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Old 01-13-2019, 11:57 PM   #1
gorillaonabike
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Sound kit: Is there any point in...

So I've been using a Mix Pre-D with fantastic results. Due to it's analogue limiters, it has saved me more on lots of different occasions and for field work, it's small, tougher than my ex-wife's divorce lawyer and allows me to get quality audio for interviews in difficult situations.

It has allowed me to take audio directly into a camera and strangely enough, as a lighting camera op, this has been critical. When shooting for a studio with a C-stand mounted Mkh 416, I've been in a position to get good interview sound.

I also have a portable recorder which is a Zoom H4N which has saved my butt on a couple of occasions. For some reason, I have had some recording issues because my on-camera recorder (Odyssey 7Q+) malfunctioned when recording sound.

Now, I want a four-track (even six track), portable recorder and am looking at a Zoom F4. The four tracks are 'just in case' because I primarily shoot interviews and the occasional boomed in bit of narrative. However, I would like the additional option.

Would you hook up the Mix Pre-D to an F4N? Are there any issues with this? I can see only positives because it would save a little battery life on the F4N when using phantom and the analogue anti-clipping devices on the SD are waaayy better than the digital anti-clipping tech on the F4N (cheap and nasty). Also, the SD could take more of the pre-amp heavy lifting meaning less emphasis on the F4N's pres which aren't as good.

In addition, if I ever am in a situation where I suddenly have to mic up 4 - 6 interviewers, I have the flexibility.

What do you think?
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Old 01-14-2019, 09:34 AM   #2
AcousticAl
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Have you considered the MixPre-6? It costs a little more, but it’s worth it.

The F4 isn’t terrible, but Sound Devices has them beat on overall sound quality. While the Zoom offers hybrid limiters, the MixPre-6 has Sound Devices’ “unclippable” analog limiters. The pre-amps are better, too, as is the headphone amp.

Heck... you could sell your MixPre-D and pay off well over half the MixPre-6.
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Old 01-15-2019, 10:18 AM   #3
gorillaonabike
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Originally Posted by AcousticAl View Post
Have you considered the MixPre-6? It costs a little more, but it’s worth it.

The F4 isn’t terrible, but Sound Devices has them beat on overall sound quality. While the Zoom offers hybrid limiters, the MixPre-6 has Sound Devices’ “unclippable” analog limiters. The pre-amps are better, too, as is the headphone amp.

Heck... you could sell your MixPre-D and pay off well over half the MixPre-6.
My thought process in getting to the F4N is:

If I buy used, and literally 'perfect' condition, it is maybe 40% of the price. And I have more versatility because the F4 can then be a backup.

If I use the analogue limiters on the Mix Pre-D with the low cuts, I can feed it straight into the camera and get fantastic sound. I can then split the signal and push it into the F4N which means the F4N's biggest limitation (the digital pres) are negated. So I can have my cake and eat it.

And on the one day per year when I need to use six inputs (literally happens once every couple of years for me), I can bite the bullet. It's not a biggie unless one of those interviewees decides to start shouting...

And at the moment, I need every penny I can get for my marketing campaigns.

So on balance, unless I'm being completely crazy, I'd go with the F4N unless there's an issue combining it with a Mix Pre-D. Sure, I'd prefer to just buy the Mix Pre-6 outright and add it to the stable of stuff I have but I don't need it.
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Old 01-18-2019, 06:41 PM   #4
Sweetie
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Quote:
Have you considered the MixPre-6?
+1 for MixPre-6.

SD devices are built like a truck. Zoom devices are made of crayons. Think long term. Think of the money you'll save in breakages.

Also, an extra device in the chain is an extra point of potential failure.

Also consider the MixPre-10T... It may be overkill now, but thinking a couple steps ahead may save you extra purchases in the future.
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Old 01-18-2019, 07:32 PM   #5
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There are a few Tascam products you should be looking at as well.

DR-60
DR-70
DR-680

Last edited by Alcove Audio; 01-18-2019 at 07:35 PM.
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Old 01-18-2019, 08:46 PM   #6
AcousticAl
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sweetie View Post
+1 for MixPre-6.

SD devices are built like a truck. Zoom devices are made of crayons. Think long term. Think of the money you'll save in breakages.

Also, an extra device in the chain is an extra point of potential failure.

Also consider the MixPre-10T... It may be overkill now, but thinking a couple steps ahead may save you extra purchases in the future.
This.

Exactly why I suggested selling the MixPre-D and getting one of these.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alcove Audio View Post
There are a few Tascam products you should be looking at as well.

DR-60
DR-70
DR-680
I’d thought about those, but honestly - at least with the DR-60DmkII and the DR-70D - the pre-amp quality is moving backwards.

The DR-680mkII is a fine machine, great for sound design and all that. But its construction isn’t the most rugged/durable, and the SD pre-amps beat it hands down.
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Old 01-21-2019, 08:12 AM   #7
gorillaonabike
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sweetie View Post
+1 for MixPre-6.

SD devices are built like a truck. Zoom devices are made of crayons. Think long term. Think of the money you'll save in breakages.

Also, an extra device in the chain is an extra point of potential failure.

Also consider the MixPre-10T... It may be overkill now, but thinking a couple steps ahead may save you extra purchases in the future.
Zooms are tough. I've beaten up my Zooms, Tascams etc... and a Fostex. The Fostex died, two Tascams died but my Zoom (and SD) are still going strong. They're much tougher than the Fostex and Tascam and have been around Europe with me getting a hammering. Off to Rome, next with a little Zoom, SD (and Canon C500 etc...). I'd like to keep the

An extra point of failure's a good point and one which I'm considering carefully.

A 10T would be outstanding for all future needs. But I don't need it, now. And that extra money will go into my marketing campaign which I do need right now.
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Old 04-03-2019, 06:41 PM   #8
IronFilm
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Originally Posted by gorillaonabike View Post
Now, I want a four-track (even six track), portable recorder and am looking at a Zoom F4. The four tracks are 'just in case' because I primarily shoot interviews and the occasional boomed in bit of narrative. However, I would like the additional option.

Would you hook up the Mix Pre-D to an F4N? Are there any issues with this? I can see only positives because it would save a little battery life on the F4N when using phantom and the analogue anti-clipping devices on the SD are waaayy better than the digital anti-clipping tech on the F4N (cheap and nasty). Also, the SD could take more of the pre-amp heavy lifting meaning less emphasis on the F4N's pres which aren't as good.

In addition, if I ever am in a situation where I suddenly have to mic up 4 - 6 interviewers, I have the flexibility.

What do you think?
a) the "Zoom F4N" doesn't exist. Just say "F4"

b) the Zoom F series has very very good limiters, I'd never ever call them "cheap and nasty". (and I say this as someone who owns a F4 and F8n, and has done five feature films with them, and dozens and dozens of short films / web series / tv shows / corporate / commercial / docos / etc with them)
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