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Sonosax SX-M2D2 - how practical?
Old 10th January 2020
  #1
Sonosax SX-M2D2 - how practical?

I learned about the SX-M2D2 here (@Plush). While it looks like a cool unit and the price seems right, I was wondering if it would be right for me.

This year, I want to buy a clean stereo preamp (up from one Grace M101) and an ADC that's better than my RME Fireface UCX (distant second priority). Both will be used for remote binaural recording and at home. I prefer small, portable units and want detented or stepped pots.

The SX-M2D2 I think would be a great combo unit but after reading the manual, I'm wondering if there aren't too many compromises:
  • Mini-XLR so adapters needed
  • No 44.1 kHz
  • Menu diving (no idea if good or bad)
  • Digital out is XLR -- would have preferred coax S/PDIF TBH

For those that have the SX-M2D2 -- is it the combo unit?
Old 10th January 2020
  #2
Lives for gear
 
Plush's Avatar
 
5 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
An excellent unit for sure!

It has the top sound available today. The best mic amps in the world and the best conversion in the world.
It does have stepped pots
It operates on batteries which is always the most quiet powering source and the most useable and convenient.

Please note:

The unit does require the user to study the manual and to practice with the machine to learn it. There IS a learning curve.

Various menus take a while to learn and get used to.

No 44.1KHz. is no big deal because sample rate conversion is so good these days.

I don't have a problem with the adaptors. Once you are equipped, they all fit in your small bag with no problems.

Currently, I am getting the best sound in the world when I use the SONOSAX M2D2 to record onto my iPhone. I use the Apogee app and an Apple Camera adaptor to use the M2D2 via a USB connection onto the iPhone.
Old 10th January 2020
  #3
It sounds like it replaced a bit of kit for you, @ Plush ?
Old 10th January 2020
  #4
Lives for gear
 
NorseHorse's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by johannburkard ➡️
  • Mini-XLR so adapters needed
  • No 44.1 kHz
  • Menu diving (no idea if good or bad)
  • Digital out is XLR -- would have preferred coax S/PDIF TBH
After one gig, I think you wouldn't even care about these things any more. The quality, compactness, and features seem perfect for you! I now carry a couple Mini-XLR adapter cables (my first ones ever) for the Sonosax SX-R4+, and it's easy-peasy. I've also adapted coax SPDIF to XLR for the Dangerous Source monitor control. Wouldn't hesitate to go the other way if you need to backup to something coax.
Old 10th January 2020 | Show parent
  #5
Quote:
Originally Posted by NorseHorse ➡️
I've also adapted coax SPDIF to XLR for the Dangerous Source monitor control.
I do the same coax to XLR thing with my Genelec 8340s. But I heard it's not guaranteed to work.
Old 11th January 2020 | Show parent
  #6
Lives for gear
 
Don S's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
[QUOTE=Plush;14441888]
It operates on batteries which is always the most quiet powering source a[/U]

Plush, have you ever used it with the Hirose connector to hear the difference in noise when powered from AC?
Old 11th January 2020
  #7
Lives for gear
 
Don S's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by johannburkard ➡️
I learned about the SX-M2D2 here (@Plush). While it looks like a cool unit and the price seems right, I was wondering if it would be right for me.

This year, I want to buy a clean stereo preamp (up from one Grace M101) and an ADC that's better than my RME Fireface UCX (distant second priority). Both will be used for remote binaural recording and at home. I prefer small, portable units and want detented or stepped pots.

The SX-M2D2 I think would be a great combo unit but after reading the manual, I'm wondering if there aren't too many compromises:
  • Mini-XLR so adapters needed
  • No 44.1 kHz
  • Menu diving (no idea if good or bad)
  • Digital out is XLR -- would have preferred coax S/PDIF TBH

For those that have the SX-M2D2 -- is it the combo unit?
I recently started working with mini XLR (also referred to as TA3) and they are not as delicate as I thought they would be. The film guys on some pretty unforgiving locations use them daily. They are a pain to solder and takes some practice. I made 3 foot lengths so that they can be properly strain relieved. You want XLR (balanced) on AES in case you need long cable runs. 44.1 sample rate is waning, even though I'll admit I'm probably one of the last pro guys who use it all, albeit on only one client!
Old 11th January 2020 | Show parent
  #8
Quote:
Originally Posted by Don S ➡️
The film guys on some pretty unforgiving locations use them daily.
The film guys really must be quite discreet because I didn't even know mini-XLR existed.
Old 11th January 2020 | Show parent
  #9
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by johannburkard ➡️
The film guys really must be quite discreet because I didn't even know mini-XLR existed.
The Sound Devices 788 requires TA3’s for analog inputs 5-8 and analog ouputs 1,2,3,4 and AES 1/2 and 3/4. So yes TA3’s (mini-XLR’s) have been used for a long time.
Old 11th January 2020 | Show parent
  #10
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by johannburkard ➡️
The film guys really must be quite discreet because I didn't even know mini-XLR existed.
I sometimes wish history had gone differently, so that mini-XLR was the norm and what we know as 'regular XLR' was the oddity or exception !
Old 11th January 2020 | Show parent
  #11
Lives for gear
 
jimjazzdad's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 ➡️
I sometimes wish history had gone differently, so that mini-XLR was the norm and what we know as 'regular XLR' was the oddity or exception !
...until you went to solder up some cables...they're almost as annoying as 1/8" 'stereo' plugs
Old 11th January 2020 | Show parent
  #12
Gear Guru
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by jimjazzdad ➡️
...until you went to solder up some cables...they're almost as annoying as 1/8" 'stereo' plugs
for the latter, manufacturers should get crucified!

anyway, big fan of d-sub25 here (except that the yamaha pin out for aes is pointless) - i'm not doing any film shootings though...
Old 11th January 2020 | Show parent
  #13
Lives for gear
 
Plush's Avatar
 
5 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
[QUOTE=Don S;14442541]
Quote:
Originally Posted by Plush ➡️
It operates on batteries which is always the most quiet powering source a[/U]

Plush, have you ever used it with the Hirose connector to hear the difference in noise when powered from AC?
No, I have only operated on a battery. It uses one vape type battery. The unit is always very very quiet, so I doubt that one would hear ANY difference if powered from an AC supply.
Old 15th January 2020
  #14
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
A question about the SX-M2D2 dynamic range. I read that the SX-R4+ dynamic range of 135dB is limited in the USA version to 114dB because of patent issues. Is the SX-M2D2 also limited in the US version?
Old 15th January 2020
  #15
Lives for gear
 
Plush's Avatar
 
5 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
No, it is not limited. It has the full 135dB range.
Old 15th January 2020 | Show parent
  #16
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Plush ➡️
No, it is not limited. It has the full 135dB range.
Thanks!
Old 17th January 2020
  #17
Gear Nut
 
🎧 5 years
For what it's worth I do notice a difference in sound between R4+/AD8+ preamps and M2D2; the latter having a more 'hifi' sound, with slightly brighter upper, slightly lighter lower ends, and a touch harsher in general.

Last edited by AdamAsnan; 17th January 2020 at 01:18 PM..
Old 17th January 2020
  #18
Gear Nut
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by johannburkard ➡️
Digital out is XLR -- would have preferred coax S/PDIF TBH
Balanced AES3 carries wordclock as part of the data stream. The M2D2 doesn't offer a wordclock out, so connecting to unbalanced sources could exhibit some discrepancy in quantization
Old 19th January 2020 | Show parent
  #19
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by AdamAsnan ➡️
For what it's worth I do notice a difference in sound between R4+/AD8+ preamps and M2D2; the latter having a more 'hifi' sound, with slightly brighter upper, slightly lighter lower ends, and a touch harsher in general.
That’s disappointing to hear.
Old 20th January 2020
  #20
For those that have the unit, could you maybe do the loopback test here on GS? Instructions at the bottom here.
Old 20th January 2020
  #21
Lives for gear
 
Plush's Avatar
 
5 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
We have already qualified the unit for you.

Buy it today with confidence.
Old 25th January 2020 | Show parent
  #22
Here for the gear
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by AdamAsnan ➡️
For what it's worth I do notice a difference in sound between R4+/AD8+ preamps and M2D2; the latter having a more 'hifi' sound, with slightly brighter upper, slightly lighter lower ends, and a touch harsher in general.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Plush ➡️
We have already qualified the unit for you.

Buy it today with confidence.

Any samples you guys could share? Although the functionality is great, the pre-amps are a big reason I would like to buy the M2D2.

Btw Adam, your name rings a bell, is it possible that I bought your Mkh 30 a couple years ago?
Old 23rd February 2020
  #23
Gear Head
 
Eric D's Avatar
 
I don't know if this can help, but here are 2 samples of a concert recording made with the SX-M2D2 and a pair of Schoeps MK2H .
No processing at all, only the sound of the microphones and of the Sonosax .
Recording chain : 2 Schoeps MK2H in A-B -> Sonosax SX-M2D2 -> AES out -> Tascam DR 680 MK2 digital in .
I know, this only MP3, but this gives a good idea of the original sound .

The musical ensemble consists of a choir with 45 people and an organ (Te Deum) . Same for the Agnus Dei, plus 4 vocal soloists (only 2 singing here) and a small string ensemble (4 violins, 2 altis, 1 cello, 1 double bass and a harp ).
Some problems with the musical performance in the Agnus Dei, and a strange noise at 1'43", but this is not the subject here .

From my first recordings with the SX-M2D2, I can say this : lots of gain, very low noise, great transparency, great transient response and very open spatial reproduction .
Attached Files

Agnus Dei.mp3 (11.16 MB, 4380 views)

Te Deum.mp3 (8.72 MB, 3915 views)

Old 31st March 2020
  #24
Lives for gear
 
Has anyone else had trouble using the M2D2 to record using Windows? My M2D2 works perfectly with Mac OS and Android (haven't tried iOS yet but will once I get the camera connector), but with every daw I've tried in Windows I get what looks like a feedback loop and immediate clipping as soon as I arm the tracks. I'm assuming it's due to the ASIO driver, which I downloaded from the Sonosax website.

Overall impressions are very positive -- the sound is excellent, which of course is what matters most; the user interface does take a few hours of practice to get used to but if you mainly use the same settings you can just set it up for your most common scenario and never have to adjust anything except the levels after that. At first I was disappointed that there's no separate volume control for headphone levels, but in fact a short press on the right knob calls up the headphone menu. I love having stepped pots and the display shows the gain values so you can match the two inputs exactly.
Old 31st March 2020
  #25
Lives for gear
 
Plush's Avatar
 
5 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
Sorry, I have not tried the unit with Windows. Write to Sonosax headquarters with your question.

[email protected]
Old 2nd April 2020 | Show parent
  #26
Lives for gear
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bradh ➡️
Has anyone else had trouble using the M2D2 to record using Windows?
I figured out the problem...it was just newbie user error.
Old 17th December 2020 | Show parent
  #27
Here for the gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by AdamAsnan ➡️
Balanced AES3 carries wordclock as part of the data stream. The M2D2 doesn't offer a wordclock out, so connecting to unbalanced sources could exhibit some discrepancy in quantization
Would be an issue with a Kemper then for reamping via SPDIF?
Old 22nd December 2020 | Show parent
  #28
Gear Addict
 
🎧 10 years
How do they compare to the other best preamps in the world, the DAV?
Old 1st January 2021
  #29
Here for the gear
 
Hey everybody,

this is my first Gearslutz post. It would be magic if someone could help me out with this one:

Im currently using a MixPre 6 ii with a Telinga Parabolic Microphone system to record bird vocalizations. Now, in an attempt to achieve Sonosax sound quality, would it be possible to use the Sonsosax SX-M2D2 with this setup?

cheers

Mat
Old 2nd January 2021 | Show parent
  #30
Lives for gear
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by moeze1 ➡️
Im currently using a MixPre 6 ii with a Telinga Parabolic Microphone system to record bird vocalizations. Now, in an attempt to achieve Sonosax sound quality, would it be possible to use the Sonsosax SX-M2D2 with this setup?
Assuming you have the Telinga handle with the XLR cable, I see no reason why you wouldn't be able to use it with the M2D2 (you'll need an XLR to TA3 cable, because the M2D2 only has TA3 inputs), but I wouldn't use the MixPre 6 as the recorder. Use a phone or tablet instead; here's why:

The M2D2's line out has gone through A/D and D/A conversion--you can't bypass the converters like you can with, for example, the Sound Devices USBPre 2 in standalone mode. So whatever your mic is recording will go through the M2D2's A/D and D/A converters, then into the MixPre 6, where it will undergo A/D conversion again using the MixPre's converters.

A better solution is to go into a phone or tablet. I'd recommend an Apple phone or tablet, using the Apogee Metarecorder app. On Android you'd have the advantage of USB-C in many Android phones (some of the Apple iPads now have USB-C too), so no need for an adapter. But I'm not aware of any recording apps in Android that save 24-bit files. The Sonosax-recommended app for Android, Field Recorder, records at 24-bit but dithers those recordings down to 16-bit in the process of saving them. On Apple, you'll get 24-bit files. (There may be some recording apps on Android that do save 24-bit files, I'm just not aware of them.)

If you dont have an Apple phone or tablet, the cheapest good solution is to get a refurbished iPod Touch, which is perfect for this task. If you have Dropbox, you can save your recorded files to a Dropbox folder directly from the Apogee Metarecorder app.

If you decide to record from the M2D2 into the MixPre 6 anyway, you can set up the M2D2 to deliver one balanced channel to the line out. That would be the best setup, since then you can go (using a TA3 to XLR cable) into one of the XLR inputs in the MixPre 6; you'll need to assign that input as a line rather than mic input in the MixPre 6 (press on the channel fader knob in the MixPre 6 and press Input in the menu to go to the channel assignment menu). The alternative is to use a TA3 to 3.5mm cable to go into the MixPre's 3.5mm input (also the approach to use if you're using the default stereo unbalanced line out from the M2D2), but based on what I've read you won't get quite as good sound through that input.

Bottom line: for the purest "Sonosax sound," go from the M2D2 into a phone, tablet, or laptop, rather than into the MixPre recorder.

Will you hear a difference between recordings made with the MixPre 6 and the M2D2? For recording birdsongs and classical music, maybe. The MixPre is no slouch; I do hear differences with my M2D2 (mainly in terms of a bit more detail and a greater sense of openness) but no night-and-day differences.
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