Tag: mixpre

Lomond “Ziggy” Campbell

Musician, artist, engineer, and perpetual tinkerer Lomond Campbell has set a soundtrack to harmonic motion. Sound Devices spoke with Campbell about his career, use of the MixPre-10 and most recent project, the Harmonograph Synth.

SD.: How did you get into music?

My parents used to play a lot of records when I was a kid.  At school I was asked if I wanted to learn guitar and it all evolved from there.

You’ve done some really awesome builds! Which came first, the interest in music or in the interest in building/engineering? 

Thanks! I’ve always been passionate about both, even as a kid I was always modifying and building guitars or tearing apart pedals, amps, tape recorders etc. I’m a complete tinkerer.  As long as I can remember I’ve either been making sounds or building things, or ideally doing both in parallel. 

How did you build the Harmonograph? 

It was my first lockdown project so there were a few challenges because no suppliers were delivering and I couldn’t go out.  I had to use materials I had lying around.  Off-cuts of wood, scrap copper plumbing pipe, salvaged electronics etc.  I bought a book about harmonographs years ago and had wanted to build one ever since.  All it took was a global pandemic.  Harmonographs are scientific devices that date back to the 1800s that were used to illustrate harmony.  Since buying the book I had also become interested in modular synths.  They’re essentially an open ended sonic network and I thought it would be interesting to combine the two, so that the harmonograph was triggering the synth.  I liked the idea of a machine, invented at a time when we barely understood electricity, talking freely to a musical instrument that makes sounds exclusively using electricity.

What led you to choose the MixPre?

I was looking to change my studio set up to something less conventional and more versatile.  I was already a fan of Sound Devices preamps so when I saw the MixPre Series I knew it was right for what I needed.  The building I live in has some unusual architecture and I like to record in the different spaces it has to offer to experiment with acoustics.  For the most recent tour I was on I attached it straight to the top of my modular synth case using a cold shoe.  The limiters help with the occasional incendiary signals that come from the modular synth.  I have the 10M model so can get all the separate signals from the synth no problem.  I document my building projects on YouTube and it’s ideal for making videos.  I also live in the rural highlands of Scotland so more recently I have been taking it out with me in a sound bag to record birdsong, rutting stag and other wildlife sounds.

You’ve done several builds combining art installations and music. Do you start with the visuals or sound in mind first or does it change for each project?

Quite often it’s the visuals – or at least the vague visual concept. I’m never exactly sure how the work will sound, or if the sounds will be any good, until the the piece is finished.  

What draws you to one-off performances and how do you approach them verses the more straightforward and composed songs from your works? 

Not too long ago I played a show with a 35-piece orchestra and full band. That sort of thing is nerve-wracking because you’re very aware of your role and how any mistake you make can impact all the performers. Improvising with synths and temperamental hand made instruments can have its moments too, but I take comfort in the unpredictable nature of it.  Whatever happens, happens.  Even if it’s a total disaster at least you stuck your neck out. 

Any future projects you’re ready to talk about?

I’m currently putting the finishing touches on a custom tape looping machine I designed and built for a musician. I’m also releasing a new album in November called The Mountain And The Pendulum.

You can learn more about Campbells’ work here.

Approved Media – MixPre II Series and MixPre Series

Sound Devices extensively tests removable recording media with the MixPre-3 II, MixPre-6 II, MixPre-10 II, and the legacy MixPre-3, MixPre-6, and MixPre-10T audio recorders.

SD Cards

Sound Devices recommends its own brand of SD card – the SAM-64SD and SAM-128SD, listed below – which has been optimized and extensively tested to ensure fast and flawless performance when used with the MixPre Series of recorders. However, many SD, SDHC, and SDXC cards from other reputable manufacturers, like Delkin or SanDisk, that meet or exceed class 10 speeds are acceptable.

For best media performance, Sound Devices recommends occasionally performing a full reformat of an SD card per the “Overwrite Format” method from the SD Association. The Overwrite Format deletes file/directory entries by initializing file system parameters of the card (same as with Quick Format), and erases all data by overwriting the user data area completely. The Overwrite Format takes more time to complete than the Quick Format method. More information can be found on the SD Association’s website. Please note that all files stored on the card will be lost during the formatting process. After using the SD Memory Card Formatter, the card will still need to be formatted in the mixer-recorder.

MicroSD to SD Card adapters are not recommended for use in any MixPre Series audio recorder.

Tested cards:

Type Size Brand Model
SD Card 32 GB Sound Devices The SAM-32SD has been discontinued. Recommended alternative: SAM-64SD, listed below.
SD Card 64 GB Sound Devices SD/SDXC, UHS-II, 240 MB/s (read) and 100 MB/s (write)
SD Card 128 GB Sound Devices SD/SDXC, UHS-II, 240 MB/s (read) and 100 MB/s (write)
SD Card 32 GB Amplim Amplim SDXC UHSII V90 32GB
SD Card 64 GB SanDisk Extreme; SDXC/UHS-1,V30, U3, 150MB/s (Model # SDSDXV6-064G-GNCIN)
SD Card 64 GB Integral Ultima Pro Integral Ultima Pro SDXC I V30 64GB
SD Card 64 GB Amplim Amplim SDXC UHSII V90 64GB
SD Card 128 GB Freetail Freetail Evoke Pro 128GB V60, UHS II
SD Card 128 GB Wise Wise SDXC II 285MB/s 128GB

USB Thumbdrives

All MixPre II models and the MixPre-10T supports automatic copying of active projects from its SD card to a USB thumbdrive inserted into its USB-A port. For reliable operation, Sound Devices highly recommends only using approved USB thumbdrives, listed below:

NOTE: Because USB thumbdrives vary massively in performance, others not listed here may work, but their reliability cannot be guaranteed.

Type Size Brand Model
USB Thumbdrive 64 GB Samsung USB 3.0 Flash Drive Fit (MUF-64BB/AM)
SanDisk Cruzer Fit USB 2.0 Low-profile Flash Drive (SDCZ33-064G-B35)
32 GB Samsung USB 3.0 Flash Drive Fit (MUF-32BB/AM)
SanDisk Cruzer Fit USB 2.0 Low-profile Flash Drive (SDCZ33-032G-B35)

Unapproved Media

The media listed below currently fail our intensive media approval tests. We highly recommend NOT using this media.

Type Size Brand Model
SD Card 64 GB SanDisk Extreme PRO 170MB/s, 64 GB
SD Card 128 GB SanDisk Extreme PRO 170MB/s, 128 GB

Announcing the MixPre II Series

REEDSBURG, WI, AUGUST 29, 2019 – Sound Devices is pleased to announce the MixPre-3 II, MixPre-6 II, and MixPre-10 II, successors of the award-winning MixPre Series. All models of the MixPre II Series function as recorders, mixers, and USB interfaces, and are suited for a wide range of applications, with features for podcasters, musicians, indie filmmakers, journalists, field recordists, and production sound mixers alike. The first generation MixPre-10T won the prestigious Cinema Audio Society (CAS) Award for Outstanding Product in Production.

Continue reading “Announcing the MixPre II Series”

Sample 32-bit float and 24-bit fixed WAV files

These samples were recorded on a MixPre-3 II to demonstrate the advantage of using 32-bit float WAV files for recording. We split a signal from a MKH40 mic into two MixPre-3 IIs, one recording 24-bit fixed WAVs, and the other 32-bit float WAVs. We then applied too much gain to loud dialogue. Low-cut was set to 80 Hz, and no limiters were active. Both the original 32-bit float and 24-bit fixed file are heavily distorted and unusable.

These files were imported into iZotope RX7, and -30 dB of gain was applied to each file. As you can see and hear, the 32-bit float files scale back perfectly, and the 24-bit files do not.

Included in the download:

32_bit_float.wav: Original file recorded on MixPre-3 II with too much gain.

32_bit_float_30_dB_atten.wav: 32_bit_float.wav file with -30 dB of gain applied by iZotope, and then re-saved. Notice that this file sounds great and is usable.

24_bit_fixed.wav: Original file recorded on MixPre-3 II with too much gain.

24_bit_fixed_30_dB_atten.wav: 24_bit_fixed.wav file with -30 dB of gain applied by iZotope, and then re-saved. Notice that this file is still distorted and unusable.