Sound Devices unveils new production mixer, ships PIX-DOCK
Sound Devices will unveil the 664 Production Mixer, the newest addition to its best-selling line of field and production mixers. The new flagship in Sound Devices’ line of portable production mixers, the 664 builds upon the powerful features of the 552 Production Mixer and offers expanded input/output connectivity and recording capabilities, along with greater flexibility and ease-of-use. Its six input channels have dedicated controls for trim, fader, pan, and PFL. The inputs and four output buses are all recordable, for a total of 10 tracks of recording.
Sound Devices’ 664 contains six ultra-low noise, high-dynamic range transformer-less preamps that accept mic- or line-level signals and include analog peak limiters, high-pass filters, input trim control and direct outputs on every channel. Featuring full analog audio paths for high-performance audio and superb power efficiency, the 664 also has numerous digital capabilities. Inputs 1 and 6 are unique in that they can be selected as AES3 or AES42 inputs for digital microphones, each with its own SRC for simplicity in system clocking.
The analog output compliment includes four output buses. The L and R buses are on balanced XLR, 10-Pin, TA-3M connectors, or unbalanced on TA-3M or 3.5mm connectors. Auxiliary output buses X1 and X2 are available on balanced TA-3M connectors. Inputs and buses can be routed to four AES3 connections for eight digital outputs on the XLR and 10-pin connectors.
The 664 can record up to 10 tracks, 16- or 24-bit broadcast WAV files to SD and/or CompactFlash cards. All six inputs and its four outputs are individually selectable for recording, enabling the mixer to record all 10 channels of audio. With its dual card slots, content can be recorded to either or both cards simultaneously, with the added ability to assign individual tracks to each memory card.
Sound Devices also introduces a companion accessory, the CL-6 Expander. The CL-6 is specifically designed to add six analog line-level inputs to the 664 Production Mixer. With the CL-6 attached, the direct output connectors are available as recordable inputs, controlled by faders located on the CL-6 front panel. The CL-6 also offers additional LED output metering and duplicate-recording transport controls. With the 664 Production Mixer connected to the CL-6 Expander, users can now record up to 12 input channels and four outputs, for a total of 16 tracks.
The 664 features an abundance of connectivity options in addition to the main audio I/O, catering to the complex productions that are becoming more common today. It has expanded return-monitoring capabilities, with three separate camera returns as well as a dedicated private line communications connection. The 664, like the 552, has a built-in slate microphone and tone oscillator, and includes a dedicated input for an external slate mike. The internal or external slate mike can be routed to either outputs or to the dedicated comm output. The 664 can easily build a private line communication with a comm return input, separate from camera returns.
“Our customers are looking for more inputs, connectivity, flexibility and power in the field,” says Jon Tatooles, managing director, Sound Devices. “We have taken the strengths and knowledge gained from our existing mixer line and continue to evolve the technology to meet the growing needs of sound mixers. The 664 is how we see the future of high-performance field mixers; they need to have recording capabilities in order to be a fully functional tool in the field.”
Sound Devices’ 664 features an intuitive LCD menu that enables users to simply adjust input settings and offers the capability to see how an input is routed and connected when its settings are altered. The LCD display also enables users to quickly activate the individual tracks that are to be recorded. The Sound Devices 664 features dedicated front panel controls for gain, trim and faders, as well as full-size XLR connectors. The mixer is powered by five AA batteries or external DC power.
The 664 includes a high-precision Ambient-based time-code generator/reader for multi-camera and double-system sound applications. All common production time-code rates and modes are supported. The 664, like all Sound Devices products, is designed to withstand the physical and environmental extremes of field production. Its top and bottom chassis panels are made from molded, metalized carbon fiber for superior durability and weight reduction. The chassis panels are also gasketed for water resistance.
Sound Devices has also announced that the PIX-DOCK is now shipping, in time for IBC 2012 Show. Having first made its debut at this year’s NAB Show, PIX-DOCK connects drives mounted in a Sound Devices PIX-CADDY 2 to computers equipped with Thunderbolt high-speed I/O over a single Thunderbolt cable.
The PIX-CADDY 2, which is used to connect SSD volumes to all PIX recorders, is an SSD mounting accessory that also operates as a multi-format interface to attach drives to a computer for file transfer and management. With the introduction of the PIX-DOCK, users can now leverage Thunderbolt’s fast transfer speeds between drives and computers. Thunderbolt offers up to 10 Gbps interconnection speeds, making the file copying of large-capacity drives fast and easy. When using fast storage drives, its high throughput allows realtime playback of multiple streams of high-data-rate video.
The PIX-DOCK provides both power and data over a single cable and is compatible with SATA drives. It includes a six-foot Thunderbolt cable that connects to the PIX-CADDY 2 using its eSATAp connection. It also offers a secure, latching connection to PIX-CADDY, and its weighted base prevents sliding on desktop surfaces.
“After a successful launch at this year’s NAB show, we are thrilled to announce that our PIX-DOCK is available,” says Jon Tatooles, managing director at Sound Devices. “PIX-DOCK simplifies and speeds the transfer and management of files when using our PIX recorders. By utilizing Thunderbolt, we are able to provide our users with blazing fast and reliable transfers.”
The PIX 220i, PIX 240i, and PIX 260 record directly to QuickTime using Apple’s ProRes or Avid’s DNxHD codecs. Since PIX recorders use ProRes and DNxHD, files recorded in the field can be used directly in postproduction, making the workflow simple and fast. The PIX 240i and PIX 260 add even more flexibility, with their time code, sync-generator, and simultaneous SDI and HDMI outputs. All PIX recorders incorporate the company’s award-winning audio expertise and performance.