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Marantz vs MixPreD vs directly in HPX

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Duane Cabot
Marantz vs MixPreD vs directly in HPX
on Feb 2, 2013 at 4:29:17 pm

Hi,

First of all, English is not my first language..so bare with me.

I was wondering if I could get better sound than running my mics directly into my camcorder(s).
Here is what I use

Mics:
-Rode NTG3
-Audix SCX1/HC
-Sennheiser G3 wireless with ME2 and VT500

Cams:
-HPX250 and HPX170
-GH2 (GH3 soon)

As for now, if I were to shot a multi cam interview I would run the mic(s) in my HPX170 or 250 and have my GH2 for second cam.

I work almost always alone so I have to keep it as simple as I can. But I also want some clean sound too.

I find that my NTG3 into my HPX250 produce quite some noise. Would it be better running the mic through a MixpreD and output line level to the camcorder?
What about the Marantz PMD 661?

Here's another thing though, lately I am using more my GH2 than my other camcorders (mostly for corporate stuff and advertising)...would it be a good thing to run the mics in the MixpreD and out directly into the GH2 (GH3 soon)???

I have multiple set ups so I need a solution that will apply to most of them. And I want something durable...at least for 5-10 years.

Thanks!

Duane


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Douglas Bischoff
Re: Marantz vs MixPreD vs directly in HPX
on Feb 4, 2013 at 5:31:43 pm

Hi, Duane!

It's important to understand that the MixPreD and the PMD-661 are primarily made for different purposes. The MixPreD is a mixer, and the 661 is a recorder. While you can mix on the 661 and send a signal out of it, that's not what it's made for and it is not as good at it as the MixPreD.

I've owned and used both of these pieces of gear, and both are very good at what they do. My opinion is that the MixPreD is probably your better bet, and here's why:

  • The MixPreD is built like a tank and will last for years. The 661, while built well, is not quite as rugged, and the connectors for output are not nearly as robust as the MixPreD's.

  • The MixPreD has analog out (balance and unbalanced, great for DSLRs or xlr-equipped camcorders) AND AES/EBU digital out (great for digital recorders and cameras like the RED) which gives you lots more output flexibility

  • I believe Sounddevices' preamps are cleaner than Marantz's, though both are quite good.


  • Hope that helps!

    Douglas Bischoff
    http://www.ceridwenproductions.com


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    Duane Cabot
    Re: Marantz vs MixPreD vs directly in HPX
    on Feb 4, 2013 at 9:44:56 pm

    Thank you for your response,

    Yes I know that a mixer and a recorder are not the same thing.
    But if the marantz has better sound quality than what my camcorder records, I think I would be better with this option...because then I could use it with my GH2 as well.

    Do you think that I would get good sound with the mixpreD going directly in the GH2?
    The thing is that I don't want to buy a mixer and a recorder...too much stuff for a one man crew (myself). But I also want good sound.
    There's also the Fostex DC-R302, it's a mixer and a recorder...waht you think about that?


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    Douglas Bischoff
    Re: Marantz vs MixPreD vs directly in HPX
    on Feb 4, 2013 at 9:56:10 pm

    Hi again Duane!

    If you are cool with the post-production side of doing a separate audio workflow then yes: the 661 is probably the best thing in its price range. I would point out that the MixPreD can output unbalanced stereo to a DSLR (and, I believe, the GH2 though I personally have not done it with that model) at line level which helps overcome the sound issues that DSLRs/cameras have.

    I haven't used the Fostex: it does look pretty good, though! If you are going to sync audio in post, then that may be the way to go (though it's more expensive than the PMD-661, it also has more channels).

    Douglas Bischoff
    http://www.ceridwenproductions.com


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    Brian Keairns
    Re: Marantz vs MixPreD vs directly in HPX
    on Feb 26, 2013 at 3:56:53 pm

    Duane,

    I have a couple of GH3's and the Marantz PMD 661 that I use with a Rode NTG3 and the Audio-Technica AT4053b. I'm also often a one man band and I find this setup works well.

    The Marantz has better pre-amps than other recorders in it's price range and it's simple and reliable to operate. The GH3's have surprisingly good sound quality themselves so even though I almost always use the track from the recorder the dual audio setup usually gives me a viable backup track if needed.

    I haven't used the MixPreD but I think you could get great results with the Marantz PMD 661.

    -Brian


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    Duane Cabot
    Re: Marantz vs MixPreD vs directly in HPX
    on Feb 26, 2013 at 4:01:52 pm

    Thank you very much Brian!


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    Al Bergstein
    Re: Marantz vs MixPreD vs directly in HPX
    on Mar 1, 2013 at 3:12:16 pm

    I own a 5Dmkiii, a mixpre-d and a Marantz. PMD-661. I am usually a one man band. I use all three in many occasions, but not always. Just the other day, I shot a community meeting, and used the PMD to take high quality sound "off the mixing board". I shot the meeting with the 5D and the mixpre-d, partially so I could do interviews if needed. So having the Marantz is worth the purchase for getting that professional sounding mix that will set your work apart, and you can set it up, turn it on, and forget it. But don't use it to feed the camera, just to have the backup sound. I throw them all on the timeline and can easily find the sync points without using PluralEyes, which I sometimes do use.

    The Mixpre-d is not absolutely necessary, as the 5D and the GH3 both have very good sound in, with very little hiss. (the hiss is more a function of the mic than the preamps on these two cameras. But your HPX might be a different bag, as I have owned an HMC150 and now own a xf305 and 105. These camcorders usually have more hiss in their preamps than I'd like, and yes, running any mic through the Mixpre-d into the line in will give you a much cleaner signal. It's sort of silly that a still camera like the 5D would have cleaner sound from the mic input than the xlr based camcorders. I sometimes wonder what these engineers are thinking.

    Al


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    Duane Cabot
    Re: Marantz vs MixPreD vs directly in HPX
    on Sep 19, 2013 at 7:01:46 pm

    I just received my MixPreD. Done some tests with a Audix SCX1/HC. I must say that I'm a little disappointed regarding the preamps. I did a test with my Audix directly in to my HPX250 and a second test going through the MixPreD and in (line) my HPX250.I don't ear any difference. The preamps seems to be quite equal. I monitored my test with a pair of M-Audio BS5a speakers...not the best but quite good for this test. I really don't ear any difference. In fact, the test was equal between the two when I engaged the HighPassFilter (because of a pc fan noise in the background) on mixPre-D. With no HPF, the sound was better running directly in the HPX250. Now for the good part...The sound coming from the headphone jack on the MixPre-D is WAY better than the one on my HPX. The led meter is awesome. Also, the limiters work great, a lot better than the HPX. But I really thought I would end up with better sound (floor noise wise) with the SD MixPre-D. Hum...


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