CAS Quarterly

Spring 2018

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MEET THE WINNERS 56 S P R I N G 2 0 1 8 C A S Q U A R T E R L Y Outstanding Product – Production Sound Devices MixPre-10T by G. John Garrett CAS Sound Devices took home the prize for Outstanding Product in Production Sound this year, among a field of elite contenders; DPA (DPA Slim), Lectrosonics (Duet Digital Wireless Monitor System), Sonosax (SX-R4+), and Zaxcom (ZMT3). The MixPre-10T comes away as a surprisingly powerful, lightweight, affordable mixer/recorder that fills the niche between high-end competitors with all the bells and whistles and budget recorder/mixers With the success of the MixPre-3 and MixPre-6 last year, Sound Devices thought it would be great if they could get eight of their mic preamps in one mixer, with a TC generator and USB interface built in. They were looking for something a little more professional, feature-wise, than the MixPre-3's and MixPre-6's. Its price point made it somewhat more accessible. It can be tossed on the cart and rolled throughout a production or tossed in a bag for an ENG type of job. I got a chance to ask co-founder Jon Tatooles about the Sound Devices philosophy and how they came to develop the MixPre-10T. How did you get from the 302 to the new MixPre's? Do you start making a list of new features you'd like to see as soon as you're done designing something? Our core customer is the professional who does dialogue and FX for film and television, a deep discipline, inch-wide, mile- deep kind of world. And over the years, we have acquired a lot of knowledge about that user type and the workflow, and what's required to be successful doing that. And what we saw behind the motivation for the whole MixPre line is that there's this other area of production happening, where they may not necessarily be doing this as their livelihood, but they also want to have best-in-class tools. And they want to have high-quality mic preamplifiers, and high bit rate recording, and what they may not necessarily need are all the nuanced tools that something like a 7 series or 6 series has to manage—the hundreds and hundreds of clips that get generated in a typical day of professional production. These tools came out as products that were intended to be best in class for an application segment. They happened to come out at a very competitive price point ... it's not that we said, "Let's come out with a low-cost product." We know that we want to have a broader reach to folks that may not know about Sound Devices or may be considering Sound Devices, but it's outside of their realm of possibility, so let's bring that product to that new category. It really started with the 302, didn't it? What we saw with the 302 for many years was a lot of camera ops wound up buying 302's and kept them in their kits as an analog mixer. What we've seen is that the definition of a high- quality mixer has evolved and high-quality field mixer, at this point, more or less includes a recorder. So what we were able to do with these MixPre's, a lot of this is driven from the general upswell of capabilities of the parts that are available. We have such powerful tools, from a computational standpoint, that are available at low power and at reasonable price. It is remarkable that you can build something so powerful and sell it at the price you do. These products are far more software-intensive to develop than they are hardware-intensive, and we made many compromises to bring this product to this price point. But those compromises were in areas where the non-professional would not be impacted. They may not need to have AES42 inputs for their SuperCMITor AES out, for instance. Things they won't miss. The display and controls are smaller. As a consequence, these products wound up being lightweight and cost-effective, and what we ended up seeing is that professional customers began using these as a secondary kit. They wanted an ultra-lightweight rig with a couple of wireless and the MixPre-6. Then the MixPre-10 was part of that development all along, and then we were able to add a timecode generator and bring it in at a $1,700 price point. For us, that's a pretty exciting price point to be able to bring our professional products to. This allows us to get into those not

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