Ok, I know this is a question I alone can answer, but I have to admit I'm kind of at a loss.

The issue: I've been 'on the market' for about a year trying to decide on a 4 track recorder in the professional range. Whether it be, Sound devices, Zaxcom or, yes, Sonosax. I'll mainly be using it to record SFX and ambiences and videoshoots (mostly DSLR). I already own a nice selection of mic's and a SQN4 mixer and Sony PCM-D50.

Now I know that there is a golden rule, and I've said it heremyself: 'only buy gear when you think you will make money with it and can justify the expenses made'. Well, right now I'm at a certain point, that I can't really decide anymore. Here's why:

  1. I have the money and I've been looking around so long I can dream about the thing!
  2. There's no one paying me, at the moment, that will justify the expense.
  3. It's second hand, in great shape and affordable, it's a good price! (The introduction of the SD664/Zaxcom Max, drops second hand prices.)
  4. I love the unit and it's features, but it's not 'new and up to date'.
  5. There is a financial crisis and I'm honestly not sure how long it will take.. (But it hasn't yet affected my income in any way).
  6. I am going to China for a month and want a solid recorder to record the evolution of the chinese soundscape, whilst traveling.

At the very moment of writing this, I feel that I will definitely make up for the cost. I've bought gear before and never have I've been wrong, so maybe I should just go for it. But still... for the first time, something's itching...

So, suprise me, tell me the things I don't want to hear. If after that I still want to buy, it's really my decision and possibly my mistake. Devil's advocate, show yourself.


EDIT: Decided to buy, very happy, sounds amazing!

2 Answers 2


"Golden" rules aside, a philosophy that I try to abide by when it comes to purchases (both business and personal) is I can buy something after I have saved 3x the amount I'm looking to spend. This not only guarantees that I'm not spending money I don't have, but allows me the time to comparison shop and make informed decisions about my purchases. You say you have the money and have done your research, so much so that you've found an excellent buying opportunity. Sounds like a point in the "Buy" column.

"New and improved" doesn't always mean "better and practically useful". If the unit serves the purposes that you're looking to fill, it's the right tool for the job. If there's another model that has features that would be nice, but in practical application would be lost on you, then it's not worth the extra coin. If you love the unit and the features, it sounds like another tally in the "Buy" column.

Recouping costs doesn't always have to happen in the billing department. If you purchase this for your China trip and find it's not everything you've been having dreams about, sell it when you get home. I doubt the resale on this used bargain would be impacted heavily over the duration of your trip, unless it becomes severely damaged. This way you satiate your desire to work with the gear, familiarize yourself with it in a practical application, achieve the goal of recording your trip and still have the chance to make an informed decision about recouping your costs. Shoot, if you love the thing and can't bare to part with it after your trip, I'm certain that a decent set of AMB recordings from China could be a good seller.

I guess I'm not really good at being the Devil's advocate.

  • I love the way your wrote that down! Thanks Steve! Sep 23, 2012 at 21:02


I'm to understand that you purchased the Sonosax SX-R4? If so, just make sure you have a fully charged battery in your R4, as well as an external battery supply with fully charged batteries before you start your day; and bring backup batteries. The R-4 is a great machine with a great sound and wonderful features, but if your batteries die while recording, the R-4 tends to re-set user settings back to factory default settings.

Last year I worked on a feature with a production sound mixer that used the R-4 recorder for splinter unit and ambient recording sessions. Twice During recording the batteries died and after placing a new battery in the machine the R-4 re-started with default settings and we had a mess of a time trying to reset the machine fast enough to keep up with production. No fault to our sound mixer. We were working in sub zero freezing conditions and the batteries were just very cold and running through very fast.

So just make sure your machine has a fully charged on board (internal) battery as well as a fully charged external. The external will be your main power source while your on board will allow the machine to run as you replace your drained external with your backup. And if you can, try to keep your backup batteries warm if you're working in freezing weather. I now try to keep my backup batteries in my coat next to my body while working in the cold.

Congratulations on your new machine! And have fun making sound for movies,

E. Santiago

  • Hi Edwardo, thanks for the advice! I've actually already experienced this issue when testing battery run times and was wondering what had happened. So this answers my questions. It's because the internal battery is very small i guess. This is a nasty little problem, but can at least be handled with your tips. I love the machine it sounds wonderful and is very easy to operate after a few recording sessions. I'd love to be in that splinter unit, freezing or not :) Sep 26, 2012 at 10:35
  • Oh btw I've backed up my user settings, just in case. All i would need to do was connect the Sonosax to an iphone via my CloudFTP-usb interface and copy the settings folder. This will save a lot of time and trouble! Sep 26, 2012 at 11:56
  • Backing up user settings to your phone is amazing! Good luck with your new machine. I hope you have a great time in China recording, and that your career grows from your work. E. Santiago Sep 26, 2012 at 14:49

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