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Samuel Dilworth

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    Another dilettante, I’m afraid, but keen all the same.
  • Interested in Sound for Picture

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  1. This is an interesting article on using AA cells: https://www.sounddevices.com/mixpre-3-mixpre-6-maxbatteryruntime/ I’m getting less than 1.5 hours with eneloop cells. A bit tight for interviews after accounting for faff. My eneloops are 8–10 years old and well used in flash guns … maybe time for some new ones with “PRO” in the label. I notice the screen brightness doesn’t make a great difference to battery life, which makes sense considering its small size versus the battery capacity and runtime. Still, it would be nice to turn the display backlight completely off in some situations. I’m enjoying the headphone amp for music from my computer (which solves the battery problem with USB power). One weird thing was that it randomly recorded something at 44.1 kHz in Basic mode. I never selected that (and in Basic mode you cannot). Hasn’t happened since.
  2. Wow. This thing is seriously impressive. Cast aluminium body with rubber top and bottom covers (for cameras and tripods). Tiny and yet somehow not too fiddly. Carefully thought out hardware design in every detail. Clean, clean preamps. Clean, clean headphone amp. Pretty good touchscreen user interface, considering. I’m deeply impressed. Only annoyance is that it blows through batteries like nobody’s business. Consequently it produces a fair bit of heat while recording. My Zoom H4N Pro lasts four times longer on half the battery count.
  3. Just ordered a new old stock MixPre-3. I hope I don’t regret not waiting for the right Zoom F4 to come along. I searched everywhere for a NOS F4 without success. I missed the used one on LeBonCoin that Display Name mentioned earlier in the thread (maybe someone here bought that?). Spent more than I anticipated, but you’re all telling me it’s still cheap, ha. Thanks for the valuable advice, all.
  4. I don’t want to get carried away here and end up spending way more than I planned. (Nor will I keep bumping this boring thread with new questions.) But what’s the closest thing to a MixPre-3 with a pair of XLR outputs? That’s a strange and annoying lack on the MixPre-3. The more I look into this, the more I like the look of the Zoom F4. It’s odd that Zoom discontinued that, since the F8n is way more expensive and the F6 doesn’t have some of the F4’s appealing features. Does Zoom make some kind of plug-in accessory for XLR out? They make a load of accessories … hard to check everything. Probably. Thanks for the offer anyway. Anything in the UK has just become a bad value for me because of Brexit. There are import duties and VAT and uncertainties on top of that. Now leaning toward an all-in-one recorder of some sort anyway.
  5. I tried to buy that Sound Devices 302 for €200, plus another one for slightly more, but I was too late for one and the other seller flaked out. Used Zoom F4s and MixPre-3s are thin on the ground here. Haven’t seen any. I could buy a new MixPre-3 (the discontinued model) for €530. More than I really wanted to spend but maybe worth it? New MixPre-3 IIs are about €800 by comparison – more than I can spend (remember, I have no professional aspirations). Would anyone explain the practical timecode differences between the -3 and -3 II? For reference, I have a Panasonic GH5S camera. It has some sort of limited timecode support, but the technical details elude me. I have been synching audio manually (and might just keep doing that). Alternative left-field idea: Wendt X3? Has Wendt gone bust? No website that I can find.
  6. That was the hope, yes. I guess it would be a pain compared to recording directly on something modern like the MixPre-3 or Zoom F4 … but I’ve never used one of those so don’t know what I’m missing. Alternatively, my camera has line-level audio-in via a 3.5 mm jack and there’s an XLR adaptor available for it (though I don’t have it). But I want this for more than camera work. Shoulder bag or attached to a camera rig somehow. I’m trying to do a variety of things including voiceovers for video, interviews, sound effects for tutorial videos (e.g. the noises made by a bicycle component in operation), recording prolonged experiences such as riding a metro train, etc. Of note: no music. I also want to record the sound of landscapes, e.g. rural Romania where my wife’s parents have a summer house. The sounds there are distinctive and amazing, but at a low SPL despite seeming very present when you’re standing in a field in the middle of the night. I want cleaner preamps in part so I can choose new mics without undue concern about their sensitivity. Mics I want to use are various low-cost lavs, the Procaster, the Audio-Technica AT4053b, some shotgun that I’m currently trying to choose (has to sound good for voice and quiet sound effects for someone who doesn’t know what they’re doing in post … probably impossible), and hopefully a BP4025 in the future. I’ll probably end up with a reporter-style microphone too at some point. Interestingly, a 302 would open up other options like this MKH 416 – just €200 because it’s a P12 that no-one wants. (Anyone know if that could be converted to a P48, by the way?) https://www.leboncoin.fr/image_son/1908249509.htm “ISOs”?
  7. Thanks, Patrick. The MixPre-3 looks great, but it’s still a fair bit more expensive than a Sound Devices 302, for example. Would the 302 be at all viable for what I want? It’s not a recorder, but I could use its preamps and record with something else, e.g. the Zoom or my camera (Panasonic GH5S). Is the 302 generally reliable? I see one available locally for just €200, but it has heavily worn paint suggesting many hours of use in the field. Risky?
  8. Great. Thanks for the tips. Some of those look very attractive at first glance. I’ll have to look for a bargain on one of the cheaper models though (that MixPre-3 looks great! But no line-level out then, even via the headphone port or something?).
  9. It’s hard to say how cheap without knowing what I’d be giving up or gaining. Can a significant improvement be made for €300, used? I see tatty Sound Devices 302s at that kind of price (specs claim EIN of –126 dB and 2.5 kΩ mic input impedance, but I’m far from certain what those mean in practice compared to what I’ve got). A FetHead Phantom would be €80. Two would be €160. Meanwhile, I could probably sell my H4N Pro and FetHead for nearly €200 if I got a recorder that made them unnecessary. So let’s say ‘cheap’ can be a bit more than €300 if necessary. Two XLR mic inputs minimum, three seldom useful, four never. I’m trying to learn the layout of the land. What’s out there that’s a bargain for sound quality with weak signals? Probably a boring question for you people but I’m hoping for a starting point for my own research.
  10. Hello. I have a Zoom H4N Pro. It has served me well, but it’s tiring to work around its noisy microphone preamps and lowish input impedance (1 kΩ). For example, a couple of years ago I had to get a FetHead to make a Rode Procaster dynamic mic sound better (which it duly sure did). But the FetHead doesn’t support phantom power. Oh, there’s another FetHead model that does, but would a fleet of FetHeads be throwing good money after bad? Instead I could put the money toward a better mixer or recorder, maybe selling the H4N Pro and first FetHead to partially fund it. I’m on a very tight budget and want quiet preamps. Two or three would be fine. I need XLR inputs with phantom power, low risk of sudden death (e.g. from ancient electronics), and great portability. Line-level out would be useful. Otherwise I’m willing to put up with considerable inconveniences. For example, I’m fine with giving up 32-bit float although I love the concept. Weird old memory cards are fine. High power consumption is fine. A clumsy interface is fine. Suggestions? Thanks!
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