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MixPre-6 preamps vs pro-level preamps Condenser Microphones
Old 1st October 2017
Here for the gear

MixPre-6 preamps vs pro-level preamps

Hi everyone,

this is my first post on GearSlutz and I hope to be in the right section.

I am a happy owner of a SoundDevices MixPre-6.This tiny and more than decent portable recorder allowed me to go a step further in my field recordings (which are mainly soundscape and sound-fx oriented) both in terms of audio quality and of comfort.

The other day I was asked to record a baroque duo, organ and flute, playing a sonata by Benedetto Marcello. I consider these two instruments very difficult to record for several obvious reasons, so I knew that it would have been a challenge. Trying my best, I used two Sennheiser MKH8020 (AB setup, about 65 cm spaced) and one Neumann KM184 (as a spot mic on the flute) and I recorded everything with my MP6.

I'm OK with the result (I am attaching a small excerpt of a very raw mix - any criticism is more than accepted) but, as I am very much interested in doing more recording of classical and baroque music, I am now wondering if anyone has any idea of how the MP6 preamps perform if compared to pro-level preamps and especially to DAV BG (but also True System). Is there anyone who's made or can make an AB comparison?

Old 2nd October 2017
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You need to link the audio
Old 3rd October 2017
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Originally Posted by DannyMac View Post
You need to link the audio

sorry, here it is...
Old 3rd October 2017
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DCtoDaylight's Avatar

Look on page 9 of this thread for some comments from a knowledgable user who also has DAV preamps:
Old 4th October 2017
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Originally Posted by DCtoDaylight View Post
Look on page 9 of this thread for some comments from a knowledgable user who also has DAV preamps:

Thanks, that's very interesting but I'd like to know more about the different qualities of DAV and SoundDevices preamps.

Moreover, as I have no opportunity of making a direct comparison between Sound Devices recorders and the stardard preamps used in the classical music field (Millennia, Grace, True System, etc), I was wondering if anyone has or has had the opportunity of making an actual AB comparison or at least has used both.

Especially, considering a possible investment to increase the number of channel I have, is it worth to get something like the new MixPre-10T, or would it be better to invest in a 8-channel preamp (DAV, True System, Lake People) to route then to the 8 inputs of my Fireface 400?
Old 17th December 2017
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rojaros's Avatar
Originally Posted by Acou View Post
You seem not to be sure about your organ/recorder recording...

I also hear things I'd like to improve in that recording, but I doubt it's about the preamps.
Maybe your mics positioning or array wasn't totally optimal... I would consider either three omnis widely spaced, panned hard left/right and center, or two wide spaced omnis and one LDC center mixed in to taste. I'm also not sure about the spot mic ... it doesn't seem to sit exactly right in the mix.

As far as the quickness of the transients and the firmness of the bass goes I think the pres are doing very well. I have a DAV BG and don't think it would yield spectacularly better results, if any, all the rest being the same.

best regards
Old 17th December 2017
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tourtelot's Avatar
This certainly doesn't answer your question but might be germane nevertheless.

I don't own a Mix-Pre but I do have a well-loved 788T

I use the preamps in my 788T a high percentage of the time for classical recordings that I make. Sound devices make super-high quality units that, in my opinion, give nothing away in preamp or converter quality.

This is, obviously, not to say anything bad about the DAV preamps, and I have some other brands of high-end preamps that I use as well. It is just that I would say that the Sound Device preamps would not be a reason that you might get a bad-sounding recording.

Old 17th December 2017
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Sounds a little distorted to me and backgrounds are high, are you overdriving a stage ?
Old 18th December 2017
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Larry Elliott's Avatar
I have a MixPre6 and used to have a DAV BG2.

I very much doubt that you would hear any significant difference between them.

Old 25th April 2018
Here for the gear

The KM184s are great mics, but they can easily sound harsh in classical music recordings (especially on bowed strings), if they're not carefully placed.

I agree that mic choice and placement will have a much greater impact on the quality of your recordings than a different preamp would.

I've get a MixPre 10T, and find the preamps hard to beat. For classical chamber music recordings I like to use it with a Samar VL373A (active stereo ribbon) center mic and a matched pair of Oktava O12 omnis, and have been very happy with the results.

If you're looking to upgrade, I suspect your money would be better spent on building a broader collection of mics.
Old 11th June 2018
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Sorry for the long silence..

Sorry for the long silence and many thanks to everyone who answered to my questions about preamps. Concerning the recording I think that you're right, the position of microphones was problematic in my recording and I think that it was due both to my lack of experience and to the physical space where I was recording.

The organ was on the side of a baroque church, it is an ancient small organ from XVII century, built in the style of XVI century's organs (I am attaching a picture). The baroque recorder was on the same platform of the organ (the musicians obviously preferred to be near to each other) and that wasn't the best thing for getting a more defined and isolated recording of the baroque flute.

The mix I attached in my previous post was really rough and I think the final result is far better than that (I am attaching a link to one of movements), although a different microphone, less harsh in character, certainly would have been better.

In the picture you can also see my two Sennheiser 8020 and their placement. Considering that at the moment I own the MixPre-6 and two 1-channel Marenius preamps (quality comparable to the MixPre), what would you suggest should be my next investment in terms of equipment? I agree it should be microphones and I guess that 6 channel are already OK for recording small classical/baroque ensembles (once the microphones are well placed), but what microphones should I go for? Maybe a pair of large capsule? Or ribbons? The new Fat Head II look really interesting and relatively cheap if compared to the Samar. What do you think about them?

I already own a pair of Sennheiser 8020, a pair of Neumann KM184, a pair of Line Audio OM1.

Any further opinion on this final mix is more than welcomed! Thank you again.

Attached Thumbnails
MixPre-6 preamps vs pro-level preamps-_dsc0841.jpg  
Old 11th June 2018
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Tommy-boy's Avatar

I have a pair of fat head 2s. They are fine, not very expensive, ribbons. They are a rather dark though - so I'm not sure I'd use them a lot as a main pair for recording classical / baroque music.

As for ideas for more mics / gear:
- Could always add other patterns like fig-8 or hyper/super card. I'm happy with the Schoeps Fig-8. Mr. Willett may see this and jump in and note that Sennhesier's Fig-8 is better.
- Could always add another flavor with Schoeps. I'm a fan of MK5s, which are very versatile as they are both omni and card.
- Don't forget other items like stands, mounts, etc... that really help with making a job run smoothly.

Old 11th June 2018
Lives for gear

I would recommend a pair of MKH30’s (fig 8).
Very clean, quiet, natural sounding (have used them on classical, folk, jazz).
Have used them for Blumlein, Faulkner array (the parallel 8” spaced array), MS with fig 8/cardiod/hypercardiod mids, spot mics, and ambience mics.
Also with two MKH 30’s plus your 8020 you
could do DIY horizontal-only Ambisonics.

Also MKH 8040 and 8050’s (cardiod and hypercardiod) have a very flat response with smooth off-axis. No harshness with brass
or strings. Enough lowend response to
do drums and all except the lowest octave
of the organ (the Wanamaker Organ, largest
functioning pipe organ in the world, is recorded
with 2 pairs of 8040’s plus a pair of 4006’s).
Old 13th June 2018
Here for the gear

Thanks for the suggestions. I really love the Schoeps sound and the MK5 look like a great alternative to buying 4 capsules and spending a lot more but... are they as good as the single capsules?

I am also thinking that a couple of modified Rode NT2a with could be very interesting. Maybe they're not in the same league of Schoeps, Neumann and Sennheiser, but look like a cheap solution for a pair of large capsule with multi-pattern possibilities... and they could certainly add a different kind of colour to my set.
Old 13th July 2018
Matched Rode NT-2A's -- for Remotesters only

Originally Posted by Acou View Post
I am also thinking that a couple of modified Rode NT2a with could be very interesting. Maybe they're not in the same league of Schoeps, Neumann and Sennheiser, but look like a cheap solution for a pair of large capsule with multi-pattern possibilities... and they could certainly add a different kind of colour to my set.
Rode NT-2A's are indeed very colored, and not at all in the same league as the various SDC's that have been mentioned in this thread. But there are few multi-pattern mics available in that price range, and fewer still that you can get in matched pairs. Rode does not offer them that way, but they have fairly tight manufacturing tolerances, so it's possible to do.

For a project several years ago, I purchased a set of NT-2A's in adjacent serial numbers and sorted them to produce one "matched" stereo pair and one L-C-R triple. I made a desultory effort to sell them at the end of the project, but most prospective buyers only want singles. Since then, they've sat at the bottom of my mic locker in their original packaging.

Therefore, at the risk of annoying our esteemed moderator, I am hereby offering these to Remotesters at what I hope is a very attractive price. This offer will not be posted anywhere else. It is only available to people who a) know the difference between ORTF and NOS, and b) insist on explaining it to others. It's a small club, folks!

I will sell the stereo pair of NT-2A's for $500 US plus shipping and any surcharge for PayPal or whatever. I will sell the LCR triple for $725, same terms. If nobody wants a triple by month's end, I will offer a second stereo pair, and keep the left-over NT-2A as a talkback mic.

Prospective buyers should send me a PM. Please do not ask me to sell these microphones as singles -- there should be plenty of those available on ebay.


P.S.: These include the original (very sturdy) fixed mount, not the shock mount, and do not come with windscreens.

P.P.S.: Proceeds from this sale will be spent on Owens 703 fiberglass, or some ecologically-friendly alternative. You are not just buying microphones, you're improving the acoustics of the planet!
Old 23rd August 2018
Gear Guru
I have a Mixpre6M and I think the sound is for lack of a better word.... meaty. There is a solid feel to what I've been playing through it. I think it may have a lot to do with how they paired the pres and conversion. Support has been fantastic.

EDIT: BTW have a UA 610 Solo and initial tests are very good sounding feeding thru the Mix Pre unit.

Last edited by ardis; 13th September 2018 at 05:22 PM..
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