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Author Topic: New Sound Devices MixPre II-series coming?  (Read 7177 times)

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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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Offline Gordon

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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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Offline Paul Isaacs

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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.


Offline noahbickart

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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?
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Offline noahbickart

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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.
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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.

Offline Gordon

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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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Offline morst

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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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Offline jerryfreak

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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)?

Offline morst

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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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Offline noahbickart

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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!
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 justink

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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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