So You Want Or Have A Sound Devices 664
If you are not sure why you should consider a 664 then I hope this will go some way to helping you decide. I’ll go about this all properly with shocking titles to keep you entertained and imagining my voice in your head.
This is a mixer / recorder and NOT a recorder / mixer
Don’t get this confused that the Sound Devices 664 as a sound devices 788t killer. Mainly because it doesn’t make company sense to compete with yourself. This is however a more affordable step up cause with the 788t you need to buy a CL9 or equivalent which is another £1000 to dig out from the sofa. The Sound Devices 664 is a perfect mixer with the ability to mix to 3 cameras at once and you can monitor all returns along with your mix in one easy screen. The faders are smooth and the preamps amazingly clear (especially compared to an Edirol R4 Pro I had previously, but then any Sound devices product would do that)
Mix that Mother!…
…Or any sound for that matter with 6 full XLR inputs all with direct outs and up to 4 mix tracks. You get a L+R along with 2 Aux tracks which you can even dial down regardless of the fader, an example being the same mix to L+R but R can be set to be -5db lower at all times. Interesting for me because on some ENG, documentary madness you can effectively make yourself a safety track, amazing in one man jobs. Do the same with an Aux and just send one radio mic to it with a character that shouts and have that just incase and all is good.
Record That Bad Boy!
The record function (without the CL6) allows you to record all the inputs and all 4 outputs making 10 tracks. The standard is WAV Poly files but you have a number of options being Poly Wav (all), Poly Wav (iso only), Poly Wav (LR only), Poly Wav (Aux1,2), MP3 (LR Only), Mp3 (Aux1,2).
Now with 2 recording media or SD cards (SDHC and SDXC) and CF cards you can choose to send a different type to each making jobs with transcribing easier while still having full copies recording as well for the edit. Again this is why it is more geared towards mixing but with a good recording function. A 32GB SD card will go a long way with over 60 hours of recording and easily get you through a day on a Feature with a few hours to spare using all tracks.
You get all the fun of metadata and being able to plug-in a keyboard to do remote functions like record and stop. The naming of files is easy and keeps features like scrolling to next scene or slate with a press and a flick of a button 🙂
5 Double A batteries (i use 2400mah rechargeables) will see you for a few hours at most and keeps it to the same spec as the 552 and obviously the more inputs and recorded tracks and screen brightness etc.. play their part in powering. However the batteries come in handy when you have an external powering battery system like an NP1 battery. On long seminars or corporate events changing batteries is the last thing you want to do when that all important speech is happening, the 664 can seamlessly switch from internal to external power sources meaning you can run it till your card is full or lunch arrives.
Sound Devices 664 conclusion: IT’S NOT A 788t!!
Yes it is a Sound Devices 664 and so what you are really losing is the rooting capabilities of the 788t and extras like CLwifi but it will be a good companion on set if not just for the preamps and easy menu navigation. There are less than 10 sub menus in the main menu to cover all your basic needs like your sound report info and file management. I am very happy with mine but feel I have been fair with this assessment and hope you consider it.
Is the Sound Devices 664 TOO big?
In my opinion the size with the bag is kind of the limit for me and im 6ft 2 and no especially wide. You have to get the right tools for the job though and it serves me no end.
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London Sound Recordist
I am a London Sound Recordist and Sound Editor for many types of projects around the film genres. This covers creative content right through to feature films. I am passionate about sharing my journey and knowledge to help the rest of the community. If you need anything from me, feel free to get in touch with me at London Sound Recordist.