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)

PostSat Mar 07, 2020 9:35 pm

I still do adjustments within the MixPre-6 II so the levels I’m monitoring look decent. I know you’ll do that too better than I can. But I’m often in category 3 in your list and something like category 1. So I try to be somewhat skilled at it all, but then I can relax because it’s 32bit. Especially true now that Resolve fully supports 32bit.
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Re: Sound Devices MixPre-6 II (second generation)

PostSat Mar 07, 2020 10:24 pm

rick.lang wrote:I still do adjustments within the MixPre-6 II so the levels I’m monitoring look decent. I know you’ll do that too better than I can. But I’m often in category 3 in your list and something like category 1. So I try to be somewhat skilled at it all, but then I can relax because it’s 32bit. Especially true now that Resolve fully supports 32bit.


I’m just think it’s good that Paul Isaacs, who is as authoritative on the subject as one can be, has drawn a line between the hype around 32-bit and the reality. He has also confirmed advice that I’ve received from New York’s two most important vendors of location sound gear.

Like Paul Isaacs, I think that 32-bit is especially interesting for recordings of wide dynamic range sound effects. Post-processing is less of an issue because sound effect recordings are usually fairly short and are made in the expectation that there may be a lot of post-processing anyway. Post-processing manipulation is the whole point of recording sound effects at 192kHz, which is increasingly common.

What I want to find out now, by trying 32-bit, is exactly what it does to workflow and processing/rendering times during editing. A video that I saw yesterday says that the impact on processing/rendering is exponential, not linear, and substantial. However, the person who made the video did not talk about how powerful/fast his computer is.

Have you edited 32-bit recordings? Do you know what the impact is compared to 24-bit?
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rick.lang

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Sound Devices MixPre-6 II (second generation)

PostSat Mar 07, 2020 10:43 pm

Audio file sizes are a third larger so that takes more resources and signed 32bit floating point takes more processing time than 24bit binary, but I’m afraid I’ve not done a controlled comparison. I could have told you a few decades ago when I was working directly with those things, but processors have changed greatly since then and it’s possible that there’s little impact on the processing end by the CPU given the much more capable designs we have now. I don’t think it’s exponential, but it will take a little longer since you’re handling that binary value anyway as the mantissa and shifting it left or right by the value of the signed exponent. Shifts are a lot faster as we are talking about the theoretical shift of roughly 750 dB in Waithe direction, but the shift of likely 1 or 2 bits only for most sounds we might encounter. Given everything else going on in the production of the video, the larger audio file size is the larger impact.
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Re: Sound Devices MixPre-6 II (second generation)

PostSat Mar 07, 2020 10:58 pm

rick.lang wrote:Audio file sizes are a third larger so that takes more resources and signed 32bit floating point takes more processing time than 24bit binary, but I’m afraid I’ve not done a controlled comparison. I could have told you a few decades ago when I was working directly with those things, but processors have changed greatly since then and it’s possible that there’s little impact on the processing end by the CPU given the much more capable designs we have now. I don’t think it’s exponential, but it will take a little longer since you’re handling that binary value anyway as the mantissa and shifting it left or right by the value of the signed exponent. Shifts are a lot faster as we are talking about the theoretical shift of roughly 750 dB in Waithe direction, but the shift of likely 1 or 2 bits only for most sounds we might encounter. Given everything else going on in the production of the video, the larger audio file size is the larger impact.


Sound Devices’s Paul Isaacs at 24:30 of the video above: “24-bit is gonna be more than good enough for most applications”.

Here’s the second video that I’m talking about. The person who made it uses 32-bit because he’s a drummer and he makes videos at shows like NAAM. He says that he can render 4K video on his laptop without difficulty. His comments on 32-bit rendering time are at 02:20. He’s talking about very significant differences from 24-bit, which would be really felt with long recordings. I’m going to find some time to test this myself over the next few days:


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Sound Devices MixPre-6 II (second generation)

PostSat Mar 07, 2020 11:09 pm

You know he doesn’t know what he’s talking about when he says 32bit audio requires “a lot more space” than 24bit. It’s simple math, a third more! Then he claims a 10 minute audio render in 24bit requires more than 20 minutes in 32bit. That’s not exponential and I wasn’t clear if he’s rendering 24bit output from 32bit input or something else.

If there are modern theatre projectors that handle 32bit or if the DCP specification includes DCP with 32bit audio, then you don’t have to convert anything. If the output is 24bit, you may need to shift the occasional amount of values one or two bits in real world usage.

At least this is my assumption how 32bit is used and converted to 24bit audio which I’ve done.

I suppose he’s not wrong about the results he says he gets but it’s not clear what else might be happening.
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Re: Sound Devices MixPre-6 II (second generation)

PostSat Mar 07, 2020 11:14 pm

rick.lang wrote:You know he doesn’t know what he’s talking about when he says 32bit audio requires “a lot more space” than 24bit. It’s simple math, a third more! Then he claims a 10 minute audio render in 24bit requires more than 20 minutes in 32bit. That’s not exponential and I wasn’t clear if he’s rendering 24bit output from 32bit input or something else.

If there are modern theatre projectors that handle 32bit or if the DCP specification includes DCP with 32bit audio, then you don’t have to convert anything. If the output is 24bit, you may need to shift the occasional amount of values one or two bits in real world usage.

I suppose he’s not wrong about the results he says he gets but it’s not clear what else might be happening.


Hi Rick,

Sorry, but you completely misheard what he said about rendering times. Listen again. And yes, 33% more data is indeed “a lot more data” to store, not that it advances the discussion to complain about his use of language.

As someone who owns a MixPre recorder with 32-bit float, I’m just interested in finding out the facts about where 32-bit is useful, where it isn’t and what the costs are. Sound Devices’s Paul Isaacs, and my NY sound shop, have answered the first two questions, now I’m working on an answer to the third.
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Sound Devices MixPre-6 II (second generation)

PostSun Mar 08, 2020 12:54 am

Thanks for catching my bad read on that portion on the rendering times which went from “one and a half or two minutes for audio to twenty to thirty minutes.” That’s big alright. I was only remembering the “twenty to thirty minutes” thinking the difference was 10 minutes or 50% whereas it was really two minutes becoming thirty minutes. Sorry about that folks.

He does mention he used Adobe Premiere and may be related to how he defines his timeline and so on. It’s good we try and get a handle on these impacts with Resolve 16.2 which now supports 32bit audio.

A 33% increase in audio storage isn’t “a lot more” for someone shooting long video of which only a few percent is audio information, but that’s subjective. If you’re only shooting audio it’s a lot more, but when you’re shooting and storing both audio and video, it’s not a concern to me. So different perspectives of course result in different conclusions.
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Re: Sound Devices MixPre-6 II (second generation)

PostSun Mar 08, 2020 1:22 am

rick.lang wrote:Thanks for catching my bad read on that portion on the rendering times which went from “one and a half or two minutes for audio to twenty to thirty minutes.” That’s big alright. I was only remembering the “twenty to thirty minutes” thinking the difference was 10 minutes or 50% whereas it was really two minutes becoming thirty minutes. Sorry about that folks.

He does mention he used Adobe Premiere and may be related to how he defines his timeline and so on. It’s good we try and get a handle on these impacts with Resolve 16.2 which now supports 32bit audio.


I use Final Cut, Logic and iZotope RX/Ozone, all of which are fine with 32-bit audio.

I have to do some tests of my own. If the fellow in the video four posts up is right, rendering time is a significant factor in deciding when/if to use 32-bit. If anybody on this forum has actual experience with editing 32-bit audio, comments on that experience would be more than welcome.

If rendering times are long, it’s one thing to use 32-bit to record sound effects, which is two of the three examples Paul Isaacs talks about in the video above, but it’s another altogether to use it for long form performances/documentaries, which Isaacs clearly doesn’t recommend. Maybe OK for hobbyists with lots of time on their hands, not so fine for people who are paying for sound, or indeed for hobbyists who value their time.

I understand Isaacs’s point about novices, but I really wonder whether someone who doesn’t know how to set gain properly knows how to place a microphone. It’s not like setting gain is rocket science. In my view, the novice argument for 32-bit is badly flawed, and what’s likely to happen is a bunch of people who don’t know what they’re doing using 32-bit as a crutch. What they do on their own time is their business; the question is whether they think that other people should pay for their lack of basic knowledge.
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Re: Sound Devices MixPre-6 II (second generation)

PostSun Mar 08, 2020 10:05 am

I have quite a bit of experience of working with 32-bit now. Just recently finished a short DCI 4K commercial for cinema where we recorded the audio with the SD MixPre-10 II in 32-bit float mode. I haven't found that rendering times increased exponentially. For me 32-bit didn't have any significant impact on rendering times.

I have also been working with iZotope RX7 Advanced for months on repairing the fu..ed up surround mix of a full feature without having the stems. Everything has been done in 32-bit.
The only big increase I have found is when I was working on a 192kHz 24bit project (recording of an orchestra) - that is 4 times the data of 48kHz 24bit and that takes a big hit on rendering times.

What I found to be really great with using the 32bit mode of the MixPre is that on small sets you can have the sound guy concentrating on booming the sound without the need to constantly fiddle with the levels.
So I didn't understand why Paul Isaacs downplays this...
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Re: Sound Devices MixPre-6 II (second generation)

PostSun Mar 08, 2020 10:21 am

Robert Niessner wrote:For me 32-bit didn't have any significant impact on rendering times.


Thanks, good to know. I’ll be doing some tests this week using RX, Logic and Final Cut, hopefully with the same result. Your experience suggests that the fellow who made the video above, despite being able to render 4K UHD, hasn’t got enough processor power/RAM to handle 32-bit. We also don’t know how much data he’s driving at a time. What computer/processor and how much RAM were you using?
Last edited by robedge on Sun Mar 08, 2020 10:34 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Sound Devices MixPre-6 II (second generation)

PostSun Mar 08, 2020 10:33 am

robedge wrote:Thanks, good to know. I’ll be doing some tests this week using RX, Logic and Final Cut, hopefully with the same result. What computer/processor and how much RAM were you using?


Rob, my main workstation is now in its 9th year:
Intel i7-980 sixcore 3.33 GHz with 48 GB RAM, Asus P6X58D-E Deluxe mb, Nvidia GTX780 with 6 GB, LSI-9750-8i raid controller with a 35 TB Raid-5, 2 TB Samsung 850 SSD for System, 0.5 TB Crucial M4 SSD for render cache

Another great use case for me: setting up the recording of a huge orchestra where I can only estimate the levels before the rehearsal and have to leave the device unattended otherwise (the conductors hate if you do anything behind them during the rehearsal; and of course you can't do anything during the live performance). Of course ideally this kind of recording would be done with an audio crew on its own - but that is not always possible.
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Re: Sound Devices MixPre-6 II (second generation)

PostSun Mar 08, 2020 10:40 am

Robert Niessner wrote:Rob, my main workstation is now in its 9th year:
Intel i7-980 sixcore 3.33 GHz with 48 GB RAM, Asus P6X58D-E Deluxe mb, Nvidia GTX780 with 6 GB, LSI-9750-8i raid controller with a 35 TB Raid-5, 2 TB Samsung 850 SSD for System, 0.5 TB Crucial M4 SSD for render cache


Positively ancient. I think that I know now why you and the guy who made the video above are experiencing different render times :)

Re your comment “I didn’t understand why Paul Isaacs downplays this”... Not sure he’s downplaying it, but he does regard 24-bit as the norm, and his comments about 32-bit may be based, in part, on the assumption that most MixPre owners aren’t running a professional video workstation. Most people don’t have 48GB of RAM, or a dedicated SSD render cache.

I may try to do my tests on a couple of different machines with different specs.
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Re: Sound Devices MixPre-6 II (second generation)

PostSun Mar 08, 2020 4:15 pm

Thanks for the feedback of the orchestra recording, Robert. I was steeped in binary and floating point math fifty years ago on IBM mainframes among others. It wasn’t a big deal then (and was more efficient than packed decimal math that I believe IBM created) and our phones today have far more power than a 50 year old mainframe computer.

I think the test results reported in that video may be more attributed to using Adobe Premiere or some other settings as the gentleman suggested.
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Re: Sound Devices MixPre-6 II (second generation)

PostSun Mar 08, 2020 6:22 pm

I just tested 32-bit on a new Mac mini. The computer is maxed out with the important exception of RAM. The RAM is only 8GB because I'm installing my own, and this was an opportunity to see how 8GB of RAM would handle a 32-bit recording. The other thing worth noting is that the current Mac minis have Apple's T2 chip. This chip greatly improves performance of some functions. I doubt, but can’t say for sure, whether it is a significant factor in this test. The CPU is top of the line for the current mini.

I recorded a 32-bit 48kHz Wave file, single track, 2.5 minutes long, deliberately clipping the audio. I then opened iZotope RX, which is the first stop for most of my sound recordings, and imported the file. I reduced the gain to below 0dB in several places in the recording and then exported (“bounced”) the file as 24-bit, which is what I would do before import to Final Cut.

As far as I am concerned, the export was lightning fast. There certainly wasn't any noticeable delay. I'm not going to bother testing in Logic or Final Cut, because in a situation like this RX would be the first stop anyway, and I don’t edit sound in Final Cut. I'm also not going to bother testing on a computer with more RAM, given that 8GB worked fine. It's possible that long recordings would result in some delay, but I'm doubtful that it would be terribly significant. I don’t know what would happen with an appreciably slower CPU. I would suggest the obvious - that people test 32-bit with their specific computer system and workflow before using it.

The added workload is gain correction and an eventual 24-bit export. The gain correction has to be done so that it sounds natural in relation to the audio before and after. This is often not as simple a matter as it sounds. I would much rather get this right via proper gain setting in the first place. What other people do is their business, but I think that Sound Devices's/Paul Isaacs's examples constitute a correct analysis of the kinds of situations where 32-bit should be used.

Sound Devices has made a short video (see below) showing the 32-bit workflow. Consistent with Paul Isaacs's comments on 32-bit, the video shows an RX workflow, and the example is a sound effect of an automobile engine revving.

Note that in the video below there is a need for only one discrete gain correction. In a recording of a performance, or during a documentary shoot, there may be many corrections to make if gain has not been set properly. There’s a point where this becomes a discussion about expertise, professionalism and, in the paid world, cost-cutting (axe the sound mixer position), but those issues are probably not worth discussing here.

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

PostMon Mar 09, 2020 11:40 am

I've been working with 32-bit floating point WAV files for three years now on a much lower-spec Mac Mini (2014 i5 with 8 gigs of RAM) and have never encountered problems. These are files recorded on my live sound mixer (QSC Touchmix), which records 32-bit floating point WAV into an external SSD or high-speed hard disk. I use it to record concerts when I'm doing the sound.

I still use the original MixPre 6 for location recording and have no plans to upgrade, but as someone who works on documentary I can think of a few times where the newer generation MixPre would have made life easier. One example was last year in Brittany where I was documenting a procession that has happened every year on the same date since the late 1600s. Part of the event took place inside a church, followed by a procession to a statue, and once the church service was over I ran down the path that goes to the statue and positioned myself to capture the procession as it went by. There was no way to predict the right levels on the MixPre (the procession involved about 75 people and included singing). I set the gain relatively low, relying on the low-noise preamps and my low-noise mics to give me room to bring up the levels in post, but even so the limiters came on when the loudest group of singers passed by. Once the procession drew near I was too busy capturing video to even glance at the levels on the MixPre.
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Re: Sound Devices MixPre-6 II (second generation)

PostMon Mar 09, 2020 2:32 pm

Brad Hurley wrote:I still use the original MixPre 6 for location recording and have no plans to upgrade, but as someone who works on documentary I can think of a few times where the newer generation MixPre would have made life easier. One example was last year in Brittany where I was documenting a procession that has happened every year on the same date since the late 1600s. Part of the event took place inside a church, followed by a procession to a statue, and once the church service was over I ran down the path that goes to the statue and positioned myself to capture the procession as it went by. There was no way to predict the right levels on the MixPre (the procession involved about 75 people and included singing). I set the gain relatively low, relying on the low-noise preamps and my low-noise mics to give me room to bring up the levels in post, but even so the limiters came on when the loudest group of singers passed by. Once the procession drew near I was too busy capturing video to even glance at the levels on the MixPre.


This is Paul Isaacs’s third example, where as a practical matter there’s no sound recordist present. In those cases, the choice between a limiter and 32-bit is a judgment call. I’d go with a limiter unless I think that the shot and perfect dynamic range fidelity are sufficiently important that fixing gain problems in post is worth my time or, if I’m paying a sound editor, worth writing a cheque for.

Isaacs’s example of a show where 32-bit might be useful is Carpool Karaoke. The recordist sets up the recorder and mikes, but is not in the car. It’s unclear whether Carpool Karaoke is actually recorded in 32-bit, but given the profile of James Corden and his guests, and the budget, it could make sense. However, it’s interesting that Jerry Seinfeld’s Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee was being recorded successfully long before 32-bit was available. There’s a lengthy, informative video on YouTube in which the Seinfeld show’s Sound Supervisor explains how they do their recordings, and there isn’t a word about 32-bit.

Interestingly, 32-bit is still not a feature in professional field recorders, including in Sound Devices’s own new top of the line, US$10,000 Scorpio.

Here’s the video about how it was done on Seinfeld’s show as of 2016:

Video: Pocket 4K, Fujinon MK 18-55mm, Leica primes 35-135mm, Nikkor 55mm macro

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

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

PostFri Apr 17, 2020 7:12 am

I just finished testing a battery solution for MixPre 10T, but should work as well with other models 13 hour battery life with one phantom powered mic.

Screenshot 2020-04-17 at 9.34.34.jpg
Screenshot 2020-04-17 at 9.34.34.jpg (664.99 KiB) Viewed 1800 times


Also it charges fast with USB C and can provide power for two normal USB + one USB-C device while powering MixPre.

The battery cost about 100 euro and has nice aluminium case (Anker PowerCore+ 26800 USB-C)

The only downside is that it requires heavy modification to the battery. I hope Anker etc. would make such battery available, with direct power output from the battery cells.

Screenshot 2020-04-17 at 10.05.50.jpg
Screenshot 2020-04-17 at 10.05.50.jpg (800.57 KiB) Viewed 1800 times


The MixPre battery adapter is pretty simple, the additional + is it provides free access to SD card

Screenshot 2020-04-17 at 10.11.31.jpg
Screenshot 2020-04-17 at 10.11.31.jpg (666.22 KiB) Viewed 1800 times


I think such battery would be pretty useful also with many cameras that operate with 7.4V LiPo battery. It is good quality, charges with USB-C and much smaller than similar capacity V-Lock etc. battery that would require also separate charger. The battery I use is almost 100Wh, so the biggest that is ok to fly with. (when that is relevant again)
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Re: Sound Devices MixPre-6 II (second generation)

PostFri Apr 17, 2020 9:07 am

Awesome what you can do while you’re staying at home.
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Re: Sound Devices MixPre-6 II (second generation)

PostFri Apr 17, 2020 9:43 am

So many projects I never had time for :D
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Re: Sound Devices MixPre-6 II (second generation)

PostSun Apr 19, 2020 12:51 am

This is a solid video that Alex Knickerbocker made for iZotope, uploaded today, on how he uses Insight 2 metering when mixing for broadcast. Even if one uses something other than Insight, the video is worth watching just for the workflow:

Video: Pocket 4K, Fujinon MK 18-55mm, Leica primes 35-135mm, Nikkor 55mm macro

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

Sound: Schoeps omni & supercardiod mikes; DPA miniature omni mikes; Sound Devices 702T/MixPre-6 v.2
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Re: Sound Devices MixPre-6 II (second generation)

PostFri Apr 24, 2020 12:36 pm

Vancouver location sound mixer Rodolfo Piedras (RLFO Sound) has uploaded a video on how he sets up his MixPre, original version, for location work, including timecode for camera and smartslate. For someone purchasing a MixPre who doesn’t already have Tentacle Sync boxes, it may make financial sense to purchase a MixPre, version 2, saving the need for the box connected to the recorder. Depends partly on what one has to pay for a version 1 recorder. If you’re curious about his accent, he’s that rare specimen, a Mexican immigrant to Canada :)

Setting Up a Location Sound Bag Using a MixPre-6:

Video: Pocket 4K, Fujinon MK 18-55mm, Leica primes 35-135mm, Nikkor 55mm macro

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

Sound: Schoeps omni & supercardiod mikes; DPA miniature omni mikes; Sound Devices 702T/MixPre-6 v.2
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Re: Sound Devices MixPre-6 II (second generation)

PostTue Apr 28, 2020 3:24 am

From earlier today...

On YouTube, these videos are thus far "unlisted" but show up in notifications to Gotham Sound subscribers, and they are apparently also on Gotham’s Facebook Page. They appear to relate to the upcoming virtual Sound Summit this Thursday and Friday. One commenter on YouTube says that the sound quality for the first video is better on Facebook.

Virtual Broadcast Audio Convention 2020: Sound Devices with Gotham Sound's Peter Schneider and
Sound Devices's Paul Isaacs. The discussion about starts at 08:30. The discussion before that is about Covid-19:



There’s also this discussion with Gotham’s Nick Huston and Zaxcom’s Glenn Sanders and Colleen Goodsir:



And this discussion with Caleb Hill of Bubblebee about their wind protection:

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

PostThu Apr 30, 2020 8:18 pm

There are some comments relevant to MixPre v.2 recorders in this thread about Sound Summit 2020: viewtopic.php?f=2&t=112536
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Re: Sound Devices MixPre-6 II (second generation)

PostMon Jun 22, 2020 5:57 pm

Firmware was updated to 7.0, but headphones distortion noise problem still exists in MixPre3II/6II/10II.
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Sound Devices MixPre-6 II (second generation)

PostSun Jun 28, 2020 1:12 pm

Who is planning to spend $300 to acquire the Sound Devices MixPre NoiseAssist plugin for adaptive ambient noise suppression from traffic, generators, HVAC, et.? If it magically works without noticeable quality degradation of the ‘good’ sound, it would be worth it for those who haven’t invested heavily in post tools. Post noise suppression for me is useful with very cautious use as it can distort vocals, but I’ve only dipped my toe into the pool of tools available for that purpose.

What are your thoughts or preferences?
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Re: Sound Devices MixPre-6 II (second generation)

PostSun Jun 28, 2020 4:15 pm

Why would in device noice cancellation be better than on post production ?
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Sound Devices MixPre-6 II (second generation)

PostSun Jun 28, 2020 4:48 pm

In-device noise cancellation is designed ideally for either live broadcast or quick turnaround work. It only has a 1 msec delay so may be superior to another solution external with significantly more delay.

It’s dangerous because if you over do the suppression, it will permanently colour your ‘good’ audio. The default suppression is -6 dB and that is on the border of affecting other sound, -5 dB may be safer. That can help get rid of many low level background notices like HVAC or equipment fans.

Post is safer and has a lot of tools available, but I was hoping this NoiseAssist might work best on my Sennheiser MKH416 when I have it camera mounted and it does pick up camera fan sound. Getting rid of equipment fans at the source would be nice to have.

Each instance you apply this plugin costs $300. Putting it on the MKH416 uses one instance. Sound Devices suggests applying an instance to either the Left or Right stereo mix of all channels. So if you destroy the L audio with an aggressive suppression, you can avoid complete disaster using the clean R audio.

Edit
Too bad you can’t trial this plugin before paying $300 for one instance. If it tested fine at -6 dB that might be enough. But I don’t have the audio experience of many folks here. The $300 might be better spent on iZotope ad nauseum.

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

PostSun Jun 28, 2020 8:56 pm

I have the MixPre 6 first gen and find it to be an excellent piece of equipment. My thought to the 32-bit second gen and pre-emptive noise suppression is that even with gen1 I can notice characteristics of the mic used (I have several Rode mics.) These characteristics can be of more magnitude than some noise. However, all can be managed to my satisfaction with RX7.

Now this is not to dismiss the art and skill of pre-emtive work whether it be noise suppression or EQ management. But this seems to fall into the efforts of those with a larger crew like with lighting or set design which is beyond what I can now do. Until such time I place the mics well and feed them into the PreMix6 and use the individual channels from Wave Agent to RX7 to Fairlight (with iZotope plug-ins.)

Some day I may get the 32-bit for the dynamic range, but I still puzzle over how to properly present this to an audience. I am learning HDR and much is being accomplished with displays which gives a much nicer presentation. But sound is already pretty good and the new efforts seem to be going to the direction of Atmos. Will 32-bit really contribute significantly? I can see the usefulness of 32-bit recording for certain sounds (engines may come to mind), but how often does this occur. I can also see the usefulness of working with 32-bit original sound files. However, it seems the 24-bit for presentation should satisfy for a very long time.

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

PostMon Jun 29, 2020 12:31 am

rick.lang wrote:Post noise suppression for me is useful with very cautious use as it can distort vocals

Yes, I have found this to be true as well. I had an assignment to work on a feature film shot outdoors with dialog from an East Indian woman who had a high pitched voice. One clip had some loud hum from a generator in the distant background. I ran it through dehum in Isotope's RX7 and it handled the hum quite nicely after analyzing it. The waveform showed a notch filter applied not only to the low base frequency, but to every harmonic of that frequency. This had a bad effect on her voice, making it more distorted. Maybe it was my inexperience with adjusting the tool, but I let the Director make the call as to whether to use the corrected clip or not.
If you get a trial, make sure you test it in a situation like this. It could be that if the dehum had been only on the low base frequency, it would have been acceptable.
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Re: Sound Devices MixPre-6 II (second generation)

PostTue Jun 30, 2020 11:03 pm

I would think that Sound Devices's NoiseAssist is potentially a big deal and I find it interesting that the company is selling it for its high-end 800 series recorders as well as the MixPres. The press release provides helpful info on what it does and on who developed it and how: https://www.sounddevices.com/sound-devi ... recorders/

I think that people on Jeff Wexler's forum will be trying NoiseAssist and evaluating it soon enough, if they aren't already. The fact that one can use iZotope RX in post, at a cost in time and money and without guaranteed results, is beside the point. If I can fix a location recording problem before I press "Record", I'm going to do it. If this will address noise problems that microphone selection won't, and without damaging the audio you want, it's a winner. There's a big potential market for this just in relation to things like air conditioners, overhead airplanes and street traffic.

I'm aware of another product that does this, but Sound Devices's solution, if it works, is both a lot less expensive and much more convenient to use.

Given the company's record, I don't think that they'd be going ahead with this, and naming Sound Devices's co-founder as one of the developers, if it's snake oil.
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Re: Sound Devices MixPre-6 II (second generation)

PostTue Jun 30, 2020 11:21 pm

I know I could benefit when using the MKH416 mounted on the camera. But I can see needing two if it works well as I’d still put one filter on one of the L-R mixes.
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Re: Sound Devices MixPre-6 II (second generation)

PostTue Jun 30, 2020 11:29 pm

rick.lang wrote:I know I could benefit when using the MKH416 mounted on the camera. But I can see needing two if it works well as I’d still put one filter on one of the L-R mixes.


Well, the MixPre version, at US$300, is selling for half the price of the 800 series version :)

I think it's likely that this will work, the question being for what kinds of problems and to what degree. On those issues, I'll be looking for guidance on Wexler's site and at Sound Devices demos. There are also a couple of people on YouTube who know what they're talking about and are likely to make videos.

Thanks for raising this, I wasn't aware of the announcement/product.
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Re: Sound Devices MixPre-6 II (second generation)

PostWed Jul 01, 2020 12:25 am

dondidnod wrote:The waveform showed a notch filter applied not only to the low base frequency, but to every harmonic of that frequency. This had a bad effect on her voice, making it more distorted. .


This is why iZotope RX has a specific tool that lets you decide how many harmonics to affect and which ones. It's called Select Harmonics and the key command on a Mac is Shift Command H. In the photo below, it's the tool that looks like a ladder (which is what harmonics look like graphically) in the centre of the green circle.


izotope.jpeg
izotope.jpeg (374.9 KiB) Viewed 927 times
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Re: Sound Devices MixPre-6 II (second generation)

PostWed Jul 01, 2020 1:01 am

Kim Janson wrote:Why would in device noice cancellation be better than on post production ?


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. Courtesy of Rick, I've just learned about Sound Devices's plugin. One thing that I'd like to know is whether one can hear what it's doing on headphones before pressing "Record". If you can, and if it works, this is a complete no-brainer. Even if you can't, it's something that I'll purchase if it solves common problems and the results are predictable.
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Re: Sound Devices MixPre-6 II (second generation)

PostWed Jul 01, 2020 1:34 am

By the way, if the WAVE file in the screen capture two posts up looks a bit odd, it's because it represents a single note from a public piano at King's Cross Underground Station in London. The piano was made in the late 1800s and was sampled to create a virtual piano. The WAVE file is one of the samples. The virtual piano is available at https://www.pianobook.co.uk/library/kin ... ndergound/

Below is a video about making the King's Cross virtual piano and what it sounds like. It ain't a Steinway, but that's the point. It offers interesting sound design possibilities.



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

PostThu Jul 02, 2020 12:34 am

robedge wrote:
rick.lang wrote:I know I could benefit when using the MKH416 mounted on the camera. But I can see needing two if it works well as I’d still put one filter on one of the L-R mixes.


Well, the MixPre version, at US$300, is selling for half the price of the 800 series version :)

I think it's likely that this will work...


The NoiseAssist for the 800 series is $600 for two instances so you could apply it to the L and R mix channels. NoiseAssist for MixPre II is on ‘sale’ for $300 for only one instance so you could use it on a specific channel or one mix channel.
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Re: Sound Devices MixPre-6 II (second generation)

PostThu Jul 02, 2020 12:47 am

rick.lang wrote:
robedge wrote:
rick.lang wrote:I know I could benefit when using the MKH416 mounted on the camera. But I can see needing two if it works well as I’d still put one filter on one of the L-R mixes.


Well, the MixPre version, at US$300, is selling for half the price of the 800 series version :)

I think it's likely that this will work...


The NoiseAssist for the 800 series is $600 for two instances so you could apply it to the L and R mix channels. NoiseAssist for MixPre II is on ‘sale’ for $300 for only one instance so you could use it on a specific channel or one mix channel.


Hi Rick. Sorry, I haven't worked out the ins and outs of the cost for 800 series and MixPre recorders in various channel combinations. Based on what you're saying, the MixPre plugin appears to be half the price if you're recording with one mike, which in many cases works for a lot of people, including me.

In any event, I'm mostly interested in this video, which suggests that you can hear the effect of the plugin on headphones before pressing "Record". If that's true, I just want to know more about how effective this plugin is.

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

PostThu Jul 02, 2020 1:27 pm

Ha! Sound Devices has invited people to submit examples of their use of NoiseAssist for a chance to win a pair of Sound Devices branded black and orange socks. Deadline July 10:



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

PostThu Jul 02, 2020 2:29 pm

Having now watched Sound Devices's videos on NoiseAssist, and having downloaded and listened to the six demo files on its site, I'm pretty persuaded.

One of my most common scenarios is using a single condenser or lavaliere mike to record a person speaking. If I needed to suppress background noise and decided that a high-pass filter wouldn't do the trick, I would send the signal to two channels, one channel with NoiseAssist active and the other without. This gives the most latitude in post.* Cost is US$300. Adding an additional channel would cost another $300.

For me, one of the big attractions of NoiseAssist is that one can hear its impact via headphones, and dial in the amount of noise suppression desired, before pressing record.

The six demo files show that NoiseAssist will address common noise problems in an urban environment. Paul Isaacs made the first demo in his backyard. If you know Sound Devices co-founder Jon Tatooles's voice, it's clear that he made the other five in indoor and outdoor environments.

In the video below, Paul Isaacs and his colleague talk throughout with NoiseAsist on. They are both in rooms with air conditioners running in the background. Listen to what happens when Isaacs turns off NoiseAssist at 10:10. I didn't even realise that background noise was being suppressed until Isaacs showed it.

For me, the big caveat is that NoiseAssist suppresses the sound of the recording space generally rather than selectively. Whether this matters depends on the purpose of the recording. In the case of Isaacs and his colleague, I don't think it matters. As mentioned, I didn't even notice. However, if one wants the sound of the space, this has an impact on how much NoiseAssist to dial in and on whether it may be necessary to add room tone (sound of the space) later. As Paul Isaacs says in the video, NoiseAssist will suppress reverb, but that is a mixed blessing. If one has to add room tone, there's a question about whether it's a good idea to use NoiseAssist in the first place. Note the comment earlier about recording to two tracks, one with NoiseAsist and one "clean".

I want to hear more demos, but my first impression is favourable. A few months ago, while helping a friend make a Kickstarter video, we had to change locations and shoot a different day because his Manhattan theatre district apartment is two floors above the roof air exchange vents of an adjoining building. There was no point in trying to record sound. NoiseAssist may well have have solved the problem, and importantly we could have tested its impact before making our decision on whether to reschedule and change our recording location.

* My understanding is that this NoiseAssist/Clean split can be done with the 800 series recorders. I'm still unclear about how NoiseAssist works in the signal chain and I need to confirm this for the MixPre. I'd also like to know whether one can use a stereo microphone with the MixPre and apply a single instance of NoiseAssist.


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

PostThu Jul 02, 2020 6:57 pm

On Wexler's Sound Group forum there are two threads about NoiseAssist but no posts yet from anyone who has actually tried using it.

As suggested in the above post, I think that the way to use NoiseAssist is to record to both a NoiseAssist track and a raw track.

In relation to that general approach, I came across this interesting exchange on Wexler's forum:

Question: "I wonder if MixAssist and NoiseAssist can both be ran simultaneously on the mixpre ii series?"

Response from a Sound Devices employee: "They can! And you can record raw on location and then use NoiseAssist and MixAssist in Remix mode to deliver to post with the raw files!"

I also think that NoiseAssist may be useful for live broadcast, such as with Blackmagic's ATEM mini, or where there's just no interest in reducing noise in post. The Paul Isaacs video above is a very good example of a situation where there's a real question about whether correction in post is worth the time and effort.

Note that the Wexler forum thread on NoiseAssist and 800 series mixer/recorders is about workflow where the location recordist and the sound editor are different people. Decision-making about NoiseAssist may be different in some cases where the recordist and the editor are the same person.

There are a number of references in the Wexler forum discussion to Cedar. Cedar hardware is what I had in mind when I referred ten posts up to a much more expensive, much less convenient solution. This Gotham Sound video shows how Cedar works:


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

PostThu Jul 02, 2020 7:23 pm

Turns out that Curtis Judd has already made a video on using NoiseAssist with an 800 series recorder/mixer. I would also like to see Alex Knickerbocker make one. I would think that Judd will revisit this now that NoiseAssist is available for the MixPre v.2.

00:55: Judd's basement
05:05: his kitchen
09:20: outdoors with a highway in the background


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

PostFri Jul 03, 2020 3:27 pm

This new video appears to be the first on YouTube in which an ordinary MixPre user demonstrates the use of NoiseAssist. The video makes it obvious that NoiseAssist works well enough that in some cases its use can avoid a trip to iZotope RX, assuming that one even owns RX. Outside sales, RX 7 Standard is US$400, and Advanced, which I've used since about RX 3, is $1200.

In the video, NoiseAssist is used to suppress the sound of an air conditioner. Because I'm wary of blocking all sound of a recording space (aka room tone/atmo), I would like to have heard the effect with -3dB and -5dB dialled in. This is nevertheless a highly persuasive demonstration. It confirms what Paul Isaacs's video (three posts up) also shows.

I think that there is a big market for this. Note that Sound Devices's current price is described as "introductory". Given the recent MixPre price hikes, I take that proviso seriously.


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

PostFri Jul 03, 2020 5:53 pm

On the Judd's video above, the kitchen -5 db sounded pretty ok, -6 db sounded bad, but surprisingly -9db sounded better? The highway - 10 db was pretty much unusable for me, better without.

On these examples it would be really useful to have both, the one with noice assist and without, of the exactly same recording.
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Re: Sound Devices MixPre-6 II (second generation)

PostFri Jul 03, 2020 6:45 pm

Kim Janson wrote:On the Judd's video above, the kitchen -5 db sounded pretty ok, -6 db sounded bad, but surprisingly -9db sounded better? The highway - 10 db was pretty much unusable for me, better without.

On these examples it would be really useful to have both, the one with noice assist and without, of the exactly same recording.


The problem with Judd's highway example is that he went for complete suppression of the highway's sound. This is a very good example of the concern that I expressed above about blocking the sound of the recording space (aka room tone/atmo) entirely. The result is completely unnatural, and unusable, to borrow your word, for that reason alone. Since when does someone stand 100yds/90m from a busy highway and the highway is practically silent? I would like to have heard this example with less suppression.

I also think that this was an obvious situation for trying a good lavaliere rather than a "short shotgun"; in other words, a DPA 4060 rather than the DPA 4017 that he used. A 4060 lav plus enough NoiseAssist to reduce, but not suffocate, the sound of the highway would have been a much more informative test. For that matter, a test with a more directional mike (the 4017 is actually a supercardiod) would have been more helpful.*

I think that NoiseAssist is going to be useful for people who record sound in urban areas and can't control drone-like sounds, especially sounds above about 80Hz, in the background.** This often includes air conditioners and building air vents, but I'd like to hear more real life examples.

For example, how effective is NoiseAssist with overhead airplanes, which in many places are a constant problem? Jon Tatooles, in one of Sound Devices's demo recordings, says that there is a plane above, but I want to hear that plane before and after NoiseAssist is applied. Can't blame Tatooles, because it was chance and right now planes aren't exactly in plentiful supply, but that will change. One reason that a plane is a good test is that it tests NoiseAssist's learning ability and speed of learning, which a constantly running air conditioner does not.

All that said, I think so far that this is a serious product, and that for many people it will be more useful, as a practical matter, than 32-bit recording. There are a fair number of comments on the internet from owners of an original MixPre who are talking about this as a reason to upgrade.

Your second paragraph reflects precisely how sound recordists working on higher-end commercial shoots, where the recordist and the sound editor are different people, are going to use NoiseAssist. See the discussion on Wexler's forum about NoiseAssist and Sound Devices's 800 series recorders/mixers.


* The Schoeps CMC641, widely used to record dialogue, is also a supercardiod. I've never heard anyone call it a shotgun mike, short or otherwise.

** Below 80Hz, sometimes below 100Hz, I think that a high pass/low cut filter would be a better choice. For reference, the lowest note on a standard 88 key piano is 27.5Hz and Middle C is 262Hz.
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Re: Sound Devices MixPre-6 II (second generation)

PostSat Jul 04, 2020 3:38 pm

When using aSound Devices 800 series recorder with NoiseAssist, it's possible to set up the recorder so that one mike yields two tracks, one with NoiseAssist applied and one without. It is not at all clear whether one can effectively do the same thing, possibly via a mix track, with a MixPre. Sound Devices's silence on this question in its MixPre NoiseAssist documentation is not encouraging. I plan to phone Sound Devices this coming week to see what I can learn.

For MixPre recorders, it's possible that a final decision on whether to apply NoiseAssist has to be made at the time of recording. Depending on what one is recording, that would be a definite limitation. However, it's less of an issue if you normally run a backup mike on your source anyway, or are prepared to when NoiseAssist may be needed. Apply NoiseAssist to one mike and record the other clean.

Does anyone here know the answer to the question?
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Re: Sound Devices MixPre-6 II (second generation)

PostSun Jul 05, 2020 9:30 pm

This afternoon, Curtis Judd raised the question posed in the above post during his weekly live stream. He has tested NoiseAssist with an 800 series recorder (see video five posts up), but he doesn't have the MixPre version and doesn't know the answer. Neither did the participants in the discussion. Also, no-one knew what happens if you use a stereo mike. Given how new the plugin is, not surprising, and the documentation is fairly sparse.

Time for a call to Sound Devices support.
Video: Pocket 4K, Fujinon MK 18-55mm, Leica primes 35-135mm, Nikkor 55mm macro

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

Sound: Schoeps omni & supercardiod mikes; DPA miniature omni mikes; Sound Devices 702T/MixPre-6 v.2
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Re: Sound Devices MixPre-6 II (second generation)

PostMon Jul 06, 2020 3:15 pm

It seems to me it might be safer to leave the direct individual channels alone and just apply perhaps 4-5 dB NoiseAssist to the mix L and/or mix R. That way if you don’t like it, you don’t have to use it in post.
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rick.lang

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Sound Devices MixPre-6 II (second generation)

PostMon Jul 06, 2020 3:17 pm

iZotope now has software to match the room reverb from one clip to another. So again if the Noise Assit is too strong, you can dial in room ambiance from another track.
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Sound Devices MixPre-6 II (second generation)

PostFri Jul 10, 2020 3:55 am

I hope I’m not repeating myself here (pandemic lockdown apparently can lead to brain ‘fog’), but I thought I’d report how I solved the problem of the Mac Pro late 2019 having no standard live audio (mic) input. There is a standard output (speakers inside the Mac Pro case), but no standard input. Guess the machine was getting too expensive so Apple had to save $10 somewhere.

I have my Line Audio Design CM-4 XLR mics running into the MixPre-6 II and then the mixed stereo audio out the USB-C port to Mac Pro where it was instantly recognized as the System Input. Resolve / Fairlight / ADR also then picked up the audio so I’ll be able to do ADR or Voiceover once again.
Rick Lang
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Rakesh Malik

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

PostFri Jul 10, 2020 5:20 am

For anyone not needing field audio, but wanting a high quality and inexpensive input for their computers, check out the Solid State Logic SSL 2 or 2+...

It's a computer audio interface, so not suitable for the production side of things, but it's quite a bit less expensive than a MixPre.
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