Professional Field Recorder comparison

There’s been radio mic comparison table up on this site for years now, and I had the bright idea of doing one for recorders, partly as a lot of people don’t really know what’s out there (and some assume it’s just Sound Devices).  I’ve only included those with features suitable for professional use in the field – timecode, metadata input, DC power, reasonably sturdy build and those that are current products. I have missed off the Sound Devices 702T and 744T as they have relatively low track counts compared to most of the other machines.

Also, there isn’t any info on ergonomics or sound quality as they’re both subjective.  The only machine it’s not possible to mix on (but you can route) is the Sound Devices 970- which is really designed to have a mixer in front of it, in some ways that is a bit of a different beast and is the only one which can accept a MADI feed.  The Zaxcom Deva 24 has been included, although it’s currently unreleased but Zaxcom have published preliminary information.  Please let me know if I’ve made any mistakes or omissions, this is mostly from published specs:

Edit:  Added Aaton Cantar Mini specs.  I’ve also missed off the Sound devices 664 as it’s similar in specification to the 688

  Mic/line inputs Line inputs AES3 inputs AES42 inputs (pairs) Max Inputs to tracks Rec Tracks available (192kHz) Rec Media
Aaton Cantar X3 8 4 8 2 24     24 (24) SSD, 2xSD, USB
Aaton Cantar Mini 4 2 4 2 10     16 (16) SSD, 2xSD, USB
AETA 4minx 4 2 2 2 8     8 (8 at 96kHz) SD
Nagra IV 4 2 4 0 8      8 (8) HDD, CF, USB
Roland R-88 8 0 2 0 10      10 (4) SD, USB
Sound Devices 633 3 3 2 1 6      10 (6) SD, CF
Sound Devices 688 6 6 4 2 12      16 (6) SD, CF
Sound Devices 788T 8 0 8 4 8      12 (4) SSD, CF, Firewire
Sound Devices 970 0 8 8 0 64      64 (32 at 96kHz) 2xSSD/CF, 2x eSATA
Sonosax SX-R4+ 4 2       10* 4 16      16 (16) 2xSD
Tascam HS-P82 8 0 8 0 8      10 (4) 2xCF
Zaxcom Deva 24 12 4 16 8 16      24 (24 at 96kHz) SSD, 2xCF
Zaxcom Maxx 4 2      0/4***       0/1*** 8      8 (4) CF
Zaxcom Nomad 6 4       0/8***       0/1*** 10      10/12*** (10/12 at 96kHz) 2xCF, USB
Zoom F4 4/6**** 2 (unbalanced) 0 0 6      8 (8) 2xSD
Zoom F8 8 0 0 0 8      10 (8) 2xSD
               
               
               
               
               
  Balanced Outputs Unbalanced Outputs AES3 Outputs Output buses Multichannel Options Control surface Extras
Aaton Cantar X3 8 0 12 40      Dante 32×32 Cantarem 2 Monitor output, waveform display, play/rec, wifi, bluetooth
Aaton Cantar Mini 8 0 4 12       Cantarem 2 Monitor output, waveform display, play/rec, wifi, bluetooth
AETA 4minx 4 2 6 4   MIDI Soundfield monitoring
Nagra IV 2 0 2 4   MIDI  
Roland R-88 8 2 2        8 (direct)      USB interface 10×8 MIDI  
Sound Devices 633 4 2 4 6   CL-12 Wingman Remote
Sound Devices 688 8 2 8 8   CL-6, CL-12 Mix Assist, Dugan, Wingman remote, SL6
Sound Devices 788T 6 2 6 6   CL-8, CL-9 Mix Assist, CL-Wifi, GPIO
Sound Devices 970 8 0 8 64       Dante/MADI 64×64   RS422/GPIO/Network remote
Sonosax SX-R4+          0/2**                  2/6**     2/6**         4/8**      TBC network audio RC8+ wifi web interface
Tascam HS-P82 2                        0 8      10 (direct)   RC-F82  
Zaxcom Deva 24 10 0 12      10 (12 direct)   Mix-16, Oasis Nomad Touch, MixAhead
Zaxcom Maxx 4 2 0/4*** 4     Zaxcom digital tx option, Automix
Zaxcom Nomad 10 2 0/6*** 6   FC8, Oasis, Mix8 Zaxnet, Nomad Touch, Automix
Zoom F4 2 2 0 4      USB interface 6×4 FRC-8  
Zoom F8 2 2 0 4      USB interface 8×4 FRC-8 Bluetooth remote app 
               
               
               
               
               
  Battery / power connection Dimensions (mm) Weight (kg) Notes      
Aaton Cantar X3 2x eSmart 2054, XLR4 90x320x240 3.55        
Aaton Cantar X3 2x eSmart 2054, XLR4 90x259x234 2.3        
AETA 4minx Sony DV, HR10 75x260x195 1.9        
Nagra IV Nagra, XLR4 74x310x285 3.8 (weight with battery)      
Roland R-88 AA, XLR4 93x260x235 2.67        
Sound Devices 633 AA, DV, HR10 60x240x160 1.1        
Sound Devices 688 AA, HR10, NP1 (in SL6) 53x320x198 2.21        
Sound Devices 788T DV, HR10 45x257x153 1.7        
Sound Devices 970 2x XLR4 84x218x262 3.4        
Sonosax SX-R4+ eSmart 2054, HR10 50x200x144.5 0.91 *2 shared with aes out, **2nd figure with xlr5 output board      
Tascam HS-P82 NP1, AA, XLR4 100x270x260 3.65        
Zaxcom Deva 24 2x HR10 76.2x267x177.8   No weight figure. Currently not released      
Zaxcom Maxx AA, HR10 51x191x133 1.13 ***option variants      
Zaxcom Nomad AA, HR10 51x251x178 1.72 (weight with batteries)      
Zoom F4 AA, HR10 54x178x141 1.03 ****line level only on jack, additional input option APH6XLR      
Zoom F8 AA, HR10 54x178x141 0.96      

6 Replies to “Professional Field Recorder comparison”

    1. I know, I also left it out as it’s pretty much been superseded by the 688 without some of the extra bells and whistles. With I/O the only difference is there are 4 output buses, and there’s an option of 6 direct outs when not in ’12 channel’ mode

    1. I’ve left prices off as they vary from region to region and will change too. I’ve done this as a reference so you don’t have to pull up lots of spec sheets at once

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