Production sound mixers have a wide array of products to choose from. Some of the least expensive digital devices have gained traction, particularly as safety devices. While these recorders lack extensive editing capabilities and generally run on AA batteries that need frequent replacement, they bring a level of comfort to recordists who know they won’t get a second chance if audio isn’t properly tracked.
Up on the first tier, the competition is a bit stiffer. The Sound Devices (www.sounddevices.com) 788T Digital Audio Record has gained considerable attention. It’s viewed as a solid multitrack recorder, and its eight inputs (microphone and line-level signals) let the 788T fit into almost any TV or film application.
Chris Durfy, first-unit production sound mixer for the Lifetime series “Drop Dead Diva,” uses a 788T in conjunction with a Sound Devices CL-9 eight-fader controller. “The CL-9 gives me an affordable, yet powerful solution for converting my audio bag into a cart-based mixer,” says Durfy. “For higher track count needs, I can mount a second 788T with a CL-8 above the first recorder.” (The Cl-8 is a less expensive control surface that uses rotary knobs in place of throw faders.)
Audinate’s DantePCIe Soundcard is another item that continues to gain market share. Durfy uses a pair of 788Ts, a Sound Device PIX 260i video recorder and a Dante card on site. “I'm almost done building a brand-new cart based around Sound Devices’ PIX 260i, utilizing the Dante network,” he says. “Dante allows you to set up an extremely stable and redundant audio network of up to 32 channels of audio. Because of this, I think that more mixers will be moving into the PIX 260i realm in the near future.”
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