Zaxcom Deva Thirty-Two (and more!) Preview

Every year before NAB, Glenn Sanders sets up his NAB booth in the back of his offices so that he can visualize how the booth will look and flow.  The weekend before, Glenn invites me over to give him my feedback. I've always looked forward to this annual ritual, but this year I was especially excited to see how the Deva Thirty-Two, Oasis and Nomad Touch were progressing. And happily, both Glenn and Jack Norflus (who happened to be visiting that day) graciously agreed to let me film them. - Peter Schneider

The Deva Thirty-Two is really a revolutionary product for film and TV production. First and foremost, it is a digital mixer designed for location sound use. It's got all the inputs and outputs you'd expect from such a product in 2015 including AES42 and Dante, and of course, analog.

Somewhat radically, the Deva Thirty-Two recorder itself is merely an option - a user installable card that slides into the mixer. Another radical feature of the Deva Thirty-Two is the companion computer application that comes with it. Although not entirely clear from the video, the Deva Thirty-Two requires a computer in order to have a GUI (technically the mixer doesn't need a computer, but I wouldn't want to operate the mixer without a GUI for more than an hour or two, if that).

Here's the really radical part: You are free to supply your own computer (Mac or PC) and your own screen. Although Glenn is seemingly promoting it as a touchscreen mixer and the GUI is certainly built with a touchscreen in mind, I would likely operate it without a touchscreen and use a trackpad or mouse intead. The dealer will offer a specific "hockey puck" Zaxcom sold low-power computer, but end users are not locked into it and the software will be supplied so that you are free to run it on your own hardware and configure it as you like it, which is a great choice on Zaxcom's part. The mixer application itself requires little horsepower, freeing up a computer to do other things, such as display video using cheap SDI-USB converter dongles.

The application itself seems solid, and I'm especially excited by the ability to display and really integrate with the script (although I am skeptical that production will be 100% on board with supplying native Final Draft files until hardware based authentication is in place. I remember on Sopranos each *paper* script had individual crew member's names watermarked on the page - I can only imagine things being more paranoid with a native digital format). I also look forward to seeing the playback app grow into a full featured application. 

The remaining products are interesting but not as radical as the Deva Thirty-Two. The Oasis is a solid control surface for the Nomad 12 and provides a wonderful bridge for those sound mixers who work part-time from a bag and part-time on a cart.

The Nomad Touch brilliantly leverages the Windows tablet platform to provide a robust touch solution freed from the shackles of Apple's "walled garden" ecosystem. I also love the laser-cut mount that allows the tablet to be flipped over to become a slate.

The RX200 is an affordable single slot wideband receiver with antenna diversity in the 500MHz to 700MHz range.

News category: 
New Products