Firmware Wishful Thinking for the Sound Devices 833

Wish we could have greater customizability with our meter viewing?

I specifically want to be able to pick very specific tracks and not others to be displayed.

For example, if I’ve got a simple day with just doing ISOs of a boom and a lav then it would be nice to *only* see those on the screen.

We can then be monitoring big thick bold bars, rather than skinny little bars which are cluttered up with all the unused tracks on screen as well.

Feels strange to me that I’ve gone backwards in this area compared to my Zoom F8n/F4 & Zaxcom Maxx, I really deeply miss this when compared to the crowded Sound Devices 833 screen. Monitoring felt so nice to watch when I went back to using an F8n last week.

Unless there is some secret shortcut which gives me this precise surgical level of control over what meters are displayed that I missed reading in the manual?

I think the Sound Devices 6 Series can’t do this either, am sure a Sound Devices 633 user would appreciate this flexibility as well if they got a firmware update as well!

Sound Device SL-2 is coming!

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
Set frequency 
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.



Zaxcom DEVA 24 & MIX-16 are now finally officially shipping

Zaxcom DEVA 24 recorder and MIX-16 fader officially shipping

 

Now for news at the opposite end of the pricing spectrum (almost tens times more expensive!) to the Sound Devices MixPre10M announcement today is the news that finally the Zaxcom DEVA 24 & Zaxcom MIX-16 are in stock and shipping! After what feels like YEARS of Zaxcom teasing us this coming.

 

 

With a retail price of US$12K for the Zaxcom DEVA 24 recorder this won’t be for everyone, rather will be competing against the likes of the Sound Devices 688, Sound Devices 970, Aaton Cantar X3, and others. But not directly competing though as the DEVA 24 is Zaxcom’s own take on this, the DEVA 24 is itself quite unique from those others.

 

Press Release:

Based on its Academy and Emmy award-winning predecessors Deva 24 can record pristine 24 track audio and has a plethora of advanced features including flexible input/output routing, ZaxNet™, NeverClip™, PowerRoll™ and MixAhead™.

Deva 24 provides 16 analog inputs, 12 of which are switchable mic or line level with adjustments for high pass filter, limiter, input delay and 48V phantom power. Four additional line level inputs can be used as returns. Thanks to NeverClip™ preamps, it offers a staggering 136 db of dynamic range.

Digitally, 24 inputs channels of AES are available on the unit, 16 support AES42. Deva 24 also accepts any unlocked AES signal with a sampling rate of 32 to 192 kHz.

10 output busses offer routing versatility through four XLR, three TA-5M and three 3.5mm connectors. Outputs feature delay settings, level attenuation and assignable output names.

Dependable delivery

Audio can be recorded to three media simultaneously. An internal 2.5” SSD (1TB max capacity) is the primary media paired with two compact flash (CF) card slots. Files are recorded as MARF II, a lossless fault tolerant recording format to the internal drive and as Broadcast Wave files (BWF) to the CF cards. An eSATA port provides an external hard drive (SSD or HDD) option that takes the place of a single CF card slot.

Immersive mixing

Deva 24 has an integrated mixer where 12 rotary faders can be assigned to act as a fader, input trim knob or a ZaxNet™ control knob. The rotary encoder allows you to adjust the compressor settings, input trim and invert the phase of an input.

8 tracks provide an infinite mix of all Deva 24 inputs, while 16 tracks are dedicated to ISO routing. Any of the 16 analog or 24 digital inputs can be assigned to an ISO track as either pre or post fader.

Familiar functionality

Users of previous Deva systems will enjoy the familiarity of its design and intuitive software. Deva 24 has a detachable front panel interface and a touchscreen menu system that’s fast, easy to learn and extremely reliable for any type of audio workflow. It also allows you to connect a compatible MAC or PC to control it remotely via a USB cable.

Seamless integration

Combined, the Mix-16 control surface is a versatile extension for Deva 24. Featuring 16 motorized faders in five banks, any combination of analog or digital input channels on the Deva 24 can be assigned to the Mix-16. This provides sound recordists with an integrated recording and mixing solution capable of solving many audio challenges.

Each fader on the Mix-16 has a bright LED input meter and the control surface is equipped with a pre fader listen (PFL) monitoring system that allows you to listen to channel audio before the fader is closed. It also has the ability to control the ZaxNet™ remote control function of Deva 24.

Pricing and availability

Zaxcom’s Deva 24 and Mix-16 are available now. Receive a $1,000 USD discount when purchasing both before April 13, 2018. This new technology and more from Zaxcom will be on display April 9-12 at NAB Show in Las Vegas, Booth C3927.

Saramonic SR-VRM1, new XLR sound recorder coming soon!

Tascam DR-10X sound recorder

Spotted this text from a Saramonic employee on Facebook: “It provides XLR connector and 48V phantom power, recording 24bit/48kHz wav audio files to MicroSDHC card, capacity up to 32GB” (minor tweak by myself to fix her typo)

The name of this new product is going to be “Saramonic SR-VRM1”.

I’m guessing as it only provides one XLR connection (assuming the grammar is correct here…. that it is singular, not plural. Not always 100% accurate to make this grammar assumption about all products out of China, but it is a reasonable conclusion to leap to!), that it is going to be a very small recorder, perhaps a competitor to the Tascam DR-10X but at an even lower price point?
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1086779-REG/tascam_dr_10x_dr_10cx_plug_on_micro_linear.html

What I hope for one day is a lower priced alternative out of China for the Tascam DR-10CS, which unfortunately is tied up with legal issues caused by Zaxcom in the USA which prevents its sale there, except in other countries such as the UK:
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Tascam-Connection-Lavallière-Microphones-Anthracite/dp/B00QV8L586/

As if priced low enough, it could provide a good budget alternative for those non-wireless “wireless” lav scenarios which people are using Zoom H1 recorders for (as I’ve done a few times myself at weddings, & similar scenarios):
http://aspenmics.com/products/belt-clip-for-zoom-h1-handy-recorder

A few important points I’d like to see the Saramonic SR-VRM1 have:

  1. As well as internal power (AA battery?), a way for it to be externally powered as well (even if it is as simple as a USB port to power it by. But please not mini USB! Make it be at least Micro USB sized, or even better full size USB). That way we can use it for long recording takes unattended, until the card fills up. Or can be used in your mixing bag as an small back up recording, without needing to concern ourselves about keeping batteries topped up.
  2. Some way to pass out audio (just like the Tascam DR-10CS has, and many other recorders), ideally XLR, but even just a 3.5mm output would be ok & better than nothing.
  3. Have both one XLR input, and one 3.5mm (a locking 3.5mm please!) input, so we’ve got that choice.

Update:
Saramonic confirmed it is coming soon with this tweet which links to my tweet of this blog post: