April 19, 2017
NAB 2017

Sound Devices MixPre Keeps Your Workflow Flexible

Working as a mixer, a recorder, and a USB interface, the new MixPre 3 and MixPre 6 from Sound Devices keep things flexible.

Sound Devices is well known for its high end mixers seen on a variety of big Hollywood productions, and they are now bringing that expertise to the mass market with the new MixPre 3 and MixPre 6 devices, both of which come in at under $1000. The MixPre line offers an exciting combination of mixer, recorder, and USB interface, all controllable via an on-unit touch panel or via BlueTooth with a mobile app.

Credit: Sound Devices

Designed to fit well underneath your camera or in a sound bag, the main difference between the 3 and the 6 is the number of inputs, with the 3 offering 5 in/2 out and the 6 offering 8 in/4 out. The marquee feature is the Kashmir mic pre-amps, with a claimed -130dbv noise floor, 32bit analog-to-digital conversion, and analog limiters, which should offer tremendous sound quality and low noise in a small package. Both units offer simultaneous recording to an SD card and streaming over USB, which can be great for podcast and live broadcast workflows with included back-up.

The free Wingman app from Sound Devices allows the units to be controlled via Bluetooth, making the process of properly labeling clips and organizing media exceptionally easy.

Credit: Sound Devices

One nice feature is the "basic mode," which limits some menu options in order to make it easier to use for beginning filmmakers and to make the time to learn faster. In addition, it can be controlled over HDMI using the flag protocol, which makes it a great companion recorder for motion production since the audio will start and stop recording in sync with roll and cut on your video camera, making post syncing much easier. The units also feature both USB A and USB C connections, which is convenient, as the industry transitions from the old standard to the new. The market is already a crowded one, but the combination of high quality preamps with a wide variety of connectors should make this a strong entrant in the field.

Credit: Sound Devices

The MixPre-3 will sell at $649, with the MixPre-6 coming in at $899. Available from the B&H Sound Devices Store.

Tech specs

  • 32bit analog-to-digital conversion
  • Kashmir pre-amps with -130dbv noise floor
  • Simultaneous USB and SD recording
  • Compatible with Wingman app
  • MixPre-3 offers 96kHz, MixPre-6 offers 192kHz max sample rate
  • 24 bit depth
  • Dual USB-A and USB-C ports
  • MixPre-3 has 3 XLR ports, MixPre-6 has 4
  • Remote Control Via HDMI Flag

Your Comment

32 Comments

How is it powered?

April 19, 2017 at 12:43PM

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Ash Tailor
Videographer
86

I believe there are 4 powering options: AA batteries, a Sony type battery, USB or AC adapter.

April 19, 2017 at 12:53PM

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It can be powered from the rear battery sled or from USB. It ships with a battery sled for 4 AA batteries. There is an optional accessory battery sled that accepts two Sony L-Mount batteries.

April 19, 2017 at 1:00PM

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Nic Stage
Service / Support Coordinator - Sound Devices, LLC
102

This is very interesting to me as I was planning on replacing my Zoom h6 with an f4.
The price is comparable to the f4, I wonder how it stacks up for post work flow.

It doesn't appear to have a hd-sdi as the f4 does for timecode in and out. Does anyone know how big of a deal this is for shooting with cameras like the c300, sony fs7, etc?

April 19, 2017 at 3:10PM, Edited April 19, 3:10PM

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Joseph Slomka
Color Scientist - Acquisition through archival
367

MixPre-3 or 6 would work great with C300 or FS7. MixPre-3 or 6 can receive standard LTC timecode via the 3.5mm aux input and that stamps into the broadcast wave file which can be read by Final Cut Pro, Premier, Avid etc. If you want to link timecode wirelessly between camera and audio recorder which is the standard way of working, simply set the camera to timecode free run or record run mode then use a tentacle sync, Ambient or TC Systems wireless timecode box connected to the 3.5mm MixPre-3/6 input and voila, you have lip sync'd audio with video in post.

BTW, the F4's TC in/out are not HD-SDI connectors - they are just standard BNC. Timecode can travel over many types of connectors - BNC, XLR, 3.5mm etc.

Another bonus with the MixPre-3 and -6 is if working with DSLR that supports timecode over HDMI, then the MixPre can take that directly into it's HDMI port. Easy!

April 19, 2017 at 4:32PM, Edited April 19, 4:32PM

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Paul Isaacs
Director Product Development & Design, Sound Devices
180

Thanks for the direct reply. I feel like the target audience for the novice mode.

For the c300 mkII can you point me to how to get the TC out of the camera in to the 3.5mm feed?

I am hoping to avoid the free run scenario as that leaves me in the same position as I am now and using an extra box to get TC will defeat the point .

For the 95% scenario where I am using HDMI with 2 mics this hits the spot

April 19, 2017 at 6:38PM

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Joseph Slomka
Color Scientist - Acquisition through archival
367

I would think that the mixpre-d would be a better solution in this case. The C300 II has decent audio inputs. Just feed those with any of SD's current mixers and you don't have to worry about TC.

April 20, 2017 at 12:55AM, Edited April 20, 12:55AM

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Casey Preston
Videographer
182

I use a Sound Devices 702T and really love what their products can do. I used to have a Mix Pre-D. Thats another awesome tool. I would rather get this than a Zoom F4. I really feel more comfortable that this has analog limiters unlike the Zoom F4. I knew Sound Devices was in the works for new products because they have discontinued many of their 7 series models. I hope to see more from them soon.

April 19, 2017 at 3:14PM

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I was initially excited when I heard about this product hoping it would be like the MixPre-D and adding recording features but where are the XLR outputs? All I see is a mini-jack for output. I'm sure it will be a great recorder but without balanced XLR outputs I'd never consider using it as a mixer.

April 19, 2017 at 3:35PM, Edited April 19, 3:40PM

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Ron Marvin
Director of Photography
157

Correct - the MixPre's do not have XLR outs - we wanted to make these boxes super transportable (fit in a small bag or jacket pocket) so couldn't fit full size XLRs. But the 3.5mm stereo output is still great for outputting to DSLR, a wireless transmitter, feeding a PA or any other external device. It has a digital routing matrix that can be used for feeding many combinations of signals. And of course, there is a really beautiful sounding headphone output and USB audio for streaming to/from computers.

April 19, 2017 at 4:38PM

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Paul Isaacs
Director Product Development & Design, Sound Devices
180

Hi Paul, thanks for chiming in. I suppose one could always use a 3.5mm stereo jack out to a split cable with two XLRs to carry each track/mix L+R and feed a camera set to line level, for reference. What are the specs for the output? Also, what kind of battery life can we expect from these new units? Can this accept a timecode feed from the Tentacle Sync Timecode Generator? Thanks!

April 19, 2017 at 5:21PM, Edited April 19, 5:23PM

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Ron Marvin
Director of Photography
157

April 20, 2017 at 11:16AM

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Paul Isaacs
Director Product Development & Design, Sound Devices
180

There are many powering options:
4x AA caddy
8x AA caddy
Dual Sony L-mount caddy
You can also power via the USB-C port from a computer or AC to USB wall adapter.
8x AA caddy with NiMH will give somewhere between 4-6 hours depending on use case. The Dual L-mount can power the unit for days at a time depending on battery size.

April 20, 2017 at 11:19AM

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Paul Isaacs
Director Product Development & Design, Sound Devices
180

Yep you can use with Tentacle Sync - just connect it's output to the 3.5mm Aux input on the MixPre's right hand panel. Then in MixPre's menus set the MixPre to receive timecode over its Aux Input.

April 20, 2017 at 11:22AM, Edited April 20, 11:22AM

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Paul Isaacs
Director Product Development & Design, Sound Devices
180

Seriously considering this as we have a Mix-Pre-D now and love the quality but have to deal with an additional recorder, which is a headache. Is this multitrack? We often run into the issue where we have a boom mic and a lav mic, etc and can't separate the tracks to mix each mic independently.

April 19, 2017 at 5:43PM, Edited April 19, 5:43PM

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Brad Watts
Filmmaker/Creative Director - Redd Pen Media
298

Yes they are multitrack.
MixPre-3 is 3 ISO tracks + 2 mix tracks (totaling 5) MixPre-6 is 6 ISO tracks + 2 mix tracks (totaling 8)

April 20, 2017 at 11:14AM, Edited April 20, 11:14AM

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Paul Isaacs
Director Product Development & Design, Sound Devices
180

Paul, thanks for the info. One more question, from a recording musicians point of view regarding multitrack functions, can these be used for example recording music on track 1 - drums, then rewind to the beginning and record bass on track 2, then rewind, etc. like a regular multitrack recorder used for music production? If not is this something that could be offered via a firmware update in the future?

April 20, 2017 at 12:33PM

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Ron Marvin
Director of Photography
157

Multitrack overdubbing is not supported. Totally get what you are looking for!

April 20, 2017 at 11:49PM

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Paul Isaacs
Director Product Development & Design, Sound Devices
180

With the amazing audio quality offered by SD, if it were within in the realm of possibility to add such features to these I think it would really open up a vast market in the music community for SD!

April 21, 2017 at 12:10AM

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Ron Marvin
Director of Photography
157

Any word on what the preamps are like on these devices relative to the USBPre-2? I love love love my USB-Pre2. If the preamps are even relatively close to the Pre2 then I'll definitely buy this puppy.

April 19, 2017 at 5:18PM

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The MixPre-3 and -6's Kashmir mic preamps are a totally new design. They are totally comparable in terms of quality to our other products (USBPre2, 6-series etc) - super low noise, wide gain, analog limiters and 32-bit ADCs.

April 20, 2017 at 11:12AM

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Paul Isaacs
Director Product Development & Design, Sound Devices
180

I own a 744T, and a 702T... I never made the switch to the 633 because I felt the preamps were slightly not to the level of the 7-Series preamps. So when you are comparing the preamps on this new box to other 6-Series boxes, is it safe to say that the 7-Series will continue to have an edge over this new unit? Don't get me wrong. I'm extremely excited about your release and my finger is over the checkout but on TrewAudio, but I'd like to know what I'm getting. Looks too good to be true, especially at that price point. My guess is that the Kashmir preamp is great, but still slightly under the performance of the 7-Series preamps. Can you provide any insight about this comparison?

April 20, 2017 at 11:24AM

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Jackson
13

They are comparable quality wise with the 7-series too.
Both are excellent - it sort of comes down to personal taste at this point. I suggest you take a listen before buying if that's a concern. I'm pretty confident you'll be impressed.

April 20, 2017 at 11:54PM

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Paul Isaacs
Director Product Development & Design, Sound Devices
180

I'm also exited about these new recorders! Are there any high quality audio samples available online??

I get a slight hiss with my current recorder and reduce the noise in post. I'd really be interested in hearing for myself how quiet these preamplifiers are. I saw a video where a reviewer did recordings (without a microphone) with the same gain level on a Tascam DR-60DII, a Zoom F4 and Sound Devices 633 and analyzed the noise levels in post. The noise on the 633 was about 11dB lower than the F4. Obviously these three recorders belong to each their class and price point and noise is certainly not the only differentiating parameter, but it's an important one for my use. So far I've only found one video and one podcast where the new MixPres where used for the recoding - and with music in the background of the video and compression added to the podcast, you can't really judge the noise floor at all.

April 26, 2017 at 7:28AM

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Loving almost everything about these new boxes, but the mini-HDMI is weak spot. Either go full size or develop something like a cable lock that could be attached to the chassis.

April 20, 2017 at 7:57AM

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Looks cool. But why does every Sound Devices product sound like it was named by the same old white guy on his way back from lunch

April 20, 2017 at 4:57PM

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Strange - especially since we don't have time for lunch:)

April 20, 2017 at 11:56PM

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Paul Isaacs
Director Product Development & Design, Sound Devices
180

Can't see the products on B&H. Are they released already?

April 21, 2017 at 3:46AM

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Willie Bouwer
Lecturer / Cinematographer / VFX Artist
169

Hi, I am not tech but use the camera for recording videos. I am using Mixpre-d that connects to DSLR and it works great. One thing that is missing for me a simultaneous recording into SDCARD.

Does Mixepre 3/6 is capable of connecting to DSLR (mic level) at the same time recording into SDcard and also able to record into DAW using MAC?

April 24, 2017 at 11:24PM

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picl
Hobbyist
6

Yes - it can do all those things, even at the same time!

April 26, 2017 at 12:29AM

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Paul Isaacs
Director Product Development & Design, Sound Devices
180

Love this! Does this have dual recording? If not, is that a possible firmware update down the line?

April 25, 2017 at 11:47AM

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You don't need dual recording with the MixPre since it's mic preamps have extremely low noise floor, wide dynamic range, and fantastic analog limiters so you don't need to waste an extra track to prevent overload.

April 26, 2017 at 12:26AM

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Paul Isaacs
Director Product Development & Design, Sound Devices
180

Sounds like a great device. Finally, all in one box. I'm thinking about placing my order now to get the mixpre 6 "literally", but I have some concerns:

1- If I get it, will it replace my current mixpre-d and usbpre 2? Am I going to sacrifice something for something else?

I love my SD mixpre-d and usbpre 2, but I am tired of having to have a recorder attached to the mixpre-d everytime I need to record (backup recording while going directly into the camera"

And the same goes for USBPre 2 which I am using mainly as an interface and stand-alone recording to external recorder when doing Voice-over projects.

2- Say, I want to record to my recorder when using it for voice-over, so recording to the card as well as my external recorder via s/pdif or optical. Can I do that?

Thank you and way to go Sound Devices!

April 27, 2017 at 3:02AM

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Ahmed Ali
Voice-over talent, Podcaster, and filmmaker.
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