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nch

MixPre-6 or a second hand 552?

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I need to buy a new mixer/recorder set up, we’ve been recording dialogue, ambient and wild for shorts. The new SD MixPre 3 and 6 look great but the MixPre 6 round here goes for about £950 and I can pick up a SD 552 for a bit less than this second hand.

 

I’m unclear on how practical the onboard recoding of this unit really is but it could be paired with a budget recorder, Steve Oakley has a little video where he syncs the 552 up with a Tascam DR680. This would bring it up to about £1100 or £1200 which is the top end of what I should really spend and the 552 is quite an old model now I think.

 

The size and simplicity of the MixPre is very appealing but also appealing is the idea of having the versatility of the 522 with the extra channels and routing options for things that I may need in the future.

 

Spec sheet wise the new Pre amps in the MixPre have a range of 120 and the 552 pre’s have 102, I also found some posts complaining that the limiters in the MixPre’s are quite aggressive.

 

Anyhow that’s all I got and it’s just spec sheet speculation really, I’m a novice so thought I come here and see if anyone had any advise.

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Depends on your usual workflow. The 552 is pretty versatile .. but not as a recorder, and it only records two tracks. SD stated when the 552 was introduced, the two track recorder was primarily a cam hop back-up, but not up to the 7 series quality... it does sound pretty good though. A 552 feeding (line level) to a multi-track Tascam 680 would sound very good, but the Tascam has no TC capabilities whatsoever, and the 552 cannot generate TC on it's own. Same with the MixPre 3/6. Maybe take a look at the new MixPre 10T or the F series Zoom. A pre owned 702 is another quality option if you only need two tracks.

How about the weight factor? Obviously, a MixPre is smaller/lighter than a 552/680 and in any scenario, you'll need an external power system as well. For instance, the 680 will eat up eight alkaline or rechargeable AAs every hour or so, the 552's four internal AA batteries don't last long either, especially w/ Phantom Pwr. The MixPre 3/6 has it's own power issues. (search)

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Hi Rick, thanks for the help. No time code would be a deal breaker. I was thinking of using the little Tentacle boxes but I’m not sure if it would work with this set up, depending I guess on which recorder I used but it’s have to be one of the budget ones to make the whole think make sense.

 

Zoom’s and all there kin are missing limiters, so without a mixer they would be no good for me.

 

Time code can be done on the MixPre 3-6 with the little Tentacle boxes too I was thinking.

 

For power the MixPre’s also can come with an L type battery sled and I can knok up something for the others if I need to.

 

I just saw the MixPre 10T in the next thread after I posted this and the time code is nice but it’s just under £2000 and I cant really justify the money for more tracks that I don't really need at the moment, also a use 633 on eBay goes for about the same price.

 

I guess one of the MixPre’s is the best way to go for now.

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Regarding the 10T Don't just think about the extra tracks you don't need, think about the internal TC generator, balanced outputs, back up option and size. These features make it a winner over the 3/6 or a used 552/680 even a used 633 in my opinion. 

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18 hours ago, FrankH said:

Regarding the 10T Don't just think about the extra tracks you don't need, think about the internal TC generator, balanced outputs, back up option and size. These features make it a winner over the 3/6 or a used 552/680 even a used 633 in my opinion. 

 

In what context do you see the 10T preferable to the 633, apart from number of inputs?

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The 552 sounds fine--I actually think I like the sound of it better than my 6xx stuff, but by comparison to later recorders it's a pain in the ass.  You kind of need to keep the menu-guide handy to access all of its features (or listen to the slow-talking Dr. Hawking "Sven" prompts), it has no info screen of any kind.  As a 5 input stereo mixer it's great, but as was said the recording feature it has was thought of at the time as a cam-hop backup: it's more or less impossible to name files on the machine.  If what you really need is a recorder then get a recorder, preferably with easier to use, more modern features.  If you need more inputs you can put a mixer in front of that.

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As an owner of a 552, I can say it is a no brainer decision if you're doing dual system sound (& don't need the mixer/output options of the 552): go for MixPre6 over the 552

 

Also consider the Zoom F4, I own the F4 myself and I feel the MixPre6 would be a small set *backwards* if I changed over to that instead (however I am tempted by the MixPre-10T!).

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26 minutes ago, IronFilm said:

As an owner of a 552, I can say it is a no brainer decision if you're doing dual system sound (& don't need the mixer/output options of the 552): go for MixPre6 over the 552

+1 on this. 

 

To the OP: you have to figure out what your primary need is. If you primarily need a mixer, and sometimes need recording functions, then the 552 is awesome. If you primarily need a recorder, that happens to have some mixing functions, go MixPre-6. 

 

-Mike

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14 hours ago, VM said:

552 has more gain than the Mixpre.

 

 

Not sure if that is true. The specs are not straightforward to compare, but the MixPre 10 has 96dB of gain (input gain and fader combined) mic to recording, as they state. 

The 552 has 93dB mic to line out...

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NCH, I see you're in London. Me too and most of the stuff I do, the camera department is using Alexa / Alexa mini / EOS / Black Magic / Sony / DSLR. Although the EOS, BMs and Sonys are quite capable of being the primary audio recorder (from a mixer front end via an 'umbilical') the the Alexas and DSLRs mean it's more important to own a recorder (mixer-recorder) than it may have been previously. The last time i turned up with just a mixer for a shoot (for a regular client who always shoots on EOS), i had the charming surprise of discovering the DP was using a 5D! Fortunately i was 10 minutes from home and the producer accepted responsibility for not advising me in advance. Now I'm using a 6 series I don't chase others around trying to find out what they are shooting on (but it's nice if they tell me). If I can plug in, I do, if not, no problem either. I carry a spare RM for scratch to camera, if they want TC they request it. I'll sell you my DR-680 and SQN mini / SD302 combo for less than £1000 if you think it'll work for your client list and workflow.  The SQN is still 1 of the best sounding mixers ever made, with awesome limiters and the 680 has some nice features too, bespoke cables are all A1. Otherwise, I think I would go for the 10T assuming no teething difficulties and you can wait for launch.

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NCH, as you're likely new to this, you're surely doing a lot of shoots where they're using DSLR/mirrorless/BMD cameras, which makes it even more important you have a multi track recorder. Go for the Zoom F4! (you get 6 inputs, vs only four inputs with the MixPre6 as you lose 5/6 when doing TC)

MixPre10T would be an excellent choice too, but you're looking at triple the price of a F4 (and creeping up towards 633 price territory too). 

And as someone starting out, your budget is I'm sure very tight, so would be a pity to go for a MixPre10T over a F4 if it means you miss out on something else crucial such as: an extra wireless, TC box, or a  nicer microphone. 

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On 11/10/2017 at 2:50 PM, Constantin said:

 

Not sure if that is true. The specs are not straightforward to compare, but the MixPre 10 has 96dB of gain (input gain and fader combined) mic to recording, as they state. 

The 552 has 93dB mic to line out...

Oups that is not clear on the specs sheet for mixpré3 to 10 I can read  that mic gain is 76 dB AND  fader +20 dB .Does it mean that the 20 dB of the faders is digital gain ?

 

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19 minutes ago, VM said:

Oups that is not clear on the specs sheet for mixpré3 to 10 I can read  that mic gain is 76 dB AND  fader +20 dB .Does it mean that the 20 dB of the faders is digital gain ?

 

 

No implication that it is digital gain (and the SD spec for gain 'Total, Mic-to-recording (max): +96dB') is consistent with non-digital gain (as, indeed, supported by actual use). See earlier discussion:

 

Cheers,

 

Roland

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The best thing should be to measure the signal/noise just before the ADC.

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