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Author Topic: Sound Devices USBPre2 vs MixPre into Edirol R-09HR  (Read 7739 times)

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Offline tkyt99

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Sound Devices USBPre2 vs MixPre into Edirol R-09HR
« on: June 10, 2012, 05:21:56 PM »
I'm new to this forum and relatively new to recording.  Having worked recently with a friend's SD 722 and a pair of great Schoeps mics to record classical violin and piano for a CD, I'm thinking I would like to get into something like this as well.  However, like many I'm not ready at this point to sink that kind of money into an SD 722 or 7xx.   There is info on the forums about the Edirol R-09HR combined with SD MixPre with pretty good results.  However, I'm having trouble finding out how a USBPre2 used as a stand alone pre would compete with the MixPre into the Edirol.  The price difference is not huge between the two used or new from what I can see.  Any help at all would be appreciated! 

p.s. at this point, I'm not planning to use computer based recording....also, portability is not an issue....could I use my laptop as to power the USBPre2 while it is being used as a stand alone pre??
« Last Edit: June 10, 2012, 05:25:03 PM by tkyt99 »

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Re: Sound Devices USBPre2 vs MixPre into Edirol R-09HR
« Reply #1 on: June 10, 2012, 06:08:16 PM »
I'm new to this forum and relatively new to recording.  Having worked recently with a friend's SD 722 and a pair of great Schoeps mics to record classical violin and piano for a CD, I'm thinking I would like to get into something like this as well.  However, like many I'm not ready at this point to sink that kind of money into an SD 722 or 7xx.   There is info on the forums about the Edirol R-09HR combined with SD MixPre with pretty good results.  However, I'm having trouble finding out how a USBPre2 used as a stand alone pre would compete with the MixPre into the Edirol.  The price difference is not huge between the two used or new from what I can see.  Any help at all would be appreciated! 

p.s. at this point, I'm not planning to use computer based recording....also, portability is not an issue....could I use my laptop as to power the USBPre2 while it is being used as a stand alone pre??

1) The biggest difference is mic input transformers versus no transformers. Slight sound coloration (could be good, could be bad, depends on the objective), and increased CMRR so if you're doing really long cable runs (>50 feet) in bad RFI environments that's something think about.
2) Yes, you can power the usbpre2 off of a laptop while using it in standalone mode. I do that and have it operate as a DAC that way. Just hold the PC/Pre Meter button while you plug it in and it will only look at power through usb instead of both power and signal.
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Offline tkyt99

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Re: Sound Devices USBPre2 vs MixPre into Edirol R-09HR
« Reply #2 on: June 10, 2012, 11:33:52 PM »
thanks for the useful info so far...

So, I have another question - pretty basic...if I run the SD USBPre2 through line out to the line in of the Edirol, am I bypassing both A/D and DAC of the SD??  Or is the signal coming out after the DAC?    Will I be entirely dependant on the A/D and DAC of the Edirol?

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Re: Sound Devices USBPre2 vs MixPre into Edirol R-09HR
« Reply #3 on: June 10, 2012, 11:38:40 PM »
thanks for the useful info so far...

So, I have another question - pretty basic...if I run the SD USBPre2 through line out to the line in of the Edirol, am I bypassing both A/D and DAC of the SD??  Or is the signal coming out after the DAC?    Will I be entirely dependant on the A/D and DAC of the Edirol?

there is a block diagram that illustrates that in the manual (there is a PDF on their site IIRC). A simple email to sound devices about it will clear that up if you can't find the answer.
"This is a common practice we have on the bus; debating facts that we could easily find through printed material. It's like, how far is it today? I think it's four hours, and someone else comes in at 11 hours, and well, then we'll... just... talk about it..." - Jeb Puryear

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Offline johnw

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Re: Sound Devices USBPre2 vs MixPre into Edirol R-09HR
« Reply #4 on: June 11, 2012, 08:38:37 AM »
If you find out the answer, please post it here.
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kirk97132

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Re: Sound Devices USBPre2 vs MixPre into Edirol R-09HR
« Reply #5 on: June 11, 2012, 11:32:40 AM »
From an email with Sound Device's (2010)

By default, the outputs of the USBPre 2 only carry signal from the computer. There is a DIP switch that configures the USBPre 2 to send whatever signal is going to headphones to the outputs. This is how the USBPre 2 can be used as a preamp / converter in Stand-alone mode. When this option is engaged and the Monitor Mix knob is turned all the way to "PRE", the signal path from analog inputs to analog outputs is fully analog.

Offline tkyt99

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Re: Sound Devices USBPre2 vs MixPre into Edirol R-09HR
« Reply #6 on: June 11, 2012, 07:59:18 PM »
I've been trying to figure out the differences between the USBPre2 and MixPre-D.  It seems the USBPre2 can pretty much do everything the MixPre-D can but is cheaper.  What am I missing?

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Re: Sound Devices USBPre2 vs MixPre into Edirol R-09HR
« Reply #7 on: June 11, 2012, 09:11:01 PM »
I've been trying to figure out the differences between the USBPre2 and MixPre-D.  It seems the USBPre2 can pretty much do everything the MixPre-D can but is cheaper.  What am I missing?


I've been looking at both of these units on and off for a while and here's a quick list of things the USBPre2 doesn't have: tone generator for calibration/slate mic, sunlight viewable/adjustable meter brightness, external & internal powering, balanced input transformers, mid-side matrix control, AES digital output, 12 V phantom power, left-center-right panning, clean headphone amp, return signal confidence monitoring while in standalone mode.
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Re: Sound Devices USBPre2 vs MixPre into Edirol R-09HR
« Reply #8 on: June 11, 2012, 09:36:57 PM »
I think you should compare the two tech specs:

http://sounddevices.com/products/usbpre2.htm

http://sounddevices.com/products/mixpre-d.htm

The main differences I see:
 - The usbpre 2 has slightly better specs and has a much more robust AD stage - the analog stage was taken from the 7xx series recorders - requires USB power Source
 - The MixPre-D has input transformers and should sound more like the older MixPre - sound should be a tad warmer sounding - runs off batteries
« Last Edit: June 11, 2012, 09:42:50 PM by H₂O »
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Re: Sound Devices USBPre2 vs MixPre into Edirol R-09HR
« Reply #9 on: June 11, 2012, 09:53:23 PM »
clean headphone amp

the headphone amp is sort of shitty. It has gobs and gobs of current though. If you've got low impedance, but high current requiring headphones, they are great (so thats... what... orthodynamic/planar headphones only?)
"This is a common practice we have on the bus; debating facts that we could easily find through printed material. It's like, how far is it today? I think it's four hours, and someone else comes in at 11 hours, and well, then we'll... just... talk about it..." - Jeb Puryear

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Offline alpine85

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Re: Sound Devices USBPre2 vs MixPre into Edirol R-09HR
« Reply #10 on: June 11, 2012, 10:02:13 PM »
I've been trying to figure out the differences between the USBPre2 and MixPre-D.  It seems the USBPre2 can pretty much do everything the MixPre-D can but is cheaper.  What am I missing?


I've been looking at both of these units on and off for a while and here's a quick list of things the USBPre2 doesn't have: tone generator for calibration/slate mic, sunlight viewable/adjustable meter brightness, external & internal powering, balanced input transformers, mid-side matrix control, AES digital output, 12 V phantom power, left-center-right panning, clean headphone amp, return signal confidence monitoring while in standalone mode.

I'm curious about the headphone amp thing...

I haven't had a chance to try my "version 2" USBPre yet, but when I had the v1.5, the headphone amp was one of the things I really liked about it.  Sounded very clean to me & had plenty of power to drive my 600-ohm AKG K240DF's. 

I can't imagine they would have downgraded the headphone output in the new one.  Did they??

The specs look pretty good on it:
THD+N (22 Hz - 22 kHz measurement bandwidth)
0.05% max (HEADPHONES output, 2 V rms output, 600 ohm load)

Oh... not sure if it's been mentioned, but another thing the MixPre-D has that the USBPre-2 doesn't:

"Dedicated mic-level output on locking TA3 connector for unbalanced camera inputs"
(primarily for video on DSLRs, from what I understand)


MICS: AKG CK-1/CK-63/CK-8/CK-22 --> AKG 460/JW460/JW452
CABLES: GAKcables and Mogami
PRES: Apogee Mini-Me, SD USBPre-2, Busman UA-5
RECORDERS: Oade R-44, Tascam DR-100-MKII, JB3

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Re: Sound Devices USBPre2 vs MixPre into Edirol R-09HR
« Reply #11 on: June 11, 2012, 10:48:18 PM »
As a user, Here is what I think.  USBPRE2......Digigal is right but I equate it to a difference between audio and video use.  Well beside transformers.  I am not going to get into tech talk about specs, and small differences between them.  Headphone amp has LOTS of power but is not quiet enough for some.  I have seen complaints "that when I turn it all the way up I hear a hiss"  If I turn the volume all the way up on my sony MDR7506 cans I can't even get them near my ears.  You cannot beat it for the ease of use and as a soundcard.  It does require external power though.  I personally would never care about panning.  I am recording separate channels anyway and can pan whatever I want in post.  The BIGGEST advantage and THE REASON I bought it is because it will sync to an external SPDIF singnal.  This makes syncing two DR-680's effortless.  I really think the Pre-D is gear just for the DSLR/Camera market.  I also think that you could see the meters in daylight but I can't say that I've noticed it one way or the other. 

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Re: Sound Devices USBPre2 vs MixPre into Edirol R-09HR
« Reply #12 on: June 11, 2012, 11:27:42 PM »
I haven't had a chance to try my "version 2" USBPre yet, but when I had the v1.5, the headphone amp was one of the things I really liked about it.  Sounded very clean to me & had plenty of power to drive my 600-ohm AKG K240DF's. 

I can't imagine they would have downgraded the headphone output in the new one.  Did they??

It's an impedance issue as best I can tell; my (sensitive) Denon 7000s which are in the range of 28-32ohm hiss with them all the time, but my 50ohm (and not as sensitive) LCD-2s are silent even when I turn the volume all the way up on a silent wav.

It has gobs of current; to listen with the headphone out I end up turning down the output knob almost all the way so I can get the volume knob above the channel imbalance that occurs with headphones.
"This is a common practice we have on the bus; debating facts that we could easily find through printed material. It's like, how far is it today? I think it's four hours, and someone else comes in at 11 hours, and well, then we'll... just... talk about it..." - Jeb Puryear

"Nostalgia ain't what it used to be." - Jim Williams

Offline acidjack

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Re: Sound Devices USBPre2 vs MixPre into Edirol R-09HR
« Reply #13 on: June 12, 2012, 10:12:25 AM »
As a user, Here is what I think.  USBPRE2......Digigal is right but I equate it to a difference between audio and video use.  Well beside transformers.  I am not going to get into tech talk about specs, and small differences between them.  Headphone amp has LOTS of power but is not quiet enough for some.  I have seen complaints "that when I turn it all the way up I hear a hiss"  If I turn the volume all the way up on my sony MDR7506 cans I can't even get them near my ears.  You cannot beat it for the ease of use and as a soundcard.  It does require external power though.  I personally would never care about panning.  I am recording separate channels anyway and can pan whatever I want in post.  The BIGGEST advantage and THE REASON I bought it is because it will sync to an external SPDIF singnal.  This makes syncing two DR-680's effortless.  I really think the Pre-D is gear just for the DSLR/Camera market.  I also think that you could see the meters in daylight but I can't say that I've noticed it one way or the other.

I'm with Kirk, though I have also found some hiss with the headamp running ATH-M50s.  I haven't tried my Denon 7000s into it so I can't comment on that, but I'm sure page is right.

I really like the USBPre2; for me the USB powering is a huge plus because I can run my deck and it off of one Tekkeon.  The syncing is a key feature, as Kirk notes, and I also really like the sound of the preamp. 

It's just a very versatile, well-built unit and I think it gives a significant upgrade to the sound of machines like the R-44 and DR-680, much more so than modding the pres.  It's not my main headamp; I really only use it that way if I'm mixing stuff on the go with my MacBook Air, and it's certainly good enough for that.
Mics: Schoeps MK4V, MK41V, MK5, MK22> CMC6, KCY 250/5, KC5, NBob; MBHO MBP603/KA200N, AT 3031, DPA 4061 w/ d:vice, Naiant X-X, AT 853c, shotgun, Nak300
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kirk97132

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Re: Sound Devices USBPre2 vs MixPre into Edirol R-09HR
« Reply #14 on: June 12, 2012, 12:53:03 PM »
As a user, Here is what I think.  USBPRE2......Digigal is right but I equate it to a difference between audio and video use.  Well beside transformers.  I am not going to get into tech talk about specs, and small differences between them.  Headphone amp has LOTS of power but is not quiet enough for some.  I have seen complaints "that when I turn it all the way up I hear a hiss"  If I turn the volume all the way up on my sony MDR7506 cans I can't even get them near my ears.  You cannot beat it for the ease of use and as a soundcard.  It does require external power though.  I personally would never care about panning.  I am recording separate channels anyway and can pan whatever I want in post.  The BIGGEST advantage and THE REASON I bought it is because it will sync to an external SPDIF singnal.  This makes syncing two DR-680's effortless.  I really think the Pre-D is gear just for the DSLR/Camera market.  I also think that you could see the meters in daylight but I can't say that I've noticed it one way or the other.
I should also add that I run a Sound Device MP-2 and Lunatec V3 so I feel like I have the best combination of preamps and that they give me every feature set I would ever want between the three of them.

 

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