Sound Devices 688 Mixer Takes Field Production to Next Level
Sound Devices, specialists in audio and video products for broadcast and film production, introduces its next-generation field mixer with the 688, a 12-input, 16-track portable mixer/recorder. The new 688 is the center of an extensible mixing and recording system incorporating MixAssist, Sound Devices automatic mixing technology. The 688 accepts the new SL-6 SuperSlot powering and wireless accessory. A mixing bag comprised of a 688 with attached SL-6 plus SuperSlot-compatible wireless offers audio mixing, recording and wireless receiver control all from the mixer, with dramatically simplified power distribution and interconnection.
Representing a major evolution of Sound Devices’ mixer and recorder products, the 688 harnesses the best of Sound Devices’ successful 633, 664 and 788T. “The 688 is the most powerful portable mixer/recorder available,” says Matt Anderson, CEO of Sound Devices. “We’ve included features called-out by our customers, including 12-channels of MixAssist, 12-inputs, eight-outputs, digital mixing and routing, 192 kHz sampling, audio delay on both inputs and outputs, PowerSafe and QuickBoot. When used with the SL-6 accessory, the 688 provides tight integration and control of wireless manufacturers’ slot-compatible receivers with no cabling required.”
The optional SL-6 powering and wireless system, available summer 2015, dramatically simplifies interconnection between the 688 and multiple channels of wireless by accepting up to three dual-channel slot-compatible receivers. Using Sound Devices’ developed SuperSlot interconnection standard, the SL-6 offers all powering, audio interconnection and control needed for SuperSlot-compatible receivers. The SL-6 attaches directly to the 688 and offers built-in NP-1 battery powering for the 688 mixer, slot receivers, plus four additional DC outputs for external peripherals. The SL-6 also offers built-in antenna distribution.
“We are continually developing technologies that offer more flexibility and choice to our customers, and we have achieved this with the SL-6 and SuperSlot,” says Paul Isaacs, VP of Marketing and Product Design at Sound Devices. “With SuperSlot, Sound Devices developed an open specification that will certainly become the new standard for wireless integration with audio mixers and recorders.”
Regarded as the industry’s first non-proprietary, open wireless control and interfacing standard, SuperSlot is the result of Sound Devices’ collaboration with a number of leading wireless manufacturers including Lectrosonics, Sennheiser, Wisycom and Audio Ltd.
“Lectrosonics is excited to partner with Sound Devices with this new integration interface,” says Gordon Moore, Vice President of Lectrosonics. “By offering centralized control and interoperability, we see this as another step forward in making the life of the professional mixer easier. For existing owners of the SRb, an audio board upgrade will be made available through the Lectrosonics service department. All future Lectrosonics slot products will be SuperSlot-compatible. SRas will need the SRb upgrade plus the audio board upgrade. Unaltered SR receivers will provide audio through the slot but control functions will not be available.”
“We are excited to have collaborated with Sound Devices during the development of the SuperSlot format,” says Tobias Von Allwörden, Product Manager Broadcast and Media for Sennheiser. “As a new open standard, we look forward to hearing the feedback from the industry on this groundbreaking new protocol.”
“One of the most common issues in professional audio is setup and interoperability,” says Massimo Polo, Sales & Marketing Director, Wisycom. “It was a pleasure working with Sound Devices to enable our Wisycom systems to support SuperSlot. Wisycom has recently issued a new MCR42 firmware and a SLK-IKSS rear panel adapter update to accommodate this new technology. The overall wireless capabilities will also benefit from the Sound Devices SL-6’s antenna amplifiers and filters. We continue to develop new firmware updates to support frequency scan, and more, in order to further benefit our customers’ workflow.”
“It’s fantastic to have collaborated with Sound Devices on the SuperSlot standard,” says Kishore Patel, Managing Director at Audio Ltd. “I believe that it is the way the whole market is moving and Audio Ltd. is very pleased to be collaborating with the leaders in mixer/recorder technology.”
The 688, which is now shipping, is the first 6-series mixer/recorder to incorporate Sound Devices’ MixAssist technology. First introduced with the 788T, MixAssist has been expanded in the 688 to offer 12-channel automatic mixing capability. Using the most sophisticated algorithm on the market today, MixAssist automatically attenuates the level of inactive inputs and maintains consistent background levels regardless of the number of open microphones. Comb filtering and phasing artifacts are also reduced by intelligently attenuating microphones receiving the same audio signal.
The 688 provides six high-bandwidth mic/line XLR inputs, each complete with phantom power, high-pass filter, analog input limiter and variable pan, plus six additional line-level TA3 inputs for additional flexibility in complex productions. All inputs are assignable, pre- or post-fade to eight output buses, left/right plus Aux 1-6. The main left/right mix is available to three outputs simultaneously via transformer-balanced XLR and Hirose outputs.
The 688 also offers 16-track, polyphonic or monophonic broadcast WAV and MP3 file recording to SD and CompactFlash cards. All common sampling rates are supported, including 192 kHz on up to six tracks. The 688 features comprehensive metadata editing, sound report creation, Ambient™ time-code circuitry, two-second turn-on time with QuickBoot, and PowerSafe, a built-in 10-second power reserve to protect against loss of data.