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Old February 6th, 2008, 07:50 PM   #1
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Very quite mixer

From discussions on another thread, I think I need to get a mixer.

I need to be able to mix at least 4 XLR lines into a Canon A1 tape feed. I've had and used mixers in the past and they have been terribly noisy. Can you recommend a good one? I may need more inputs at a later date, so say 8 XLR lines in.

Price range, around $1000 max.
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Old February 6th, 2008, 08:02 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Lloyd Claycomb View Post
From discussions on another thread, I think I need to get a mixer.

** to do exactly what?

I need to be able to mix at least 4 XLR lines into a Canon A1 tape feed. I've had and used mixers in the past and they have been terribly noisy. Can you recommend a good one? I may need more inputs at a later date, so say 8 XLR lines in.

**Which mixers have you used, how were they noisy?

**XLR lines or XLR mics?

**Does the A1 have mic and line inputs

Price range, around $1000 max.
**Well you won't get much for that, but the ENG-44 will do in a pinch.

Regards,

Ty
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Old February 6th, 2008, 08:16 PM   #3
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Sorry, I should have been more clear on this thread. I posted elsewhere that this is for a video shoot of three (maybe four at times) people on a living room couch in a fireside chat. One adult reading a story to two jittery kids.

My Canon A1 has two XLR inputs on it.

The mixer I used before was similar to this. http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...MIX_8_USB.html

If you say that a $600 mixer "will have to do in a pinch," then that probably explains why this $150 one was so terrible.

Thanks for your help with this, Ty.

Last edited by Lloyd Claycomb; February 6th, 2008 at 10:07 PM.
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Old February 6th, 2008, 08:27 PM   #4
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Here's a highly regarded 3 channel mixer

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...3_Channel.html

Already above your price specs. I don't think you're going to get 8 XLRs in for that price, but I'm willing to be wrong. My guess is anything with that many inputs at that price point is going to be rather low quality. You're paying for a lot of stuff when you buy a mixer: preamps, build quality, filters, phantom power....on and on.

Here's a 4 channel mixer, but it's three times more than your budget.
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...uxe_Field.html

Cheers
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Old February 6th, 2008, 09:19 PM   #5
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**Well you won't get much for that, but the ENG-44 will do in a pinch.

Regards,

Ty
I bought an ENG-44 when they first came out. Because of how noisy the pre-amps were I returned it the next day and even paid a 15-20% restocking fee for the privelege.

I bought a Sound Devices 302.

You might look at the PSC Promix 6:
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...PROMIX_6_.html

There is also a PSC Promix 3, which B&H lists as a Top Seller--probably due to price.:
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...PROMIX_3_.html

I don't know, but I'm guessing the PSC mixers are comparable to the ENG-44, but I have never tried the PSC mixers.

The ENG-44 is okay if you don't have to raise the gain on the pre-amp more than about half... but since noise is the number one requirement in this case, I would suggest against it. But if you don't need to turn up the pre-amps terribly high, it probably would work fine.

If you want a lot of inputs and you're doing sit down stuff, perhaps you don't need a field mixer and you could use something like the Mackie Onyx 1620 with 8 mic PreAmps, $849.99:
http://www.mackie.com/products/onyx1620/index.html
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...el_Analog.html

the Onyx 1220 has 4 preamps, $549.99:
http://www.mackie.com/products/onyx1220/index.html
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...el_Analog.html

You can get a case for either.

You can get 5 inputs using a Sound Devices 302. Can you do something similar with a Wendt?

Another option might be a firewire or USB interface into a computer. (Which by the way, the Mackie Onyx mixers have as an option.)

By the way, do you know exactly what mixer you used in the past that you didn't like?
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Old February 6th, 2008, 09:29 PM   #6
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Fascinating Jack,

I have one here just incase I get a job I don't want to put my 442 in peril with.

The ENG-44 is not noisy. It isn't a 442 by any stretch, but not noisy.

Regards,

Ty Ford
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Old February 6th, 2008, 09:57 PM   #7
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Well, the place I bought it tried it out when I returned it, and they said they could hear what I was talking about. But they also said it was the same as the Shure FP33. Since this mixer is used a lot in the field by professionals, I suppose that speaks well of the ENG-44, if the noise level is comparable.

I have a couple of the shure mixers of the generation earlier, and they are way noisy.

If I remember, I was using two or three different dynamic mics. The pre-amps had to be turned up about 3/4, and I heard noise.

I am sure the ENG-44 is very good and probably has no noise with powered mics are mics with normal output.

It just happened that it wasn't what I wanted, and I didn't even know what a Sound Devices mixer was at the time. I didn't know what my alternatives were. But I bought the SD302 and, as you know, there is a huge difference.

I have used the mixer many ways, for digitizing Betacam tapes, for podcasts, for radio interviews out of briefcase, for feeding video cameras etc., and for all the things the mixer does, it is worth the money to get the better one.

However, I have recommended the ENG-44, and it has some nice features. I used the StudioOne adapter for a long time, which is made by the same company.
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Old February 6th, 2008, 10:01 PM   #8
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By the way, do you know exactly what mixer you used in the past that you didn't like?
Thank for that great post. The unit I have is this http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...MIX_8_USB.html
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Old February 6th, 2008, 10:12 PM   #9
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I think any of the suggestions will be better than the Alesis $149 mixer you link to.

Then ENG-44 would be much better. So would the top end Mackies.

However, if you are looking to be completely automated with a lot of inputs, you might look into the auto mixers as Ty suggested and I linked to.
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Old February 8th, 2008, 01:05 PM   #10
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I've got a PSC M4mkii with portabrace bag and breakaway cable for $950 this thing is in mint shape.
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Old February 8th, 2008, 01:26 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Lloyd Claycomb View Post
Thank for that great post. The unit I have is this http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...MIX_8_USB.html
Hi Lloyd,

Had you initially mentioned you didn't need a field mixer for portable applications, you probably would have received different responses. As later mentioned, you could get something like a Mackie mixer which has better pre-amps.

However, your Alesis may not be all that bad if you have it properly configured. I've had good luck using the unit with condensor mics - it's when you try low output dynamic mics is when you get in trouble with the Alesis pre-amps. In that case, you can simply buy an external low noise pre-amp and you'll be fine with the Alesis for your type of application. Or for your application, consider buying some nice condenser mics like the Oktava MK012a.

But if you're going straight into the Alesis with low efficiency dynamic mics and try cranking up the GAIN pots, you'll certainly have a very poor Signal/Noise ratio. We shouldn't expect much in this type of unit that has 4 pre-amps in a $150 device that has so many other features and functions (my guess is Alesis spends less than $10 for each of those pre-amps towards the $150 sales price).

Good luck, Michael
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Old February 8th, 2008, 01:33 PM   #12
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I've got a PSC M4mkii with portabrace bag and breakaway cable for $950 this thing is in mint shape.
That's a very nice mixer at a great price! PSC designed that mixer after Bob Wendt got control of his X4 design from them. It's lighter than the X4 and just as useful.

Wayne
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Old February 8th, 2008, 05:06 PM   #13
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Hi Lloyd,

Had you initially mentioned you didn't need a field mixer for portable applications, you probably would have received different responses. As later mentioned, you could get something like a Mackie mixer which has better pre-amps.
I actually DO need it to be for portable applications since I am getting into that too, so all the portable suggestions have been perfect.

I was using dynamic mics on the Alesis when I was actually using it, so maybe that is part of the issue. I will give it a shot for the indoor shoots and see how it sounds, but I know I was very displeased with the noise.
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Old February 9th, 2008, 11:10 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Ty Ford View Post
...I have one here just incase I get a job I don't want to put my 442 in peril with.

The ENG-44 is not noisy. It isn't a 442 by any stretch, but not noisy.

Regards,

Ty Ford

I agree. I also have one as a backup...so that I don't ever get stuck using a noisy FP32 that some shooters still carry around...

And noise is definitely NOT a problem w/ the ENG-44. It does have it's other quirks. But, I know that I can get quality sound out of it.
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Old February 9th, 2008, 01:22 PM   #15
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I agree. I also have one as a backup...so that I don't ever get stuck using a noisy FP32 that some shooters still carry around...

And noise is definitely NOT a problem w/ the ENG-44. It does have it's other quirks. But, I know that I can get quality sound out of it.
That is excellent. The mixer has some nice features, such as the 1/8" mic level out, making this mixer a good match for HV20/HV30 which doesn't have line in setting.

The specific mic that sounded noisy to me was an RE50. It was necessary to turn the gain up to about 3/4. However, I bought one of the very first units, before they even went to distributors. It is also possible the mixer was improved since this very, very early unit.
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