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Sound Devices MixPre II range

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Sound Devices MixPre II range

Postby wireman » Thu Aug 29, 2019 5:21 pm

Sound Devices have revamped the MixPre range.

More information here

New features...

All MixPre II Series recorders feature 32-bit float recording, timecode generators, 192 kHz recording, adjustable limiters, auto-copy to USB drives, and extended Pre-roll. The MixPre-10 II TA3 balanced outputs are now +18 dBu.
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Re: Sound Devices MixPre II range

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Thu Aug 29, 2019 5:53 pm

Wow... is it that time already? :lol:
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Re: Sound Devices MixPre II range

Postby Guest » Fri Aug 30, 2019 8:19 am

Binaural checking is accessible (up to 48 kHz) for record and observing. Is there a multitracking highlight on the MixPre II for performers? All MixPre II models bolster the Musician Plugin, so you can undoubtedly make a tune utilizing your MixPre II as an independent recorder highlighting over-name, reverb, metronome, and that's only the tip of the iceberg.
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Re: Sound Devices MixPre II range

Postby John Willett » Fri Aug 30, 2019 2:29 pm

Interesting - hopefully they will have them at IBC in two weeks. :thumbup:
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Re: Sound Devices MixPre II range

Postby Paul Isaacs » Fri Aug 30, 2019 7:57 pm

We will have many of them at IBC in a few weeks!
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Re: Sound Devices MixPre II range

Postby John Willett » Sat Aug 31, 2019 1:35 pm

Paul Isaacs wrote:We will have many of them at IBC in a few weeks!

:thumbup: :thumbup: :thumbup:
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Re: Sound Devices MixPre II range

Postby cyrano.mac » Sat Aug 31, 2019 4:10 pm

Does anyone know if it's a true 32 bit ADC? Or is it just shifted 20 bit, like some others are doing?

Their website is less than informative. Guess it's maintained by marketing...
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Re: Sound Devices MixPre II range

Postby ronmac » Sat Aug 31, 2019 4:42 pm

cyrano.mac wrote:Does anyone know if it's a true 32 bit ADC? Or is it just shifted 20 bit, like some others are doing?

Their website is less than informative. Guess it's maintained by marketing...

They have a very informative website, imo.

A simple search on their site will reveal this:

https://www.sounddevices.com/mixpre-ii-faq/

https://www.sounddevices.com/sample-32- ... wav-files/
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Re: Sound Devices MixPre II range

Postby ef37a » Sun Sep 01, 2019 7:01 am

Hmm? Don't get the 32 bit float idea (I do for internal DAW signal handling) , I would have thought the analogue circuits would still be the limiting factor for noise and headroom? Maybe Hugh could shed some light?

Still want one tho'but! Now, if they could just find room for two MIDI ports? Cherry on the top IMHO. I will even put up with 3.5mm TRS!

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Re: Sound Devices MixPre II range

Postby Paul Isaacs » Mon Sep 02, 2019 5:37 am

ef37a wrote:Hmm? Don't get the 32 bit float idea (I do for internal DAW signal handling) , I would have thought the analogue circuits would still be the limiting factor for noise and headroom? Maybe Hugh could shed some light?

Still want one tho'but! Now, if they could just find room for two MIDI ports? Cherry on the top IMHO. I will even put up with 3.5mm TRS!

Dave.

As far as headroom is concerned, there are two places clipping can occur in a recorder: 1) in the analog input stage (preamp + ADCs) and 2) in the recorded file itself if you exceed 0dBFS. To eliminate chance of clipping in 1), make an input stage that can handle a huge dynamic range, in MixPre-II's case, > 142dB. To eliminate chance of clipping in 2), use 32-bit float format such that you can now record 100's of dB above 0dBFS.

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Re: Sound Devices MixPre II range

Postby ef37a » Mon Sep 02, 2019 7:10 am

Thank you Paul.
The 32 bit float bit I get. What boggles me is an analogue stage with a dynamic range of 142dB?

Sound on Sound regularly reviews top end equipment, Hilo et al, and we see dynamic ranges north of 120dB but not by much! Since 24 bits allows a DR of 144dB the difference must be due to the analogue stages.

Is some form of companding at work here?

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Re: Sound Devices MixPre II range

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Mon Sep 02, 2019 9:17 am

ef37a wrote:What boggles me is an analogue stage with a dynamic range of 142dB?

If you have a mic preamp with an equivalent input noise figure of -130dBu, say, and a maximum output level of +12dBu, you could claim the device has a dynamic range capability of 142dB... :D
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Re: Sound Devices MixPre II range

Postby ef37a » Mon Sep 02, 2019 9:32 am

Hugh Robjohns wrote:
ef37a wrote:What boggles me is an analogue stage with a dynamic range of 142dB?

If you have a mic preamp with an equivalent input noise figure of -130dBu, say, and a maximum output level of +12dBu, you could claim the device has a dynamic range capability of 142dB... :D

Yes Hugh but such a figure would surely only obtain for a pre amp at maximum gain? As soon as gain control resistances are put in the feedback path for practical levels the noise performance degrades?

I do know from your previous findings that the Mix Pres are superb devices but I would like some help to understand that these amazing figures being bandied are not just a marketing numbers game? In other words, why aren't ALL AI this good?

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Re: Sound Devices MixPre II range

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Mon Sep 02, 2019 10:12 am

I'll leave Paul Isaacs to answer that one for you, Dave! :D
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Re: Sound Devices MixPre II range

Postby ef37a » Mon Sep 02, 2019 11:42 am

Hugh Robjohns wrote:I'll leave Paul Isaacs to answer that one for you, Dave! :D

I shall be all eyes Hugh!

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Re: Sound Devices MixPre II range

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Mon Sep 02, 2019 12:09 pm

Paul Isaacs wrote:To eliminate chance of clipping in 1), make an input stage that can handle a huge dynamic range...

...or just set the recorder's gain structure up properly with plenty of headroom so that clipping can't happen... :-)

To eliminate chance of clipping in 2), use 32-bit float format such that you can now record 100's of dB above 0dBFS.

...or set the recorder's gain structure up with plenty of headroom so that converter overload can't happen... :-)

Without wanting to bash Sound Devices' technological mastery in these matters, it seems to me this is really about marketing numbers to match the competition, and to make the unit's operation almost totally idiot-proof -- rather than meeting any genuine engineering or operational requirements.

Obviously this kind of technology primarily reduces the need to configure and operate the equipment knowledgeably and skilfully at source, allowing what would otherwise be incompetent, overloaded and unusable, recordings to be salvaged in post-production. It's the audio equivalent of RAW files for digital cameras, allowing over- or under-exposed images to be fully recovered...

It's the modern way, I guess. Why bother to teach/learn and apply a complicated technical skill, when the technology can do it for you? After all, it's been a hugely successful and popular approach in the world of in digital cameras.

All we really need now is a self-positioning microphone, or some kind of new mic technology that can analyse the soundfield it captures and work out what the ideal sound should be if one or more virtual microphones were placed somewhere other than where the real microphone actually is located... And I'm quite certain it will happen within a decade or so... :D The SoundField technology goes some of the way already...
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Re: Sound Devices MixPre II range

Postby ConcertinaChap » Mon Sep 02, 2019 8:43 pm

Hugh, that really ought to be a Sounding Off in the mag. Personally, much as I like delaying decisions to mixdown I can't say I'd like a deskilled world. There's no joy in it that I can see, and joy's a very important concept to me.

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Re: Sound Devices MixPre II range

Postby MOF » Mon Sep 02, 2019 10:08 pm

It's the audio equivalent of RAW files for digital cameras, allowing over- or under-exposed images to be fully recovered...

If only that were true, you still have to expose correctly to preserve the highlights or ‘record to the right’ if you want to be able to avoid noise in the shadows.
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Re: Sound Devices MixPre II range

Postby Paul Isaacs » Tue Sep 03, 2019 3:31 am

Just caught up with this thread. Labo(u)r Day here in the US, so enjoying a few hours away from the computer.

Firstly, I would like to say Sound Devices is an engineering driven company, always has been. Marketing has never called the shots. Our specs and product information is provided to Marketing by Engineering and they go ahead and disseminate it in a clear and factual way ... just an FYI;)

MixPre-II dynamic range figure of 142dB comes from the fact that the mic input stage has an EIN of -130dBV and maximum input level before clipping of +12dBV. Of course the ADC must also be able to handle that dynamic range and we achieve that using a multiple converter architecture.

Hugh, I can understand your cynicism. I was a little cynical too until looking into this more deeply last year. I come from the same school as you - for most audio recording scenarios and with a user understanding of gain staging, 142dB dynamic range and 32-bit float is unnecessary. But there are some real world cases where this can be of real benefit:
1) Dealing with unpredictable, dynamic sound sources E.g. actors who unpredictably go from a whisper to a scream or capturing the sound of rain drops softly hitting a surface followed by a sudden unforeseen thunderclap. Traditionally a limiter in the signal path would have provided the necessary protection against digital overload, but at the expense of restricting the true dynamic range of the source.
2) As you point out, this technology is useful for those users who are less skilled with audio who may not know how to gain stage e.g. a videographer whose only area of expertise is picture, not sound, but would still like to get good sound. Now it doesn't matter whether they peak a recording to -50dBFS or +50dBFS, they will end up with high quality audio, either way.

A recorder is just a tool at the end of he day. In the hands of a skilled engineer, they will always come out with a better result than a non-skilled one in my opinion ... choice of mics, mic placement, mixing/balancing, EQ'ing, mastering etc - all these things need a good ear and an understanding of the tech to get great results. It's not dissimilar to music composition - we now have tools that auto-create beats, loops, chord sequences and you can stitch all this stuff together with little musical/artistic ability, but in the main, it sounds like s**t ;)

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Re: Sound Devices MixPre II range

Postby ef37a » Tue Sep 03, 2019 6:35 am

Hi Paul,
thank you for that explanation but this other cynical person would still like further clarification!

An EIN if -130dBV is very good but expessed in the more usual dBu*, -128dBu, it is not that remarkable for a microphone preamp and is a level of performance that has been obtainable for many years.

The input clipping level of +12dBV (+14dBu) is more remarkable but cannot, it seems to me, exist at the same time as the EIN figure?
Setting a very modest gain of 50dB for a bog S SM58 for instance would require the mic pre amp to deliver +64dBu!

However, I am sure plans are afoot to get product to SOS for a review and so I shall have to be patient for the full SP!

Perhaps a block diagram showing the signal path and the levels at various stages could be produced? No need to go into circuit detail and give away any secrets.

*I commend the use of dBV if this is general company policy as a voltage referenced to an achaic resistance has surely had its day?
Many audio companies like the dB "yoo" because in many cases it makes their products look 2.2dB better. In the specific case here, dBV favours your EIN figure but I am sure that is purely accidental!

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