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Field Mixer Recommendations

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Greg Mattison
Field Mixer Recommendations
on Sep 4, 2008 at 3:25:19 pm

Hi All,
My first post after lurking around the Cow for some time... Much thanks for all I have already learned.
We were looking to acquire a decent field mixer. The Shure FP410 would have been nice for us but alas it is discontinued and there is no equivalent replacement from Shure (we need more than 3 channels). We looked at the Sony DMX-P01 which seems really cool, but I fear that the digital mixer controls may be beyond the skill set of the audio students we typically have engineering shoots. Azden products have been suggested by sales reps but my gut feeling is that as someone who actually cares about audio I would be disappointed with the quality.

Our priorities are:
1- [4 to 6] x 2 channel mixer with good quiet electronics
2- reasonable battery life
3- phantom power

less important but useful would be
4- some dynamics control (compression/limiting)
5- intelligent mic ducking AGC like the FP410

I'd prefer hardware controls and analog VU if possible.

We'd be using this mixer with a combination of Lecrtosonic UCR100 and UMR400 and most likely Countryman B6 Lavs.

Additionally if anyone can speak to the practical performance difference between the UCR100 vs. the UCR401 I'm trying to justify the additional expense of the digital hybrid. Perhaps more important come Feb. 2009?

Much thanks for any input.

Greg Mattison
Kaizen Productions LLC &
Media Technician, William Paterson University


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Ty Ford
Re: Field Mixer Recommendations
on Sep 4, 2008 at 8:07:55 pm

Hello Greg and welcome to the Cow Audio Forum,

The Sound Devices 442 (I've owned one for 3 years) is a 4x2 mixer with great preamps, limiters on the inputs and outputs and many other nice features. You can even gang a Sound Devices 302 3x2 mixer to it for 7 inputs.

Regards,

Ty Ford




Want better production audio?: Ty Ford's Audio Bootcamp Field Guide






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David Jones
Re: Field Mixer Recommendations
on Sep 4, 2008 at 8:31:13 pm

Hi Greg

I agree with Ty on the Sound Devices 422. You won't find a better, more rugged mixer.

As to the Lectrosonics: it depends on what you're using them for. If it's just for in-class/video/audio non-broadcast type projects, then you'll probably be fine with the 100's. I use the 411a's which are almost the same as the 401's, and they sound hard wired!

As another sound mixer put it (somewhere on another forum), with everything going HD/digital, including consumer TV's, it's time to step up the audio as well; people will expect the sound to be as clear as the picture and digital is the only way to go anymore.

As far as Feb. 2009, just don't get freq. blocks 27, 28, or 29 and you'll be fine :o)


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Rodney Morris
Re: Field Mixer Recommendations
on Sep 5, 2008 at 12:33:23 am

Welcome Greg,

I've been using the Sound Devices 442 since late 2001 (I got one of the first models) and I can tell you, if you don't mind the price, you'll LOVE this mixer. You won't find better/quieter preamps on any currently available field mixer in this price range. The limiters work so well that you rarely notice them unless you're absolutely hammering them. Continuously variable rolloff, the ability to meter either peak, average or a combination of the two (Durrough digital meter style), the plethora of outputs. It's a great mixer.

It is pricey ($2400), but you feel like you are getting what you are paying for. It's robustness will be especially useful considering the intended users (students).

If price is absolutely a problem, consider the PSC AlphaMix. It offers good value for the money, and can be powered internally by an NP1 style battery for very long battery life. However, my experience with the PSC mixers has not been positive. Too many quality/reliability issues as far as I'm concerned.

Hope this helps.

Rodney

Freelance Sound Technician/Mixer


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Greg Mattison
Re: Field Mixer Recommendations
on Sep 5, 2008 at 7:58:05 pm

Much Thanks Gentlemen,
I was looking at the 422, nice to hear positive feedback.

Wouldn't you know our 2 100 packs are in block 28. Apparently that was a gem of information we could have used a year ago.

This new development prompted a call to Lectrosonics. According to them they can re-channel Transmitters for about $300 but it is illegal for them to re-channel receivers. (Certainly is commercially advantageous)

The extra $700 for the UM400s just got a little easier to justify... Unfortunately now I need 4. Ouch. Think we'll wait and see what kind of trouble we get into with the 1st 2.

Anyone interested in some gently used UCR100's? ;)



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ian tarasoff
Re: Field Mixer Recommendations
on Sep 19, 2008 at 1:34:53 pm

Hi there!
Just wondering what the issue with block 27 was for the Lectrosonic 100 series...
Thx in advance



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