The Zaxcom Nova was announced to a small fanfare a few months ago, and has since piqued the interest of numerous sound recordists and mixers with its unique feature set.
In simple terms, it's a twelve track location sound mixer and recorder that also includes two slot spaces for wireless mic receivers giving you radio mic receivers without any additional boxes or cables in your bag, which is a great feat on its own. What is extra special about that is that Zaxcom have also become the first company making radio mics to squeeze four channels of radio mic receivers into a single slot design. They back this feat up with further wizardry... The Nova also includes the circuitry from their MicPlexor RF antenna distribution and filters, improving reception and adding the option of larger external receiver antennas.
It is basically a culmination of all of Zaxcoms unique tech in one single box, including ZaxNet and IFB transmission.
I recently had a demo of the Nova at Everything Audio, a rental house, kit supplier and distributor for Zaxcom in the UK. By Roger Patel's own testimony he is the largest Zaxcom supplier outside of the USA, to the point where his input (and that of his clients) gets fed back to Zaxcom HQ on a regular basis with regard to features and product design. The Nova is a product of that kind of feedback from their user-base across the globe.
The demo was impressive, even without some of the advanced features (to be added in future firmware) or the dual-quad channel receivers. The flexibility of the recorder is easy to see. Any input can be routed to any track, and to any of several banks of faders. The fader controls on the front panel are rotary encoders with LED indicators that can be set up in a variety of ways, with different colours indication banks and modes. For example you can seamlessly switch between ZaxNet trim controls and channel faders, adjusting the gain on transmitters while they are out mounted on people.
You also control all of the RF settings from the Nova menus; setting up both receivers and transmitters with relative ease.
While the demo was impressive on it's own, I think that to truely appreciate it's power I'll need to rent a full Zaxcom Nova system, for larger PSC jobs and even drama shoots, in order to properly explore its wealth of settings and see how easy it is to use when coming in relatively fresh to the system, and when the pressure to deliver great sound is truly on.