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Old April 19th, 2017, 01:50 PM   #1
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New SD mix pre series

Wow. No more reason to buy zoom, tascam, etc.

Sound Devices Launches New MixPre Series at DV Info Net
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Old April 19th, 2017, 06:19 PM   #2
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Re: New SD mix pre series

And the output is on a....

????? Connector?
????? @ what Level?
????? Balanced or Unbalanced?
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Old April 19th, 2017, 06:57 PM   #3
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Re: New SD mix pre series

You're talking about the stereo 3.5mm output? I think we can assume that's unbalanced. I'm guessing you can change the level from line to mic with a software setting. I'm curious about the details too. I don't think they can properly call this a real mixer without balanced outputs, so it definitely has it's limitations. To me this is still a great value for it's target market though.
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Old April 19th, 2017, 08:24 PM   #4
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Re: New SD mix pre series

Yes, the 3.5mm output is unbalanced stereo (2 channel) and the output level is adjustable up to a maximum of +7.8 dBu. You can also select any of the input channels (pre or post fader) or the final mix to send to each of the 3.5mm outputs (main and headphone).

The user guides for these new models are now available as well:
https://www.sounddevices.com/downloa...Pre3-UG_en.pdf
https://www.sounddevices.com/downloa...Pre6-UG_en.pdf
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Old April 20th, 2017, 02:00 AM   #5
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Re: New SD mix pre series

Thanks for finding that. Very cool. You can synch timecode from an HDMI source. Can their other recorders do that? That's a game changer in the DSLR world.
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Old April 20th, 2017, 08:24 AM   #6
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Re: New SD mix pre series

I'm not a fan of unbalanced audio but I have to say I have been using a 3.5mm to XLR connection for the output of my Røde Wireless Lavalieres and it's fine, especially for a 6" run. I could plug the SD's output into the same adapter on my C100/C300 and it would work great. Target market is obviously DSLR and Mirrorless users, smart move by SD, they'll sell a ton of these.

Last edited by Dan Brockett; April 20th, 2017 at 12:54 PM.
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Old April 20th, 2017, 10:57 AM   #7
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Re: New SD mix pre series

Ya, the 3.5mm out isn't optimal for me. But as others are saying, for a short run to a camera (or for a short run to a transmitter) to basically send scratch tracks to camera, it should be fine.

Heck, for years I used the 3.5mm out on my Sound Devices 302 to feed line-level to a little Marantz PMD620 recorder for transcription MP3s (had a wireless hop to send audio to camera; this was for newsmag gigs). Once on a fly-in gig, the camera we rented had screwed audio. So I switched the PMD620 from MP3 to raw 24-bit WAV... The audio sounded really good...

Point of that anecdote: unbalanced 3.5mm out doesn't have to kill audio. And if you're planning to use the MixPre tracks as your masters, it's probably fine.

Or so it seems to me without having touched a MixPre-3 or MixPre-6.
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Old April 20th, 2017, 12:26 PM   #8
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Re: New SD mix pre series

It also seems in the interest of bringing down the cost to compete with Zoom, they have not included a gain or trim function in addition to the channel faders. At least not with a dedicated knob. Perhaps that is in a menu? Or perhaps it is essentially preset like the old days with the Shure FP33. Time Code In is great, but having a Time Code generator would be even more useful. That is what I think currently sets the Zoom F4 and F8 apart. It is interesting to see SD introduce products at this price point, though.
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Old April 20th, 2017, 05:47 PM   #9
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Re: New SD mix pre series

How does the prefader multitrack recording work exactly? Isn't the whole point of a mixer to manage the gain settings?
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Old April 20th, 2017, 09:37 PM   #10
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Re: New SD mix pre series

It looks like the preamp gain for each of the microphone inputs is set through the touch screen menu system. The physical knobs on the front are the faders that allow for adjusting the relative levels of the different channels in the final mix.

If you set the unit to record prefader tracks for each channel, the levels of these tracks would not be affected by any changes to the fader knobs, however, these tracks would still be affected by the gain settings for each channel set in the menu. The levels of the mix tracks would be affected both by the gain and the fader settings.

There's a little more about how gain works in the MixPre-6 on page 20 of the User Guide:
http://cdn.sounddevices.com/download...Pre6-UG_en.pdf

It seems that the fader knobs are also buttons, so by pressing in the fader knob it will bring up the settings menu for that channel (to set the gain, pan, phantom power, etc.).

It would be nice if there was a more direct shortcut for adjusting the preamp gain via the fader knobs, perhaps pressing the star button when turning the knob could adjust the gain, otherwise the knob would operate as a fader. The manual mentions that the star button above the faders can be used for shortcuts, but doesn't describe how exactly.
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Old April 20th, 2017, 10:10 PM   #11
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Re: New SD mix pre series

This may be a deal killer for me. I don't understand why they would create a recorder that won't let you adjust the levels on the fly.
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Old April 21st, 2017, 09:37 PM   #12
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Re: New SD mix pre series

It does allow you to adjust the fader level for each channel on the fly, just not the pre-amp gain. If you set the unit to record post fader audio for each channel (rather than pre-fader), then these level adjustments will be included in the individual channel tracks (in addition to the mix track).

A lot of times you can just set the pre-amp gain for each channel (based on the expected volume of that audio source) before you start recording and then trust the limiters to handle anything unexpectedly loud. Then you'd just need to adjust the fader levels on the fly during recording to achieve the desired mix.

It seems like Sound Devices was trying to simplify the operation of this unit compared to their more professionally oriented mixers like the 633 or 688. And I'm sure not having dedicated gain knobs was one way to simplify (and reduce the overall cost) while allowing all the physical controls fit in a compact form factor. And probably a decent chunk of the target market for these mixer/recorders won't miss these extra set of knobs (and could even be confused by why there were two knobs per channel).

I also wouldn't be surprised if Sound Devices adds an option to switch the channel knobs to control the gain rather than fader levels. The Zoom F4 and F8 (which may be the closest competitors to the new Mix Pre units), also lack dedicated gain knobs, but have an option to switch the channel level knobs from gain to fader. Even the Zaxcom Maxx and Nomad mixer/recorders (which are clearly geared toward the professional sound market in terms of price and features) lack dedicated gain knobs for each channel.

So it seems to be something of a trend.
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Old April 21st, 2017, 11:30 PM   #13
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Re: New SD mix pre series

"If you set the unit to record post fader audio for each channel (rather than pre-fader), then these level adjustments will be included in the individual channel tracks (in addition to the mix track)."

Are you sure this is possible? I can't find that ability anywhere in the user guide.
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Old April 22nd, 2017, 07:52 AM   #14
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Re: New SD mix pre series

I don't see the ability to set the 3-channel portion of the recorder to post-fader either, but I'm willing to suffer through it given the comparatively crude devices I'm using now.
Essentially it's what I'm using two recorders to accomplish currently, a two-channel mix on one machine and iso tracks on a second recorder if I need to fix something later (including compensating for drift on long-form recordings between the two separate machines).

This looks really amazing and it will be on my list for sure in 2018.

Last edited by Jay Massengill; April 22nd, 2017 at 10:16 AM.
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Old April 22nd, 2017, 06:47 PM   #15
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Re: New SD mix pre series

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marco Leavitt View Post
This may be a deal killer for me. I don't understand why they would create a recorder that won't let you adjust the levels on the fly.
No deal breaker. Think of the menu gain setting as the gross level adjustment, line/mic, very common. The faders are the fine level adjustments, you set them on the fly. Nothing unusual here.

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