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Has anyone tried the Sonosax SX-R4+ yet ?
Old 6th July 2016
  #1
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Has anyone tried the Sonosax SX-R4+ yet ?

Sonosax SX-R4+ recorder has recently become available, looks like a great machine, has anyone used it yet ? Haven't seen any reviews either. Would like to hear any comments.
Old 13th June 2018
  #2
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whippoorwill's Avatar
Bump this, as I am looking into some possible options and although the price is quite eye-watering the features and quality look amazing. Out of the box it seems cleaner and smaller than the 788T, with more future possibilities for expansion as SD seems like they are closing down the 7-series recorder.

However, the 788T has easy connectivity to a lot of equipment and can be clocked externally and be sent digital signals cleanly, which the Sonosax has some sort of asynchronous sample rate converter, which I don't know what that means but it doesn't sound as transparent, and I hope somebody clears this up for me.

Also, the sonosax has limited mixing and panning options at the moment compared to the mixing attachment to the 788T.
Nagra VI is really big compared to either and expensive in North America.
The aaton cantar is really expensive, ugly and I don't know how it sounds.
The Aeta 4Minx has been discontinued.
Zaxcom seems like the sound quality is mediocre and they don't really compete for music.
I could just buy a second 744T or 702 and just link them up but this would only be a stopgap solution.
I don't trust computers.
Old 13th June 2018
  #3
A guy I know in the professional sound recording community I know here in NZ was recently the first (and only) person in the country to buy one. He likes it. Was an upgrade from his SQN/F8 setup.

Personally I suppose I kinda think of it as like a 688 but much more compact? It is impressively small when you see it in person.

However for myself it is financially out of reach, and I'll be buying the newly announced Zoom F8n soon.
Old 14th June 2018
  #4
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Plush's Avatar
I made a move to Sonosax SX-R4+ and the SX-AD8+, the 8 channel preamp and a/d converter --it is the companion to the R4+ and allows 12 channels of mic inputs.

Sound is incredible and the converters offer very high dynamic range recording.

Inputs on the machine take microphone in and AES42 in for a digital microphone if you like.

Hopefully, Sonosax will come out with the fader panel for the R4+ so that mixing can be done as you are recording.

The Sonosax recorder is an acquisition machine, not a mixing machine.

It records to two SD cards--the second card mirroring the recordings on the fist card.

Sound is mindblowed.

Last edited by Plush; 14th June 2018 at 03:04 AM..
Old 14th June 2018
  #5
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whippoorwill's Avatar
I talked to sonosax today and the clock is accurate to 0.2ppm (unfortunately no talk about jitter however). No wordclock because it might compramise the excellent internal clock, according to them.
The AES input resamplers are not technically bit transparent but accurate to 140db according to their tests. They make excellent products so I doubt the digital capture is deficient.
I mean even Prism sound manuals say that the cabling and connectors on and between most interfaces is a limiting factor to transmission quality, so how bit-transparent can anything be?
I will get a demo in the coming weeks from Montreal.

How do the preamps compare to the best Hudson? Heijnis/Pueblo/Gordon, etc.
Are you still running the Nagra?
Old 14th June 2018
  #6
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Plush's Avatar
As long as one understands what the R4+is and what it is for, the recordist will get the best results. It is really only a "capture device." So running on internal clock is proper. It is not made to feed multiple other destinations, it is not made to do a mix (until the LC8+ fader panel is released), it is not to act as a master clock for other devices.

Only an outstanding recorder. I was attracted by its sound, by its size, and by its fantastic 12 or 16 channel recording capabilities. Also I like the fact that the inputs can be used with AES42 digital mics.

Mic preamplilfiers on the R4+ are truly remarkable. Very clean and uncolored, neutral and timbre accurate. I do still use the Nagra VI and of course it is still excellent. The Nagra preamps are warmer sounding than Sonosax but not really colored as some have asserted. Pueblo is king of depth and detail and Gordon king of excellent sound and interfacing with other gear.

Sonosax is its own clean presentation and with the Sonosax heritage of their incredible mixing consoles and mic amp design, offers the world's most advanced recorder as a PACKAGE.

Excellence is excellence--set up weighs less than 3 pounds with the AD8+ 8 channel mic preamp / ad converter box attached.
Attached Thumbnails
Has anyone tried the Sonosax SX-R4+ yet ?-sonosax-ad8-.jpg   Has anyone tried the Sonosax SX-R4+ yet ?-sonosax-mixing-panel.jpg  

Last edited by Plush; 16th June 2018 at 07:34 PM..
Old 9th March 2019
  #7
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That mixing panel. I don’t see on the Sonosax website. Does it do pan and other features or just levels?
Old 9th March 2019
  #8
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tourtelot's Avatar
Here is some news from December of 2018:

sononews – Sonosax

D.

Good to see progress on the Dante card as well.

Oh, and also an article on my mentor and one of my favorite sound people EVER, Ed Novick. He's a righteous dude!

Last edited by tourtelot; 9th March 2019 at 06:21 PM..
Old 9th March 2019
  #9
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Plush's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by HelenaBzg View Post
That mixing panel. I don’t see on the Sonosax website. Does it do pan and other features or just levels?
The mixing panel is not released yet. I don't know all of its features. Level, pan, mute etc. A simple interface.

There is an on board mixer on the SXr4+, but this panel will provide a trad. interface.

I think it will be out by this summer.
Old 12th March 2019
  #10
AB3
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I believe I read here that the U.S. model is not as good as the European one.
If so, how does one get the European unit?
Old 12th March 2019
  #11
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whippoorwill's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by AB3 View Post
I believe I read here that the U.S. model is not as good as the European one.
If so, how does one get the European unit?
Buy it in Canada? Canadian units don't have any issues.
Old 12th March 2019
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whippoorwill View Post
Buy it in Canada? Canadian units don't have any issues.
A US version taken outside of the US(into Canada) can have it's firmware updated.
Old 12th March 2019
  #13
AB3
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Is the firmware the issue with the dynamic range?
Old 12th March 2019
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AB3 View Post
Is the firmware the issue with the dynamic range?
yes
Old 12th March 2019
  #15
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I checked the specs and couldn't find a figure. Does anyone know how much gain is available on the mic inputs?
Old 12th March 2019
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pieter k View Post
I checked the specs and couldn't find a figure. Does anyone know how much gain is available on the mic inputs?
It's not like that, it's different

If you thought about what a normal mic pre's gain would be compared to line, the RX4+ has a 20 db gain switch that you can switch on top of that. The signal then goes to the AD/with the 134db SN. When you set your file length to 32 bit, the 24bit signal resides in that 'POOL'

I think the knobs might go up to plus 70db but that's post AD

It's a bit of a knoggin' scratcher
Old 12th March 2019
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by emenelton View Post
It's not like that, it's different

If you thought about what a normal mic pre's gain would be compared to line, the RX4+ has a 20 db gain switch that you can switch on top of that. The signal then goes to the AD/with the 134db SN. When you set your file length to 32 bit, the 24bit signal resides in that 'POOL'

I think the knobs might go up to plus 70db but that's post AD

It's a bit of a knoggin' scratcher
Hmm. Okay.

I guess I'm wondering about putting a ribbon mic in front of it, source-dependent of course.
Old 12th March 2019
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pieter k View Post
Hmm. Okay.

I guess I'm wondering about putting a ribbon mic in front of it, source-dependent of course.
I used it with the Beyer Single Ribbon Cardioid on Tym OH about 3 to 4 ft above

I had the 20db gain enabled and the fader turned up to +35db and had a -12 signal
Old 12th March 2019
  #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by emenelton View Post
I used it with the Beyer Single Ribbon Cardioid on Tym OH about 3 to 4 ft above

I had the 20db gain enabled and the fader turned up to +35db and had a -12 signal
Thank you. That's helpful!
Old 13th March 2019
  #20
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by emenelton View Post
It's not like that, it's different

If you thought about what a normal mic pre's gain would be compared to line, the RX4+ has a 20 db gain switch that you can switch on top of that. The signal then goes to the AD/with the 134db SN. When you set your file length to 32 bit, the 24bit signal resides in that 'POOL'

I think the knobs might go up to plus 70db but that's post AD

It's a bit of a knoggin' scratcher
Very helpful description of the gain structure, thanks.

I've been experimenting and, like others, have found that the +20dB switch provides better, i.e. quieter, results.

In fact, I had first thought line level was best suited without the +20dB switch engaged, but found that even with an external preamp, the +20dB yields excellent results.
Old 13th March 2019
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pieter k View Post
Hmm. Okay.

I guess I'm wondering about putting a ribbon mic in front of it, source-dependent of course.

example of tym with Beyer 260(?) re-ribboned by Sank into AD8+

Vienna Home by PlantLady Rec Services | Free Listening on SoundCloud
Old 13th March 2019
  #22
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Plush's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by emenelton View Post
It's not like that, it's different

If you thought about what a normal mic pre's gain would be compared to line, the RX4+ has a 20 db gain switch that you can switch on top of that. The signal then goes to the AD/with the 134db SN. When you set your file length to 32 bit, the 24bit signal resides in that 'POOL'

I think the knobs might go up to plus 70db but that's post AD

It's a bit of a knoggin' scratcher
Sorry but what you have written is garbled and wrong. You're off on principals of gain structure and also off track about the SX-R4+.

You don't increase dynamic range by adding base gain. You reduce dynamic range when you do that.

To get the full 135 dB dynamic range from the recorder, you turn off the +20dB gain and set the input gain to 0dB. You'll reach the maximum input level when you hit 21dBu. (8.7Vrms)

In practice you would not normally operate the gain pot at 0dB. Often I am running in a range of +24dB to +27dB with Schoeps or Neumann mics. So it is perfectly normal to "give up" dynamic range when doing recording.

Max gain is around 78dB, so that is more than enough to drive a ribbon microphone.

Also don't run at 32 bit--you will make your files incompatible for use on other devices and daws.
Old 13th March 2019
  #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Plush View Post
Sorry but what you have written is garbled and wrong. You're off on principals of gain structure and also off track about the SX-R4+.

You don't increase dynamic range by adding base gain. You reduce dynamic range when you do that.

To get the full 135 dB dynamic range from the recorder, you turn off the +20dB gain and set the input gain to 0dB. You'll reach the maximum input level when you hit 21dBu. (8.7Vrms)

In practice you would not normally operate the gain pot at 0dB. Often I am running in a range of +24dB to +27dB with Schoeps or Neumann mics. So it is perfectly normal to "give up" dynamic range when doing recording.

Max gain is around 78dB, so that is more than enough to drive a ribbon microphone.

Also don't run at 32 bit--you will make your files incompatible for use on other devices and daws.
I now your out of my league but I believe what I wrote.

It is a different gain structure when the gain knob doesn't affect the signal before it goes into the AD; isn't it? If I'm mistaken about that, then I'm wrong.

I tried to describe how I thought it worked. I don't think dynamic range is really affected at all.

EX. a 24bit clip in a 32bit container whether it's peak is -30db or -6db; in a 32bit container it's exactly the same clip. The only difference being is you turned the fader up +24db. Now if you enabled the +20 gain and left your fader at +6db, that -30 db peak signal would be written as a -10db signal and you would hit the AD higher up in it's bit structure.

I guess I could be way off

Thanks for your response let me know if you can cut me any slack on this.
Old 13th March 2019
  #24
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Plush's Avatar
I want to be gentlemanly, so I’ll say that it does not matter what you BELIEVE is going on in the recorder. Be a recording scientist! Just spend some more time thinking about gain structure. You have 20dB of analog gain in front of the a/d converter. You engage that 20 dB of gain and immediately your dynamic range in your system is reduced because you’re then starting above 0dB gain. Max dynamic range runs from 0dB to the max level of the system (see above).

Language about a clip being in a 32 bit container have no meaning here.
Old 13th March 2019
  #25
Gear Nut
 

This short article discusses the gain structure of the R4+:

No Gain, No Pain: Sonosax R4+ and AD8+ Gain Structure - rtsound
Old 13th March 2019
  #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Plush View Post
I want to be gentlemanly, so I’ll say that it does not matter what you BELIEVE is going on in the recorder. Be a recording scientist! Just spend some more time thinking about gain structure. You have 20dB of analog gain in front of the a/d converter. You engage that 20 dB of gain and immediately your dynamic range in your system is reduced because you’re then starting above 0dB gain. Max dynamic range runs from 0dB to the max level of the system (see above).

Language about a clip being in a 32 bit container have no meaning here.

I did not get that.

It's not a practice to record a Schoeps mic at -36db peak just because you can add 24db in your daw to get your peaks in the 32bit file playback back up to -12db and if your writing 24bit, it would seem you might run the risk of low level detail becoming inconsequential.

If you have to add 24db of gain with fader, post AD,good engineering practices would 'suggest' to utilize the 20db boost pre-AD and then turn your fader up +4db and end up with the same -12db peak signal with more complete low level detail, dynamic range and SN.

If you had a hot signal that overloaded the AD then I would be on your side 100% but mics need gain.
Old 13th March 2019
  #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by weltarm View Post
This short article discusses the gain structure of the R4+:

No Gain, No Pain: Sonosax R4+ and AD8+ Gain Structure - rtsound
I read that one a lot. It's one of the few sources and very thin.

I'm not sure about why it is setup like that but if you do run a regular preamp into it, I think you can get a full boat 'AD' capture.

If you were recording a 134db sound and left your fader at zero and gain at 0, then you could have a 'mega-yacht' AD capture with just the SONOSAX pre.
Old 13th March 2019
  #28
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Plush's Avatar
You have to read both of my posts to emenelton to understand what I’m saying. The first post describes the theoretical proper way and the settings you need to utilize the full 135dB dynamic range of the Sonosax recorder. I then describe how, in practical terms, one almost always uses the +20 dB analog gain in the machine to reach real world useable levels.

Then the poster misunderstands my point and criticized me for advocating recording with very low modulation. That is clearly not what I said.

It is the rare music program material that has a dynamic range greater than 40 dB. So the Sonosax achievement with the two a/d converters in parallel is mainly a proof of technology demonstration. It is not something that is used in the course of everyday recording.

Is there an English language comprehension problem, perhaps?
Old 14th March 2019
  #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by weltarm View Post
Very helpful description of the gain structure, thanks.

I've been experimenting and, like others, have found that the +20dB switch provides better, i.e. quieter, results.

In fact, I had first thought line level was best suited without the +20dB switch engaged, but found that even with an external preamp, the +20dB yields excellent results.
Thank-you for your kind words.

Sonosax commented on this, I sent them this note; they said it was ok to share.

My note,

Dear Sonosax,

-I am hoping Sonosax would provide your thoughts. I recently offered my ‘take’ on how your dual AD designed functions and am asking you if you might read my description and comment on how correct or wrong my description is.

"If you thought about what a normal mic pre's gain would be compared to line, the RX4+ has a 20 db gain switch that you can switch on top of that. The signal then goes to the AD/with the 134db SN. When you set your file length to 32 bit, the 24bit signal resides in that 'POOL'

I think the knobs might go up to plus 70db but that's post AD"

I hope you might let me know ‘how close I got it’ or not

their response:

Hi Chris,

This is not how I would describe the SX-R4+ dual-ADC works, but your description is correct:

Best regards,

……...

They did offer some other clarifications. Which I would be happy to share if you asked.

Thanks


AD8+ recording

Vienna Home by PlantLady Rec Services | Free Listening on SoundCloud
Old 14th March 2019
  #30
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by emenelton View Post
They did offer some other clarifications. Which I would be happy to share if you asked.
Can you post the entire email here? I'm certainly interested in how they'd describe the AD stage.
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