Jump to content

Sonosax SX-R4 (not SX-R4+) – A-D conversion.


Olof
 Share

Recommended Posts

I have been offered to buy a Sonosax SX-R4 at a good price.  I presume that the preamps will be wonderful. I have two Sonosax SX42 mixers, and much prefer their preamps to the ones in my Sound Devices 744t. I am bit concerned about recording on a hard drive with moveable parts (the SX-R4 only records two channels onto an CF-card), but reckon I can put in an SSD. How about the A-D converters? Considering that it's a machine from 2003? And are there any quirks I should be aware of? The later model, SX-R4+, seems  much lauded on this forum. But at the moment, I can't afford it. Many thanks!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

10 hours ago, Olof said:

I have been offered to buy a Sonosax SX-R4 at a good price.  I presume that the preamps will be wonderful. I have two Sonosax SX42 mixers, and much prefer their preamps to the ones in my Sound Devices 744t. I am bit concerned about recording on a hard drive with moveable parts (the SX-R4 only records two channels onto an CF-card), but reckon I can put in an SSD. How about the A-D converters? Considering that it's a machine from 2003? And are there any quirks I should be aware of? The later model, SX-R4+, seems  much lauded on this forum. But at the moment, I can't afford it. Many thanks!

 

-The SXR4 record all the channels to the CF

 

-The sound is very nice (I prefer it than the new unit), but have the limiters always engaged  

 

-The worse part is the lack of repair, I had a unit with a problem with the USB, Sonosax was unable to repair my machine (I sold it)

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

21 hours ago, Olof said:

 (the SX-R4 only records two channels onto an CF-card)

Is that right? I had mine stolen 2 years ago so I can't remember this but I was pretty shure it was able to record more tracks on the CF. I had mine also converted to SSD . I miss my beloved tiny R4 (I have his "big" brother R4+ now).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

34 minutes ago, Patrick Tresch said:

Is that right? I had mine stolen 2 years ago so I can't remember this but I was pretty shure it was able to record more tracks on the CF. 

12 hours ago, ramallo said:

 

-The SXR4 record all the channels to the CF

 

 

Many thanks to Patrick and Ramallo for clearing this up. This is what it says in the manual: 

  • 8 tracks on HardDisk plus 2 track or Mirroring on a CompactFlash Card

Which I obviously got wrong. Thus – this means, I presume, that I can record 8 channels onto the hard drive as well as the CF card. Or 8 channels onto the harddrive and an additional two channels onto the CF card. In any case, if it's 8 or 10 channels do not concern me too much. I'll be happy with 8 (since I come from the 744T), especially if I can record them onto the CF-card.

 

I also noted that I mixed up the development date of the SX-R4 with the SX-42. The SX-42 is from 2003 and the SX-R4 from 2007-2008.

Is there anyone who's compared the SX-R4 converters to those of the SX-R4+, or to any of the Sound Devices offerings?

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You can still find the user manual on their website. On page 15

Quote

The routing Matrix allows assigning and mixing any of the input channels to any of the 10 available tracks. The first 8 tracks are dedicated to the hard disc (HD) and the 2 additional tracks are dedicated to the Compact Flash card (CF). If the "Mirroring" function is enabled, then the routing configuration of the hard disk is identically mapped onto the CF Card.

Their mic preamp is one of the best. If I remember, Jacques was saying it was developped with one of the best op amp but is very power hungry. I assume it is based on AD797 but not sure of it.

If you lookout the schema, A to D converting method is completely different between R4 to R4+. It's not just a simple difference of "preamp" quality. On R4+ there's no analog preamp as we usually call.

Odd thing on their input, its "low" cut is a -6 db/octave at 135Hz, which is not an usual high pass we use. It's much more like that of Nagra IV, or a Schoeps Cut 1.

Another odd thing is its output, which is only one unbalanced L-R on  TA3.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I can confirm that you can use the mirror function on the R4 to have up to 8 tracks recorded onto the CF Card.

I own both the R4 and the R4+.

I find their sound a little bit different, I'd say the R4 is a little bit warmer, and the R4+ a little bit more detailed.

But they both sound great to my ears: I don't find the sound of the newer model far superior.

I recorded sound for movies, documentary and son on with them both, and the post production guys have always been happy with their sound.

I go on keeping the R4, even if I rearly use it. It's hard to let go such a beautiful sounding and compact recorder.

If It only had digital outputs to use its preamps to feed the R4+!!!!!

 

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Olof, I'm a little late to chime in, but there are a few "specialities" you might want to know about your SX-R4:

 

- CF card: the thing is a matter of firmware. The initial release in 2007 or 2008 was indeed with only "mix"tracks to CF. Current Firmware allows for all tracks to CF.   I'd recommend to upgrade to the latest version for hassle free operation with UDMA cards.

 

- There is a SD to CF adapter made by Sonosax specifically for the SX-R4. With this you can run up to a 512 GB SDHC Sandisk extreme pro card. I do use my R4 also as a direct AES backup for my Cantar X3 and just leave it recording with 8 tracks throughout the day. When the HDD is full, the SX-R4 continues recording seamlessly to SD only.

 

-The original 30 Gb HDD is quite small, but mine is still functional. Noizboyz in the Netherlands offered an SSD upgrade 2 years ago, but they say there is no more parts available (I wanted to upgrade early this year)

 

- SXR4 is reliable and easy to record. There is not many features, so no errors to commit either, just a good sounding easy recorder.

 

- The playback engine is a bit clumsy and unusual to operate, but if you don't have to use it too often you can get along with it.

 

- Metadata: are limited to scene and take numbers and some indicators like "circled", "wild" or "no good", but metadata handling is hidden inside the menus and slows you down.

 

- Power: SX-R4 is the most power efficient recorder ever (big plus!). An external halfsize audioroot battery (49Whs) will carry it through most of a long day. 6 AA cells the inside the internal battery compartement give you another 5 hours, 6 Lithium disposable AA's would go for up to 7 hs. But careful, Lithium cells in the inner compartement are interpreted as "first choice power" until their voltage drops below 1,5 V , so they get depleted first an only then the external power will be drawn (no switch to select beteen intl and extl power). With NiMH cells in the inside compartement, SX-R4 will switch to internal powering only when it does not see external powering. Power switching between intl and extl goes seemlessly even during recording, just make sure the inner battery compartement is properly closed making a safe contact, which is somewhat of an issue with my very first batch recorder.

 

- Mixing: There is no downmix possible! You can just record ISO's and select for a coice of summed channels for the 2 outputs or your phones. This is not state of the art for modern location sound, but good for use as a 2nd unit or ambiance recorder.

 

- Channel count: You have great 4 Mic pre's with georgeous transparent limiters and 2 line inputs, which by no means should be overloaded (can destroy audio on other tracks too!)

With a proper input cable you can add up to 8 digital inputs too. The coice of inputs can be selected for cannel pairs only and is rather fixed which goes where.

 

- Form factor: SX-R4 is very light and small, but just big enough for easy handling.

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, Patrick Tresch said:

From Sononews of Sonosax :

 

https://www.sonosax.ch/sononews-december-2020/#repairs

 

"For the MINIR and SX-R4, maintenance is ensured but we recommend replacing the hard drive with an SSD."

 

Nice, I have a SX-R4 that I sent to repair the past year, and Sonosax was unable to repair it, the USB won't work and still remain as it

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...
On 12/27/2020 at 12:45 AM, axel said:

Hi Olof, I'm a little late to chime in, but there are a few "specialities" you might want to know about your SX-R4:

 

- CF card: the thing is a matter of firmware. The initial release in 2007 or 2008 was indeed with only "mix"tracks to CF. Current Firmware allows for all tracks to CF.   I'd recommend to upgrade to the latest version for hassle free operation with UDMA cards.

 

- There is a SD to CF adapter made by Sonosax specifically for the SX-R4. With this you can run up to a 512 GB SDHC Sandisk extreme pro card. I do use my R4 also as a direct AES backup for my Cantar X3 and just leave it recording with 8 tracks throughout the day. When the HDD is full, the SX-R4 continues recording seamlessly to SD only.

 

-The original 30 Gb HDD is quite small, but mine is still functional. Noizboyz in the Netherlands offered an SSD upgrade 2 years ago, but they say there is no more parts available (I wanted to upgrade early this year)

 

- SXR4 is reliable and easy to record. There is not many features, so no errors to commit either, just a good sounding easy recorder.

 

- The playback engine is a bit clumsy and unusual to operate, but if you don't have to use it too often you can get along with it.

 

- Metadata: are limited to scene and take numbers and some indicators like "circled", "wild" or "no good", but metadata handling is hidden inside the menus and slows you down.

 

- Power: SX-R4 is the most power efficient recorder ever (big plus!). An external halfsize audioroot battery (49Whs) will carry it through most of a long day. 6 AA cells the inside the internal battery compartement give you another 5 hours, 6 Lithium disposable AA's would go for up to 7 hs. But careful, Lithium cells in the inner compartement are interpreted as "first choice power" until their voltage drops below 1,5 V , so they get depleted first an only then the external power will be drawn (no switch to select beteen intl and extl power). With NiMH cells in the inside compartement, SX-R4 will switch to internal powering only when it does not see external powering. Power switching between intl and extl goes seemlessly even during recording, just make sure the inner battery compartement is properly closed making a safe contact, which is somewhat of an issue with my very first batch recorder.

 

- Mixing: There is no downmix possible! You can just record ISO's and select for a coice of summed channels for the 2 outputs or your phones. This is not state of the art for modern location sound, but good for use as a 2nd unit or ambiance recorder.

 

- Channel count: You have great 4 Mic pre's with georgeous transparent limiters and 2 line inputs, which by no means should be overloaded (can destroy audio on other tracks too!)

With a proper input cable you can add up to 8 digital inputs too. The coice of inputs can be selected for cannel pairs only and is rather fixed which goes where.

 

- Form factor: SX-R4 is very light and small, but just big enough for easy handling.

 

 


Many thanks Axel for the excellent info. It made it very easy to make up my mind and buy the R4. I've been using it for a couple of weeks now, and I'm incredibly happy with it. It such a friendly little machine. Its low weight is a great advantage compared to the SX-42 /PMD/661 combo I recorded onto before. The R4 is so much lighter, and I'm much more inclined to take it with me. And the batteries seem to last forever! 
 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 months later...

Hi there,

since I can see we have a bunch of the SX-R4 specialists here, would one of them tell me if there would be a way to use it as a sound card ?

=> How to transform AES into USB then being recognized by the computer ?

      Would that work ?

Thanks in advance.

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...