Occasional posts on subjects including field recording, London history and literature, other websites worth looking at, articles in the press, and news of sound-related events.

19 November 2016

MixPre-D clamp

SOUND DEVICES are a US-based firm who make digital sound recorders. These are very expensive: even their entry-level two-channel recorder, the basic 702 model, costs around £2,700. They’re attractive and robust little machines filled with top-notch electronics ensuring extremely good signal quality. But, still, for that amount you could buy a saloon in reasonable nick and start work as a minicab driver.

Cost-conscious amateur recordists wanting to sprinkle a little Sound Devices stardust on their work can team the slightly more affordable MixPre-D with an inexpensive pocket-sized recorder, connecting the two via the latter’s line-in socket. This poor recordist’s 702 is capable of very good results. Some say the MixPre-D has the same preamps as the full-size recorders, others disagree, but I doubt I could hear the difference between the two.

Suppose you’d like to attach and detach the recorder from the MixPre-D in a quick and easy way. You could try gluing strips of velcro onto each, but this seems a crude approach. An alternative is to exploit a feature Sound Devices have built into the machine.

The upper side of the MixPre-D has two little holes for bolts for fixing on a special camera clamp, also made by Sound Devices. The clamp has to be bought separately and it costs around £130. It has to be a pretty amazing piece of kit for that much. Maybe it’s got an inbuilt talking spirit level urging you to go left a bit, up a bit, with Fenella Fielding’s voice. You can see for yourself on this webpage.

Or you can make one out of a small piece of 6mm plywood, two UNC No.6 bolts (this is a US-style thread size available from good hardware shops in the UK), some UNC No.6 nuts to make up to the bolts’ standard 50mm length, and a cheap quick-release camera clamp.

Cheap clamp for the MixPre-D

Just about all pocket-sized recorders have a camera tripod socket on their undersides, to which the quick-release plate can be screwed into. Now you can change in a couple of seconds from having the recorder securely attached to the MixPre-D to using the recorder freely on its own.

Cheap clamp for the MixPre-D with recorder attached

Total cost: about £10.