Hands-on with new Sound Devices MixPre series – NAB 2017

We took a look at the new Sound Devices MixPre series MixPre-3 and MixPre-6 multi-function audio devices on the show floor at NAB in Las Vegas.  The MixPre series give you a mixer, a recorder, and a computer audio interface, all in one rugged box that will fit under your camera.  It comes in two versions; a three-channel one for $649 or a six-channel one for $899.

Sound Devices MixPre
The MIxPre-3 features physical pots, a touchscreen interface and the option of Bluetooth control via an app.

Sound Devices: industry standard devices for sound

These are extraordinary value for the money. Sound Devices produce the industry standard audio equipment used throughout film and television and their audio quality is superb.  The new MixPre series have what they call Kashmir preamps in them and despite the relatively low price points compared to the rest of the Sound Devices line, give the headroom, noise floor, and limiters we’re used to from the rest of the Sound Devices line.

Sound Devices Mix Pre I/O

The MixPre-3 features three XLR mic/line audio inputs, while the MixPre-6 has four XLR/TRS combo jacks to connect microphones or line-level devices. Both have a 3.5 mm auxiliary input that can be used for plug-in power mics, 2-channel line-in audio, camera return, or timecode. The recorders will record isolated tracks as well as a stereo mix.

Sound Devices MixPre
Lots of I/O options, including a USB connection that turns the box into an audio interface.

Basic or advanced?

The interface has two modes – a basic menu to prevent screw-ups while recording, or an advanced menu with full control over the myriad of things these little boxes will do. You can also set up custom menus. The advanced menu gives you ISO metering, routing, timecode, mic pre gain, stereo and Mid/Side channel linking, headphone presets and more.

Sound Devices MixPre
The MixPre features a touchscreen that’s designed to be visible outside.

Power, triggering, Bluetooth and more

They have HDMI triggering to start recording when you press record on your camera.  There are many power choices: there are battery sleds for four or eight AA batteries as well as for L-series batteries, and you can power it over USB.

The MixPre series works over bluetooth with Sound Devices’ free Wingman iPhone app and you can monitor and adjust levels and start recording from your phone.

Menus are operated through a bright, sunlight-readable touch screen. Here’s a deep dive into the menu system:

Sound Devices Mix Pre construction and availability

The MixPre series is built on an aluminum chassis and has a 1/4″-20 screw to attach it to the bottom of your DSLR to use as an audio interface.

The new Sound Devices Mix Pre models are supposed to start shipping in May.

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