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SD833 experience


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After a few months of work with the SD833, here are my impressions and some suggestions.

This topic is meant to be completed by other users to share their experience and thoughts about this machine, knowing that folks at Sound Devices are reading.

First of all, I have to say that the SD833 is a great tool. I loved the 633 and was kind of skeptical at the beginning, not seeing well what were the advantages of the upgrade.
But after a while, I have to say that I am completed conviced by the advantages of the 8 series, especially now with the new plugin and developments we can see coming.

At the beginning, I was worried by the power consumption, and if indeed the 833 is more power hungry, this is definitly not an issue at all.

With a full Audioroot Smart Battery of 98 Wh, I can work more or less five to six hours continuous, depending on channels activated, and with my MCR42’s feeded by the same battery. It’s  30 to 40 minutes less than the 633 in average, so not a big deal.
Speaking of power, I miss the Quickboot option of the 6 series. Working mainly in documentary where one have to react very quickly, sometimes I prefer to keep the recorder powered on to not miss any shot. I am shure that with Quickboot, I could lay the 833 in sleep mode and spare my batteries.

I love the flexibility of the routing and the 6 mic preamps. With the 633, when using an MS pair, the second channel potentiometer was not used and I had to mix the lavs on the small pots. Now, I put my Mid on channel 3, the Side on channel 4 and I keep channel 1 and 2 for radio microphones.
If I need more lavs, I use Dungan that works better than on the 633, or at least, the display is clearer. Speaking of the MS pair, I find very cool to have he gains linked too, but I would love to be able to trim the level of the second channel. Now the gains are perfectly matched, but sometimes, it’s usefull to be able to lower the second channel by a few dB’s.

The display, although small is clear and easily readable. But sometimes, when on a cart, I use the iPad app. I don’t know how could this be poossible , but I’d love to have the ability to browse the menus, or to adjust the eq’s on the iPad screen.
Regarding the eq’s, that’s a great addition compared to the 633, and one of the main reason to change for me. But I miss the ability to store setups. I mainly use the eq to compensate the lost of High’s when lavs are concealed, or with a wind fur, and also to emulate the LFA filter of the Nagra to compensate proximity effect. If I could store these default setups, that would be a great addition.
Same for the input routing. If I could easily change the inputs assignation and names without having to load a complete setup, that would be great and so helpful.

Regarding the meters, I miss the balistics settings that were in the 633. We can’t adapt the type of meters like before.
I love the PPM, and I can’t change the default setup of VU + Peak hold.

The ouput settings are awsome and very flexible, but I can’t send an X1 or X2 Bus to the XLR out. Recently, I had to make a different mix on the recorder and the scratch track on the camera and was surprised that I could not change the XLR out. We were shooting while skiing and I had not my TA3 adaptors…

Finally, this message is already far too long, and I am sorry for this, but I would say that I will not go back annd I am looking forward the developments of this great machine.

I'll be interested to read what other SD833 users are experiencing or suggesting.
Thanks for reading !

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Hi Henri,

I have a 833 and totally agree with you especially "I’d love to have the ability to browse the menus, or to adjust the eq’s on the iPad screen."  

I personally think we are right at the beginning of the developement of the 800 series actions and it will only get better.


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1 hour ago, henrimic said:

but I would love to be able to trim the level of the second channel.

This!  sort of a gain trim for linked inputs would be essential. I stopped working with linked gains because of this ...Maybe,  in linked-input-mode, the overridden gain pots could be used to trim the gain of the corresponding inputs in relation to the "master" gain? That would be really great. 

Now you can "only" link 2 inputs. When working with mic-arrays consisting of 3+ mics (DMS, D-Ortf...), it would be handy to link more than 2 inputs, also with gain trims.


Powerwise i dont know yet. It feels like the 833 sucks substantially more energy than 633. But this is just an nonscientific observation...and the only grain of salt. Will stay with the 633 for the remote jobs with lots of travel... And you can feed the 633 with AA, in case everything comes different as planned...


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  • 6 months later...

When I re-read your note, I see what you're saying, but when I read it too fast, I thought you were saying the only way to get NoiseAssist for an 833 was to lay down $2000 USD. So I check SD's site. The NoiseAssist plugin is priced by how many simultaneous instances you want to use (perhaps everyone but me already knew that):


$600 2 Instances 

$1100 4 Instances 

$2000 8 Instances


More details here: https://store.sounddevices.com/product/noiseassist/



Also, if you bought an 833 for anywhere near $2000, you got a great deal! 😀


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No worries, and the trade-in explains it. Yes, it is expensive. Maybe SD's licensing some NR tech and they need to pay a royalty on a per-instance basis, so perhaps the eight-channel/instance version really does cost them more than the two-channel/instance version. I really have no idea, though....

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  • 2 months later...

No, your Noise Assist is not going to help post with talent crosstalk.  That is frankly a terrible misuse of that tool and will cause a track you process to the extent that the plugin would (sort of) "gate out" nearby dialog to be discarded by post for sure, because it will sound very strange.  Use your NA for light overall BG noise reduction (like HVAC), that's what it's for.  A multi-character all-lav set up in a noisy place is better dealt with by Dugan automix.  Try that instead?

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Thanks for your thoughts Philip, I do have Dan Dugan's algorithm enabled on each track, and it's been a very helpful tool. (Dugan's automix is amazing.) I have zero experience with NoiseAssist or CEDAR sdnx plugins though, and at $1,100 for four instances, thought I'd ask for input if that investment would help with crosstalk in particular. Good to know that it wouldn't, but from the samples on the Sound Devices site demonstrating how they can help lesson background noise, I can hear how they could be good tools for that use in particular.

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Dan is a genius and having even the attenuated version of his automixer on SD recorders has been a boon for me.  I like the results of his concept of dealing with multiple lav'ed talkers in a noisy space via automixing much better than the results trying to NR the same number of channels in the same space on headphones.

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