Does anyone have any experience with this mixer that can share the pros and cons of recording with it? (preamps, noise and other features...) I'm thinking of buying one field mixer and there are two that I'm trying to compare the Fostex FM3 and the Sound Devices 302. If anyone could help me with this I would be much appreciated.



  • I had a Fostex FR2 le once, and was not very impressed, it broke within a week, then broke again after it was "fixed", howver the fm3 looks like a completely different beast. Are they expensive? Commented Mar 24, 2015 at 11:04
  • Just for a matter of balance, I've had an FR2 le for some years and it has been very good! I'll concede it's not particularly robust in its build quality, but I've been gentle with it and I'm still using it to very satisfactory effect.
    – Paul
    Commented Nov 16, 2016 at 9:31

3 Answers 3


Fostex and Sound Devices are not even in the same league. There is a reason SD products cost 10x what other products sell for. An old, beat-up, 3rd-hand Sound Devices piece of gear will still beat any brand new Fostex gadget out of the box.

Admittedly, Foxtex appears to be aiming higher with the FM3. They might someday be as good as Sound Devices, but I suspect their bean-counters will protest that they don't want to price themselves out of their traditional market. The FM3 may be a good starter piece until you start earning enough to buy the real thing.


Dear Eduardo, I have just got my FM-3 inhouse, but haven't used it yet in the field, so please tak the following as a first expresssion.

It looks extremely delicate, very well build and with a lot of relevant inputs and outputs. Testing with DPA miniatures (through DPA's own 3V phantom "cigar"-connector), NAGRA SD recorder and Shure SE535 earphones it gives sound as expected from a quality gear.

You can apparently cascade another FM-3 in six resulting input channels, you can output to another balanced device and two other unbalanced. Two earphones possibility, return for checking. DC inputs and outputs for external powering - and feeding. Test tone and inbuild slate mic for commands and editing instructions, good preamp gain and low cut filters for each channel, limiters on/off.

What more can one wish. I am happy with the gear and look forward to use it with muy Nagra SD and my AG-HMC151E camera.

But some must have used this in real life. What are your experiences and advices?

All the best Knud Copenhagen


Fostex were making high quality equipment for the professional broadcast and film industry when the FM-3 was introduced. The FM-3 was aimed at the pro market too. In that sense, comparing equipment in the same market, Fostex and Sound Devices were in the same league but strictly speaking I don't think they competed in the same market for long if at all - Fostex were there with trolley based multi-track recorders whilst SD only had their 700 series portables. I don't think Fostex are in that market now?

Sound Devices appear to have their super-fans who are usually hobbiests and who dismiss anything else.. A company doesn't have to have a reputation or following to make great or one-off amazing product! So don't dismiss models one hasn't tried - try everything (if that's what you want to do).

I've just bought an FM-3 for personal sound recording, sound design, binaural recording - all for fun. Literally just got it and don't have any other pro gear to compare against for sound quality.. However, it is very well built as per other pro equipment I've been incontact with.

Searching around the internet for reviews/opinions on the FM-3's sound brings up hardly anything. Two opinions from those who've tried one: compared to a Sonosax sx-M32, someone thought there wasn't much between them soundwise for their preamps (although suggested the Sonosax was still better, so bought that) - http://rtsound.net/equipment/equipment/page/2/ . On a forum some guy simply says "they are excellent". That was all I could find!

Lots of critism for their small metering display though. At first glance, I think I'll find that to be correct. Display is too small for the style of meter they have chosen - too cluttered a graphic to be clear. But OLED was kind of new back then and a faster display than the LCDs being used on other gear..

Should I be able to compare it with something well known in the future, I'll find a forum to express my opinion for future generations!

New price was once about £1300 / $1800 (before Brexit GBP value falls). They can be found secondhand, looking new condition for about £300 in 2018 via ebay.

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