We are in the beginning stages of deciding what to buy for a new film school. Er are looking at Sound Device 722 and the SD552 but I think we have settled on the 722.

I have a question though regarding the SD cards for the 552 and the compact flashcards for the 722. I have heard that the CF cards are faster and more reliable than the SD cards. Can anyone shed some light on which is more reliable?

Thank you.

4 Answers 4


As @NoiseJockey said - difference is in speed.

Take a look at sources. CF card use parallel bus (PATA) similar to old HDDs. But it is not true that they are faster for more pins.

Modern trends are to use less cables (eSATA, Thunderbolt, Ethernet) for flexibility and magnetic and electric shielding.

Based on provided source SD cards are used primarily in "Hobby, Customer Segment" and where size matters also you need special electronic circuit to read them.

SD drives are used in "More professional" situations because they act as autonomous HDD hardware and can be used in very professional devices with operating systems => Sound Devices 7XX recorders are able to have HDD - and why reinvent wheel if you as designer have support for CF for free :) Sound Devices mixer is based on different platform this why SD card slot is used...



The 722 and 552 are both great recorders - solid, well designed, reliable. Neither has full timecode capability. If you want to teach film then students ought to know about timecode.

722 has only two tracks - not enough for even basic film recording. 744T is really a minimum IMHO.

Also the 722 has a hard drive as well as a card so the card speed is pretty irrelevant. Did you mean the 702 which is card only?


A thoroughly unscientific opinion is that on my recording devices, on my computers, with my flash media, my CF's are faster than my SD's. But that could also be due to a wide number of factors and shouldn't be considered a rule.

I really don't think it matters relative to the ultimate question: How is your school going to use these? If the recorder is specifically for SFX shoots, sure, a 702 is economical and does use CF cards. If you're recording multiple tracks of dialog during actual production, then you should use a 744 (where the CF card is more for a safety backup) or the 552 (which tops out at 96kHz, unlike the 744 which tops out at 192kHz)...or any number of other options, including the Zaxcom Nomad, Nomad Lite, or even a used Deva.

UPDATE: Checking some quick websites it seems that indeed CF cards in devices have a general 2x to 3x speed bonus over SDHC cards of similar capacity, at least in cameras. Seems to me that as long as the cards can keep up with the data rate required - not hard with audio, as compared to video - the only gotcha is transfer speeds from device to editing computer.

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    it could very well be true. CF cards have more pins, which means they may have a larger tansfer bus? Commented Jan 17, 2013 at 1:05
  • Anyone who wants to see a comparison of the speeds of dozens of CF cards and SDHC cards in various cameras - a good reference point - can do so by reading this lengthy Rob Galbraith article: robgalbraith.com/bins/multi_page.asp?cid=6007 Commented Jan 17, 2013 at 1:19

We use both for students here, there is one major advantage of SD cards over CF cards, the SD card devices don't have pins to bend. Even members of staff have bent pins here, much to my annoyance. CF cards were generally faster, but I have some 95 mbps SD cards so speed really is not an issue nowadays.

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