4 combo.

 

But now I may have the chance to buy a 788t (older version with hdd) with the CL8 for around the same price as a second hand 633.

 

I'm still gravitating towards the 633 as it's a newer product, more lightweight and consumes a lot less power. But am I mad?

 

Cheers

 

You‘re probably not mad, but the 788T is still a very good recorder, and it features two more inputs and 5 more preamps, plus I find the Cl-9 the much better controller (in terms of functionality) should you ever need that. And personally I believe that the 788 sounds better, too

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Do you ever need 8 channels? If so then your choice is easy :)

 

I have both and prefer the 633 for a lot of jobs because it is smaller and lighter. It’s much easier to enter metadata and change track names on the 633 because of the wingman app. I find the menu system easier to navigate on the 633 but that’s personal preference too. 

 

Both are awesome tho and for music gigs or when I need more than six channels or more than three mic preamps I have no hesitation using 788. 

 

-Mike

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5 hours ago, Donald Kauffman said:

I have been looking out for a second hand 633 to upgrade from my 442/F4 combo.


I had a 552 & F4, but the 552 almost always stayed at home. 


Since  upgraded to a F8n, although I was on the fence about considering the 633 as well (or even perhaps the 788, or a few other options like a Maxx/Nomad/664/etc). I feel like a probably made the right decision, the F8n is a very capable machine (although... the v5.0 firmware upgrade closed the gap a lot between the F8 and F8n!! So you might even consider the cheaper secondhand F8 now), and certainly freed up plenty of cash to put elsewhere (in my case a couple of Lectro SR / SMQV / LMb).

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1 hour ago, IronFilm said:


I had a 552 & F4, but the 552 almost always stayed at home. 


Since  upgraded to a F8n, although I was on the fence about considering the 633 as well (or even perhaps the 788, or a few other options like a Maxx/Nomad/664/etc). I feel like a probably made the right decision, the F8n is a very capable machine (although... the v5.0 firmware upgrade closed the gap a lot between the F8 and F8n!! So you might even consider the cheaper secondhand F8 now), and certainly freed up plenty of cash to put elsewhere (in my case a couple of Lectro SR / SMQV / LMb).

How's the Automix on the zoom F8/n?

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Honestly, I haven't used it even once yet! Because I've felt no need for it. Yet?

I should try it out soon though, just for curiosity's sake. 

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The only automix available on any portable recorder I've heard so far (all the usual suspects) that I would consider for a mix that might be used in post is the Dugan, only avail on SD 6xx machines.  I too prefer the overall sound of the 7xx machines to the 6xx boxes, but if automix is a must-have for you get the one that has the Dugan mixer.  If automix is only a what-if for you, or is only for a scratch or ref mix then the other machines will do in this regard esp if you like their other aspects.  At this point the SD 7xx machines are probably the most battle-tested location recorders in history, and certainly the most tested of the file-based machines.

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Thanks for all of the replies folks. I'm going to leave the 7xx series due to the factors I mentioned before.

 

I'm basically a post sound guy who wants to move towards doing more location as well (probably as a result of some of the terrible production sound I get).

 

I have a lot of the Senn MKH range, a couple of DPA lavs, and as tempted as I've been to just go out and buy a zoom f8n and get to work I feel that I should hold out for a 6xx series. I may not need something that high end right now and would likely get away with a Zoom for a while. But in a couple of years time I would like not to have to upgrade to something better, and because bigger shoots will likely  expect Sound Devices in a kit list. I'm thinking possibly a 644.

 

Buy once, cry once as they say. 

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18 minutes ago, Donald Kauffman said:

I'm basically a post sound guy who wants to move towards doing more location as well (probably as a result of some of the terrible production sound I get)

 

Oh man, there is something I want to say here, but it’s probably better if I don’t 

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3 hours ago, Donald Kauffman said:

I have a lot of the Senn MKH range, a couple of DPA lavs, and as tempted as I've been to just go out and buy a zoom f8n and get to work I feel that I should hold out for a 6xx series. I may not need something that high end right now and would likely get away with a Zoom for a while. But in a couple of years time I would like not to have to upgrade to something better, and because bigger shoots will likely  expect Sound Devices in a kit list. I'm thinking possibly a 644.


The Zoom F8n is probably much more capable than you think it is. And it could last you a while as you get the ball rolling. And by the time you feel like buying something "better" a few years down the road, then there would be other newer recorders on the market hopefully from Sound Devices / Zaxcom / etc. 

Also keep in mind the 664 is the oldest of the 6xx series, so it doesn't have all the features/capabilities of the 633/688.

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1 hour ago, IronFilm said:


The Zoom F8n is probably much more capable than you think it is. And it could last you a while as you get the ball rolling. And by the time you feel like buying something "better" a few years down the road, then there would be other newer recorders on the market hopefully from Sound Devices / Zaxcom / etc. 

Also keep in mind the 664 is the oldest of the 6xx series, so it doesn't have all the features/capabilities of the 633/688.

Thanks for the info. I know it's the older model but I didn't think there were particularly deal breaking differences, but I could be wrong.

 

Generally I'm going to be buying second hand so I'm just waiting to see what comes up. 633 was initially what I was thinking but I've seen a few 664s come up.

 

How do you find the limiters on the zoom? And in practice, working with the screen, setting up and maintaining gain/trim levels, filters etc?

 

Cheers

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1 hour ago, Donald Kauffman said:

Thanks for the info. I know it's the older model but I didn't think there were particularly deal breaking differences, but I could be wrong.

 

https://www.sounddevices.com/products/mixers-with-integrated-recorders/688/feature-comparison

 

1 hour ago, Donald Kauffman said:

Generally I'm going to be buying second hand so I'm just waiting to see what comes up. 633 was initially what I was thinking but I've seen a few 664s come up.

 


I was thinking exactly the same when considering an upgrade from the F4 (which I had since its launch, after upgrading from a Sound Devices 552 / Tascam DR680 combo! Which I'd probably still be using, if the Zoom F series had  not launched. Or I would have got a 633/664). 

And like you, I've noticed that 664 seem to have "better" secondhand prices. As when a 633 does come up, they usually have only fairly marginal discounts vs the new price. 

 

1 hour ago, Donald Kauffman said:

How do you find the limiters on the zoom? And in practice, working with the screen, setting up and maintaining gain/trim levels, filters etc?

 

 

I had no complaints whatsoever with the F4 (remember, most of your channels are wireless anyway... so if you have issues it will likely be earlier in the stages than at the recorder's limiters. And I'd always run a safety track for my boom track, but not for the other wireless tracks), and I've noticed the F8n has even better limiters. (as their new hybrid limiters are also using a "look ahead" feature)

 

The color screen is trickier to use outdoors than my F4 screen, but it also has an "outdoor mode", so no complaints there! All in all the screen is a very nice upgrade over the F4.  (and a MASSIVE upgrade over the 552's screen! haha)

 

And yeah, just all round, the F8n is really really nice to work with. 
 

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20 minutes ago, IronFilm said:

https://www.sounddevices.com/products/mixers-with-integrated-recorders/688/feature-comparison

 


I was thinking exactly the same when considering an upgrade from the F4 (which I had since its launch, after upgrading from a Sound Devices 552 / Tascam DR680 combo! Which I'd probably still be using, if the Zoom F series had  not launched. Or I would have got a 633/664). 

And like you, I've noticed that 664 seem to have "better" secondhand prices. As when a 633 does come up, they usually have only fairly marginal discounts vs the new price. 

 

 

I had no complaints whatsoever with the F4 (remember, most of your channels are wireless anyway... so if you have issues it will likely be earlier in the stages than at the recorder's limiters. And I'd always run a safety track for my boom track, but not for the other wireless tracks), and I've noticed the F8n has even better limiters. (as their new hybrid limiters are also using a "look ahead" feature)

 

The color screen is trickier to use outdoors than my F4 screen, but it also has an "outdoor mode", so no complaints there! All in all the screen is a very nice upgrade over the F4.  (and a MASSIVE upgrade over the 552's screen! haha)

 

And yeah, just all round, the F8n is really really nice to work with. 
 

Hmmm you are making me interested in researching more into the f8n. I need to hear more direct comparisons between that and the pres on the 633. 

 

It would certainly free up more cash of other important things as you mentioned...

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If you're going for "buy once cry once" and you're looking to get bigger jobs in the future, I'd recommend the 788 you mentioned in the original post, or you might want to save up for a 688. I've used the 664 a couple of times after getting used to the new features on the 633/688, and I really like the newer 6-series machines more.

Looking at production work from a post perspective is weird. I've cursed myself for not recording stuff better when I've edited my own dialogue tracks, just as I might've cursed someone else. Really, it's not easy, but then again neither is dialogue editing. Do both well enough, and the end result is better than the sum of its parts.

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1 hour ago, Donald Kauffman said:

Hmmm you are making me interested in researching more into the f8n. I need to hear more direct comparisons between that and the pres on the 633. 

 

I've heard F series vs MixPre series (and Sound Devices claim those pre amps are just as good as anything they've ever done before) comparisons shared on forums (without revealing which is which! This is absolutely key to any honest comparison, otherwise your mind is certain to play tricks on you), and people's opinions were unable to clearly prefer one over the other. 

If people can't determine one as better than the other even in clinical A/B comparisons then what on earth chance does anybody have of telling the difference after all the many other wild variables of a film shoot are thrown in?!

btw, with the 633, remember it only has mic pre amps and analogue limiters on merely the first three of its six channels. 

If you don't have line level inputs to feed the next three channels then you've got trouble on your hands (and even then, you need to be careful with your gain settings due to limiters lacking on the second half of the channels). 

Personally I felt unsure if I'd be happy if the 633 was my only main machine, as I'd want a 664/688 as well....  which truly and utterly would blow my budget to smithereens to have all of them. 

Maybe within the next 18 months then Sound Devices will give us a 664mk2 but at the size and price of a 633? (after all, look how small and cheap the MixPre10T is! And the 664 is old enough, it is time for an update to the 6xx line up?) Anyway, I'm happy to be perfectly patient with my F8n until that day :-) Then I'll pre order the hell out of whatever comes next! 😉

 

1 hour ago, Donald Kauffman said:

It would certainly free up more cash of other important things as you mentioned...


Yes, if you have a $50K kit then debating the price between a 633 and F8n might sound foolish

But if your kit is less than say $10K worth of gear? Then the decision between buying a F8n or 633 can make a big impact, it could mean an extra couple of wireless, or a few more mics, or other accessories, and more. 

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9 hours ago, Donald Kauffman said:

No I'd be interested to hear it....

 

You make it sound like - and I‘m sure that wasn’t your intent - only you can get decent location sound done, even though you‘ve not really done it before. 

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1 hour ago, Constantin said:

 

You make it sound like - and I‘m sure that wasn’t your intent - only you can get decent location sound done, even though you‘ve not really done it before. 

Well now that is a major assumption on your part, and you have no idea of what type of work I've done or received.

 

I have worked on location and have a good idea of what is needed for post. I have received a lot of very poorly recorded material with extremely basic errors, and so yeah from my experience I can do better than some. At the same time I've received really good stuff which I would see as a benchmark to reach.

 

I don't for a minute think that location work is easy. But my God is it frustrating to receive total garbage and have to try and fix it, and I think it's fair enough to use that as a motivation to get out recording more!

 

Cheers

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664 is an analog mixer with a digital recorder, with the advantages and disadvantages that brings.  633 and 688 are digital mixers with digital recorders (as is 788), so read the specs carefully, esp if you need complex routing for monitoring etc.  As I said if you need usable automix then the choices are limited to 6xx.   I will also say that if you plan to wear this machine a lot, as in verite style shooting, your back will be much happier with the 633 than with the others.  If you go for 788 you are likely to want to add one or both of the fader boxes made for it.

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12 hours ago, Donald Kauffman said:

Well now that is a major assumption on your part, and you have no idea of what type of work I've done or received.

 

You‘re right about the assumption regarding your experience. I mis-remembered what you had said earlier. Sorry about that. 

The other part however was no assumption, that was an interpretation of what you had written. But I‘m glad if I‘m wrong. 

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