When it comes to recording audio, there are countless ways to do it. These days, most do it via an audio interface and a DAW. But, when choosing an interface, the options become endless. Let's say you want something under $1000, super portable and rugged, and with a solid amount of ins for your gear? Your options shrink dramatically. Now, let's say you want to be able to power it with batteries, and record directly into the device itself, sans computer? Most people would say good luck in your search. However, Sound Devices has created a device just for this instance. The MixPre-6M checks all of these boxes, and more, without extra frills and high cost.
What is it?
The MixPre-6M is a 8 in, 4 out multitrack audio recorder and USB interface, designed for musicians on the go who want top quality without breaking the bank. It also seamlessly integrates with most major DAWs, and allows for both streaming and directly recording to the device, making it a breeze to record your software instruments, or backing up your takes.
How does it work?
The MixPre-6M features four, high-performance, ultra-low-noise Sound Devices' Kashmir™ microphone preamps, allowing for crystal-clear quality recordings, whether on the road or in the studio. Power options include batteries for on the road, or power over USB. While the device might look limited at first glance, simple rerouting options allow you to make the device work how you need it, without having to unplug anything at all using the vibrant touch screen.
What do I think?
There are so many audio interfaces and recorders out there to choose from, but finding the right balance between the two can be a massive headache. Having the ability to take the 6M out of the studio on the road, with no effort, is a huge thing for me. I've gotten more into computer-free music making with my synths, and ins and outs can be an issue with my current interface. The 6M provides me with enough choices to not have to worry about it, and I can make music anywhere and record directly into it. It also works in a DJ booth, and you could even directly record any extra synths or machines you incorporated into your sets. What I really love about the device is that it's so straightforward and easy to use. Sometimes, things like the 6M can be really unintuitive, and thus not enjoyable to use. Fortunately, that's not the case here.
Should you buy one?
If you are looking to take your studio on the road, and want as little unnecessary clutter as possible, I would say yes, especially if you'd like to record music in cool places other than hotel rooms or studios. Or, if you are a podcaster, like myself, this is a great option.
Sound Devices really hit the nail on the head with this one. It's simple, rugged, and does the job it set out to do very well. The size alone is impressive, about the size of an Xbox controller, and the portability is a major win. The fact that it thrives both in and out of the studio, as an interface and audio recording device makes it a real winner, and certainly worth your consideration.