Sound Devices 552 Mixer Recorder Review


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I"ve had the SD 552 for several months now... If you want to know why you should spend so much for a mixer, here are a few reasons why having the best tool for the job matters.



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sound devices SD Mixing Engineer (Profession) Audio Review Sound (Film Company Role Or Service) System 552 recorder preview test shoot out



Dave Patterson
Hi Steve. Great review. I'm thinking about using one of these in front of my DR680, with the 552's internal recording as a backup. How does the 552 recording quality compare to the DR680?
Danny Pops
It is really a service you are doing by getting this information out there. Thank you for making these. Very helpful and practical.
Steve Oakley
depends on your needs. do you need ISO track recordings ? is 4 enough ? the knobs on the 744 are a bit small for active mixing but it probably has the cleanest preamps of anything out there.
Steve Oakley
ya the synth voice is funny. a couple hundred K of ROM could of held a sampled voice in a couple of languages in mono 8k compressed that would of been better. always thought it sounded a bit odd....now their newest mixers have nice lcd's :/
Price Smith
I do audio for a living but have never done sound mixing for video. Is two channels normal for professional recording? It seems like it doesnt leave flexibility for post-production and mixing later. Anyone care to comment?
turningkorean
Looking into the Sound Devices. Which do you recommend between the 552 or 744T? Thanks.
angie5queup
Hi Steve, which is the application that you are using in the minute 5:18? 
Rob Dunfy
is it posible to record one channel at say 10db lower? Recording off one mic only.
Huh? what?? uhhhhh......aaaaaaaaaaarghhhh!?!?!?
so u nds good. despite the fact that you are orange like an oompaloompa
Tobias Gerlach
i personally like the 552 very much . the menu just sucks badly. i would rather have my sheets and manual papers with me, than having to listen to that "top of the art" voice ... i mean come on, they spend like millions on research into this unit and xcall themself "SOUND devices" and get a menu voice that my 15 yo mobilephone can compete with .... but, its till a good mixer ... the sound devices are ok, even though the sqn really rock more 
Tadahisa Yoshida
Hello Steve, I have a simple question. This product has 5 channels and records in 2 tracks. which means you have to mix 5 channels into 2 tracks when you actually recording? Can I get 5 separate audio files??? 
Steve Oakley
with dslr's no body cares about TC. this is especially true with prem pro being able to now to sync based on audio tracks, or using puarel eyes to do the syncing. if anything I'll put wireless receivers on dslr's and feed them a clean reference track of the main mix which works great
Steve Oakley
I take TC from the camera back to the 552 instead if its available. I found a plexi slate on da 'bay for $25. took forever to show up, but its the same as once being sold for 50-70 elsewhere
TheKeraMae
Thanks Steve- of course if I can sell the 552 I will but for now I'll make due with what I have. What time code box o you use when feeding cameras? When using the dummy slate are you writing your sound clip number every time along with the time code?
Steve Oakley
I had the 680 sitting around so my cost was 0. you can set the AES to be full mix and record that on the 680 digital in. in reality, feeds to cameras are your backups :) assuming you are connected one way or the other. if you **need** to deliver ISO tracks the 664 is just smaller / lighter / one less thing needing power / fewer cables ect and would be the ideal solution. the resale of the 552 will also be good to ease stepping up to a 664
Steve Oakley
yes, just a dumb slate, or maybe movie slate on phone / iPad. TC can be fed from most broadcast cameras. otherwise the unit has a pretty accurate built in ToD clock and it will time stamp the start of the WAV files. match the dslr's and thats about as good as it gets. given that Prem Pro CC can sync using audio now, for a 2 or 3 camera shoot TC just doesn't matter that much any more for most work
TheKeraMae
Also how do you use your dummy slate with DSLRs and how do you input timecode, do you have a deneke box?
TheKeraMae
As a new mixer, I've heard that i should have waited to buy the 644, however I was able to get a really good deal on the 552. With that being said I think the built in recorder is great,however ive been advised to always use a back up recorder in addition. I see your using the Tascam recorder but your actually getting isolated tracks, which is awesome. Can you tell me a little more about how that's working out for you. Is it a cheaper way to go oppose to purchasing the 664 for isolated tracks.
Steve Oakley
ISO feed means you can take a single source, like mic in ch1 and send it back out to be recorded on its own channel w/o anything else. typically on a multicam shoot you try to feed each camera a full mix on one or 2 channels, and for cameras shooting close ups of one person, the individual person's mic. post will like you for doing this as it makes their mixing a lot easier, less risk of a mic hit messing up the entire full mix
Steve Oakley
thanks... it took me a while before I did. but I'm very happy now with this.
Victor Nguyen
Great review. Totally explained to me why we need a mixer like this.
Chad Johnson
Or maybe AES.
Chad Johnson
Oh I got the Busman mod on al 6 channels. Sounds astounding. I was referring to the s/pdif channels 7 & 8 that you can use with the spdif out of the MixPre-D.
Steve Oakley
maybe do the pre amp mod on the 680 instead from oad bros. which is supposed to make them better.
Chad Johnson
Nice review Steve! Great shots of the unit. I was almost going to get a MixPre-D to replace my MixPre, and use it to open up 2 more channels on my DR-680, but then they raised the price to 900.00. Dang...