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Sound Devices 970 Recorder
Old 24th May 2014
  #1
Gear Maniac
 

Sound Devices 970 Recorder

As an early adopter of the Sound Devices 970 recorder, I thought I'd post a few points that may not be immediately obvious from the current documentation. Sound Devices are firmly focussed on the needs of Location Recordists for Film, so unsurprisingly, when running Analog, AES or Dante at 48k, the device is well sorted out and functions as expected. There are a few gotchas with 96kHz and MADI operation in the current firmware (2.00) worth knowing about though.

Dante is currently fully disabled if you operate the device at 96kHz - despite what it says in their sales material. They are working on it.

The MADI implementation at 96kHz uses the newer '96kHz Framerate' system rather than the older SMUX system where the framerate stayed at 48kHz, and the track data was split over two consecutive tracks. DiGiCo consoles use the older version (but there is a work-around with the DiGiCo SD racks, which can be set to output a 48kHz stream from their MADI Split BNC while running the rest of the system at 96kHz).

The 970 doesn't really auto-detect the incoming MADI type (56ch, 56 plus control, 64ch) like an RME or Avid device - but in practice is quite happy with 56 plus Control MADI as put out by DiGiCo consoles as long as you de-assign channels 57-64, which will be clicking. It can, however, only send out 64ch MADI (32ch at 96kHz)
Old 25th May 2014
  #2
Lives for gear
 
JonesH's Avatar
Thanks for the heads up!
Old 25th May 2014
  #3
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Plush's Avatar
Thank you for this valuable report. And to think that I nearly bought this recorder to record 96k.

I also spoke on the telephone with the factory. They never informed me that 96k with Dante was not functional.
Old 22nd January 2015
  #4
Here for the gear
 

So does this mean that you cannot use the 970 for virtual soundcheck (I.e. Copy MADI) on the Digico Consoles if you are operating at 96k?
Old 23rd January 2015
  #5
Gear Maniac
 

yes - that's correct. I've explained that to them as a potential market they are missing out on, but it doesn't seem to be on their radar. Anyway - for Virtual Soundcheck use, the lack of ease on jumping around recordings, finding particular parts you want to rehearse, and looping them, makes the 970 lee than ideal. It's strengths lie in solid recording and timecode capability. I find myself using the 970 as the main Recorder, and a Reaper or ProTools based rig as the Backup and quick-replay machine. Best of both worlds.
Old 23rd January 2015
  #6
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by njrsound View Post
yes - that's correct. I've explained that to them as a potential market they are missing out on, but it doesn't seem to be on their radar. Anyway - for Virtual Soundcheck use, the lack of ease on jumping around recordings, finding particular parts you want to rehearse, and looping them, makes the 970 lee than ideal. It's strengths lie in solid recording and timecode capability. I find myself using the 970 as the main Recorder, and a Reaper or ProTools based rig as the Backup and quick-replay machine. Best of both worlds.
Thanks. That is very helpful data, as I was just looking at these units for that exact purpose with Digico Consoles.

So are you able to record 96k from the SD racks? Or do you have to take the 48k output which then gets upsampled to 96k in the 970 (which would kind of defeats the purpose).

I will probably be talking to a Sound Devices rep soon, so I too will tell them about the huge Digico market they are missing out on!
Old 23rd January 2015
  #7
Gear Maniac
 

No, you record at 48k from the Aux Madi Out of the rack, set to "half sample rate" if the rack and console are running at 96k. No point in setting the 970 to 96k in this case- just a waste of drive space... You can not get such a 48k feed out of any of the Madi ports on the console surface if it is running at 96k.
Old 9th January 2017
  #8
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PatrickFaith's Avatar
 

Has anything changed on the recieving 96k dante data being disabled ?

[ I read through the updates but it looks like 96k dante is still disabled: I never need 64 channels but often need 96k to record 16 channels]
Old 9th January 2017
  #9
Gear Maniac
 

Hi Patrick,
No change to that - except they changed the documentation to make it clear that it can't. The Brooklyn II OEM Dante card inside can and does operate at 96K in other products, so it's something on the SD side of the circuitry, which presumably is a hardware rather than firmware thing or they would have fixed it by now. You can assume it never will at this point. I own two of the 970s and have used up to four on shows at 48K (256 channels), so having to find a work-around for the 96K classical recording I do is acceptable.
For 16 channel jobs (most of them), I just feed one 8-channel Audient preamp into the AES ins and one into the Analog ins (reversing those feeds into a backup 970 if required) then go MADI out at 96k into my laptop via a Waves Soundgrid MADI to Ethernet convertor to do my monitor mix and another recording in ProTools. MADI back from ProTools to some empty channels on the main 970 to output as Analog as monitoring and PFL paths, saving an extra Soundgrid interface and a Switch. Works like a charm and I don't have to carry a console. Talkback's a separate box for me.
32 channel 96K jobs are MADI in/out. As an update to my original post, the workaround for the 970 only accepting 96k Frame format for 96k MADI, when your source can only do the older SMUX format, is to go through anything made by RME (I use my old HDSPE MadiFX card in a thunderbolt PCIe Chassis hanging off a spare laptop - using Totalmix as a patchbay, which it excels at).
Old 9th January 2017
  #10
Quote:
Originally Posted by njrsound View Post
Hi Patrick,
No change to that - except they changed the documentation to make it clear that it can't. The Brooklyn II OEM Dante card inside can and does operate at 96K in other products, so it's something on the SD side of the circuitry, which presumably is a hardware rather than firmware thing or they would have fixed it by now. You can assume it never will at this point. I own two of the 970s and have used up to four on shows at 48K (256 channels), so having to find a work-around for the 96K classical recording I do is acceptable.
For 16 channel jobs (most of them), I just feed one 8-channel Audient preamp into the AES ins and one into the Analog ins (reversing those feeds into a backup 970 if required) then go MADI out at 96k into my laptop via a Waves Soundgrid MADI to Ethernet convertor to do my monitor mix and another recording in ProTools. MADI back from ProTools to some empty channels on the main 970 to output as Analog as monitoring and PFL paths, saving an extra Soundgrid interface and a Switch. Works like a charm and I don't have to carry a console. Talkback's a separate box for me.
32 channel 96K jobs are MADI in/out. As an update to my original post, the workaround for the 970 only accepting 96k Frame format for 96k MADI, when your source can only do the older SMUX format, is to go through anything made by RME (I use my old HDSPE MadiFX card in a thunderbolt PCIe Chassis hanging off a spare laptop - using Totalmix as a patchbay, which it excels at).
That's a shame. The website doesn't (in my opinion) make it clear that 96K over Dante is not an option.

The JoeCo BlackBox Recorder appears to be an alternative with 32 channels at 96K.
Old 9th January 2017
  #11
Deleted User
Guest
There is also the Tascam DA6400 but its Dante option card pushes the base price beyond the Sound Devices 970.
It's also not as feature rich as the Sound Devices.
Old 9th January 2017
  #12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Deleted User View Post
There is also the Tascam DA6400 but its Dante option card pushes the base price beyond the Sound Devices 970.
It's also not as feature rich as the Sound Devices.
I really liked the form factor of the Sound Devices, and their reliability is well known. Well, maybe as AoIP popularity increases, they'll come out with a 980 or something that actually does Dante at 96K.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #13
Gear Addict
 
lukedamrosch's Avatar
 

Hello 970 users,

I was just reviewing the Sound Devices website and it is a little ambiguous whether this 96k issue has been fully addressed in the past couple of years since this thread was last active.

Normally I would reach out to their customer support, but this seems like an unreasonable time to expect prompt responses from any pro audio company.

Would anyone happen to know if the 970 (with current firmware) can indeed support Dante recording at 96k, presumably with only 32 channels, similarly to JoeCo's recorder...

Thanks!
Old 2 weeks ago
  #14
Gear Maniac
 

The 970 still does NOT support Dante at 96K. Nor does it correctly apply it's own word clock to the internal Dante card in the way Audinate expects it to - so the Dante Controller setting to 'Sync to external', while available to select, does not work. This is an issue should you want to feed the 970 with an external word clock and have that be the master clock for the Dante network as well. Sound Devices has said they will look at fixing the latter problem, but clearly have no interest in fixing the 96K thing - even though (or more likely because) their new product 'Scorpio' does 32 channel Dante at either 48 or 96K quite happily.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #15
Gear Addict
 
lukedamrosch's Avatar
 

Thank you very much for this info.

Though disappointing, it is not a complete surprise. I had also not heard anything about that sync-to-external issue.
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