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Sound Devices CL-9. Your experience/opinions?


Matt
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Hello All,

I was wondering who among you is using the Sound Devices CL-9. I am thinking of purchasing one and wanted to know what your experience has been in the field. Functionality, things you like, things you don't. If possible, let me know why you like it more than a field mixer and why or why not. I am torn as to whether or not to go with the CL-9 option (due to cost and keeping my full 8 track count) or if a dedicated mixer (Sonosax, used Cooper, Solice) would be a better way to go and why.

One thing that seems like a hang up to me is the fact that you have to select a channel, then the EQ, then EQ it as opposed to just about any other mixer out there where you just reach for the knob and turn it. Much simpler and quicker.

Since I don't have much experience with episodic work, I'm wondering if folks who work in television could express their opinions as well. Seems like most of the photos I see, the mixer is a Cooper or a Solice. Is this just because you already paid it off or is it the better way to go for some reason I am unaware of?

I have also heard that the com routing on the CL-9 is a little weird. Any thoughts on this?

Before I get blasted with a lot of "read the manual" responses, what I am looking for here is constructive input from mixers actually using the CL-9 in the field and some insight into how well it performs in real world situations.

Thanks!

-Matt Hamilton

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Matt,

I am a happy owner of a CL-9. I've used on 5 features now and on. Fast paced episodic tv show 2nd unit. I love how compact and uncomplicated it is. A single USB cable and headphone cable and you are good to go. The low power consumption was a big concern for me as I run pure DC from a 35 amp hour pelican battery that runs my 788t/ cl9 lectro venue and 2 lectro SR units for 16+ hrs. I don't have a 2nd boom op and it's easy for me to talk privately to him then listen back over the boom. If I need need to take the conversation private I just pull down the fader and hit solo for the track. Slating is easy with a minor quirk where the shift button has to be pressed in to slate. I generally keep it on and have covered it with grip tape so the blinking isn't too bright on a dark set. The trim ballistics have been a topic of concern but I quickly adapted to the feel when it was changed in a recent firmware rev. I don't do a lot of eq on set so this is not a big deal for me. But on the occasion where I had to boost a buried lab, it was fast to dial it in. The down side is there is no visual indication if a track has any eq on it. the track arm buttons are easily bumped and can be turned off by accident. I've requested they work like the stop button where you have to press and hold them for a second to turn them on and off. I love how compact the entire setup is and as you can see in my profile pic can fit my entire rig in a Gator effects rack. I use an Sm57 as my slate mic plugged into input 8 and on the rare need to go with 8 ISO channels I can with a simple re-patch. I used all 8 tracks in a big scene yesterday. I'm hoping more alternate macros are allowed w ith the function buttons and don't use them now. For the way I mix, the CL9 is a perfect fit, fast, low power consumption,easy cable management and small size are all I need now..

Mark L

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" you have to select a channel, then the EQ, then EQ it "

many digital mixers work like this!

like soooo many other things, folks get used to...

" For the way I mix, "

That says a lot about the very subjective and personal nature of the decision.

If you have a 788T and are looking for a small portable desk mixer, I think it is a no brainer, and for the price, why not try it?? ::)

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the CL-9 is an accessory for the 788T and doesnt function as a standalone mixer.

but if you already knew that, then some kind of duplex cable which has an XLR-M and a TA3-F (for boom op feed) at the 788 end and an XLR-F and 1/4" Jack plug (for boom op feed) at the MM1 end

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the CL-9 is an accessory for the 788T and doesnt function as a standalone mixer.

but if you already knew that, then some kind of duplex cable which has an XLR-M and a TA3-F (for boom op feed) at the 788 end and an XLR-F and 1/4" Jack plug (for boom op feed) at the MM1 end

Sure it's an additional controller!

Well, theoretically I thought about the same configuration that you're suggesting. However, the TL-9 Headphone output socket, on the backside of the controller, confused me. So it seems that it's better to supply boom op with 788 mini XLR output?

And another thing, does any company make such cable setting or do I need to make it by myself? I couldn't find an appropriate one on bh website.

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...And another thing, does any company make such cable setting or do I need to make it by myself? I couldn't find an appropriate one on bh website.

If you're a professional soundperson, B&H should not be your first stop for equipment. You should be supporting what we here call, "the usual suspects," who are the professional audio dealers who diligently support our niche of the industry.

These would be dealerships such as: Gotham Sound, Professional Sound, Trew Audio, Coffey Sound, Location Sound Corporation, etc.

You'll find that Remote Audio carries a vast selection of specialized cables for our line of work. They can even make up custom cables to your specifications.

B&H is a "box house." Their personnel does not have the degree of specialized audio expertise that you'll find at "the usual suspects."

Also avoid any B&H merchandise with the Pearstone label. These items are often unauthorized knockoffs of legitimate gear.

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John Blankenship, Choosing dealers is not something that I decide in this case, so........

Anyway!

What would be best setting for boom return signal for CL-9 with MM1, can anyone suggest?

So far:

an XLR-M and a TA3-F (for boom op feed) at the 788 end and an XLR-F and 1/4" Jack plug (for boom op feed) at the MM1 end

is the best option?

is the best option?

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"Well, theoretically I thought about the same configuration that you're suggesting. However, the TL-9 Headphone output socket, on the backside of the controller, confused me."

I am not a CL-9 user but I believe the Headphone jack(s) on the CL-9 serve as interconnects/passthrough for the headphone section of the 788T (recorder). I don't think the CL-9 itself (as you already know, just an interface/controller) provides any additional outputs other than those provided by the host recorder.

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John, no upsets! Your post was very useful and thanks! I'm looking into those brands. However, to avoid additional soldering job, I'm still desperately trying to find already made one.

Jeff, Thanks for noticing that! So I guess the only way to supply boom is through 788 mini XLR. I assumed that the CL-9 output jack can be linked to any output of 788.

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...However, to avoid additional soldering job, I'm still desperately trying to find already made one.

...

Contact Trew Audio ( www.trewaudio.com ). They can probably have Remote Audio make up anything you need. Remote Audio is a separate company owned by the same people and they supply a wide variety of cables.

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The connectors on the CL9 are XLR returns. I tried the talk back system using a Sennheiser G2 system. Boom guy was wired. It was somewhat clumsy to use as you keep having to toggle between listening this his response then toggle again for you to talk to him. Ended up using the boom. If we want to go private I just solo the channel and bring the fader down.. This kills the feed to public comtek.

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Just got me thinking. While I personally don't use auto gain. You could use that idea and set a threshold level on the returns. Then when the boom guy wants to talk to you, the input gets feed into your headphones audio. He stops talking, level drops below threshold and the signal turns off. This would make talking back and forth super easy with mixer only having to toggle once to talk, release and wait for response instead of having to toggle again for the response.... Wishful thinking,,

Mark

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