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Sound Devices MixPre-3 vs Zoom F4

MixPre-3 vs. Zoom F4  

36 members have voted

  1. 1. MixPre-3 or Zoom F4

    • MixPre-3
      17
    • Zoom F4
      9
    • Something else!
      10


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1 hour ago, IronFilm said:

But anything which helps Sound Devices enter new markets to gain new revenue and a wider user base to support more R&D is only a good thing for all of us. 

 

 

Hehe, I see SD can attract devoted followers like Metric Halo (<-- Happy Metric Halo user).

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So I actually ended up getting a Zoom F4. I didn't even know that there was a Mixpre-3M/6M coming out either!

 

Question though for those of you that have an F4, how do I plug in a 3.5mm lav to it? I used a 1/4 (TRS) adapter and plugged it to one of the 4 XLR/TRS ports and it's not working. I made sure plug-in power was on as well.

Is the TRS just for line-inputs too? So if I plug in a 1/4 / TRS cable does it automatically go into the line-input (lower dB) levels?

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4 hours ago, SoundAdvice said:

So I actually ended up getting a Zoom F4. I didn't even know that there was a Mixpre-3M/6M coming out either!

I wouldn't be too worried about it, the MixPre M variants are cheaper *but* also less useful for us location sound recordists (most notably they're lacking timecode). 
 

5 hours ago, SoundAdvice said:

Is the TRS just for line-inputs too?

Yes, the 1/4" input is line level. XLR in mic level. 

It is the new F8n which allows you to switch between mic/line level no matter which input you're using. 

Simple solution: get a new adapter :-)

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8 hours ago, SoundAdvice said:

how do I plug in a 3.5mm lav to it? I used a 1/4 (TRS) adapter and plugged it to one of the 4 XLR/TRS

As Dave stated, (and according to the manual) the 1/4" TRS jack is line level and does not carry power. The only 3.5mm input is a return (RTN) which is stated to be -10dBV (unbalanced consumer line level) in the specs.. So a  typical lav with a mini-plug would need an XLR adaptor / power supply which transforms Phantom Power to Plug-in Power.. which are totally different configurations and voltage. Feeding Phantom Power through a simple hardwired 3.5mm to XLR adapter can fry the mic.

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I wonder about the invisible, under the hood fine details.

 

Like, has anyone made an evil test like simulating a dying battery using a laboratory power supply? I bet Sound Devices are world class experts on data surviving such an event. 

 

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7 hours ago, borjam said:

I wonder about the invisible, under the hood fine details.

 

Like, has anyone made an evil test like simulating a dying battery using a laboratory power supply? I bet Sound Devices are world class experts on data surviving such an event. 

 

I have done tests with the MixPre where I pulled out the power supply in the middle of recording a file. The file survived just fine. 

 

-Mike

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Still with the Zoom/SD conundrum, I must admit that at least one of the limitations of the MixPre 3 is outright offensive. Why doesn't it offer polarity inversion/phase reverse (pick your favourite term) like the MixPre 6 and 10 do? It's certainly not rocket science. I noticed that they added channel delay to the 3 with a firmware update, which was only available for the 6 and 10.

 

For the very budget conscious user having polarity inversion in the MixPre 3 would be very useful if you want to try a poor man's MS setup (two cardioids but one of them with reversed polarity) for the S.

 

(I know many users here will laugh at it ;) but the MixPre series seems to be about conquering new markets).

 

 

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1 hour ago, borjam said:

Still with the Zoom/SD conundrum, I must admit that at least one of the limitations of the MixPre 3 is outright offensive. Why doesn't it offer polarity inversion/phase reverse (pick your favourite term) like the MixPre 6 and 10 do? It's certainly not rocket science. I noticed that they added channel delay to the 3 with a firmware update, which was only available for the 6 and 10.

 

For the very budget conscious user having polarity inversion in the MixPre 3 would be very useful if you want to try a poor man's MS setup (two cardioids but one of them with reversed polarity) for the S.

 

(I know many users here will laugh at it ;) but the MixPre series seems to be about conquering new markets).

 

 

Putting aside the idea of a 'poor man's MS' sans figure 8 mic (?!), polarity reverse would be a nice firmware update, but its absence from my Mixpre-3 doesn't offend me. Only yesterday I was recording (without any feeling of irritation!) with a Neutrik NA3FMX on a mic for which I was reversing polarity, and with only three mic preamps its hardly a big deal: and it's a cheap solution for even the most 'budget conscious'.

 

Cheers,

 

Roland

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2 hours ago, Throwback said:

Putting aside the idea of a 'poor man's MS' sans figure 8 mic (?!), polarity reverse would be a nice firmware update, but its absence from my Mixpre-3 doesn't offend me.

 

I say offensive because it has been excluded from the MixPre 3 purely for marketing reasons, not because the operation has some unbearable processing cost.  Curiously, channel delay, which is a bit  more expensive in signal processing resources, has been added to the MixPre 3 which previously didn't have it. 

 

Not trying to start a flame war here of course, but the "let's remove this feature so that some users will go for the 6 instead" is not something I "like".  Now I wonder, how come they added channel delay while it wasn´t listed in the original specifications? It's not even mentioned in the user manual.

 

Of course I understand that they have put a lot of effort to release a product in that price class. But removing a "change sign" operation is outright silly in my opinion. 

 

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2 hours ago, borjam said:

I say offensive because it has been excluded from the MixPre 3 purely for marketing reasons, not because the operation has some unbearable processing cost.  

 

well, there might be another reason that we're not aware of (like they are working on it, or it might be more complicated then you think).

 

personally I don't think it's purely market segmentation because this feature will do very little pushing folks from a MP-3 to an MP-6 (inputs and track count will do that), but even if it were, that's common practice and Arri charges several thousands for some software upgrades on features that even the base model camera would be able to handle hardware wise.

 

It's about keeping the base model low cost while paying for software developers working on advanced features not everybody might need.  

 

 

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SDMenus.jpg

1 hour ago, chrismedr said:

well, there might be another reason that we're not aware of (like they are working on it, or it might be more complicated then you think).

 

personally I don't think it's purely market segmentation because this feature will do very little pushing folks from a MP-3 to an MP-6 (inputs and track count will do that), but even if it were, that's common practice and Arri charges several thousands for some software upgrades on features that even the base model camera would be able to handle hardware wise.

 

I understand that, of course, but we are talking about changing the sign of audio samples. And, curiously, input delay was only supported on the -6 an -10 until it was backported to the -3 in firmware version 1.20. 


Sorry about the botched reply, I attached the previous menu comparison (from the -3 and -6 user manuals) to a longer post and the text disappeared. 

 

1 hour ago, chrismedr said:

 

It's about keeping the base model low cost while paying for software developers working on advanced features not everybody might need.  

 

I understand that, of course, and I have paid for software licenses without hesitation. For example, a +DSP license for a Metric Halo interface.

 

If someone from SD reads this, of course no offense intended at all, come on! Really??

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I agree that it would be nice, but out of curiosity:

did you actually check a MP-3 with latest firmware or are you checking the manuals?

I'm asking because it might be that they just forgot to update the manual and the MP-3 already does phase reverse?

just a thought

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I have an MP-3 and there is no phase reverse: it would be in the channel menu. Its absence is a little odd, but I too doubt it is marketing. I wonder whether borjam has asked SD about it? Certainly they have been responsive to many of us requesting firmware changes/expanded functionality over the last year.

 

Cheers,

 

Roland

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1 hour ago, Throwback said:

I have an MP-3 and there is no phase reverse: it would be in the channel menu. Its absence is a little odd, but I too doubt it is marketing. I wonder whether borjam has asked SD about it? Certainly they have been responsive to many of us requesting firmware changes/expanded functionality over the last year.

 

I've sent an email asking about it. I'm considering getting one and the limitation sounds outright silly to me. I might be wrong of course, maybe it's not a market segmentation decision and  they decided to have just two on screen menus in advanced mode, rule that they have broken adding the input delay.

 

We'll see.

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Well, I asked about it.

 

Good morning,

I am considering the purchase of a MixPre 3, maybe for nature recording. It seems to have the perfect 
set of features, but I find an omission really shocking: no phase reverse.

Are there any plans to add it to the MixPre 3 as you have done with input delay? I can’t come up with
a technical reason to omit that feature from the MixPre 3 requiring a minimum of a 6 instead.

 

And I received an answer worthy of the Ministry of Sound Recording Devices ;). No answer to my question about

enabling it on the MixPre, though.

 

Hello Borja,

 
Your observation is correct:  The MixPre-3 does not include phase reverse.  
 
Kind Regards,

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So, in order to even the outcome of this thread I ordered the MixPre 3.

 

I see that some of the functions in the F4 are more comprehensive (and it has 4 mic preamps instead of 3)

but with the Fostex I've learned how an underspecified headphone output can ruin your day especially if recording

outdoors in a windy day. The metering in the MixPre seems to win as well. and after perusing the manuals

I think I like the MixPre user interface better.

 

We'll see. Now, if only they added a "phase reverse" button to the channels now that they have crossed the 

Rubycon of the third menu screen ;) I would be even happier!

 

 

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On 6/26/2018 at 10:55 AM, borjam said:

Well, I asked about it.

 

Good morning,

I am considering the purchase of a MixPre 3, maybe for nature recording. It seems to have the perfect 
set of features, but I find an omission really shocking: no phase reverse.

Are there any plans to add it to the MixPre 3 as you have done with input delay? I can’t come up with
a technical reason to omit that feature from the MixPre 3 requiring a minimum of a 6 instead.

 

And I received an answer worthy of the Ministry of Sound Recording Devices ;). No answer to my question about

enabling it on the MixPre, though.

 

Hello Borja,

 
Your observation is correct:  The MixPre-3 does not include phase reverse.  
 
Kind Regards,

Sound Devices has been very reluctant to make promises about upcoming/planned features in my experience. This doesn’t necessarily mean that phase reverse will not be added in a future firmware update. 

 

-Mike

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1 hour ago, Mobilemike said:

Sound Devices has been very reluctant to make promises about upcoming/planned features in my experience. This doesn’t necessarily mean that phase reverse will not be added in a future firmware update. 

 

Thanks :) Yes, I read about that perfectly wise company policy today while perusing their website.

 

I see also that they have a design ethos different from other companies. At least with the MixPres they have decided to design the user interface around certain expected use cases rather than offer a full set of arbitrary options which would demand more controls making the touchscreen unusable.

 

I hope nobody thinks that I am mad at them because I said "offensive" or I made a "Brazil" pun with their ministerial answer. Not at all, I even ordered the recorder and I am sure I'll be perfectly happy with it even if I must wire an polarity reverse adapter or two.

 

(English is a second language for me, my sarcasm/banter skills can be a bit sub-par).

 

 

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Well, the MixPre 3 arrived yesterday. 

 

I have only played a bit with it, but WOW!

 

First, the headphone amplifier. I had read all kind of praises, but they fall short. As I was really curious I plugged the recorder to a USB port and I played a good recording I know well. I am happy with my headphones (Ultrasone HFI-650) but I had never heard them like that. I've used them connected to a Metric Halo ULN-2, a Mackie Onyx 1640, my personal mixer (MixWizard 3 14:4:2)... I couldn't believe it. I am only guessing, but seems that these headphones have a low impedance at low frequencies, making them harder to drive for many amplifiers. The MixPre drives them like I have never seen. The poor FR-2LE looked like it was going to catch fire. Some audiophiles would buy a unit just to use it as a headphone amplifier. I remember some got Metric Halo ULN-8 interfaces mostly to use as D/A converters. 

 

So I picked up a microphone (AKG SE300B+CK98) and I visited the local wetland to listen to some birds. I also tortured the limiters and HPF, especially with some rough handling of the microphone. At the risk of sounding fanboyesque, even the resistance when turning the faders is perfect.

 

I have read some comments about SD eroding their own market. I don't think that will happen at all. Quite the contrary, I think this low hanging delicious fruit will help them expand a lot. They are delivering the key high performance features at a lower price point but leaving the more specialized ones to the upper series. 

 

So, would I be the same with a F4? I don't think so. The limiter and HPF in the analog domain and the headphone amplifier are critical features in my opinion. 

 

Now, I am curious. What are SD doing with a 32 bit A/D converter? Adding resolution for low level recordings reducing quantization noise? 

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Yesterday, I ask mic preamp  that enough ampere powering for QTC40 to Earthworks support.

They said MixPre's preamp has not enough power. they recommended additional phantom box or ZOOM portable recorder.(H and F series)

 

However, microphones that require 10 mA are also rare,There will be no problem with other microphones.

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