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Sound Devices MixPre-10M

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Sound Devices MixPre-10M

Postby Bob Bickerton » Sat Apr 21, 2018 11:48 pm

With a notable local concert venue reopening and the prospect of more concert location recording opportunities, I'm currently reviewing my location gear options.

In the studio, my standard set up is an Audient ASP800 front end going into an UAD Apollo Quad. I have a DAV Broadhurst Gardens 2 (4 channel preamp) on hand and a Focusrite ISA428 which is currently mothballed.

For less critical live recording I have a Zoom F8 which I enjoy, but for critical location concert work, I tend to dismantle the studio and take the DAV/Audient/Apollo set-up, using the Zoom F8 for contingency.

I'm wondering how the 'Kashmir' pre-amps on the new Sound Devices MixPre series compare to say the Audience and DAV, bearing in mind I'm after clean not coloured?

I'm also wondering how they compare to the preamps on the F8?

And a couple of functionality questions: Can you match the preamp gains on the MixPre for stereo recording? Can you record both to USB and SD Card at the same time?

Realise this are somewhat (nerdy) specific questions, but then I'm thinking someone in this parish may have experience with all of these devices ;)

Much appreciated as always.

Bob
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Re: Sound Devices MixPre-10M

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Sun Apr 22, 2018 9:39 am

I was very Impressed indeed with the preamps, and I think the answers to all the other questions are yes... But I should have my hands on the 10M later this week so I'll be able to confirm shortly.

I've just had some correspondence with Tony Faulkner about an issue he has with the 10T, which is that he says it always saves files as polywavs which means they hit the 4GB limit frequently when recording long multitrack concerts. (Its a problem when playing back in the machine, as it doesn automatically seque subsequent files). He says the 10M saves as individual files and thus doesn't hit the problem as often. I've not looked into this yet, but will...

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Re: Sound Devices MixPre-10M

Postby Bob Bickerton » Sun Apr 22, 2018 10:11 am

Thanks Hugh.

Yes, polwavs would be a problem for longer concert takes, so good to hear the 10M may record to standard wav.

I've now downloaded the manual and it would appear you can 'link' odd/even channels, so yes, it seems possible to match levels for stereo pairs and it would also appear that you can record to both SD card and USB concurrently, though this could mean sending to a computer over USB, rather than to a thumb drive, which would be fine for my purposes.

I have to say if the preamps are that good, and if there's effective built in redundancy saving to both SD card and USB concurrently, I'd seriously question whether I'd need to take anything other than the 10M for location concert recording.

Appreciate hearing more on this, and I'm somewhat curious to know what Tony thinks about using the 10T or 10M for serious work.

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Re: Sound Devices MixPre-10M

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Sun Apr 22, 2018 11:21 am

Bob Bickerton wrote:Yes, polwavs would be a problem for longer concert takes, so good to hear the 10M may record to standard wav.

The 10M definitely uses the mono-wav format (it has to, to make overdubbing practical). The 10T, 6, and 3 all use the poly-wav format because that makes more sense in a film/TV shoot situation where indiidual takes tend to be relatively short. However, I am quite surprised that SD don't currently provide the option for mono-wavs on the other models.

it would appear you can 'link' odd/even channels, so yes, it seems possible to match levels for stereo pairs and it would also appear that you can record to both SD card and USB concurrently...

Yes, I thought so.

...though this could mean sending to a computer over USB, rather than to a thumb drive, which would be fine for my purposes.

I suspect the USB link needs a host computer on the end of it, rather than a dumb hard drive, but that's no great hardship, as you say.

I have to say if the preamps are that good, and if there's effective built in redundancy saving to both SD card and USB concurrently, I'd seriously question whether I'd need to take anything other than the 10M for location concert recording.

Yes, it is a very attractive proposition in many ways... However, I think they may have taken the strip-out of 10T facilities a bit far. The complete absence of any external sync facility limits it's use in some situations -- such as syncing to video or a second digital recorder when recording live events, for example.

Appreciate hearing more on this, and I'm somewhat curious to know what Tony thinks about using the 10T or 10M for serious work.

I gather He has been discussing it on other forums... But I'll PM you tomorrow.
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Re: Sound Devices MixPre-10M

Postby george_vel » Sat Apr 28, 2018 3:16 pm

Hugh, Bob,

What would mean to have only poly wavs?

Can you split poly file into several mono wavs afterwards and how this can be done on PC Windows machine - Adobe Audition?

Is it creating bigger file sizes, meaning more GBs SD card will be needed?

What will happen if a whole concert is recorded on one take?
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Re: Sound Devices MixPre-10M

Postby Kwackman » Sat Apr 28, 2018 3:31 pm

george_vel wrote:Can you split poly file into several mono wavs afterwards and how this can be done on PC Windows machine - Adobe Audition?

Sound Devices have their own free software that will let you do this, and much more.
It's on their site, it's called "Wave Agent".
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Re: Sound Devices MixPre-10M

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Sat Apr 28, 2018 3:39 pm

Polywavs can be split into mono wavs in most DAWs, or SD has a small free programme on their website that does it. And mono wavs can be joined into a polywav if desired, too.

The 10M uses mono wavs when in its music (overdub) mode, but polywavs in its alternative 'record' mode, like the 10T, mixpre6 and mixpre3.

Polywavs are more convenient in the film/tv world because it's just one file to drag and drop from the recorder to the post-production suite regardless of how many tracks are encased... But that format isn't practical when needing to overdub individual tracks.

The potential problem with polywavs is the 4GB file limit restriction of many storage systems. It's not normally a problem when recording short takes at 48kHz for the film/TV world, but of recording 12 continuous tracks at a concert at high sample rates will create enormous files and so end up with a lot of file splits.

That's not a problem when it comes to post production/mixing as most DAWs will seamlessly join polywav files to reconstruct a contiguous recording anyway, but it can be inconvenient in some situations.

In the case of the 10T, it puts a 'bong' in the headphone monitoring when it splits a polywav file, which can be distracting (!), and it doesn't allow play back of the split files seamlessly in the machine itself... Which is very frustrating and surprising.

However, Sound Devices are currenntly looking at solutions to these issues which they can introduce with the next software update. Neither of these issues affect the 10M when used in its music mode.
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Re: Sound Devices MixPre-10M

Postby george_vel » Sat Apr 28, 2018 4:09 pm

Thanks, Hugh!

I am asking since instead of Zoom F4, I might go for Mixpre-6 and wanted to know what would be the consequences in my applications (music, not film recording).
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Re: Sound Devices MixPre-10M

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Sat Apr 28, 2018 5:36 pm

The standard MixPre 6 records in the polywav format, with up to eight-tracks. However, you will also be able to purchase and run the Musician Pack software plugin which will allow overdubbing and record in mono wav format.

You'd have to try really hard to reach the 4GB file size limit on individual wavs when recording a gig, so it really won't be an issue.

And if you do use the standard polywav record mode, when Sound Devices comes up with fixes for the polyfile split 'bong' and contiguous file replay that will become aailable for the MixPre6 too.

So in short, there are no consequences to worry about.

And in case my enthusiasm for the Kashmir mic preamps isn't enough, Tony Faulkner really rates them too and is currently using a MicPre10T for what he describes as 'simple concert recordings'.

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Re: Sound Devices MixPre-10M

Postby george_vel » Sat Apr 28, 2018 6:34 pm

I am excited as well - I’ve re-prioritized a little bit my gear shopping list and Mixpre-6 is feasible.

One thing only is making me angry - it’s PSU is €189! This is blo*dy expensive for me for a PSU, take a look - https://m.thomann.de/intl/sound_devices ... 524940019#

I hope it can run long enough on AA batteries with phantom turned on.
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Re: Sound Devices MixPre-10M

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Sat Apr 28, 2018 6:56 pm

Depends on how much phantom current your mics need, and how many mics you're using... But I'd estimate not much more than an hour on standard AAs. NiMH or better still, lithium AA batteries would give you longer, or one of the professional large format battery types.

https://www.sounddevices.com/tech-notes ... eryruntime

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Re: Sound Devices MixPre-10M

Postby wireman » Sat Apr 28, 2018 7:43 pm

I suppose that power adaptor is pricey. It is/was an included accessory with the 7-series recorders (and the one I have) but they are more expensive. At least you have a range of powering options to chose from.
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Re: Sound Devices MixPre-10M

Postby John Willett » Mon Apr 30, 2018 1:34 pm

george_vel wrote:Hugh, Bob,

What would mean to have only poly wavs?

Can you split poly file into several mono wavs afterwards and how this can be done on PC Windows machine - Adobe Audition?

Is it creating bigger file sizes, meaning more GBs SD card will be needed?

What will happen if a whole concert is recorded on one take?

A stereo polywav will take the same space as two mono wavs - it's the same information.
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Re: Sound Devices MixPre-10M

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Tue May 15, 2018 3:04 pm

george_vel wrote:One thing only is making me angry - it’s PSU is €189!

FYI -- a line-lump mains PSU is INCLUDED with the MixPre-10M model.

It is not supplied with the 10T, though, and remains an (expensive) optional extra. Likewise, a smaller mains PSU is available for the MixPre-3 and -6 variants as an optional extra.

The thinking seems to be that multitracking musicians are likely to be indoors and will need a mains supply, where as users of the 3, 6 and 10T models will be out and about with their cameras and thus using battery power...

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Re: Sound Devices MixPre-10M

Postby forumuser840717 » Wed May 16, 2018 12:16 pm

For a while now I've been using RME UFX+'es as backup recorders in my Horus stagebox racks using the DUREC function to record to USB hard drives and memory sticks.

Like the 10M, these record PolyWAVs, giving files between 2h14m40s duration for two tracks, down to 4m13s for 64 tracks of MADI (or 3m22s for 80 tracks (the manual says 76 tracks is the max but it seems happy enough at 80)) .

They don't 'bong' (or use any other recreational pharmaceuticals) between files and there are loads of playback modes covering single, entire consecutive groups, or various other choices of consecutive PolyWAVs as continuous streams. They can also be routed through the TotalMix mixer on record and/or replay.

RME also do a useful little program for splitting the Poly files out to single WAVs and automatically joining short files up appropriately, including using the recorded metadata (recording device, time stamps and track numbers) to help name the files and automatically switching to RF64 format for the output files if they exceed 2GB after splitting and joining into continuous WAVs.
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Re: Sound Devices MixPre-10M

Postby Paul Isaacs » Fri May 25, 2018 3:04 pm

New firmware v2.20 for the entire MixPre series recorders just arrived.
Includes a lot of stuff, including improvements for long concert recording i.e. no record beeps between files splits and seamless playback of split files...

https://www.sounddevices.com/support/do ... s-firmware
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Re: Sound Devices MixPre-10M

Postby Jorge » Fri May 25, 2018 7:09 pm

What is the latency when overdubbing?
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Re: Sound Devices MixPre-10M

Postby Bob Bickerton » Fri May 25, 2018 9:03 pm

Took the MixPre-10M out for the first time last night to record a performance of the Messiah.

Very impressed with the sound quality. Those preamps sound great, and without an A-B comparison, I’d rate them up with my stand alone preamps. The headphone amp absolutely eats that on the Zoom F8 and easily seems on a my par with my Lehman Studiocube (that I used to have to use with the F8 to drive my HD650s).

Stereo linking works well and I really like how you set the gain using the menu and then use the mixer knobs to balance the sound for monitoring (without effecting the recorded individual track levels). All good work flow. Note, I’m not brave enough to mix on the fly just yet!

Only slight downside is that the display is hard to read when placed flat on a desk, simply due to its orientation. An easy solution is to mount it on a small tripod but then I discovered the Video Devices Pix-Base, a bespoke stand which looks really solid:

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1279823-REG/video_devices_pix_base.html

Anyway I’ve ordered one from the local supplier and will report how it goes.

Bob
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