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So a buddy of mine is letting me borrow his Sound Devices 722, not to mention his MKH-30 and 40. I got about three weeks with it. I'm going through the manual to get a feel for what's inside, but I was wondering if any experienced users have any tips with the 722 they could share?

Be sure I will test and play and record and experiment lots with it (not just M-S set ups), but I was wondering if there's any prefered presets, routing, roll off settings, limiter settings, etc. that anyone else might have?

Is there anything I should watch out for in general when using the unit? Anything anyone has run into that I should keep an eye out for?

Also with the MKH-30 and 40 being shorties, could I still use a shotty like the ME66 in place of the MKH-40 in the M-S set up? I know I could use anything, but would I get a decent result with a directional mic working with the fiq. 8?

My main recording focus will be a HS football game (crowd, sidelines, field), a comedy club audience, waterfall, car drive bys, whooshes, and then anything else I stumble upon.

As always, much thanks.

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Hi Auddity,

I have a 722 and there's a few cool features I turn to that are helpful:

  • you can record simultaneously to hard drive and compact flash (menu setting 6: Rec: Media Select). Recording media rarely fail, but capturing on both media at once covers your bases
  • if you are recording stereo, you can gang/combine the pots for easier level control (28: Input 1,2: Linking, MS)
  • there are plenty of soft key shortcuts that save time from scrolling through the menu system. Here's a link to the PDF from Sound Devices. Print it out and tape it to the top of the unit: http://www.sounddevices.com/download/guides/7-series-shortcuts.pdf
  • make sure the unit has the latest firmware. Free firmware download and installation instructions are here: http://www.sounddevices.com/download/722-firmware.htm
  • the pre roll is a great feature. Never hurts and has saved me many times. Set it at 11: Rec: Pre-Roll Time

And some caveats to be aware of:

  • not every aspect of the 722's settings is displayed on the front panel or with the LEDs. Since you are using someone else's recorder, the settings may need to be refreshed or reset. Go through all the settings and make sure that settings such as gain, routing, delay, etc are set right
  • the dial on the right side of the machine modifies the monitoring settings while recording. By turning this dial you can quickly select monitoring each channel, the input vs what is being printed, etc. The problem is that this can easily be jogged mistakenly. More than once I've been thrown off when this dial has been moved while tumbling around in my recording pack. Not critical as it won't affect what is recorded, but good to know. You can see the current settings at the bottom right of the main display

Good luck and have fun.

Paul

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I think you'll find that it's really simple to operate. As powerful as it is, the routings and settings are supremely straightforward. Probably the biggest key concept to remember is that INPUTS can be mapped to TRACKS, and it's not always input L to track 1 and input R to track 2, but front LEDs indicate the track mapping, so again, it's pretty easy.

I never use the HPF in the field myself, but I always keep the limiter on, just because it's really good and I'm pretty conservative when it comes to headroom as I set levels. Default to normal gain on the pre's unless otherwise needed.

I like recording raw mid-side but listening decoded, and then decoding in post.

I use a hypercardioid instead of a cardioid in my mid-side rig, and it works fine, slightly pronounced center to the stereo image: Not always ideal, but an MKH40 wasn't in the budget this year. It'd be most educational for you to record a steady-state sound with both the ME66 and the MKH40 and see what the center of the stereo is like. I've not tried a MKH-based mid-side with a shotgun, so I can't comment. Just watch that the noise levels of the mics are well-matched, as I'd bet the ME66 is a fair bit noisier than the MKH series.

Be sure to download the manual and study it before you get the unit, and while you're fiddling with it, and you'll find the learning curve quite short.

  • @NoiseJockey I do have the actual manual with me, and I've been perusing it. This is my first go with any MKH, and I've always been satisfied with the ME66, so I'm really excited to hear these MKH's. Thanks a bunch for the response. – Auddity Oct 5 '11 at 3:48
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Nathan and Paul have already given you some great tips. Here are my thoughts:

Take the time to setup all of your monitoring presets before you go out in the field

I always record with the limiter on

Transfer your recordings off the machine after your session and format your drive, you don't want to be out in the field, run out of space, and have to selectively delete a bunch of recordings.

Not really as big a deal with the 722, but it is huge with the 744: Before each session, make sure you set your input routing so that you are recording to the proper number of tracks. It is annoying to find that, that while you were only recording a single mono channel, you end up with a 4 channel wav (with 3 blank channels). I can't tell you how many times I've recorded mono or stereo and came back with a 4 channel recording all because I forgot to check my settings ahead of time. It's even worse if it is set to record a single track when you thought you were recording multiple tracks!

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