Sound Devices Visits the White House and the President of the United States

Tom Craca Uses the 688 Mixer/Recorder for its Unparalleled Digital Architecture and Powerful Features
Publish date:

WASHINGTON, D.C., NOVEMBER 17, 2015 — For the past two decades, ProfessionalSound Mixer Tom Craca has worked with some of the biggest political figures in the country. As an industry veteran working in Washington, D.C., Craca understands the importance of using reliable equipment. On a recent trip to The White House, Craca recorded President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama and Second Lady Dr. Jill Biden for a production involving several quick setups. To take on a job of this magnitude, Craca counted on the Sound Devices 688 12-input field production mixer with 16-track recorder and MixAssist™.

Image placeholder title

A loyal Sound Devices user since 2002, Craca’s belief in the company’s products has never wavered. “In 2002, I had been working with another manufacturer, and found its equipment lacking in the features I needed to work more efficiently,” says Craca. “When Sound Devices introduced the 442, I pre-ordered one sight unseen based on the specs. Upon its arrival and first use, I was sold. Since then, I have exclusively used Sound Devices mixers and recorders, with complete confidence in their performance and reliability. I would never jeopardize my clients’ productions or my reputation with anything less.”

Image placeholder title

For the recent White House production, Craca needed to record audio in three rooms, with only five minutes between each scene. “For the first interview with President Obama in the West Wing, I flew two Schoeps boom microphones and fed two Canon C300’s analog audio via the HRS 10-pins and a Sony PMW-F5 AES audio feed via the XLR main outs, all from the 688,” says Craca. “The program feed was sent to the client from the 688 via the aux outputs on TA3 connectors. Then, at the last minute, the White House transcriptionist asked for a mic feed for her handheld recorder, which the 688 allowed for effortlessly.”

Image placeholder title

Craca then faced a fast turnaround group interview in another room, where he was tasked with booming the First Lady and Dr. Biden, while mic’ing four additional guests with lavs. “The transcriptionist once again dropped her recorder in my bag, so I hit record with five iso tracks enabled, and off we went. This time, the client had to be in another room, so I also sent the L/R mix tracks to a speaker placed in an adjacent room. I set the four wireless tracks to the left channel with MixAssist enabled, and fed the boom clean to the right channel.”

The next setup involved a brief sit down with the First Lady and Dr. Biden. Craca turned to a pre-saved setup in the 688 user menu for his standard two-boom record setup, and was efficiently recording in no time.

Image placeholder title

Craca gives credit to his gear for overcoming the time constraints he faced while switching between rooms and speakers. Craca uses two main bag rigs, one with a 688 and the other with a 633. He used the 688 rig on this project due to the multiple outputs and auxiliaries required, as well as the MixAssist for a cleaner program feed and mix track.

“Since the 664 release, many in the industry have been pleading for a fader controller to accommodate those of us that often or exclusively work on a cart,” adds Craca. “The newly released CL-12 for the 688 is proof that Sound Devices is listening, and I can't wait to add one to my cart. The versatility of this unit to fit into any production scenario from bag to cart, reality to feature, really makes this platform a true future proof investment.”

Sound Devices’ 688 takes the finest aspects of the acclaimed 633, 664, and 788T and creatively combines them with new technology into an unrivaled production audio tool. The 688 has six high-bandwidth mic/line inputs on XLR connectors, each complete with phantom power, high-pass filter, analog input limiter and variable pan. Six additional line-level inputs on TA3 connectors offer flexibility for more complex productions.

Tom Craca is a Washington, D.C./Baltimore-based production sound mixer who in addition to his political credits has also worked on several independent films, made for TV movies, documentaries, episodic TV, news magazine programs, and commercials.  He can be reached at Craca.Audio@Gmail.Com.

Founded in 1998, Sound Devices, LLC, designs Sound Devices audio products and Video Devices video products. Sound Devices offers portable audio mixers, digital audio recorders and related equipment for feature film, episodic television, documentary, news gathering, live event, and acoustical test and measurement applications. Video Devices offers digital video recorders, monitors and related products, which address a range of video productions, including fast-paced studio applications, live sports and events, as well as mobile, TV, film and documentary productions.

The Sound Devices, LLC headquarters is located in Reedsburg, Wisconsin.  Additional offices are located in Madison, Wisconsin, Chicago, and Berlin. For more information, visit the Sound Devices and/or Video Devices websites: and



Black Box Radian Flex Software-Based Video Wall Platform Earns ISE Best of Show Award

Black Box, an industry-leading provider of pro AV connectivity and signal distribution systems, today announced that the company's Radian Flex software-based video wall platform won an ISE Best of Show Award from AV Technology Europe, a Future Publishing magazine. Of the more than 1,000 exhibitors at ISE 2019, only 15 — including Black Box with Radian Flex — earned this award, which recognizes achievements and innovations in product and service development.


Luxul to Bring Reliability and High Performance to IBS 2019 With Latest Networking Solutions for the Smart Home

Luxul, the leading innovator of IP networking solutions for AV integrators, today announced its technology line-up for the NAHB International Builders' Show (IBS), taking place February 19-21 in Las Vegas. In the Legrand booth SU614, the company will exhibit a wide range of solutions for home builders that deliver reliable, high-performance networks in smart homes, including Gigabit switches; the next generation of wireless controller technology; indoor and outdoor wireless access points (APs); wired and wireless routers; intelligent network power distribution units (PDU); and the Wi-Fi Assurance Program exclusively for builders.


HoverCam's Pilot Series and ClassFusion Learning Platform Land Big Wins at TCEA 2019

HoverCam, a leader in innovative, interactive, and engaging education solutions, announced that the company's digital classroom solutions received three major honors from Tech & Learning at the recent Texas Computer Education Association (TCEA) 2019 Conference in San Antonio. At the show, HoverCam's Pilot 3 digital teaching station received the Award of Excellence in the District category, while the company's new Pilot X podium and ClassFusion software platform both earned Best of Show honors. The awards were presented on Feb. 6 at a special ceremony held at Casa Rio restaurant in San Antonio.


College Football Playoff Uses Veritone's AI and Digital Asset Management Solutions to Enable Richer Media Coverage

Veritone Inc. (Nasdaq: VERI), the creator of the world's first operating system for artificial intelligence, aiWARE™, today announced that the College Football Playoff (CFP) leveraged an expanded deployment of Veritone solutions and services for the 2019 CFP National Championship to give members of the media even faster and richer access to its content resources. In addition to the CFP's Digital Media Hub, a white-label digital asset management portal from Veritone, the CFP also utilized Veritone's Live Event Services and aiWARE artificial intelligence platform for the first time. With aiWARE, the CFP was able to apply artificial intelligence to video footage and still images of press conferences, interviews and other Media Day events to produce transcriptions, automated facial recognition of players and coaches, logo identification, and other tasks enabling expedited and enhanced coverage of the 2019 College Football Playoff National Championship. For the first time, the CFP was able to make Media Day press conference clips and images available for search and immediate download within minutes of delivery. Following the success of this deployment, CFP has renewed its agreement with Veritone through the 2020 championship game in New Orleans.