Sound Devices 8-Series Recorders Get a Big Bump in Wireless Audio Support

Credit: Sound Devices
Recording multiple tracks of wireless audio just got easier. 

Sound Devices has released a firmware update for its 8-Series recorders, which includes the 833, 888, and Scorpio, that unlocks a crop of significant features. The most notable being SuperSlot support for the Wisycom MCR54 4-channel receiver. Now, when an 8-Series recorder is combined with the SL-2 SuperSlot Wireless Module, it can receive up to 8 wireless inputs when used with 2 Wisycom MCR54 receivers. Additionally, the older SL-6 SuperSlot model can support up to 2 channels per slot for a total of 6 wireless audio inputs. 

For those unfamiliar with what that all means, here's a breakdown. The Sound Devices 8-Series are high-end mixer-recorders that are used to capture production sound and are even part of post workflows. You can think of them as a more robust and intuitive Tascam or Zoom recorder, though the Zoom F8n and F6 are pretty remarkable at their price points. 

Scorpio with an SL-2 attachedCredit: Sound Devices

With the 8-Series recorders, each accepts a certain number of inputs. Size, weight, and portability tend to limit the number of inputs when it comes to field use because more than likely the production sound mixer needs to switch between different setups, like going from a traditional cart to a bag. Not everyone can afford multiple recorders for each setup, so manufacturers try to keep them nimble. What the SuperSlot Wireless Module does is add wireless audio to the equation without taking away any of the inputs. 

You simply attach the wireless receivers to the SL-2 or SL-6 SuperSlot and then attach the SuperSlot to the recorder through a port. Doing so eliminates the need for cables, power, and audio connectivity. On top of that, the SuperSlot has a built-in antenna distribution, inputs for additional audio, and output power, among other features. As of now, the SuperSlot only supports wireless from Lectrosonics, Sennheiser, Sony, Wisycom, and Audio Limited, which is owned by Sound Devices. 

Zaxcom Nova and a MRX414 wireless receiver

You might be thinking that's pretty cool. And it is. If you're familiar with the Panasonic slot-type system that was first introduced by Ikegami, SuperSlot is a similar thing. It's actually backward-compatible with the Panasonic version. For more nuance and perspective, Zaxcom offers similar functionality through its Nova recorder-mixer. But instead of needing to attach a separate SuperSlot module, the wireless receivers are designed to go directly into the back of the recorder. Zaxcom offers several receiver options, including the MX214, which can be paired with 2 transmitters, and the MX414 which can be paired with 4 different transmitters for up 8 channels of wireless audio. The difference is that with Zaxcom, you must use Zaxcom wireless, and with the Sound Devices setup, it gives you the option of other wireless. 

One question that comes to mind is if Zaxcom's wireless will ever be compatible with the SuperSlot. Zaxcom initially tried to be part of the open license program with its SRX220 slot receiver, but that ultimately fell through. Hopefully in the future the two companies can get on the same page as technology like SuperSlot benefits the end-user. If not, SuperSlot provides plenty of alternative options. 

Besides the new SuperSlot compatibility with Wisycom, firmware version 7.0 offers a slew of new features. You can read more about them on the support page where you can download the firmware.      

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