At this past NAB’15 Convention, Zaxcom’s booth was one filled with innovation. Every year I question how a company already at the bleeding edge of technology can top its current offerings, and this year I happen to think they delivered yet again. Don’t get me wrong, there were plenty of other manufacturers showing amazing innovative products like Lectrosonics with their new SSM transmitter, and Timecode Systems with their complete timecode network solution, just mentioning a few.
But Zaxcom prides itself in doing things that no other company in the market is doing. They did it in the past with the introduction of recording digital wireless and ZaxNet. This year they introduced not only one, but a myriad of new products, including new features and hardware add-ons for the Zaxcom Nomad, but the focus of this article will be on the Zaxcom Deva 32.
The Zaxcom Deva 32 differs from its ancestors in that it is no longer just a recorder. Instead, it is a standalone digital mixer with a 32-track recorder module, capable of recording to up to 4 media instantaneously (2 CF cards and 2 SD cards).
It comes with many standard features across Zaxcom’s current line of recorders, including NeverClip analog inputs (140dB of dynamic range), AES, and ZaxNet integration. It boasts with many new features, including Audinate Dante compatibility (!!!), a customizable touch screen interface, script viewing functions, MovieSlate integration, AES42 inputs, integrated audio player, 16 motorized faders with 5 banks, etc.
At this point, the product is still in its early stages, and things may change, so a final list of features is not available. The full Deva 32 package including the mixer, computer and touch screen interface is currently estimated to cost around $20,000, but that too, may be subject to change.
Why Should You Care About the Zaxcom Deva 32?
Well, if none of the above features tickle your fancy, that’s okay. I personally don’t think I would invest in a Deva 32 myself. But if for nothing else, you should care about the Deva 32 because the Deva 32 is the very first and currently the only Dante-enabled standalone digital mixer of its size and weight that is DC-powered.
That’s right. Zaxcom has made the first compact and light-weight Dante-enabled, DC-powered digital mixer that I’ve been able to find in the market. And that to me is huge! Dante has found its way into many sound carts today because of its flexibility and versatility. Let’s face it, the idea of being able to route up to 64 channels of up to 192kHz and 32-bit uncompressed, low-latency digital audio over a single CAT5 cable is damn sexy!
The issue, however, is that the current Dante-enabled offerings available in the market are large, heavy, and AC-powered only! The Yamaha 01V96 and the Yamaha QL1 are two models you see used a lot on sound carts today. But in my opinion, both are too big, and at 30+ lbs., too heavy for location use. Additionally, since they are AC-powered, you would need a DC to AC power inverter to be able to power these mixers from the typical DC power setup found in most location sound carts. This is not optimal.
In a world of sound carts filled with large and heavy digital mixers that are AC-powered only, the Deva 32 is a shinning light to what the future may hold! I, and I know many of my sound brethren and sistren, yearn for Dante-enabled digital mixers that are DC-powered and are light and compact. The Deva 32 is hopefully the first of many.
04/01/2016 Update: Zaxcom has since shelved the Deva 32, instead going the route of a separate recorder (the Deva 24) and control surface (the Mix-16). Too bad, I thought the Deva 32 showed promise!