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Sound Devices mixers (control surfaces)


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I bought an Icon Platform m+ (with the D2 display) for a live streaming mix job. I had 8 mics and a master level to handle - and some 2 Buses. My mixer was an 888. I rented the 888 for the job in case the controller dropped out - so that I could at least have faders on hand for all channels. But the m+ did the job well. Yes, I had Automixer running on the 888 but needed the controller to help the Automixer and to take care of the Busses and the Output-volume quickly.. The Solo buttons I found also very useful.

I needed to practice with the m+ and was lucky to have 3 days before the job to find out how the m+ "thinks" and what's the right sensitivity for the faders (you can store that). I liked the master fader on the "m+", the fast switching between channel, bus and output view and the information on the D2 display. Although I deactivated the "live display" of the fader positions as numbers in the display. This seemed to me to result in lags on the motorized faders when the controller couldn't keep up with the numbers on the display (or the other way around ?). But the display is really helpful, e.g. for the names and the EQ settings of the channels. The m+ is well thought out in combination with the Sound Devices mixer and more is possible than you initially expect. But you have to get used to that the controller actually only sends changes in values (at least that's how it seemed to me). E.g. if you switch from channel view to bus view, the L/R master fader (to be configured in the 888 menu) should actually move down a bit (0dB in the channel view is the top end of the fader, but in Bus view the top end corresponds to the +16dB gain for the L/R Bus). The fader position did not change until I briefly touched the master fader. Then the fader snapped down and showed the correct position in Bus view. Fortunately, this didn't change anything in the background. The fader then only “remembered” that it was sitting in the wrong position coming from channel view to Bus-View. I hope I do remember this correctly here - but there was something like this that confused me for a while. But in the end it made sense.

I also configured the 888 faders to "not play along" with the controller faders of the m+ while connected. This worked better for me. Once during rehearsal the m+ lost connection to the 888. Had to reconnect it and that took a few precious seconds. That had happened live, it would have been a little catastrophe. Because as long as the controller is not connected, the fader settings of the recorder 888 apply. This loss of connection shocked me a bit. I did not find out what happened. So I set all the faders on the 888 to a middle position - just in case the connection breaks during the live event. This was really the only thing that made me nervous during the job. But I would still buy the controller again. And for a next like this, I will only use my 833 and the m+.

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I've got the iCON M+ with the D2 display, and although there are more options now available than back when I bought it (which was immediately after the 833 release) I would still today make the same decision if I had to buy it all over again. 

 

The way I see it is:

 

Behringer X-TOUCH = needs a DC mod to power it, is AC only
Mackie MCU Pro = this just never ever gets talked about by the 8 Series users? I dunno why. People dislike 7.5V powering that much vs the preference for everything to be 12V? Nah, that can't be the reason. Or maybe the fact that it is over double the price of the iCON M+ & D2 combo, even though it doesn't seem to offer much more than the iCON does?? Or maybe it is because the Mackie is a little wider, a lot deeper and a lot heavier than the iCON?? 
Sonosax SX-LC8+ = I like how very nice and compact this is, but: no trim controls, no banking, and no display
Sound Devices CL-12 = no longer made, and a bit pricey on the secondhand market because demand for it is still very high 
Sound Devices CL-16 = I wish I had this, but too crazy expensive for me personally!

iCON Platform M+ (w D2 Display) = the sweet spot for me! 
iCON Platform X+ = it's basically an M+, but without the shortcut buttons on the righthand side
iCON Platform B+ = no linear faders (is curious, this is on the list of ones officially supported... but I never hear anybody talking about using it? It's just to access a heap of shortcuts I assume?)

 

So yeah, when I look through the whole list, then I'm very happy with the decision of the iCON M+ (with the D2) as the best decision for me. Perhaps if the Sonosax SX-LC8+ was just a little bit cheaper, then I might buy that too as a backup/secondary option. As I do especially like how very compact the Sonosax is compared to the iCON. 

 

There is a very strong hint that there might in the future be 8 Series support for the SL Mixface. 

https://www.studiologic-music.com/products/mixface/ 

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1443131-REG/studiologic_sl_mixface_the_sl_mixface_control.html

If that happens, then I'll definitely be getting one, just so I can have the option of a control surface with a much smaller footprint than the iCON M+

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5 minutes ago, IronFilm said:

Mackie MCU Pro = this just never ever gets talked about by the 8 Series users? I dunno why. People dislike 7.5V powering that much vs the preference for everything to be 12V? Nah, that can't be the reason. Or maybe the fact that it is over double the price of the iCON M+ & D2 combo, even though it doesn't seem to offer much more than the iCON does?? Or maybe it is because the Mackie is a little wider, a lot deeper and a lot heavier than the iCON?? 

I have one of these mothballed from back when I used to use it for a lot of post stuff.  I wouldn't recommend it for location carts as yes it is heavy and although it's fine/good in the post world, I just can't imagine it being really "worth it" in the field given the weight and size.  Frankly I should probably sell mine as it hasn't been used in a couple years.

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10 hours ago, Michael Thaele said:

I bought an Icon Platform m+ (with the D2 display) for a live streaming mix job. I had 8 mics and a master level to handle - and some 2 Buses. My mixer was an 888. I rented the 888 for the job in case the controller dropped out - so that I could at least have faders on hand for all channels. But the m+ did the job well. Yes, I had Automixer running on the 888 but needed the controller to help the Automixer and to take care of the Busses and the Output-volume quickly.. The Solo buttons I found also very useful.

I needed to practice with the m+ and was lucky to have 3 days before the job to find out how the m+ "thinks" and what's the right sensitivity for the faders (you can store that). I liked the master fader on the "m+", the fast switching between channel, bus and output view and the information on the D2 display. Although I deactivated the "live display" of the fader positions as numbers in the display. This seemed to me to result in lags on the motorized faders when the controller couldn't keep up with the numbers on the display (or the other way around ?). But the display is really helpful, e.g. for the names and the EQ settings of the channels. The m+ is well thought out in combination with the Sound Devices mixer and more is possible than you initially expect. But you have to get used to that the controller actually only sends changes in values (at least that's how it seemed to me). E.g. if you switch from channel view to bus view, the L/R master fader (to be configured in the 888 menu) should actually move down a bit (0dB in the channel view is the top end of the fader, but in Bus view the top end corresponds to the +16dB gain for the L/R Bus). The fader position did not change until I briefly touched the master fader. Then the fader snapped down and showed the correct position in Bus view. Fortunately, this didn't change anything in the background. The fader then only “remembered” that it was sitting in the wrong position coming from channel view to Bus-View. I hope I do remember this correctly here - but there was something like this that confused me for a while. But in the end it made sense.

I also configured the 888 faders to "not play along" with the controller faders of the m+ while connected. This worked better for me. Once during rehearsal the m+ lost connection to the 888. Had to reconnect it and that took a few precious seconds. That had happened live, it would have been a little catastrophe. Because as long as the controller is not connected, the fader settings of the recorder 888 apply. This loss of connection shocked me a bit. I did not find out what happened. So I set all the faders on the 888 to a middle position - just in case the connection breaks during the live event. This was really the only thing that made me nervous during the job. But I would still buy the controller again. And for a next like this, I will only use my 833 and the m+.

Are the right side buttons helpful?

I mean I have no real need for transport buttons but they might be configurable or there might be other buttons which are helpful.

My cart is a bit too small for a m+, so the x+ might be a better choice in term of space if the right side buttons don't provide more than just transport.

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1 hour ago, renaud82 said:

Are the right side buttons helpful?

I think they are. But it wouldn't be the end of the world if I had to use the X+ instead of the M+ if I was super super ultra tight for space. 

1 hour ago, renaud82 said:

My cart is a bit too small for a m+, so the x+ might be a better choice in terms of space 

Keep a close eye out for news of support for the StudioLogic Mixface! Fingers crossed this happens. 

As that's even smaller than the X+

iCON X+ = 335(L) x 196(W) x 58(H)mm

StudioLogic Mixface = 26.2 x 13.0 x 3.6 cm

 

Someone posted on Facebook a pic of the Mixface in use with their Sound Devices recorder, so hopefully we should maybe see the official announcement soon-ish in the new year:

May be an image of text that says 'studiologic SLIMIXFACE Master I|1'

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4 hours ago, IronFilm said:

I think they are. But it wouldn't be the end of the world if I had to use the X+ instead of the M+ if I was super super ultra tight for space. 

Keep a close eye out for news of support for the StudioLogic Mixface! Fingers crossed this happens. 

As that's even smaller than the X+

iCON X+ = 335(L) x 196(W) x 58(H)mm

StudioLogic Mixface = 26.2 x 13.0 x 3.6 cm

 

Someone posted on Facebook a pic of the Mixface in use with their Sound Devices recorder, so hopefully we should maybe see the official announcement soon-ish in the new year:

May be an image of text that says 'studiologic SLIMIXFACE Master I|1'

The owner says it just works without SD’s firmware.

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9 hours ago, renaud82 said:

Are the right side buttons helpful?

I mean I have no real need for transport buttons but they might be configurable or there might be other buttons which are helpful.

My cart is a bit too small for a m+, so the x+ might be a better choice in term of space if the right side buttons don't provide more than just transport.

There's a lot more hidden than transport controls. The "Mixer", "Read", "Write" buttons are used to switch between channel, bus and output views. This also changes the view on the Sound Devices display. For example, if you click the "Write" knob, the bus view is shown and you can then edit a specific bus by clicking "Sel" next to a fader button. This is how you get through the Sound Devices menus very quickly. The "Return" key calls up the normal menu on the Sound Devices. There you can use the jog wheel to go up and down and select things (has a click). It behaves like the headphone knob from the Sound Devices. Also for the headphone volume in all other menus and the normal recording screen. I used the jog wheel for volume very much and also the "Mixer", "Read", "Write" buttons. "Stop" takes you from anywhere back to the recording screen and it also shows the name of the next take. You really don't have to use the sound devices knobs so much anymore. I can't remember which button was to switch to enhanced channels 9-16. But one of the "Trans" or "Chan" and "Bank Flip" was it. Also very useful. And then of course there is the master fader. That was the main reason for me to go for the "m+". The display also makes a big difference. This allows you to use all gain buttons above the faders for specific settings in the channel view. If you select a channel you will see all the selected options for this channel in the display and you can edit the most important things with the gain knobs 1-5 (you see "Chan Source, Delay mS, Limiter, HPF Frequ"). And with the gain knobs 6-8 you can edit/ activate the EQ values for this channel. You have to learn that, but it's definitely better than on the mixer itself. Another thing to learn - the Icons fader behavior: the LED light under the channel number needs to be lid if you move the fader around. Without it lighting up, the fader goes back to the position where you started. You have to have your fingers on the faders from above so that the LED comes on. Pushing a fader from below with just the finger tip does not work. The fader doesn't notice that something is happening to him and will refuse to stay where you want it. Is irritating/ annoying. But after adjusting the sensitivity and fader speed I find it ok.

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