Sound Devices 688 by jmarkham
I have the SoundDevices 722 and 702T and have
recently picked up this 688 for multitracking large
film/TV projects. The 688 can record 12 simultaneous
I've used it on a couple of projects. As you would expect,
it has performed flawlessly. Because of the high track count,
you will need to be sure to use the supported media. Check
the SoundDevices website for supported media. I am using
the Sandisk Extreme Plus 120GB SDHC card. The 688
can also take a CF card .. so total, one SDHC, one CF.
I'm getting 16 hours of record time with the SDHC card
alone. You can configure primary and roll-over card choices.
There are 6 mic preamps with XLR inputs. The Mic pre's
are excellent .. studio quality in every way with HPF and LPF
filters as well as limiters with knee controls. There are 6 line level inputs.
The first 6 have volume and trim where the second 6 just have volume.
There are 2 AES digitial inputs for a total of 4 digital
inputs. There is a built-in slate mic, but you can use an
external one if you choose.
There are two L/R outputs and then 4 "X" buss routes that
you can use. The X outputs come in really handy for feeds
to cameras (for redundancy) as well as director feeds and
actor feeds if they need them.
The routing is a little complicated get get configured.
The 688 has a "MixAssist" feature which is uncanny at mixing the various inputs for an intelligible
monitor mix on the L/R channels. I almost always use it.
There are 3 Comm/Return lines if you're getting audio from
upstream (you need to monitor).
You can record WAV multichannel or mono Wave multichannel
as well as to MP3 (which I have a chronic aversion to).
You can stereo link input pairs for stereo recording as well as
You maximum sample rate is 192kHz, however the number
of tracks you can record on drops to six.
Phantom power is configurable for 48V and 12V (if you have any T gear).
Metering is excellent once you get used to the packed LCD
Timecode in and out is provided over a LEMO. You can get
RED and ARRI TC cables as well as a BNC In/Out dual
cable. SoundDevices still partners with Ambient for the TC
and it is absolutely rock solid. There are lots of controls to do
offsetting to compensate for delays in other gear.
There are prefader listens / metering as well as tone settings
for leveling and testing lines.
Running Phantom causes the 688 to consume power at a
rate where monitoring the batteries frequently is recommended. I have an AC power adapter for cart.
As you would expect, the 688 is built like a tank. I had
someone show me the Zoom F8 .. and it's not even worth
comparing the quality of the two units (IMHO). Both the
sound and build of the 688 makes the F8 seem like a toy.
I have used the 688 on a couple of projects and it peformed
flawlessly. This is an excellent box from SoundDevices.
It's more complicated than my 7 series gear, but it's designed
to be more of a cart recorder than a bag recorder. Which is
something to consider since it weighs a bit.
It can take a USB keyboard if you want to do logging, which
if you're doing cart, is required.
This is a great box....