This definitely ranks for me as the most exciting film product announcement of the new decade. Sound Devices just announced (as has been widely predicted) a “SL-2” is coming in a few months’ time. Supports quad channel SuperSlot receivers (next step, need someone to make them! Wisycom? So the rumors say. Plus surely Sound Devices’ own Audio Ltd must be cooking up something?).
Sound Devices’ Quick Summary
The SL-2 Dual SuperSlot Wireless Module is the first model of a new range of SuperSlot™-based accessories which bring integrated multichannel wireless to the 8-Series mixer-recorders. Compatible with the 833, 888, and the Scorpio.
Accepts two UniSlot or SuperSlot wireless receivers from Audio Ltd, Lectrosonics, Sennheiser, Sony, and Wisycom.
Built-in antenna distribution with antenna powering for active antennas or boosters.
Two TA3 AES3 inputs for an additional 4 channels of digital audio.
Powers via an 8-Series mixer-recorder.
Accepts either analog or digital audio from slot-in receivers.
Ability to set and monitor multiple functions of a SuperSlot-compatible receiver from the 8-Series mixer-recorder. Power on/off
RF Scan with visual representation of the RF spectrum
Monitor transmitter battery, receiver audio, and RF levels
Rugged, lightweight, and compact design.
Mounts to the top of any 8-Series mixer-recorder.
Same width as the 833.
A Sound Devices 833 / Sound Devices SL-2 combo (with quad SuperSlot receivers) would be similar ish or even more powerful than a Sound Devices 688 / Sound Devices SL-6 combo, but in a much much lighter/smaller package! Not quite (in terms of compactness) a Zaxcom Nova / Zaxcom MRX414 combo, but a worthy alternative (and Sound Devices gives you much more flexibility than the Walled Garden Ecosystem which is Zaxcom).
It’s coming out mid this year, but I won’t immediately pre order it like I did with my Sound Devices 833 which I pounced on straight away!
Partially a factor of cost. As while the Sound Devices SL-2 I’m sure will be under NZ$3K (hopefully even well under NZ$2K?), it is the cost of all the SuperSlot compatible wireless that will really really hurt. Could easily end up being $10K+ investment in total (or even double that, once all is done).
The other even bigger factor is all the general uncertainty in the wireless market at the moment (even worse if you’re somewhere such as the USA, where they’re repacking the wireless spectrum, heaps of bandwidth lost. But hopefully we’re more than a few years out from that ever happening in NZ).
As I feel we’re on the cusp of another leap forward, and as usual Zaxcom is charging ahead with their ZHD modulation and Zaxcom MXR414 quad channel receivers (that of course won’t play super nicely with anything but Zaxcom recorders).
The closest comparison to that would be the Lectrosonics DSQD, but that is a 1/2 RU form factor receiver, definitely not for SuperSlot!
But I’m sure it is only a matter of time before we see more products:
1) able to pack mutiple channels into even just a single 1MHz (as ZHD does)
2) quad channel SuperSlot receivers (like Vincent said, has been rumored for ages that Wisycom will do this “soon”. I even read today someone saying they’re taking pre orders)
3) encrypted wireless (such as Lectrosonics DBu and others)
4) recording wireless bodypacks from brands other than Zaxcom (such as Audio Limited A10, Lectrosonics SMDWB, kinda Deity Microphones, etc)
5) even smaller micro transmitters (at the moment there are not smaller equivalent alternatives to the somewhat bulky ish Audio Ltd A10 TX or Lectrosonics DBu)
6) wiiiide band
7) other goodies we don’t even know about yet, or only just starting to be introduced (such as Lectrosonics DSQD with Dante. Although I doubt we’ll see a SuperSlot RX ever with Dante in the near future?).
So I personally really want to wait it out for a while to see how this pans out, and who makes the most sense to back: Wisycom, Audio Ltd, Lectrosonics, or even someone else??
Until them I’ll happily keep on trucking along with my previous generation Lectrosonics SMQV / LMb / UM400 / SR / LMa / etc
But great job Sound Devices!! Looks like their new SL-2 is really not missing anything major! Aside from not being stackable (drat! As 2x SL-2 would be intensely awesome), and the lack of quad channel Superslots on the market (not exactly their fault… Sound Devices is just being too forward future thinking with the SL-2!).
The only gotchas might be: Price? Weight? Power consumption? But fingers crossed those are all reasonable.