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Sound Devices preamps

I'm wondering if anyone who has used the new Sound Devices
recorders could comment on the preamps...are they comparable to
well liked transparant preamps such as Millennia, Grace, DAV etc.


BRH Tue, 01/02/2007 - 17:17
Thanks for the test. So, is the 744t acceptable? I'm thinking about getting the 702T for film stuff and sound efx. I need the Time Code. Going to use it with a Schoeps cardiod for dialog. Looks really well built, but some functions, I/Os I might not. Just need 2 channels with TC, w/ decent pres.
Does it have trim pots for the pres, like over lights, or do you just look at the overall scale, and figure if you are clipping, you are also clipping the pre. ?

mdemeyer Tue, 01/02/2007 - 22:19
Mic gain control is analog with digital control, and there are clipping indicators for the analog mic pre levels (independent of the record levels). I have a 744T and it has mic limiters and high pass filters as well, although I generally don't use them. I believe the 702T has the same features. You can get the manuals to review in detail at

I think the 744T is one of the best-designed pieces of gear I have ever owned. Clearly designed by people with years of real-world experience.


aracu Wed, 01/03/2007 - 05:58
"Thanks for the test. So, is the 744t acceptable? I'm thinking about getting the 702T for film stuff and sound..."

More than acceptable and perfect for location recording. Very well
designed to avoid clipping etc.

"I hope I am not violating any NDA's or anything, but Nagra have a new 6 ch recorder coming out soon. Yippeee! "

David, I was wondering if ever use built in Nagra pres and
what your opinion is on them.

DavidSpearritt Thu, 01/04/2007 - 14:00
aracu wrote: David, I was wondering if ever use built in Nagra pres and
what your opinion is on them.

They are superb, second only to our AMEK 9098 in the preamps we use. They are noticeably better than the Sound Devices 442 preamp and I prefer them to the new Neve Portico which I found slightly clangy and shrill in the upper mids.

I use them all the time mostly as the main pr preamp for live concert recording. They are particularly suited to Schoeps condensers, sound glorious with these.

For session work the NV is often the bit bucket and we use the AMEK's, TRP, etc

mdemeyer Thu, 01/18/2007 - 23:01
I have used the 744T with the Schoeps CMC5 (various capsules - MK21, MK2s, MK4, and MK8) for acoustic recordings (concerts) with very good results, although I still prefer the Hardy M1/Benchmark AD2404-96 front end (feeding the 744T via AES as a recorder vs. the 744T mic pre and A2D alone) when I don't need the extreme portability and fast setup of the 744T alone.

What's great about the 744T is that it gives you the option to go either way. For a simple, quick setup (when only 2 mics are needed) it can hold its own very well. But its dual AES inputs allow it to be used as a bulletproof and convenient recorder behind my primary rig (for up to 4 mics, which covers 90% of my work).

Highly recommended. 8-)


Pro Audio Guest Fri, 01/19/2007 - 07:44
I use the 722 "stand alone" for choral recordings. I take it you prefer the Schoeps appropriate model to the Sennheiser MKH20 or perhaps no first hand experience with the Sennheiser? BTW, the Schoeps CMC6 MK21 is the model I think fits my need (below). That is if I decide on Schoeps.

I have been recording ORTF with cardioid mics but have decided that the omni mic is superior in most ways for this usage. I intend to use the Jecklin Disc as shown on the Josephson web site (and others). This arrangement gets very good reviews including those who claim it is superior to ORTF.


mdemeyer Fri, 01/19/2007 - 22:46

Correct, no experience with the MKH20, but the MK21 (or MK4) with an MK8 in MS are both superb choral combinations, in my opinion. I also like the low profile of this mic setup for concert work because it is not visually obtrusive. I often get thanks from the performers (or the concert organizers) for not being 'in the way' of the audience.


Pro Audio Guest Tue, 02/06/2007 - 04:42

I had the 722 for a while and also was in possession of the v2 for quite some time(and have rented a 722 once or twice since selling mine). The 722 preamps, to my ears, were much better than the v2 preamps. I have not heard Grace's "high end" line that much, but what I determined from owning those two pieces was that the 722 was much more desireable. The v2/v3 have a strident quality in the higher frequencies that I am not fond of. For lack of a better term, those particular Grace pres sound like cheaper versions of Millennia preamps.(which I am also not fond of at all, but that is neither here nor there. :) )

I really, REALLY miss my 722.

as an FYI, Kavi Alexander(Waterlily Acoustics) owns and uses the SD 722 in his work. (along with True Systems pres at times) The SD pres are very good. I second using them for a while and seeing how it pans out.

Pro Audio Guest Fri, 02/09/2007 - 14:02
Teddy its funny you should make this comparision between the 722 and the V3.

I just recently sold my V3 for exactly the reasons you give - I just could not like the sound however much I tried and I really did try (over a period of a year). It sounded a bit thin and edgy particularly at higher gain levels. People sometimes describe preamps as having a "big" sound - the V3 just did not have that for me.

I did voice comparisons between the preamps in the V3 and my 722 and my Metric Halo ULN-2 and in each case I preferred the 722 and the Metric Halo. Probably as someone said here on this Board I think that the 722 is optimised for voice recording. I use it mainly for that but I will certainly give it a try next week on some music in a pretty outdoor recording environment.


Pro Audio Guest Fri, 02/09/2007 - 18:55
Which did I prefer between the 722 and the ULN-2?

The ULN-2. The 722 seem a bit "dark" but in a pleasant way. The ULN-2 quite big, natural and open sound. I am getting a second box so that I can aggregate them. This is a pretty good platform as you have available:

1. four very good mic preamps (you can use the ULN-2 just as a preamp - dont need to be hooked up to the computer);
2. four very good A/D converters for using outboard preamps;
3. four digital AES inputs for using outboard A/D and preamps
4. Good D/A as well.

Sorry, now this REALLY off topic. You can see that I really like this box.