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Sound Devices: Which recorder to buy for recording Sound Effects in 2018

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On 12/16/2018 at 11:12 AM, spekter said:

Looking at the overall features, the Mixpre 6 wins for me, since more inputs are always nice, and so is the option for ambisonic recording as well as smaller size/ less weight.


Zoom F8n is even nicer for ambisonic recordings, as 1) they've had support for it for much longer and MixPre support only came out this week (thus widely used with the F8, who knows what "gotchas" still lie with the MixPre ambisonics, give it a few more weeks/months before knowing for sure?) & 2) you can record a safety level of your main tracks, which is better idea than using limiters that get applied unevenly & 3) you can recorder both A and B format at once (handy if you need B format as well for very quick turn around / handover)

 

 

On 12/16/2018 at 11:12 AM, spekter said:

However, even though some statemens I've come across by Sound Devices officials seem to suggest that the "Kashmir" preamps in the new MixPre series are somewhat on par with their other series' preamps, I have a hard time believing that the sound quality of the recorders that had over 3-4 times the cost of the Mixpre 6 when they came out, can now be matched by one of their cheapest products.


Why is this surprising at all? 

Technology doesn't stand still, progress keeps on marching on. 

My low end smartphone today is both cheaper and has better performance than my flagship cellphone I was using a handful of years ago. 

 

The Sound Devices 700 series is fairly old ish by nearly 2019 standards, I doubt many of them at all will be sold brand new in 2019. 

 

 

On 12/16/2018 at 11:12 AM, spekter said:

Not to mention that the older, well established recorders are still being used by a lot of sound designers and companies (such as BOOM Library, which is sort of the stuff I'm shooting for :) ) and have been used for a very long time - but is it still worth buying one of those models instead of the MixPre?


They keep on being used because they already own those older recorders and they "do the job" just fine, the owners probably think "why spend more on something which already just works?"

This isn't unique to our business either, tonnes of other industries keep on using older machines as they see no point in replacing what isn't broken. 

That doesn't however mean that someone buying new equipment today should come to the same decision as they made nearly a decade ago. 

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5 hours ago, IronFilm said:


Zoom F8n is even nicer for ambisonic Recordings […]


Why is this surprising at all? 
Technology doesn't stand still, progress keeps on marching on. […]

 

They keep on being used because they already own those older recorders and they "do the job" just fine, the owners probably think "why spend more on something which already just works?" […]

 

I don't necessarily disagree with this sentiment; however, I also don't think that the 7 series is being replaced by the new MixPre series.

I'm sure there are a lot of more modern/ newer options and alternatives out there for people who have been in this business several years and have used one of the 7 series Recorders, so they might switch to newer models (by other brands).

But for someone like me, basically starting out and only looking at sound quality for a very specific application, it seems as if the best option still is to buy a used and proven recorder that has been used for this very specific application by a lot of people over several years; especially if those used recorders are available for the price of a MixPre 6 or 10, or F8n, which probably wouldn't be as suitable for what I want to do anyway.

 

Regarding the limiters of the 7 series, I think the point is rather that people actually like making use of them for sound effects instead of trying to avoid them.

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8 hours ago, spekter said:

Regarding the limiters of the 7 series, I think the point is rather that people actually like making use of them for sound effects instead of trying to avoid them.

 

... and on the 788 you can adjust limiter settings yourself. 

By the way, I think what Philip Perkins wrote earlier is really crucial: the quality of the preamps hasn’t changed much. 

But preamp quality is what probably matters most to you. 

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34 minutes ago, Constantin said:

 

... and on the 788 you can adjust limiter settings yourself. 

By the way, I think what Philip Perkins wrote earlier is really crucial: the quality of the preamps hasn’t changed much. 

But preamp quality is what probably matters most to you. 

 

Yes, unfortunately they didn't bring this function to the MixPre series; otherwise the MixPre 6 would probably be perfect.

From what I've read so far the "Kashmir"-preamps seem to be indeed very good (so there maybe wouldn't be that much difference to the 7 series in that regard); in fact good enough so that things can be recorded relatively quiet and boosted afterwards without creating too much noise...so usually the limiters shouldn't have to be engaged anyway.

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I think it is important to understand that SD would never compromise its reputation by putting a mic pre in one of its products that was less than great.  This has been true of them from the beginning, like before they started making recorders.  They've modified their pres over the years to suit various working styles and needs as well as suit the circuit designs, physical characteristics and even price point of the product.  So probably the sort of pre that is in 7XX and 6XX recorders might not have worked in a later MixPre for those reasons, so they came up with something new that worked well with the rest of the circuit they were designing.   I think that at this point the OP should consider doing some testing on their own, as best they can.  There ARE diffs between SD preamps, but they are subtle and take some close listening to understand.

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On 12/15/2018 at 5:31 PM, Mobilemike said:

Do you remember when it used to cost thousands of dollars for a “flat screen” TV? Now you can get a huge LED screen that looks better, lasts longer, and takes up less space for under $500. 

 

My point is that technology advances exponentially. Don’t judge new tech by old prices. Use your ears. The new Kashmir preamps won’t let you down. 

 

-Mike

Agreed!  And not to mention that the reason zaxcom, sound devices, etc are so expensive is because they aren't mass produced.  If they were selling many thousands of units, economy of scale would kick in and that is where the mixpre lives I'd estimate...

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I bought a used Mixpre-D in perfect shape for under $400, and an Apple refurbished 6th Gen iPod as a bitbucket

Using Apogee MetaCorder. 

The recordings are amazing!

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