8-Series FAQ

General

What’s with the name?

Scorpio is the most powerful mixer-recorder we’ve ever created, so we wanted to give it an instantly memorable name. Scorpio is also the 8th sign in the zodiac – perfect for the 8-Series line of mixer-recorders.

The 833 is similar to the tried and true 633 but with substantially more powerful hardware.

The 888 replaces and improves upon the popular 688 and 788T.

How big is it?

The Scorpio is roughly the size of the 688.

The 833 is roughly the size of the 633. The 833 has more depth but is slimmer than the 633.

The 888 is roughly the size of the 788T – just a bit thicker.

What production bags fit my mixer-recorder?

The Scorpio fits nicely in the Sound Devices CS-688 production case. There are also some third-party options available. 

The 888 is roughly the same size as the 788T. There are a number of third-party production bags on the market made for the 788T that should accommodate the 888. 

833 – Bags designed for the 633 may or may not be suitable for the 833. This depends on the size of L-Mount batteries attached. For example, the CS-633 bag will house the 833 but only with 2200 mAH L-Mount batteries. 

We are currently working with third-party manufacturers to develop additional bags for the 8-Series. 

Is the 8-Series difficult to operate?

No – the tactile interface makes it perfect for run-and-gun productions. For users familiar with Sound Devices’ 6-Series, the 8-Series will feel very similar. The menus and physical controls are very much alike. However, due to the much greater capability, there will be some learning curve. Plan to take a couple of hours to familiarize yourself with your 8-Series mixer-recorder before using it in mission critical applications.

I work outdoors, how does the LCD perform in sunlight?

We carefully selected the LCD based on size and performance – both indoors and out. The transflective LCD is clearly visible in direct sunlight.

What does the antenna connection do?

In the near future the antenna will be used to connect the 8-Series via Bluetooth to SD-Remote, the companion application for Android and iOS.

I noticed my 8-Series mixer-recorder can get warm when in use, is this normal?

Yes. By design, the chassis gets warm, wicking away the heat from the internal components. The cooling of internal components is important for long-term reliability; this is accomplished via our electro-mechanical design which uses high-thermal-conductivity aluminum and direct heat-sinking of critical internal components.

The 8-Series’ quiet mic preamps and powerful processing engines are state-of-the-art, and this level of mixing/recording power in a compact chassis leads to a bit of heat being generated.

Best practices for keeping your mixer-recorder as cool as possible include powering down unused channels when not in use, leaving at least ½” of air space around it when used within a bag, and by opening rear/side flaps of the bag to allow air to flow.


Powering

What are my options for powering my 8-Series mixer-recorder?

Scorpio can be powered from several sources, including two DC inputs (TA4 connectors) or two L-Mount batteries. If the SL-6 is in use, the SL-6 4-pin Hirose DC input or NP-1 battery powers the entire system.

The 888 and 833 can be powered via the DC input on a TA4 connector or two L-Mount batteries. 

All power sources operate in series, allowing for long run times.

Can my 8-Series mixer-recorder charge the L-Mount batteries?

Yes. There are two built-in chargers, one for each battery. These can be turned off via the menu.

Why did you choose to use the TA4 for power instead of the 4-pin Hirose on other SD products?

All 8-Series mixer-recorders can draw a significant amount of peak current: the battery chargers can draw over 3 A alone, and 4-pin Hirose connectors are only rated for 2 A per pin. The TA4 connector provides up to 5 A per pin and allows the use of smart batteries. 

How should I wire the TA4 to connect to a standard battery?

For standard, only use pins 1 and 4 for connection.

What smart batteries can I use?

You can use smart batteries from AudioRoot, Inspired Energy, etc. We have our own labeled smart battery called the XL-SmartBattery.

Can I use Hawk-Woods data batteries like the NP-98D?

Yes. Hawk-Woods data batteries communicate battery telemetry when connected via the Hawk-Woods NPA-TA4 shoe. Please note that the current Sound Devices XL-NPTA4 does not support data communications.

https://www.hawkwoods.co.uk/Sound/P/NP-98D

https://www.hawkwoods.co.uk/Sound/P/NPA-TA4

What battery information can be read/displayed from smart/data batteries?

When a smart or data battery is in use, the battery’s time remaining and percent remaining are displayed on the meter screens. In the Power menu, you can also view the battery’s cycle count and temperature.

Can I use a smart/data battery to power the SL-6 with Scorpio?
You can power the SL-6 with Scorpio using a smart or data battery but no battery telemetry will be displayed on the Scorpio interface. The SL-6 hardware does not support the data lines needed to read this information.  

Inputs/Outputs

How is routing different from the 688 or 788T?

Unlike the 688 and 788T, all 8-Series mixer-recorders have a full I/O matrix and multiple mix buses. Each physical input can be routed to any combination of buses, tracks, and outputs. 

See Scorpio Block Diagram

See 833 Block Diagram

See 888 Block Diagram

Can I send channels at different levels to multiple buses?

Yes. All channels feed the Left and Right mix bus post-fader. Additional buses can be fed from any channel, pre-fade or post-fade, or with a unique bus send level.

What are my options for each channel?

On Scorpio, channels 1-16 can be fed from analog mic or line, AES3 or AES42 (XLR inputs 1 and 6), Dante, or Rtn-A, -B, or -C. Channels 1-16 are fully featured with trim, delay, polarity, high-pass filters, 3-band EQ, stereo or MS linking, and pre- and post-fade limiting. Channels 17-32 can be used to connect Dante and Return audio, and they have faders and post-fade limiting.

On the 888, channels 1-16 can be fed from analog mic or line, AES3 or AES42 (XLR input 1), Dante, or Rtn-A or -B. Channels 1-16 are fully featured with trim, delay, polarity, high-pass filters, 3-band EQ, stereo or MS linking, and pre- and post-fade limiting.

On the 833, 8 channels can be fed from any of the six analog mic or line inputs, AES3 or AES42 (XLR inputs 1), or the Return (Rtn). All channels are fully featured with trim, delay, polarity, high-pass filters, 3-band EQ, stereo or MS linking, and pre- and post-fade limiting. 

How do I control channels that don’t have front panel access?

Each channel has an associated Channel screen from which you can setup any channel parameter. Trims, faders and bus sends for Channels 13-32 (Scorpio), channels 9-16 (888) and channels 7-8 (833) are controlled through their channel screens which may be accessed via the Menu or by using the star toggle switches + PFL toggle.  For physical fader and trim control of these additional channels, a supported USB control surface may also be used.

Do all microphone preamplifiers support 48 V phantom power?

Yes, and phantom provides a full 10 mA per channel.

Can I adjust the levels of incoming Dante audio?  

Yes. On the Scorpio and 888, Dante audio routed to channels 1-16 can be controlled with trim (pre-fade gain) and faders.
On the Scorpio, Dante audio routed to channels 17-32 can be adjusted using faders.

Can I use my 888 or Scorpio as an audio interface to my computer?

Yes, via Dante, the 888 acts as a 16 channel in and out audio interface, and the Scorpio acts as a 32 channel in and out audio interface. USB audio is not supported.

Can I link multiple 888s or Scorpios together?

Yes, two 888s or Scorpios can be linked via audio through Dante.  On Scorpio, all 32 ISO tracks, plus 4 buses, can be recorded on the second Scorpio to three storage media simultaneously. On the 888, send up to 16 channels of Dante to another 888 or a Scorpio. All recorded tracks then appear on one unit and one set of media.

How do I properly wire the TA5 Headset?

When wiring up a headset with the TA5 connector, it is important that the balance microphone signals are wired to shielded twisted pair *separate from the headphone signals*. Keep in mind that there can be >80 dB of amplification between the mic and the headset and just a bit of bleed between the mic signal and headphone signal can lead to oscillation.

You can also buy a premade headset, such as these options from Remote Audio.

My setup requires more AES inputs, how can I use more AES sources?

An accessory that will allow for up to 8 additional channels of AES (4 AES pairs) is in development. Stay tuned for future updates.

Recording

How many tracks can I record at the various sampling rates?

Scorpio – 36 tracks at sample rates 96 kHz and below, and up to 18 tracks at 192 kHz.

888 – 20 tracks at sample rates 96 kHz and below, and up to 18 tracks at 192 kHz.

833 – All 12 tracks can be recorded at 192 kHz.

Can I arm or disarm tracks during recording?

Yes. When a track is armed or disarmed during recording, a new file is created, including the added track, or excluding the disarmed track, respectively. The two files will be sample-continuous. This feature is great for reality show productions or any production where recording never stops.

It appears that most recorders have a maximum file size of 4 GB? What if I want to record long events without the files splitting at 4 GB?

The 8-Series supports the exFAT file system and RF64 WAV (64-bit) files. This allows file sizes up to 16 EB (ExaBytes – 260). In other words, you can fill up the entire 256 GB internal SSD with a single file with no splits.

Can the 8-Series record compressed audio files like MP3, AAC, etc, for transcription purposes?

The Scorpio, 888, and 833 allow real-time recording of a two-track, timecode-stamped AAC file from LR or B1B2.

Why AAC and not MP3?

AAC and MP3 are both lossy digital compression audio formats. AAC (Advanced Audio Coding) files achieve better sound quality than MP3 at a given file size.

I see 32-bit A/D Converters listed in the specs. Is that the same thing as a 32-bit float bit depth?

The A/D converters used on the Scorpio, 888, and 833 are 32-bit resolution parts, but this is unrelated to 32-bit float files. The ability to record in 32-bit float is a future possibility.

Why does the track count exceed the channel count?

All 8-Series mixer-recorders have four mix buses (L, R, B1, B2). The number of available recorded tracks equals the amount of isolated channels plus the four mix buses.

Will the 833 have Dante? 

The 833 was designed to be a lightweight, portable bag companion. Dante is particularly useful for larger scale cart-based productions with considerably more I/O. If Dante is needed in your workflow, please consider the 888 or Scorpio. 

Media

Is there internal storage?

Yes. All 8-Series mixer-recorders have an internal 256 GB SSD.

In addition to the internal SSD, your 8-Series mixer-recorder can record to two SD cards, which may be easily delivered to post.

Can this SSD be replaced by a user?

Any user modifications, including drive replacement, nullify the warranty. We highly recommend having Sound Devices Service replace the drive. Replacement drives will be available as a service part in the future.

What SD cards are recommended?

The current list of approved SD cards can be found on 8-Series Approved Media page.

Why won’t the SD card slide easily into the slot?

Cards must be inserted label-side down.

My Read/write speeds from my computer to the SSD and SD cards is slower than I anticipated?

Make sure the USB-C cable in use is USB3. USB2 cables do not have all the needed conductors and will greatly reduce transfer speeds.

Can I record to an external drive or USB storage device? 

The Scorpio, 888, and 833 can record to the internal SSD, SD 1, and SD 2 simultaneously. USB Storage devices are not supported.

Can I use my XL-DVDRAM?

No. 2006 called, they want this question back.

How about Mini DVD-RAM, Orb, or Jaz drive?

C’mon.

I noticed when I format the SSD and SD cards I’m not seeing the full capacity advertised.

We over-provision (reserve free space on) the media for optimum performance.

Automixing

Does my 8-Series mixer-recorder have an on-board Dugan Automixer? 

Yes. It is always a pleasure working with our friend Dan Dugan. Dugan Automixing was and is a well loved feature of the 633 and 688 and there was no way we would leave it out of the 8-Series. Automixing attenuation of each isolated channel is vividly displayed on the front panel LCD and Ring LEDs. 

The Scorpio and 888 allow automixing of channels 1-16; the 833 allows automixing of channels 1-8.

Does my 8-Series mixer-recorder support MixAssist?

Yes. MixAssist intelligently attenuates unused microphones to reduce unwanted artifacts in multi-microphone applications, and as of v3.00 has joined Dugan Automixing as an available algorithm on the 8-Series. The ring LEDs and LCD show when a channel is fully open or being attenuated. The off-attenuation of unused microphones can be set from 6 to 40 dB.

MixAssist is processed on the LR Bus. The Scorpio and 888 allow up to 16 channels of MixAssist automixing and the 833 allows up to 8 channels. 

Which automixer should I use – MixAssist or Dugan Automixer?

Both Dugan Automix and MixAssist accomplish very similar goals: they turn down the microphones not actively in use, and they maintain the overall system gain between microphones to 0dB. Read Automatic Mixing 101 to learn about the differences between the two automixers.

Remote Control

Can I use my CL-1, CL-2, CL-6, CL-8, or CL-9?

The Scorpio, 888, and 833 are built with an entirely new architecture which does not support these products.

Will my 8-Series mixer-recorder work with the Sound Devices CL-12 Linear Fader Controller?

Yes. CL-12 support was added in v3.00. The CL-12 connects to the 8-Series Mixer-Recorder with a USB-A to USB-A cable. 

Will you make a dedicated control surface designed specifically for the 8-Series?

Yes. We are currently developing a bespoke control surface to interface with all 8-Series mixer-recorders. Follow us on our social accounts or register your product to be updated when this control surface is available.

Can I control my 8-Series mixer-recorder from a USB Control Surface with linear faders?

Yes. Sound Devices supports open protocols wherever possible. The Scorpio, 833, and 888 support the ubiquitous MCU (Mackie Control Universal) protocol which many USB-connected control surfaces use. Currently the following USB control surfaces are supported:

  • iCON Platform M+ (w D2 Display)
  • iCON Platform X+
  • iCON Platform B+
  • Behringer X-TOUCH
  • Mackie MCU Pro
  • Sound Devices CL-12

Can I use the CL-12 with one of the supported third-party MCU controllers?

No. The CL-12 must be the only controller.

Can I program my own controller? 

We conform to the MCU protocol, however Sound Devices cannot guarantee proper operation with anything other than the supported controllers listed above. While you are free to make your own controller, we cannot offer any technical support.

Is there a mobile device remote application?

Yes. The SD-Remote companion Android application is available. The Scorpio, 888, and 833 connect via USB to Android tablets, providing robust data interconnect and device charging with a single cable. The app offers a large display for metering and timecode, scene, take and note editing, track arming, soloing, muting, transport control, and more. The app conveniently allows you to manage and create sound reports and email a CSV and/or PDF. 

What are the minimum Android requirements to run the SD-Remote app?

SD-Remote requires the Android tablet running 6.0 Marshmallow.

Does the SD-Remote app support Samsung DeX?

SD-Remote does not support DeX. It is recommended to disable DeX when using SD-Remote.

My 8-Series mixer-recorder won’t connect via USB to SD-Remote on my tablet. Is there a workaround?  

Some tablet data connections perform better when the USB current is limited to 500 mA. Try setting Menu>System>USB Charge Out to 500 mA.

Does the app connect over Bluetooth?

SD-Remote will eventually be supported over Bluetooth connection.

Will SD-Remote be available for iOS?

Yes, an iOS version of SD-Remote will be available in the future.

Can I use Sound Devices Wingman?

Wingman is for 6-Series and MixPre only.

Can I use a USB Keyboard, SD-Remote, and a Control Surface at the same time?

USB hubs are supported on the USB-A connector. This means that you can connect to a hub with multiple supported USB devices and use them simultaneously. This allows you to run SD-Remote, a USB Keyboard, the iCON Platform M+, USB lights, etc… We have not tested USB Hamster wheels, USB exercising dogs, USB warming gloves, or any other such devices.

SuperSlot

Does Scorpio support the SL-6?

Yes. Using the SL-Riser, the SL-6 can be fixed to the top panel of Scorpio and the six available wireless receiver outputs may be routed to channels 1-16. Scorpio supports SuperSlot. The following third-party SuperSlot-ready receivers are supported: 

  • Audio Limited A10-RX
  • Lectrosonics SRb, SRc, SRc-941
  • Sennheiser EK-6042 
  • Wisycom MCR42

Do the 833/888 support the SL-6?

No. Only the Scorpio supports the SL-6.

Can I run an RF scan of a SuperSlot receiver from Scorpio?

Yes, RF Scan is available on the Audio Limited, Lectrosonics, and Wisycom receivers.

Will the Scorpio UI support the RF Scan of the Sennheiser EK-6042?

No. The Sennheiser EK-6042 does not provide the Scorpio with a way to trigger or display the results of the scan. Sennheiser recommends doing all scan functions from the EK-6042.

Why do I need the SL-Riser?

Mechanically, the SL-Riser positions the receivers further back so that the receivers don’t overhang Scorpio’s front panel.

Why should I upgrade?

I own a 633, why should I consider the 833?

The 833 has several advantages to the 633, including:

  • 3 additional microphone preamplifiers
  • 2 additional channels
  • 256 GB Internal SSD
  • 3 recordable media
  • 12 Record tracks
  • Dedicated trim and fader controls for channels 1-6
  • Flexible routing 
  • Recordable Return
  • Dual L-Mount battery charging
  • 3-band EQ on every channel
  • Word Clock In and Out
  • Powerful processing architecture with multiple FPGAs
  • Supports multiple third-party USB control surfaces
  • Advanced transport controls via companion app SD-Remote
  • Post-roll
  • Track arming during recording
  • Track to media routing
  • TA5 headset port
  • Bus Sends
  • Tunable Timecode
  • High speed USB file transfer