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Old February 27th, 2004, 07:45 AM   #1
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Any decent ENG-style portable mixers for under $250?

I'm looking for a basic, no-frills, portable mixer for field production use. I want:
- at least 3 XLR inputs
- stereo XLR outputs (mic, line or switchable)
- headphone output
- battery powered
- $250 or less
- decent audio quality (low noise)

Easy, you say? Here's the rub. I really want an over-the-shoulder, ENG-style mixer with knobs, not a console-style device with sliders. Trying to strap a desktop console mixer on my shoulder and bending over to adjust levels while shooting fast-moving news coverage is not my idea of a good time.

The new PSC DV ProMix 3 (http://www.professionalsound.com/catalog/DV%20Promix.html)
is perfect, but about twice the price I want to pay.

The Rolls MX54s (http://www.rolls.com/new/mx54.html) is appealing because of its compact size, light weight, and price but I've heard Rolls products are noisy.

Why hasn't Behringer or Samson or someone made a decent, low-cost ENG mixer? Or have they?

Any suggestions?
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Old February 27th, 2004, 07:48 AM   #2
 
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The best low price portable I've found is the Sampson Mixpad. The next step up is a Mackie 1202, altho' this really isn't portable. Both can be had for VERY cheap on ebay.
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Old February 27th, 2004, 07:59 AM   #3
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Thanks for the quick response.

However, the Mixpad is a console-type mixer (with the inputs and controls all on the top of something intended to be stationary on a desktop) -- exactly what I'm trying to avoid.

I want a box, with inputs and outputs on one end, and controls on the other; not a wedge with controls on the top. Some of the Studio One beltpack adapters might work, too, but they only have one XLR output.
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Old February 27th, 2004, 09:43 AM   #4
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The main block is your budget. The marenius is 340-400 and Carlos will discount (to DVINFO members) his precise audio mixer to $300 .
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Old February 27th, 2004, 10:12 AM   #5
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Iím on a similar hunt. Why the heck does Studio 1ís XLR-MIX Pro have only one output? In my case, I donít need the headphone function and the unit needs to be camera mountable. I could live without a third input too, but it would be nice. I'm looking for a passive device. Basically Iím looking for the same features as my current Studio 1 Pro, but with two balanced XLR outputs. Anybody know of something like this?
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Old February 27th, 2004, 01:05 PM   #6
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Brian,

Since you mentiond the Rolls MX54s, It may be of interest to read the review by Jay Rose at DV.COM

Rolls also came out with the MX124, a four channel version of the MX54s
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Old February 27th, 2004, 01:22 PM   #7
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The Studio One stuff is all passive, there is no active electronics at all. Just impedance matching, attenuation and some rudementary mixing ability. No preamplification and no limiting.
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Old February 27th, 2004, 03:19 PM   #8
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The MixPad does have notches for straps on the underside of the mixer. I put one strap over each shoulder in order to use it as a sort of reverse backpack. Works great for me.

The only problem with the MixPad is that it doesn't supply a full 48V phantom power when running off of batteries. My Oktava didn't like this too much, so I ended up also purchasing one of those ART portable phantom power boxes. Problem solved.

Good luck,
Ryan
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Old February 27th, 2004, 03:24 PM   #9
 
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Ryan, I'm curious about your Mixpad's phantom. Do the Octava's hum or distort with the battery power? I've got a Mixpad 4 here that I use regularly, and other than being a battery monster, it powers my AT 4033's just fine. 3 9volt in the back. I've added a pair of rubber runners to the side of mine, cut from a cheap tupperware storage box, so that the knobs are protected somewhat.
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Old February 27th, 2004, 04:36 PM   #10
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hmmm.... Jay Rose seems to like the Rolls unit. I have one of their headphone amps that I use as a monitor when I'm fortunate enough to have a boom operator running sound.

Maybe I'll test out the MX124 at my local audio dealer and see what my ears tell me.

Thanks for the tip.
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Old February 29th, 2004, 02:11 AM   #11
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I currently have a studio mixer (behringer UB1204) that will work for me when I am somewhere I can get AC.

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...=264886&is=REG

I will be picking up a GL2, NT3 and also a wired lav to put through the behringer or a Rolls MX124. Will I be able to get a left and a right track recorded to the GL2. I am asking because both have left/right outputs but going into a single mic jack.

I want to be able to be as portable as possible, so with the GL2, mx124, nt3, and wired lav as my initial setup can this be done OR would an XLR adapter be better over a field mixer....

Just want to make sure I still have the possibility of having 2 mono tracks recorded simultaneously to tape.
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Old March 1st, 2004, 01:00 PM   #12
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Douglas,

No, the MixPad's battery-powered phantom didn't make them hum or distort, it just cut the output level of the mics by a significant amount, like 10dB or more. Not acceptable in my book. I was having to push the gain pretty high on the MixPad to get good levels out of the Oktava, and in doing so I was adding a fair amount of hiss.

Of course, this is only on battery power. When plugged into an outlet, the MixPad powers the Oktava just fine, and the levels are perfect. Have you tried a comparison with your AT4033 between battery power and wall-plug power? Maybe the Oktava is just a power-hog!

Thanks,
Ryan
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Old March 1st, 2004, 05:02 PM   #13
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The Oktavas work just fine on other mixers so it may be just an anomily in one unit or the mixpad 4 ingeneral. My Sound Devices and my marantz PMD670 both supply adequate phantom .
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Old March 1st, 2004, 05:17 PM   #14
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But Bryan,

The question is do they work fine on 18v phantom?
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Old March 2nd, 2004, 01:27 PM   #15
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Yeah, like I said, the Oktavas work great when the MixPad is plugged in and running on 48V. They also work when the MixPad is powered by battery and running on 18V phantom. The problem is that with 18V, the output of the Oktava drops dramatically, thus making it necessary to boost the gain on the preamps, thus adding more noise.

I'm pretty sure this is normal for condensers that are underpowered. Just be aware that if you've been running a 48V-rated condenser on anything less than 48V, you might not be getting 100% out of the mic, and that doesn't seem acceptable to me.

Of course, it is remotely possible that I've got a bum Oktava, and that they usually run just fine on 18V. So, if someone else wants to test this out, I'd be interested in knowing the results.

Ryan
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