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Author Topic: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?  (Read 8398 times)

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Offline justme

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New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« on: August 22, 2019, 12:52:23 AM »
I just write a support ticket to Sound Devices about the poor SD memory card support when I noticed some previously unseen names in the product support list.

It appears as if a new updated version of the MixPre-3/6/10 series filed recorders are on the way!

These are named with a suffix of "II":
MixPre-3 II
MixPre-6 II
MixPre-10 II

Great news for mankind - but perhaps annoyingly sad for us with the old ones as we barely have any working medium to record onto.


Offline voltronic

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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #1 on: August 22, 2019, 06:56:40 AM »
They would hardly be the first manufacturer to fix a design or basic performance problem in a Gen-2 unit.
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Offline jeenash

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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #2 on: August 22, 2019, 05:33:36 PM »
I'd like to see a mixpre-2. Two channels and super small with the same preamps. Oh, and be able to run on aa's forever. Oh, oh, and made of little to no metal. Too much  to ask?

Offline mountaintaper

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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #3 on: August 22, 2019, 05:44:06 PM »
I'd be happy with a transport lock function and recessed gain knobs.

Offline mjwin

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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #4 on: August 22, 2019, 06:40:37 PM »
Bring back CF cards I say!  Where more of the data processing burden was implemented by the card itself. 

Other than that, most of our (non software fixable) gripes are due mainly to the physical size / layout of the machine, & I can't see SD spending $$$$$$ re-tooling the case. It would make it a different animal

So recessed gain knobs are out, as are a better placed  encoder knob, Hirose input,  etc.  But then I love that fact that the machine is so tiny. I guess you can't have it all ways. 

Doubtless there will now be great intrigue and much speculation over the coming months as to what exactly the -II suffix implies...

Offline jbell

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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #5 on: August 22, 2019, 06:54:20 PM »
I've never had a problem with SD cards and I have one of the original batch of 8 mixpre-6 that hit the streets. 
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Offline jcable77

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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #6 on: August 22, 2019, 07:11:54 PM »
I've never had a problem with SD cards and I have one of the original batch of 8 mixpre-6 that hit the streets.
The one Ive been using for over a year and a half, I opened the box, grabbed a random sd card off my desk, formatted it, and made like 100 recordings with no issues at all. Same firmware it came with, I love the thing. Not to say I wont check out mk2.
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Offline jerryfreak

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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #7 on: August 22, 2019, 08:25:04 PM »
I've never had a problem with SD cards and I have one of the original batch of 8 mixpre-6 that hit the streets.
I see this posted all the time but people always fail to mention how many channels and at which bitrate
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Offline noahbickart

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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #8 on: August 22, 2019, 09:07:37 PM »
I've never had a problem with SD cards and I have one of the original batch of 8 mixpre-6 that hit the streets.
I see this posted all the time but people always fail to mention how many channels and at which bitrate

I have one of the SD branded 32gig cards and a 64gig from their approved list.

I run 6 channels every time, 4 phantom and 2 line in. 48khz mostly, but sometimes at 96khz, always 24bit. Never had a problem.
Recording:
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Preamps:    Schoeps VMS 02iub, Naiant Littlebox, Naiant IPA, Sound Devices Mixpre6
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Offline WiFiJeff

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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #9 on: August 22, 2019, 09:45:14 PM »
I've never had a problem with SD cards and I have one of the original batch of 8 mixpre-6 that hit the streets.
I see this posted all the time but people always fail to mention how many channels and at which bitrate

Or whether recorded as a single multichannel file or as individual mono tracks.

When I first got an SD633 several years back, I was surprised and upset to get orange warning lights and some errors when recording to four or more mono tracks (all 24/96).  SD support advised me to record to a single file and split apart with Wave Agent software.  That's what I did, and then no more issues.  It seemed to me to be an SD thing and not a card issue, as all the cards I tried had that result.

Jeff

Offline noahbickart

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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #10 on: August 22, 2019, 09:50:43 PM »
Or whether recorded as a single multichannel file or as individual mono tracks.

The Mixpre series only writes as polywave multi channel files.

it seemed to me to be an SD thing and not a card issue, as all the cards I tried had that result.

SD makes great gear, but 7, 6 and mixpre recorders are all fairly different from one in another; one can only very infrequently analogize from one to the other :headphones:
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Offline jerryfreak

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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #11 on: August 22, 2019, 10:57:41 PM »
I've never had a problem with SD cards and I have one of the original batch of 8 mixpre-6 that hit the streets.
I see this posted all the time but people always fail to mention how many channels and at which bitrate

I have one of the SD branded 32gig cards and a 64gig from their approved list.

I run 6 channels every time, 4 phantom and 2 line in. 48khz mostly, but sometimes at 96khz, always 24bit. Never had a problem.

which brand of 64gb card? they no longer have a recommended list
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Offline seethreepo

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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #12 on: August 22, 2019, 10:59:35 PM »
I've never had a problem with SD cards and I have one of the original batch of 8 mixpre-6 that hit the streets.
I see this posted all the time but people always fail to mention how many channels and at which bitrate

I have one of the SD branded 32gig cards and a 64gig from their approved list.

I run 6 channels every time, 4 phantom and 2 line in. 48khz mostly, but sometimes at 96khz, always 24bit. Never had a problem.

which brand of 64gb card? they no longer have a recommended list
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Offline jerryfreak

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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #13 on: August 26, 2019, 11:27:27 AM »
I’m not sure if that bold was directed at me but I was asking about the 64 gig card which I made the assumption wasn’t an SD branded card from Noah’s post
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Offline mjwin

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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #14 on: August 29, 2019, 01:15:14 PM »
So now we know!

From today's mailout from SD:

Announcing the Mixpre II:
32-Bit Float Recording
142 dB of Dynamic Range
Internal Timecode Generator
Record up to 192 kHz


It seems that Zoom are keeping them on their toes!
(& I'm hoping the legal wrangling with zax*** has gone away)

Offline So Many Roads

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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #15 on: August 29, 2019, 02:03:14 PM »

Offline spyder9

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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #16 on: August 29, 2019, 02:34:07 PM »

Offline BonoBeats

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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #17 on: August 29, 2019, 02:35:21 PM »
So now we know!

From today's mailout from SD:

Announcing the Mixpre II:
32-Bit Float Recording
142 dB of Dynamic Range
Internal Timecode Generator
Record up to 192 kHz


It seems that Zoom are keeping them on their toes!
(& I'm hoping the legal wrangling with zax*** has gone away)

I'm guessing the 32 bit float wouldn't be available as a software update on the original MixPre6 series, correct? Assuming dual ADCs, similar to the F6.
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Offline DavidPuddy

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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #18 on: August 29, 2019, 02:56:10 PM »
So now we know!

From today's mailout from SD:

Announcing the Mixpre II:
32-Bit Float Recording
142 dB of Dynamic Range
Internal Timecode Generator
Record up to 192 kHz


It seems that Zoom are keeping them on their toes!
(& I'm hoping the legal wrangling with zax*** has gone away)

I'm guessing the 32 bit float wouldn't be available as a software update on the original MixPre6 series, correct? Assuming dual ADCs, similar to the F6.

The FAQs on the website state that the upgrades are hardware based unfortunately.

At least send us the headphone wheel  :smash:
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Offline mjwin

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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #19 on: August 29, 2019, 03:26:28 PM »
At least send us the headphone wheel  :smash:

Ain't no knob, that's a LEGO tire :yahoo:

Offline justme

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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #20 on: August 29, 2019, 03:34:48 PM »
This is a bit worrying though.

What are my media options?

We recommend our SAM-32SD card. Additionally, most reputable manufacturers’ cards (such as SanDisk or Delkin) that meet or exceed class 10 speeds are acceptable.

They still only have one single SD card listed as approved. Their own.
https://www.sounddevices.com/mixpre-series-approved-media-list/

Offline DSatz

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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #21 on: August 29, 2019, 04:54:29 PM »
Are people here aware that Zoom already announced a recorder with 32-bit float encoding? See http://taperssection.com/index.php?topic=190161 .

(Zoom didn't manage to get any such recorders onto store shelves yet, but hey--an announcement is almost as good, right?)

Seriously, though, SD's gear is first-rate, but 32-bit float encoding isn't the unalloyed blessing that people might wish to believe. The description of 32-bit float audio files that SD has posted is really disappointing because by taking this one aspect of recording out of context, a highly misleading impression is easily created.

A recorder is a system with multiple functional stages. Just because the last stage of recording (the physical storage of data) has an absurdly wide dynamic range, that in itself doesn't affect the dynamic range of the earlier stages--the input circuitry, mike or line preamps, and a/d converters. They, or something earlier in the chain (such as venue noise or in some cases microphone noise) were always the limiting factor, assuming that one's recording levels have been set more or less correctly, and now ... gosh, they're still the limiting factor.

--best regards
music > microphones > a recorder of some sort

Offline ts

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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #22 on: August 29, 2019, 05:06:32 PM »
Thanks dsatz. I was just buried in google searches for 32 bit float and decided to say, “float this”.

That said, will the 3 ll be $599? 🤩
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Offline kindms

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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #23 on: August 29, 2019, 05:48:20 PM »
USB Audio: 4 channels

looks like if the new sonosax drops this would be able to utilize that interface
« Last Edit: August 29, 2019, 06:12:35 PM by kindms »
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Offline jerryfreak

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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #24 on: August 29, 2019, 06:10:01 PM »
Are people here aware that Zoom already announced a recorder with 32-bit float encoding? See http://taperssection.com/index.php?topic=190161 .

(Zoom didn't manage to get any such recorders onto store shelves yet, but hey--an announcement is almost as good, right?)

Seriously, though, SD's gear is first-rate, but 32-bit float encoding isn't the unalloyed blessing that people might wish to believe. The description of 32-bit float audio files that SD has posted is really disappointing because by taking this one aspect of recording out of context, a highly misleading impression is easily created.

this has been discussed extensively in the zoom thread as well, specifically the implementation and how the switching between the two ADCs can be problematic.

I recorded a show on friday on my mixpre6 and at the last minute switched from custom to advanced (or vice-versa, i cant remember) at the last minute to disarm the mixdown channels. it switched 2 of my channels from +30 dB to close to zero dB. peaks were around -40dB and have no noticeable noise upon normalizing. 142dB dynamic range is a nice spec but offers little advantage to the 120ish of the last model for most applications

id be leery to use 32-bit float at high bitrates since the  current unit chokes on 8 channels of 24 bit with most cards
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Offline Gutbucket

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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #25 on: August 29, 2019, 06:25:31 PM »
I was composing this post this morning but got distracted with other things.  Glad the discussion has moved to where I was going with it. DSatz, please let me know if any of this is offbase..


Are there actual measurements posted anywhere indicating the dynamic range of the analog input stage of the mic/line inputs prior to reaching the ADC?  I've not been able to find this information with a brief web search, only reviews stating they are subjectively "quiet", yet I imagine someone somewhere must have bench tested it.  According to the press releases the preamps have NOT been changed, so both the I and II series MixPres should be identical in this respect. 

Why does this matter?  It dictates the dynamic-range limit for any analog input (mics or line-in).  The only inputs which could be capable of exceeding that are digital inputs, and the only digital inputs on these recorders are USB.

If one wants to forgo the need to make any input trim adjustment while recording (the purported advantage of 32-bit float): The dynamic range of the microphones used, must fit comfortably within the dynamic range of the analog input stage, which must fit comfortably within the dynamic range of the ADC.

On a traditional recorder we manually adjust input-trim to fit the microphone's output range comfortably within the limited dynamic ranges of both the input/preamp stage and ADC, and sometimes manually switch input sensitivity ranges to better fit the dynamic range of the that input/preamp stage to that of the ADC.

For those using the same set of microphones each time (microphone sensitivity doesn't change session to session) I think we can achieve the same no-trim-fiddling during recording functionality with the existing 24bit MixPres by setting the input trim appropriately initially and leaving it there. [edit, assuming the approximately 130dB or so of dynamic range through the kashmir preamps (see below) slightly exceeds that of your microphones]
« Last Edit: August 29, 2019, 06:43:44 PM by Gutbucket »
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Offline Gutbucket

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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #26 on: August 29, 2019, 06:29:38 PM »
Just found a source stating the kashmir mic preamps have a -130dBV noise floor, which is indicative of the real-world dynamic range limitation through the analog-inputs if my reasoning above is correct.
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Offline mjwin

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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #27 on: August 29, 2019, 06:42:38 PM »
Seriously, though, SD's gear is first-rate, but 32-bit float encoding isn't the unalloyed blessing that people might wish to believe. The description of 32-bit float audio files that SD has posted is really disappointing because by taking this one aspect of recording out of context, a highly misleading impression is easily created.

You're absolutely correct in pointing out the DR limitations elsewhere in the chain . IMHO the 32bit spec is very much a market driven "upgrade", as the extended dynamic range thing seems to be where the market's at right now.  (Sonosax, Zoom, Z*com, and now SD).

I think most of us know whether we're going out to record ants crawling on a leaf, or a metal band in a local warehouse, so we just set the levels accordingly - and there's just so much DR already available on these recorders to allow for conservative level settings & even a set-&-forget  policy.

The limiter improvements would seem to be of much more practical use.   The film people were bemoaning the rather sluggish release time of the original Mixpre limiters, so the new adjustments will probably improve their transparency with  gunshots, engine backfires, etc.  (Though it's hard to beat the instantaneous compression on the old Nagra tape machines!)

For now I'm quite happy with my vintage MP6 MK1, though I might make the bold step of updating from v2.21 now the bugs seem to have been ironed out...

Offline jerryfreak

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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #28 on: August 29, 2019, 06:47:21 PM »
-130 dB EIN is the stated input spec at 150 ohms, and 120 dB on the ADC side

obviously both of these are considerably higher than the dynamic range of mics, which is closer to 80 dB when recording even the loudest of concerts


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Offline DSatz

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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #29 on: August 29, 2019, 08:55:11 PM »
> ... the dynamic range of mics, which is closer to 80 dB ...

jerryfreak, signal-to-noise ratios for microphones are calculated in an unintuitive way: downward from 1 Pascal, which is equivalent to about 94 dB SPL. That's why you see spec-sheet values such as 80 dB even for professional microphones. It's like giving the s/n ratio of a power amp based on only a 1-Watt output, even though the amplifier might be capable of 300 Watts per side.

In practice, measuring from the noise floor to (typically) the 0.5% THD point, good condenser microphones can have a "working" range of 120-130 dB. Subtract the CCIR equivalent noise from the maximum SPL (even though the noise is frequency-weighted and somewhat time-averaged while the max. SPL is not) to get an idea of this.


> -130 dB EIN is the stated input spec at 150 ohms

Equivalent input noise (EIN) for microphone preamps is usually reported in dBu, not dBV; because of the different reference voltage, the dBV number is ~2.2 dB more impressive looking. (Tsk, tsk.)

EIN also depends on the impedance that the input "sees"--in actual use, the output impedance of the microphone plus its cable--but you said that 150 Ohms was specified, and that's completely normal. As I recall, the physical limit for an input referenced to a 150 Ohm driving impedance is something like -127.5 dBu--I don't remember the tenths digit for sure--but -130 dBV could simply be a rounding off to the nearest whole decibel of the EIN of a preamp that comes very close to the theoretical limit.

Many other good preamps for decades have come within a fraction of a dB of that limit, but the usual professional practice has been to use dBu, and to round the result to the nearest tenth of a decibel. So -130 dBV looks better, but isn't really. Anyway, even the quietest microphones are audibly noisier than that.

--best regards

P.S.: Even more important than those small fractions of a dB: Spec-sheet noise figures for preamps are nearly always obtained with the gain cranked all the way up--which is where the best numerical results are obtained, even though few people use such settings very often.

I did a rampage of preamp comparisons eight or ten years ago but I wanted to measure the noise at gains I typically use in concert recording, so I set them all for 30-35 dB gain. The rankings changed drastically as a result. In my opinion, preamp EIN (and maximum input voltage) should be specified at a variety of gain levels--say at 20, 40 and 60 dB.
« Last Edit: August 30, 2019, 03:58:44 PM by DSatz »
music > microphones > a recorder of some sort

Offline Gordon

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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #30 on: August 29, 2019, 09:03:07 PM »
This is a bit worrying though.

What are my media options?

We recommend our SAM-32SD card. Additionally, most reputable manufacturers’ cards (such as SanDisk or Delkin) that meet or exceed class 10 speeds are acceptable.

They still only have one single SD card listed as approved. Their own.
https://www.sounddevices.com/mixpre-series-approved-media-list/

Same for gen 1!  I've had no issues with their card or a Sandisk though....
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Offline voltronic

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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #31 on: August 29, 2019, 09:03:38 PM »
I'll just leave this here.  Rather curious, since the "II" versions must have been in development at the time this post was written:

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Offline Paul Isaacs

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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #32 on: August 29, 2019, 10:59:50 PM »
I know this contradicts stuff I've said before, but since being involved in the development of the 32-bit float MixPre-II, I'm a convert and am happy to admit I was wrong when I said 32-bit float has little relevance in a field recorder.

Having said that, for the majority of sound recording applications and for those who know how to gain stage, 24-bit has always been way more than enough to capture high fidelity recordings when combined with high quality, low noise/low distortion microphones, preamps and ADCs. That hasn't changed. So then, why the big deal with 32-bit float files ...

1) The first thing to note is that a 32-bit float file is a vast container that is essentially impossible to overload/clip. With 24-bit fixed-point file format, if you exceed 0dBFS (digital word = all 1's), distortion is burned into the recording and cannot be undone; with 32-bit float you can exceed 0dBFS by hundreds of dB and your audio will not incur digital overload distortion. Import that 32-bit float file into most DAWs and you have undistorted audio and associated waveform. The waveform may look clipped, but simply drag down the gain to normalize to below 0dBFS and you have a waveform that is no longer flat top!
2) When a 32-bit float file is combined with an ultra low noise, wide dynamic range input stage, you can record beyond the dynamic range (quietest to loudest sounds) offered by the highest quality microphones.
3) 32-bit float offers precision representation equally across the entire dynamic range. With traditional 24-bit fixed-point, super quiet signals may typically be just loud enough to have the lowest 4-8 bits (of the 24 available) be active - not great resolution at all. With floating point, even those super low level signals are represented by a full array of bits, thus maintaining accuracy at all levels. When you now normalize this low level signal back to 0dBFS, the precision is still there.

Here is a paper we put together regarding 32-bit float ...
https://www.sounddevices.com/32-bit-float-files-explained/

Paul

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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #33 on: August 30, 2019, 02:48:54 AM »
I know this contradicts stuff I've said before, but since being involved in the development of the 32-bit float MixPre-II, I'm a convert and am happy to admit I was wrong when I said 32-bit float has little relevance in a field recorder.

Having said that, for the majority of sound recording applications and for those who know how to gain stage, 24-bit has always been way more than enough to capture high fidelity recordings when combined with high quality, low noise/low distortion microphones, preamps and ADCs. That hasn't changed. So then, why the big deal with 32-bit float files ...

1) The first thing to note is that a 32-bit float file is a vast container that is essentially impossible to overload/clip. With 24-bit fixed-point file format, if you exceed 0dBFS (digital word = all 1's), distortion is burned into the recording and cannot be undone; with 32-bit float you can exceed 0dBFS by hundreds of dB and your audio will not incur digital overload distortion. Import that 32-bit float file into most DAWs and you have undistorted audio and associated waveform. The waveform may look clipped, but simply drag down the gain to normalize to below 0dBFS and you have a waveform that is no longer flat top!
2) When a 32-bit float file is combined with an ultra low noise, wide dynamic range input stage, you can record beyond the dynamic range (quietest to loudest sounds) offered by the highest quality microphones.
3) 32-bit float offers precision representation equally across the entire dynamic range. With traditional 24-bit fixed-point, super quiet signals may typically be just loud enough to have the lowest 4-8 bits (of the 24 available) be active - not great resolution at all. With floating point, even those super low level signals are represented by a full array of bits, thus maintaining accuracy at all levels. When you now normalize this low level signal back to 0dBFS, the precision is still there.

Here is a paper we put together regarding 32-bit float ...
https://www.sounddevices.com/32-bit-float-files-explained/

Paul
Paul have you addressed the buffering issues in the new units? the current versions of mixpres crash at high channel/bitrate loads with most of the SD cards on the market, despite them testing above proper U3 sequential read rates (10x what is required at 8 ch of 24/192)

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Offline voltronic

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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #34 on: August 30, 2019, 06:58:27 AM »
3) 32-bit float offers precision representation equally across the entire dynamic range. With traditional 24-bit fixed-point, super quiet signals may typically be just loud enough to have the lowest 4-8 bits (of the 24 available) be active - not great resolution at all. With floating point, even those super low level signals are represented by a full array of bits, thus maintaining accuracy at all levels. When you now normalize this low level signal back to 0dBFS, the precision is still there.

Paul,

Thanks for checking in here.  The benefits of recovering levels exceeding 0 dBFS are clear to me.  What is not as clear is your item 3 quoted above.  Several months ago, Samuel Green from Zoom made the same assertion at NAB when commenting on the F6.  This caught my attention then, and you reminded me of it again.  Are you saying that in FP recording, the full spectrum of bits "floats down" to the very low signal?
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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #35 on: August 30, 2019, 09:47:25 AM »
3) 32-bit float offers precision representation equally across the entire dynamic range. With traditional 24-bit fixed-point, super quiet signals may typically be just loud enough to have the lowest 4-8 bits (of the 24 available) be active - not great resolution at all. With floating point, even those super low level signals are represented by a full array of bits, thus maintaining accuracy at all levels. When you now normalize this low level signal back to 0dBFS, the precision is still there.

Paul,

Thanks for checking in here.  The benefits of recovering levels exceeding 0 dBFS are clear to me.  What is not as clear is your item 3 quoted above.  Several months ago, Samuel Green from Zoom made the same assertion at NAB when commenting on the F6.  This caught my attention then, and you reminded me of it again.  Are you saying that in FP recording, the full spectrum of bits "floats down" to the very low signal?

Essentially yes. What I'm saying is there is a lot more resolution and range for very low signals too. It's not quite as simple as all bits 'floating down' since 32-bit float is not like fixed-point in that it comprises of a mantissa and exponent to represent huge +ve numbers and -ve numbers way beyond what 24-bit fixed point offers. I suggest you read the section on 32-bit float in our paper and follow the link to IEEE 754 if you're interested in knowing more. https://www.sounddevices.com/32-bit-float-files-explained/

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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #36 on: August 30, 2019, 11:03:45 AM »
Paul,

Has Sound Devices management ever considered maybe giving the early adopters of these products some sort of incentive for upgrading to the next version? Or rewarding them for being the early adopters and providing valuable feedback towards the development of the next version?

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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #37 on: August 30, 2019, 12:57:26 PM »
3) 32-bit float offers precision representation equally across the entire dynamic range. With traditional 24-bit fixed-point, super quiet signals may typically be just loud enough to have the lowest 4-8 bits (of the 24 available) be active - not great resolution at all. With floating point, even those super low level signals are represented by a full array of bits, thus maintaining accuracy at all levels. When you now normalize this low level signal back to 0dBFS, the precision is still there.

Paul,

Thanks for checking in here.  The benefits of recovering levels exceeding 0 dBFS are clear to me.  What is not as clear is your item 3 quoted above.  Several months ago, Samuel Green from Zoom made the same assertion at NAB when commenting on the F6.  This caught my attention then, and you reminded me of it again.  Are you saying that in FP recording, the full spectrum of bits "floats down" to the very low signal?

What I'm saying is there is a lot more resolution and range for very low signals too. [snip]

What I remain to be convinced of is that 32bit floating point somehow improves "resolution" of low level signals through the A>D conversion.  This claim seems to contradict Nyquist–Shannon sampling theorem.

The SD 32-bit-float-files-explained paper does not address this.  It concerns manipulation of a signal after it is represented as a 32-bit float format.

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Offline voltronic

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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #38 on: August 30, 2019, 01:29:57 PM »
3) 32-bit float offers precision representation equally across the entire dynamic range. With traditional 24-bit fixed-point, super quiet signals may typically be just loud enough to have the lowest 4-8 bits (of the 24 available) be active - not great resolution at all. With floating point, even those super low level signals are represented by a full array of bits, thus maintaining accuracy at all levels. When you now normalize this low level signal back to 0dBFS, the precision is still there.

Paul,

Thanks for checking in here.  The benefits of recovering levels exceeding 0 dBFS are clear to me.  What is not as clear is your item 3 quoted above.  Several months ago, Samuel Green from Zoom made the same assertion at NAB when commenting on the F6.  This caught my attention then, and you reminded me of it again.  Are you saying that in FP recording, the full spectrum of bits "floats down" to the very low signal?

What I'm saying is there is a lot more resolution and range for very low signals too. [snip]

What I remain to be convinced of is that 32bit floating point somehow improves "resolution" of low level signals through the A>D conversion.  This claim seems to contradict Nyquist–Shannon sampling theorem.

The SD 32-bit-float-files-explained paper does not address this.  It concerns manipulation of a signal after it is represented as a 32-bit float format.

This is why I asked my question; I had read the SD document already, and did not find the answer there, nor can I find any other documentation from other sources that address the low-level signal resolution.

Then there is the aspect of this that DSatz spoke of at length on the F6 thread: the internal noise floor.  If 32-bit float files truly do record low signals with better resolution as a result of more bits being available, the self-noise will still limit how low you can go.  Perhaps this scheme will still show its benefits at typical low signal levels in a recording.

Lastly, I think all of us are really waiting to hear are raw samples of very wide dynamic range music recorded in both fixed and float-point.  I want to hear just how transparently the ADC transitions between its segments, or if you can hear it working like you do a limiter.  So far, all we have are dialogue samples from both companies.
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Offline EmRR

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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #39 on: August 30, 2019, 01:47:03 PM »
Yep, what DSatz said.

Elsewhere, I've reported there are ways to overdrive the input circuitry of an F8n without hitting digital zero, in fact with line input trim set to -10, it squarewaves at about -5.5dBFS.

I don't know about the SD units.  If 32 bit float were to mean what's somewhat implied by the marketing, I'd want the analog input circuit before the AD to have at least 6dB more headroom than the AD, and that rarely if ever happens.  32 bit float is still a good thing for removing dither point penalty with drastic gain changes in post. 

Playback devices tend to have similar bottlenecks, with analog output circuitry having no headroom beyond max converter output, so a really hot brick walled playback source will make a lot of players sound different from one another because of the distortion artifacts, with some players going into obvious blatant distortion. 
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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #40 on: August 30, 2019, 02:03:05 PM »
What I remain to be convinced of is that 32bit floating point somehow improves "resolution" of low level signals through the A>D conversion.  This claim seems to contradict Nyquist–Shannon sampling theorem.
Nyquist says it's a perfect representation, I don't really care how many bits it takes. If it's a quiet signal, then 4-8 bits should be plenty. The rest of the 32 will be a detailed retelling of all the circuit noise beneath.
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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #41 on: August 30, 2019, 02:31:23 PM »
Application is key to the benefits of even 24 bit. For example, when recording a concert sound reinforcement system, the following section from Rane says it all.

"For sound systems, the maximum loudness level is what is achievable before acoustic feedback, or system squeal begins. While the minimum level is determined by the overall background noise. It is significant that the audio equipment noise is usually swamped by the HVAC (heating, ventilating & air conditioning) plus audience noise. Typical minimum noise levels are 35-45 dB SPL (sound pressure level), with typical loudest sounds being in the 100-105 dB SPL area. (Sounds louder than this start being very uncomfortable, causing audience complaints.) This yields a typical useable system dynamic range on the order of only 55-70 dB -- quite different than unit dynamic ranges."

IMO, nature, Foley, measurement, and other applications where it's possible for dynamic ranges exceeding the 120db range of human hearing to be recorded, 32bit should be able to make it easier, since you wouldn't have to actually experience the highest peaks and lowest signal down into the noise floor to set gain in actual application.

For those of us taping bands off the PA, 65db dynamic range is all we have to harness. 24 bit provides more than enough margin to capture that range and give the taper a wide sweet spot for level setting.

These machines are awesome, but within the subject of 24 bit recording, we've beaten the topic of 192khz sampling rate to death on this forum, and I haven't read any posts that credibly argue it's value for concert recording. The need for 24/96 is even questionable in that application, IMO.

« Last Edit: August 30, 2019, 11:56:10 PM by DATBRAD »
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Offline Paul Isaacs

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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #42 on: August 30, 2019, 02:53:28 PM »
If it's a quiet signal, then 4-8 bits should be plenty.

For recording concerts, I agree. But if your work is high end sound fx or sound design for instance, you may want to capture very low level sounds for other purposes.
One example off the top of my head - recording delicate droplets softly hitting a surface, followed by a super loud thunderclap. I decide I want to just take the raindrops and manipulate them as the basis for a new sound effect. In that case, I would want to amplify or normalize those raindrops first so I can easily hear them. The lack of bit resolution will become apparent at this point because each sample may only be represented by 4 bits (16 amplitude steps). 32-bit float alleviates this. Of course, you also need a wide dynamic range input stage to pull this off ... the MixPre-II's have a 142dB dynamic range with Mic EIN of -130dBV.

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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #43 on: August 30, 2019, 04:39:40 PM »
One example off the top of my head - recording delicate droplets softly hitting a surface, followed by a super loud thunderclap. I decide I want to just take the raindrops and manipulate them as the basis for a new sound effect. In that case, I would want to amplify or normalize those raindrops first so I can easily hear them. The lack of bit resolution will become apparent at this point because each sample may only be represented by 4 bits (16 amplitude steps). 32-bit float alleviates this. Of course, you also need a wide dynamic range input stage to pull this off ... the MixPre-II's have a 142dB dynamic range with Mic EIN of -130dBV.

That's a good example, and something which I was doing myself a month or so back.  Trying to guess levels made me realize just how great a dynamic range my (now vintage) mixpre & low-noise mics could capture.  While waiting in the 45dBSPL night time rural ambience for an overhead thunderclap (with the mixpre gain set to clip at 130dBSPL) I mused that even at this low gain,  if the world went suddenly silent, the zero bit of the 24 bit convertor would still be rattling away about 25dB below the noise floor of my (quiet) microphones!

A very satisfying thought. 

Of course, it was imperative that I set the gain correctly for this once-in-a-lifetime direct overhead strike (which didn't happen)  And  it's the freedom to not worry at all about the gain setting which is the real benefit of the 32bit FP system. You just slide the output window around to wherever you need it!

As for signal resolution when amplified in post production, the world is simply too noisy. Even in my hypothetically silent world, If the zero bit is already 4 bits (24dB)  below the noise floor, adding more bits doesn't help.

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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #44 on: August 30, 2019, 06:59:38 PM »
One example off the top of my head - recording delicate droplets softly hitting a surface, followed by a super loud thunderclap. I decide I want to just take the raindrops and manipulate them as the basis for a new sound effect. In that case, I would want to amplify or normalize those raindrops first so I can easily hear them. The lack of bit resolution will become apparent at this point because each sample may only be represented by 4 bits (16 amplitude steps). 32-bit float alleviates this.

Please explain the part I've bolded, which is what is in question here. It's the same 4 bits of information either way. The number of bits required to losslessly sample and reproduce that sound is determined solely by the dynamic range of the sound in question per Nyquist-Shannon.  What is different is how those 4 bits are represented in the different mathematical formats.  Yes the size of a 32bit floating point container is astronomically larger than a 24bit fixed container, which allows for shifting the bits of interest up or down in range to a but the 4 bits within that container that completely capture the very limited dynamics of the quiet sound in question are the identical.  Again, per Nyquist-Shannon, the basis of all digital audio.

Quote
Of course, you also need a wide dynamic range input stage to pull this off ... the MixPre-II's have a 142dB dynamic range with Mic EIN of -130dBV.
 
Yes exactly. It's the analog stage and ADC which are the constraints on dynamic range, not the storage file format.

Thanks for joining in the discussion here Paul, your presence is very much appreciated.. and SD gear is highly regarded for good reason. I just want to make sure we are rooted in reality and not chasing unicorns.
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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #45 on: August 30, 2019, 11:51:44 PM »
For me, the benefit of this upgrade would to be able to stop guessing. Just set the levels hot in 32bit and truly finally forget it. Who cares if the levels are in the red most of the show. You can just normalize later and it’s all good.
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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #46 on: August 31, 2019, 01:05:03 AM »
iOS App Store just pushed me Wingman 4.0, compatible with the MixpreII series.


Also I note that the MixPre originals including the M models have been moved to the Discontinued Items page on the SD website.
https://www.sounddevices.com/discontinued-products/
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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #47 on: August 31, 2019, 02:15:24 AM »
Also I note that the MixPre originals including the M models have been moved to the Discontinued Items page on the SD website.
https://www.sounddevices.com/discontinued-products/
Interesting. I was about to purchase the original MixPre-6 and was even looking into the possibility of purchasing the 6M, but now will take a stab at the MixPre-6 II. So glad I waited for a short while.

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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #48 on: August 31, 2019, 02:19:34 AM »
I thought about you and was going to ask. :)
Got to feel great that you waited!

Interesting. I was about to purchase the original MixPre-6 and was even looking into the possibility of purchasing the 6M, but now will take a stab at the MixPre-6 II. So glad I waited for a short while.

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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #49 on: August 31, 2019, 04:31:46 AM »
I thought about you and was going to ask. :)
Got to feel great that you waited!
Oh -- thanks! So kind of you. I do count on the new MixPre-6 II to give our live broadcast experience a serious boost.
One thing which is still more of an unknown to me is the fact that the new MixPre II line apparently supports recording to flash memory. Does it mean that we can simultaneously record to both a memory card and a flash memory? Or which USB slot does the new flash memory support occupy? Maybe I'm totally wrong regarding all of this. :)
Thanks.

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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #50 on: August 31, 2019, 04:40:36 AM »
With the copy function to USB thumb drive you can let the MixPre automatically copy the current project’s recorded files to it.
Or you could manually trigger the copy process of the current project’s recorded files to it.

I have not seen anything that hints of a parallel or dual record function.
So you can not add a USB Drive to it and automatically get a parallel second source recording of the main recording.
It is a simple file duplication feature from internal SD card to externally mounted USB memory stick.

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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #51 on: August 31, 2019, 05:12:35 AM »
With the copy function to USB thumb drive you can let the MixPre automatically copy the current project’s recorded files to it.
Or you could manually trigger the copy process of the current project’s recorded files to it.

I have not seen anything that hints of a parallel or dual record function.
So you can not add a USB Drive to it and automatically get a parallel second source recording of the main recording.
It is a simple file duplication feature from internal SD card to externally mounted USB memory stick.
Thanks for the clarification. I got it.

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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #52 on: August 31, 2019, 09:59:08 AM »
Although toy can use an iOS device connected with lightning to usb-a and record the stereo track onto the iOS while recording in the mixpre. Perhaps even the iso tracks but don’t take that for granted.
But you will lose the control surface function instead.

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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #53 on: August 31, 2019, 10:33:22 AM »
Q about 32 bit float:

is recording 'over zero' and then shifting peaks down to 0dB in post, the functional equivalent of "shifing bits" with conventional 16-or 24 bit fixed point, where you just shift in 6 dB steps without altering/interpolating the actual data and creating distortion?

this would be an advantage i suppose - "distortionless normalization"
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Offline mjwin

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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #54 on: August 31, 2019, 01:31:29 PM »
Q about 32 bit float:

is recording 'over zero' and then shifting peaks down to 0dB in post, the functional equivalent of "shifing bits" with conventional 16-or 24 bit fixed point, where you just shift in 6 dB steps without altering/interpolating the actual data and creating distortion?

this would be an advantage i suppose - "distortionless normalization"

It's not quite such a blunt tool as the adjustment steps are much finer. But, ultimately, any "quality" issues are related entirely to your DAW. 

Most DAWs carry out all internal opertion in 32bit float, anyway,  so the imported SD file should drop right in without any conversion. Then you can either do a "gain change" operation, changing the level by the desired amount, or use the master level sliders if they're available.

It's a nice feature, and gives peace of mind when you suddenly see the meters go " :banging head: ". The wall's no longer there!

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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #55 on: August 31, 2019, 01:57:13 PM »
...But you will lose the control surface function instead.
Can you plug into a USB hub that allows both to function simultaneously?
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Offline justme

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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #56 on: September 01, 2019, 01:13:50 AM »
In an earlier post you asked about channel linking and I told you you could only link 1-2 and 3-4.
But I was wrong.

You can actually link four channels, 1-4.
If System itself is set to Advanced or set to Custom and Channel is set to Advance.
Then you can push Channel 1 knob, Tap page 2 and Tap Linking and there select 1-3 or 1-4.

I totally missed that myself.



Thanks for the clarification. I got it.

Offline Amir

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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #57 on: September 01, 2019, 01:19:39 AM »
In an earlier post you asked about channel linking and I told you you could only link 1-2 and 3-4.
But I was wrong.

You can actually link four channels, 1-4.
If System itself is set to Advanced or set to Custom and Channel is set to Advance.
Then you can push Channel 1 knob, Tap page 2 and Tap Linking and there select 1-3 or 1-4.

I totally missed that myself.
Wow, fantastic! So I can link 3 channels connected to 3 mics and then mix them with channel 4 which is dedicated to the music coming from my laptop. Very impressive for such a small device, and quite useful with a device which is known to most people as a recorder.
Thanks for looking into that on my behalf.

Best,
Amir

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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #58 on: September 01, 2019, 01:31:32 AM »
BTW only Korg NanoKontrol 2 Interface and Korg NanoKontrol Studio Interface are available here from the list of MixPre's supported controller list. Are they tactile and feature-rich enough for use with the MixPre-6 II? The latter is more expensive, but which one do you recommend?

Offline borjam

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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #59 on: September 01, 2019, 05:51:18 AM »
What I remain to be convinced of is that 32bit floating point somehow improves "resolution" of low level signals through the A>D conversion.  This claim seems to contradict Nyquist–Shannon sampling theorem.
Not at all. There are two different variables affecting audio sampling.

1) Sampling frequency: Nyquist-Shannon deal with it. The sampling frequency limits the bandwidth of the audio signal we can sample and reconstruct failthfully. In the simlpe case(*), the maximum audio frequency we can represent.

Note that Nyquist-Shannon don't deal with the number of bits of the sampling. Actually what they say can be applied to an ideal, analog sampling system in which you are not quantizying the signal to a distrete number.

2) Resulution. That's the number of bits. It doesn't affect the signal bandwidth, but it's signal to noise ratio. When you have a poor resolution, your reconstructed signal will have "steps" which means a kind of noise will appear: quantization noise.

So, both analog and digital systems have a noise floor. In the case of digital systems that noise floor (ignoring of course the noise inherent to the analog stages like microphone, preamp, A/D converter, etc) is determined by the number of bits you are sampling.

The reason why you don't want to record with a level too low in a digital system is that. Low sounds will have a much better S/N ratio than the very quiet ones.

So, increasing the number of bits is beneficial because it will increase the S/N ratio. But it won´t affect the frequency response.

Using 32 bit floating point doesn't mean that you will get the full dynamic range of a 32 bit floating point number, of course, but it means that internal calculations won't overload the container (the simplest case would be making a stereo mix of the input channels while you are recording) and that in case you have a special A/D converter arrangement (like dual A/D converters or a higher precision A/D converter with a 32 bit sample format) you can effectively obtain a larger resolution and you can store it without the limitations of a 24 bit sample.

I hope it's more clear.  ;)

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Offline DSatz

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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #60 on: September 01, 2019, 03:45:53 PM »
borjam, you did a nice job of clarifying the issues, separating frequency response (as a function of sampling rate) vs. dynamic range (as a function of word length / bit depth). Many people confuse these two issues and/or lump them together as "resolution"--a term which is perfect for misuse, since it sounds as if it must mean something definite, but has no agreed-upon meaning in fact.

I have two notes which aren't disagreements, but I hope clarifications of what you wrote. One is that in a properly dithered system there are no "stairsteps". That issue goes away totally, completely, 100%. It isn't relative to the strength of the signal, or the number of bits per sample; it "isn't merely really dead, [it]'s really most sincerely dead." Anyone who still thinks in terms of "more bits = smaller stairsteps" (e.g. 80% or more of "audiophile" opinion, still, after all these years) should find themselves a different concept, because that one has fallen and it can't get up. You are exactly right to equate bit depth/word length with the noise floor and nothing else.

The other thing is that there's some strange hand-waving going on in this thread about low-level signals needing to have the same s/n ratio as high-level signals. That makes no sense at all, as a few people have pointed out--but the hand-waving continues.

Any real-world noise floor shifts in level on a moment-to-moment basis. That's what noise is. But it's imperative that the shifts be random, and not correlated with the signal levels. Otherwise the noise tends to merge audibly with the signal, becoming a form of distortion known as modulation noise (or the phenomenon in general may be called "noise modulation" because the noise is being modulated by the signal). Whatever you call it, it doesn't sound good. It's sometimes called "granular noise" or described as "gritty" or "dirty" or "sandpapery" sounding, especially at the lowest signal levels, e.g. the way that the last moments of reverberant sound die down in an otherwise quiet hall.

(Somewhere I think I still have a Columbia CD of a piano concerto in which you can hear a "frying" sound each time a note decays into silence if you turn the volume up. Someone evidently didn't adjust the A/D converters in their PCM-1610 before the session, or maybe they left the dither switched off, or maybe both.)

We could talk about the issues of floating point representation near the noise floor, but I think that would leave a lot of audio-only people out. Summary is that it's not worth arguing about--as long as you don't inadvertently create modulation of the noise floor by the desired signal.

But given the marketing-type claims that I've seen so far, it's not clear to me whether this principle is being observed or not. If it is, I wouldn't expect to see anyone touting the advantages of potentially having more bits in the mantissa (the magnitude portion of the floating point representation) at and around the level of the noise floor, because that just doesn't matter; the roundoff error is below audible significance in relation to that noise floor, and rescaling the exponent just to get more bits into the mantissa in such cases is an illusory pursuit at best.
« Last Edit: September 01, 2019, 04:05:17 PM by DSatz »
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Offline borjam

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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #61 on: September 01, 2019, 05:14:10 PM »
I have two notes which aren't disagreements, but I hope clarifications of what you wrote. One is that in a properly dithered system there are no "stairsteps". That issue goes away totally, completely, 100%. It isn't relative to the strength of the signal, or the number of bits per sample; it "isn't merely really dead, [it]'s really most sincerely dead." Anyone who still thinks in terms of "more bits = smaller stairsteps" (e.g. 80% or more of "audiophile" opinion, still, after all these years) should find themselves a different concept, because that one has fallen and it can't get up. You are exactly right to equate bit depth/word length with the noise floor and nothing else.
I used the stairsteps as a simplification. I think it's easier to imagine than a mysterious sort of correlated noise somewhat following the recorded signal. Of course dithering will eliminate the "stairsteps" but still dithering is noise, so one way or another you signal to noise is lower. I know, dithering is much less noticeable than plain quantization noise especially if you apply clever tricks like shaping it so that most of its energy falls on the regions of the spectrum for which our hearing is less sensitive.

Quote
The other thing is that there's some strange hand-waving going on in this thread about low-level signals needing to have the same s/n ratio as high-level signals. That makes no sense at all, as a few people have pointed out--but the hand-waving continues.
Well, when recording it's useful to have a lot of headroom so that unexpected transients won't ruin your day. We use to record on 24 bit formats because of that. With more resolution available to the low level signals you have more freedom.

Quote
Any real-world noise floor shifts in level on a moment-to-moment basis. That's what noise is. But it's imperative that the shifts be random, and not correlated with the signal levels. Otherwise the noise tends to merge audibly with the signal, becoming a form of distortion known as modulation noise (or the phenomenon in general may be called "noise modulation" because the noise is being modulated by the signal). Whatever you call it, it doesn't sound good. It's sometimes called "granular noise" or described as "gritty" or "dirty" or "sandpapery" sounding, especially at the lowest signal levels, e.g. the way that the last moments of reverberant sound die down in an otherwise quiet hall.
I own a CD player that can play SACD recordings. The only difference I *think* I noticed in a dual format recording was, the reverb tail was much clearer, much more pleasant and more natural. For example, in this recording.
https://www.amazon.com/Mozart-Requiem-Mozarts-Original-Manuscript/dp/B00022UO9I

Of course you can only notice that if you are in a very well conditioned and quiet room, or listening on headphones. Still, it sounds beautiful and I imagine that the extra bit depth helps.

Quote
(Somewhere I think I still have a Columbia CD of a piano concerto in which you can hear a "frying" sound each time a note decays into silence if you turn the volume up. Someone evidently didn't adjust the A/D converters in their PCM-1610 before the session, or maybe they left the dither switched off, or maybe both.)
That's a valuable example then! It's often difficult to find goofs in order to ilustrate some of these phenomena :)

Quote
We could talk about the issues of floating point representation near the noise floor, but I think that would leave a lot of audio-only people out. Summary is that it's not worth arguing about--as long as you don't inadvertently create modulation of the noise floor by the desired signal.

But given the marketing-type claims that I've seen so far, it's not clear to me whether this principle is being observed or not. If it is, I wouldn't expect to see anyone touting the advantages of potentially having more bits in the mantissa (the magnitude portion of the floating point representation) at and around the level of the noise floor, because that just doesn't matter; the roundoff error is below audible significance in relation to that noise floor, and rescaling the exponent just to get more bits into the mantissa in such cases is an illusory pursuit at best.
Well, modern analog electronics can be really quiet. Moreover very quiet equipment has become really affordable. If you happen to record at a very low level and you raise the volume in postproduction that extra resolution should help.

High sample rates? I never saw the point (although some old A/D converters had poor filters and having the filter cut off frequency far from our hearing limit was beneficial) except of course for sound design where the recording can be reproduced at a much lower sample rate.
« Last Edit: September 01, 2019, 05:15:44 PM by borjam »
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Offline justme

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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #62 on: September 02, 2019, 02:21:47 PM »
As the first generation MixPres are having a lot of buffer error when writing to many SD cards - I really hope SD could step up a bit and actually publish a true and verified list of confirmed cards working at highest rates and all channels and not put all burden on us buyers on an individual basis to invest in cards and do trial and error tests on our own.

I took as peek at their Approved Media which still only list 1 (one) card - their own which we have seen failing as well.
Nor have they updated their Audio Calculator for 32-bit fp.
https://www.sounddevices.com/mixpre-series-approved-media-list/

As the data rate for 32-bit FP will be some 30-ish percent higher than todays 24-bit fixed in the first gen recorders, the buffer errors and card problems might still be present in the II-series.
Unless they do have change their memory card management but then I really wish SD told us about it.
And also released a firmware upgrade for us with the first gen MixPres.


I'm a bit annoyed - SoundDevices are no slouch in the pro audio business but when it comes to memory card support and their listing of a single card when other competing manufacturers manage to list hundred of cards. I do feel they just don't care when they give us answers like this:



we’ve preemptively given customers the ability to choose with the guidance on what to look for in an SD card. Our approved media list has cards that we’ve tested in-house with our products. The SAM32 SD is the only one on the list as we’ve ensured that the card has been thoroughly tested. It has been optimized to work with the MixPre Series.

If they only manage to come up with ONE card that also needed to be optimised to work with the MixPre Series, they really should consider if they do need to change the approach.
« Last Edit: September 02, 2019, 02:29:47 PM by justme »

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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #63 on: September 02, 2019, 03:03:43 PM »

not put all burden on us buyers on an individual basis to invest in cards and do trial and error tests on our own.

Many manufacturers of recorders have been guilty of this. Never thought someone like Sound Devices would let this be the case when their reputation is so highly regarded. They need to test some cards and get a list together.

I expect this kind of behavior out of some other manufacturers but not SD.
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Offline EmRR

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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #64 on: September 02, 2019, 03:26:20 PM »
Elsewhere, I've reported there are ways to overdrive the input circuitry of an F8n without hitting digital zero, in fact with line input trim set to -10, it squarewaves at about -5.5dBFS.

I don't know about the SD units.  A meaningful spec would be one that relates analog input headroom to 0dBFS, so one knows when 0dBFS is accidentally touched, how much headroom exists beyond it.  Theoretical 32 bit Float headroom is meaningless if the front end is clipped. 
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Offline Paul Isaacs

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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #65 on: September 02, 2019, 11:42:28 PM »
MixPre-II: maximum microphone input level before clipping is +12dBV.

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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #66 on: September 03, 2019, 12:38:48 AM »
specs on site say +14 dB on mic and +28 dB on line

Mic XLR: +14dBu (limiters on or off)
Line XLR: +28dBu (limiters on or off)
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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #67 on: September 03, 2019, 01:40:51 AM »
dBu is not dBV!


Thanks for the facts, Paul!
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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #68 on: September 03, 2019, 05:40:19 AM »
MixPre-II: maximum microphone input level before clipping is +12dBV.

Can someone explain this like I’m 5?

Thanks.
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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #69 on: September 03, 2019, 09:49:01 AM »
dBu is not dBV!


Thanks for the facts, Paul!
oops I missed that.
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Offline pohaku

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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #70 on: September 04, 2019, 11:47:27 AM »
Pricing of the new line is interesting.  The list price of the 3 is the same, but the 6 is $50 lower and the base 10 looks to be quite a bit lower than the first iteration 10t and a little less expensive than the 10m (but you can buy the musician add on if you want that functionality).

Of course all the first generation units are now on sale.
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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #71 on: September 04, 2019, 11:50:43 AM »
Pricing of the new line is interesting.  The list price of the 3 is the same, but the 6 is $50 lower and the base 10 looks to be quite a bit lower than the first iteration 10t and a little less expensive than the 10m (but you can buy the musician add on if you want that functionality).

Of course all the first generation units are now on sale.
And considering the fact that the 2nd-gen MixPre recorders come with the badly needed AC adapter, it indicates that SoundDevices really wants to be competitive.

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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #72 on: September 04, 2019, 12:49:36 PM »
Pricing of the new line is interesting.  The list price of the 3 is the same, but the 6 is $50 lower and the base 10 looks to be quite a bit lower than the first iteration 10t and a little less expensive than the 10m (but you can buy the musician add on if you want that functionality).

Of course all the first generation units are now on sale.
And considering the fact that the 2nd-gen MixPre recorders come with the badly needed AC adapter, it indicates that SoundDevices really wants to be competitive.

badly needed? a usb-c to AC power adaptor can be had for $20....
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Offline WiFiJeff

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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #73 on: September 04, 2019, 01:42:23 PM »
Just got a shipping notice from B&H on the mixpre-6 II, supposed to arrive tomorrow.

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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #74 on: September 04, 2019, 04:46:05 PM »
dBu and dBV measurements
-----------------------------------

Can someone explain this like I’m 5?

It can get a bit confusing when some measurements are quoted in dBu & some in dBV, but that's life! However, it's simple to convert between them.

dB in any measurement is always a ratio between two values, and so one of these needs to be your reference point:

dBV is referenced to 1.0 Volts
dBu is referenced to 0.775 Volts

When you have 2 signals, a & b,    the difference in dB  = 20*log(a/b)

So to convert a measurement in dBV to dBu, just add 2.21dB.

Paul quoted the MixPre's max mic input level  as 12dBV.
Just add 2.21dB to get to Jerryfreak's "official"  spec of 14dBu (more or less - don't lose sleep over fractions of a dB!)

This works out to be 3.88V.   (BTW, original & MkII are identical spec here)


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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #75 on: September 04, 2019, 05:21:38 PM »
dBu and dBV measurements
-----------------------------------

Can someone explain this like I’m 5?

It can get a bit confusing when some measurements are quoted in dBu & some in dBV, but that's life! However, it's simple to convert between them.

dB in any measurement is always a ratio between two values, and so one of these needs to be your reference point:

dBV is referenced to 1.0 Volts
dBu is referenced to 0.775 Volts

When you have 2 signals, a & b,    the difference in dB  = 20*log(a/b)

So to convert a measurement in dBV to dBu, just add 2.21dB.

Paul quoted the MixPre's max mic input level  as 12dBV.
Just add 2.21dB to get to Jerryfreak's "official"  spec of 14dBu (more or less - don't lose sleep over fractions of a dB!)

This works out to be 3.88V.   (BTW, original & MkII are identical spec here)

Thanks. How does this relate to our use?

Appreciate it.
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Offline Gutbucket

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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #76 on: September 04, 2019, 05:33:39 PM »
Of course dithering will eliminate the "stairsteps" but still dithering is noise, so one way or another you signal to noise is lower.

The point of contention regards what occurs within the well established dynamic range limitations of any digital storage format.  It is not about the change in dynamic range storage capability (No one is contending dynamic range storage capacity is not dramatically increased with 32 bit floating point representation), nor is it about the vastly more restrictive real-world dynamic range limitations imposed by the recording environment, the limitations of the microphones, the analog stages through which the signal passes prior to digitization, and the digitization process itself, but rather the "resolution" with which a signal is represented within the well established dynamic range limits of a particular file recording format.  ..and indeed if "resolution" actually has any agreed upon meaning at all in that context.

This sums it up:
Quote from: DSatz
[snip]..equate bit depth/word length with the noise floor and nothing else.
[and]
The other thing is that there's some strange hand-waving going on in this thread about low-level signals needing to have the same s/n ratio as high-level signals. That makes no sense at all, as a few people have pointed out--but the hand-waving continues.

Quote from: borjam
Well, when recording it's useful to have a lot of headroom so that unexpected transients won't ruin your day. We use to record on 24 bit formats because of that. With more resolution available to the low level signals you have more freedom.

An "unexpected transient which might otherwise ruin your day" is high-level signal by definition, one which would have otherwise resulted in clipping or otherwise unacceptable levels of harmonic distortion.  A low-level transient does not require an extreme dynamic range to capture it completely, like any other it only requires enough dynamic range to contain the peak level of the transient.  We need enough headroom to capture high-level transients, but that's essentially a different discussion which concerns what happens at the "other end" of the dynamic range spectrum.

Quote
If you happen to record at a very low level and you raise the volume in postproduction that extra resolution should help.
^
What extra resolution?  This is the recurring claim which no one has been able to back up.  Please explain or point us to a technical explanation for this.. other than a gut-feeling "that's how it seems like it should work", which seems to be the only basis for the claim thus far.

No animosity intended by the way, I'm only trying to get to the bottom of what seems to me to be a strawman argument supporting this rather bold claim.
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Offline mjwin

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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #77 on: September 04, 2019, 06:40:17 PM »
Re. explanation of clipping levels for the Mixpre mic inputs:
 
Thanks. How does this relate to our use?

You might need to know whether your recorder input will clip at a loud show.

But first, you need to know the sensitivity spec of your mic.  Sensitivities are always quoted at a level of 94dB SPL, (equivalent to air pressure of 1Pascal)  Most SDCs have sensitivities  between -30 & -40dBV.
Say you were using  Schoeps MK4, with a sensitivity of   -36.5dBV.
You plug it into a Mixpre with a max input level of +12dBV
-36.5 - 12 =  -48.5dB difference between the mic output at 94dBSPL and the output when it clips the mic pre.
So the input clips at 48.5+94 = 142.5dB SPL which is louder than a close-miked drumkit, and also much higher than the rated spec of the microphone (so the mic signal will be very distorted at this point)!

Although I've veered off topic a bit with these calculations, what they show is that the Mixpres (new & old)  have a impressively wide input range. +12dBV at one end, and the noise floor of -130dBV at the other = 142dB dynamic range. And that's back to pretty much where this thread is at.

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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #78 on: September 04, 2019, 08:17:09 PM »
So, I've reversed my position on 32 bit in the field, after reading some 9 year old Pro Tools materials. I now see in practice 32 bit can allow you to set super conservative levels that are adjusted up in post just like 24 bit, but unlike 24 bit, you can fly closer too the Sun, so to speak. Imagine setting ideal levels at the show, based on average signal without concern for unexpected peaks. The preamps won't overload if analog limited engage, and you can't go "over" on the recording, just the display. I'd much rather err on the side of being a little too hot and having to dial it back in post, instead of boosting a weak level recording. Could be all in my head, but it just seems right.
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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #79 on: September 05, 2019, 12:33:58 AM »
badly needed? a usb-c to AC power adaptor can be had for $20....
I'd rather stick to the manufacturers' recommended AC adapter products so as not to risk damaging my purchased electronic goods. SD's own adapter definitely provides a lot more peace of mind.

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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #80 on: September 05, 2019, 01:53:33 AM »
I record thunder sometimes - it seems like 32 bit would be idea.  A lot of times - my levels cannot get it right and I end up with distortion (i.e. the storm is at such a low level versus a great thunder that would have been worth recording correctly).

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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #81 on: September 05, 2019, 05:54:11 AM »

Quote
If you happen to record at a very low level and you raise the volume in postproduction that extra resolution should help.
^
What extra resolution?  This is the recurring claim which no one has been able to back up.  Please explain or point us to a technical explanation for this.. other than a gut-feeling "that's how it seems like it should work", which seems to be the only basis for the claim thus far.

No animosity intended by the way, I'm only trying to get to the bottom of what seems to me to be a strawman argument supporting this rather bold claim.

Barring a more detailed technical explanation, I suppose the only way to really know is that someone who gets their hands on one of these units is going to have to run parallel 24-bit fixed and 32-bit float recordings at very low level, normalize, A/B them, null test, etc.  I don't see simultaneous 24-fixed and 32-float recording as an option in the MixPre II manual, but it is an option on the (still not released) Zoom F6.
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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #82 on: September 05, 2019, 06:18:01 AM »
re: dBU vs dBV question from yesterday, this has always been a handy page for me

http://www.sengpielaudio.com/calculator-db-volt.htm
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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #83 on: September 05, 2019, 06:38:46 AM »
Quote
If you happen to record at a very low level and you raise the volume in postproduction that extra resolution should help.
^
What extra resolution?  This is the recurring claim which no one has been able to back up.  Please explain or point us to a technical explanation for this.. other than a gut-feeling "that's how it seems like it should work", which seems to be the only basis for the claim thus far.

I think part of the issue here is the failure to grasp how the omnipresent noise impinges on the desired signal. 

There seems to be a common misconception  that the noise floor in a system is something "down there" which the signal needs to climb above if it's to be heard and, once that's happened, it is magically noise-free with the potential for infinite resolution (limited only by the convertors). This is simply not the case. The noise, whether we like it or not,  floats on our signal, effectively adding a random value to each sample and inherently limiting its resolution.

Here's a simple comparison between two digital systems. It assumes that the convertors and electronics are  "perfect" & is very much a first-order approximation. It doesn't take into account the dithering & resolution enhancing effect of noise, nor all manner of psycho-acoustic phenomena, etc. It's just a relative comparison. (Disclaimer!)

Say we're recording an orchestral concert and set our mic gain so the recorder clips at 120dB SPL.
We're in a *very* quiet hall, everyone holds their breath, and the background noise is only 24dB SPL. (if only...)
Then the music begins with a single quiet note, which peaks at 54dB SPL.

That note has a dynamic range of 30dB.   As the reverb dies away, those of us present hear the sound smoothly decay into the background ambiant noise.

24 bit recording
The 24 bit convertor has a dynamic range of 144dB.  We've set 0dB (clipping) to occur at a sound pressure level of 120dB SPL, so the background noise  at 24dB SPL is 96dB down from clipping, & occupies the bottom 8 bits of our digitized signal .
Our Convertor samples the note, capturing the peak at the 13 bit level . The "gut feeling" is that, the peak of the captured waveform will smoothly follow the instrumental sound in small increments of 1/8192 (13 bit resolution) of the peak value.   

But we've forgotten about the noise!  The bottom 8 bits of the convertor are jumping about randomly, with the effect that they add a random value to each  sampled point.  We can't be sure exactly where the wanted signal is, as the bottom 8 bits are meaningless. The peak of the musical note is only 30dB above the noise, so we have only a 30dB dynamic range. (Resolution approx 5 bits). But it won't sound "granular" or look like a staircase  on the screen. If we zoom out our display we'll just see noise superimposed on our waveform; which is exactly what we hear when sitting in the hall.

32 bit recording
So what if we're also recording  with a (hypothetical) 32 bit convertor?  The sound levels are obviously the same, and again we set our clipping level to be 120dB SPL.

Now our convertor has a dynamic range of 192dB. The extended low level resolution means that the noise now occupies the bottom 16 bits of our digitized signal, with the first musical note peaking at the 21 bit level.  Wow! we think, "the resolution  is now 1 part in 2.097 million!"

But it isn't. Again, we've forgotten  the noise! Now the bottom 16 bits are meaningless in terms of resolution as they're simply noise. The signal peaks at 54dB SPL, the noise is at 24dB SPL, the dynamic range is 30dB. 

Nothing we can do in the digital domain will increase the resolution of our wanted signal.  In order to achieve this, we have to reduce the noise level at the recorder inputs. All we can do is to place the mic closer to the instruments, switch off the a/c, record at night,etc.

It's a pity that the conversation has gone down this particular rabbit hole, as the upgraded MixPres potentially have a lot more to offer.   As a few people have already mentioned, the dual convertor topology should allow us to record low level signals using maximum gain from the low-noise preamps, whilst also allowing capture of high level transient peaks up to the clipping level of the input. Effectively that allows us to utilize the full dynamic range of the analog front end, and not worry about clipping. Ever.  And that can only be a "good thing".



Offline mjwin

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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #84 on: September 05, 2019, 07:04:17 AM »
I record thunder sometimes - it seems like 32 bit would be idea.  A lot of times - my levels cannot get it right and I end up with distortion (i.e. the storm is at such a low level versus a great thunder that would have been worth recording correctly).

Paul used the thunderstorm example a few pages back, and I then commented on how I do mental calculations to ensure that I capture the full dynamic range without compromising resolution.

But this is exactly the situation where the freedom from potential clipping would be of practical benefit.  You simply don't need to worry about the levels. Just setting up your mics out of the rain, not being in a vulnerable spot, etc. is plenty to think about in the heat of the moment.

There are parallels with photography here. I remember using color transparency film and needing to be very careful to meter for the highlights so that they didn't crush to white. The dynamic range of transparency film (& early digital) was quite low & if you weren't careful you'd end up with everything washed out, or no shadow detail at all. Modern cameras can achieve fantastic results with just point & shoot - allowing you to concentrate on the composition, timing & other artistic elements.  Just like sound recording.

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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #85 on: September 05, 2019, 08:04:03 AM »
There's 24-bit and 32-bit fixed point value.
Those not the same as 32-bit floating point value which is what SD and Zoom is using in their recorders although Sound Devices uses 3 parallel preamp/ADC stages with low/mid/high gain which can be combined into a 2 stage output if needed. Exactly how Zoom have implemented their solution we will need to wait for.

While 32 bit fixed point offers a better resolution than 24 bit fixed, both will suffer from a reduction of resolution bits the lower the signal gets.
A 32-bit floating point value basically contains of a 24-bit value (mantissa) which always retains its precision by floating the decimal and 8 bit exponent which defines the signal level of it.

It appears as if SD is reaching the need dynamic range with their use of three parallel stage input feeding the 32-bit FP signal processor.

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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #86 on: September 06, 2019, 12:14:48 PM »
Hi all,

Would it be possible for you to send the following to SoundDevices' Tech Support team on my behalf? Since I don't have the MixPre-6 II at the moment, I can't send it without a serial number via their support contact form. My request is related to implementing an accessibility feature for the visually impaired via a future firmware update.
............
Dear SoundDevices tech support representative,

Hope this finds you well.

My issue is that the MixPre-6 II doesn't provide audio messages, via headphones, to assist the visually impaired with the operation of the device. As such, making changes to its menus and settings is quite tricky and challenging for those who have little or no vision.
When a USB keyboard or a controler is connected to the MixPre-6 II, it would be quite useful to hear audio prompts, via headphones, upon pressing keys and keyboard shortcuts. Otherwise -- and as a visually impaired person, I can't comfortably utilize such a capable and robust device. In short, I want audio and speech prompts, possibly via a future firmware update, which -- if enabled -- would allow me to alter most or all of the device's settings via my USB keyboard or -- if applicable -- via a controler, independently.

Hope SoundDevices can implement this suggestion which would be a tremendous boon to the visually impaired.

All the best
............
Thanks beforehand for your assistance.

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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #87 on: September 06, 2019, 12:34:34 PM »
I sent your excellent request to the SD support.
And also included a link to your post.

I’ll post their reply.

Hi all,

Would it be possible for you to send the following to SoundDevices' Tech Support team on my behalf? Since I don't have the MixPre-6 II at the moment, I can't send it without a serial number via their support contact form. My request is related to implementing an accessibility feature for the visually impaired via a future firmware 
............
Thanks beforehand for your assistance.

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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #88 on: September 06, 2019, 12:41:41 PM »
I sent your excellent request to the SD support.
And also included a link to your post.

I’ll post their reply.
Thanks for your prompt and considerate action!
Looking forward to their reply.

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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #89 on: September 06, 2019, 02:40:37 PM »
SD support just got back to me.
Here's their initial response. If I get any follow ups I'll post them to.

Thank you for contacting Sound Devices. I will certainly pass this feedback along to our engineering team for evaluation, though I cannot promise if or when these features would be added.

Thanks,
Daniel
Sound Devices, LLC


Thanks for your prompt and considerate action!
Looking forward to their reply.

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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #90 on: September 06, 2019, 02:42:44 PM »
SD support just got back to me.
Here's their initial response. If I get any follow ups I'll post them to.

Thank you for contacting Sound Devices. I will certainly pass this feedback along to our engineering team for evaluation, though I cannot promise if or when these features would be added.

Thanks,
Daniel
Sound Devices, LLC

Thanks. At least it's good to know that my request, courtesy of your action, has reached them. Let's see what they might cook in the future.

Best,
Amir

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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #91 on: September 06, 2019, 06:00:08 PM »
I accidentally posted this to the other MixPre thread.  It's more appropriate here:


Here are two good discussion threads on JWSound you might all be interested in.  Paul is active on the first, and Jon Tatooles (also of SD) is active on the second:

https://jwsoundgroup.net/index.php?/topic/34175-the-new-mixpre-ii-are-here/&
https://jwsoundgroup.net/index.php?/topic/34174-floating-point-v-fixed-point-wav-files/&


In the second thread above, Jon linked a page on the SD site where we can now hear some music recorded in 32-bit float on the MixPre 10 II, at 3 vastly different levels:
https://www.sounddevices.com/noise-in-32-bit-float/


Paul, if you are reading this, I request that you please do same with some very dynamic piano music.  I know that is right in your wheelhouse.
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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #92 on: September 06, 2019, 08:39:36 PM »
Hi all,

Would it be possible for you to send the following to SoundDevices' Tech Support team on my behalf? Since I don't have the MixPre-6 II at the moment, I can't send it without a serial number via their support contact form. My request is related to implementing an accessibility feature for the visually impaired via a future firmware update.
............
Dear SoundDevices tech support representative,

Hope this finds you well.

My issue is that the MixPre-6 II doesn't provide audio messages, via headphones, to assist the visually impaired with the operation of the device. As such, making changes to its menus and settings is quite tricky and challenging for those who have little or no vision.
When a USB keyboard or a controler is connected to the MixPre-6 II, it would be quite useful to hear audio prompts, via headphones, upon pressing keys and keyboard shortcuts. Otherwise -- and as a visually impaired person, I can't comfortably utilize such a capable and robust device. In short, I want audio and speech prompts, possibly via a future firmware update, which -- if enabled -- would allow me to alter most or all of the device's settings via my USB keyboard or -- if applicable -- via a controler, independently.

Hope SoundDevices can implement this suggestion which would be a tremendous boon to the visually impaired.

All the best
............
Thanks beforehand for your assistance.
great question/request!
Do you have a device now that does prompts like this?
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Offline justink

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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #93 on: September 06, 2019, 10:01:09 PM »

Quote
If you happen to record at a very low level and you raise the volume in postproduction that extra resolution should help.
^
What extra resolution?  This is the recurring claim which no one has been able to back up.  Please explain or point us to a technical explanation for this.. other than a gut-feeling "that's how it seems like it should work", which seems to be the only basis for the claim thus far.

No animosity intended by the way, I'm only trying to get to the bottom of what seems to me to be a strawman argument supporting this rather bold claim.

Barring a more detailed technical explanation, I suppose the only way to really know is that someone who gets their hands on one of these units is going to have to run parallel 24-bit fixed and 32-bit float recordings at very low level, normalize, A/B them, null test, etc.  I don't see simultaneous 24-fixed and 32-float recording as an option in the MixPre II manual, but it is an option on the (still not released) Zoom F6.

i think you would see the difference at the opposite.

run the 24 bit peaking around -6 and then the 32 bit rarely going beneath -6.
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Offline jerryfreak

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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #94 on: September 06, 2019, 10:17:36 PM »
it does not record directly to flash drives, but can back files up to them after the fact
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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #95 on: September 06, 2019, 10:58:37 PM »
great question/request!
Do you have a device now that does prompts like this?
Thanks. Not that I use it much as its preamps are quite noisy and I don't like the way it performs some tasks, but my Olympus LS-100 has a feature which, when enabled, will read menu names, settings and the status of altered items back to me as I navigate around them. It also reads battery prompts and some, if not all, system messages. Of course, its recording-related prompts are delivered via beeps. Looking at what Olympus did in the past, this seems to be fairly simple in that audio prompts can be recorded and chained to menu names/settings. It's also worth mentioning that some of the newer Olympus recorders also have such a feature for the visually impaired, but the LS-100 was their best recorder which was equipped with it. Hope SoundDevices can follow suit as its MixPre devices are both more complicated and far more professional.

Best,
Amir

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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #96 on: September 07, 2019, 07:43:17 PM »
currently out of 13 cards tested only 2 have sustained writes from front to back without errors at mixpre6 (v1) maximum bitrate of 4.5 MB/sec

I hope SD takes this issue seriously or its gonna be a lot of bad press when mixpre6-II and 10-IIs bump up their bitrate with 32 bit

currently the only card they can endorse gives 80 minutes at max channels/bitrate on a mixpre-6 II and 55 minutes on a mixpre-10 II.
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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #97 on: September 07, 2019, 08:23:27 PM »
currently out of 13 cards tested only 2 have sustained writes from front to back without errors at mixpre6 (v1) maximum bitrate of 4.5 MB/sec

I hope SD takes this issue seriously or its gonna be a lot of bad press when mixpre6-II and 10-IIs bump up their bitrate with 32 bit

currently the only card they can endorse gives 80 minutes at max channels/bitrate on a mixpre-6 II and 55 minutes on a mixpre-10 II.

Though in general I have had an easier time with Zoom recorders on powering and card use than with the SD633, the manual for the upcoming Zoom F6 (also 6 ISO tracks plus L/R mix) notes:

192 kHz cannot be selected when the recording mode is Float (32bit) and the LR track is on.
When 192 kHz is selected, Dual (16+32bit) and Dual (24+32bit) cannot be set.

And the F8n also has the following:

When 192 kHz is selected, L/R tracks will not be recorded. The Input Delay and Output Delay are also disabled. Moreover, Auto Mix, Ambisonic Mode, and Input Limiter > On/Off > On (Advanced) cannot be set.

So maybe Sound Devices has to convert this from a bug to a feature.

I am currently testing my MixPre-6 II at 32 bit float, 6 tracks + L/R at 96kHz, which is all I will ever use.

Jeff

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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #98 on: September 07, 2019, 09:00:35 PM »
I am currently testing my MixPre-6 II at 32 bit float, 6 tracks + L/R at 96kHz, which is all I will ever use.

Jeff

can you take one for the team and test your card at 192k/8 channel and report to that thread?

thanks
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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #99 on: September 07, 2019, 09:12:59 PM »
I am currently testing my MixPre-6 II at 32 bit float, 6 tracks + L/R at 96kHz, which is all I will ever use.

Jeff

can you take one for the team and test your card at 192k/8 channel and report to that thread?

thanks

When my current (2.5 hour) test - half a 64GB SD card mirrored to a 32GB flash drive - is done I'll run at 192k/6+2 for 2.5 hours to the 64GB card alone.  I should have a 128GB USB flash by Monday for longer tests.

Jeff

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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #100 on: September 07, 2019, 09:55:56 PM »
Interesting discussion of MixPre II and 32 bit float on JWSound board.  Here is the SD patent:

patentimages.storage.googleapis.com/a7/6b/f5/77e31e68cca8b7/US9654134.pdf

And here is an interesting take on SD/Zoom/Zaxcom (and maybe sonosax):

"As I understand the Zaxcom patent for two gain stage recording is that it they do it in a very rudimentary way. Pretty much do it at one level, then do it another level and depending on if one exceeds the other or not perform and switch between stages. 
 
"The SD solution is to perform at least two and in their implementation three gain stages and ADC in parallel. Use all three by themselves, merge into two or scrap one if corrupt. 

 
"And then do process their vectors to create a final stream in 32-bit float. 
 
"I really would like to see how Zoom is doing it in the F6. 
Or if the sudden manufacturing problem is somehow related to someones patent."

Jeff

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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #101 on: September 07, 2019, 10:02:41 PM »
I am currently testing my MixPre-6 II at 32 bit float, 6 tracks + L/R at 96kHz, which is all I will ever use.

Jeff

can you take one for the team and test your card at 192k/8 channel and report to that thread?

thanks

When my current (2.5 hour) test - half a 64GB SD card mirrored to a 32GB flash drive - is done I'll run at 192k/6+2 for 2.5 hours to the 64GB card alone.  I should have a 128GB USB flash by Monday for longer tests.

Jeff

so it does mirror to flash in real time? thats news...

i can send you any of these cards ive tried to test in your unit, real easy SASE style


One point that might be relevant to your test is that the vast majority of my failures have been on the back half of the cards' capacity. most run 30-60% of card capacity then seem to crash at an ever-shortening interval
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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #102 on: September 07, 2019, 11:19:43 PM »

so it does mirror to flash in real time? thats news...



Not quite.  It copies as soon as a file is closed.  The MixPre-6 II starts new files every 4 GB, when one segment closes it is copied.  With 8 files at 96kHz this was every 23 minutes.  When I stopped recording that 96kHz test tonight, there were ~700MB left to copy over, so I had to keep the power on another few minutes until /Copying/ on the USB screen of the bottom status bar shut off.  Just luck that I didn't lose anything Friday and could do the file transfer to my computer from the USB flash (SD card access requires removing the L battery sled, which is a nuisance and probably a source of future repair bills).  I may end up doing the transfer from the SD card anyway, as I see some chatter on the net that a complete formatting in a computer, not a quick formatting, is better for card performance.  I have been doing this with Tascam DR-2d cards (used for 4 channel 96 kHz recording) at the instruction of Gutbucket, who has been my guru on this 4 channel gem.  It may only be a superstition, but it works so far for me.



 

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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #103 on: September 08, 2019, 02:27:38 AM »
I guess the easiest way to get a "real" live backup is to hook up an iOS device on the USB, map in iOS as ISO's plus mix or stereo pairs + mix and record the all channels @96KHz.
Not perfect but might save one from some card corruption anxiety. :)

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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #104 on: September 08, 2019, 03:17:47 AM »
depending on your mix, a simple 2-track out to any of the handhelds like a sony A10 would save your ass if recording stops due to buffer

thats if you were doing multiple stereo pairs like most tapers, a little less useful if you are doing isolated instruments unless you want to put in the time to do a decent mix on the fly

8 tracks usb out to a small laptop could be a backup but thats cumbersome and the opposite direction we should be working imo
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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #105 on: September 08, 2019, 07:59:54 AM »

"I really would like to see how Zoom is doing it in the F6. 
Or if the sudden manufacturing problem is somehow related to someones patent."


I caught that bit, too.  In their news release, Zoom is citing "a mechanical component that needed modification to assure consistent, overall durability."  Everyone assumes that it is the battery door / compartment, and that they are recalling all units to modify them in addition to the new production.  Zoom is now claiming Fall / Winter of this year as the projected release date.  We'll see.  The theory about a patent issue is interesting, but if that were true, I would expect Zoom to have to pull the unit entirely for a full redesign.
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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #106 on: September 08, 2019, 08:39:21 AM »
depending on your mix, a simple 2-track out to any of the handhelds like a sony A10 would save your ass if recording stops due to buffer

thats if you were doing multiple stereo pairs like most tapers, a little less useful if you are doing isolated instruments unless you want to put in the time to do a decent mix on the fly

8 tracks usb out to a small laptop could be a backup but thats cumbersome and the opposite direction we should be working imo

small tablet would probably have enough horsepower
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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #107 on: September 08, 2019, 12:20:25 PM »
With all this drama surrounding SD cards not being able to handle what the MixPre is capable of:

1. Is it possible that a good amount of newly produced flash media are simply not up the performance challenge of multi-channel, high-bitrate / depth audio?*  I think we can all agree at this point that the manufacturer speed rating of the card seems to mean little when it comes to audio applications, as has been proven time and again.  Remember that the 7-series used CF cards, hard drives, and SSDs.  I don't recall any drama about write problems.

2. If (1) is true, then why (other than cost) are audio recorder manufacturers still using this format?

3. If I was working for Sound Devices, I would have ditched the SD card slot in series II, and instead used m.2 NVME SSDs.  They are small, relatively inexpensive, and their read/write performance is superlative.  The recorder would probably never approach the limits of what that SSD could handle, but then you would be assured that you would never run into a media performance bottleneck.

---

*Alternate theory:

Could audio recorder manufacturers simply be using write buffers that are too small, as was speculated with the Tascam media performance issues?
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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #108 on: September 08, 2019, 12:36:24 PM »

(SD card access requires removing the L battery sled, which is a nuisance and probably a source of future repair bills).  I may end up doing the transfer from the SD card anyway,

why not transfer via usb c direct from mp6 to computer?  that's how I do it on series 1.  I never take the card out....  even if computer doesn't have c get a c to a cable or something.
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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #109 on: September 08, 2019, 04:52:08 PM »
Just luck that I didn't lose anything Friday and could do the file transfer to my computer from the USB flash (SD card access requires removing the L battery sled, which is a nuisance and probably a source of future repair bills).
Why not plug the MixPre into the computer using USB A (computer end) to USB C (MixPre end) with the supplied cable? Power the mix-pre on, go into SYSTEM ( home menu page 3) and select FILE TRANSFER (menu page 2)


The machine will say USB-C FILE TRANSFER MODE and the SD card will appear on your computer as a hard drive volume.
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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #110 on: September 08, 2019, 05:40:47 PM »
Just luck that I didn't lose anything Friday and could do the file transfer to my computer from the USB flash (SD card access requires removing the L battery sled, which is a nuisance and probably a source of future repair bills).
Why not plug the MixPre into the computer using USB A (computer end) to USB C (MixPre end) with the supplied cable? Power the mix-pre on, go into SYSTEM ( home menu page 3) and select FILE TRANSFER (menu page 2)


The machine will say USB-C FILE TRANSFER MODE and the SD card will appear on your computer as a hard drive volume.

Yeah, I guess I could also do a complete format of the card this way.  I will still want the USB flash drive as a backup.  Since it takes me a while to knockdown my rig I can leave the MixPre powered up until I am ready to leave.

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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #111 on: September 08, 2019, 06:03:20 PM »
the sled connection is very robust i wouldnt sweat breaking it.

'slow formatting' cards didnt seem to make a difference in any of my tests
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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #112 on: September 08, 2019, 06:20:00 PM »
With all this drama surrounding SD cards not being able to handle what the MixPre is capable of:

1. Is it possible that a good amount of newly produced flash media are simply not up the performance challenge of multi-channel, high-bitrate / depth audio?*

no they handle much higher loads on video and other sequential write applications. Every card ive tested has demonstrated stable operation at an order of magnitude higher sequential write rates than the mixpre requires

I think we can all agree at this point that the manufacturer speed rating of the card seems to mean little when it comes to audio applications, as has been proven time and again.  Remember that the 7-series used CF cards, hard drives, and SSDs.  I don't recall any drama about write problems.

as for the cards, every one i tested exceeded its rating (V30, V60, U3, which are 3-6X higher than the 'class 10' they specify)

as for the robustness of the 7-series, hard to say. For all you know those were dropping samples and not alerting anyone. Thats kind of the next step for the mixpres. Even if they can make the unit not crash and burn on buffer errors, it is possible that they just decide to allow tolerance to these errors without alerting. If the problem is suddenly and mysteriously solved in firmware i would surely be looking at the waveforms for evidence of dropped samples

*Alternate theory:

Could audio recorder manufacturers simply be using write buffers that are too small, as was speculated with the Tascam media performance issues?

seems more likely in this case. with that much available overhead it should be fairly simple to write data sequentially to media. 250 mhz computers could do this adequately to slow 2.5" IDE hard disks 20 years ago... while running a full OS as well. Looking at the high tech level of the patent application, its baffling how adequate buffering isnt an afterthought for these guys.. and they are silent on the issue.
« Last Edit: September 08, 2019, 06:24:30 PM by jerryfreak »
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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #113 on: September 09, 2019, 06:32:58 PM »
I finally received my MixPre-6 II today since FedEx refused to deliver this weekend as scheduled.
I fire up the unit to set the Custom mode and set it up for 32 bit... I can't find 32 bit anywhere.
I powered it on and off and went thru Advanced and Basic setups and cannot find 32 bit.
I call Sound Devices tech support and speak with a guy named Sean who was quite helpful.
When he figured out I knew how to setup the unit, he had me restart it again and check the firmware.
My unit has firmware 3.03, which is incorrect for the II series, I should have 4.01.
I could either do a return with B&H, or wait for the firmware update since it is NOT ON THE WEBSITE YET.
Looks like they were in too big of a hurry to push these out.

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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #114 on: September 09, 2019, 08:40:37 PM »
Mine came with firmware version 4.00.  That wasn't up yet, either.  Wonder what .01 fixes.

Jeff

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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #115 on: September 09, 2019, 09:36:06 PM »
I finally received my MixPre-6 II today since FedEx refused to deliver this weekend as scheduled.
I fire up the unit to set the Custom mode and set it up for 32 bit... I can't find 32 bit anywhere.
I powered it on and off and went thru Advanced and Basic setups and cannot find 32 bit.
I call Sound Devices tech support and speak with a guy named Sean who was quite helpful.
When he figured out I knew how to setup the unit, he had me restart it again and check the firmware.
My unit has firmware 3.03, which is incorrect for the II series, I should have 4.01.
I could either do a return with B&H, or wait for the firmware update since it is NOT ON THE WEBSITE YET.
Looks like they were in too big of a hurry to push these out.

Hi Darby,

I spoke with Sean after seeing this. If you reach out to him now, he should now be able to get you up and running straight away.

Paul

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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #116 on: September 09, 2019, 10:03:27 PM »

Thought this might be of interest to some of you ...

https://www.sounddevices.com/low-signal-32-bit-float/

Paul

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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #117 on: September 09, 2019, 10:19:12 PM »
I finally received my MixPre-6 II today since FedEx refused to deliver this weekend as scheduled.
I fire up the unit to set the Custom mode and set it up for 32 bit... I can't find 32 bit anywhere.
I powered it on and off and went thru Advanced and Basic setups and cannot find 32 bit.
I call Sound Devices tech support and speak with a guy named Sean who was quite helpful.
When he figured out I knew how to setup the unit, he had me restart it again and check the firmware.
My unit has firmware 3.03, which is incorrect for the II series, I should have 4.01.
I could either do a return with B&H, or wait for the firmware update since it is NOT ON THE WEBSITE YET.
Looks like they were in too big of a hurry to push these out.

Hi Darby,

I spoke with Sean after seeing this. If you reach out to him now, he should now be able to get you up and running straight away.

Paul

I received an email from Danny Greenwald with the correct firmware attached
after updating, I was able to get the unit to set up for 32 bit float... THANK YOU!

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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #118 on: September 09, 2019, 10:32:33 PM »

Thought this might be of interest to some of you ...

https://www.sounddevices.com/low-signal-32-bit-float/

Paul

VERY impressive.  Though if I ever screw up a piano recording this badly so that I need to do a >100 dB boost, I'll just leave the business quietly.

Jeff

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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #119 on: September 09, 2019, 10:33:30 PM »
Got my mixpre-10 II with firmware v4.0 today (signature required or I would have had it Saturday).

Great job Sound Devices, I don't envision a need to upgrade for quite awhile.

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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #120 on: September 09, 2019, 10:38:11 PM »
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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #121 on: September 10, 2019, 12:04:08 AM »
I think I am going to order one.  Who else has better customer service than sound devices?  That has to be factored into a purchase.
I just do not understand how this much technology can be had for such a low price?
I wonder how good it really is for music recording?  I guess I will find out

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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #122 on: September 10, 2019, 04:26:36 AM »

Thought this might be of interest to some of you ...

https://www.sounddevices.com/low-signal-32-bit-float/

Paul

Very interesting. Would it be possible to post the ISOs from this, pre-fader? Also, what is the third gain stage mentioned on the webpage? It says, "trim gain set to minimum (6 dB), fader gain set to -50 dB, master left (L) gain set to -40 dB". What is the "master left"? On the first generation, there are only trim and fader (as far as I can tell).

Thanks for your participation on the forum, Paul. It is great to have you contributing here...

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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #123 on: September 10, 2019, 09:40:25 AM »
^Post fader stereo mix gain, left channel only as the signal is mono. 



Thought this might be of interest to some of you ...

https://www.sounddevices.com/low-signal-32-bit-float/

Paul

Yes, thank you for your participation here Paul.  Very much appreciated! 

That 24bit file is a classic example of insufficient application of dither, resulting in audible noise modulation. As such, it highlights a bug in the 24bit mode operation of this unit.  If the unit was setup properly we should be hearing hearing decay into obviously audible dither noise in this >100dB amplified example, rather than into audible modulation noise.
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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #124 on: September 10, 2019, 09:56:01 AM »

Thought this might be of interest to some of you ...

https://www.sounddevices.com/low-signal-32-bit-float/

Paul

that's cool!

Yes, it is very cool indeed. I can see a stealther in front of a stack benefiting from this for obvious reasons or as the post said, someone recording fighter jets or thunder claps or making a huge error in setting levels. But a guy like me, who records pretty much the same kind of music from the taper section all the time in the same venues and sets levels the same all time, I really don’t see the need for it. Someone correct me if I’m wrong. Thanks.
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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #125 on: September 10, 2019, 11:21:26 AM »
Not wrong in questioning your actual need for it, though perhaps in premature consideration of the example as cool.   The example exposes incorrect setup of the recorder by SD for 24 bit recording mode operation.

Internally, the machine uses 32-bit floating-point representation of the signal downstream from the clever ADC operation covered by the patent.  From the example above it seems that when in 24-bit recording mode the machine truncates the internal 32-bit float representation without applying proper dither first, prior to storage in the 24 bit fixed-point format. 

« Last Edit: September 10, 2019, 11:23:00 AM by Gutbucket »
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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #126 on: September 10, 2019, 02:06:23 PM »
aka Digital Fuckery
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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #127 on: September 10, 2019, 02:39:12 PM »
In other words, the primarily thing the posted SD example illustrates is what happens when 24 bit recording is done incorrectly, rather than the improvement 32 bit floating-point storage is capable of.   

Done correctly, the only audible difference would be the signal dropping into dither noise around the least significant bit level of the 24-bit file.  The 32-bit floating-point file should have a very similar sounding noise floor profile, just somewhat lower still.. defined by the noise-floor limits of the analog input stage / ADC stage rather than that of the 24-bit fixed-point container.
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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #128 on: September 10, 2019, 02:44:00 PM »
In other words, the primarily thing the posted SD example illustrates is what happens when 24 bit recording is done incorrectly, rather than the improvement 32 bit floating-point storage is capable of.   

Done correctly, the only audible difference would be the signal dropping into dither noise around the least significant bit level of the 24-bit file.  The 32-bit floating-point file should have a very similar sounding noise floor profile, just somewhat lower still.. defined by the noise-floor limits of the analog input stage / ADC stage rather than that of the 24-bit fixed-point container.

Are you saying that this is a hardware problem in the new units?
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Offline Gutbucket

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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #129 on: September 10, 2019, 03:49:08 PM »
If the example accurately represents how the new units operate in 24bit mode, it represents an implementation error on SD's behalf with regard to these recorders.  I don't know if it is correctable via firmware or not. 

Is it a big deal?  Not in a practical sense for us or anyone using the recorder who isn't increasing gain by several orders of magnitude in post..  basically because of this:

Though if I ever screw up a piano recording this badly so that I need to do a >100 dB boost, I'll just leave the business quietly.

That ugly quantization noise which should not be heard at all in the 24 bit sample is in so low in level that in any reasonable real-world situation it effectively won't matter.

However, I do consider it a big deal for two more-fundamental reasons:
First SD is a highly reputable company.  A misleading example endangers their well-earned reputation and corporate good-will, even if only the technically minded folks notice the error.  This is aggravated when the claim is used specifically for marketing the product.  I'm not accusing SD of intentionally being misleading, only of making a mistake, drawing a false conclusion from it and leading customers to the same false conclusion.

Secondly, it represent a technical failure to implement a well-established fundamental rule of digital audio: Whenever reducing the bit-depth of a digital signal, always apply appropriate dither prior to truncation in order to avoid quantization noise artifacts.  Why has SD failed to implement this?
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Offline Paul Isaacs

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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #130 on: September 10, 2019, 03:51:15 PM »
The main point that these extreme examples are trying to demonstrate is that 32-bit float offers better accuracy and lower noise than 24-bit fixed point for super low level signals. Even if we did apply dither in 24-bit mode (which we don't), they'd still be less accurate and noisier than 32-bit float since you'd only have a few lower bits to encode the signal (e.g. 4 bits only gives you 16 amplitude levels), but in 32-bit float you have the full 24-bits (the mantissa). The dither might obscure the steps, but at the expense of more noise. The 32-bit float always maintains full 24-bit accuracy at lower levels.

Anyway, as I say, this example is mainly to make the point that no one need worry recording super low or super high levels with 32-bit float (with the wide dynamic range input stage of MixPre-II) and there are applications where that helps instill confidence.

To your point that we're trying to mislead people, certainly not intentionally - we're trying to educate people to the differences between fixed point and floating point because we have been getting many questions on this subject.  Re dither, we chose to not do internal dither because as you say, in the 24-bit real world with relatively normal gain staging, you'll never ever hear the lack of it.
« Last Edit: September 10, 2019, 04:14:26 PM by Paul Isaacs »

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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #131 on: September 10, 2019, 05:19:48 PM »
Yet it doesn't demonstrate better accuracy.   Additionally, it raises issues which are more concerning than the one it attempts to address.  For those who understand how digital audio works, this serves to diminish confidence in SD rather than inspire it.

Even if we did apply dither in 24-bit mode (which we don't) [..]

Okay. Confirmation no dither is being applied in 24-bit mode.  Why aren't standard best practices with regards to digital signal manipulation being followed?  If I were cynical, I might suggest such a compromisation of 24bit storage performance was being done to make 32-bit floating-point storage seem more of a practical improvement than it otherwise represents (which is what the example does).  But I'm not cynical and surmise that the engineers at SD have concluded this level of quantization noise is so inconsequential in practice it is not worth addressing, even if doing so would be the correct design approach. Then marketing folks offer an example of this bug as proof of low level "resolution" improvement provided by the shiny new feature.  Create a problem just to turn around and fix it.  SD can't have it both ways and remain truthful.

Quote
[..] they'd still be less accurate and noisier than 32-bit float since you'd only have a few lower bits to encode the signal (e.g. 4 bits only gives you 16 amplitude levels), but in 32-bit float you have the full 24-bits (the mantissa). The dither might obscure the steps, but at the expense of more noise. [..]

Noisier yes, because dither is intentional injection of noise at that low-level.  But not "less accurate".   You have yet to explain this repeated claim of accuracy other than simply restating it.

Dither is the intentional randomization of the least significant bit.  It randomizes the signal at the lowest stored value to prevent quantization noise from occurring, rather than obscuring it.  It does not obscure "steps" in level by burying them in noise.

Quote
[..]The 32-bit float always maintains full 24-bit accuracy at lower levels.

If you were to amplify further, enough to hear the noise-floor present in the 32-bit floating point file, the least-significant 4 bits above the noise-floor would similarly encode just 4 bits of dynamic range, not 24 bits worth.  You cannot digitally fabricate what was not there originally, nor would one want to.

[Note: bolding in the quoted portions above is mine]
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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #132 on: September 10, 2019, 06:00:36 PM »
Well if you keep on lowering the in signal too much you will at some point hit the noise floor. But the noise would still have a 24 bit resolution if 32-bit float is used although there will not be no wanted signal left to amplify.

A friend of mine is developing pre amps with extremely low noise floor.
-175dBV/root(Hz)

With an input level of -100dBV there’s still 75 left until you hit the floor.
A 32 bit float would keep on delivering in that situation while a fixed bit recorder would not.

I wish I didn’t own the first generation MP6 because then i would have bought the mixpre 6 II in an instant. 

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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #133 on: September 10, 2019, 06:05:03 PM »
To your point that we're trying to mislead people, certainly not intentionally - we're trying to educate people to the differences between fixed point and floating point because we have been getting many questions on this subject. [..]

The problem is that people are being mislead, even if unintentionally.  Paul, if you have the leverage, please try to arrange for the the technical people at SD to brief the sales, marketing and website folks so that everyone is on the same page.  I'm simply attempting to act as messenger about this disconnect, not as a character assassin.  Thanks for your patience in the wading to the technical waters on this here.

Quote
[..] Re dither, we chose to not do internal dither because as you say, in the 24-bit real world with relatively normal gain staging, you'll never ever hear the lack of it.

^Except when it is amplified dramatically and presented as an example of why the new 32-bit floating-point storage format feature is better!  It either matters or it doesn't.  As a company, which do you wish to claim?  This is why I suggest getting the technical SD folks in the room with the less technical folks at SD to help them answer the questions they are getting from customers.  Otherwise SD's credibility begins to fall into question.  At best it indicates a lack of internal communication and unified vision at the company.

My suggestion- Tell people this is really more about a storage format change than any change in recorder performance.  It's all about switching to a format capable of storing the last little bit of actual dynamic range throughput of which the front end of the recorder was already capable, yet was just shy of when previously recording to a 24-bit fixed-point format.  Not quite as sexy sounding, yet completely truthful and does not diminish the actual functional improvement of the new feature.


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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #134 on: September 10, 2019, 10:09:05 PM »
Gutbucket:

I'm sympathetic to what you're saying. If I understand correctly, you're saying the following: SD decided not to implement dither when writing the 24bit data, based on the assumption that most users would be able to get decent levels so as to obviate the need for it. You, however, argue that adding the dither wouldn't have hurt, and because it could have helped (for example when people don't in fact get decent levels- precisely kind of situation exaggerated in the graphic comparisons posted above) they should have implemented dither in the first place. Having not done so, however, you feel that it's wrong to market the 32bit float as a solution to a self-implemented problem. Correct?

On the other hand, I'm also sympathetic to SD. Do any of SD's competitors implement dithering of 24bit signals? Sonosax? Zoom? Tascam? There must be some cost, in time or money, to implement the dither! They made the decision not to implement dither based on the reasonable assumption, that normal users would adjust gain to get decent levels. That doesn't seem so far fetched to me, but, then again, I'm a religion professor, not an engineer.   :spin: :rockets:

My read of all of this is as follows: Long after making the 24bit no dither decision, SD decided to tweak the product (version II) to allow for a novel 32bit float option, which just so happens to have a side effect of solving the very problem they decided not to anticipate initially. So the marketers decide to run with it, saying, essentially, "look at us, our gear solves even very remote problems." Given the outright bullshit that much of their competition employs, I don't agree with giving them crap for it. I too get excited when I outsmart myself, and realize after the fact that my decisions were even better than I thought they were before I did what I did. (Buying extra toilet paper when it was on sale comes immediately to mind).

They're not lying. It actually does make sense to use the 32bit float option, unless you need endless recoding time, and thus can't afford the large file sizes 32bit float creates.

I have to say, my interest is peaked. I'm really tempted to sell my mixpre6 (make an offer tapirs!!!!) and I'll get the new one for not much money. I would go to a show, set up my gear with 32bit float (@ 48khz because I can't hear the difference with 96 or 192 anyway), seal the bag, and stash it under my seat. When the lights go down I'd press record through the wingman app, and press stop (or not) at set break. Foolproof, no need to look at or even expose my bag at all during the show.

I remember clearly making the move from cassette to DAT, and realizing that I never ever had to worry about a tape flip again. This seems like a step forward in a similar way, never having to worry about levels.

Then again, having run the Mixpre6 for a few years, it's really easy to guess the ballpark gain setting needed, and 24bit files are likely more than enough, given the noise floor at a rock concert, and I'm already really happy with both the product and the tech support....
« Last Edit: September 10, 2019, 10:29:28 PM by noahbickart »
Recording:
Capsules: Schoeps mk41v (x2), mk4v (x2), mk22 (x2), mk3 (x2), mk21 & mk8
Cables: 2x nbob KCY, 1 pair nbob actives, Darktrain 2 and 4 channel KCY extensions:
Preamps:    Schoeps VMS 02iub, Naiant Littlebox, Naiant IPA, Sound Devices Mixpre6
Recorders: Sound Devices Mixpre6, Sony PCM m10

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Offline jerryfreak

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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #135 on: September 10, 2019, 10:12:17 PM »
I have to say, my interest is peaked. I'm really tempted to sell my mixpre6 I and get the new one.

for me it comes down to whether the II can handle writing to SD better than the first gen, which is abysmal TBH
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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #136 on: September 10, 2019, 10:18:27 PM »
I have to say, my interest is peaked. I'm really tempted to sell my mixpre6 I and get the new one.

for me it comes down to whether the II can handle writing to SD better than the first gen, which is abysmal TBH

which for 99% of users has been a non issue!
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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #137 on: September 10, 2019, 10:31:04 PM »



Okay. Confirmation no dither is being applied in 24-bit mode.  Why aren't standard best practices with regards to digital signal manipulation being followed?

We absolutely follow them when they offer a practical, tangible benefit to the end user.

Quote
... but I am not cynical and surmise that the engineers at SD have concluded this level of quantization noise is so inconsequential in practice it is not worth addressing
You surmise correctly therefore you are not cynical;)

Quote
Then marketing folks offer an example of this bug as proof of low level "resolution" improvement provided by the shiny new feature.  Create a problem just to turn around and fix it.  SD can't have it both ways and remain truthful.

I wrote this, not marketing - I'm an engineer BTW ... I think;) I was simply comparing apples to apples - '24-bit, no dither' v '32-bit, no dither'. I do get what you're saying - a fairer example perhaps would be to compare to a dithered 24-bit file  - I can look into having that changed if it bothers people. BTW, I wouldn't view not applying dither in 24-bit mode a bug - rather it is one of the many engineering design choices we made during the development of MixPre, a choice that as you say, and I agree, is inconsequential in terms of audio quality. Design frequently involves making difficult choices and in this case, we made the right one, IMHO.


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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #138 on: September 10, 2019, 10:33:19 PM »
I have to say, my interest is peaked. I'm really tempted to sell my mixpre6 I and get the new one.

for me it comes down to whether the II can handle writing to SD better than the first gen, which is abysmal TBH

jerryfreak, I have to say, I've been really surprised by your posts on this.

I've never experienced any problems, either with my SD 32g card or my Sandisk extreme 64g card. I tend to write 6 tracks (no stereo mixdown) at 24/48, and sometimes 24/96, and nobody else I know has either.

I'm not doubting you, obviously, but the "abysmal" claim seems a little over the top, at least given my own experience. The Tascam Dr-70d was "abysmal." In comparison, the SD has been "rock solid."

Has Paul not responded here about this?
Recording:
Capsules: Schoeps mk41v (x2), mk4v (x2), mk22 (x2), mk3 (x2), mk21 & mk8
Cables: 2x nbob KCY, 1 pair nbob actives, Darktrain 2 and 4 channel KCY extensions:
Preamps:    Schoeps VMS 02iub, Naiant Littlebox, Naiant IPA, Sound Devices Mixpre6
Recorders: Sound Devices Mixpre6, Sony PCM m10

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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #139 on: September 10, 2019, 10:35:20 PM »
I wrote this, not marketing

I can look into having that changed if it bothers people.

This friends, is why I'm really happy to give SD my money.
Recording:
Capsules: Schoeps mk41v (x2), mk4v (x2), mk22 (x2), mk3 (x2), mk21 & mk8
Cables: 2x nbob KCY, 1 pair nbob actives, Darktrain 2 and 4 channel KCY extensions:
Preamps:    Schoeps VMS 02iub, Naiant Littlebox, Naiant IPA, Sound Devices Mixpre6
Recorders: Sound Devices Mixpre6, Sony PCM m10

Home Playback: Mytek DSD 192> McIntosh MC162> Eminent Tech LFT-16; Musical Fidelity xCan v2> Hifiman HE-4XX / Beyerdynamic DT880

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Offline Paul Isaacs

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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #140 on: September 10, 2019, 10:38:38 PM »
Jerryfreak - we will take a deeper look.

Noah - you are correct - this might affect a very small number of people, those who are recording 8-tracks or more at 192 kHz/24-bit.

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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #141 on: September 10, 2019, 10:44:11 PM »

Has Paul not responded here about this?

not sure if it was Paul but SD said to not use micro sd cards which majority of his test were with micro sd. 

Same speed/specs or not I wouldn't trust a micro in an adapter!  if the deck was designed for micro and used them then sure but....
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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #142 on: September 10, 2019, 11:14:17 PM »
Same speed/specs or not I wouldn't trust a micro in an adapter!
One extra point of failure for each pin on the card. Nah gon' do.
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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #143 on: September 11, 2019, 12:41:12 AM »
which for 99% of users has been a non issue!

yes thats fine if you are "the 99% of users" who wish to record at 20-50% of the bitrate the unit is claimed to support. Obviously your "99%" stat is hyperbolic but that doesnt mean we cant ask for the vendors to support their units at the features they advertise, which would give us more confidence using the unit at all bitrates

not sure if it was Paul but SD said to not use micro sd cards which majority of his test were with micro sd. 

it was Sound Device's default tech support email. At the current time, the majority of tests in that thread (not all by me) are with full size SD cards of appropriate spec, see below


jerryfreak, I have to say, I've been really surprised by your posts on this.

I've never experienced any problems, either with my SD 32g card or my Sandisk extreme 64g card. I tend to write 6 tracks (no stereo mixdown) at 24/48, and sometimes 24/96, and nobody else I know has either.

likewise at the low utilization you mention (<1MB/sec in your usual 6x 24/48). Ive recorded in those same conditions flawlessly with $5 U1 rated cards. Thats not the issue. The device cannot successfully write "high" bitrates of 2-4MB sec on the vast majority of cards that can routinely handle 40-60+ MB/sec sustained writes on multiple controllers

If you have some time please test the full capacity of your current cards at 8 channels of 24/192 (4.5 MB write rate) and report to the thread, the data would be very useful. The more individual machines and firmwares we have data on, the better.

This isnt a witchhunt, its sadly necessary because after several years on the market Sound Devices has literally listed exactly one proprietary card, which apart from being considerably more expensive than other cards of same spec, anecdotally has a 100% failure rate from reports ive heard from users here (1 of 1, but still...). I cant consider that acceptable support. After close to 200 hours of testing, i have personally found one card (32gb extreme pro micro), which at that short recording time means ive only managed to prove that card can write 1:45 straight without error (and was able to replicate). Sadly i misplaced that card (damn tiny micros) so after all that testing i still dont have a card in my bag that i am comfortable with
 
I'm not doubting you, obviously, but the "abysmal" claim seems a little over the top, at least given my own experience. The Tascam Dr-70d was "abysmal." In comparison, the SD has been "rock solid."

current tests (8 channel 24/192):
# of full size SD cards of appropriate spec tested: 7
# of these cards that worked: 1

current tests (8 channel 24/192):
# of full size SD cards of appropriate spec tested: 6
# of these cards that worked: 1

Unfortuantely SD is not paying me to test their gear, so our sample size is still really small. Both of those numbers is what i personally would consider "abysmal". And these are with current 2019 cards on a device deemed 'stable' with the slower media that existed 2 years ago

Has Paul not responded here about this?

the post below yours was the first time he has acknowledged it here.

SD support did not give me any answers other than "buy some more cards to test" and "dont use microSD",the latter of which seems like a catch-all generic answer as actual testing shows no difference in this regard. You would assume that if Sound Devices had tested even as many cards as I have in the last few weeks, they would have some recommendations for cards that work

this might affect a very small number of people, those who are recording 8-tracks or more at 192 kHz/24-bit.

thank you for acknowledging it, but you may want to mention that people who choose to use the device at its stated specs are using it at its own risk and should anticipate higher failure rates  (although Im not sure >80% is a failure rate that the target market is comfortable with....)

I know that sounds snarky but at the current time it represents the facts at hand. I personally dont record at 192K nor do i personally have a need to record mixdown tracks on the fly.

to put it in perspective the mixpre is choking on almost every card tested, at under 10% of their real-world sequential write speed. Sometimes as low as 5% of their real-world sequential write speed. Many users are writing these cards successfully at 1-5% of the speeds and that works... but is not a lot of cushion.  While 32-bit float offers some advantage im not sure i personally would risk increasing my datarate 33% and risk catastrophe. Thats the same reason i dont record at 96K in the field - doubling the data rate is tempting fate for buffer errors.

I know that the mixpre has been in use successfully for a few years, its unfortunate that nobody took the time to fully test the unit. (I've only had one for a few months now) People tend to take for granted that gear they buy has been adequately tested and is robust. I know for some people the shows they attend have dozens of pairs of other microphones recording the same thing. Thats not the case for everyone, I tend to treat every field outing as mission critical. I usually never take a digital recorder into the field unless I can demonstrate it can record for 100s of hours on the bench without a hiccup. Ive been testing field recording and DAT>wav transfer setups for close to 20 years and have rejected many because of dropped samples, resampling, channel swapping, lack of stability, etc.

I want to believe that Sound Devices is pro gear and provides support accordingly. I expect more than say, m-audio and creative labs for the cost of thier gear. I encourage everyone to test their cards and report, we are already observing trends such as much higher failure rates on the back half of cards, and often failures within < 2minutes of starting write on a new file. This is info that can help them solve the problem, so we all win.
« Last Edit: September 11, 2019, 01:37:15 AM by jerryfreak »
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Offline aaronji

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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #144 on: September 11, 2019, 04:58:15 AM »
^Post fader stereo mix gain, left channel only as the signal is mono. 

Funny; I never even noticed that option before. That's probably because, even though I usually record the L/R mix (unlike many here), I am not particularly interested in digitally manipulating the files on the recorder itself. I want the pre-fader ISOs and will adjust as needed on the DAW. That's also why I am interested in seeing the ISOs for the comparison Paul posted, as I want to see if I can discern a difference between 24-bit and 32-bit float without applying a ton of digital gain.

This isnt a witchhunt, its sadly necessary because after several years on the market Sound Devices has literally listed exactly one proprietary card, which apart from being considerably more expensive than other cards of same spec, anecdotally has a 100% failure rate from reports ive heard from users here (1 of 1, but still...).

Maybe I am not remembering it correctly, but wasn't morst's card defective (a "bad card" error as opposed to the buffer error)?

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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #145 on: September 11, 2019, 05:27:54 AM »
This isnt a witchhunt, its sadly necessary because after several years on the market Sound Devices has literally listed exactly one proprietary card, which apart from being considerably more expensive than other cards of same spec, anecdotally has a 100% failure rate from reports ive heard from users here (1 of 1, but still...).
Maybe I am not remembering it correctly, but wasn't morst's card defective (a "bad card" error as opposed to the buffer error)?
I don't recall off the top of my head but whatever I posted contemporaneously is the best we'll do. I should have taken a photo of the screen but I was in a hurry to just get recording again. I think it said Bad Card or Card Error. I seem to recall that it was a matter of trying to make the machine start recording, and it would not start, and I pressed Record again and it protested with the error message.


By the way, I bought two of the cards, and the other has been rock solid. The replacement card that I got is still sealed in its package as a spare. I am reluctant to use it, though, since 50% of the SD branded cards I have tried have failed!!! (not 100%)
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Offline Gutbucket

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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #146 on: September 11, 2019, 08:14:16 PM »

Okay. Confirmation no dither is being applied in 24-bit mode.  Why aren't standard best practices with regards to digital signal manipulation being followed?

We absolutely follow them when they offer a practical, tangible benefit to the end user.

By highlighting the very low level quantization artifacts as significant, you are claiming a real, practical, tangible benefit on one hand.. while simultaneously claiming it has no real, practical, tangible impact worthy of correction on the other.  These claims are in logical conflict.  I fully believe SD does follow standard best practices where they are worthwhile to the end user < and this calls into question the worth of the new feature which solves a problem previously considered so insignificant it did not need to be addressed.  Doesn't matter on one hand; yet is claimed to be important on the other.  I feel it is innovative and a good feature, if not based on some of the explanations which have been offered.

Quote from: Gutbucket
Quote from: Paul Isaacs
... but I am not cynical and surmise that the engineers at SD have concluded this level of quantization noise is so inconsequential in practice it is not worth addressing
You surmise correctly therefore you are not cynical;)
Thanks.  ;)  the problem is your example specifically makes it out to be something of significance which the new feature avoids.

Quote
I wrote this, not marketing - I'm an engineer BTW ... I think;) I was simply comparing apples to apples - '24-bit, no dither' v '32-bit, no dither'. I do get what you're saying - a fairer example perhaps would be to compare to a dithered 24-bit file  - I can look into having that changed if it bothers people. BTW, I wouldn't view not applying dither in 24-bit mode a bug - rather it is one of the many engineering design choices we made during the development of MixPre, a choice that as you say, and I agree, is inconsequential in terms of audio quality. Design frequently involves making difficult choices and in this case, we made the right one, IMHO.
 
The example doesn't really compare apples to apples though.  A dithered 24-bit file would not sound as ugly without quantization noise, nor show visible "steps" in the display. If you were to recreate the comparison using proper dither, it would make for a better comparison with regards to the claim of low level "resolution" improvement (which with all due respect does not exist as you've described), in that the only apparent difference between the two would be the 24bit sample decaying into a floor of dither hiss, while the 32 bit sample decays into silence at the same level. Both would have the same "resolution of microdynamic loudness levels" above that level, which gets to the heart of our contention about low level "resolution".

However, straight comparison has grown more complicated now that we know 24-bit renderings from the 32-bit float internal workings of the system are not dithered.   The comparison as it stands is correct with regards to the actual operation of the machine in its current implementation.  It's the conflation of quantization noise with a lack of "low level resolution" in the example that is misleading.  And that erroneous claim is being made repeatedly in many of the layman's descriptions of how 32-bit floating point recording works.  I urge you to dig deeper into this, and why I among others have been pushing back against it.

Paul,
I realize I've been challenging you quite strongly on this, and I want to thank you again for your presence here and willingness to engage in honest discussion.  Kudos to you and SD for the good support.  Sound Devices is a market leader with strong engineering credentials and customer service history which places you all in a good position to really help users think about what is actually an appropriate fit for their needs and what is not, in part by way of being open with specifications and a willingness to explain engineering realities.  I believe this can differentiate SD from its less capable competitors.  Honest explanation of such things will at times clash with popular layman understanding.  But SD is in good position to be the "real answer" people based on actual engineering principles which people trust in light of other outfit's unsubstantiated hyperbolic claims.

I'd like to hear and see what the 32-bit float file sounds like with further amplification to raise it's noise-floor to the equivalent level of the 24-bit file noise floor.  Curious what the actual level difference between those noise floors is and if similar quantization noise is exposed around that level or if it "self dithers" with system and environmental noise.
« Last Edit: September 11, 2019, 08:18:05 PM by Gutbucket »
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Offline Gutbucket

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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #147 on: September 11, 2019, 08:49:40 PM »
Noah,
I am holding SD to a high standard of intellectual honesty in their explanation of and justification for the new feature.  Sound Devices prides themselves as a company providing professional grade gear, as such I hold them to a high professional standard.  That includes good customer support, honest engineering specifications, and justifications for design choices which are in logical agreement rather than contradiction. 

Gutbucket:

I'm sympathetic to what you're saying. If I understand correctly, you're saying the following: SD decided not to implement dither when writing the 24bit data, based on the assumption that most users would be able to get decent levels so as to obviate the need for it. You, however, argue that adding the dither wouldn't have hurt, and because it could have helped (for example when people don't in fact get decent levels- precisely kind of situation exaggerated in the graphic comparisons posted above) they should have implemented dither in the first place. Having not done so, however, you feel that it's wrong to market the 32bit float as a solution to a self-implemented problem. Correct?

In explaining the new functionality, we are offered an example of how new functionality overcomes a previous deficit (hand waves one way) yet at the same time we are told that the deficit is so minor that it made no sense to address it (hand waves the other way).

It is disingenuous to use what was previously deemed so inconsequential that it did not make sense to address at all as a key justification for the new feature.   

If thinking really has changed so much that what was previously deemed inconsequential is now considered significant, the previously inconsequential problem should be corrected.   Otherwise it places SD in logical conflict with their own conclusions:  The provision of a new 32bit float recording option may serve as a "work around", but does not correct the original issue - yet if the original issue wasn't really a problem to begin with, what is the value of the new feature which is largely being justified by eliminating the non-problem?

In more detail-
It is contradictory to claim that dithering is inconsequential when digitizing directly to 24 bit or when reducing the bit depth of an existing digital stream down to 24bit, while claiming at the same time that recording an even greater bit depth beyond 24bits provides a meaningful improvement because it avoids quantization noise at the 24 bit level.

This is not so much SD's solution to a "self-implemented problem" but more akin to a work-around which ignores it, while ignoring it calls into question the value of the work around.  Not sure I agree with it but I trust the SD engineers who decided there was no practical need for dither at the 24bit level, even though that would be correct practice.  It's a typical engineering trade off decision, deciding available resources are better applied elsewhere. Yet if I go with them with regards to that choice (which they seemingly confirm in the new series by not correcting it), why should I now be asked to disregard that because a new feature is being justified by way of its ability to record information of less even significance? 

Engineering is a factually-based problem solving endeavor, revolving around logical choices in the pursuit of an optimal solution within a given set of constraints.  Sales and marketing are more emotionally based social endeavors.  There is almost always tension between these things.   Support attempts to bridge the disparate realms!

Long live SD, long live good engineering, and long live the pursuit of truth.
« Last Edit: September 12, 2019, 09:37:42 AM by Gutbucket »
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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #148 on: September 11, 2019, 10:10:09 PM »
Noah,
I am holding SD to a high standard of intellectual honesty in their explanation of and justification for the new feature.  Sound Devices prides themselves as a company providing professional grade gear, as such I hold them to a high professional standard.  That includes good customer support, honest engineering specifications, and justifications for design choices which are in logical agreement rather than contradiction.

I, for one, am thankful that you've done so, as it also helps me (and likely others) in my thinking about upgrading to this new version of a machine with which I'm already happy. You've also made SD at least think about adding a 24bit dithering option; pursuit of truth is always good.

In explaining the new functionality, we are offered an example of how new functionality overcomes a previous deficit (hand waves one way) yet at the same time we are told that the deficit is so minor that it made no sense to address it (hand waves the other way). It is disingenuous to use what was previously deemed so inconsequential that it did not make sense to address at all as a key justification for the new feature.   

I understand your claim. But I think you're making a category error here. SD didn't create the mixpre6 II in order to correct a "previously inconsequential problem." They introduced a new model because they figured out how to compete with their competition by introducing a new product with a number of improvements, among which happens to be a 32bit floating point data writing option, which, among other benefits, happens to address the particular (mostly inconsequential) negative consequences of an otherwise reasonable design decision.

I read Paul as just pointing out a cool (still mostly inconsequential) side befit to using their new 32bit float. For my needs, this test shows me that this machine does a cool thing that the old one can't.

Long live SD, long live good engineering, and long live the pursuit of truth.

Amen!
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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #149 on: September 11, 2019, 11:29:37 PM »
where are we at with a "hold" function?
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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #150 on: September 11, 2019, 11:34:43 PM »
where are we at with a "hold" function?

+1 for this. easy to implement in firmware for the -6 and -10 with the * key
short press=lock
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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #151 on: September 12, 2019, 12:08:22 AM »
where are we at with a "hold" function?

+1 for this. easy to implement in firmware for the -6 and -10 with the * key
short press=lock
long press=unlock

That would be a very nice feature.
I really hope would get that one.

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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #152 on: September 12, 2019, 09:59:51 AM »
I understand your claim. But I think you're making a category error here. SD didn't create the mixpre6 II in order to correct a "previously inconsequential problem." They introduced a new model because they figured out how to compete with their competition by introducing a new product with a number of improvements, among which happens to be a 32bit floating point data writing option, which, among other benefits, happens to address the particular (mostly inconsequential) negative consequences of an otherwise reasonable design decision.

Totally agreed that SD did not create the mixpre II series to correct a "previously inconsequential problem."  What I have a problem with is the recategorization of what was is still considered a previously inconsequential problem, which has now been deemed consequential in explanations of the new feature.. yet is still claimed as not consequential with regards to 24 bit operation. Can't be both.
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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #153 on: September 12, 2019, 10:42:08 AM »
where are we at with a "hold" function?

+1 for this. easy to implement in firmware for the -6 and -10 with the * key
short press=lock
long press=unlock

Also would be very useful on the wingman app (among numerous other things). I use the * button for ch 5&6.
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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #154 on: September 12, 2019, 03:42:48 PM »
where are we at with a "hold" function?

+1 for this. easy to implement in firmware for the -6 and -10 with the * key
short press=lock
long press=unlock

+2 (both thumbs up!)

I also currently use * for access to 5/6, but I'd rather use it for a lock/unlock function...
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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #155 on: September 12, 2019, 03:47:31 PM »
Simply use a “short press” for star-select function.
And “long/hold press” for lock/unlock toggle function.

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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #156 on: September 12, 2019, 05:39:54 PM »
Simply use a “short press” for star-select function.
And “long/hold press” for lock/unlock toggle function.

thats great. preserves its functionality and adds lock/unlock feature on long press
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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #157 on: September 12, 2019, 06:07:19 PM »

I'm gonna second this. Thanks, Paul and SD for "keeping it real!"
 :clapping:
Paul,
I realize I've been challenging you quite strongly on this, and I want to thank you again for your presence here and willingness to engage in honest discussion.  Kudos to you and SD for the good support.  Sound Devices is a market leader with strong engineering credentials and customer service history which places you all in a good position to really help users think about what is actually an appropriate fit for their needs and what is not, in part by way of being open with specifications and a willingness to explain engineering realities.  I believe this can differentiate SD from its less capable competitors.  Honest explanation of such things will at times clash with popular layman understanding.  But SD is in good position to be the "real answer" people based on actual engineering principles which people trust in light of other outfit's unsubstantiated hyperbolic claims.
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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #158 on: September 14, 2019, 07:37:19 PM »
where are we at with a "hold" function?

How would hold work considering the gain knobs? Put unit on hold, knob is turned, hold switched off. Then what?
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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #159 on: September 14, 2019, 08:35:08 PM »
Hold is to stop the ability to accidentally power down. Every deck I've had with it does only that (from what I recall). Gain knobs still work etc....
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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #160 on: September 14, 2019, 08:59:07 PM »
where are we at with a "hold" function?

How would hold work considering the gain knobs? Put unit on hold, knob is turned, hold switched off. Then what?

The Sony D100 has a hold slider but it doesn't "hold" the gain knobs. When it's engaged the user can still adjust levels with the gain knobs.

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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #161 on: September 15, 2019, 09:59:09 AM »
i don't see why the hold function can't disable the gain knobs as well.  that would be a nice added option.
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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #162 on: September 15, 2019, 10:08:41 AM »
On my humble Zoom F1, it not only has the usual "hold" sllder switch, but also an "auto hold" function selectable in the menus.  When that is enabled, once you start recording, the device is totally locked including level (which is a push button level so that's easy to implement) and the only way to unlock it is to press the "stop" and "record" buttons at the same time (as I recall it - two buttons, anyway).

Normally locking levels might not be a good thing because if incorrectly set, you'd have to actually stop the recording to change them.  But on the SD device, I guess if levels are incorrectly set, it doesn't actually matter.

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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #163 on: September 15, 2019, 01:38:04 PM »
For its primary use cases (Sound for film/videographers/front end to computer) a hold button is not necessary, and would slow down workflow if used or set inadvertently.


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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #165 on: September 16, 2019, 09:24:24 AM »
On my humble Zoom F1...

Zoom's hold implementation on the F8/F8N is superficially attractive in that the menu allows one to select which functions are locked and which are not when hold is engaged.  However, the fatal flaw that makes it useless is that to engage/disengage hold one must use a key combination which involves pressing buttons that can stop the recording.  Not going to risk that.  Good idea on selection options, but very questionable engage/disengage implementation.
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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #166 on: September 16, 2019, 10:33:43 AM »
Most implementations of a hold lock only the stop, record, play, etc. buttons and not the gain knobs. The goal is to prevent the accidental stopping of a recording.

This is, at least, how the hold function works on both the Tascam da-p1 and the Sony m10
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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #167 on: September 16, 2019, 11:43:13 AM »
Roland r7 hold locks everything on the unit, and doesn't impact the bluetooth remote at all.
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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #168 on: September 16, 2019, 11:56:41 AM »
I think most handhelds except Sony lock everything. The handhelds I use - Tascam DR2ds, previously Edirol R-09s - lock all of their functions.  If turned on in the menu, the DR2d's infrared remote bypasses hold (which is the prefered implementation IMO).  The old R-09 displays a small hold is on message on screen when any button is pressed which is helpful in avoiding a WTF moment when one does not remember that it is engaged.

Regarding more complex multichannel decks: Tascam Dr-680 is switchable to lock either all front-panel controls (except headphone gain) or all top-panel controls, or both panels.  In lock-both-panels mode everything except headphones is locked.  I can't recall if R-44 locks gain its gain/sensitivity controls or not, but it locks everything else except headphone gain. 

I don't tend to use lock much on these larger multi channel recorders, but almost always do on the handhelds.

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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #169 on: September 16, 2019, 02:22:01 PM »
I don't suppose the battery life is any better on the MixPre II series, but would appreciate it if somebody could confirm.
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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #170 on: September 17, 2019, 08:09:11 AM »
I don't suppose the battery life is any better on the MixPre II series, but would appreciate it if somebody could confirm.

I do not have a Ver. 1 10t, but on the 10II running 4 channels, and a mix track with a RAV23000, it had 25% left after 6 hours.
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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #171 on: September 17, 2019, 10:16:57 AM »
I do not have a Ver. 1 10t, but on the 10II running 4 channels, and a mix track with a RAV23000, it had 25% left after 6 hours.

If that's just on the 8xAA batteries that that sounds rather excellent. I don't get near that on my Mixpre-3 (Ver 1) with the 8AA battery sled.

At the moment I'm 50:50 whether to upgrade, but if the hardware changes have led to any noticeable battery life improvement then I'm almost certain to upgrade.
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Offline Gordon

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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #172 on: September 17, 2019, 10:37:08 AM »
he said with RAV23000.  so a battery pack.  I doubt AA is any better than it used to be.
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Offline jerryfreak

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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #173 on: September 17, 2019, 10:44:38 AM »
I do not have a Ver. 1 10t, but on the 10II running 4 channels, and a mix track with a RAV23000, it had 25% left after 6 hours.

If that's just on the 8xAA batteries that that sounds rather excellent. I don't get near that on my Mixpre-3 (Ver 1) with the 8AA battery sled.

At the moment I'm 50:50 whether to upgrade, but if the hardware changes have led to any noticeable battery life improvement then I'm almost certain to upgrade.

i wouldnt bank on it. same pres and it seems phantom eats up the most power. if it was a significant improvement theyd probably be touting it
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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #174 on: September 17, 2019, 10:48:55 AM »
Oh dear, my reading comprehension has deteriorated somewhat. Back to 50:50 then.
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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #175 on: September 17, 2019, 05:18:01 PM »
i don't see why the hold function can't disable the gain knobs as well.  that would be a nice added option.
The way this is implemented on the tascam dr70d is terrible.
If a level knob gets moved while holding, then no level change occurs. But when the deck is switched off hold (maybe to stop the recording, or make a level change) the setting JUMPS to the knob location.
Awful.
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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #176 on: September 17, 2019, 06:05:09 PM »
i don't see why the hold function can't disable the gain knobs as well.  that would be a nice added option.
The way this is implemented on the tascam dr70d is terrible.
If a level knob gets moved while holding, then no level change occurs. But when the deck is switched off hold (maybe to stop the recording, or make a level change) the setting JUMPS to the knob location.
Awful.

Change the record, man.
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Offline Gutbucket

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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #177 on: September 17, 2019, 06:27:07 PM »
It's implemented decently in other recorders where once hold is disengaged, each pot must be turned back to the original position it had when lock was engaged prior to the pot becoming operational again.
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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #178 on: September 17, 2019, 06:48:06 PM »
tascam DR100 mk3 has some options for this

hold can be set to "off", "all" or "levels", i wish it had "all but levels"

worse are the recorders like the sony A10 where hold and power are on the same slider and unlocking it risks powering down if you go too far

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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #179 on: September 18, 2019, 12:11:18 AM »
It's implemented decently in other recorders where once hold is disengaged, each pot must be turned back to the original position it had when lock was engaged prior to the pot becoming operational again.
That would be great. Too bad That Awful Sound Company Around Mediocre couldn't implement that on the DR70D before they gave up on the firmware!? Glad I have a MixPre6 as my "A Unit" now!


i don't see why the hold function can't disable the gain knobs as well.  that would be a nice added option.
The way this is implemented on the tascam dr70d is terrible.If a level knob gets moved while holding, then no level change occurs. But when the deck is switched off hold (maybe to stop the recording, or make a level change) the setting JUMPS to the knob location.Awful.
Change the record, man.

Am in in the habit of taking your advice on this topic?
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Offline Dillon

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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #180 on: September 18, 2019, 03:03:18 PM »
My biggest complaint with the Mixpre6 is the battery sled.  It's plastic and dislodges easily.  Makes me nervous.  Recently the the plastic clip broke, it still works but I have to use a rubber band.  Other than that it's a solid product.
« Last Edit: September 18, 2019, 03:05:21 PM by Dillon »

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Re: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?
« Reply #181 on: Today at 04:51:06 AM »
On my humble Zoom F1...

Zoom's hold implementation on the F8/F8N is superficially attractive in that the menu allows one to select which functions are locked and which are not when hold is engaged.  However, the fatal flaw that makes it useless is that to engage/disengage hold one must use a key combination which involves pressing buttons that can stop the recording.  Not going to risk that.  Good idea on selection options, but very questionable engage/disengage implementation.

False, not true at all!

You can just hit "8" and the F8n/F8 will be locked while recording. No need to go anywhere near touching the "stop" button! :-)

Very handy when in a drop bag scenario, if you're worried about the camera/director/whoever accidentally (or not!) stopping your recorder.

 

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