This past Wednesday (June 12) was my birthday and I bought myself a little gift.  I made my first foray into the production sound big leagues by upgrading to the Nomad 10 Recorder/Mixer.  


In one word, “gamechanger”.  There are many ways in which this little white box steps things up tremendously from my old kit.  At first glance, I’ve lightened my kit big-time.  I no longer carry two devices; now one device does the job of both mixer and recorder.  Look a little deeper (or rather, listen), and you see that it’s a device that records and digitizes sound in a way the other competing recorders don’t.  


And look even further and you see how forward-thinking it is with it’s inclusion of the propriety WiFi feature “Zaxnet”, which turns the Nomad into a veritable transmitter of information.  You can alter the trim settings on the actor’s mic-packs in the middle of a take, while you send stereo audio with timecode to two cameras, while you send scratch audio to a dozen people.  Traditionally you can’t do the former, and to do the latter you’d need to buy (and subsequently carry) even more equipment.  


Nomad’s patent-pending “NeverClip” technology allows signals to come in hotter than the 24-bit range and record clean, so long as you properly calibrate the mixer parameters they provide.  Being a 100% digital device, it’s mostly free of some of the limits of analog technology, the main one being “self-noise”.  Listen really closely to a very, very quiet recording from even a high-end analog-to-digital device and you’ll hear the noise floor, the hiss.  The nomad is basically devoid of that, being totally digital.  


The Nomad gets some heat in the sound community for not exactly being the most intuitive recorder.  I do agree, but I wasn’t going to let that deter me from enjoying the benefits of a superior-sounding and feature-rich recorder.  The price of being revolutionary is that, along with the good changes, a few tried-and-true methods will get toyed around with as well.  


And yet after this monumental upgrade, there’s plenty more to expand.  It’s both a sobering realization and an exciting motivator to work a ton and build, build, build.

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