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Sound Devices A-20 Nexus - interested in reactions from those who have used it


Shane Munro

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Some of my colleagues have run similar tests. One of the hurdles they found was in the the people they attached TX's to, body mass.

Every'body' places a different barrier to RF. Finding twins might give you a more accurate result, or use the same person each test.

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My thought was to do two tests:

1 that matches frequency and repeats the same range test multiple times with different transmitters.
1 that mounts multiple transmitters on different (but similar SNR) frequencies on the same body, and does one test with various blockages.

Both tests need 4-5 trials to get good data.

It's not perfect; the slightly different position on the body will probably have an effect.  But I think intelligently looking at the results of both tests will be more enlightening than just a single line-of-sight walk test.

I also intend to insert bodies that interrupt the line of sight, so it's not just about who the Tx is mounted on.  The idea is to simulate the scrum of a film set.

Test 2 also needs to run through the same Rx antenna with similar filters, though obvious the receivers themselves will be different.

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1 hour ago, Shane Munro said:

Finding twins might give you a more accurate result, or use the same person each test.

I hope Zaxcom/SoundDevices/Lectrosonics/Wisyscom/Sony/etc all use twins when doing product development and testing 😅

 

Triples even! 🤣 For efficiencies of testing. 

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Thank You so much DSG for a very detailed comparison.  I have to comment on "Best Range in the Market" sales promotion by SD as brought up in this thread. This kind of claim is to be blunt false promotional nonsense.  There are so many factors that effect range , testing can be  difficult to quantify. While Zaxcom has great range it excels at maintaining signal lock with a number of interfering signals, has great reception in the presence of RF overload and is superior in its ability to receive in a reflective RF environment. Real world comparisons against our competitors with sound community participants have shown us that our signal remains locked far better in the presence of obstacles that cause RF reflections on set. The result of this is not only excellent transmission over long distances but far more consistent drop out free operation on set where reflections and non line of sight operation can cause dropouts at any distance. We will never claim we have best range as that kind of thing is impossible to prove as there are too many variables to make a credible determination. What we do claim is industry leading  superior transmission reliability and great overall range. We are willing to do a shootout any time any where.

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Let's get this topic back on to Sound Devices and the Nexus!

 

I'm loving the system.. in Pre production at the moment for its first job. 

 

How many Nexus users do we have out there that aren't recording on 8 series recorders? I use a Cantar and would love to have knobs to control the gain on the nexus...much like you can do with the 8 series recorders. It would he cool to plug a  bank of knobs directly into the USB port on the back of the Nexus... 

Would be great to see if there's enough users interested in this to make SD take notice. 

 

Trev

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1 hour ago, thope said:

Let's get this topic back on to Sound Devices and the Nexus!

 

I'm loving the system.. in Pre production at the moment for its first job. 

 

How many Nexus users do we have out there that aren't recording on 8 series recorders? I use a Cantar and would love to have knobs to control the gain on the nexus...much like you can do with the 8 series recorders. It would he cool to plug a  bank of knobs directly into the USB port on the back of the Nexus... 

Would be great to see if there's enough users interested in this to make SD take notice. 

 

Trev

given that you can control the Nexus via its web app. can you plug your midi gain controller into your laptop connected to the nexus via the ethernet port and have its controls mapped to control the gain of each nexus channel? 

 

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9 hours ago, thope said:

Let's get this topic back on to Sound Devices and the Nexus!

 

I'm loving the system.. in Pre production at the moment for its first job. 

 

How many Nexus users do we have out there that aren't recording on 8 series recorders? I use a Cantar and would love to have knobs to control the gain on the nexus...much like you can do with the 8 series recorders. It would he cool to plug a  bank of knobs directly into the USB port on the back of the Nexus... 

Would be great to see if there's enough users interested in this to make SD take notice. 

 

Trev

Take a look at the recently uploaded live Video by Sound Devices about A20TX and Nexus Go.

In there it states that 'gain forward' will work with other manufacturers' Mixers - you can use the gain knobs on your Cantar for example (as I understood it) - as long as the signal is kept in the digital domain. Digital from Receiver (A20RX or Nexus (+ Go)) to Cantar.

I'll link video below and the time at which this is mentioned.

From 20 mins 10 seconds they start talking about "Gain Forward' .. and at 23' 10" they explain how this works with other brands' Mixers/Recorders.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k3Er4s57NX0

 

 

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Thanks for the link to the video. They don't really go into this topic in detail here, or any where else that I've seen. They way I currently understand how gain forward works with a nexus docked onto an 8 series recorder is that the trim knobs on the 8 series essentially just become controllers for the output gain on the nexus. I don't believe you're adjusting the digital input gain on the 8 series at all.

When I was testing the nexus connected via Dante to my X3 , I found it pretty easy to end up with a clipped digital signal. Just prior to the Dante chip in the nexus the signal is truncated from 32 bit float to 24 bit and is where the clipping occurs. I think to get the most benefit of the 32 bit floating transmitter, you're better off doing all gain adjustments through the nexus so its done before the signal hits the Dante board in the nexus. It would be great to be able to do this with knobs rather than with software or on the nexus itself. It's not practical while mixing a scene to have to dig into the nexus menus. I have asked SD this directly and they did think it would be a good idea for people who own nexus and other manufacturers recorders.

think that the 8 series recorders work natively in 32 bits  (but don't record 32 bit float) and so you probably get an advantage here  because the 8 series is doing the conversion from 32 bit float to 24 bits for recording and it isn't done in the Dante chip.

 

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On 8/4/2023 at 9:16 PM, thope said:

I use a Cantar and would love to have knobs to control the gain on the nexus...much like you can do with the 8 series recorders. It would he cool to plug a  bank of knobs directly into the USB port on the back of the Nexus... 

Perhaps if you could have a bank of knobs like there exist already for the 8 Series? That people have made:

Like this:

https://iddqd.dk/shop/vare/id-tf6-6-ch-trim-volume-for-833-888-or-scorpio/

Would be quite awesome if something similar could be made to work directly with the Nexus?? 

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3 hours ago, IronFilm said:

Perhaps if you could have a bank of knobs like there exist already for the 8 Series? That people have made:

Like this:

https://iddqd.dk/shop/vare/id-tf6-6-ch-trim-volume-for-833-888-or-scorpio/

Would be quite awesome if something similar could be made to work directly with the Nexus?? 

That's exactly what I was hoping for. A simple bank of knobs that you could plug into the usb port on the back of the nexus and have control at your fingertips.  I'm not sure what sort of software support sound devices need to supply to get this to work..

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4 hours ago, IronFilm said:

Perhaps if you could have a bank of knobs like there exist already for the 8 Series? That people have made:

Like this:

https://iddqd.dk/shop/vare/id-tf6-6-ch-trim-volume-for-833-888-or-scorpio/

Would be quite awesome if something similar could be made to work directly with the Nexus?? 

That is some very cool stuff, very reasonable prices.

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13 hours ago, Constantin said:

As someone who is not a native English speaker, this sounds the same to me. Superior means better than the others, does it not?

As a barely native English speaker myself (as you noted last night, sometimes my grasp of English is a little tenuous!)  then yes, it sounds like slippery wordplay to me. (although, I'd say the sentence is leaning hard into not the meaning of "superior" but rather "reliability vs range")

9 hours ago, Philip Perkins said:

That is some very cool stuff, very reasonable prices.

I thought so too! Just ordered the ID.TF2X a few days ago:

https://iddqd.dk/shop/vare/id-tf2x-multi-channel-extension-controller-for-833-888-scorpio/

Looking forward to it arriving soon. (would've been very useful last week for the film I was on!)

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On 8/4/2023 at 8:45 PM, thope said:

They way I currently understand how gain forward works with a nexus docked onto an 8 series recorder is that the trim knobs on the 8 series essentially just become controllers for the output gain on the nexus. I don't believe you're adjusting the digital input gain on the 8 series at all.

With Nexus docked, the 8-series trim knobs ARE adjusting 8-series digital input gain - they are not controller knobs for digital output gain on the Nexus. The Nexus output gains are set to unity (0 dB), then you apply whatever 8-series trim gain you need to bring the received signal to the level you need. Since the 8-series gain is digital gain for a Nexus input, there is no noise penalty. Of course, if you crank the 8-series gain super high (there is up to 60 dB digital trim gain available), you can exceed 0 dBFS and get digital distortion so you still need to set gains appropriately. You can get the same benefits of GainForward with Cantar or any other mixer - just set your Nexus digital output gains to a fixed nominal level (unity or more if you need more level), then connect via Dante or AES to your Cantar (or other mixer) and apply digital gain there. As long as the signal remains in the digital domain throughout the entire signal path, there will be no noise penalty.

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2 hours ago, John Blankenship said:

If you're altering the audio signal in the digital domain how do you separate the signal from the noise when adjusting the AES gain? 

 

 


I think all Paul Isaacs said was that once a signal is digital, applying gain to it won’t add noise to it, like it would with an analog amp. This would be the same as with any digital signal, converted by any manufacturer‘s gear. At least that’s how I read his response 

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19 hours ago, Constantin said:


I think all Paul Isaacs said was that once a signal is digital, applying gain to it won’t add noise to it, like it would with an analog amp. This would be the same as with any digital signal, converted by any manufacturer‘s gear. At least that’s how I read his response 

Exactly.

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On 8/8/2023 at 4:41 AM, Paul Isaacs said:

With Nexus docked, the 8-series trim knobs ARE adjusting 8-series digital input gain - they are not controller knobs for digital output gain on the Nexus. The Nexus output gains are set to unity (0 dB), then you apply whatever 8-series trim gain you need to bring the received signal to the level you need. Since the 8-series gain is digital gain for a Nexus input, there is no noise penalty. Of course, if you crank the 8-series gain super high (there is up to 60 dB digital trim gain available), you can exceed 0 dBFS and get digital distortion so you still need to set gains appropriately. You can get the same benefits of GainForward with Cantar or any other mixer - just set your Nexus digital output gains to a fixed nominal level (unity or more if you need more level), then connect via Dante or AES to your Cantar (or other mixer) and apply digital gain there. As long as the signal remains in the digital domain throughout the entire signal path, there will be no noise penalty.

Thanks for clearing this up Paul. I made an incorrect assumption when I noticed the greyed out gain setting on the nexus when docked. 

Are you able to clarify the difference between how the nexus down converts to 24 bit when used with dante versus how an 8 series does it?

 

Thanks 

 

Trev

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I started on Audio Ltd 2040’s (as i think those sounded the best) and after the A10 became available in 2017 those replaced my 2040’s

 

i loved a lot on the A10 that feeling got even stronger After SD released the free upgrade to “long range” mode.

 

on the A10 (the lack of reliable/responsive remote control) was and is my biggest regret.

 

the other one being having to rebuild bag rather often for more or less wireless channels. 
 

also the dreaded “slow card” error that i never was able to prevent 100% on internal recording, i worried about more then i like to admit.

 

for me the Nexus promised to solve these “problems”

 

a20tx has the battery life and features i love plus some very very nice ones like epaper gone are the days of sticking tape with number amd names on my tx’s. 


When sd married audio ltd i was very happy as i expect this would result in great symbiosis. 
 

now on a sidenote could we please revert that whole brexit shenanigans so the european SD  HQ would have its office in the actual EU 

 

01351D73-28E4-46BD-B63D-010432D231AD.jpeg

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 8/15/2023 at 4:39 PM, martijn76 said:

 

 

a20tx has the battery life and features i love plus some very very nice ones like epaper gone are the days of sticking tape with number amd names on my tx’s. 
When sd married audio ltd i was very happy as i expect this would result in great symbiosis. 

now on a sidenote could we please revert that whole brexit shenanigans so the european SD  HQ would have its office in the actual EU 

 

 

Sadly we do not have the influence to reverse Brexit:)

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On 8/24/2023 at 8:48 PM, Paul Isaacs said:

Sadly we do not have the influence to reverse Brexit:)

But you could conceivably reverse your decision to close the shop in Berlin and focus only on Britain. Post-Brexit that turns out to be a terrible decision - as far as I can see the reasoning behind it. There may have been other reasons which I can’t see

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4 hours ago, Chris Woodcock said:

Kish lives in the UK and while he is still the mastermind behind their radios, they will focus on the UK headquarters 


Yes, they made that clear. But Sound Devices is more than what was Audio Ltd. and they have many more customers outside the UK than in. Plus they already had an up and running service facility in Berlin. 
Anyway, I‘m not privvy to the decision making process, but this appaears wrong on almost every level

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