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Sound Devices: Which recorder to buy for recording Sound Effects in 2018


spekter
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On 12/16/2018 at 11:12 AM, spekter said:

Looking at the overall features, the Mixpre 6 wins for me, since more inputs are always nice, and so is the option for ambisonic recording as well as smaller size/ less weight.


Zoom F8n is even nicer for ambisonic recordings, as 1) they've had support for it for much longer and MixPre support only came out this week (thus widely used with the F8, who knows what "gotchas" still lie with the MixPre ambisonics, give it a few more weeks/months before knowing for sure?) & 2) you can record a safety level of your main tracks, which is better idea than using limiters that get applied unevenly & 3) you can recorder both A and B format at once (handy if you need B format as well for very quick turn around / handover)

 

 

On 12/16/2018 at 11:12 AM, spekter said:

However, even though some statemens I've come across by Sound Devices officials seem to suggest that the "Kashmir" preamps in the new MixPre series are somewhat on par with their other series' preamps, I have a hard time believing that the sound quality of the recorders that had over 3-4 times the cost of the Mixpre 6 when they came out, can now be matched by one of their cheapest products.


Why is this surprising at all? 

Technology doesn't stand still, progress keeps on marching on. 

My low end smartphone today is both cheaper and has better performance than my flagship cellphone I was using a handful of years ago. 

 

The Sound Devices 700 series is fairly old ish by nearly 2019 standards, I doubt many of them at all will be sold brand new in 2019. 

 

 

On 12/16/2018 at 11:12 AM, spekter said:

Not to mention that the older, well established recorders are still being used by a lot of sound designers and companies (such as BOOM Library, which is sort of the stuff I'm shooting for :) ) and have been used for a very long time - but is it still worth buying one of those models instead of the MixPre?


They keep on being used because they already own those older recorders and they "do the job" just fine, the owners probably think "why spend more on something which already just works?"

This isn't unique to our business either, tonnes of other industries keep on using older machines as they see no point in replacing what isn't broken. 

That doesn't however mean that someone buying new equipment today should come to the same decision as they made nearly a decade ago. 

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5 hours ago, IronFilm said:


Zoom F8n is even nicer for ambisonic Recordings […]


Why is this surprising at all? 
Technology doesn't stand still, progress keeps on marching on. […]

 

They keep on being used because they already own those older recorders and they "do the job" just fine, the owners probably think "why spend more on something which already just works?" […]

 

I don't necessarily disagree with this sentiment; however, I also don't think that the 7 series is being replaced by the new MixPre series.

I'm sure there are a lot of more modern/ newer options and alternatives out there for people who have been in this business several years and have used one of the 7 series Recorders, so they might switch to newer models (by other brands).

But for someone like me, basically starting out and only looking at sound quality for a very specific application, it seems as if the best option still is to buy a used and proven recorder that has been used for this very specific application by a lot of people over several years; especially if those used recorders are available for the price of a MixPre 6 or 10, or F8n, which probably wouldn't be as suitable for what I want to do anyway.

 

Regarding the limiters of the 7 series, I think the point is rather that people actually like making use of them for sound effects instead of trying to avoid them.

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8 hours ago, spekter said:

Regarding the limiters of the 7 series, I think the point is rather that people actually like making use of them for sound effects instead of trying to avoid them.

 

... and on the 788 you can adjust limiter settings yourself. 

By the way, I think what Philip Perkins wrote earlier is really crucial: the quality of the preamps hasn’t changed much. 

But preamp quality is what probably matters most to you. 

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34 minutes ago, Constantin said:

 

... and on the 788 you can adjust limiter settings yourself. 

By the way, I think what Philip Perkins wrote earlier is really crucial: the quality of the preamps hasn’t changed much. 

But preamp quality is what probably matters most to you. 

 

Yes, unfortunately they didn't bring this function to the MixPre series; otherwise the MixPre 6 would probably be perfect.

From what I've read so far the "Kashmir"-preamps seem to be indeed very good (so there maybe wouldn't be that much difference to the 7 series in that regard); in fact good enough so that things can be recorded relatively quiet and boosted afterwards without creating too much noise...so usually the limiters shouldn't have to be engaged anyway.

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I think it is important to understand that SD would never compromise its reputation by putting a mic pre in one of its products that was less than great.  This has been true of them from the beginning, like before they started making recorders.  They've modified their pres over the years to suit various working styles and needs as well as suit the circuit designs, physical characteristics and even price point of the product.  So probably the sort of pre that is in 7XX and 6XX recorders might not have worked in a later MixPre for those reasons, so they came up with something new that worked well with the rest of the circuit they were designing.   I think that at this point the OP should consider doing some testing on their own, as best they can.  There ARE diffs between SD preamps, but they are subtle and take some close listening to understand.

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On 12/15/2018 at 5:31 PM, Mobilemike said:

Do you remember when it used to cost thousands of dollars for a “flat screen” TV? Now you can get a huge LED screen that looks better, lasts longer, and takes up less space for under $500. 

 

My point is that technology advances exponentially. Don’t judge new tech by old prices. Use your ears. The new Kashmir preamps won’t let you down. 

 

-Mike

Agreed!  And not to mention that the reason zaxcom, sound devices, etc are so expensive is because they aren't mass produced.  If they were selling many thousands of units, economy of scale would kick in and that is where the mixpre lives I'd estimate...

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On 12/18/2018 at 10:22 AM, spekter said:

 

Yes, unfortunately they didn't bring this function to the MixPre series; otherwise the MixPre 6 would probably be perfect.

From what I've read so far the "Kashmir"-preamps seem to be indeed very good (so there maybe wouldn't be that much difference to the 7 series in that regard); in fact good enough so that things can be recorded relatively quiet and boosted afterwards without creating too much noise...so usually the limiters shouldn't have to be engaged anyway.

To Spekter - what was your decision at the end in regards of recorder? I'm facing exactly the same situation now 😀 I'm planning to invest in a recorder for SFX and Ambience recordings + a stereo pair. At this stage I'm leaning towards SD MixPre-10t, unless something great pops up 2nd hand. Was offered used SD 633 but don't htink it's a better option, a lot of functions I don't really need. 

Microphones though... tough choice, so many options and so many opinions. At this stage I'm leaning towards MKH8040 stereo pair. 

 

Would be interesting to hear what's your current setup.

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On 27 March 2019 at 2:19 AM, Tyranor said:

Microphones though... tough choice, so many options and so many opinions. At this stage I'm leaning towards MKH8040 stereo pair. 

 

Would be interesting to hear what's your current setup.

 

I have many mics, but my TWO basic pairs are 2x 8040s and 2x DPA 4060s (actually more than 2 but statistically so for common use).

 

I highly recommend the Sennheisers for sound, noise floor, size and durability, so I wouldn't hesitate to suggest them: a slightly tighter pickup pattern than some cardioids but that can be a good thing too as long as you know it's there.

 

But I would also always suggest the DPAs as essential kit for SFX (or probably the new 6060s for the size and waterproof benefit).

 

If nothing else, I would attempt to find a pair of used 4060s as an option as well as the 8040s: you will soon find out how often you reach for them - cars, rain, daft spaces, fast or discrete use.

 

Best, Jez Adamson

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4 hours ago, The Immoral Mr Teas said:

 

If nothing else, I would attempt to find a pair of used 4060s as an option as well as the 8040s: you will soon find out how often you reach for them - cars, rain, daft spaces, fast or discrete use.

 

Best, Jez Adamson

 

Thanks for the info and reply!

 

MKH8040 feels like a great option for a start. And quite a few SFX editors here in NZ use DPA 4060s, so they are definitely on my list as well.

 

At this stage, my plan is to invest in either SD MixPre6 or MixPre10t + stereo pair of MKH8040's. I already have Sanken CS-3e shotgun. That will give me a good foundation to build upon.

 

Would love to get 788t instead if MixPre series but way out of my budget, unfortunately.

 

 

 

 

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+1 in SD 744 or 722, 702 the best preamplifiers ever made by Sound Devices and dirty cheap in this days.

 

Also a superb nice option is the old Sonosax SX R4 (Not the new +), very bad and ugly software interface, but four nice preamps (IMMO better than the new one) (Can be linked all), low power consumption, and cheap now

 

If you can afford, the Zaxcom Maxx are great, never clip, four preamps (nice for ambisonics can be linked all the gain preamps) (no decoder, no calibration for the inputs). My only drawback is: I can't work at 192kHz (I don't care), when I set this fs the Maxx start with a choppy sound (2.4 firmware).

 

Best

 

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11 hours ago, ramallo said:

+1 in SD 744 or 722, 702 the best preamplifiers ever made by Sound Devices and dirty cheap in this days.

 

Also a superb nice option is the old Sonosax SX R4 (Not the new +), very bad and ugly software interface, but four nice preamps (IMMO better than the new one) (Can be linked all), low power consumption, and cheap now

 

If you can afford, the Zaxcom Maxx are great, never clip, four preamps (nice for ambisonics can be linked all the gain preamps) (no decoder, no calibration for the inputs). My only drawback is: I can't work at 192kHz (I don't care), when I set this fs the Maxx start with a choppy sound (2.4 firmware).

 

Best

 

Thanks for the info.

 

The main reason I'm leaning towards SD MixPre-10t is that it has 8 inputs so it's future proof + timecode + price, I can buy more microphones without the need to upgrade my recorder. Having said that, it feels to me that 7-series recorders are better when it comes to pre-amps and limiters.

 

I was looking at Zaxcom MAXX, a new one is expensive but if I can find a used one, that could be a good option. Actually, it would be interesting to hear more opinions on Zaxcom MAXX as a recorder for SFX and Ambience recordings?

 

Did anyone try new DPA-6060 for SFX recordings? 

 

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7 hours ago, Tyranor said:

was looking at Zaxcom MAXX, a new one is expensive but if I can find a used one, that could be a good option.

Unlike a 633, a Maxx secondhand can be found at quite a price reduction vs brand new. Comparable prices or even less to what you might pay for a SX-R4 for instance, which are also sometimes showing up very cheap (I just recently saw one on eBay)

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8 hours ago, Tyranor said:

Thanks for the info.

 

The main reason I'm leaning towards SD MixPre-10t is that it has 8 inputs so it's future proof + timecode + price, I can buy more microphones without the need to upgrade my recorder. Having said that, it feels to me that 7-series recorders are better when it comes to pre-amps and limiters.

  

I was looking at Zaxcom MAXX, a new one is expensive but if I can find a used one, that could be a good option. Actually, it would be interesting to hear more opinions on Zaxcom MAXX as a recorder for SFX and Ambience recordings?

  

Did anyone try new DPA-6060 for SFX recordings? 

 

 

The Maxx have the best preamps made by Zaxcom (Better than the Nomad) and on par with other much more expensive and/or exotic recorders. 

 

The DPA 6060 is a superb nice lavalier microphone, not a right "all use"  SFX recording microphone, just my opinion.

 

F.E. My actual SFX recording package is a Sonosax SX R4 (without +) and a Soundfield SPS200

 

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22 hours ago, ramallo said:

 

The Maxx have the best preamps made by Zaxcom (Better than the Nomad) and on par with other much more expensive and/or exotic recorders. 

 

The DPA 6060 is a superb nice lavalier microphone, not a right "all use"  SFX recording microphone, just my opinion.

 

F.E. My actual SFX recording package is a Sonosax SX R4 (without +) and a Soundfield SPS200

 

1

Thanks for the reply.

 

I like MAXX but haven't seen many used ones for sale. There is one currently at Trew Audio, but it looks like it was quite brutally used. And, SD MixPre-10t new one cost less than this used MAXX. But as I never used Zaxcom and even seen one (all SFX people I know use SD 7-series), it's hard to know, if it's that significantly better than MixPre-10t to justify paying more for a used device with fewer pre-amps.

 

But I'll keep researching about MAXX. 

 

 

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Tyranor, I just noticed you are a kiwi as well. You might like to post in the NZ group to see if there is a Maxx owner who would be happy to let you come over and have a play with theirs one afternoon?

https://www.facebook.com/groups/NZ.Sound/

 

On 3/27/2019 at 3:19 PM, Tyranor said:

Was offered used SD 633 but don't htink it's a better option, a lot of functions I don't really need. 


Was it someone local in NZ who offered it?

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11 hours ago, IronFilm said:

Tyranor, I just noticed you are a kiwi as well. You might like to post in the NZ group to see if there is a Maxx owner who would be happy to let you come over and have a play with theirs one afternoon?

https://www.facebook.com/groups/NZ.Sound/

 


Was it someone local in NZ who offered it?

 

Yep, it was local, location sound person from Christchurch.

 

Will check the group for sure, thanks!

 

11 hours ago, OnTheSoundSideOfLife said:

I think you should wait until NAB. If something new gets released, it'll have an impact on the used market aswell.

Good point actually. Thanks!

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Fellow Kiwi here!

There's a Sonosax R4 for sale on ebay currently if your budget can stretch to that, works out around $3.8k NZD, well worth it IMHO for 4x top quality pre's.

I have a R4+ and it sounds awesome, great for SFX etc.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Sonosax-SX-R4/183746399530?hash=item2ac8238d2a:g:0YMAAOSwDK9cZbtD

 

Here's what I do in my down time with the R4+

 

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4 hours ago, IronFilm said:


Ah so you're in Chch as well yourself? If you're in AKL you're welcome to drop by to have a little play with my own F8n/F4/522

Nope, I'm in Wellington but I lived in Chch for 7 years 😀

 

When I'm next time in Auckland would be great to catch up for a drink!

3 hours ago, engaudio said:

Fellow Kiwi here!

There's a Sonosax R4 for sale on ebay currently if your budget can stretch to that, works out around $3.8k NZD, well worth it IMHO for 4x top quality pre's.

I have a R4+ and it sounds awesome, great for SFX etc.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Sonosax-SX-R4/183746399530?hash=item2ac8238d2a:g:0YMAAOSwDK9cZbtD

 

Here's what I do in my down time with the R4+

 

4

Hey Grant,

 

Thanks for your reply. Don't think I can afford this amount on a recorder at this stage. But it would be interesting to try Sonosax for sure!

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On ‎3‎/‎27‎/‎2019 at 3:19 AM, Tyranor said:

To Spekter - what was your decision at the end in regards of recorder? I'm facing exactly the same situation now 😀 I'm planning to invest in a recorder for SFX and Ambience recordings + a stereo pair. At this stage I'm leaning towards SD MixPre-10t, unless something great pops up 2nd hand. Was offered used SD 633 but don't htink it's a better option, a lot of functions I don't really need. 

Microphones though... tough choice, so many options and so many opinions. At this stage I'm leaning towards MKH8040 stereo pair. 

 

Would be interesting to hear what's your current setup.

 

Hi Tyranor,

sorry for the late reply.

I eventually went with the MixPre 6. I ordered it to try it out and was also negotiating regarding a used 744t at the same time which I would have liked to directly compare with the Mixpre 6. However, that didn't work out in time so I just went with the MixPre 6.

 

To be honest, for me the MixPre 6 has a lot of advantages over the 744t; size, weight, number of inputs, powering options, capability as usb interface, price and  guarantee (if you aren't buying used that is) to name a few. If you are looking at other SD Recorders, this might be different though; but for me it was either a used 744t or the MixPre 6.

As has been mentioned before, the default limiter settings are not really that great for capturing loud sounds; but because of the quality of the preamps, it's not too difficult to avoid hitting the limiter.

 

For what it's worth, for FX recording I'm currently using a Sennheiser MKH 8060 (shotgun) and a Sennheiser MKH 30 + MKH 8050 (MS).

The MKH 8060 is great for focussed/ directional mono recordings and the MS setup is a convenient and relatively small/ light solution for stereo fx recordings, if you don't mind the necessary post processing.

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11 hours ago, spekter said:

 

Hi Tyranor,

sorry for the late reply.

I eventually went with the MixPre 6. I ordered it to try it out and was also negotiating regarding a used 744t at the same time which I would have liked to directly compare with the Mixpre 6. However, that didn't work out in time so I just went with the MixPre 6.

 

To be honest, for me the MixPre 6 has a lot of advantages over the 744t; size, weight, number of inputs, powering options, capability as usb interface, price and  guarantee (if you aren't buying used that is) to name a few. If you are looking at other SD Recorders, this might be different though; but for me it was either a used 744t or the MixPre 6.

As has been mentioned before, the default limiter settings are not really that great for capturing loud sounds; but because of the quality of the preamps, it's not too difficult to avoid hitting the limiter.

 

For what it's worth, for FX recording I'm currently using a Sennheiser MKH 8060 (shotgun) and a Sennheiser MKH 30 + MKH 8050 (MS).

The MKH 8060 is great for focussed/ directional mono recordings and the MS setup is a convenient and relatively small/ light solution for stereo fx recordings, if you don't mind the necessary post processing.

Thanks for the info!

 

How is MKH8050? I've read a lot about issues with low end while handling the mic etc.

 

I think I'll go for stereo pair of MKH8040. THen DPA 4060's in the future. 

 

As for the recorder, would be interesting to try Zaxcom Maxx. 

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