My life has been centered around two primary obsessions: anime and sound. Most of my conversations are about these two things. The majority of the people I associate myself with can be traced to them. I even managed to accidentally turn my love for one into a career in the other, but that’s a story for another time.
Podcasting about anime was a natural progression for me. I was already spending all my time watching shows and playing with recording software. But the transition from recording instruments to recording the human voice wasn’t easy.
For years I struggled with issues like noisy recordings and glitchy audio as a result of cheap equipment and computer malfunctions. Thankfully, most of that is a thing of the past.
Faster computers and products like the Blue Yeti USB Microphone have made it easier to start a podcast than ever. And if you know what you’re doing, you can get pretty good audio for around $100.
But what if you’re still not happy with the sound quality you’re getting? That’s where the Sound Devices MixPre series comes in.
Who is Sound Devices?
Sound Devices is a Wisconsin-based company that specializes in audio equipment for film and TV production. Their first product was the MP-1 Portable Microphone Preamp, which is still in use today. Along with rival company, Zaxcom, they are leaders in their industry.
Their new MixPre series is significant because it’s the first time they’ve created a product with the prosumer market in mind. The line was first launched in 2017 with the MixPre-3 and MixPre-6, and it has since been expanded to four more products.
The MixPre has always been aimed towards podcasters and musicians, but what makes the MixPre-3M and MixPre-6M special is the price point. With the MSRP at $549 and $799 respectively, they are the most affordable industry standard audio recorders on the market.
It’s true that even at it’s lower price, the average anime podcaster will be unwilling or unable to pay for a MixPre. However, for people like Conrad Collins (DigiBro) and Geoff Thew (Mother’s Basement) who make a living creating audio/visual content, investing $600 into equipment that improves their product makes sense.
So what the hell is this thing anyway?
The simplest explanation for the MixPre is that it’s a standalone multitrack audio recorder. What that means is that you don’t need a computer or recording software to use it. You can use it as an audio interface, as well, but the beauty of a device like this is that it allows you to record anywhere.
The number of inputs, tracks, and features depends on which one you’re using, but most podcasters won’t need anything larger than the MixPre-3M. You can find a comparison chart of the entire MixPre product line here.
Why do I use Sound Devices for my podcast?
I’ve been creating content with Sound Devices products for the last four years. I started in 2014 with a 633, which I used to record thousands of hours of podcasts. In 2018, I made the switch to a MixPre-3. Technically this was a downgrade, but I no longer needed the additional features and inputs the 633 offered.
Occasionally people would ask me what equipment I used to record. I always had to qualify my answer with, “I use a 633, but it would be ridiculous for you to buy one.” The only reason I had a 633 was because of my job in the film industry.
Before I made a career in sound, I was using a combination of Behringer equipment and Adobe Audition to produce content. It got the job done, but I was never satisfied with the limitations it put on my creativity. The high noise floor and risk of losing my audio due to a technical problem was frustrating.
When I use Sound Devices equipment, I’m able to focus on what matters — the content. With the help of software like Audio Hijack, I’m able to record my microphone, Skype/Discord, and sound-effects/music on separate tracks, allowing me total control in post-production.
The only way I’m going to lose my files is if I forget to press record or if the device somehow loses power. And in the event that it does lose power, my files will still be there when I turn it back on.
The MixPre-3M and MixPre-6M will hit stores on June 21, 2018. Do I think anime podcasters will rush to buy them? No. But I wanted to make people aware of an option for taking their audio quality to the next level.
This was not a paid endorsement, and I won’t make money even if you do purchase a MixPre. I’m just a happy customer that found a way to combine my love of audio with my love of anime.