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Header image for article At the Bench: Using the Sound Devices MixPre-D Field Mixer

At the Bench: Using the Sound Devices MixPre-D Field Mixer

If you've paid a visit to our NY or LA showrooms recently, you may have noticed the newly expanded audio sections. We created these displays so that our clients could go hands-on with a variety of microphones, mixers, and other audio equipment before deciding what fits their project best. Since we all know that getting audio right in the field can sometimes be a challenge, it's always important to make sure you're using the right tools for the job, like the Sound Devices MixPre-D field mixer.

The MixPre-D is a compact audio mixer that is easily powered by two AA batteries. Its versatility is also key - it features two studio-grade mic or line level inputs with available limiters and high-pass filters, as well as phantom power. Outputs include balanced mic/line XLR, digital AES (XLR), dedicated consumer mic-level on a locking TA3 connector (designed specifically for DSLR-type inputs) and an aux-level output on 3.5 mm connection.

The best way to illustrate the MixPre-D's flexibility is to see it in action, which is exactly what I did in my video above. I started off with a very quick interview setup, with one level coming from a small lav mic I'm wearing and another coming from a mic mounted on a boom pole above me. I attached the MixPre-D to the ALEXA via a 1/4-20 hole on the bottom and fed the lav as a line level in, while the boom mic was fed as mic level (with phantom 48V power). In this situation, the mixer is allowing me to input two different types of signals and output the line level to the ALEXA. One important note: since the ALEXA only accepts line level via 5-pin XLR (stereo), I did have to use an adapter (available as part of our ALEXA rental package) with two three-pin XLR connectors going into the one five-pin on the camera.

In my second setup, I took the MixPre-D and paired it with the Sony F5. Using the same mics as before, I wanted to demonstrate the mixer's ability to output digital AES via one three pin XLR. In a nutshell, I am sending the digital audio directly to the camera's recording media and bypassing the camera's internal audio processing. This is useful because I can now assign two tracks of audio to one input; in my video, I am only using the channel 1 XLR input on the F5 to record two discrete tracks. If I had a second MixPre-D, I would be able to record four independent audio tracks using both inputs on the F5 set to AES.

Watch my video above to get a closer look at how I set up the MixPre-D to work with both the ALEXA and F5. And if you're interested in learning even more about what goes into capturing great audio, make sure to check out our next Audio for the Videographer classes in NY!    

Ian McCausland
Camera Tech Specialist / Lead Trainer, AbelCine LA

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