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Sonosax SX62R Mixer/Recorder


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Hello all,

We brought the Sonosax SX62R Mixer / Recorder back with us from Vegas. It is now on display on our sales floor should you want to check it out. The SX62R is a Compact and High Quality 6 channel Mixer with a true Stereo bus and fully integrated 8 Track Recorder. Recording on both SSD Drive and CF Card.

http://www.sonosax.ch/recorders/sx62r/sx62r_index.html

Thanks

Steve J.

Location Sound

10639 Riverside Drive

N. Hollywood Ca. 91602

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I went in to LSC and Steve Joachim showed me the new Sonosax. The computer drawings, graphics, do not do it justice. It is a beautifully designed and built machine, totally in keeping with every other product Sonosax has ever done. The toucscreen, although small, is very clear and bright, and the menu access and setup is very straightforward though not as easy to navigate and make selection as the Deva touchscreen in my opinion. It does have just the right balance between hard switches and menu selections, gain trim knobs on each input are nice. It records to internal SSD (solid state drive) and externally accessible CF card. I did not look into metadata support so I'm not sure how Sonosax has handled all of that.

I'm not sure they will sell very many of these. The price point is the real problem. It is only a 6 input, 8 track machine and it costs $4000. more than what the top of the line Zaxcom Nomad will cost (and of course the Nomad does a ton more than the Sonosax even beyond the significant input and track count number). One of the things you are paying for with the Sonosax is the amazing attention to the aesthetic of the machine, the Sonosax specific machining, the fit and finish, nothing feels like "off the shelf" parts. This it shares with only one other machine, the Cantar, but I do not think in today's world it is enough to carry the cost of the machine vs. the competition.

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I went in to LSC and Steve Joachim showed me the new Sonosax. The computer drawings, graphics, do not do it justice. It is a beautifully designed and built machine, totally in keeping with every other product Sonosax has ever done. The toucscreen, although small, is very clear and bright, and the menu access and setup is very straightforward though not as easy to navigate and make selection as the Deva touchscreen in my opinion. It does have just the right balance between hard switches and menu selections, gain trim knobs on each input are nice. It records to internal SSD (solid state drive) and externally accessible CF card. I did not look into metadata support so I'm not sure how Sonosax has handled all of that.

I'm not sure they will sell very many of these. The price point is the real problem. It is only a 6 input, 8 track machine and it costs $4000. more than what the top of the line Zaxcom Nomad will cost (and of course the Nomad does a ton more than the Sonosax even beyond the significant input and track count number). One of the things you are paying for with the Sonosax is the amazing attention to the aesthetic of the machine, the Sonosax specific machining, the fit and finish, nothing feels like "off the shelf" parts. This it shares with only one other machine, the Cantar, but I do not think in today's world it is enough to carry the cost of the machine vs. the competition.

I think the top of the line Nomad 12 is priced about $6500. The SX62R is priced around the same same as the Nomad 6 IIRC.

Eric

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The main control surface seems like it would be awfully large in a over the shoulder rig.  But I get annoyed when I have to use anything larger than a PEGZ-1 so who knows..

Would love to see some real photos of the unit.

Agreed that price is a bit out of line.  Especially considering the Fusion/Deva is in the same ball park

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The main control surface seems like it would be awfully large in a over the shoulder rig.

That is partially the trade-off for having dedicated hard switches/knobs. The "control surface" or face of the unit is not really so large as may seem in the pictures. I would guess it presents approx. the same surface as an SD 788/CL8 or a Zaxcom Fusion. Real pictures and some dimensions would be nice (but seemingly not readily available here or on the Sonosax site.

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Hi all!

I'm beta testing the SX62R right now. I picked it up at Sonosax yesterday, so i've only been able to play with it for a while today, but it's really a beautifully crafted machine. It's actually smaller than I thought, it's pretty much the same size as a Fusion and its height is a bit less than a 788T with a CL8. It weighs approx 4 pounds without batteries.

Here are some pictures of it. I'm a sound guy, not a photographer, so sorry for the picture quality.

Pierre Blanc of Sonosax SA told me the hardware design is locked (my test machine doesn't have the AES I/O board fitted) and the software rev 4.xxx is in late beta and looking good. The UI is very clear and responsive and metadata can be edited conveniently in the machine. All you'd expect from such a piece of equipment is implemented now and the SX team is putting the final touches to the firmware.

What puts this machine apart from its American and Japanese siblings is that, rather than being a digital HD recorder with various rotary encoders controlling the ADs, it's a true analog 6/2 Sonosax mixer with it's superb preamps and limiters, internally connected to an 8 track HD recorder, all within one handy unit. So it's kind of a different approach than its competitors.

I'm taking it into the field for a few days and will give you my  first impressions when i'm back.

Cheers,

Jürg

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I'm actually trying to fit it in a Petrol PEGZ-1 right now and it's a nearly perfect fit. You could even put 3 UCR411's on top of it into the main compartment and nicely fit an NP-1 with its NP-shoe underneath and keep the front pouch free for transmitters and headphones...

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I wonder about those faders.  Doesn't seem like it would easy to mix on.

-Greg-

The knobs are quite small, there are 6 of them, I'm sure you could get used to it. I don't know how anybody actually mixes 6 separate inputs effectively even with larger knobs.

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Does it have any digital stage mixing capabilities like on Zaxcom,Sounddevices orTascam?

  Without anything like that , external surface fader board is not an option.

And if it is not an option , i dont see how much that recorder will be good for what we are using right now .

12000 US- priced for Hard sell :-)

Tomash B

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Hi y'all!

I'm finally back from my field test with the SX62R. It was quite an easy doc shoot, mainly in quiet cathedrals and chapels, no stressful situations. The perfect job to play with the new machine without getting too nervous.

I had to return my test machine (S/N 0001, nice!) to SX today and I miss it already, so no more pictures of the baby, sorry. I was planning to make some screen shots of the UI, but I guess the Sonosax crew is going to put up some nice photos of it on their website shortly.

For the shoot, I set up the SX62R in a Petrol PEGZ-1 bag with 3 Lectro UCR411As and a GMP 65Wh NP-1 lithium-ion battery underneath the mixer/recorder, with an NP-shoe powering all 4 devices. With the addition of a cheap Sennheiser G3 to send a guide track and a Denecke SB-3 jammed from the SX62R's LEMO TC out sitting on the camera. On the boompole I had my trusty Schoeps CCM41 & CCM8 rig in a Rycote Extended Ballgag system. Small, lightweight and flexible.

From a sentimental perspective, it felt like carrying a large desktop mixer around the neck. A bit like in the good old Fostex PD-4 days, 1 mixer/recorder, a couple of XLR jumpers to the receivers, a coiled jumper cable to the boompole, DC wires, that's it. Clean and neat. But with A LOT more power on hand. As I said, it feels like a mini desktop mixer in the bag. There are 6 channels with gain knobs, sweepable 12 dB/oct. HPF filter knobs, an additional 6 dB/octave HPF filter switch, pan knob and fader knobs right there waiting to be tweaked! PFL is activated when you "push out" the HPF switch.

There's no MIC/LINE setting on the mixer, the gain pot being coupled with a HI / MID / LO gain switch. LO is for line-level signals, MID cranks up to comfortable levels even with a Schoeps mic and HI gives you an insane amount of gain for ribbon mics.

Then there is a headphones monitoring knob with the usual L / R / M / ST / MS / RET notches you'd expect to find in any mixer, with the addition of a REC notch. In this monitoring mode, you listen to the recorder audio, i.e. the headphones matrix you may freely program in the HEADPHONES menu of the UI and save in 4 preset slots. One nice touch on this headphones monitoring knob is that it turns around 360 degrees, so you can switch back from RET to L by turning the knob one notch. ST and REC appear twice on the knob, on opposite sides of the knob.

A second, identical monitoring section is sitting right next to the HP monitoring knob. This one is called "PL" and allows you to send whatever your boom swinger would like to hear to a separate 7-pin XLR private line on the back of the unit. I haven't played with this on my doc shoot, but I guess there's also a return path on this connector, thus allowing the boom op to talk to you. That's a very cool addition to a portable mixer/recorder, especially in those moments where you need to rip the recorder off your cart to go shoot that occasional scene "up on that lovely hill" (the director is pointing his finger at the mountain behind the set). Once again, it's as if you were carrying your SX-ST, AD 149, Cooper 208 or PSC board around your neck…

Underneath the monitoring knobs you'll find a push button for slating and opening the private line with the boom op, as well as the HP and PL volume pots.

Then there's a recessed master fader. There's no additional gain on the master, but SX told me they could implement a few dBs on that knob. So cranked up all the way, it's at unity. Next to it, there's the Return master volume.

For REC/PLAY/STOP, Sonosax chose to use the same knob as the one found on the SX-R4. It's sort of a joystick you "click" to the right for REC and "click" again to the right for a second to STOP the recording. Clicking left takes you to the "Last takes" menu where you choose what take you want to playback. Sitting next to the "REC stick", there are two function buttons, F1 and F2. These are freely programmable in the UI and toggle between the menu item of your choice and the main metering screen (nicely called "modulometers", a nod to the recorders made by the other Swiss high-end pro audio manufacturer).

That's about it for the hardware section of the SX62R.

Then there's the gorgeous touch screen. When you power up the unit, it goes into REC READY mode in something like 3 seconds and shows the main metering section, the so-called modulometers, track arming, as well as all the usual storage, file names, powering, TC and TOD clock and date information. Touching the screen once brings up the recorder's main menu with nice icons, à la iPhone or iPod Touch. No need for a chopstick or pen to operate the UI, everything's big enough to be operated with a finger.

Each option opens a sub-menu where you set up the machine to your liking. As I don't have the machine on hand right now, I'm only recollecting the names of the options and the wording may be wrong in the following list:

INPUT shows a nice graphical overview of the 6 input channels' signal flow. There you can decide to record your ISOs pre- or post fader. A click on each one of the areas of the overview opens the relative sub-menu for limiter settings, channel phantom powering, routing to the mix bus, channel linking, etc. There's also an option to mix the RETURN stereo input into the main mix bus.

OUTPUT gives you the options for the main Mix output, the Aux output, and the Boom PL output routing. Main and Aux can be set to Off, Analog or Digital. There's also a TEST TONE generator that almost killed my precious ears with what sounded to me like a 400 Hz tone. Its level depends on the reference level (-20 or -18, i.e. +4 or +6 dBu) set in the setup menu.

FALSE START throws the last take into the trash folder and decrements the take counter by 1.

TIMECODE lets you set the TC to INT, EXT, TOD or user defined, etc. As you'd expect, all frame rates are supported. There's no User Bits option right now.

HEADPHONES is the recorder's headphones matrix you listen to when you select the REC notch in the monitoring section. Each track can be routed to L, C or R or following the PAN pot. There are MONO, STEREO, REVERSE STEREO, MS presets available for each pair of tracks and you can save your setup in four preset slots.

FILE LIST is a file browser where you can view files and takes on the internal SSD or CF card. Once you choose a file, you can play it and view/modify its metadata. There's also a Delete function with a "Are you sure you want to delete XXX" safety net. The browser also shows the user presets and setup files and you can delete those too, so Careful with that Axe, eh, delete button, Eugene ;-)!

USER allows you to store / recall / modify / overwrite the machine's settings in preset files which are stored on the disk(s).

METADATA has two different modes, depending if you are in REC READY or PLAY mode. In REC READY, this menu sets up the Project name, Scene/Slate name, increment / decrement the Take number, Track names (coming soon!) and Wild Track field. In PLAY mode, it allows you to edit any metadata, including Notes with a little on-screen keyboard, Circle Take, No Good, Wild Track, etc.

SETUP has several options, mainly TRACK SETUP for track arming, mirroring to CF or recording only the mix tracks 7 and 8 to the CF card. RECORD SETUP is for setting the sampling rate, bit depth, file name prefix and Word Clock. Then there's all the other little things in the SYSTEM SETUP, screen back-lighting, date and time for the real-time clock, formatting the CF and SSD, system info (with a hell lot of information on just about every chip on the main board…), RETURN IN mode, F1 and F2 assign and, last but not least, the STANDBY option to turn off the unit.

I think that's about it. Now for some final thoughts:

The SX62R names its files using a (user definable) file name prefix of two characters, followed by four numbers, incremented after each recording, i.e. "SX0001.wav". There's no way to have two identical file names in post and all other information is stored in the metadata. The Tape/Roll field contains the date in a "20110515" format. So you could still use it safely in the 22d century, lessons learned from the "millennium bug". You can record mono files, stereo files or poly files. If you want to record only the mix tracks 7 and 8 on the CF card, Poly is not an option. I have many clients who love to have the files named after the scene/slate/take and I guess I'd have to change my workflow a bit when I work for them, but all in all, this looks like the safest method. I could imagine an option to pre- or suffix the scene/slate field of the metadata to the file name which would be the best of both worlds...

I quickly checked the files in BWF Widget Pro and Wave Agent and everything shows up the way it should, so these apps can be used to conveniently generate a sound report for post.

The touch screen adjusts automagically to ambient light thanks to the light sensor next to the slate mic of the machine.

The SX62R's drives mount easily on my Mac desktop using the mini-USB connector next to the CF card slot.

There's a second mini-USB connector on the machine, labelled "Remote". This will probably be used in the near future for a selection of small USB keyboards which could be used to control the machine and entering metadata more conveniently than with the on-screen keyboard.

There is a 1/4 inch headphones socket on the right panel of the machine and a 1/8 inch mini-jack in the upper right corner that could come in handy for the occasional listener sitting next to you.

Apart from the headphones selector and volume pots, as well as the channel faders, all other pots are of the "push-in to lock" type.

There's a Mono output on a 3 pin mini-XLR socket on the back panel for transcription or guide track transmitters.

The RETURN input and AUX output are on 3 pin mini-XLR's on the back of the machine.

There's a socket for a com headset on the right panel. You can choose to power the external slate / com mike with 8V or 48v and there's an option in the menu to make the private line "bi-directional", whatever that means...

The DC powering scheme of my bag was kind of weak, considering that I used up four NP1s by the end of the day. The SX62R seems to eat batteries for breakfast, but I guess in that respect it is no different than a Deva, SD788T, or you name it digital 8 track recorder. The DC input is a standard 4 pin Hirose.

I can only say that it was very straightforward and comfortable to work with the SX62R in the bag. It's a lightweight, reliable, beautifully crafted and beautifully sounding machine that will do more than just get the job done.

I'll definitely get one as soon as I can - if only I hadn't blown my old Volvo V70's cylinder head on the motorway a few days back! Darn!

Cheers for now!

Jürg

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I wonder about those faders.  Doesn't seem like it would easy to mix on.

-Greg-

From a design standpoint, losing some of the available panel "real estate" to rotary L-R Pan pots is a big mistake in opinion. 

This is a bit of a "European thing", to me - having variable L-R panning... just another thing to get bumped or go wrong IMO.

I can't think of ANY occasion where I would need to be selective in making that adjustment while multi-track recording in the field.

Way back, I actually had the nice people at VARK to disconnect them on my SQN 4 series 2 and 3 mixers...

they would get "scratchy" with time and need.... and occasionally bumped...

MF

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This is a bit of a "European thing", to me - having variable L-R panning... just another thing to get bumped or go wrong IMO.

I can't think of ANY occasion where I would need to be selective in making that adjustment while multi-track recording in the field.

MF

The whole issue of whether a pan pot assign is needed in this sort of mixer has been hotly discussed here before (in connection with the Nomad). Since I do not do a lot of the sort of work that these devices are designed to do (multi-camera reality type shows for example) I probably should not be commenting on this.

First of all, thank you so much Jürg for your extensive, thoughtful and personal account of the new Sonosax. This is where the Discussion Group really shines when our members take the time to post these things. On the pan pot issue, I am of the school that hard assigns are the best way to go but I understand from some other posts that people are trying to do dynamic assigns to match the ever changing view that the video cameras are taking and this sort of dynamic assignment must use a pan pot to accomplish.

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just another thing to get bumped or go wrong IMO.

The pan and all the other pots apart from the channel faders, headphones selector and volume are of the "push-in and lock" type, as found on SD's machines.

I personally prefer the hardwired L-C-R switch, but there are people in the reality business who seem to swap channels on the fly while recording.

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