AES: Sound Devices 970 Takes Audio to the Rack
Sound Devices 970, the company’s first-ever dedicated audio-only rack-mounted recorder/player, makes its AES debut during this year’s convention (Location Sound Booth 1340). The 970 boasts an impressive 64 channels of Dante and MADI, and incorporates Sound Devices’ latest FileSafe technology, which recovers audio files if drives are unintentionally removed or power is lost during recording.
The half-rack, 2U device simplifies any application requiring high-quality, high-track-count audio recording such as capture of multi-channel sound for large-scale live performance and acquisition of dialogue for TV reality shows, drama and film.
The Sound Devices 970 records 64 channels of monophonic or polyphonic 24-bit Broadcast WAV files from any of its 144 available inputs. Inputs available include 64 channels of Audio-over-IP using Dante, 64 channels of optical or coaxial MADI, eight channels of line-level analog and eight channels of AES digital. It is a supremely powerful tool for professionals who require a significant number of audio channels. Any input can be assigned to any of the 64 tracks and any of these tracks can be routed to any output. In addition, 32-track recording at 96 kHz is supported.
The 970 records to up to four attached drives, which include two front-panel drive caddies and two rear-panel e-SATA connected drives. Material can be recorded to multiple drives simultaneously or sequentially. This eliminates time-consuming post-record copying and allows for continuous long-form, high-track count recordings.
FileSafe, which automatically detects and repairs corrupted file headers when drives are mounted, is incorporated directly into the 970. During recording, data is written to a proprietary Sound Devices file format optimized for high-data rate, real-time audio recording using an ‘.sda’ file extension. When a recording ends, files are automatically “finalized” by converting the ‘.sda’ files to standard ‘.wav’ files. In the event that files cannot be finalized, whether due to power loss or inadvertent drive disconnection, they still remain intact on the drive. Users can recover these files by simply inserting the drive back into the 970. In the absence of the 970, the FileSafe Mac or PC utility, available as a free download, can be used to recover files that have not been finalized.
In addition to RS-422 and GPIO control, the Sound Devices 970 features an embedded Web-based control panel for remote transport and setup control from any browser-enabled device as well as the ability to remotely instigate file transfer over Gigabit Ethernet with SMB. In mission-critical audio-over-IP AV installations, where hundreds of audio channels are distributed between zones, the ability to setup a redundant Dante network to protect against loss of audio due to network failure provides peace of mind. The ability to have one drive transferring files over Ethernet, while another continues recording, offers significant production time savings.
Users can perform fast file metadata editing of scene name, take number, notes, track names, circle status and reel folders during, before and after recording across all drives. Metadata is stored in industry standard Broadcast Wave iXML and bEXT containers.
With its vast array of input and output types, the 970 allows for live conversion between analog, AES digital, MADI and Dante, acting as a bridge and routing matrix between these types of audio I/O. The built-in, rock-steady Ambient Recording Lockit time-code technology makes the 970 well suited to operate as a master clock. It can also slave or be jammed to any other time-code source. All common production time-code rates and modes are supported. The 970 also supports external synchronization from word clock, MADI or AES. To simplify the connection of multiple digital inputs, SRCs are available for all MADI, Dante or AES inputs.
Sound Devices 970 is designed with a large five-inch screen for large, easy-to-read, full scale metering of up to 64 tracks and for fast and intuitive menu control. It also features the Sound Devices proprietary PowerSafe technology. PowerSafe circuitry has a built-in 10-second power reserve. In the event of power loss, the unit continues to operate for up to 10 seconds, then stops any file operation and shuts down. This ensures that a complete power loss has no effect on the recording.
Sound Devices, LLC designs and manufactures portable audio mixers, digital audio recorders and related equipment for feature film, episodic television, documentary, news-gathering, live event and acoustical test and measurement applications. Video Devices, a brand of Sound Devices, produces digital video recorders and related products that address a range of multiple-source video productions, including fast-paced, mission-critical studio applications, live sports, live events and mobile production.