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NAB 2012: Recorders

2012 marks the return to the rack, only without the tape decks...

By Adam Wilt | May 04, 2012

AJA Ki Pro Quad 4K-capable recorder hooked to a Canon C500.

In the past few years the industry has been moving away from rack-mounted tape decks in favor of small, on-camera or near-camera, portable recorders using CF cards, SSDs, and hard disks. At NAB 2012, we saw a partial reversal of that trend: the recorders are moving back into the racks.


Not entirely, however; AJA's Ki Pro Quad is a portable, 4K-capable recorder with dual SSD slots, designed for capturing data in HD, 2K, or 4K from the newest generation of more-than-HD cameras.

AJA's Ki Pro Quad has four HD-SDI inputs and four HD-SDI outputs, as well as GigE, HDMI, and Thunderbolt.

Not that AJA was immune from the rack-'em-up movement:

The AJA Ki Pro Rack.

The Ki Pro Rack reworks the Ki Pro into a rackmount form, adding a second drive module so you can bounce between drives with no downtime.

A racked Ki Pro, and two Ki Pro Racks.

The usual Ki Pro specs apply: 10-bit 4:2:2 recording in ProRes or DNxHD.

AJA's Ki Pro family: a recorder for every reason.


Cinedeck has been around for a few years now, selling portable hard-disk based recorders with built-in monitoring screens, often seen mounted on cine cameras. The truck guys have been clamoring for rackmount versions, and Cinedeck now has a couple.

Cinedeck MX: full-width rackmount multiformat recorders, front and back.

The Cinedeck MX is a full-width recorder with eight drives. It'll record up to four channels at a time in your choice of codecs (uncompressed, Cineform, ProRes, DNxHD, and more).

Four Cinedeck RX recorders.

The half-rack Cinedeck RX is a two-channel recorder.

Sound Devices

Sound Devices isn't resting on their laurels. The PIX 260 is based on the portable PIX 240, but redesigned to fit in a rack.

Sound Devices PIX 260 half-width rackmount recorders.

If you don't mind audio snakes terminating in D-shell connectors, you can cram up to 32 channels of sound into the little box.

PIX 260 half-width rackmount recorders, closer up.


I ran out of time before getting to visit Codex Digital, makers of the most elegant recorders in the business. Fortunately, Jon Fauer has his typically good coverage at Film and Digital Times, so head on over there and get an eyeful.

Disclosures: I attended NAB on my own dime, with a press pass to save the cost of admission. The NAB did not provide the pass in exchange for any promise of positive coverage, nor did they influence me in any way before or afterwards.

There is no material connection between me and any of the manufacturers covered in the article, and nobody offered any inducements for favorable coverage (other than appearing at the show and having interesting things to look at).

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