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  • Dan Guest

Sound Devices Mix Pre 10 ii: An Incredible Unit at an Affordable Price!


sound devices mix pre 10 ii

The Sound Devices Mix Pre 10 ii is a portable multitrack mixer and recorder designed for sound recordists who require a compact and high-quality solution for recording audio on location. It's a popular choice among professionals in the film and television industries, but like any piece of equipment, it has its pros and cons. In this blog post, we'll take a look at the pros and cons of the Sound Devices Mix Pre 10 ii and discuss my own personal thoughts and experiences on the device.


Personal Thoughts & Experience

I originally bought the Mix Pre 10 ii back in July 2022, and my first big project using it was for the TV factual show, Emergency: First Time Medics on UKTV Play. It turned out to be a great choice as I was looking for something fairly lightweight, portable, affordable and still had all the professional bells and whistles I needed to get the job done. For this project, I needed to be light and agile with my equipment as the shoot days were very much what we call 'run-and-gun' which means a lot of moving around quickly and efficiently all day capturing content.


Muting & Unmuting with Ease!

sound devices mix pre in bag

One of my favourite aspects about the mix pre 10 ii is the ability to mute and unmute active tracks very quickly. To mute, I simply press in the fader knob relating to the track I want to mute, press the 'mute' option on the touch screen, then press the fader knob again to go back to the main screen. The fader knob then shows a red circle light around it to indicate it is muted. To unmute, I simply double-press on the fader knob. This is super handy for most of my shooting scenarios where I have 3+ microphones in use. For example, if I have 3x people miked up for a factual shoot, but the plan is to only shoot with 2 of the people with the possibility of the 3rd person entering the shot and joining the coversation at some point, I can have the 3rd mic active ready, but muted until they join the conversation. This then prevents the 3rd person being recorded unnecessarily whilst also giving me the opportunity to bring the mic in and out of action when the time is right.



sound devices mix pre in bag

Hirose Power Connection Issue?

One of the first big issues I had with the mix pre 10 ii was with the hirose connector on the battery/power supply of the unit. During my initial operation, I was finding the unit to randomly lose power and shut down mid-use which as you can imagine is one of a sound recordist's worse nightmare! I quickly discovered the issue to be with the hirose connector where my battery cable plugs in. With the way the connector is angled, when the cable was plugged in, it was causing the cable to compress into the bottom of my sound bag causing a brief loss in connection, therefore a loss in power. The way I got around this is to buy a seperate hirose cable that is angled in a particular way which just about avoids being compressed in the bag. It's a design choice that is questionable to me considering the amount of sound recordists with similar powering equipment to myself and how the unit is most likely going to be used in sound bags by consumers, but nonetheless I found a workaround and haven't experienced the issue since!


Sound Devices Software Plugins

Since my purchase, I've gone on to install a couple of Sound Devices plug-ins (an additional cost) which further enhance the experience and provide more options in the unit. These plug-ins are called; NoiseAssist and MixAssist. NoiseAssist basically helps reduce background noise during recording and MixAssist helps reduce unwanted noise or overspill from other microphones in use which is very useful for things such as big group discussions. (I may talk about these plug-ins in more detail on another blog)

Pros


High-Quality Preamps:

The Mix Pre 10 ii features high-quality preamps that provide clean and transparent audio recordings. These preamps have a low noise floor, high headroom, and offer up to 76 dB of gain, making them suitable for a wide range of microphones and sound sources.

sound devices mix pre 10 ii

Multitrack Recording:

It can record up to 12 tracks simultaneously, making it an ideal choice for sound recordists who require multiple channels of audio. The device can record to an SD card, USB drive, or directly to a computer via USB.

Compact and Lightweight:

The Mix Pre 10 ii is a compact and lightweight device that can easily fit into a sound bag or backpack. Its small size makes it an ideal choice for sound recordists who need to record audio in challenging environments or remote locations.

Intuitive User Interface:

It features an intuitive user interface that makes it easy to navigate and adjust settings on the fly. The device has a touchscreen display and dedicated knobs and buttons for adjusting levels, panning, and other settings.

Versatile Power Options:

sound devices mix pre 10 ii

The Mix Pre 10 ii can be powered by AA batteries, a Sony L-Series battery, or an external DC power supply, providing sound recordists with a range of power options to suit their needs.

Cons


Location and Access to Battery Pack:

One of the cons of the Mix Pre 10 ii is the location and access to the battery pack. Some may find it fiddly to remove and replace, and it can be impractical to access once the device is in a sound bag. This can be time consuming if it needs to be removed quickly in the field.

Location of SD Card Slot:

Probably my biggest pet hate about the Mix Pre 10 ii is the location of the SD card slot, which is located underneath the battery pack. This can be very impractical, as the battery pack needs to be removed in order to access the SD card. This can be time-consuming when the card needs to be ingested, passed on or reformated on a computer system. A workaround for this (which I often do) is use a thumb-stick drive plugged into the USB slot on the side which takes a copy of everything on the SD card and saves it on there. So when I need to ingest, I can often take the thumb-stick out instead which is a lot easier and quicker!

Size of Touch-Screen:

The size of the LCD screen is very small in comparison to other Sound Devices hardware which wouldn't normally be an issue, but because it's touch screen operated, it can take some getting used to when it comes to operating with it and trying to touch the small buttons with your fingers!

Conclusion

The Sound Devices Mix Pre 10 ii is a versatile and high-quality piece of equipment that is popular among sound recordists in the film and television industries, and I'm happy to report I am a proud owner and user of one! It may not be suitable for all shooting environments (e.g. long-term TV dramas and features) but Its compact size, high-quality preamps, and intuitive user interface make it an ideal choice for recording audio on location for things such as factual TV, commercials, online/socal content, corporates and even some short films!

As of February 2024, the unit is priced at around £1800, which in comparision to the prices of other ranges in the Sound Devices lineup, it's certainly more affordable.


Dan Guest

Sound Recordist



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