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I have read a few posts with people adamantly suggesting a mixer before the 744t/702 etc. I am wondering what the advantages are.

My application and work is mainly nature recording. I might set up two omnis and an M/S simultaneously. But need I mix on the spot? What are the advantages? Usually I can take it back to the studio for post mixing.

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I'd argue that "need" is a slightly strong term, but it is worth noting that there are only two volume knobs on the SD-744t which could potentially be limiting. While you don't need to mix between the tracks on the fly, it may be necessary to make adjustments on the recording levels themselves to ensure consistent recording level and quality.

You can always adjust balance later, but what you can't do later is move the noise floor or the max signal level if the audio gets either too quiet or too loud. Inserting a field mixer before the recorder allows for adjustment of recording levels on the fly to ensure that you get maximum quality.

If you are just going to configure it before hand and let it run, a mixer should likely be unnecessary as you won't be making any adjustments anyway, but it can be valuable to have if you either want to be able to monitor and adjust recording levels live during recording or want to be able use more than one audio source per recording channel.

  • I see. I am not working on "shoots" per say. I am doing more solo backpacking into wilderness areas. Right now I use a light tascam recorder but want better a/d, transient response etc. if I have to carry a mixer it adds a lot of weight. Maybe I'm better off just sticking with two channels, 702 without the hard drive then . Just worried I might want to expand to 4 channels at a later date. Or maybe the nomad or SOund devices 6 series (being lighter and all) is a better choice or me? – frankie Jun 27 '14 at 17:39
  • @frankie - I accidentally crossed two questions in my head and thought you were using this for a video shoot. I have updated my answer to be more reflective of a stand alone environment. – AJ Henderson Jun 27 '14 at 18:07
  • @frankie a sound devices 6 series would be an excellent choice. – user7731 Jun 27 '14 at 18:48
  • @brad but I see now it's 2lbs heavier! – frankie Jun 27 '14 at 20:05
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The 744 only has 2 preamps, so if you want to record 4 channels you'll need at least a mixpre on the front end for channels 3 and 4.

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There is no need for a mixer if you are only recording two channels, you will only be adding a small amount of noise. If you want to use all of the tracks concurrently, then you really will need a mixer.

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