Right on the heels of the Zaxcom Fusion* come two other combo units, both from legacy names in the film sound biz and all aimed squarely for the same market.
First up, the Nagra VI. The Kudelski folks enjoy a well-earned reputation for pretty much defining modern production recording with their 1/4" reel-to-reel decks. I'm embarrassed to admit I've never used one myself, but from all accounts, they were built like tanks, if tanks were built like beautiful watches. Snip:
It offers six independent analogue audio inputs. Inputs 1 - 4 are equipped with traditional NAGRA microphone pre-amplifiers for dynamic and phantom +48V microphones...
The NAGRA VI records to a 120GB internal 2.5" hard disk. An extractable compact Flash card is used to record a copy of the audio tracks depending on the users track selections. The NAGRA VI allows approximately 20 minutes of 6 track 48 kHz 24-bit recording per GB of available disk / card space.
Next, the Sonosax SX-M32. A fairly common name on the audio cart, Sonosax won a Techinical Achivement Award for creating the SX-S in 1983, a veritable workhorse mixer for film recording. Their foray into the ENG/EFP looks just as interesting. Snip:
# Electronically balanced Mic/Line Input, XLR connectors
# 48V Phantom for Mic power
# Pre LF Cut for rough wind conditions - PAD - Phase reversal
# Input trim on the front panel for easy Mic Gain adjustment, retractable
# Sweep LF Cut, retractable
# Mix routing by PAN Pot
# Stereo and MS linking of channel 1/2 - 3/4 and 5/6
# M/S Decoder
# PFL for rapid channel monitoring
# Limiter on each channel
# Stereo AUX Input assignable to the MIX or to Track 7&8
# Electronically balanced Line Outputs, XLR connectors
# AES Digital Out, 44,1 and up to 192kHz@24bits
# Integrated 8 Tracks Recorder on Hard disk and CF Card, with specifications similar to these of the MINIR82
Since this writer is on the lower end of the Wechsler Scale, it thankfully doesn't take a genius to see that all of these units are clearly aiming for Sound Devices' territory: highly portable (ie "baggable"); rugged, high quality builds; four tracks-plus recording capability; and stereo mixdown for a camera feed. Here's hoping that the market opens up and prices come down a bit.
*A Fusion sample is on its way here, and a review will be forthcoming.