Though ubiquitous smartphones can be useful for capturing ideas when the musical muse strikes, they're not ideal – making capable and rugged portable audio recorders a must for any gig bag. Wisconsin-based Sound Devices has been designing pro audio gear for years, and has now added a new member to its MixPre family. The MixPre-10M is a first of its kind 12 in, 4 out portable multitrack audio recorder developed especially for musicians, by musicians.

"It's an incredible device that simplifies songwriting and production to allow musicians to focus solely on creating and recording music the way it was before computers took over," said the company's Matt Anderson. "With built-in overdub, metronome, and effects like premium-quality reverb and vocal air, the travel-size MixPre-10M gives musicians the ability to record 12 tracks anywhere inspiration hits – from a tour bus, backstage, to a hotel room or live performance."

The high performance portable studio features all the essentials you'll find in a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) suite, meaning you don't need to be within reach of a computer to get ideas down whenever – and wherever – inspiration hits. Be that in the hotel between gigs, capturing a live set at the venue or in the rehearsal room before going to the studio to lay down tracks.

Sound Devices says that the MixPre-10M has been designed with a simple layout and feature set to allow musicians to focus on their creativity without technology getting in the way. There's a touchscreen display interface, dedicated mixer knobs and transport joystick for hands-on control, and it runs on eight AA-sized batteries, which are housed in a quick detach sled, or can be powered by an external battery pack or AC adapter via a 4-pin connector.

The recorder, mixer and USB audio interface boasts eight balanced XLR/TRS combo inputs – each with 96 dB of gain, 48 V of phantom power (for studio mics) and low cut filters – a 2-channel aux/mic input and four USB ports. And it includes eight ultra-low-noise Kashmir mic preamps featuring Class A components with analog limiters. Musicians can record, playback, mix, monitor, layer, and overdub up to 12 tracks simultaneously, with track bounce capable of squeezing even more tracks into the mix, and the ability to hit up cue points on the device. There's built-in overdubbing, remix, effects and metronome, too.

The 10M rocks two balanced and two unbalanced outputs, as well as stereo HP output, and its 10 channel mixer can transform the device into a portable mixing station that can be plugged directly into a PA. It tips the scales at 2 lb (0.9 kg), has 1.375 x 8.125 x 6.875 inch (3.5 x 20.6 x 17.5 cm) dimensions and benefits from die-cast aluminum construction for on-the-road durability.

Finally, when tunetastic gold has been captured for posterity, stereo WAV/AAC recordings can be exported via the SD card slot, on a USB thumbdrive or direct to a computer.

The MixPre-10M is expected to ship later this month for US$1,499 and will be on show at SXSW in Austin, Texas, from March 11. You can see the device in action in the video below.

Product page: MixPre-10M

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