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Focusrite Red Series
Old 17th November 2009
  #1
Focusrite Red Series

Hey,

I've done some searches on the red series there doesn't seem to be to much written about them compared to other high end outboards.

Does anyone use them?!

What are the opinions on them?

I'm looking for opinions on the red 7 in particular.
Old 17th November 2009
  #2
Gear Maniac
 

Here's a thread that talks about the line in general.

Focusrite RED Line - Your opinions...

I use a Red 8, which is the Dual Mic Pre, at the studio I manage. It's not bad. Kind of a vanilla flavor type of pre. I use it on lead vox quite a bit and occasionally on electrics. It's probably not one that would stand out in a crowd, but it has it's place and it does it's job.
Old 17th November 2009
  #3
Yeah just surprised there is not more people using them, I'm being offered one for €1000 seems like a bit of a bargain.

Think I'll have to try it out.
Old 17th November 2009
  #4
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TheMarqueeYears's Avatar
 

I had a Red 7 and sold it to buy a Millenia STT-1.

In some ways I wish I'd kept it, as it really was it's own pre-amp and the compressor on it was great too, very cool VCA style design.

Built like a tank and very sexy adonized red front panel - yes all in all a very nice pre/compressor - wish I'd kept mine.

TMY
Old 18th November 2009
  #5
Gear Guru
 
John Willett's Avatar
 

I thought the Red series had just been discontinued?
Old 18th November 2009
  #6
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TheMarqueeYears's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Willett View Post
I thought the Red series had just been discontinued?
Correct, discontined.

Now people will become interested in owning one

TMY
Old 19th November 2009
  #7
Gear Guru
 
John Willett's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheMarqueeYears View Post
Now people will become interested in owning one
I do have a Red Zero
Old 19th November 2009
  #8
Do you think €1000 is a fair price for a used one?
Old 20th November 2009
  #9
Lives for gear
 

I dig the Red 7 as my bass compressor in the mix.
Old 10th January 2011
  #10
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dickiefunk's Avatar
Anyone know how the Red7 compares to the ISA One preamp?
Old 11th January 2011
  #11
Gear Nut
 

It doesn't. ISA one sounds... well digital IMO. The Red sounds clean, but it still has a warmth to it.
Old 11th January 2011
  #12
Gear Head
 
Porter's Avatar
 

i own a Red 7 and love it! it's my main channel. I used to work at Fantasy Studios in Berkeley and I remember the Red series Focusrite preamps were always used as good all around transparent workhorses. So you can't really go wrong with it.
Old 11th January 2011
  #13
Gear Nut
 
digidesigner's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheMarqueeYears View Post
I had a Red 7 and sold it to buy a Millenia STT-1.

In some ways I wish I'd kept it, as it really was it's own pre-amp and the compressor on it was great too, very cool VCA style design.

Built like a tank and very sexy adonized red front panel - yes all in all a very nice pre/compressor - wish I'd kept mine.

TMY
I have both Red7 and STT-1 and for vocals red is as good as it gets! My favorite! If I could get one for 1K€ I would get it in a second!
Old 12th January 2011
  #14
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
I've done some searches on the red series there doesn't seem to be to much written about them compared to other high end outboards.
That's probably because they've been around longer than just about any other outboard gear on the market (and, as has already been mentioned, they've discontinued the line one piece at a time over the past few years). They've been around for so long that I think that people take them for granted.

Quote:
It doesn't. ISA one sounds... well digital IMO. The Red sounds clean, but it still has a warmth to it.
The circuit design for the Red preamps and the ISA are the same, but they don't sound the same. The Red boxes do use output transformers whereas the ISA preamps don't. I believe they use the same input transformers, but there may be other differences as well. The Red boxes were also built by hand in the Scottish countryside (which was expensive to do and, as I understand it, is why they were discontinued) and the ISA boxes are mass produced in a factory in China. I imagine all of those factors play into the difference in sound. Having said that, I think that the ISA boxes are a great value for the money.
Old 12th January 2011
  #15
According to the Focusrite website, they are still manufacturing (in the UK) and selling the Focrusrite Red-1 Red-7 and Red-8.

They have discontinued the Red-2 (excellent dual Eq, I have one) and the Red-6 (Excellent pre and EQ, and I have one of those also...my main snare channel. They have long discontuned the Red-4 (audiofile preamp), Red-5 (audiofile poweramp) and the Red-0 (just a patchbay blank panel). The most recent discard is the Red-3 dual compressor which has an incredible reputation, and a sound to deserve it... well to be honest, it doesn't really have a sound, so that's its strength.

I consider the Red line to be right there at the top with the best outboard gear offered in the world. Buy what you can get, and keep it for life.

Kindest regards,

Ward
Old 12th January 2011
  #16
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crypticglobe's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Duardo View Post
That's probably because they've been around longer than just about any other outboard gear on the market (and, as has already been mentioned, they've discontinued the line one piece at a time over the past few years). They've been around for so long that I think that people take them for granted.


The circuit design for the Red preamps and the ISA are the same, but they don't sound the same. The Red boxes do use output transformers whereas the ISA preamps don't. I believe they use the same input transformers, but there may be other differences as well. The Red boxes were also built by hand in the Scottish countryside (which was expensive to do and, as I understand it, is why they were discontinued) and the ISA boxes are mass produced in a factory in China. I imagine all of those factors play into the difference in sound. Having said that, I think that the ISA boxes are a great value for the money.
Dont forget to note the ISA 110 as an exception as it was it hand wired, had custom transformers, and was Rupert Neve's design.
Old 12th January 2011
  #17
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Dont forget to note the ISA 110 as an exception as it was it hand wired, had custom transformers, and was Rupert Neve's design.
Yes, sorry, I was referring specifically to the current ISA line, not the older UK-built products.
Old 12th January 2011
  #18
Quote:
Originally Posted by crypticglobe View Post
Dont forget to note the ISA 110 as an exception as it was it hand wired, had custom transformers, and was Rupert Neve's design.
It was?

Wow last time i looked inside of one i am pretty sure i didn't see all of the above.heh
Old 12th January 2011
  #19
Gear Maniac
 
Stéphane's Avatar
I own a red dual mic pre, love it on kick and snare.
great unit.
Old 12th January 2011
  #20
Lives for gear
 

The red series gets my vote
for the best looking outboard line ever.
Old 12th January 2011
  #21
Gear Maniac
 
eleo's Avatar
 

thumbsup
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shaman View Post
The red series gets my vote
for the best looking outboard line ever.
Old 12th January 2011
  #22
Gear Addict
 
rob61's Avatar
 

I have the Red 2 and the Red 3 (the compressor and the EQ, both early units in production) and use them regularly.

When I purchased these, there was the original ISA Blue, then they made the Red. Focusrite claimed it was the exact same circuit but used controls mounted on circuit boards instead of hand wired. They claimed other than that, it was the same circuit.

However, its known that later models eliminated the input transformers on one of the units in an attempt to save cost. Today, Focusrite is an entirely different company, more into capitalizing on the brand name than manufacturing high end pro equipment. Thus you find "platinum" stuff which is low end made in China for music stores and guitarists who walk in and have heard of the name Focusrite. They also released "designer" plug ins as well. Anything cheap to manufacture to capitalize on the percieved value in the name Focusrite.

The guy who now owns Focusrite has a profile in the latest Mix or EQ. Today, they are merely making lower cost stuff to sell to home recordists and musicians. Of course, the original view from Rupert was to build a new company to outperfom Neve. That didn't survive and now you have a company that is simply trying to market off the name.

The early ISA and Red were more about what Focusrite and Rupert Neve had started. While I'm holding onto and use my Red 2 and Red 3, I wouldn't buy their stuff now unless you find the older blue and red.
Old 12th January 2011
  #23
Gear Guru
 
Karloff70's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by wardpike View Post
The most recent discard is the Red-3 dual compressor which has an incredible reputation, and a sound to deserve it... well to be honest, it doesn't really have a sound, so that's its strength.
Doesn't have a sound? I'd have to disagree. Stinks of POP to me. Which can be a great thing. Does something POP in a sparkly way. And opinions are like ars*holes.....heh
Old 12th January 2011
  #24
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dickiefunk's Avatar
What about the Red7? Does this use both input and output transformers?
Old 12th January 2011
  #25
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crypticglobe's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by thethrillfactor View Post
It was?

Wow last time i looked inside of one i am pretty sure i didn't see all of the above.heh
Well, as you know, the original ISA110 was a module intended as a replacement for neve desks and uses the same physical and pinout format as a 1081. It had transformers designed for it to the specifications requested by Focusrite/Rupert Neve.

The production model later available in a rack format from Focusrite was based on the exact same configuration.

I think they sound quite good personally. The EQ is great, the pre not quite as magical (cleaner a bit) as the pre in 1073/1084 modules, but still outstanding. I had a pair of the originals in my rack for a while and really loved them.

I certainly don't claim to be the final authority on this, and could certainly be incorrect... but here is a little more info:





Focusrite ISA 110 vs ISA 110LE


Are we talking about the same gear??
Old 13th January 2011
  #26
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dickiefunk's Avatar
I spoke to a Focusrite Tech earlier today to enquire what the differences were between the ISA One and Red preamps. He told me they were pretty much the same but the Red preamps were handmade in the UK.

Think I'll give the Red preamps a miss!
Old 13th January 2011
  #27
Lives for gear
What I knew about the red series was that it was the first 100% original line from Focusrite after the collaboration with Neve,
still good overall, some piece (red 3) better than others but that the red anodized faceplace made the price way higher than it would have been otherwise..

So it the whole series was a lil overpriced because of that.
Don't remember the source, so I couldn't tell how true that is.
I can imagine tho' that (pretty anyway) faceplace costs some good $$

I use to have a pair of old 110 at the old studio and they were great, never tried the new one, the red pre is definitely cleaner and kind of anonymous to me..
more than usable for sure, but definitely there are much better choices for that price
Old 13th January 2011
  #28
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Space Station's Avatar
The ISA430 and mkII has a carnhill output transformer. The ISA220 and One doesnt, dont know about the rest.

I think the 430 is an amazing piece of kit, had one from new for many years..genuis design.
Old 13th January 2011
  #29
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PaulMac's Avatar
A friend of mine A/Bed several recordings of several sources, comparing the Red series pre with an octopre to several dozen (engineer & assistant engineer) listeners... the Octopre polled something like 60% of the vote. I had a listen and honestly could tell very little difference. I could even tell the difference between a couple of different types of ISA.
I'd say try the Red out for yourself before making a judgement to buy. You might be best spending 1/4 of the money and getting 8 pres that sound extremely similar!
Old 13th January 2011
  #30
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doug hazelrigg's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shaman View Post
The red series gets my vote
for the best looking outboard line ever.
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