NAB 2011- Sound Devices

I’ve always loved the products from Sound Devices, we own several of their 702T recorders, and 302 field mixers, that we use on our student films, day in day out, year after year. They’ve been very rugged for us, and that’s saying something for the amount of student productions they’ve been exposed to. In fact, I can only remember one time when we had a student break a 702T, and our first question was “how did they manage that?” (the forcible insertion of a mis-aligned compact flash card in case you’re wondering). Sound Devices products usually have that winning combination of high-quality, dependability, and reasonable price that film schools appreciate so much.

So for NAB 2011, they’ve come out with two new releases, that look very interesting. The first is the Pix 240 which is a Standalone Video Recorder (or “corder” as I suggest we call them). Like similar units, it’s a small field recording device with a monitor, it takes in HDMI and HDSDI, and can record to Apple ProRes or Avid DNxHD (for an additional fee) and it records to 2.5″ solid-state hard disks or CF cards. Where Sound Devices differentiates itself from other corders is the audio. As a primarily audio recording company, Sound Devices hasn’t skimped on audio features. They’ve added proper professional low-noise mic pre-amps, with phantom power and limiters to the unit. While probably adding to the overall size of the box, having top-notch audio is a size tradeoff I’d take in a heartbeat. In addition it has a built in time code generator, and genlock, for syncing with timecode slates and other cameras. So not can you do dual system video, you can do dual system sound with the same device. Very promising, I can’t wait to try one out.

The other announcement at NAB 2011 for Sound Devices, was the MixPre D, which is an upgrade to their small two channel field mixer, the MixPre. The additional features are a stereo TA3 to 3.5 inch mini connector for output to DSLR cameras, and the option of having a selectable digital AES signal output, rather than the standard analog outs. Something I haven’t seen before, is a USB port that allows you to stream audio directly into your computer, if you don’t have an AES interface. It still contains all the original features of the MixPre: the great mic-preamps, internal slate microphone, and tone select, etc. It all runs on AA batteries, and in a micro-sized package.

NAB is off to a great start for 2011, more interesting products to come.

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