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An open letter to Sound Devices regarding input counts on the Dante enabled 8-Series recorders

Updated: Dec 19, 2019

Hi Sound Devices, I have some questions for you now that the 8 series has been on the table for a while and the the spec sheets have had time to be absorbed...

Maybe I'm missing some technical knowledge, but I just don't fully understand why you put seemingly arbitrary limits on track counts on these high input count recorders...

I think it would be interesting to open discussion on the topic and would be open to hearing from anyone in the group who has actual knowledge of why certain design decisions may have been made in, what seems like, predominantly the software domain. (Update Dec 2019: The new XL-AES interface has massively improved the lack of AES inputs and I'm excited to see what else they'll be bringing out to take advantage of this interface option).

1. Why is it that the 888 has eight mic preamps and a further 16 inputs on Dante, but you can only record 20 channels including buses?

It seems to me from the spec sheet, that both Scorpio and 888 have the same internal processing power across their FPGA (3) and ARM (6) processors, so the 888 should be able to handle the 24 input channels plus all 10 of the buses; let alone the 26 to allow a full input recording and a couple of mono mix buses...

With that in mind and the, not insignificant, cost of the 888 over systems like the Zaxcom Nova or Sonosax SX-R4+, which both have incredible, if different, feature sets for the money, why don't you enable these record channels to defend your price position on your Dante enabled recorders?

2. The same questions goes for the Scorpio*, with 48 inputs actually available, why limit it to 36 including buses?

While I'd take a guess at the limits of the SD card interface being approached and possibly reached at 36 inputs, would it not be relatively straightforward to split your potential 60 record channels (inc. buses) across two SD cards while recording the complete channel count to the SSD? (Other devices coming to market now are doing similar things)

The Scorpio is supposed to be "no holds barred" high end mixer recorder, and while they are no doubt powerful, why would you prevent this use case?

Turning a Scorpio into a fully fledged 48 input mixer and recorder would mean you could potentially do the job of a fairly well specified recording truck on a footprint not much bigger than a location sound cart.

Turning the 888 into a 26+ channel recorder with all inputs enabled would also be quite the coup!

For reference here are the spec sheets for both units: Scorpio

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