Any decent ENG-style portable mixers for under $250? - Page 2 at DVinfo.net

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Old March 5th, 2004, 07:26 PM   #16
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From what I can tell it looks like neither the Mixpad 4 nor the Rolls MX124 ProMix IV that were mentioned on this thread have level meters, is that correct? (I'm hoping I'm wrong.)
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Old March 5th, 2004, 09:50 PM   #17
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I think people have to be realistic in their expectations of what $250 will buy. A Sounddevices, single channel with limiters and 48 volt phantom is $300 and that has no metering. It's also the kind of gear that will in a few years, still be working and worth darn near what you paid for it.
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Old March 6th, 2004, 01:04 AM   #18
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you could always

be a ebay lurker and hope to get a used fp-32 off ebay or if you are willing to double your price you can get one used from bexel off their site with bag and strap for 499
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Old March 6th, 2004, 08:44 AM   #19
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I understand that you get what you pay for, but in my case, I'm not making any money on video, so a budget is a budget.

I'm eternally frustrated at the exorbitant prices charged by manufacturers for products intended for the "broadcast" market.

Here's a case in a point: if I want a desktop, console or DJ-style mixer for under $300, I have a multitude of options: Mackie, Behringer, Samson, etc.

However, take the same components and put them in a broadcast-style box and the price doubles or triples. I think manufacturers assume that anyone who buys this stuff is working for a network with bottomless pockets.
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Old March 6th, 2004, 10:09 AM   #20
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"I think manufacturers assume that anyone who buys this stuff is working for a network with bottomless pockets."

I think they just assume that 95% of customers who buys this stuff are using it in a professional environment. When retakes cost you money, a couple hundred bucks for reliability and error checking features like limiters and accurate meters seems like a pretty decent deal.

The fact of the matter is, there are ways to get a good signal on the cheap, several have been mentioned here. But no they don't have all the features, workmanship or reliability of a products costing hundreds more.
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Old March 6th, 2004, 10:46 AM   #21
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<<a couple hundred bucks for reliability and error checking features like limiters and accurate meters seems like a pretty decent deal.

The fact of the matter is, there are ways to get a good signal on the cheap, several have been mentioned here. But no they don't have all the features, workmanship or reliability of a products costing hundreds more.>>

Well, as someone who comes out of a "picture" background and has been pretty clueless about audio (I'm cramming a lot in my brain these days with practice and great books like from Jay Rose) I've pretty much decided that level meters so I can see what's going on in two places (camera and mixer) is worth the extra bucks. And given how little I'm bringing in at the moment while prepping for my doc, $650 for a Sound Devices MixPre ain't nothing. But doing run and gun, the more flags that go up, warning me that things aren't right, the better. Level meters, while pricey, will make it more likely that I'll actually notice (and have a chance to correct) high/low audio before I'm back in post tearing my hair out. With more experience like most of you have, I probably wouldn't need the "dummy" lights, but at this stage, it just seems like a sound investment.

This has been a very imformative thread. Thanks guys!

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Old March 6th, 2004, 12:25 PM   #22
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The PSC DV ProMix 3 that was mentioned at the beginning of this thread looks like the best value for your money to me. Better meters than the Mixpre too. At his own forum Jay Rose has said some pretty complimentary things about the unit. I was saving up for a SoundDevices 302, but I think I'm going to get the ProMix instead.
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Old March 6th, 2004, 01:39 PM   #23
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Marco, sorry to be so ignorant about all this stuff, but what makes its meters better? I look at audio stats on these products and might as well be reading Greek.
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Old March 6th, 2004, 02:15 PM   #24
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I'm going by DV Magazine's review (You'll have to register): http://www.dv.com/features/features_item.jhtml?LookupId=/xml/review/sounddevices0701&_requestid=278490

They note that the MixPre has indicators for -30dBu, -15dBu, 0dBu, +4dBu, +8dBu, +12dBu, and +16dBu, which makes no sense, because anything over 0 is going to clip. They suggest recalibrating the MixPre so that 0 matches -20dBu on your recording device, so I guess it's no big deal, but I think it's kind of a hassle. SoundDevices is renowned for the quality of their products, and I'm sure the MixPre is a fantastic mixer (they gave it a very rare four stars), but I really need three inputs, and the SoundDevices 303 is a little out of my short-term budget. Also, the MixPre only has mic inputs and line outputs. The Promix has switchable inputs and outputs, and a separate 3.8mm unbalanced mic level output that could be used to send a second signal direct to camera as backup. The company has confirmed to me that this can be done while still using the XLR outputs. This is a very attractive feature for anybody using a double system. If you are only recording direct to camera, you won't need an XLR adapter with the Promix, although you might want to use one anyway on a long cable run so that you can use a balanced signal.
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Old March 6th, 2004, 03:58 PM   #25
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Marcia,
Looking over that review again, I think I mispoke (miswrote?). The recommendation is to adjust the recorder, not recalibrate the meter on the MixPre, meaning I guess that you would want to turn the gain down on the camera (assuming you're recording to camera) so that a 0dB tone on the MixPre reads -20dB on the camera. You would want to turn down the gain on the camera anway (to reduce hiss), so this seems like a pretty commonsense, and hassle free solution. Maybe SoundDevices designed the meter this way because they had prosumer video equipment in mind?
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Old March 6th, 2004, 04:13 PM   #26
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"I'm eternally frustrated at the exorbitant prices charged by manufacturers for products intended for the "broadcast" market."

People all have different thresholds. I have no problem paying the price for a Sound Devices, Wendt, PSC or Shure standard of product.

"Here's a case in a point: if I want a desktop, console or DJ-style mixer for under $300, I have a multitude of options: Mackie, Behringer, Samson, etc. "

I shudder when i look at those cheap mixers in the music stores, yards and yards of really cheap components.



"However, take the same components and put them in a broadcast-style box and the price doubles or triples. I think manufacturers assume that anyone who buys this stuff is working for a network with bottomless pockets."

They're not the same components. You'll have to find out for yourself, I guess. I've always been in thr tech side of life so i have a different appreciation. I'm also older than dirt and don't have the time or patience to "make do"

The beauty of the mixpad 4 is it's a simpler setup than the yards of pots and sliders that some of the DJ mixers offer. For a basic 3 channel the Marenius offers a compact field mixer for $400. The PSC for $500 looks nice. The difference between that and the Sound Devices would most likely the size and maybe components.

The Mix Pre is a standard and the 302 is amazing for the money. There is no other mixer that small that can do that much. You could also drive a car over it. The metering is LED but is fast and accurate. In fact the display can even be seen in bright light.

In 5 years you'd most likely get most of your money back selling a PSC, Shure , Wendt or Sound Devices. The DJ special will be in the trash well before then.

Some of the expectation has to do with time. Younger people may feel a long time is months. It's hard to guage "a long time" when you've only been on the Planet for 20 or 25 years. To me a long time is 25 years.

Go out and play with the various levels and you will feel as well as see the difference.
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Old March 6th, 2004, 08:28 PM   #27
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Marco, do you have the link to Jay Rose's article/review? I'm pulling up lots of misc stuff but can't find that one. Also, have you ever actually seen/handled the ProMix 3? I like what I've read about it, and would love to not pay $150 more and get less for my money, but I'm concerned about how unwieldy it could potentiall be in comparison. It's twice the size of the MixPre (while remaining the same weight, which is good). I need to be as light on my feet as I can be in terms of stuff floppy around, slung over my shoulder, etc.. It comes with a "carry case and strap," but that can be anything. The MixPre OTOH you can find a PortaBrace case for, and keep it close and snug.

Just curious.
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Old March 6th, 2004, 09:20 PM   #28
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Marco posted the Mixpre link back several posts. i'll repeat it and add the 302. These reviews are done by John Garret and not Jay Rose.

http://www.dv.com/reviews/reviews_item.jhtml?category=Archive&LookupId=/xml/review/garrett1203&_requestid=264249

http://www.dv.com/features/features_item.jhtml?LookupId=/xml/review/sounddevices0701&_requestid=278490

The Mix pre is very much smaller than the Promix. it could actually be modified to mount to the bottom of a camera through the tripod mount or attached to a "Bracket 1".


http://www.bracket1.com

I own a 302 and while it's great I'd really like something smaller. I'm thinking the mixpre or the MP1 single channel from Sound Devices.
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Old March 6th, 2004, 09:36 PM   #29
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No, I've only just found out about the thing myself. Here's a link to the thread with Mr. Rose's comments. It's in the forum's section at DV Mag's site -- hope it's okay to post.

http://www.dv.com/jive3/thread.jspa?threadID=300003504&tstart=15

Since I first saw the post, he's made a few additional comments, including that he has only just submitted a full-scale review for the magazine. Also, he says that line out is 0 dBu, which is bizarre.

By the way, are you sure you need three inputs? I notice from one of your other posts that you are looking to do some man on the street type interviews. I agree that it's important to keep your audio setup from getting unwieldy. For run and gun situations like that we use a SoundDevices MM-1. You can't beat it for convenience. It's basically a single channel of what's in the MixPre. It straps to your waist neat and tidy, and has a headphone jack for the boom-op. There's no meter, just an LED that indicates limiter acitivity and clipping, but it would be difficult for the boom operator to keep an eye on the meter anyway. She's too busy talking to the subject and making sure she has good mic placement. The audio is monitored at the camera.
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Old March 6th, 2004, 10:18 PM   #30
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I've actually had the oportunity to do a test on the BeachTek DXA-8 and it could be what you're looking for. It's $370 at B&H has -10 to +15 db of gain with two XLR inputs, each with with 48 volt phantom and limiters. Output is to 1/8 stereo right angled mini jack.

It's a lot smaller than the mixers we talked about and will mount to the tripod pad under your camera. There is a tripod mount under the Beach so it can still be mounted as a complete assembly. It's pretty heavily built and operates on one 9 volt battery. It output a mic level only at -35 db.

I've tested it with an AKG D230 dynamic, a schoeps, Oktava MC012 and the ME66. For the Oktava and Schoeps I needed 50 - 55% gain on the Beach and 20% on my VX2000. The Dynamic needed 75% gain on the Beach and 40% on the VX2K.

It's not a Sound Devices mixer but it certainly delivers all it advertises.
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