The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
Nagra VI / Sound Devices 788T shootout
Old 17th May 2010
  #1
Lives for gear
 
MichaelPatrick's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Talking Nagra VI vs Sound Devices 788T shootout

the clips from this shootout have been moved here:

http://www.archetelos.com/NagraVI_SD788T/

Last edited by MichaelPatrick; 23rd May 2010 at 01:03 AM.. Reason: added clips from Gordon preamp
Old 17th May 2010
  #2
Lives for gear
 
rumleymusic's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
Great Michael, I wasn't expecting this until June. Fantstic! Unfortunatelly I have to leave now for a recording session and can't listen until I get back. I hate waiting.

Thanks for this.
Old 17th May 2010 | Show parent
  #3
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Hey, Michael, sorry I haven't had a chance to return your call. I've been working non stop the past couple of weeks, today started at 4:30am after last night ending at 2:00am. Anyway, it looks like you got the files hosted, correct? Can't wait to give this a listen when I get some down time!
Old 18th May 2010 | Show parent
  #4
Lives for gear
 
boojum's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
MP - Thanks! I guess. ;o) I am tentative about listening as I do not wan my prejudices disturbed. I will get to them soon. I certainly appreciate your scholarly approach and care in designing and executing these tests. Nice hall, too. Is that an SC hall? It looks yummy.

Cheers
Old 18th May 2010 | Show parent
  #5
Lives for gear
 
MichaelPatrick's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by rumleymusic ➑️
Great Michael, I wasn't expecting this until June. Fantstic! Unfortunatelly I have to leave now for a recording session and can't listen until I get back. I hate waiting.

Thanks for this.
You are welcome. Enjoy!

Quote:
Originally Posted by bishopthomas ➑️
Hey, Michael, sorry I haven't had a chance to return your call. I've been working non stop the past couple of weeks, today started at 4:30am after last night ending at 2:00am. Anyway, it looks like you got the files hosted, correct? Can't wait to give this a listen when I get some down time!
I figured you were tied up with other things. Thanks for the kind offer and for understanding.

Quote:
Originally Posted by boojum ➑️
MP - Thanks! I guess. ;o) I am tentative about listening as I do not wan my prejudices disturbed. I will get to them soon. I certainly appreciate your scholarly approach and care in designing and executing these tests. Nice hall, too. Is that an SC hall? It looks yummy.

Cheers
Cheers! I had the same concern, but wade right in; the waters are warm enough for everyone.
Old 18th May 2010 | Show parent
  #6
Gear Maniac
 
Celloman's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Thanks

Excellent samples. Clearly both recorders are excellent. Some tonal differences exist. Under close examination of the 44.1 files, the Nagra sounds a little sweeter, smoother, or relaxed and perhaps has slightly more coloration, though pleasing. One could say that the SD in contrast, has a little more punch or realism. I only listened to 3 of the 44.1 samples so far. Many thanks for your efforts!

Mike
Old 18th May 2010 | Show parent
  #7
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Haven't listened to the samples yet but since you mentioned the Gordon I wanted to remark that I have been using Gordon and Sound Devices for several years, and it took me a while to come to the conclusion that I generally prefer to use the Sound Devices pres, not only because they are more portable, but because they have a gentle sound which although it may not be technically superior, works better for me esthetically in many or most situations. I really think it takes a long time to compare audio gear in a wide variety of situations, and to forget about all the pre-conceptions of marketing and other peoples' opinions.

Also I wanted to mention that Nagra has come up with some stand alone pres which are not quite on the market yet, which might go well with the Sound Devices 744t since it lacks two preamps.
Old 18th May 2010 | Show parent
  #8
Lives for gear
 
MichaelPatrick's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Celloman ➑️
Excellent samples. Clearly both recorders are excellent. Some tonal differences exist. Under close examination of the 44.1 files, the Nagra sounds a little sweeter, smoother, or relaxed and perhaps has slightly more coloration, though pleasing. One could say that the SD in contrast, has a little more punch or realism. I only listened to 3 of the 44.1 samples so far. Many thanks for your efforts!

Mike
You're welcome!

Quote:
Originally Posted by aracu ➑️
Haven't listened to the samples yet but since you mentioned the Gordon I wanted to remark that I have been using Gordon and Sound Devices for several years, and it took me a while to come to the conclusion that I generally prefer to use the Sound Devices pres, not only because they are more portable, but because they have a gentle sound which although it may not be technically superior, works better for me esthetically in many or most situations. I really think it takes a long time to compare audio gear in a wide variety of situations, and to forget about all the pre-conceptions of marketing and other peoples' opinions.

Also I wanted to mention that Nagra has come up with some stand alone pres which are not quite on the market yet, which might go well with the Sound Devices 744t since it lacks two preamps.
When I post the Gordon clips you'll be able to compare those with these. These were recorded through transformers, albeit good ones.

The Gordon 5 is ghostly quiet, and its exceptional temporal accuracy helps AB omnis capture a beautiful 3D sound stage from complex ensembles like orchestras. Like you, for many applications I'll reach for something else as it isn't ideal for everything, though I'd use it more if I owned one. The one we used here belongs to Mark Wurfl (mwurfl on GS). If you want to sell your Gordon PM me.
Old 18th May 2010 | Show parent
  #9
Lives for gear
 
mosrite's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Hi Michael,

First up thanks for doing this comparison. A lot of people will find it very useful.

Unfortunately I don't have Quicktime Pro so cannot get the files off my internet computer and into my DAW (linked to a decent DAC etc).

So all I can listen to at the moment is through HD600's but fed with a laptops DAC

Therefore I cannot draw any useful conclusions I'm afraid.
Old 18th May 2010
  #10
Gear Guru
 
John Willett's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Re: Nagra VI / Sound Devices 788T shootout

Quote:
Originally Posted by aracu

Also I wanted to mention that Nagra has come up with some stand alone pres which are not quite on the market yet, which might go well with the Sound Devices 744t since it lacks two preamps.
These are supposed to be identical to the mic. pre's in the NAGRA VI - designed to give the VI 6 mic. Inputs with the external unit.

Great for loads of other things as well - of course.


Posted via the Gearslutz iPhone app
Old 18th May 2010
  #11
Here for the gear
 
🎧 10 years
Thank you Michael and David for your efforts!

Listening (with Sennheiser HD600) only to the first tracks in 16/44, the Nagra sounds brighter and more detailed.

By boosting the SD 788t +1dB with a 12k shelf in a linear phase eq, the two files become basically indistinguishable from each other (dare I say it).

It would be interesting to hear if others agree with this after trying it.
Old 18th May 2010 | Show parent
  #12
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
Many thanks Michael for doing this experiment. It's as I feared. I can hear no appreciable difference listening to the 44 files on decent monitoring.

Like I have said before on this subject, the differences in these recorders that will drive a purchase decision will not be related to sonics, even more so when using external preamps.
Old 18th May 2010 | Show parent
  #13
Lives for gear
 
mosrite's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I think David is almost certainly correct with his assessment.

The 2 machines are quite well positioned in the marketplace in that they both offer different advantages / disadvantages over each other and your purchasing decision will really come down to what it is you require the machine to do.

(I personally would like to hear the Nagra LB in comparison too as I wonder how it will hold up against its bigger brother...)
Old 18th May 2010 | Show parent
  #14
Lives for gear
 
MichaelPatrick's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by mosrite ➑️
Hi Michael,

First up thanks for doing this comparison. A lot of people will find it very useful.

Unfortunately I don't have Quicktime Pro so cannot get the files off my internet computer and into my DAW (linked to a decent DAC etc).

So all I can listen to at the moment is through HD600's but fed with a laptops DAC

Therefore I cannot draw any useful conclusions I'm afraid.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ubelfior ➑️
Thank you Michael and David for your efforts!

Listening (with Sennheiser HD600) only to the first tracks in 16/44, the Nagra sounds brighter and more detailed.

By boosting the SD 788t +1dB with a 12k shelf in a linear phase eq, the two files become basically indistinguishable from each other (dare I say it).

It would be interesting to hear if others agree with this after trying it.
The 96K files are better for comparison as the differences are not as apparent in the CD WAVs because dither and truncation to 16 bits make them harder to discern.

Quote:
Originally Posted by David Spearritt ➑️
Many thanks Michael for doing this experiment. It's as I feared. I can hear no appreciable difference listening to the 44 files on decent monitoring.

Like I have said before on this subject, the differences in these recorders that will drive a purchase decision will not be related to sonics, even more so when using external preamps.
You should really hear the 96K files with a good DAC when you get a chance.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mosrite ➑️
I think David is almost certainly correct with his assessment.

The 2 machines are quite well positioned in the marketplace in that they both offer different advantages / disadvantages over each other and your purchasing decision will really come down to what it is you require the machine to do.

(I personally would like to hear the Nagra LB in comparison too as I wonder how it will hold up against its bigger brother...)
There is definitely a place in the market for both machines. I do hear sonic differences, though, even in the lower res clips, though it requires good DAC and monitors.
Old 18th May 2010 | Show parent
  #15
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Cool! Thank you Michael David, Mark, and Robert. I am resisting the urge to listen to these files until I return home from my trip on proper monitors. Looking forward to hearing the results then. (I will likely be using my VI as my DAC)
Old 18th May 2010 | Show parent
  #16
Gear Maniac
 
Celloman's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
You're right, listening to 96k through monitors magnifies the smaller differences. Again, much appreciate the samples and quality.

Mike
Old 18th May 2010 | Show parent
  #17
Lives for gear
 
Plush's Avatar
 
5 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
Thank you gents for all your work.

I will look forward to listening later.

Church (or hall) looks like a very nice place. Very west coast.
Old 18th May 2010 | Show parent
  #18
Lives for gear
 
MichaelPatrick's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Plush ➑️
Thank you, gents for all your work.

I will look forward to listening later.

Church (or hall) looks like a very nice place. Very west coast.
Plush, it's one of California's historic Spanish mission churches. Here are more views. http://gallery.mac.com/missionsantaclara
Old 18th May 2010 | Show parent
  #19
Lives for gear
 
Teddy Ray's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I Heard no differences.

As far as this experiment goes, they are sonic equals...that is to say, id happily use either without worry.
Old 18th May 2010 | Show parent
  #20
Lives for gear
 
mosrite's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Finally managed to download the files and get them transferred to my DAW for proper listening heh

My impressions:

The Nagra has an audibly more open and detailed sound whilst still remaining super smooth.

The SD sounds a touch congested in comparison.

I also believe the SD to sound a touch overblown in the low mids in comparison to the Nagra that sounds better balanced throughout the range.

I go against my previous assumption that they would be so close as to not be a consideration and suggest now that indeed the Nagra is audibly superior.

Also, as has been stated already, the differences are magnified at 96khz but are still audible at 44.1khz.
Old 18th May 2010 | Show parent
  #21
Gear Maniac
 
Celloman's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I felt the same after listening to the 96khz files and through monitors.

Mike

Quote:
Originally Posted by mosrite ➑️
Finally managed to download the files and get them transferred to my DAW for proper listening heh

My impressions:

The Nagra has an audibly more open and detailed sound whilst still remaining super smooth.

The SD sounds a touch congested in comparison.

I also believe the SD to sound a touch overblown in the low mids in comparison to the Nagra that sounds better balanced throughout the range.

I go against my previous assumption that they would be so close as to not be a consideration and suggest now that indeed the Nagra is audibly superior.

Also, as has been stated already, the differences are magnified at 96khz but are still audible at 44.1khz.
Old 18th May 2010 | Show parent
  #22
Lives for gear
 
didier.brest's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I listened to clip 1 and 2 at 44 kHz on Beyer 990 earphones. I've got the feeling that the difference is significant. The Nagra sounds fuller and smoother to me. Great samples! Many thanks for doing and sharing this test.
Old 18th May 2010 | Show parent
  #23
Lives for gear
 
Teddy Ray's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Expectation Bias.

We are conditioned to think that the nagra will be superior(based on all the accolades they have gotten here, the sex appeal) so that no doubt influences our hearing.

If the roles were reversed...if the SD had gotten a lot of plaudits, accolades, whatever, wed no doubt be saying the same thing about the SD.
Old 18th May 2010 | Show parent
  #24
Lives for gear
 
didier.brest's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I would have liked preferring the SD...
Now my concern is whether the Nagra LB sounds as good as the Nagra VI.
Old 18th May 2010 | Show parent
  #25
Lives for gear
 
MichaelPatrick's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
We did not have the ability to test the converters without the preamps. We'll have to save that for a future capture. Any differences could be due more to preamps than converters, or vice versa. The Nagra has 4 preamps and 6 converters; the SD has 8 of each in a package that's 1/4th the size.
Old 18th May 2010 | Show parent
  #26
Lives for gear
 
mosrite's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Expectation Bias.
Not here. My expectation was very little to no difference actually.

I am also very suprised that you say that you cannot hear any difference
Old 18th May 2010 | Show parent
  #27
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Teddy Ray ➑️
Expectation Bias.

We are conditioned to think that the nagra will be superior(based on all the accolades they have gotten here, the sex appeal) so that no doubt influences our hearing.

If the roles were reversed...if the SD had gotten a lot of plaudits, accolades, whatever, wed no doubt be saying the same thing about the SD.
I don't know, I feel that that VI feedback from users has been pretty objective. A few people gush over the quality, and maybe I haven't read all the VI threads, but when I expressed that I might have preferred the Nagra preamps over Sound Devices, for example, I did state that it was not scientific and was based on perception and memory, both of which could have been skewed. I've also always praised the Sound Devices products, and I notice that most other people seem to share a similar level of objectiveness and many also praise the Sound Devices products, because they are obviously great units.

The other major VI thread was part of a recent converter shootout. The Nagra performed well it seemed, and that was completely blind.

I do have a criticism of the VI's headphone output, I feel it is weak compared to other circuits, so I think I try to call it like I see it.

I do think, however, that I'm going to have someone scramble the filenames for me before I listen to them, because you may have a valid point. Psychology and expectation can be a major contributing factor. It is in my best interest to find the VI on top, as I even have an offer in the classifieds for a 788t + cash swap for my VI, as I may be downsizing a bit and am sort of separating my film production and studio work. If I do find the VI on top, I'd like it to be for the all the legitimate reasons.
Old 18th May 2010 | Show parent
  #28
Lives for gear
 
Teddy Ray's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by mosrite ➑️
Not here. My expectation was very little to no difference actually.

I am also very suprised that you say that you cannot hear any difference
I heard none..probably because I had my wife scramble the file names and we then loaded them in fooABX.

so I am with Mr. Spearitt.
Old 18th May 2010 | Show parent
  #29
Lives for gear
 
Teddy Ray's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by tsvisser ➑️
I don't know, I feel that that VI feedback from users has been pretty objective. ....<SNIP>If I do find the VI on top, I'd like it to be for the all the legitimate reasons.
I know Ive certainly been influenced by Mr. Plush , Spearitt, etc's postings..and the Nagra name is a bit more "inspiring"(based on pedigree, history, whatever).. so I wanted to do it blind. Without it, I probably would have guessed in the Nagras favor.
Old 18th May 2010 | Show parent
  #30
Lives for gear
 
mosrite's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I think there is much more chance of subtle differences in tests being influenced by expectation, but here the difference is less than subtle.
πŸ“ Reply

Similar Threads

Thread / Thread Starter Replies / Views Last Post
replies: 53 views: 9367
Avatar for sonidista
sonidista 2nd May 2007
replies: 361 views: 50999
Avatar for John Willett
John Willett 10th February 2018
replies: 60 views: 7023
Avatar for boojum
boojum 7th April 2012
replies: 70 views: 6533
Avatar for JackHenry
JackHenry 20th February 2015
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearspace Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and Reverb.com listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.


 
 
Slide to join now Processing…

Forum Jump
Forum Jump