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Old July 20th, 2007, 03:11 AM   #1
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Sound Devices: 302 versus MixPre

Wondering what the advantages of using the 303 over the MixPre are. I've looked at the SD website, but the combination of its tech specs layout and my ignorance has left me wanting.

Any info would be much appreciated. THANKS MUCH!

Last edited by Peter Moretti; July 20th, 2007 at 03:49 AM.
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Old July 20th, 2007, 04:05 AM   #2
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The 302 has 3 input channels, that's the most obvious difference. It supports M/S and X-Y stereo recording should you ever need it.

I almost got myself a MixPre over a 302, but I read a few reviews that said the MixPre on batteries will only last about 4 hours which was not long enough for my purposes. Although the 302 is borderline to last a production day, it typically only needs one change of batteries at most.

I don't know if the MixPre has limiters, but the 302 does and they are user configurable.
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Old July 20th, 2007, 04:23 AM   #3
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Mike,

Are three inputs really that helpful since it outputs only two tracks? BTW, the MixPre does have a limiter, but I don't think it's as capable as the 302's.

Thanks.
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Old July 20th, 2007, 05:13 AM   #4
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Depends on your application. Probably 90% of the time I'm recording one channel from the boom (low budget UK stuff), but the other 10% of the time when you need some additional plants or wireless, the extra two channels come in real handy. If it's obvious I'll need more channels I'll hire additional kit.

In terms of quality of pre-amps and circuitry I'd hazard a guess the MixPre is right up there with the 302.

In terms of output I generally use the 302 to do a mono mix and output one channel to my recorder and (if video) one channel to the camera. Essentially, the production sound I'm generally aiming for will be used on the centre (dialogue) channel of that 5.1 or 7.1 mix, all I want is voice and all I need is mono output.
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Old July 20th, 2007, 07:21 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Moretti View Post
Wondering what the advantages of using the 303 over the MixPre are...
The MixPre only has a "Line" out...where as the 302 allows you to adjust from +4, -10, mic level and low mic level...and steps in between.

The 302 has much better gain control. The 302 has better limiter control.

The MixPre LED meter is sad.

The 3 channel SD 302 is perfect for a Boom and two wireless lav setup.
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Old July 20th, 2007, 07:46 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Jim Boda View Post
The MixPre only has a "Line" out...where as the 302 allows you to adjust from +4, -10, mic level and low mic level...and steps in between.

The 302 has much better gain control. The 302 has better limiter control.

The MixPre LED meter is sad.

The 3 channel SD 302 is perfect for a Boom and two wireless lav setup.
Be careful the Sound Devices Line output is 0 not +4. It is very adjustable down but not up past 0
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Old July 20th, 2007, 01:11 PM   #7
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Be careful the Sound Devices Line output is 0 not +4. It is very adjustable down but not up past 0

Sound Devices manual, page 14, say it is adjustable in the setup menu so that 0VU = +4dBu if desired but you are correct that the factory default is 0VU = 0dBu. That is not uncommon, by the way ... my Mackie 1642 mixer's meters are also calibrated for 0VU = 0dBu but it's not user adjustable.
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Last edited by Steve House; July 20th, 2007 at 06:14 PM.
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Old July 20th, 2007, 04:15 PM   #8
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That pretty much covers it.

Get the 302.

Regards,

Ty Ford
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Old July 20th, 2007, 08:04 PM   #9
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Sound Devices manual, page 14, say it is adjustable in the setup menu so that 0VU = +4dBu if desired but you are correct that the factory default is 0VU = 0dBu. That is not uncommon, by the way ... my Mackie 1642 mixer's meters are also calibrated for 0VU = 0dBu but it's not user adjustable.
Steve,
My reading of Page 14 of the manual and the Note is the reference level generated by the mixer is adjustable from 0 to +4DB but the actual mixer Line Level is not changed from 0DB. They also say use this is if you are going to analog cameras. I am sure this is going to become more common since the digital age likes to make up rules based on 0 as 0 rather than some archaic standard where 0 = +4. This setting may still be a useful solution for those people interfacing with Canon Cameras.
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Old July 21st, 2007, 04:59 AM   #10
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Steve,
My reading of Page 14 of the manual and the Note is the reference level generated by the mixer is adjustable from 0 to +4DB but the actual mixer Line Level is not changed from 0DB. They also say use this is if you are going to analog cameras. I am sure this is going to become more common since the digital age likes to make up rules based on 0 as 0 rather than some archaic standard where 0 = +4. This setting may still be a useful solution for those people interfacing with Canon Cameras.
Not quite - you are actually changing the output level that is being delivered by the mixer when it's meters are reading 0VU when you make that adjustment. Since "line level" is just an arbitrary term meaning "that voltage you get when the meters are at zero VU," by changing the voltage delivered at 0VU you have in fact changed the mixer's line level from 0dBu to +4dBu (or you can go to -10dBv or +8dBu or something else for that matter)
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Old July 22nd, 2007, 02:35 AM   #11
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I haven't used the MixPre, but the mixer I got my 302 from said the 302's preamps are superior. They are indeed very clean. I recommend the 302 highly, its versatility has saved me on more than one occasion.
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Old July 22nd, 2007, 04:57 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Jim Boda View Post
...
The 3 channel SD 302 is perfect for a Boom and two wireless lav setup.
Jim, isn't the 302 really a two channel mixer, in that it only outputs two channels (unless I'm mistaken)? So you can have a three input set up, but you can't output three separate tracks.
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Old July 22nd, 2007, 06:59 AM   #13
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Peter,

That's what a location audio mixer (and most mixers) typically do; mix X number of channels to a stereo mix. That's why it's called a mixer.

If you had three inputs and three outputs, you really wouldn't be mixing annything. Pluse you wouldn't be able to record three channels to your camers.

Well you can record four tracks to some cameras, but that not a mix either.

Regards,

TyFord
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Old July 22nd, 2007, 08:44 AM   #14
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hi there

I had the same queries a while back, Ty will no doubt remember my questions..... at the time my distributor ProKit in London (who rents equipment also, (the same gear as it happens), affirmed that the main difference between 302 and Premix was the number of input mics... well 2 to me plus the camera mic seemed plenty so I went with the Premix and don't regret it... Excellent amps, excellent limiters... (are they really different on the two units???)

Only issue ..does your camera take line.... well its better coz it avoids the camera amps... so on my Z1 I'd say either would do the do job.. So result is I'm 100% happy with the Premix...
Regards
Gareth
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Old July 22nd, 2007, 08:59 AM   #15
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It's not a Premix, its a MixPre.

Unless, after seeing what side of the road you drive on over there, they changed the name for the UK.

The MixPre ONLY has line level outs. The 302 offers mic or line AND the 302 also has input trim controls whereas the MixPre does not.

Regards,

Ty Ford

Last edited by Ty Ford; July 22nd, 2007 at 09:03 AM. Reason: more info
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