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Web ID: SDMIXPRE3 Web ID: {{productData.selectedItem.SKU}}
Sound Devices MixPre-3
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Ratings and Reviews
Pro Gear Like This Makes Life Easier
This is not a conventional review. There are lots of good reviews on the Mix Pre 3. This is a more subjective and selective look at my thoughts on how the Mix Pre 3 works for me and the type of work that I do. Primarily I do event video, specifically I record live theatre, concerts and dance recitals. I picked up this unit very recently and although I haven’t had it very long, I’ve formed a very positive opinion of this device. I’m going to talk about the audio performance, the operation and the power options. All the reviews that I watched and read raved about the audio performance, to tell you the truth, this was not a key factor in my purchase. I never noticed the difference between the performance between the other audio recorders I’ve owned. This is the first time, I can say that I can clearly hear the difference. This does sound a lot cleaner and more detailed than anything I’ve used before. This audio performance has an unexpected benefit. When I first got it and recorded some of my own voice, I recorded it much too low. When I opened it up in Adobe Audition, and looked at it, I thought that I’d have to record it again. Just for a laugh, I amplified it. It sounded great. Normally, if you record something too low and then have to amplify it, it gets noisy, not in this case. If you accidentally record something too low, your going to be fine. If you record something to hot, the analogue limiters will save you. For me, this is great. I put my mic on the stage and I set my levels and I can relax. Often, I get an audio level from a before show rehearsal, then during the show they bump the levels up. At a dance recital, the sample level I get before the show starts is not representative of the levels in the show. I’m not saying that you don’t need to take care setting the levels with this device, I’m saying that you have more latitude for error with this unit. I recorded a play this week with this unit. The audio dynamics for something like this are incredible. This unit handled it beautifully. The applause usually results in clipping, if you have the levels set right for the dialogue. Some clipping in the applause, is not a problem but there was none at all. The audio performance on this unit is outstanding and it will make you life easier. Operation of this unit, is unlike anything I’ve every used. It takes a bit to get used to it. The primary way that you control most of the settings is by the touch screen. Although the touch screen is small, they have done a great job of thinking this trough. By pushing the level knobs you access channel options. The headphone level knob is also a menu selector and by pushing it in you can confirm a selection. It is really unique. But after a few minutes, I got the hang of it. I would have preferred traditional buttons and switches, but that would have made the unit much bigger. I love the fact that you only have to press record only once. I like that by pressing the “Basic Mode” I get a single stereo file. If you record in Advanced Mode you will get a single file with each track plus your mix tracks. I’m happy with the way this unit operates. The power switch is actually very nice. It is small and recessed, so it won’t get turned off or on accidentally. You don’t have to press and hold as you do for other audio recorders. Some people have mentioned that it is awkward to operate with the USB C connected. I agree, but I don’t think that will be an issue for most owners. The Wingman app is an interesting addition. I didn’t think it would be valuable to me, but I was wrong. The app lets you add meta data to you files while they are recording. This could be extremely valuable for narrative and documentary filmmakers, but I don’t need this functionality. Although I can’t use this to control the levels it does allow me to see them and it allows me to start and stop recording. This is much bigger than I thought. It means that I don’t have to dodge patrons running back and forth to turn on and off the recorder during intermission. The Wingman app connects easily and the large display on my iPhone makes it easy to see the levels very precisely. I think I will use this all the time. Power. I was a little concerned when I bought this that I might have some issues because I normally use a Rode NT4 which is a stereo mic that requires phantom power. When I first tested this, I got about 1.5 hours with the 4 double A sled with Eneloop Pro batteries. I now own the sled with allows me to use Sony L series batteries. With the smallest NP 570 ‘s I got 5 hours of recording time with the Rode NT4 with phantom power on. The batteries are hot swappable so you can power the unit all day with this. I have one event that I cover that requires me to record between 6 and 8 hours in a single day. Now no problem. Let me tell you about running this unit with a USB battery. You can do it. I did it for the play and I had to record for about 3 hours. It didn’t go exactly as planned. If you want to do this be careful and take note of some of these issues. I have a very powerful USB battery. I tested it at home before the event and it worked fine, however, when I got to the venue I got a frightening prompt from the unit, something to the effect, “The USB battery has insufficient power would you like to switch to battery power.” I knew that the double AA’s would not cover the unit so I said, “no.” I was panicked. I turned the display and the LEDs down to their lowest level and turned off the Bluetooth. As was taking one last look at the unit before returning to my camera, I noticed that the USB cable had fallen out. I put it back in and got the same prompt and responded in the same way. I went back to my camera, worried. The unit functioned perfectly for over 3 hours. At the end the USB still had 4 of four battery indicator lights lit. I don’t know if the MixPre3 is giving this message in error or not but the unit worked with the USB battery. The fact that the plug fell out would concern me if I was going to use a USB battery again, but I think that is unlikely. If you are using a battery sled you don’t have to worry about the plug falling out. If you are using this a audio interface, this likely won’t be a problem. I’m really impressed with the MixPre3. Not only does it give me high quality audio, it makes it easier for me to do my job. I wish a unit like this had been available years ago.
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