Compact, portable, capable of overdubbing, and packed with preamps — could this be the multitracker we’ve all been waiting for?
The American specialist manufacturers of location sound recording equipment, Sound Devices, have made a couple of appearances in SOS recently — first in November 2017, when I reviewed the diminutive MixPre‑3 and MixPre‑6 location recorders/mixers, and then with the announcement and preview of the groundbreaking MixPre‑10M in March 2018 — and at last we’ve had our hands on one long enough to give it a thorough workout!
Although derived from the series flagship MixPre‑10T location recorder/mixer, the new MixPre‑10M variant is a genuinely innovative new multitrack recorder/mixer. The ‘M’ suffix references the fact that this model is adapted specifically for the musician — despite the company’s main focus on the location recording world, many of Sound Devices’ engineering team are musicians, and I have the impression they designed the 10M largely to meet their own musical interests and requirements!
The principal difference between the MixPre‑10T and 10M models is that the latter’s DSP engine has been massively re-engineered to enable proper multitrack operations of overdubbing and bounce-downs, as well as incorporating a high-quality stereo reverb and a vocal Air‑EQ effect. The design ethos was to provide a very high-quality, but easy-to-use and entirely self-contained recording/mixing system specifically for musicians and singer-songwriters, avoiding all the distractions and complications associated with computer-based workstations, while still retaining the ability to fit conventional DAW post-production workflows when required. And the result is a genuinely professional 12-channel multitrack recorder/mixer that can be slipped into a (large) pocket!
So, the MixPre‑10M can be thought of as a modern re-invention of the classic ‘portastudio’ concept, featuring eight absolutely superb ‘Kashmir’ mic preamps in a total of 10 physical inputs to a 12-channel multitracker and mixer, with 24-bit/96kHz capability. In addition, the MixPre‑10M can also be used as a fully class-compliant USB interface with Mac platforms, and via a downloadable ASIO driver for Windows platforms. Configured in this way, it provides 12 input and four output channels over USB, and low-latency direct source monitoring for its 10 physical inputs. Although a few other companies already offer desktop digital multitrackers, the MixPre‑10M’s portability, simplicity, convenience, feature set, and superb sound quality really do make it unique.
Although the MixPre‑10M is less expensive than its sibling 10T model, it might still stretch the budget a little too far for some. But as we went to press Sound Devices announced the release of two brand-new models, the MixPre‑3M and MixPre‑6M. These offer the same 12-track capability, and the same array of overdub, punch-in/out, and bounce operations, reverb and Air‑EQ effects, metronome, Q-points, and mix-rendering facilities as the 10M, but the hardware offers fewer physical inputs and...
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