Sound Devices MixPre II Is Capable of 32-bit Audio Recording

September 19th, 2019

The Sound Devices MixPre II are second generation audio field recorders, now sampling in 32-bit float for high dynamic range audio. Learn more about what that means by reading on.

Sound Devices have introduced the next line of audio field recorders that are targeted at a wide range of users from one man band type videographers to professional sound recordists in broadcast and film. There are three new models available, from the MixPre-3 II with 3 XLR inputs up to the MixPre-10 II that features 8 x XLR/TRS combination inputs.

Sound Devices MixPre II. Image credit: cinema5D

The field recorders now include ultra-low noise preamps with analogue limiters, that can reduce sudden peaking before the audio is digitized. Moreover, 32-bit float bit depth recording at 192kHz sampling is included as standard across all three devices. In the circumstance you might miss the first few seconds as dialogue, the MixPre II devices have 10 seconds of pre-roll running too.

“RAW” Audio With 32-bit Float Bit Depth

32-bit float recording means clipped audio can be rescued. Image credit: cinema5D

One of the greatest advancements included in this device is the 32-bit float bit depth, enabling a dynamic range of 700dB+ to be captured. What does that mean? It means that with the ultra-low noise preamps included in the MixPre II series, you are able to record the loudest or quietest of noises without the audio clipping or distorting due to the noise floor. The gain of clipped audio can be reduced in post to reveal the regular (and audible) peaks and troughs of a standard waveform.

This feature will be particularly useful in scenarios where setting the gain is unpredictable, or there are large changes in audio loudness. This is a real technological advancement in audio recording; clipped or audio recorded too loud can be recovered in post. Previously this feature has been held back by the hardware, but now this is possible in the latest MixPre II series.

In regards to file sizes, sampling at 192KHz in 32-bit float results in 33% larger file sizes, that record onto SD card. A backup is also recorded onto a USB drive to immediately hand off for editing.

Timecode and Trigger via HDMI and BNC

For professional applications, timecode can now be generated in the device, as well as sent to all of the MixPre II devices. In the 3/6 channel models this is via HDMI and 3.5mm aux inputs. Start/stop recording can be triggered via HDMI too.

The larger MixPre-10 II accepts timecode in and out via BNC, all of the devices can output timecode via 3.5mm stereo output too.

The Sound Devices MixPre II field recorders are available in 3 different models; MixPre-3 II, MixPre-5 II and MixPre-10 II. The comparison chart below denotes their differences.

USB Interface and App Control

The Sound Devices MixPre II series can be used as a USB interface for capturing audio in Pro Tools, Audition and other computer based audio applications. Useful for ADR or podcasting applications. The devices can also be controlled via bluetooth to Apple and Android devices as well.

Sound Devices App. Image credit: cinema5D

We always report about developments in camera sensor dynamic range, but the introduction of 32-bit float bit depth (Especially in this price category) is a very impressive leap forward in audio recording, that enables every detail of audio to be captured and recovered if needed. Could this be the new game changing audio development we will see in audio recording across the board?

Does the ability to record 32-bit audio excite you too? Are you after an audio recorder capable of handling many different production scenarios? Let us know in the comments.


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 David Gurney
David Gurney
MemberSeptember 20th, 2019

And yet Sound Devices still fails to provide a proper DC power jack. Amateur hour.

William Koehler
MemberSeptember 20th, 2019

Obviously, you would be more comfortable with the MixPre-10 II.

AC Adapter: XL-WPH3 (included): Universal, 45 W in-line AC-to-DC power supply Hirose 4-pin DC plug, with detachable IEC power cord. 100-240, 50/60Hz

A picture of the plug can be found here, left hand side:comment image

 Paul Szilard
Paul Szilard
MemberSeptember 27th, 2019

To me, at least, the 32bit option upgrade is a “no brainer”. As a 1 man operation, it means I can man the boom without worrying about the levels, or if I do camera + Lavs, then again I don’t need to worry about the audio levels. I currently use a Zoom F8, so for me the dilemma is how best to move to 32 bit platform?

a) Do I get a Zoom F6
b) Do I sell the F8 and get a SD MixPre10 MkII
c) Do I add a SD MixPre3 MkII – as most often I don’t actually need more than 3 mics

The jury is still out on this. What do you guys think?


sam broggs
sam broggs
MemberSeptember 19th, 2019

I have to edit in avid which only Supports 24 bit but i want to Record 32 bit as a Backup. What Happens if i Transcode the 32 bit to 24 bit? Does it compress the dynamic rage or does it cut off the headroom?

 John Schultz
John Schultz
MemberSeptember 20th, 2019

If your transcoder tool can normalize before truncation to 24-bit you won’t clip or have levels too low. If not, either or both can happen. If you have a recording with really loud and really soft sound, you’re better off loading into a 32-bit float handling audio editor (e.g. Reaper, great bang for buck: and fixing the levels section by section manually before converting to 24-bit for video editing in Avid.

GuestSeptember 24th, 2019

So, are there wireless transmitters for lavalier microphones that carry a signal higher than 24 bit? Or how would one be able to use those recorders when shooting with one or more wireless microphones?

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