Sound Devices MixPre-6 II (second generation)

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rick.lang

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Re: Sound Devices MixPre-6 II (second generation)

PostFri Jul 10, 2020 5:30 am

Thanks, Rakesh. I went with a deluxe solution since I already had the gear. So it might be a thousand dollar audio input but it’s free now.
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Rakesh Malik

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Re: Sound Devices MixPre-6 II (second generation)

PostFri Jul 10, 2020 5:38 am

rick.lang wrote:Thanks, Rakesh. I went with a deluxe solution since I already had the gear. So it might be a thousand dollar audio input but it’s free now.


That was more intended for people on the fence and not certain that they needed to spring for a MixPre. I have a MixPres 6 Mark II for field use + an SSL 2+ attached to my computer... :)
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Sound Devices MixPre-6 II (second generation)

PostFri Jul 10, 2020 2:00 pm

Understand. I like my faux studio setup though, now I can control the ambient noise in the room better than when I had the iMac. For sound work I can turn off the noisy RAID and just use the internal SSD in the Mac Pro. At least that’s the plan. Those inexpensive Line Aufio Design CM-4 mics are nice for voice.
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Re: Sound Devices MixPre-6 II (second generation)

PostFri Jul 10, 2020 4:06 pm

I do still use my MixPre 6II quite a bit, but having it reserved for field use does simplify my home setup a bit. As far as sound quality, with the default setting it would be hard to tell them apart, but I'm actually quite pleased with the SSL 4K setting on the SSL 2+. The distortion it adds is surprisingly pleasing.

And I'm still using my inexpensive Rode NT-1 for dialog and voice over. Its sound is very neutral, almost clinically so, probably what makes the 4K emulation on the SSL2+ sound so nice. Otherwise it's sometimes TOO clean, as is the MixPre. Of course, too clean is far easier to deal with than not clean enough, so... :)
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Re: Sound Devices MixPre-6 II (second generation)

PostSat Jul 11, 2020 3:23 pm

OK, I have read all 14 pages of this thread, with maybe skipping a few pages deep in the middle. Also, in the earlier stages of the thread I admit I cheated and went to Resolve's update page to see if it would ever handle 32 bit audio.

I am about to get the MixPre-6 II and pair them with Diety BP-TRX, Deity You-RX, and Rode VideoMic NTG. And of course the Tentacle Sync E is a part of this as well. Like Rick (thank you for all the initial work you have done with this!), I will also be a typical one man show and being able to set the sound bag aside and know I have backup recordings happening is essential and still get great sound.

The question I have pertains to everyone's comfort level with not only my choice of sound equipment, but the ability to work successfully with the MixPre-6 II and Resolve with as close to zero issues as you can have.

Thanks all.
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Re: Sound Devices MixPre-6 II (second generation)

PostSat Jul 11, 2020 4:48 pm

I'll admit that I haven't used the 32-bit option that much yet because it hasn't been necessary (I usually have a sound person), but I think that Resolve has support for it now.

Having 32-bit audio is a nice option though. I wouldn't go so far as to call it essential, because it's definitely better to get the levels right than to fix them in post, but I did a shoot at an event where I was running solo and didn't have an opportunity to set the levels based on the performances (musicians). For that I used the 32-bit option and it allowed me to extract surprisingly clean audio from that -- seems that my mic placement worked out better than expected with regards to background noise, but more importantly the music was surprisingly clean.

I just don't like relying on that by default, because doing so leads to sloppy field recordings and more post work.

That's not to imply that it's a bad feature, by any means. Just don't let it make you complacent.

If you set the recorder to 32-bit, set your levels initially with some care, then you get the best of both worlds. Even if the actual performance levels turn out to be higher or lower than expected, you're in the ballpark so you aren't creating much extra work for yourself, but your recording is so forgiving that you can generally recover the parts that went beyond anything you could have planned for and didn't have enough hands or enough time to adapt to on set.
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Re: Sound Devices MixPre-6 II (second generation)

PostSun Jul 12, 2020 3:32 am

Rakesh’s last paragraph is the key advice I think for a one-man band. When you have time before you are capturing video and audio, you still should check the levels you can. 32bit is another kind of insurance that you’ll get audio in as much as your microphones can manage the highs and lows.
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Re: Sound Devices MixPre-6 II (second generation)

PostSun Jul 12, 2020 11:31 am

Thanks Rakesh and Rick. Ordering in a few weeks so trying to get everything nailed down.
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Sound Devices MixPre-6 II (second generation)

PostSun Jul 12, 2020 3:27 pm

One item I don’t think I mentioned is the model. I wanted something small enough to have the option to mount the mixer/recorder as part of my rig. Ergo MixPre-6 II.

The reality is I mount the device on its own stand away from my shooting rig. I only use XLR mics and I can fill all four XLR inputs on the MixPre-6 II. I thought it would be enough but perhaps I should have bought the MixPre-10.

I’ll try to live with my limitations though as I’m not buying more gear until it’s necessary for a project.
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Re: Sound Devices MixPre-6 II (second generation)

PostSun Jul 12, 2020 3:52 pm

True statement on the size. I am building both a wireless and wire system so that's one reason why I like the Mix-Pre 6 / Deity combo, all of which will fit into an Orca-28 bag.
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Re: Sound Devices MixPre-6 II (second generation)

PostThu Jul 16, 2020 12:39 pm

Testing and learning.

After some recearch I got Rode NT1 pair for nature sound and ambience sound recording. The NT1 flatter requence respoonse was the reason to chose it over the less expensive NT1-A, and the simplisity over NT2-A that is just 20 Euro more expensive than the NT1. I did not think I would need other than the cardioit pattern and the recorder has the lowpass filter.

I knew any of these will be very sensitive for wind and need to build some protection against wind and also that smaller capsules would be better on high frequenbcy area and less prone to wind. I wanted the NT1 expesially for the very low self noise, and it is very quiet indeed. We are now on summer house with no elecrisity and tested yesterday evening, it is incredible how silent the NT1 is and how it can pick up everything.

Though I knew big capsules are sensitive for wind, I did not understand how sensitive it is and also very sensitive for handling noise. Any wind or faster movement of the microphone causes very low and strong signal, well below 20 Hz. The on recorder lowpas filter does not help much on this. I wonder if the low frequency distortion hapens already on the capsule, or would the in microphone low pass filter done better job supressing it than the recorder. Also it the 32 bit recording would have helped recovering it, I have 10T.

Anyway need to build the protection agains wind and continue testin.
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Re: Sound Devices MixPre-6 II (second generation)

PostThu Jul 16, 2020 1:25 pm

Kim Janson wrote:Testing and learning.

After some recearch I got Rode NT1 pair for nature sound and ambience sound recording.
...


Have you seen this video?

I looking at making my own blimp for recording. According to the research I've read, an ellipsoid shape is the most effective. The larger the better, to the extent that people trying to measure environmental noise levels record from within a tent like structure. There are commercial blimps for ambient recording, but they cost thousands. Its easy to create a basic geodesic frame in Blender for 3D printing but I've got a bit of learning to do to make something practical for mounting a microphone. I also want it to be easily broken down to make the blimp easily transportable.
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Re: Sound Devices MixPre-6 II (second generation)

PostThu Jul 16, 2020 1:36 pm

Yes, that is interesting video and some what inspired me selecting the NT1 (on the video it is based on NT1-A). However I want to keep the microphones as they are and no additional amplifier needed as it is with MixPre. I will now experiment with the isolators that came with the microphones, but when knowing how I want to instal them probaly will do some 3D printing. Also will make a 3D prined blimp.


John Morris wrote:
Kim Janson wrote:Testing and learning.

After some recearch I got Rode NT1 pair for nature sound and ambience sound recording.
...


Have you seen this video?

I looking at making my own blimp for recording. According to the research I've read, an ellipsoid shape is the most effective. The larger the better, to the extent that people trying to measure environmental noise levels record from within a tent like structure. There are commercial blimps for ambient recording, but they cost thousands. Its easy to create a basic geodesic frame in Blender for 3D printing but I've got a bit of learning to do to make something practical for mounting a microphone. I also want it to be easily broken down to make the blimp easily transportable.
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Re: Sound Devices MixPre-6 II (second generation)

PostFri Jul 17, 2020 8:03 am

First tests with the setup. This is with iPad using MixPre as audio source



turn the volume up, I heard those birds parely with plain ear
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Re: Sound Devices MixPre-6 II (second generation)

PostFri Jul 17, 2020 10:08 am

Kim Janson wrote:First tests with the setup. This is with iPad using MixPre as audio source



turn the volume up, I heard those birds parely with plain ear

That is insane sensitivity, must have been extremely still air.
Unfortunately I am more likely to be to try record in high wind during a ski tour :-)
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Re: Sound Devices MixPre-6 II (second generation)

PostThu Jul 23, 2020 4:10 pm

After some testing I got the MixPre 10T working as audio interface for iPhone via USB. The great thing is it works with a simple charging cable

When trying to attach a picture I got "Sorry, the board attachment quota has been reached."

anyway it seems iPhone accepts only stereo in, so Setup/USB Audio has to be set to Stereo.

The anoying thing of this is that with this settin, as the user manual says

" When USB Audio is set to Stereo Out, the MixPre does not receive USB audio from a computer. Additionally, the ASIO driver (for Windows PCs) is not supported when USB Audio is set to Stereo Out."

So it reguires setting Setup/USB audio to normal first and then going to HP setup and selecting USB 1, 2 to be able to listen audio from iPhone.

I wonder why this is?
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Re: Sound Devices MixPre-6 II (second generation)

PostFri Jul 31, 2020 10:41 pm

robedge wrote:The main thing that I've learned from several years of using iZotope RX is to avoid the need to use it if at all possible. RX is also too expensive for a lot of people.

How about iZotope RX for free?
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Re: Sound Devices MixPre-6 II (second generation)

PostWed Aug 05, 2020 12:54 am

dondidnod wrote:
robedge wrote:The main thing that I've learned from several years of using iZotope RX is to avoid the need to use it if at all possible. RX is also too expensive for a lot of people.

How about iZotope RX for free?
https://www.pluginboutique.com/articles ... A26,8K2I,1



The version of RX7 that is currently being sold for US$29 is a perfectly good introduction to the app. It's important to look at what features are included to determine whether it meets your needs.

I believe that it is highly likely that RX8 will be released this fall.
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Re: Sound Devices MixPre-6 II (second generation)

PostWed Aug 05, 2020 1:09 am

I had a discussion with Sound Devices about Noise Assist and the MixPre ii recorders. It's now clear that Noise Assist can be used on those recorders in a way that results in both a Noise Assist track and a "clean" track".

I believe that there will be a video coming out in the near future that demonstrates what Noise Assist can and can't do with both 800 series and MixPre ii recorders.
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Re: Sound Devices MixPre-6 II (second generation)

PostWed Aug 05, 2020 1:34 am

Re 32 bit recording...

Two weeks ago, I used a MixPre ii to make a stereo recording of the most dramatic thunderstorm that I have experienced in three years. The weather forecast made it clear that were in for a show. I decided to make the recording using one set of mikes and 32 bit rather than two sets of mikes at different gain levels.

I processed the files using Reaper, having used Adobe Audition in previous tests. This is not the kind of recording that I want to process in DaVinci Resolve or Final Cut. Currently, Logic insists on converting 32 bit files, on import, to 24 bit. Sound Devices's own WaveAgent will not process 32 bit files. Importantly, iZotope RX7 Advanced, which I don't own (I have RX6 Advanced and I'm awaiting RX8), is the only version of RX that will process 32 bit files.

I think that using 32 bit was the right decision in this case, but doing so has real implications for workflow and for dealing with levels when editing sound. On the latter, the issue isn't just what you do with the otherwise clipped audio, but what you do with the non-clipped audio relatively speaking. From a sound design perspective, this is the kind of recording that iZotope RX is made for, but unless one has RX7 Advanced, the whole file has to be exported, with a 32 bit-friendly application, in 24 bit before bringing the recording into RX.

I remain of the view that 32 bit should be avoided unless there is a hell of a good reason to use it. Some months ago, a person posted here that he's using 32 bit because he records political demonstrations with a single camera-mounted mike. I totally get that. What I don't get are the theoretical discussions that aren't based on practical experience with using 32 bit.

By the way, this was my first experience with Reaper and I think that it's pretty capable software. If you're coming from another DAW, it's a bit idiosyncratic, but Kenny Gioia's videos on YouTube (the channel is called Reaper Mania) are very good if you're trying to figure it out.
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Re: Sound Devices MixPre-6 II (second generation)

PostFri Aug 07, 2020 6:49 pm

This is my first post here, so apologies if I'm rehashing something from the past, but I've been paying attention to the 24-bit vs. 32-bit float capture discussion on this thread, and thought this might be useful.

In my search for an acceptable field recorder a few months back, I ended up with a Zoom F6. I kind of wish I had gone with the MixPre-6 II instead, but alas. There are a couple of things I prefer about the F6, though, and the ability to capture in 32-bit float and 24-bit simultaneously is one of them. (The integrated Sony NP battery slot is another.) I generally like using 24-bit files, but it's really nice to have the insurance with 32-bit float. It's super great to get both at the same time. I always plan on using the 24-bit capture, but if something crazy happens, it's no big deal to use 32-bit float instead. (Well, except that Logic still can't read 32-bit float natively.)

I hope the MixPre series can add this kind of functionality in the future with a firmware update. Don't know if the hardware makes that possible or not. I'm still considering jumping over from the F6.
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Re: Sound Devices MixPre-6 II (second generation)

PostSat Aug 08, 2020 1:47 am

The Other Mark Williams wrote:This is my first post here, so apologies if I'm rehashing something from the past, but I've been paying attention to the 24-bit vs. 32-bit float capture discussion on this thread, and thought this might be useful.

In my search for an acceptable field recorder a few months back, I ended up with a Zoom F6. I kind of wish I had gone with the MixPre-6 II instead, but alas. There are a couple of things I prefer about the F6, though, and the ability to capture in 32-bit float and 24-bit simultaneously is one of them. (The integrated Sony NP battery slot is another.) I generally like using 24-bit files, but it's really nice to have the insurance with 32-bit float. It's super great to get both at the same time. I always plan on using the 24-bit capture, but if something crazy happens, it's no big deal to use 32-bit float instead. (Well, except that Logic still can't read 32-bit float natively.)

I hope the MixPre series can add this kind of functionality in the future with a firmware update. Don't know if the hardware makes that possible or not. I'm still considering jumping over from the F6.


Hi Mark,

A question about the Zoom F6...

My understanding is that if one uses 32 bit you can't set gain levels. Is that correct? If so, presumably it's possible to set levels for 24 bit if one is recording both. How does that work?

Thanks
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Re: Sound Devices MixPre-6 II (second generation)

PostSat Aug 08, 2020 3:28 am

robedge wrote:
The Other Mark Williams wrote:This is my first post here, so apologies if I'm rehashing something from the past, but I've been paying attention to the 24-bit vs. 32-bit float capture discussion on this thread, and thought this might be useful.

In my search for an acceptable field recorder a few months back, I ended up with a Zoom F6. I kind of wish I had gone with the MixPre-6 II instead, but alas. There are a couple of things I prefer about the F6, though, and the ability to capture in 32-bit float and 24-bit simultaneously is one of them. (The integrated Sony NP battery slot is another.) I generally like using 24-bit files, but it's really nice to have the insurance with 32-bit float. It's super great to get both at the same time. I always plan on using the 24-bit capture, but if something crazy happens, it's no big deal to use 32-bit float instead. (Well, except that Logic still can't read 32-bit float natively.)

I hope the MixPre series can add this kind of functionality in the future with a firmware update. Don't know if the hardware makes that possible or not. I'm still considering jumping over from the F6.


Hi Mark,

A question about the Zoom F6...

My understanding is that if one uses 32 bit you can't set gain levels. Is that correct? If so, presumably it's possible to set levels for 24 bit if one is recording both. How does that work?

Thanks

Great question, Rob.

Indeed, if you select the recording mode to be "Float (32bit)", you cannot adjust gain levels (Zoom calls it "trim"). If you select "Dual (24+32bit)", you can adjust the trim level on any channel. The linear (24bit) files get written taking your trim levels into account, and the float (32bit) files get written with no regard to the trim level.

There are several annoyances for me with the F6, but the way it handles this feature is pretty great. If you can sacrifice the storage space (I almost always can), there's little reason in my mind to not record in Dual (24+32bit) mode.
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Re: Sound Devices MixPre-6 II (second generation)

PostSat Aug 08, 2020 9:30 am

What puzzles me is that 24 bit can provide 144.49 dB dynamic range. is there any microphone that can provide more?

So why they did not just simply make good 24 bits.

Further more if 150 dB would be stored in 16 bit as decibels, not linear as it is now, that would provide 0.005 decibel separation. That should be more than enough.

Oh well we have what we have thanks to the marketing.
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Re: Sound Devices MixPre-6 II (second generation)

PostSat Aug 08, 2020 4:03 pm

Kim Janson wrote:What puzzles me is that 24 bit can provide 144.49 dB dynamic range. is there any microphone that can provide more?

So why they did not just simply make good 24 bits.


If you read the thread you'll see the arguments for 32-bit float for a field recorder. Bottom line is that it's ease of use / avoiding clipping.

Kim Janson wrote:Further more if 150 dB would be stored in 16 bit as decibels, not linear as it is now, that would provide 0.005 decibel separation. That should be more than enough.


Can you explain that, because I think I'm missing something.
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Re: Sound Devices MixPre-6 II (second generation)

PostSat Aug 08, 2020 4:52 pm

Mattias Murhagen wrote:
If you read the thread you'll see the arguments for 32-bit float for a field recorder.
.


I noticed from your comment to Kim that that you're in New York. The storm referred to in the post 5 above was the one we had on July 22. Here's a screen capture from iZotope RX. The recording is 76 minutes long at 96kHz.

The Waveform Statistics True Peak (+25.7dB), Minimum RMS (-34.2dB) and "Possibly Clipped Samples" (>100,000) tell the story. The MixPre and Reaper handled this well, but it's not something that I'm eager to deal with on a regular basis :)
:


Screenshot 2020-08-08 at 12.46.30.jpg
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Video: Pocket 4K, Fujinon MK 18-55mm, Leica M primes

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Re: Sound Devices MixPre-6 II (second generation)

PostSat Aug 08, 2020 6:09 pm

I remember the storm. It sounded great!
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Re: Sound Devices MixPre-6 II (second generation)

PostSat Aug 08, 2020 8:38 pm

Mattias Murhagen wrote:I remember the storm. It sounded great!



Yup. I think that it was the most dramatic storm we've had here in three years.

For those who are interested, this is what the 32-bit recording looks like in Reaper before the peaks are brought down below 0dB. The next step is to decide how one wants to bring the peaks down, which in turn depends on what one wants as a 24-bit export.

I plan to use this recording to make background ambience/sound effects. That means that just reducing the gain for the whole recording, by an amount sufficient to bring all the peaks below 0dB, isn't going to cut it. Why? Because that would dramatically reduce the levels of everything that is already below 0dB.


Screenshot 2020-08-08 at 16.29.21.jpg
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Last edited by robedge on Sat Aug 08, 2020 10:36 pm, edited 5 times in total.
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Kim Janson

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Re: Sound Devices MixPre-6 II (second generation)

PostSat Aug 08, 2020 9:15 pm

"Can you explain that, because I think I'm missing something"

16 bit is about +-32 000 levels. If the AD converter would be true 24 bit or false 32 bit as we have now, it could store the data with 16 bit in logarithmic scale, really without loosing anything. On playback it would need to be converted back to linear.

This is especially true when looking the time domain also. These pictures are already plenty of samples considering any available sample rate and 20 kHz audio signal.

Screenshot 2020-08-08 at 12.39.12.jpg
Screenshot 2020-08-08 at 12.39.12.jpg (77.79 KiB) Viewed 948 times


But we have what we have. I just find it very disappointing sometimes how technology is evolving.


Mattias Murhagen wrote:
Kim Janson wrote:What puzzles me is that 24 bit can provide 144.49 dB dynamic range. is there any microphone that can provide more?

So why they did not just simply make good 24 bits.


If you read the thread you'll see the arguments for 32-bit float for a field recorder. Bottom line is that it's ease of use / avoiding clipping.

Kim Janson wrote:Further more if 150 dB would be stored in 16 bit as decibels, not linear as it is now, that would provide 0.005 decibel separation. That should be more than enough.


Can you explain that, because I think I'm missing something.
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Re: Sound Devices MixPre-6 II (second generation)

PostSun Aug 09, 2020 12:14 am

Quick question for the MIxPre 6 II. Is everyone using the branded Sound Device SAM-64SD SD card, or are you using another one?
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Re: Sound Devices MixPre-6 II (second generation)

PostSun Aug 09, 2020 12:22 am

jallen0 wrote:Quick question for the MIxPre 6 II. Is everyone using the branded Sound Device SAM-64SD SD card, or are you using another one?


I'll be surprised if a lot of people are using Sound Devices branded cards. I'm sure they're fine, but they aren't readily available, and for me, at least, don't come to mind. Personally, I use SanDisk.
Video: Pocket 4K, Fujinon MK 18-55mm, Leica M primes

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Re: Sound Devices MixPre-6 II (second generation)

PostSun Aug 09, 2020 1:41 am

Kim Janson wrote:"Can you explain that, because I think I'm missing something"

16 bit is about +-32 000 levels. If the AD converter would be true 24 bit or false 32 bit as we have now, it could store the data with 16 bit in logarithmic scale, really without loosing anything. On playback it would need to be converted back to linear.

This is especially true when looking the time domain also. These pictures are already plenty of samples considering any available sample rate and 20 kHz audio signal.



You'll get the noise floor of 16bit and the floor will be raised when you decompress the audio
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Re: Sound Devices MixPre-6 II (second generation)

PostSun Aug 09, 2020 4:18 am

The first 8 bits present about 50 dB, that is 256 levels to present first 50 dB Ideally that would be 0.2 dB per step, but actually that is much more for the first bits and a bit better on the higher of the 8 bits.

Screenshot 2020-08-09 at 6.52.42.jpg
Screenshot 2020-08-09 at 6.52.42.jpg (216.02 KiB) Viewed 925 times


Between 24 bit and 32 bit there is about 50 dB but instead 256 levels, there is 4 294 967 296 levels to present that 50 dB. That is 0.00000001 dB per step. there is no point of having that, but it is still very coarse at the low levels, for first 50 dB less than 0.2dB per step.

We hear more in decibels than on the linear scale.

So I do not really see why the audio is not stored on logarithmic scale, in decibels and transferred back to linear scale when listening (because the microphone provides more linear representation of the audio and loudspeakers too, it is our ears and brain that converts it then back to more logarithmic understanding of the sound levels.).

At 90's when digital audio became popular, it was maybe a bit challenging to do the logarithmic calculation or have the memory for the look up table, today that is no problem and no cost at all.

On video look up tables (LUT) are used to do basically the same thing, to but more stops on less bits.

Ps. "You'll get the noise floor of 16bit and the floor will be raised when you decompress the audio" no that is not true, See Dolby A, B, C... They used kind of the same method to improve the signal noice ration.
Last edited by Kim Janson on Sun Aug 09, 2020 5:15 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Sound Devices MixPre-6 II (second generation)

PostSun Aug 09, 2020 5:15 am

I'm too tired to re-read what you wrote in detail, but something tells me that you're missing something fundamental. Or I am.

Briefly: I don't think it's correct to imply that there are "the first 8 bits" that somehow represent a signal more poorly than the "top" 8 bits. A signal that is close to peak doesn't occupy multiple places during a sample, only one place, and thus only needs one value to be represented. The same is true at any point in time. Those "first" 8 bits are a part of an entire number, but they don't represent any lower "resolution" of the signal than the "top" 8 bits do. It would be like saying that the number "7842" has higher "resolution" than the number "0042". It doesn't.

Bit depth is about SNR.

And I read the previous post too and though I understand all of the words and phrases I just don't see how it all comes together to something that has meaning. What do you mean by "linear" versus "logarithmic" in these contexts? Can you link to some white papers or something on this? I really want to understand what you mean but (apart from being too tired right now) I'm struggling to see your reasoning.
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Re: Sound Devices MixPre-6 II (second generation)

PostSun Aug 09, 2020 5:52 am

Linear Scale 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 (+1)
Logarithmic Scale 1 2 4 8 16 32 64 128 256 512 1024 (x2)


For example 16 bit dBnoise = 20 x log (1/65536) = -96.3 dB.


Sound levels are given on decibels because that is how we humans experience it. If we agree on that, my question is why do we not store the audio on logarithmic scale (decibels).

If you look the above formula, on 16 bits we are storing values between 1 to 65536 on linear scale.

If we now calculate

20 x log (1/65536). = -96.3 dB.
20 x log (2/65536) = -90.3 dB (6 db per step)
20 x log (3/65536) = -86.7 dB
...
20 x log (1000/65536) = -36.32959 dB
20 x log (1001/65536) = -36.32091 dB (0.0086 dB per step)
...
20 x log (30000/65536) = -6.78717 dB
20 x log (30001/65536) = -6.78688 dB (0.00029 dB per step)
...
20 x log (65535/65536) = -0.000132 dB
20 x log (65536/65536) = 0.000000 dB

So you can see how on one end the change of one unit on the linear value has a huge affect on decibels.

So the way I would like to see is, lets think we have a true 32 bit AD converter, it provides 192.66 dB dynamic range. Lets store that as 16 bit but instead linear scale in decibels, so one step on the 16 bit value is always

192.66 dB / 65 636 = 0.00293527 decibels.

When playing back or editing the same conversion is do ne reversed to get the original 32 bit and 192.66 dB dynamic range presentation, without loosing anything anyone could hear.

Ps. at linear 32 bit the first step still is 6 dB

20 x log (1/4294967296)=-192.65 dB
20 x log (2/4294967296)=-186.63dB

but

20 x log (65536/4294967296)= -96.329598 dB
20 x log (65536/4294967296)= -96.329731 dB ( 0.00013 dB per step)

So with 32 bit linear presentation we get good level of details where the 16 bit noise floor is.

Note though, SD and other are not using pure 32 bit presentation, but floating point presentation and I have not seen any understandable presentation why.

from SD "The dynamic range that can be represented by a 32-bit (floating point) file is 1528 dB." this is a total overkill, best microphones can maybe handle 150 dB and from MixPre 6II specs

ADC

32 bit precision; 142 dB dynamic range min (A-weighted, gain=10dB, fader=0dB)
Equivalent Input Noise

-130dBV (-128dBu) max (A-weighting, gain=76dB, 150 ohm source impedance)

And loudest possible sound on air is 194 dB and so they are just wasting dynamic resolution with the 1528 db theoretical dynamic range.
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Re: Sound Devices MixPre-6 II (second generation)

PostSun Aug 09, 2020 12:21 pm

Kim Janson wrote:Sound levels are given on decibels because that is how we humans experience it. If we agree on that, my question is why do we not store the audio on logarithmic scale (decibels).


I’m not following this discussion, and I don’t know how much your argument depends on the accuracy of the above statement, but it’s an oversimplification.

We developed a new way to measure loudness, now captured in broadcast standards, precisely because decibels don’t capture how humans experience sound.

For one thing, frequency plays a significant role in how sound is experienced. That experience can have an interesting impact when one records sound, setting gain in dB Full Scale. You can see this by making two sound recordings of a passing train, one without a high pass/low cut filter engaged and one with. You’ll discover that using a filter to reduce the amount of low frequency energy you’re recording, even though that low frequency energy doesn’t sound as loud to your ears as higher frequency energy (e.g. a police car siren), will significantly reduce your risk of clipping.
Last edited by robedge on Sun Aug 09, 2020 9:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Video: Pocket 4K, Fujinon MK 18-55mm, Leica M primes

Stills: Leica M3/M6/M240; Mamiya 7II; Arca-Swiss 4x5/8x10

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Re: Sound Devices MixPre-6 II (second generation)

PostSun Aug 09, 2020 1:40 pm

jallen0 wrote:Quick question for the MIxPre 6 II. Is everyone using the branded Sound Device SAM-64SD SD card, or are you using another one?


I have been using these(32Gb and 128Gb), with no problems:

https://www.lexar.com/portfolio_page/pr ... -ii-cards/

A word of caution... from reading a lot of posts on this subject there seems to be a number of different cards that work, and a number that don't, all from reputable brand names and from a variety of dealer sources. Some have reported that the same model numbers have been used on different versions, making the search a mine field.

My advice (if you can't or don't want to buy from Sound Devices)...

1) Buy only premium brands from trusted retailers.
2) Buy a couple of cards of the same brand, series and capacity.
3) Format cards as recommended by Sound Devices.
4) Test both cards "extensively" before you commit them to critical tasks.
5) If you need more cards repeat all of the above tests.

The weak point of the MixPreII series is that they do not have redundant recording to a second card, but can do a backup to a USB device AFTER the take has been recorded to the original card. That doesn't represent a safety take (more a convenience than safety), imo.

I love this little machine, it has never let me down, but I would not use it for a once in a lifetime recording or commercial shoot without a true backup in place.
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Re: Sound Devices MixPre-6 II (second generation)

PostSun Aug 09, 2020 2:03 pm

Thank Ron. I am planning to use the Angelbird AV PRO SD MK2 V60 128GB SD card. It meets the specs listed on the Sound design card and I would be surprised if it doesn't;t work.

You post is very informative and I am wondering if there is something else going on besides the brand of the card. If the card meets the spec it should work. I will certainly test out this card before committing to it.

As to backup's...yep I plan on having a backup. Currently that it a Deity BP-TRX, as well as a Deity S-Mic 2S on the camera. Other than buying a second audio mixer I am not sure what else I can do.
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Re: Sound Devices MixPre-6 II (second generation)

PostSun Aug 09, 2020 6:21 pm

Mattias Murhagen wrote:Briefly: I don't think it's correct to imply that there are "the first 8 bits" that somehow represent a signal more poorly than the "top" 8 bits.


You're right; a number is a number, and there's no division. They're ALL 8, 16, 24, or 32 bits, not mixed. Whether the number is 1 or 1,000,000,000 it's represented by the same number of digits.

Bit depth is about SNR.


No, it's not. The SNR is electronic. It comes from the preamps, and has nothing to do with the bit depth of the recording; the bit depth determines how many steps you have on your ladder, the noise floor is how much of the ladder you plunked in the water. The height of the ladder depends on its height, not on how many steps it has.

And I read the previous post too and though I understand all of the words and phrases I just don't see how it all comes together to something that has meaning. What do you mean by "linear" versus "logarithmic" in these contexts?


The log vs linear thing is similar. In a "linear" ladder every step represents an incrementally higher value. In a logarithmic scale the steps of the ladder are the log of the value they're encoding. So to represent a step whose value is 1,000,000,000 you'd use (in a log base 10) 9 -- 9 zeroes, i.e. it's 1 * 10 raised to the 9th power. The log of that is 9. (It's very simple with evenly divisible numbers, chosen because they're easier to understand.)

In sound 6 dB represents twice the loudness. So the first six steps represent, say, numbers from 1-2. The next six represent 2-4. Then 4-8. Then 8-16.

Except for the specific numbers, it's exactly the same as the way that video is log encoded, in the most basic curves. The more sophisticated curves are more complex because their encoding isn't a simple and straightforward log, but reading up on log encoding for video is conceptually the same as for audio -- and for the same reason; our ears much like our eyes function logarithmically.
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Re: Sound Devices MixPre-6 II (second generation)

PostSun Aug 09, 2020 7:05 pm

Kim Janson wrote:Linear Scale 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 (+1)
Logarithmic Scale 1 2 4 8 16 32 64 128 256 512 1024 (x2)


For example 16 bit dBnoise = 20 x log (1/65536) = -96.3 dB.


Sound levels are given on decibels because that is how we humans experience it. If we agree on that, my question is why do we not store the audio on logarithmic scale (decibels).

If you look the above formula, on 16 bits we are storing values between 1 to 65536 on linear scale.

If we now calculate

20 x log (1/65536). = -96.3 dB.
20 x log (2/65536) = -90.3 dB (6 db per step)
20 x log (3/65536) = -86.7 dB
...
20 x log (1000/65536) = -36.32959 dB
20 x log (1001/65536) = -36.32091 dB (0.0086 dB per step)
...
20 x log (30000/65536) = -6.78717 dB
20 x log (30001/65536) = -6.78688 dB (0.00029 dB per step)
...
20 x log (65535/65536) = -0.000132 dB
20 x log (65536/65536) = 0.000000 dB

So you can see how on one end the change of one unit on the linear value has a huge affect on decibels.

So the way I would like to see is, lets think we have a true 32 bit AD converter, it provides 192.66 dB dynamic range. Lets store that as 16 bit but instead linear scale in decibels, so one step on the 16 bit value is always

192.66 dB / 65 636 = 0.00293527 decibels.

When playing back or editing the same conversion is do ne reversed to get the original 32 bit and 192.66 dB dynamic range presentation, without loosing anything anyone could hear.

Ps. at linear 32 bit the first step still is 6 dB

20 x log (1/4294967296)=-192.65 dB
20 x log (2/4294967296)=-186.63dB

but

20 x log (65536/4294967296)= -96.329598 dB
20 x log (65536/4294967296)= -96.329731 dB ( 0.00013 dB per step)

So with 32 bit linear presentation we get good level of details where the 16 bit noise floor is.

Note though, SD and other are not using pure 32 bit presentation, but floating point presentation and I have not seen any understandable presentation why.

from SD "The dynamic range that can be represented by a 32-bit (floating point) file is 1528 dB." this is a total overkill, best microphones can maybe handle 150 dB and from MixPre 6II specs

ADC

32 bit precision; 142 dB dynamic range min (A-weighted, gain=10dB, fader=0dB)
Equivalent Input Noise

-130dBV (-128dBu) max (A-weighting, gain=76dB, 150 ohm source impedance)

And loudest possible sound on air is 194 dB and so they are just wasting dynamic resolution with the 1528 db theoretical dynamic range.

I think your terminology is confused. PCM quantizes in a non linear fashion. It gives less bits to louder signals and more bits to lower signals. You want a linear allocation of bits per decibel, similar to what LPCM does. That sounds good, but it introduces much greater quantization error in low level signals. Higher level signals require less bit allocation while low level signals require more bits to maintain the signal to noise ratio. If you try to spread out the bits(16 bit depth) over 194db, matters just get worse as even less bits go to low level signals.
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Re: Sound Devices MixPre-6 II (second generation)

PostSun Aug 09, 2020 8:32 pm

Rakesh Malik wrote:
Mattias Murhagen wrote:Bit depth is about SNR.


No, it's not.


Yes it is.

Rakesh Malik wrote:The SNR is electronic. It comes from the preamps, and has nothing to do with the bit depth of the recording;


Just because you have a SNR for electronic devices doesn't mean you don't have it with a converted signal.

Rakesh Malik wrote:the bit depth determines how many steps you have on your ladder, the noise floor is how much of the ladder you plunked in the water. The height of the ladder depends on its height, not on how many steps it has.


You can't both have an increased SNR of 144dB versus 96dB going from 16 to 24 bits AND not have that be about SNR. Choose one.

The quantization error is noise. More bits = the LSB error being further down, i.e. higher SNR.

Rakesh Malik wrote:The log vs linear thing is similar. In a "linear" ladder every step represents an incrementally higher value. In a logarithmic scale the steps of the ladder are the log of the value they're encoding. So to represent a step whose value is 1,000,000,000 you'd use (in a log base 10) 9 -- 9 zeroes, i.e. it's 1 * 10 raised to the 9th power. The log of that is 9. (It's very simple with evenly divisible numbers, chosen because they're easier to understand.)

In sound 6 dB represents twice the loudness. So the first six steps represent, say, numbers from 1-2. The next six represent 2-4. Then 4-8. Then 8-16.


See Dan's reply.
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Re: Sound Devices MixPre-6 II (second generation)

PostSun Aug 09, 2020 9:29 pm

Mattias Murhagen wrote:Just because you have a SNR for electronic devices doesn't mean you don't have it with a converted signal.


I didn't claim otherwise... but bit depth doesn't CHANGE the SNR from the signal.

You can't both have an increased SNR of 144dB versus 96dB going from 16 to 24 bits AND not have that be about SNR. Choose one.


You could, but generally the engineers strive to improve more than just the ADCs in new product generations, so it doesn't really end up happening. It's not really any different from how things work in the video world; more bits don't deliver more dynamic range in the absence of other improvements that reduce the noise in the signal as well.
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Sound Devices MixPre-6 II (second generation)

PostWed Aug 12, 2020 10:46 pm

For the MixPre-6 II, I use the Sound Devices branded 32GB card that I think was the maximum available at the time of my purchase. I also use the Wise 128GB SDXC and that’s been reliable too.

I’ve also learned to use Reaper last year for post processing the recording of 16 tracks of audio for Mamma Mia!
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Re: Sound Devices MixPre-6 II (second generation)

PostSat Aug 15, 2020 12:38 am

Sound effects specialist Alex Knickerbocker has uploaded an interesting video on what recorders and microphones he uses for professional work.

His main recorders (from 06:55) are a Sound Devices 722 and 788. The 702T, which I have, is the same recorder as the 722 but with timecode. All of these recorders are discontinued, but they are extremely reliable and, as Knickerbocker says, built like tanks.

He uses a variety of mikes, but the main ones are:

Neuman RSM 191 Mid-Side stereo mike
Sennheiser MKH 8020 omnis (pair)
Sennheiser MKH 8040 cardiods (pair)
Neuman KM 84 cardiods (pair)
Countryman B3 lavalieres
DPA 4061 lavalieres



Video: Pocket 4K, Fujinon MK 18-55mm, Leica M primes

Stills: Leica M3/M6/M240; Mamiya 7II; Arca-Swiss 4x5/8x10

Sound: Schoeps/DPA mikes; Sound Devices 702T/MixPre-6ii

Main Sample Libraries: Bechstein Piano, BBC Symphony Orchestra
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Re: Sound Devices MixPre-6 II (second generation)

PostSat Aug 22, 2020 9:03 pm

Yesterday I submitted a feature request to Sound Devices for the MixPre II series to add dual (simultaneous) 24-bit and 32-bit float recording. They got back to me right away to say they would log the feature request. If anyone else is interested in this, please consider letting them know. It's one of the few things I personally prefer about the ZOOM F6. Would be great to have feature parity in that area...
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Re: Sound Devices MixPre-6 II (second generation)

PostTue Aug 25, 2020 10:32 am

Kim Janson wrote:"Can you explain that, because I think I'm missing something"

16 bit is about +-32 000 levels. If the AD converter would be true 24 bit or false 32 bit as we have now, it could store the data with 16 bit in logarithmic scale, really without loosing anything. On playback it would need to be converted back to linear.

This is especially true when looking the time domain also. These pictures are already plenty of samples considering any available sample rate and 20 kHz audio signal.

Screenshot 2020-08-08 at 12.39.12.jpg


But we have what we have. I just find it very disappointing sometimes how technology is evolving.


Mattias Murhagen wrote:
Kim Janson wrote:What puzzles me is that 24 bit can provide 144.49 dB dynamic range. is there any microphone that can provide more?

So why they did not just simply make good 24 bits.


If you read the thread you'll see the arguments for 32-bit float for a field recorder. Bottom line is that it's ease of use / avoiding clipping.

Kim Janson wrote:Further more if 150 dB would be stored in 16 bit as decibels, not linear as it is now, that would provide 0.005 decibel separation. That should be more than enough.


Can you explain that, because I think I'm missing something.


It's not simply a matter of more bits being more resolution but that the samples are stored in a fundamentally different way.

in linear pcm the bad blocky graphs are accurate to a degree..

Float has the same resolution as 24bit audio. (as it uses 24 bits of the 32bits for the 'value' and the remaining 8 bits for a mantissa) but a far greater range (1500db range)

A signed 32-bit integer variable has a maximum value of 231 − 1 = 2,147,483,647, whereas an IEEE 754 32-bit base-2 floating-point variable has a maximum value of (2 − 2−23) × 2127 ≈ 3.4028235 × 1038

it's a far far bigger dynamic range. and it allows what the sound is and how loud the sound is to be stored in the separate parts of the data.

Unfortunatly the forum won't let me post url's but there's a sound devices page that explains this quite well if you go to sound devices website url and add /32-bit-float-files-explained/
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Re: Sound Devices MixPre-6 II (second generation)

PostTue Aug 25, 2020 3:03 pm

The Other Mark Williams wrote:Yesterday I submitted a feature request to Sound Devices for the MixPre II series to add dual (simultaneous) 24-bit and 32-bit float recording. They got back to me right away to say they would log the feature request. If anyone else is interested in this, please consider letting them know. It's one of the few things I personally prefer about the ZOOM F6. Would be great to have feature parity in that area...


I suspect that this is ultimately about a business decision on safety tracks as a feature.

My understanding is that one can’t set a gain level when recording 32-bit on a Zoom recorder. It’s one reason why I dismissed the idea of purchasing one. I have zero interest in owning a recorder that has a "feature" that prevents me from setting gain. Your post is a clue about why Zoom might have done this.

One can set 32-bit gain on a MixPre v.2. It would be quite odd for Sound Devices to offer 24-bit plus 32-bit recording but not dual 24-bit recording. The latter, and probably the former, because one can set 32-bit gain, would make dual recording at different gain levels possible.

Currently, that can only be done on Sound Devices’s high-end field recorders. That is a business decision, not the result of new technology. Dual recording at two different gain levels is also possible on field recorders that Sound Devices has discontinued.

I think that this is one reason why owners of Sound Devices’s high-end recorders are not clamoring for 32-bit, even though the hardware in the 800 series recorders would apparently support it.
Video: Pocket 4K, Fujinon MK 18-55mm, Leica M primes

Stills: Leica M3/M6/M240; Mamiya 7II; Arca-Swiss 4x5/8x10

Sound: Schoeps/DPA mikes; Sound Devices 702T/MixPre-6ii

Main Sample Libraries: Bechstein Piano, BBC Symphony Orchestra
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Robert Niessner

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Re: Sound Devices MixPre-6 II (second generation)

PostMon Aug 31, 2020 7:00 am

Rob, seems the wait for iZotope RX8 is almost over (they have a teaser video for 8 on their YouTube channel).
Robert Niessner
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robedge

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Re: Sound Devices MixPre-6 II (second generation)

PostMon Aug 31, 2020 11:44 am

Robert Niessner wrote:Rob, seems the wait for iZotope RX8 is almost over (they have a teaser video for 8 on their YouTube channel).


Thanks. Right on time:


Video: Pocket 4K, Fujinon MK 18-55mm, Leica M primes

Stills: Leica M3/M6/M240; Mamiya 7II; Arca-Swiss 4x5/8x10

Sound: Schoeps/DPA mikes; Sound Devices 702T/MixPre-6ii

Main Sample Libraries: Bechstein Piano, BBC Symphony Orchestra
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robedge

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  • Real Name: Rob Edge

Re: Sound Devices MixPre-6 II (second generation)

PostTue Sep 01, 2020 10:45 pm

For some reason this video is not yet listed on YouTube, but this is iZotope's video on what's new in RX8:


Video: Pocket 4K, Fujinon MK 18-55mm, Leica M primes

Stills: Leica M3/M6/M240; Mamiya 7II; Arca-Swiss 4x5/8x10

Sound: Schoeps/DPA mikes; Sound Devices 702T/MixPre-6ii

Main Sample Libraries: Bechstein Piano, BBC Symphony Orchestra
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