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Old May 23rd, 2007, 06:16 AM   #1
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Audio OR Field mixer

hey folks,

I've got most of my kit together, just have to figure out this mixer business. I don't know much about mixers, so been reading up on it. Are audio mixers and field mixers both the same?

There are two kinds out there, with the round knobs and the ones with the sliders. Do they both do the same job, maybe one is for the field and one for the studio?

Anyway, after reading most of the posts here, I think Sound Devices 302 is out of my range, which only leaves ENG-44 as my choice. Do I have any other options?

My budget is around $600. I shoot mostly DV/DVCAM, magazine show segments using one or two cameras. I have the K6/ME66, G2 combo, and senn handheld mics.

And if anybody knows where I can read up on field mixers and how to use them, please let me know...books or websites.

Thanks...
k
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Old May 23rd, 2007, 06:26 AM   #2
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I wrestled with a decision to buy a 302. I also looked at second hand SQN and Minx, etc. I wondered about the ENG-44, especially since it has some good reviews.

In the end I took a deep breath and went for the 302. It is such a great piece of kit. It's built to last and it's obvious a lot of thought has gone into the design. Electronically it appears to be amongst best of breed. It feels like it'll never let you down.

All the things I was looking at were field mixers, which can also be operated slung around your neck and powered by batteries. You probably don't want a mains-powered desk mixer slung around your neck ....
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Old May 23rd, 2007, 06:36 AM   #3
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Thanks Mike.

Now I gotta look up two more names :-/ the SQN and Minx.
There's also the Rolls MX422 and MX124, although I don't even know if they are field mixers...
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Old May 23rd, 2007, 09:10 AM   #4
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If you can't afford the 302, and can make do with only 2 inputs, Sound Devices also makes the MixPre, which might be closer to your price range. Terrific pre-amps, built like a tank, small, portable and has every professional feature you'll need.

Equipment Emporium has a good set of articles on production sound, including a detailed description of the ENG44 at:
http://www.equipmentemporium.com/Art...od%20Sound.htm

Otherwise, I'd highly recommend Jay Rose's "Great Sound for Digital Video," available from DV press.
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Old May 24th, 2007, 07:36 AM   #5
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Hi,

302 very good. Mic and line outputs. Built like a tank.
I use the 442.

I have reviews of some mixers up in my On Line Archive.

The MixPre is also good, but only has a line output.

Regards,

Ty
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Old May 24th, 2007, 08:25 AM   #6
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Hi there

I've got a Premix... outstanding bit of kit... excellent sound.
If you can't stretch to the 302 then this is your baby... As Ty says only line out, but this is no problem and probably the setting I'd use in any case.

cheers
Gareth
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Old May 24th, 2007, 08:32 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kundal Saab View Post
...My budget is around $600. I shoot mostly DV/DVCAM, magazine show segments using one or two cameras. I have the K6/ME66, G2 combo, and senn handheld mics...
Well, it's really is dependent on how many inputs you need. With a $600 budget and taking in consideration the mics you are using, I would recommend going ahead and getting the ENG-44.

I use the SD-442 all the time. But, sometimes I've been forced to work with shure FP-32 or FP--33... really old ones. So, I bought an ENG-44 to use in those circumstances. It is clearly an upgrade over the old Shure models...especially when going to a digital format. I also considered the PSC mixer (DV PROMIX 3). I went w/ the ENG-44 for that 4th channel and did NOT want to have to use 9 volt batteries.

The ENG-44 just takes a little while to adjust to ... a little different gain structure in finding the right balance between the main and the individual channels. Same w/ the headphone amp...it seems a little softer than I'm used to until I kick on the TONE (loud). The first thing you do w/ the ENG-44 is try to knock down that "POWER LED". Man that thing is bright. Some finger nail polish from my wife did the trick.

The SD-Mix pre is fine if all you are doing is booming...but, I wouldn't want that to be my main mixer. It's way too limiting.

In conclusion, get the ENG-44 or Promix 3...w/ the longterm plan of upgrading your mic (better Boom mic) and eventually get the SD-302...you can still link your first mixer in the chain for more inputs.
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Old May 24th, 2007, 08:55 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Ty Ford View Post
The MixPre is also good, but only has a line output.
That can be a very good thing, as most line inputs bypass the mic input, which may introduce noise and distortion.
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Old May 24th, 2007, 09:00 AM   #9
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yes, but some cameras only have mic level inputs
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Old May 24th, 2007, 09:39 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Ty Ford View Post
yes, but some cameras only have mic level inputs
Professional cameras? I thought that was in the past.

Sorry if that is the case then. The Shure FP33s I rent, which are set for line level outputs, always return with the same settings there. As all the other controls (pots, pan-pots, switches) are always in different settings when coming back, I don't think they would change the output switch to mic level.

So maybe that's why I reason mic level inputs only were a thing of the past.
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Old May 24th, 2007, 09:44 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Carlos E. Martinez View Post
...So maybe that's why I reason mic level inputs only were a thing of the past.
98% of the time you should use line level.

But, sometimes the client wants to send a wireless feed from the mixer to the camera and the current wireless setup you have can't handle the power of line level....What do you do? Sorry client, my mixer doesn't have mic outs...

The Mixpre is a good tool...but, don't let it be your main option.
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Old May 24th, 2007, 10:09 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Carlos E. Martinez View Post
Professional cameras? I thought that was in the past.

Sorry if that is the case then. The Shure FP33s I rent, which are set for line level outputs, always return with the same settings there. As all the other controls (pots, pan-pots, switches) are always in different settings when coming back, I don't think they would change the output switch to mic level.

So maybe that's why I reason mic level inputs only were a thing of the past.
The Canon XL2, for one, only has mic level inputs.

Regards,

Ty
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Old May 24th, 2007, 10:27 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Jim Boda View Post
98% of the time you should use line level.

But, sometimes the client wants to send a wireless feed from the mixer to the camera and the current wireless setup you have can't handle the power of line level....What do you do? Sorry client, my mixer doesn't have mic outs...

The Mixpre is a good tool...but, don't let it be your main option.
I am not talking about the Mixpre. The equipment I have, which I use and rent to others, is prepared to deal with line levels going into my Lectrosonics wireless mic. In fact that would be a question of cable attenuation, if necessary. A sound recordist should be prepared for such situations.
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Old May 24th, 2007, 10:29 AM   #14
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The Canon XL2, for one, only has mic level inputs.
It does have unbalanced line level RCA inputs, or the specs say that at least.
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Old May 24th, 2007, 11:31 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Carlos E. Martinez View Post
It does have unbalanced line level RCA inputs, or the specs say that at least.
Yes it does and I don't use them because they are unbalanced..


Also, unbalanced line level often means consummer line level of -10 dB. Dunno, haven't bothered fuguring out what the RCA inputs are.

Ty Ford

Last edited by Ty Ford; May 24th, 2007 at 11:33 AM. Reason: clarification
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