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Old April 1st, 2008, 08:44 AM   #1
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Help finding a small eng mixer?

Im sure this has been up for discussion several times but i couldnt find any matching threads in the archive.
And so i ask..

Im looking for a decent portable ENG mixer for use in field.
I've been told that the Sound Devices mixers are some of the best.
To bad for me they are so expensive. I will have to make some sort of compromise since i don't have a billion $.

The use.
I have a Rycote full windshield system and a Sennheiser MKH 416 and one Sennheiser wireless system with a transmitter and reciever and one lavalier microfone and a MD46 interview mic. This is usually all of the audio i use, so i dont need a big audio mixer.

Is it that important going for a 3 or 4 channel eng mixer when i don't need that many channels?

I mostly need the mixer for adjusting the volume on the microfone boom and maybe the wireless system separate. And offcourse to have a headset amplifier :)

One alternative im concidering is the
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...ortable_2.html

The other is this

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

is it really worth twice the money for one extra channel?

Do you great guys in here have any tips for other audio mixers that does the job and don't cost the same as a used car?
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Old April 1st, 2008, 09:18 AM   #2
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Marenius Audio Designs MM3100

I'm using a Marenius Audio Designs MM3100 3 channel that a good friend gave me for my birthday last year. It's been good to me, mostly for boom work or when running more than 2 wireless systems. I think it's available in North America under $400 USD. It's made in Sweden.
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Old April 1st, 2008, 09:57 AM   #3
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Vegard -

I do not know what kind of work you do, or what you may plan to do in the future, is this a hobby or your own business? - one thing to consider before purchasing cheaper alternatives (and I'm not saying a cheaper alternative would not meet your needs) - particularly when you have gone to the trouble and expense of an industry standard 416 already.

The Sound Devices Mix Pre (2 channel) is an excellent device for what you require, however-virtually impossible to find a used model, but that in itself tells you that you not only have an industry standard high quality bomb proof mixer unit, but that it will hold it's value and shelf life much better than a cheaper model. Of course many have made the mistake of purchasing the 2 channel Mix Pre wishing they had purchased the 3 channel 302 model as their needs changed. We have both those units in our studio and I can tell you, that they are solid construction with high quality components, built to last and withstand just about any environment you can throw at them. If you are making money from what your doing, from a business point of view it makes sense to buy particular types of equipment that will give you those features. While in the last 3 years we have updated or changed camera, monitor, deck and computer systems we have not changed our SD mixers or high quality mics.

Just something to think about before parting with hard earned cash....all the best with your choice...

Kind regards, Stu
www.studioscotland.com
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Old April 1st, 2008, 08:14 PM   #4
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Cheaper and better mixers than those you cited...

Hi, I think the Sound Devices MixPre is not a wise purchase as you're only getting two channels for $600 +. As for the second one you mentioned, it sounds like its way out of your range.

I strongly suggest you consult Fred Ginsberg at www.equipmentemporium.com (in LA). He has one for $529 or less called the Eng-44.

Go here: http://www.equipmentemporium.com/MixingPanels.htm

Tell him Collis Davis referred you. You'll find him quite knowledgeable about all things concerning audio production. I've been to his shop and they'll accommodate you in every way. You should purchase a little more capability so you'll grow into your mixer over time.

Collis
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Old April 1st, 2008, 09:01 PM   #5
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You might look at the PSC mixers. Here's the 3 channel one:
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...PROMIX_3_.html
and the PSC site:
http://www.professionalsound.com/Cat...V%20Promix.htm
and a review:
http://www.professionalsound.com/News.htm

They also make a 6 channel version:
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...#goto_itemInfo

For small size, quality and features, I like the Sound Devices products. I own the 302.

It all depends on what you want to do. For basic mixing of a bunch of mics something like the PSC mixers should be fine.

For long term use and higher end type production, the higher end products (such as Sound Devices) would be recommended.
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Old April 1st, 2008, 10:46 PM   #6
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Also, don't forget the Wendt X3. It's sometimes lost among mixers, but it's a very nice mixer.

Wayne
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Old April 2nd, 2008, 08:21 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Collis Davis View Post
Hi, I think the Sound Devices MixPre is not a wise purchase as you're only getting two channels for $600 +. As for the second one you mentioned, it sounds like its way out of your range.

I strongly suggest you consult Fred Ginsberg at www.equipmentemporium.com (in LA). He has one for $529 or less called the Eng-44.

Go here: http://www.equipmentemporium.com/MixingPanels.htm

Tell him Collis Davis referred you. You'll find him quite knowledgeable about all things concerning audio production. I've been to his shop and they'll accommodate you in every way. You should purchase a little more capability so you'll grow into your mixer over time.

Collis
Before you do that, first take a little bit of time to read this recent thread!
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Old April 2nd, 2008, 10:13 AM   #8
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Vegard,

Looking at the available choices, if I were you I would go for higher quality preamps and overall design rather than more input channels. That's what you can use everyday. The MixPre fits this role perfectly.

If occasionally you need more input channels, you could always rent an SD302 or SD442. But I wouldn't want to compromise what you do most of the time by going for more channels of less quality.

I own an SD302, by the way, and I am extremely satisfied with it. From what I've read here, the MixPre uses the same technology, just doesn't have some of the features of the 302 (such as the third input channel).

- Martin
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Old April 2nd, 2008, 10:30 AM   #9
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Thanks for all the great response !!
You guys really rock.

Looks like im stuck with two alternatives. The Cheapest Sound Devices mixer with 2 channels, or the PSC 3 channel one.

Martin Pauly is probably right though. I guess i should go for higher quality on the two channel one versus a cheaper 3 channel one. I can always buy a bigger one when i have done a few more jobs, or rent it.

Is there anything i would miss besides the 1 extra channel if im stuck with the 2ch sounddev one? Some limiter, outputs or something else i would miss out on?
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Old April 2nd, 2008, 10:42 AM   #10
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Hi guys,

If you would compare the ENG-44 to a PSC Promix, who is the winner? They are about the same range of price, but I can see that PSC Promix gives you a limiter on the output. If anyone have experience with theese two mixers I really would like to know which has the most quiet preamps, and could produce the hottest signal without noise?

/Ronnie
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Old April 2nd, 2008, 11:33 AM   #11
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In answer to the original question as to whether it's worth it to pay twice as much for one extra channel, for you, I'd say it's no, and yes. In other words, two channels sounds like plenty for you. But if you have the cash go for the SD302 anyway, because it has so many other indispensible features. That mixer actually has a trick by the way that gives you two more inputs, so it's actually a five channel mixer, although perhaps a somewhat awkward one.

Oh, and on the dilemma of getting a cheaper mixer with three channels, no way. Don't settle for less than the Mixpre.
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Old April 2nd, 2008, 11:56 AM   #12
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Just wanted to point out, I'm not dissing the Promix. It's supposed to be a decent mixer. Read Jay Rose's review:

http://www.dv.com/reviews/reviews_it...cleId=20900623

I'd still go for the mixpre though, as it has even quieter preamps. Since the mixer is at the heart of your signal chain, I wouldn't compromise there. To me, the Promix is for people who really have to have three channels and just can't afford SD or better. I'm looking at the Promix 6 myself for that reason. (I already have an SD302, but occassionally have been asked to record larger groups.)
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Old April 3rd, 2008, 06:29 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marco Leavitt View Post
But if you have the cash go for the SD302 anyway, because it has so many other indispensible features.
What more features does the 302 have that the mixpre is missing? (Except the 1 more channel).

Im really not shure if i should go for this http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...PROMIX_3_.html

or this
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...ortable_2.html

Any more views on what i should do?
If the 2channel one is missing some vital functions i guess i have to go for the psc 3channel..
To bad im a bit broke these days.
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Old April 3rd, 2008, 07:50 AM   #14
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Hello Vegard,

"Bite the bullet", as we say here in the US. Think of the 302 as an investment in instantly improving your audio. I have a SD 442. If I were going to get another mixer today, it would probably be a 302 because it's lighter and I don't have that many shoots that require 4 inputs.

I am happy to have the 442 when I get those 4 input shoots, which is why I got the 442 in the first place. Besides, I knew that if I got the 302, I would be inundated with jobs requiring 4 inputs. That's just the way my life works. :)

Regards,

Ty Ford
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Old April 3rd, 2008, 08:49 AM   #15
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The 302 has an adjustable limiter (it's fixed on the mixpre) and outputs (fixed at line level on the mixpre). It also has a better meter, and a whole slew of programming options -- too many for me to name, including the before mentioned ability to use the return headphone feed as two more unbalanced inputs. It also has many more monitoring options, control over meter ballistics and brightness, and a phase reversal switch. The B&H description also mentions that the Mixpre lacks a link input/output, although I'm not sure that's right. I was under the impression that it did. The 302 also appears to have more phantom power options, including T power, which is pretty cool, but a little scary. I'm always afraid I'm going to accidentally set the switch to T power and fry one of my mics.
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