Vatican Selects Sound Devices as Preferred Audio Partner

Sound Devices’ 688 Mixer/Recorder and SL-6 Accessory Power Pope Francis’ Speeches to Worldwide Audiences.

VATICAN CITY – Sound Devices, LLC, a worldwide leader in portable production audio equipment for TV and feature film, is now the preferred audio manufacturer for the Centro Televisivo Vaticano – Vatican Television Center (VTC), the official broadcaster of Vatican City.

As part of the ongoing efforts to bring superior quality and technical advancements for its broadcasts around the world, the VTC reached out to Sound Devices’ top Italian audio reseller, Nagrit Srl, to inquire about updating their audio recording equipment. The Vatican had used analog tape recorders for many years, and they were looking to make the jump to digital audio recorders. In search of a portable, user-friendly audio system that came equipped with wireless control capabilities to follow Pope Francis, VTC chose the Sound Devices 12-input 688 field production mixer with integrated 16-track recorder and its SL-6 accessory.

BTS with the 688 recording Pope Francis during a tour.

The 688 and SL-6 powering and wireless system were the ideal choice for the VTC – the production center that films and archives the activities of the Pope and the Holy See – thanks to their versatility and ability to power and control the Vatican’s new wireless microphone system consisting of Lectrosonics SRc two-channel wireless receivers.

As a unique feature for the pope, Sound Devices designed special edition “all-white” versions of the 688 and SL-6, which traditionally come in black only.

“We were honored that the Vatican considered us for their new audio system,” said Matt Anderson, president/CEO of Sound Devices, LLC. “When informed of the Vatican’s request for two 688s and an SL-6, we knew that this was a once in a lifetime opportunity that we couldn’t pass up. Our engineering and production teams did an amazing job designing these special edition models, and we’re really proud that they will be used to help reach millions of people around the world.”

Brendan Beebe's sound cart

Shot of the final 688s and SL-6 from Sound Devices’ Italian reseller Nagrit Srl

The 688 and SL-6 combo with SRc receivers has been implemented as a mobile recorder to follow Pope Francis in his tours, while the second 688 will be used in audio productions for VTC and Radio Vaticana (Vatican Radio).

The 12-input (6 mic inputs and 6 line inputs) 688 field mixer with integrated 16-track recorder, was designed with high-demand versatility in mind. Its portability, durability, and impressive feature set make it capable of fitting into any production scenario. With eight assignable outputs(L/R, X1-X6) that provide vast routing flexibility, the 688 allows audio engineers to easily tailor their setup to the various configurations necessary while on location. The 688 also offers 16-track recording of polyphonic or monophonic broadcast WAV and MP3 files to convenient SD and CompactFlash® cards.

Combined with its SL-6 powering and wireless accessory, the 688 becomes a very powerful, fully cohesive bag/cart audio system. With the SL-6, audio professionals instantly gain control of powering and audio interconnection between the 688 and multiple channels of wireless. The SL-6 accepts and powers three dual-channel slot-in receivers, streamlines wireless antennae distribution, and can even be used as a powering hub for other peripheral devices in the bag. When used with SuperSlot-compatible receivers, such as the Lectrosonics SRc, the 688 provides additional wireless control and monitoring direct from the mixer’s own LCD. SuperSlot™ is the industry’s first non-proprietary, open wireless control and interfacing standard, developed by Sound Devices in collaboration with a number of leading wireless manufacturers.

Vatican's 688 / SL-6 with a Lectrosonics SRc

Vatican’s 688 / SL-6 combo powered up and ready to go

The SL-6 and 688 combination not only provides unprecedented powering and wireless control, its durable construction—something Sound Devices is well-known for—make the 688/SL-6 combo a portable powerhouse for field work, even in the most complex of real-life environments.

688 side panels

Close up of the special edition 688’s side panels