Thread: Two new pro sound recorders announced: Zaxcom Nova ($5K)& Sound Devices Scorpio ($9K)

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  1. #1 Two new pro sound recorders announced: Zaxcom Nova ($5K)& Sound Devices Scorpio ($9K) 
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    https://www.sounddevices.com/scorpio/





    You can use it with the Icon Control Surface.

    https://www.gothamsound.com/product/...-order-deposit


    And now for the Zaxcom Nova which just got announced today (the name comes from the combo of: NOmad + deVA, as the Nova combines features of both! In a way the Nova is the successor of the Nomad, like Scorpio is with the 688, but adding in many newer generation features).

    https://zaxcom.com/products/nova/

    https://www.gothamsound.com/product/...-order-deposit

    https://www.gothamsound.com/news/be-...ent-each-other

    http://IronFilm.co.nz/Sound/ (Sound Recordist based in Auckland, NZ. Happy to travel too)
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    There is also a Zoom F6 in the works, not much info at all has been leaked. But it is a recorder with 6x XLR inputs, and seems it will have "Neverclip" (although of course it is not called that, because of Zaxcom's patents/trademarks, but will be like Sonosax's implementation. The "same", except can't be sold in the USA).

    Looks like Zoom could be making more leaps and bounds ahead once again in the sound game. We're already pretty spoiled by Zoom, the F8n I'd say is already a "better" than say the Zaxcom Maxx and knocking right on the door of the Sound Devices 633 (in same ways the F8n is "better", in other ways the 633 is better). And the Zoom F8n is already better than many popular pro recorder options*of the past such as Roland R88 / Sound Devices 744T / Tascam HS-P82 / etc (and all of these were thousands and thousands of dollars each only a few short years ago).
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    We have an estimated date now for the Zoom F6, mid June 2019.

    Interestingly can record to 32 bit files, I wonder how post production will feel about that?

    https://www.gothamsound.com/product/f6-recorder
    http://IronFilm.co.nz/Sound/ (Sound Recordist based in Auckland, NZ. Happy to travel too)
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    Yes, the new Zaxcom and Sound Devices recorders are first-class, really well-done. As for those looking for a Zoom, bear in mind that both companies used to make systems in the $10,000+ price range. It's a miracle that they're well below that now... downright affordable, from my point of view.

    As to 32-bit: you find me a mixing stage in LA that can do anything about 24 bit, and I'll buy you lunch. Ditto with mics with self-noise at this level (-130dB). The reality is that no real location has any kind of noise levels even remotely in this range. A really, really quiet room is going to have a -30dB background noise, and for that, even 16-bit recording would be more than adequate.

    I would worry more about usability, metadata, and the ability to survive being dropped 3 feet onto concrete. The Zaxcom and Sound Devices machines will pass that test; I'm very doubtful about Zoom. I do think Zoom has its place, like if you're doing podcasts or recording an audio book or something like that. And I know some serious sound mixers who have a Zoom ready just in case their main systems blow up, so it's just yet another backup to carry on the truck. But it's like carrying a Canon 5D just in case your Red Monstro fails.
    marc wielage, csi • colorist/post consultant • daVinci Resolve Certified Trainer
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    My take away on this, is that SD/ Zaxcom think that sound production people don't want to be teathered as much to a sound cart and want to be more nimble in small complete pro packages. That's kind of the same message as reds ranger and also Davinci 16, so wondering if this is just some NAB story or actually a real industry trend. I personally like using my two wheel soundcart, everything gets moved from the cabinets to the cart, then on set the sound cart has everything I need - so I am wondering if the sound business is actually changing.
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  6. #6  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marc Wielage View Post
    Yes, the new Zaxcom and Sound Devices recorders are first-class, really well-done. As for those looking for a Zoom, bear in mind that both companies used to make systems in the $10,000+ price range. It's a miracle that they're well below that now... downright affordable, from my point of view.
    Sound Devices' first product was only a few hundred bucks. Their 302 / 442 / 552 / early 7 series / 633 / 664 also were all in the thousand ish to somewhat three thousand ish price range. And of course Sound Devices has made various sub $1K products (MixPre series being a famous example).

    The 788T / 688 / 970 / PIX series were the only notable exceptions to this that I can think of.

    So when it comes to prices, I don't think Sound Devices has ever made a $10K product. The Scorpio is the closest Sound Devices has ever came to $10K.

    I could dig into Zaxcom's history, but I'm sure it is fairly similar ish (except that they have made products over $10K: Deva. But aside from their Deva range then in general they've not made products over $10K either).


    Quote Originally Posted by Marc Wielage View Post
    A really, really quiet room is going to have a -30dB background noise, and for that, even 16-bit recording would be more than adequate.
    Yes, you "can" do film recordings with 16bits. And many people in the distant past did exactly that, although with great care!

    Going to 24 bits gave people more flexibility, less to worry about with the dynamic range.

    32bits is the natural extension of that, when it will be physically impossible to exceed it. You could have both a quiet whisper and a jet engine in the same scene and have issues with neither.

    It is like a cinemotographer who "can" work with only 11 stops of dynamic range from his camera, but having 14? Makes his life a lot easier!

    Well this is talking about going from 14 to 140! :-P The world will burn up before you run out of dynamic range in that scene.


    Quote Originally Posted by Marc Wielage View Post
    I would worry more about usability, metadata, and the ability to survive being dropped 3 feet onto concrete. The Zaxcom and Sound Devices machines will pass that test; I'm very doubtful about Zoom. I do think Zoom has its place, like if you're doing podcasts or recording an audio book or something like that. And I know some serious some mixers who have a Zoom ready just in case their main systems blow up, so it's just yet another backup to carry on the truck. But it's like carrying a Canon 5D just in case your Red Monstro fails.
    Metadata entry with a Zoom F8n is generally speaking on par or even better than it is with products from Sound Devices / Zaxcom / Sonosax over the past decade.

    As for being dropped from 3 feet? Well first of all I'll never ever have the recorder just naked, it will either be firmly set up on a cart or protected inside a mixing bag. But even so, the Zoom F series is very solidly built, I've heard of people dropping them by accident off tables or down stairs, and they've carried on working just fine. I certainly know I'd rather drop a F8n than a Scorpio!

    And Zoom has a place well beyond just podcasts, I know of plenty of other professional mixers earning their living with an F series recorder.

    And it is unfair to contrast it is as something like Monstro vs 5D! (a mk2??)

    No, it is more like "RED" (in general, as Sound Devices makes products, even if you ignore their MixPre range, which cover a wide breadth with the 633/788/664/970/688/Scorpio/etc. Just like RED does) vs Blackmagic URSA Mini 4.6K (which covers the range we've seen with the 4.6K: of OG vs Pro vs G2, a bit like F4 vs F8 vs F8n)

    In capable hands the normal person will not be able to tell the difference without obsessively pixel peeping. They've got great dynamic range and resolution, and lots of pro features (SDI / NDs / timecode / genlock / V mount powering / EVF / PL mount / etc etc etc).

    And it can argued that a UMP G2 can even be a better overall choice for some people than a few of RED's lower end offerings of the past such as Raven or a Scarlet MX. (just as it can be argued a Zoom F8n could be a better choice for a person than a 744T/Maxx/633/etc)
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  7. #7  
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    Yes, you "can" do film recordings with 16bits. And many people in the distant past did exactly that, although with great care!

    Going to 24 bits gave people more flexibility, less to worry about with the dynamic range.

    32bits is the natural extension of that, when it will be physically impossible to exceed it. You could have both a quiet whisper and a jet engine in the same scene and have issues with neither.

    It is like a cinemotographer who "can" work with only 11 stops of dynamic range from his camera, but having 14? Makes his life a lot easier!

    Well this is talking about going from 14 to 140! :-P The world will burn up before you run out of dynamic range in that scene.
    32 bit equals 192 dB of DR.
    I know of only one ADC being capable of quantizing 124d dB (136 dB DAC) worth of dynamic range (it's one of the newer ones), which is 20 dB short of "full" 24 bit capability.
    193.9794000867 dB SPL or 1 Bar or 1 Atmosphere is about the highest sound pressure level possible in Earth's atmosphere. So, what are we talking about here; are there mics capable of such a DR? Mic pres? ADCs? Amps? Speakers?
    Do we really need files with 68 dB (11 bit) worth of noise?
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  8. #8  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Šabović Adis View Post
    32 bit equals 192 dB of DR.
    I know of only one ADC being capable of quantizing 124d dB (136 dB DAC) worth of dynamic range (it's one of the newer ones), which is 20 dB short of "full" 24 bit capability.
    193.9794000867 dB SPL or 1 Bar or 1 Atmosphere is about the highest sound pressure level possible in Earth's atmosphere. So, what are we talking about here; are there mics capable of such a DR? Mic pres? ADCs? Amps? Speakers?
    Do we really need files with 68 dB (11 bit) worth of noise?
    +1

    You don't need 32 but to record 132 db. 24bit is enough. the 32bit thing by F6 is made to be able to "under expose" your take and push it later on. Their philosophy is "treat it like raw" (what ever this means) and you don't have to put a gain level just ajust your mic/line inputs. There is a lot of bits just sitting around doing nothing. But your peramp are better to be good to have real 132db DR.

    Sonosax SX-R4+ dual AD that puts 135dB in a 24bit container is a good example.


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    Thanks for that info on Sonosax, Pat, appreciate it!
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  10. #10  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Patrick Tresch View Post
    You don't need 32 but to record 132 db. 24bit is enough. the 32bit thing by F6 is made to be able to "under expose" your take and push it later on. Their philosophy is "treat it like raw" (what ever this means) and you don't have to put a gain level just ajust your mic/line inputs. There is a lot of bits just sitting around doing nothing. But your peramp are better to be good to have real 132db DR.
    Sonosax makes very, very fine products as well, but to mention them in the same thread as Zoom is like talking about a Bugatti Veyron in comparison to a Kia. And I would bet Sonosax would survive a drop to concrete as well -- the build quality is extremely good. I also didn't cite Aaton, but that's a remarkably good unit.

    I do completely agree that 24-bit is a very, very robust format with a vast amount of dynamic range. Assuming 8dB per bit, that'd be a potential level of 144 dB, which would basically kill you.

    Quote Originally Posted by David Peterson View Post
    Sound Devices' first product was only a few hundred bucks. Their 302 / 442 / 552 / early 7 series / 633 / 664 also were all in the thousand ish to somewhat three thousand ish price range. And of course Sound Devices has made various sub $1K products (MixPre series being a famous example).
    Yeah, but I was specifically talking about multitrack recorders. Zoom and Sound Devices are not remotely in the same category in terms of build quality and industry acceptance. I was using a MixPre back in 2000 for different things, so I'm extremely aware of what they do and why they do it. (And also how it was sold under the Shure brandname for a period of time.)

    I continue to find it amazing that people will spend $40,000-$50,000 on a Red camera, god knows how much on lenses and accessories, and then bitch about having to spend 1% of that ($5000) on a great recorder/mixer. Instead, they want a $900 Zoom. Very penny-wise and pound foolish.

    BTW, I was interviewed for a podcast about 2 weeks ago with a guy using a Zoom, and I'm sure it came out fine. Great for podcasts, excellent value. But I wouldn't want to use it for a 12-track mix for a Netflix show.
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