On my current documentary project I’m using a combination of equipment that is new to me. It’s mostly a “run around” with lots of different characters popping in and out at random so it’s mainly been recorded on a boom.

I’ve chosen to use the Sound Devices 744T for my recorder and put the boom straight into that. I can leave it switched on for hours waiting for that important scene to happen and it’s quite light on battery use. I’ve not used more than 2 lithium NP1’s in a day so far.

My main gripe about the 774t was that it only has two full size XLR inputs (the other two inputs being miniature TA3 sockets) and two level controls on top. I was hoping not to carry a full size mixer as well so for situations where I want to use one or more radio mics I have a Sound Devices MixPre connected to the TA3 pair. The mixer is very small and light so hardly adds anything to the weight of my bag. Also in the bag is a Hawkwoods APR1 rack which powers my radio mic receivers as well as mixer and recorder. The whole thing weighs about the same as the SQN4S and APR1 rack I use regularly to send sound down a cable to a camera but it records up to four discreet tracks as well.

The system has worked out very well and allows me to switch the mixer off when I’m not using extra mics and save battery power. The whole rig is in a bag made especially for me by KT Systems (talk to Ian, he’s very helpful). It’s a kind of mini organiser bag, big enough to contain everything, but not so ridiculous I can hardly get through the door.

Disadvantages? Well the 744 gets VERY hot. Fine in the winter cold of England but in South Africa it’s adding to the general discomfort of boiling hot days. Honestly, you could fry an egg on the thing (or me once I have been carrying it next to me for a bit) but the unit continues to work just fine. You have to watch out, if you turn the unit off for more than two hours the time code is lost. You won’t waste much battery leaving it on, but I tend to turn it off for a while every now and again just to let it cool down.

One response

  1. That the thing with sound devices!

    The 744 having 1/2 being mic/line and 3/4 ta3 line… trying to force soundies into the 788 realm.. it is quites a leap, 2 mic/line and 2 line, to 8 mic/line 12 track, I am suprised they didnt make the 744 4 mic/line.

    Thats a pretty impressive swing on the 816!


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