Sound Devices has made some pretty exciting announcements about their MixPre II series of audio recorders. First things first: Sound Devices is now including the AC wall power supply with the MixPre II series. Thank you. It's no longer an optional purchase; it comes in the box. This small thing alone makes me happy. It's crushing the number of accessories you have to buy some times to get a piece of gear production-ready. But there's much more than that to sink your teeth into.
If you're familiar with the original MixPre series, then you'll recognize interface on the MixPre II...because it is exactly the same. So are the input track counts of 3, 6 and 10. However, there are also some impressive changes: the dynamic range gets a healthy bump from 120dB to 142dB, bit depth recording now includes 32bit float recording up to 192 kHz sample rate in all versions, there's a 10-second pre-roll buffer, adjustable limiters, internal timecode and an auto-copy feature to a USB drive.
- 3, 6 or 10 track recording
- 142dB dynamic range
- 32bit float, 24bit, 16bit recording
- Up to 192kHz sample rate
- Mic input: +6dB to +76dB
- Line input: -20dB to +30dB
- Auto-copy to USB
- Power supply included
The original MixPre series had an equivalent input noise of -129 dBu and that will continue in the MixPre II series as it touts the same Kashmir microphone preamps. To compare it to Zoom, the H5 is roughly -120 dBu and the F4/F8 -127 dBu. The lower the noise floor the cleaner the audio will be to start.
For the sound recordists in the field, the new versions have the same footprint and battery sled options in 4x, 8x or L-mount configurations. The units will also maintain accurate timecode for up to four hours without power. For podcasters, one thing to note is that with the MixPre or MixPre II, you do not need a Cloudlifter or Fathead when pairing it with the Shure SM7B or Electro Voice RE20. The unit has plenty of gain, so save the money.
So, is the upgrade worth it? If you need a higher sample rate than 96kHz, which is what the original MixPre series gave you, then yes. The improved dynamic range is also very nice. If you don't have either, you might consider the MixPre II. There are other cheaper options out there from Tascam, Zoom and RØDE but you'll have to weigh the pro and cons based on your needs. No word on if they are updating the "M" music series. We'll update you on that when we find out.
Here's a quick pricing breakdown for the new MixPre II series:
The Sound Devices MixPre II series is shipping now.