Sound Devices 688
Field Operations: Working Live

The 688 has definitely impacted my work flow while working live in the field. Here I'm going to share a typical live setup that I use fairly often and how the 688 really steps up to the job.

The basic foot print is 1 host with up 3 to 4 guest ranging over the hour. Everything is straight up mono and with 4 camera paths the studio wants to see 4 sets of sound. Thats 8 mono feeds, 2 for each camera. Its basically built in redundancy protection that if they lose a path or two it has no bearing on the show sound. In the old days I would have my own dedicated snake but now the audio is embedded in the HD-SDI so I'm feeding each camera directly and I prefer not to use splitters.


A-Cam - A 10 pin out
B-Cam - C 10 pin out
C-Cam - XLR L/R out
D-Cam - X3/X4 Linked and following L/R
(If D is a jib then I'll often feed via hop)

Channel Assignments are a breeze with the 688. I personally like to mix linearly, meaning I like my faders to coincide with the way people are seated. Its just been my preference over the years.


Input 1 - Host routed L/R with a pre-fade selection to X6 (hot mic)
Input 2 - Host redundant routed L/R with a pre-fade selection to X6 (hot mic)

Inputs 3-6 - Guest mics routed L/R

Inputs 7 & 8 - Stick mic pair routed L/R with input 7 routed post-fade to X5 (voice of god)

Input 10 - Host IFB routed post-fade to X1
Input 12 - Guest IFB routed post-fade to X2

Notice how fast aux buses get sucked up!

Now we're pretty much ready to engage MixAssist so we can really stay on top of this unscripted world we call live tv. in the past my fingers would cramp after an hour of hard core unscripted fader jockeying!

Aux Outs:

X1 - Host IFB (isolated from guest so that the producer can speak in his/her ear)
X2 - Guest IFB
X3 - D Cam Feed
X4 - D Cam Feed
X5 - Voice of God (plays if producer needs to speak to crowd)
X6 - Hot Mic (telepromter feed back to the studio)


The Sound Devices 688 filling in for my mixing desk
on remote live shows.

As you can see the versatility and power that the 688 brings to bear is a tool that you rapidly don't want to work without. This scenario that I've laid out I've done countless times but utilizing my mixing desk with no auto mixer (MixAssist) of any kind. You can't quite tailor the aux mixes the way you can with a board but that pretty much stands to reason since the desk has dedicated level controls for each input into the aux mixes.

Ideally Sound Devices will be releasing a controller for the 688 with 100mm faders which will significantly move the bar towards a truly integrated bag/cart system.

Happy mixing!

"Being a great mixer is knowing what sounds good and what doesn't as it applies to the situation you find yourself in..." - Thom Shafer

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