Jump to content
Daniel Ignacio

MixPre-6 – worth it for this beginner?

Recommended Posts

Right now, I’ve got a Tascam DR-70D. It’s hardly professional, but it’s fine and lets me do my job well enough as a beginner mixer for small film shoots.

 

I’m getting conflicting reports about the MixPre-6. The LocationSound subreddit is very negative toward it, for its lack of timecode, balanced outputs, and camera return. Meanwhile, one of the mixers I boomed for recommended it to me and was emphatic about getting one, presumably for smaller jobs that require less than her Nomad.

 

Despite the Sound Devices name and apparently being a great product for what it is, I’m personally worried the little guy might not impress clients. Plus, with the little money I have, I’d prefer to build out my kit by finally purchasing a basic wireless lav setup (COS-11 and RodeLink) rather than building up with a mixer upgrade at this stage.

 

So I have three options: a MixPre-6, some other sub-$1000 mixer (I’m thinking the Zoom F4), or no mixer upgrade at all. What should I do?

 

(First post here – thanks!)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree w Rick. That said, many reasons why it may or why it might not be right for you. Personally I'd save up for a 633 as a primary recorder.

CrewC

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What do you need the recorder to do that your DR-70D isn't doing right now? If you can answer that and the MixPre-6 fulfills those needs, then you'll have your answer. 

 

If if you're getting it just to impress clients, don't. As already stated, most clients don't know or care. 

 

If if you're getting it as a sound quality upgrade to the Tascam, fine, but keep in mind that your sound quality will still be limited by the worst sounding piece of gear in the signal chain. I doubt anyone could hear much of a difference between the RodeLink wireless you mentioned earlier into a DR-70D and the RodeLink into a MixPre. 

 

-Mike

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Mix pre is an incremental step if you intend to be an audio-for-video sync sound location recordist.   What you need is a full up prod. sound machine with TC and other movie-friendly features.  If you can't afford a new 633 or MAXX etc then there are used 788s around.   I've seen some used MAXXs lately that seemed like good deals....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
VAS   

Do not follow what camera industry does in terms of marketing.

Zoom F8, Zoom F4, Zaxcom Maxx, Sound Devices 633, Sound Devices MixPre will do the job.

Having used Zoom F8 and Sound Devices 633; my choice is Sound Devices 633.

It's not look "pretty" in front of client, I feel more comfortable with Sound Devices 633.

If your clients can pay the cost of renting Sound Devices 633; then go with it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the advice, everyone. In hindsight, my mindset going into this post was pretty naive, though I failed to mention that I do more specifically want timecode capabilities, metadata entry, PFL, and better preamps with a mixer upgrade.

 

10 hours ago, old school said:

Personally I'd save up for a 633

 

10 hours ago, Philip Perkins said:

If you can't afford a new 633…

 

9 hours ago, VAS said:

my choice is Sound Devices 633

 

The 633 is actually what I really want. From what I see and hear online of the 633’s capabilities and sound quality, it’s become my dream recorder. Plus, the mixer on my last feature had a 633 – while I was only booming for him, I loved that thing’s small yet friendly design. My current “endgame” (no such thing!) is either the 633 or the Maxx, and rentals for anything that requires more inputs.

 

I may just continue with my DR-70D for a while and instead get a wireless lav kit, while saving up for the 633.

 

10 hours ago, Philip Perkins said:

If you can't afford a new 633 or MAXX etc then there are used 788s around.

 

Although I’ll keep this in mind.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Along the lines of the 788, why not look at the other 7 series recorders? I've seen 702T's for under $1000 and 744T's for under $1500. I'm unsure of the 7 series metadata entry compared to SD's more modern offerings. I have a mix pre 6 and love the device for the jobs it's good at (specifically dslr audio on a one man band shoot). The mix Pre 6 does things your 6 or 7 series recorders can't do. I don't think it's a one or the other scenario. Another option is to pick up a used Mix Pre D and use it in front of your 70D. Often, on lower budget shoots they're only using camera audio anyway, the Mix Pre D is a versitale mixer with tons of output options and if/when you grow out of it you can give it to your boom op to use or mount on cameras that don't have XLR inputs. All that being said, the Mix Pre-3/6 has been so popular that it's depressed the used markets of all the devices I mentioned above. It's a great time to buy a used SD product because of that. One last note on the timecode of the mix pre-3/6, if you're actually on a shoot where the camera can accept timecode, well then it can output timecode too (or most can) and if you got a device like a mozegear TIG, you could jam the mix pre-3/6 and have matching timecode (though you'd need to check often for accuracy, even if batteries haven't been changed or devices powered down). That being said, it certainly seems like the low budget crowd loves to use plural eyes these days. I'd also wager that the majority of shoots that a beginner finds themselves on, the cameras don't have timecode I/O. Even the popular FS7 needs an extension, the new Canon C200 does not, none of the DSLR's, etc, but the majority of those cameras do output timecode over HDMI and in that scenario the Mix Pre 3/6 offers timecode options that can't be matched by any of the more "professional" recorders. Good luck, matt 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
21 minutes ago, Constantin said:

 

Such as?

 

 

1. Input timecode from my Canon 1DC and various other cameras that only output timecode via HDMI.

 

2. Trigger record from many cameras. 

 

3. Screw onto my camera cage. 

 

4. USB interface for computers. 

 

5. Wingman app (compared to 7 series) 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1 . Meh

2.  Most mixer recorders will go in to record when setup properly

3. Velcro. Thank you 3M.  MixPreD will do that with additional hardware 

4. MixPreD. Prefer to keep them separate

5. 6 series can do that with add on hardware. I know it's not built in but meh

 

Then new MixPre units are nice but if one already has other units the like make it work.  Personally I find them to small for my fingers. 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't really understand the snide remarks. Sure, it's a strange time when gear gets cheaper and more capable and people discuss that more then the important factors in audio recording (I'm terrible at getting distracted by tech myself). But the MixPre series *does* have significant advantages for a lot of people over more expensive gear - which is precisely why those used prices tanked.

 

about the points in question:

 

2 hours ago, Matthew Marzano said:

1. Input timecode from my Canon 1DC and various other cameras that only output timecode via HDMI.

--> 1 . Meh

 

Meh for you, but not for the solo shooter who has 1DC. 

 

 

2 hours ago, Matthew Marzano said:

2. Trigger record from many cameras. 

--> 2.  Most mixer recorders will go in to record when setup properly

 

afaik the Cantar/Nomad/788 etc will *not* trigger record from a 1DC 

 

2 hours ago, Matthew Marzano said:

3. Screw onto my camera cage. 

--> 3. Velcro. Thank you 3M.  MixPreD will do that with additional hardware 

 

yes, but you would have to record on camera, which with a lot of cameras means poor uncontrolled audio.

 

 

2 hours ago, Matthew Marzano said:

4. USB interface for computers. 

--> 4. MixPreD. Prefer to keep them separate

 

sure, but more expensive, less flexible with fewer inputs, and no onboard recording

 

 

2 hours ago, Matthew Marzano said:

5. Wingman app (compared to 7 series) 

--> 5. 6 series can do that with add on hardware. I know it's not built in but meh

 

yes, but the 6 series is also 4-5 times the price so not meh for a lot of people.

 

and it's not always about price, sometimes I like shoot on a specific camera which lacks on TC and I/O for the look even if the budget is there for a more expensive one and in sometimes weight does matter, so a MixPre-3/6 can be the better choice over a 788T even if both are available.

 

 

all that said, if I was looking for the best audio I'd rather hire Jeff with a Tascam DR-70 then myself with a Cantar X3 ; )

chris

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have a Tascam 701d with external tc generator that I bring on budget shoots when I want something really light weight. I think a MixPre6 would probably do exactly the same thing. For bigger shoots bring a different mixer. 633, or Max, or 744t with maybe a 302. All good options.

 

At the end of the day the recorder usually isn't the limiting factor in your signal chain, or if it is then you should have the budget to pick the right tool for the job.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, Matthew Marzano said:

 

 

1. Input timecode from my Canon 1DC and various other cameras that only output timecode via HDMI.

 

2. Trigger record from many cameras. 

 

3. Screw onto my camera cage. 

 

4. USB interface for computers. 

 

5. Wingman app (compared to 7 series) 

Yes, you are right about these, it's just... almost all of them are irrelevant to a location sound recordist who wants to move up from a Tascam, such as the OP. 

 

USB is a maybe, as many don't need that on location, but some do. 

Wingman really only applies to 7-series minus 788 as that has the CL-Wifi.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19 hours ago, Daniel Ignacio said:

Thanks for the advice, everyone. In hindsight, my mindset going into this post was pretty naive, though I failed to mention that I do more specifically want timecode capabilities, metadata entry, PFL, and better preamps with a mixer upgrade.

 

 

 

 

The 633 is actually what I really want. From what I see and hear online of the 633’s capabilities and sound quality, it’s become my dream recorder. Plus, the mixer on my last feature had a 633 – while I was only booming for him, I loved that thing’s small yet friendly design. My current “endgame” (no such thing!) is either the 633 or the Maxx, and rentals for anything that requires more inputs.

 

I may just continue with my DR-70D for a while and instead get a wireless lav kit, while saving up for the 633.

 

 

Although I’ll keep this in mind.

Sounds like a smart plan Daniel. The gear only gets better as time goes bye. All gear is important, but experience (booming or mixing) is what everyone needs more of. In a couple of months I'll be 40 years deep in local 695 and I learn new stuff all the time. Keep dreaming and thinking about the gear you want, but practice and work your people skills everyday. They are equal to gear in doing any job.

CrewC

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
39 minutes ago, Constantin said:

Yes, you are right about these, it's just... almost all of them are irrelevant to a location sound recordist who wants to move up from a Tascam, such as the OP. 

 

 

well, how about:

 

6. analog limiters.

7. analog low cut filters

8. TC input (also for non-HDMI sources) 

9. better meter visibility

10. larger/better spaced pots

11. rated operating temperature  range -20 to +60C instead 0 to 40C

12. better dynamic range and noise levels

13. easier mixing (faders/trims)

14. way better menus/setup 

etc

 

all of which I find pretty much relevant to nearly any location sound recordist.

the question if it's better to save up for a 633 range is another matter, but personally I'd much rather buy a MixPre now and enjoy working with it for half a year and then sell it again at a small loss then keep using a DR-70, which frankly sucks in terms of handling (sorry Tom)

 

chris

 

edit: I now realise that the question was what the MP can do that a 633 can't rather then a MP vs a DR-70, and I agree there's not much of interest to a typical location sound person. but the above might still be of interest to the OP

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
daniel   
7 hours ago, Matthew Marzano said:

 

 

1. Input timecode from my Canon 1DC and various other cameras that only output timecode via HDMI.

 

2. Trigger record from many cameras. 

 

3. Screw onto my camera cage. 

 

4. USB interface for computers. 

 

5. Wingman app (compared to 7 series) 

 

4. USB interface for computer...

...while still operating as a recorder and recording from the computer - iso tracks to the computer are post fade :-(

Even with external box, 633 can't really do this without going analogue (after using the both AES O/Ps). If SD made a 6 channel fader board for the 633, 'USB interface' would be a nice feature, although probably not viable with the current 633 hardware.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you need to trigger from a DSLR or have your primary recorder also interface with a laptop then rock on. Those and some other things on that list are of very small interest to a working location dialog mixer-recordist.  We have striven for decades to REMOVE cables that need to run between our recorders and the camera whenever possible--one job on a fast moving shoot will tell you why.  Acting as an interface to a laptop is fine but the recorders most of us use have a lot of the capabilities of DAW apps already, without having to tether via a fragile connection like USB to a laptop?  Where does the laptop go when I'm working alone and out of a bag rig?  It sounds to me that the new MixPres may be perfect for what you need to do, but I they are not really up to the task of what most of us on this forum do on a daily basis.  SD was very careful about what they put in and what they didn't put into those machines...they still want to sell 633s!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'll never forget one of my first "high paying legit jobs"for Fox Sports West. At the time I was getting by doing Indy crap with a zoom h4n. So, when I got this decent paying FSW job I was so nervous showing up with just a zoom/boom that I rented a Sound Devices unit and threw it in the bag. I had no clue how to use it nor was I planning to. It was merely there so the client would see all the shiny lights. I ended up hiding the Zoom in the bag and recording everything on it. The commercial made it to TV and I worked for that client for many years thereafter. I eventually graduated up to a Nomad but you get the point of my story I'm sure.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This forum is great for the experience and knowledge that the community members have. There is no doubt that many of you are at the peak of this profession and the fact that users can get access to that knowledge is appreciated and valued. Many people are striving to get where you are. Along the way, there are jobs and workflows that are less than ideal for a multitude of reasons. Adaptability is the key for survival (not to get too Darwinian).  Believe it or not there are jobs out there where the audio person is running a camera too, as appalling of a thought as that may be. The audio might even be mounted to the camera in some fashion, which is exactly what SD markets the mix pre as. Have I ever mounted my 688 to any camera set up? No. I'm curious Mr. Deakin, how much velcro would it take to mount my 688 to a camera? Where is the best spot? Enlighten me, please.  Not only have I mounted the mix pre d to my cameras for years, I even modified the XL-Cam bracket to Arri 3/8" (with registration pins), and I mount my lectro SRa wireless receivers to it, without a touch of Velcro anywhere, using BEC cases (shout out to Mike at BEC for all the custom work). But Chris is right when he says the downside is the camera's internal recorder. The bottom line is, is this a slightly different tool than a "working location dialog mixer-recordist" may want? Yes. But is the OP a "working location dialog mixer-recordist" or is he a beginner, as he himself points out in the title of the thread? He's a beginner. Along the path to the mountain top he may need to work jobs with other people who are on a similar level. I'd bet that 75% of the jobs the OP gets in the next 2 years will be with a camera that doesn't have timecode I/O, except for HDMI/SDI video feeds. In that scenario, at least the MixPre series presents an option to sync files that my 688 does not or any of the other "pro gear" for that matter. For the other 25% I'd recommend renting a 6 or 7 series, ideally from a local, who sees you hustling, and hires you to help him/her. Then you've set up a mentoring situation for your rental $ and that's a greater return on investment than the gear itself. Which is why many of us are on this forum to begin with. To learn. But when the OP has a sub $500 machine and is trying to buy a sub $1000 machine and the recommendations are to spend $3000+, well...i'll let you all decide whether it's realistic advice or not. 

 

My final note (damn I'm regretting posting) if you guys can't wrap your brain around why some of those features I listed are useful, I will illustrate (and no, it doesn't include carting around a laptop in your location sound bag. Ugh, really?!? This is about getting rid of the location sound bag on many jobs.) Interviews, the backbone of many working sound and camera people. For years I've worked a job for NAB (even ran into the Senator once, my all time favorite forum member who gave me a flashlight with "it depends" on it) called Backstage Conversations. This is often a 2 man crew with lights, 2 cameras and a 633 kit.  I'd much rather use a mix pre 6. Then I don't have to worry about clicking record on the 633 as the MP3/6 is being triggered by the camera instead (and don't get me started on the 6 series record button). On small sets where multi tasking is essential, one less task is greatly valued (Canon DPAF, Dugan automix, mix assist, etc.). As far as long cable runs, that's the part many of you are missing, the cables are a few inches long, running directly to/from camera to the MP3/6 which is mounted beneath or on the side of the camera. So for this type of job, if you wanted to hand off timecode matched files to a client, just the weight savings alone is worth using the MP3/6 cause all the cameras that do have legit I/O are heavier than the ones that don't. Couple that with the extra weight of the 633/688 and all the batteries for both devices, well then the MP3/6 setup will not only save some time but will allow you to pack a much smaller setup and to move much quicker for those "fast moving shoots" I keep hearing about.

 

There will always be those that feel it's best to send Goliath into The Valley of Elah. 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Dude--chillax.  Everyone here loves or at least respects SD, and we also respect the notion of "the guy on the ground" making the best decision about what gear to use for their particular jobs.  The post above is, frankly, kind of a typical reaction by a new member of the forum to people here not 100% endorsing a particular workflow or tool.  Take the info given for what it is: a distillation of decades of real-world experience in every possible sort of production sound; use what works for you and do your jobs.  Let us know how you go.  There is no Goliath and the Valley of Elah is every job we do.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now


×