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To MixPre or to MixPre D?

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Neil Christian
To MixPre or to MixPre D?
on Oct 27, 2016 at 1:43:30 pm

Hi, I am looking for some advice. I’m trying to step up my little sound recording kit. I’m looking at one of the little Sound Devices mixers, the MixPre-D. I can run my two lines into this bit of kit, take advantage of the pre-amps and then bring it out to my Marantz PMD661, but the MixPre-D also has an analogue to digital converter and digital out so I’m thinking I can let it do everything and just use my old Marantz brick as a recorder as it has a digital in.

But now the older model, a MixPre, has come up cheap and it’s got me thinking. Using just the Sound Devices hardware is naturally the best option however I would save quite a bit of cash buying the older MixPre. This though has no digital converter so it’ll be a line out to my Marantz.

My question is do I really need the digital out. I know with audio you can end up chasing ghosts. So I thought I’d come here and ask someone who knows through experience and not through paper how much difference you could really hear if you skip out the Marantz amp and digital conversion at that point in the process and is it really worth spending twice the money on?


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Bruce Watson
Re: To MixPre or to MixPre D?
on Oct 27, 2016 at 7:13:18 pm
Last Edited By Bruce Watson on Oct 27, 2016 at 7:14:47 pm

Well, you can do this I suppose. The MixPre-D can output AES3, while the PMD661 accepts S/PDIF. These aren't the same electrically, but the bit streams reportedly are the same. There's an old Gearslutz thread about this:

https://www.gearslutz.com/board/remote-possibilities-acoustic-music-locatio...

Personally, I'd love a fully digital recorder that I could use as a bit-bucket without having to buy all the analog circuits and controls that I wouldn't use. But... if that's on the market, I've never seen it. Why won't somebody make a dumb old digital only recorder? IDK.

I've got a MixPre-D, but I've never used the AES3 capability because of this lack of a bit-bucket. I just go line-out to the recorder and let the recorder do the ADC. Not fighting the intended use of these devices has its own advantages -- they are known to work well this way. ?

That said, picking between the MixPre and the MixPre-D on the used market, I would still opt for the MixPre-D. Not because it sounds better (it might, IDK) but because it's more flexible and easier to use (easier to set up the limiters, better meters, has an additional unbalanced mic level output ideal for feeding camcorders, etc.).


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Neil Christian
Re: To MixPre or to MixPre D?
on Oct 28, 2016 at 1:28:53 am

Yes I've come across a few threads about the MixPre D and the Marantz now. There's a chap who makes up the cables, I think he's US side of the pond, I found another I think here in the UK too. The MixPre D is going to be between 2 or 3 times the money of the MixPre for me though. I'll have a closer look at the features but I've yet to hear anything for my use that'll sway me towards the MixPre D if I can get similar audio performance and reliability out of the older model.


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Bruce Watson
Re: To MixPre or to MixPre D?
on Oct 27, 2016 at 8:08:25 pm

[Neil Christian] "and just use my old Marantz brick as a recorder as it has a digital in."

A participant over at Taperssection is, or was, doing exactly what you propose:

http://taperssection.com/index.php?topic=174429.0;topicseen

I only post the URL to the thread over at Taperssection because the body of the thread contains hints about how/where to obtain an AES3 -> S/PDIF cable that is known to work between the MixPre-D and the Marantz 661.

That said, I've never done this myself. But I'm thinking about it now... ;-)


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Neil Christian
Re: To MixPre or to MixPre D?
on Oct 28, 2016 at 1:31:14 am

Thanks for the link I've not checked this one out yet, I'll have a look. Dose seem to be a good budget way to get a little SD 2 channel mixer and recorder together.


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Al Bergstein
Re: To MixPre or to MixPre D?
on Oct 28, 2016 at 3:22:27 pm

I've owned both the Mixpre and the D. I also have the Marantz (the best sounding recorder under $1000 that I've tried). I have not tried using the digital out to the Marantz though. When I use it, I go directly in to my Mac and record to Adobe Audition.

If price is the issue, getting the Mixpre is a good decision. If you want the greatest flexibility, the save up for the D. Heck, if you want, I'll sell you mine. I don't use it much anymore.

Al


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Neil Christian
Re: To MixPre or to MixPre D?
on Oct 30, 2016 at 11:44:06 am

Thanks offer the offer Al, I think we are on different sides of the Atlantic though. I went ahead with the MixPre and managed to pick it up for £450, not as cheap as I hoped but still more than half what the newer one is. I'll see how I do and if I really run into limitations I'll just have to save up for the MixPre-D. Thanks for all the advice guys.


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