Jump to content
afewmoreyears

Sound Devices Mix Pre-3 and Mix Pre-6

Recommended Posts

1 hour ago, cmgoodin said:

I have a Mix Pre 3.   I am pretty happy with its performance and features,  but am most disappointed with the battery life.   Using the included 4 AA battery sled with Alkaline cells the recorder kills a set of 4 Duracells in less than an hour.  I have other small stereo recorders and they seem to run for multiple hours on a single AA cell or 2 AAA cells.  Even with the LEDs set to their minimum and bluetooth off and only 1 phantom channel turned on it still kills the batteries pretty quickly.   You certainly need more external power and the solutions offered by SD seem pretty clunky in that they don't allow the recorder to lay flat with the battery sleds loaded.  Also no mention anywhere in any of the documentation on whether it will charge lithium Ion or NiMh batteries when powered off of the USB-C power supply.  Anyone know an answer to this?

 

The MixPre does not charge batteries.

AA alkalines are not recommended since they are not great with higher current devices and MixPre can draw up to 7.5W.

Again, read this for powering options: https://www.sounddevices.com/tech-notes/mixpre-3-mixpre-6-powering-options

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 minutes ago, Paul Isaacs said:

The MixPre does not charge batteries.

AA alkalines are not recommended since they are not great with higher current devices and MixPre can draw up to 7.5W.

Again, read this for powering options: https://www.sounddevices.com/tech-notes/mixpre-3-mixpre-6-powering-options

That is a shame because it makes the power hungry device even more problematic to use in a portable setup.

My question is why does it pull so much power?   My cell phone can record 2 channels of digital sound, has a 1920x1080 Daylight readable OLED touch screen, audio amplifiers and multiple radio transmitters and receivers and runs for 2 days on a 3500 mAh battery. It will even playback media with the screen constantly on for 18 hours on a charge.   Plus it will fast charge it's internal battery when plugged in to external power.   Where's the big  power drain in the Mix Pre?  Other than turning off the unused 48V phantom and turning down the brightness of the LCD and LEDs is there any way to reduce the power consumption of the recorder to a usable level so on-board batteries can be used in a practical manner?

Share this post


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

That is a shame because it makes the power hungry device even more problematic to use in a portable setup.

My question is why does it pull so much power?

and why doesn't it make coffee? : )

seriously, this thing as some of the most flexible powering options: 
If you need long runtimes, just use the NP-F sled or an USB power bank.
If you need small and compact, use the AA sled with enveloop or lithium AA
If you're in an emergency, run to the next supermarket and buy a bunch of alkalines.

plus, I'm sure somebody will make a dummy sled with hirose for 14V input soon as well

chris

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, cmgoodin said:

That is a shame because it makes the power hungry device even more problematic to use in a portable setup.

My question is why does it pull so much power?   My cell phone can record 2 channels of digital sound, has a 1920x1080 Daylight readable OLED touch screen, audio amplifiers and multiple radio transmitters and receivers and runs for 2 days on a 3500 mAh battery. It will even playback media with the screen constantly on for 18 hours on a charge.   Plus it will fast charge it's internal battery when plugged in to external power.   Where's the big  power drain in the Mix Pre?  Other than turning off the unused 48V phantom and turning down the brightness of the LCD and LEDs is there any way to reduce the power consumption of the recorder to a usable level so on-board batteries can be used in a practical manner?

Does your cell phone have 4 of the highest quality, discrete, class A analog preamps, analog limiters, and headphone amp money can buy? 

Again see all the available power options here: https://www.sounddevices.com/tech-notes/mixpre-3-mixpre-6-powering-options

NiMH, L-mounts, or Anker USB-C should give you pretty good run time in many portable situations.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
17 hours ago, Paul Isaacs said:

Regarding powering, this should help clarify things ...

https://www.sounddevices.com/tech-notes/mixpre-3-mixpre-6-powering-options

Thanks for clarifying this Paul. Unfortunately it seems to contradict the information that Nic posted earlier in this thread (post #68), which I did base my purchasing decisions off of:

On 4/20/2017 at 1:55 PM, Nic Stage said:

On devices with sufficient power on the USB ports, the MixPre-3 and -6 will operate with all features with a straight USB-A to USB-C cable and the MX-USBY wouldn't be required.

So while the new MixPre's work great as small recorders with flexible powering options, it seems there are no good options for fully powering the device while using it as a USB interface, which was one of the major marketing points and selling points of the unit. It was a huge reason why I purchased both a MixPRe-6 and a -3 right off the bat, as I have plenty of other devices that happily fit the portable recorder function. I don't even mean running off a laptop on battery power; I would be totally happy to plug it into mains AC to have it powered. 

If your computer does not have a USB-C port - which to my knowledge the majority of computers still in use don't, and especially those meant for professional use - you seem to be limited basically to running the MixPre-6 or -3 onbattery power if you want it to fully function as a USB interface. You can't use the AC adapter or a USB power bank because those take up the USB C port, which you need to connect to the computer. Using two USB-A ports on the computer is impractical in most situations as I mentioned before, since most (Mac at least) laptops only have two USB ports and there are plenty of other devices that need a port as well like hard drives, Pro Tools dongles, etc. 

It seems like literally the only option when using these as a USB Interface is to resign yourself to the rat's nest of cables required to use two ports of a powered USB hub - definitely not ideal in a remote situation where you want to be as compact as possible. 

Is there anything that can be done about this? To be honest this may be the deciding factor between me keeping these devices and taking advantage of my dealer's return policy.

-Mike

-Mike

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi all. I've been reading on here for a while, but this is my first post. Thanks for sharing such a vast amount of knowledge. This is a great community.

I've got a question regarding timecode/sync/drift on these new SD units. I've ordered a MixPre-3 as a mixer recorder for a B unit crew on fairly standard documentary work. 2 lavs and a boom, sometimes less. For long sit down interviews we can use the 1/8" or hdmi to send camera time code into the MixPre. This seems fine. But, for more observational work, I want a mixer/boom-op to roam, without being tethered to the camera with cable. I'm fine not having synced timecode, I'll just analog slate and sync in post. But I'm concerned about drift. It sounds like if I'm shooting 45-minute takes at a time, this is not the unit for me. But if I'm shooting 10-15 minute takes max, might drift still be an issue?

I'm aware there are solutions like Ambient's Nano Lockit, but add that on and we're talking about a bump price range, at which point I'll just consider a different mixer/recorder altogether.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You can power from a single USB-A port from a computer. You will have all multichannel mix, record and I/O functionality except that you only have phantom on two of the 4 XLR inputs. If you want all 4 phantoms, understand that a single USB-A port on a computer cannot provide enough power - that's not a MixPre limitation - it's a USB-A limitation. The MixPre is able to deliver phantom to four of even the hungriest condenser mics. Many audio interfaces or mixers cannot do that. So if you want to use 4 phantoms, plug in the extra USB-A cable. Or use a computer with USB-C. Or use AAs or L-mounts etc.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
32 minutes ago, Paul Isaacs said:

You can power from a single USB-A port from a computer. You will have all multichannel mix, record and I/O functionality except that you only have phantom on two of the 4 XLR inputs. If you want all 4 phantoms, understand that a single USB-A port on a computer cannot provide enough power - that's not a MixPre limitation - it's a USB-A limitation. The MixPre is able to deliver phantom to four of even the hungriest condenser mics. Many audio interfaces or mixers cannot do that. So if you want to use 4 phantoms, plug in the extra USB-A cable. Or use a computer with USB-C. Or use AAs or L-mounts etc.

 

I understand that the device can be powered by a single USB-A port, but what Nic had said was that it will "operate with all features" in that configuration, which is clearly not the case. 

Nevertheless that wouldn't even be an issue for me if there were a way to simply and compactly power it from another source while connected to a computer. That for me is what cripples the MixPre series' usefulness as a USB interface. It's true that I know of no other USB interfaces that can provide 48v to more than 2 mic preamps while bus powered, but all of the other interfaces on the market which offer more than 2 preamps can easily be powered by mains power. 

I would be totally happy even if it was possible to use the USB-A port on the MixPre to connect to a computer while using the -C port to provide power. Is this something a firmware update could provide or is the infrastructure not there?

-Mike

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Mobilemike said:

I understand that the device can be powered by a single USB-A port, but what Nic had said was that it will "operate with all features" in that configuration, which is clearly not the case. 

Nevertheless that wouldn't even be an issue for me if there were a way to simply and compactly power it from another source while connected to a computer. That for me is what cripples the MixPre series' usefulness as a USB interface. It's true that I know of no other USB interfaces that can provide 48v to more than 2 mic preamps while his powered, but all of the other interfaces on the market which offer more than 2 preamps can easily be powered by mains power. 

I would be totally happy even if it was possible to use the USB-A port on the MixPre to connect to a computer while using the -C port to provide power. Is this something a firmware update could provide or is the infrastructure not there?

-Mike

I'm probably not about to suggest your ideal solution but is it not possible to use dummy (aa) batteries in the aa holder and a PSU of the appropriate O/P (before someone makes a battery sled for these MixPres)?

http://www.batteryeliminatorstore.com/index.php?id_product=16&controller=product

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
40 minutes ago, Mobilemike said:

Nevertheless that wouldn't even be an issue for me if there were a way to simply and compactly power it from another source while connected to a computer. 

You can - use AA or L-mount batteries. 

43 minutes ago, Mobilemike said:

 

I would be totally happy even if it was possible to use the USB-A port on the MixPre to connect to a computer while using the -C port to provide power. Is this something a firmware update could provide or is the infrastructure not there?

-Mike

No.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
24 minutes ago, daniel said:

I'm probably not about to suggest your ideal solution but is it not possible to use dummy (aa) batteries in the aa holder and a PSU of the appropriate O/P (before someone makes a battery sledge for these MixPres)?

http://www.batteryeliminatorstore.com/index.php?id_product=16&controller=product

You would need to drill a hole your battery sled, and with 6V, I would suggest a current rating more like 1.5A. It would rarely draw over 1A at 6V, but under heavy load, it's possible. 1A would be fine at 8V. That (Combined with the fact that you wouldn't have to modify anything) is what makes the MX-LMount combined with a some sort of dummy adapter a better solution, in my opinion.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"But I'm concerned about drift. It sounds like if I'm shooting 45-minute takes at a time, this is not the unit for me. But if I'm shooting 10-15 minute takes max, might drift still be an issue?"

 > Drift is always an issue., if your asking about it's internal TC clock/drift.. well.. it needs an external source, and does not generate TC on it's own. Once rolling, the other gear's accuracy come into play as well. AFAIK, It doesn't have provisions for an ext. word clock either.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 05/30/2017 at 8:24 AM, John Blankenship said:

As an answer to your question, our view of gear follows a similar path.  So, in this case, Sound Devices is a company that for many years has made top notch equipment designed to meet our needs. It is with this history in mind that we address any new offerings they may release.

I don't have a horse in this race at all, and if it works for you then that's great, but I have a good feeling that if the manufacturer stickers were swapped on a MixPre and an F4, people would be singing the virtues of the Sound Devices F4 while lambasting the Zoom MixPre6.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Nic Stage said:

You would need to drill a hole your battery sled, and with 6V, I would suggest a current rating more like 1.5A. It would rarely draw over 1A at 6V, but under heavy load, it's possible. 1A would be fine at 8V. That (Combined with the fact that you wouldn't have to modify anything) is what makes the MX-LMount combined with a some sort of dummy adapter a better solution, in my opinion.

See what you saying about current. Could using 2 of the '4 cell' units in the MX8 sled work? (2 holes instead of 1 aside)

The dummy adapters in the links are quite low profile, so maybe they'll still fit into the front/back silhouette and not angle the machine awkwardly.   https://www.sounddevices.com/products/accessories/power-accessories/mx-lmount

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I don't have a horse in this race at all, and if it works for you then that's great, but I have a good feeling that if the manufacturer stickers were swapped on a MixPre and an F4, people would be singing the virtues of the Sound Devices F4 while lambasting the Zoom MixPre6.

It may be possible and there is nothing wrong with it per se. People have a preference for a company, because they have had good experiences with that company and have built something of a trust relationship and will probably always prefer that company's products.
But to be honest, I don't understand why you and that other guy, Coolwing or whatever, are even going on about this. Nobody on this group ever dismissed the Zoom F4/8, because of its manufacturer, or for any other reason. In fact, most here have spoken quite favorably about the F-range and certainly no one called it "cheap chinese garbage" as that other guy would have you believe. Here, everyone knows that Zoom is a Japanese company.
But in the end I suspect that you do have a horse in this race.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, Mobilemike said:

Nevertheless that wouldn't even be an issue for me if there were a way to simply and compactly power it from another source while connected to a computer.

I'm often disappointed that manufacturers don't design things exactly like I want, but in this case it sounds like a bit of useless whining to me (sorry, no personal insult intended)

If you really need that feature, it's really simple to add the NP-F sled and hook up an NP-F dummy connected to a 8V power supply. If you don't want to spend extra money on the NP-F, modify the battery sled and hook up a 5EUR power supply through that. Or wait two months because I'm pretty sure by then somebody will sell something like that (possibly even SD).

You might argue that they should have included a dedicated DC input, but with devices that small PCB space is usually critical and it could well be that the unit ends up 3mm bigger for a feature that 95% of the users never need, so personally I'm glad they skipped it.

On 30.5.2017 at 10:04 AM, Throwback said:

I have tried this and it works to some extent in that the ISOs can be armed as Paul says (of course, you also need to set the gain option to basic in the custom setup). The channel knobs then give a 'gain' range of -14-96db, which is, of course, how they function in basic mode (where there is no separation of gain/trim from fader levels): they do not adopt the range of gain/trim in advanced mode (6-76db). You also have the limitations of basic mode for channel settings: i.e. you cannot link channels, pan is only L R or C, and low cut is on or off (rather than with settings for 40, 80, 120 and 160hz). Hope that helps.

Hi Roland,

thanks for checking back and explaining. So it looks like there are options to make this work somehow. Sounds a bit puzzling to me that the range is -14 to 96db, seems to indicate that there's some digital gain going on as well (or what does the -14db gain mean?)

Paul,

considering that on other forums the same confusion comes up, personally I think the cleanest way to address this would be to add a menu function in advanced mode "swap trim and fader buttons", so that trim is on the front pots and fader on the rotary encoder. or another mode that could be eally nice "trim on rotate-front pots, and fader on press-and-rotate front pots".

so much for useless whining from my side ; )

chris

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Constantin said:


It may be possible and there is nothing wrong with it per se. People have a preference for a company, because they have had good experiences with that company and have built something of a trust relationship and will probably always prefer that company's products.
But to be honest, I don't understand why you and that other guy, Coolwing or whatever, are even going on about this. Nobody on this group ever dismissed the Zoom F4/8, because of its manufacturer, or for any other reason. In fact, most here have spoken quite favorably about the F-range and certainly no one called it "cheap chinese garbage" as that other guy would have you believe. Here, everyone knows that Zoom is a Japanese company.
But in the end I suspect that you do have a horse in this race.

I've read many bits where people have said that the Zoom is not a professional machine, it's a race to the bottom, rates are going to plummet, etc.  Again, if the MixPre works for your setup, that's great. However I see very few uses for it in our line of work due to it's lack of outputs, power, and interesting timecode solution, so it's mostly surprise at the reaction that led me to post.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

FWIW,  I saw and played a bit w the Mix3 & 6 today. Very cool units. I like what they do for different purposes in our world. My only issue is powering. Seems limited. Tempted to buy. Definitely want to try it as a ProTools interface too.  Thanks to all who posted the good info.

CrewC

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I've read many bits where people have said that the Zoom is not a professional machine, it's a race to the bottom, rates are going to plummet, etc.  Again, if the MixPre works for your setup, that's great. However I see very few uses for it in our line of work due to it's lack of outputs, power, and interesting timecode solution, so it's mostly surprise at the reaction that led me to post.

Well, I am not going to buy either machine, but the race to the bottom is another issue, and it came up exactly because the F8 is such a good machine at such a low price. Of course, people were doubtful at first, as the F8 comes from a company without a good rep (so far). But you can read the long F8 thread here for yourself and you may find that most posters were very curious and interested in this recorder.
Sound Devices on the other hand is a well respected manufacturer in our line of work, and I can assure you that whatever they will release will create a lot of interest here. Not everyone who is posting here, is going to buy one, though, and of those who do not everyone will use it as a location sound recorder.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote

Sounds a bit puzzling to me that the range is -14 to 96db, seems to indicate that there's some digital gain going on as well (or what does the -14db gain mean?)

I don't see why this implies digital gain at all, but, rather, a combination of trim/gain and fader in one control: the advanced mode gain range is 6db-76db, so -14-96db is this plus or minus 20db of fader gain/attenuation.

A block diagram would be useful for understanding the Mixpre-3/6 gain stages, but the proof of the pudding is in the eating: setting up my lowest noise mic (4dB-A and 35mV sensitivity) with 76db gain in advanced mode, I have just compared this to 76db gain using the channel knob in the custom mode under discussion (i.e. both recording to ISOs) and there is no discernible difference.

Following on from this, I then tested advanced mode with the same mic at full (76db) gain vs 56db gain plus 20db fader: as expected from the above, there was no discernible difference.

Which is all very good news. Hopefully others will find the same.

So, I'm still very impressed by the Mixpre-3: once the MS (and 1-2) linking pan-related bug (of this model only) is resolved - hopefully very soon - I'll be a very happy bunny!

Cheers,

Roland

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
33 minutes ago, Throwback said:

A block diagram would be useful for understanding the Mixpre-3/6 gain stages, but the proof of the pudding is in the eating  [...] as expected from the above, there was no discernible difference.

perfect, that was exactly what I was thinking about in my previous post (even if somewhat poorly phrased). I agree a block diagram would be useful too.

thanks for testing and glad it will fit my workflow as well (I still think the interface suggestions I made above are worth considering though : )

chris

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...