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View From the Top: Sound Devices

2 minute read

Sound DevicesPix 24

We ask industry leaders to tell us about their companies and how they see the future. External recorders are now selling in large numbers and the Sound Devices Pix 240 is a popular example.  Jon Tatooles, Managing Director of Sound Devices, tells us about his company and how he sees the years ahead.

 It started with a Preamp

Sound Devices, LLC, was founded in 1998 to fulfill a single promise: to build field-production audio products that improve our customers’ work life. With audio performance as the top customer criteria, our original designs used topologies common to studio gear rather than portable gear. The first product Sound Devices introduced was a single-input, portable microphone preamplifier for broadcast use, the MP-1 Preamp. It was designed to drive long lines at line-level signals, provide phantom power and operate off AA battery power.  The development of the MP-1 was an important milestone for us. Many of the circuitry elements designed into the MP-1 are still incorporated in later generation products, such as the high-performance Lundahl input transformers and durable, powder-coated aluminum chassis.   

Today, Sound Devices' growing family of audio mixers, digital recorders, preamplifiers, computer interfaces, and most recently video recorders, are trusted by production professionals worldwide.  These field production tools are used for numerous applications, such as single-camera ENG-style, documentary film, video, reality television and feature film production, sports broadcasting, multi-camera news magazine interviews, sound effects gathering (SFX) and live music recording.

Digital Recorders

Our field mixer and recorders, such as the 7-Series Digital Recorders, have helped catapult Sound Devices into an important contributor in the industry. The high-resolution 7-Series family of digital audio recorders shatter the size, performance and feature-set paradigms of previous generations of audio recorders.. The two- (702, 702T, 722), four- (744T) and eight-track (788T) units record and play audio files with either 16 or 24-bit depth at all professional sampling rates, up to 192 kHz (up to 96 kHz on the 788T). Multiple storage mediums, analog/digital I/O, extensive metadata and control capability, and high-speed computer connectivity make all 7-Series recorders stand out as world-class products.

 Our move into video

Our PIX 220 and PIX 240 video recorders add QuickTime recording using Apple ProRes or Avid DNxHD to any HDMI-or HD-SDI equipped high-definition video camera. The portable PIX 220 (HDMI-only) and its sibling the PIX 240 (HDMI and HD-SDI) record QuickTime files to CompactFlash cards or removable 2.5-inch solid-state hard drives. Apple ProRes and Avid DNxHD video formats have emerged as industry standards. These I-frame codecs offer the best in picture quality, processing efficiency and data storage requirements. They are ideal for editing, on-the-fly color grading and video processing. Files recorded in the field on a PIX recorder are ready for the most popular editorial workflows.

 The rise of consumer technology

We are seeing a clear trend in consumer technologies moving toward the professional market, while the high-end professional market is creating more and more prosumer-savvy equipment.  We created PIX to fulfill a need in the broadcast space for an all-in-one audio and video recorder that is compatible with cameras ranging from small DSLR-style to full-sized, high-definition production cameras. We also place a priority on software updates.  Efficiency, workflow and cost are hot topics in the industry right now. Through software updates, we can further define functions and features without requiring our customers to purchase a new pierce of hardware. This gives us the ability to respond to input we receive from the field and redefine a product that a customer already has in hand, all with a no-charge software update.

 Listening to customers

At Sound Devices, our culture is to continually listen to customers, so that with each new hardware or software introduction, we are addressing a concern or fulfilling a need in the industry. As the industry moves more toward smaller, more powerful and more accessible products, Sound Devices will continue to look at ways to accommodate the marketplace, while still keeping with the fundamentals the company was founded on: creating reliable, portable and high-quality products that are durable enough to withstand the harshest field conditions

Tags: Audio