Well, yes, it will HAVE it, but it doesn't NEED it. That's been my gripe all along.
All a good A/D converter needs is an analog in, which I will provide it with whatever external pre I choose (in the realm of Millennia, Pueblo, Rens Heijnis, AEA, Forssell, etc.). All I want are four XLR line level inputs. Every pro studio device has these. Most pro mobile recorders have them too, but they also have the pre, which I don't want.
Nagra, Aaton Cantar, Sonosax, SD, etc.--all of these have very good mic pres. I'm not arguing that. But these devices cater to location/ENG sound recordists primarily, not necessarily to whatever other niches of field/ambient recordists that exist. It's the very reason that Pueblo Audio is developing a new battery powered mic pre: he has been asked to provide something that exceeds Nagra et al in absolute performance, but is still portable, and requires no AC power. I'm on board with that.
No, just a simple switching matrix would work fine. By fancy I simply meant I don't need panning, and true 4:1 mixing. Most of these devices are designed for location sound, and often, they have to produce rough stereo stem mixes in the field. Again, I don't have to/don't want to do that. I just want four tracks recorded.
I don't care about surround personally.
Of course, can be done, but I don't want to pay for features I don't need. Nagra VI has twice as many channels as I need, and additional costs invested in mic pres none of which I need. A ~$10,000 recorder could thusly be issued for under half that, at the SAME level of quality, and I'd be glad to pay that.
The closest there is is the SD 744, which still has the pres, and has that ridiculous dinosaur Firewire interface. But it looks like SD is going to let the 700 series quietly ride off in to the sunset.
I may yet buy a used 744...but it just feels so...backwards.
FWIW, I do have an SD USB Pre-2 and I think it's a wonderful, delightful device.
A Nagra SD is in my future as well. For super light, easily deployed stereo recording in very difficult situations, I don't see anything beating it. I finally got to handle one a few weeks ago and it's just wonderful.