Thread: DSMC2 + Mixpre 3 II

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  1. #1 DSMC2 + Mixpre 3 II 
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    Just thought id post here my findings to any people interested about adding a Mixpre 3 II to their red rig for some half decent sound and to not have the issues i ran into..
    I used the Mixpre 3 I on a shoot that was so last minute we couldn't organise a sound operator and was pretty happy with it. So i was even happier to see the Mixpre 3 II come out with all its improvements like internal timecode and 32bit sound recording so i purchased one.

    Design:
    It has a great profile to fit in with the reds boxy design, and mounts well on a camera with the buttons and screen all designed really efficiently for this purpose. I had a H6 and it was horrible to use in any sort of tidy manner.
    You could also use a Wooden Camera recorder slide to mount it on rails. Although its a pricy piece of metal and reasonably heavy.

    Powering Mix Pre:
    It chews AA batteries like no tomorrow. Would not recommend attempting to run it like this unless its a very basic quick interview. An all day shoot and its super painful, expect to use at least 12 lithium rechargeable's for an 8 hour day.
    Hawkwoods make a hirose adapter and you can power it from any standard v-mount. D-tap, 2 pin lemo, whatever you want to use as long as the voltage is 10-20V.
    Also take USB C power but i find the connector too scary to use professionally.

    2 channel Mix from Mixpre to red via 3.5mm cable:
    You can send a 2 channel mix from the recorder to the red if you want and you can choose the channels either pre or post fade (ch1 and ch3 etc). I have always found the internal audio of the red especially dodgy with many issues so i don't even bother, just have a scratch mic running on the body just in case and using timecode to sync in post.

    Power loop issue:
    If you power the Mixpre via the hawkwoods adapter, expect to get power loop noise (a very low hum) in the audio being recorded into the camera via the 3.5mm cable (not inside the actual Mixpre recordings). This is a common engineering issue which comes from powering camera and audio devices from the same power source then passing that sound back into the other device.

    Timecode:
    The mixpre 3 II now has internal timecode generator (unlike the old one) which is great. Apparently even when powered down it doesn't drift until after 4 hours.
    This timecode can actually be sent to the camera constantly from the recorder using a 3.5mm to red sync cable and the red accepts the timecode from the Mixpre which is great.
    I use the tentacyle sync-e boxes and the same cable for the sync-e to red works for the mix pre too. Mixpre also easy to jam from tentacyle sync using 3.5mm to 3.5mm cable.

    HDMI Trigger and timecode:
    This feature unfortunately does not currently work due to the red camera not outputting HDMI timecode or record flags.

    32bit audio:
    If you know, you know.


    Very happy with this solution as it gets out of my way as much as possible and is reliable and pretty cost effective. If i'm forced to be shooting cinema verite without a sound person i just hit record, make sure the mic's are behaving and at a sensible gain setting (even though its 32bit) and shoot away.

    Final take-away. Hire a sound operator but if you can't this might save your ass.

    Photo of a rough build using rails and wooden camera recorder slide: https://www.dropbox.com/s/obdfgubvrk...392_n.jpg?dl=0
    Last edited by Toby Wilson; 01-17-2020 at 10:38 AM.
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  2. #2  
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    thank you Toby, very insightful

    I have a v1 MixPre3 and have been considering upgrading to the MixPre3 II
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  3. #3  
    Senior Member Ryan Sauve's Avatar
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    I've got a MixPre 3 ii and coming from an H6, it's unreal awesome. I echo Toby's feelings. Some thoughts...

    1. I can get about 2.5 hours on 4 Eneloop Pros recording one track with phantom (which is most of my corporate gig needs) but also carry a fully charged Anker battery as backup.
    2. I bought a timecode cable to try to feed my Epic-W directly (don't really need a Tentacle for my work, it's overkill) but there's a 2 or 3 frame mismatch that Sound Devices was unfortunately unable to help me fix. I just sync in Premiere using the scratch track instead now.
    3. 32-bit is amazing - I just set my NTG3 (outdoor) or Audix SCX1-HC (indoor) mics on boom holders along with a Sanken COS-11d lav mic to a wireless system like the G3 and I'm good to go for most of my one-man-band shoots
    4. Backup to USB isn't as nice as dual SD (copies from SD to USB instead of recording both simultaneously) but coming from a H6, I'll take it

    I don't think I'll have to worry about another recorder for a long while now.
    Ryan Sauvé | @sauvedp
    Epic-W #7950
    Nikon Z6
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  4. #4  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ryan Sauve View Post
    I've got a MixPre 3 ii and coming from an H6, it's unreal awesome. I echo Toby's feelings. Some thoughts...

    1. I can get about 2.5 hours on 4 Eneloop Pros recording one track with phantom (which is most of my corporate gig needs) but also carry a fully charged Anker battery as backup.
    2. I bought a timecode cable to try to feed my Epic-W directly (don't really need a Tentacle for my work, it's overkill) but there's a 2 or 3 frame mismatch that Sound Devices was unfortunately unable to help me fix. I just sync in Premiere using the scratch track instead now.
    3. 32-bit is amazing - I just set my NTG3 (outdoor) or Audix SCX1-HC (indoor) mics on boom holders along with a Sanken COS-11d lav mic to a wireless system like the G3 and I'm good to go for most of my one-man-band shoots
    4. Backup to USB isn't as nice as dual SD (copies from SD to USB instead of recording both simultaneously) but coming from a H6, I'll take it

    I don't think I'll have to worry about another recorder for a long while now.
    Nice points. I didn't realise there was a frame mismatch, argh, thats a shame... Will have to go back to using two tentacle syncs i guess. Thanks for the heads up!
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  5. #5  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ryan Sauve View Post
    I've got a MixPre 3 ii and coming from an H6, it's unreal awesome. I echo Toby's feelings.

    Yes, nobody should ever buy any handheld recorder for film shoots in 2020. Not when we've had great recorders such as the Sound Devices MixPre 3 / Zoom F4 / F6 available for years now for very little money.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ryan Sauve View Post
    2. I bought a timecode cable to try to feed my Epic-W directly (don't really need a Tentacle for my work, it's overkill) but there's a 2 or 3 frame mismatch that Sound Devices was unfortunately unable to help me fix. I just sync in Premiere using the scratch track instead now.
    Is the RED 2 or 3 frames late?

    As I've had exactly this same issue with other cameras, and it is because audio is such a low priority that the camera doesn't start recording audio until very slightly after the video has started recording. Thus you get a couple of blank frames of audio at the start of every video file.

    There is nothing Sound Devices can do, the problem is with the camera manufacturer for not caring about audio.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ryan Sauve View Post
    4. Backup to USB isn't as nice as dual SD (copies from SD to USB instead of recording both simultaneously) but coming from a H6, I'll take it
    Yes, this is fake "redundancy" that Sound Devices does with their MixPre Gen2 series.

    Any error on the SD card will be duplicated on the USB drive.

    They're not true media redundancy like you'd get with the Sound Devices 8 series / Aaton / Sonosax / Zoom F series / etc

    Still, better than nothing! (at least it is a preventative measure against human errors, as that is the greatest risk! That the DIT will drop your media or accidentally format it or otherwise screw up! You'll still have your own copy of the audio with yourself)

    Quote Originally Posted by Toby Wilson View Post
    Power loop issue:
    If you power the Mixpre via the hawkwoods adapter, expect to get power loop noise (a very low hum) in the audio being recorded into the camera via the 3.5mm cable (not inside the actual Mixpre recordings). This is a common engineering issue which comes from powering camera and audio devices from the same power source then passing that sound back into the other device.
    Instead of Hirose you could power the MixPre with NP-F batteries, they last longer than AA and are less hassle than fussing around with a handful of AA batteries when doing battery swaps
    http://IronFilm.co.nz/Sound/ (Sound Recordist based in Auckland, NZ. Happy to travel too)
    https://www.youtube.com/c/SoundSpeeding
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