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Focusrite ISA 428 or ................
Old 16th May 2006
  #1
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fastlane's Avatar
 

Focusrite ISA 428 or ................

Hi,
I already own a Focusrite 430 producers pack with I use on vocals, acoustics and bass. I must say I am very happy with it.
But I need 4 more high end channels, mainly for recording drums and electric guitars. Now in a perfect world I would go with some neve's or even a few avalons but I'm afraid my pockets aren't that deep.

I already know the sound of the ISA 428 but I'm wondering are there any other alternatives for in and around the same price.

Thanks in advance
Old 16th May 2006
  #2
Gear Addict
 
StudioKing's Avatar
I would look at either the SSL X Logic Quad Pre Amp, Or Maybe The Daking 4 Channel Unit. I have both, i find myslef using the Daking more for elecrtic guitar mics and bass, and the SSL for vocals and drums.
Old 17th May 2006
  #3
Trp
Gear Addict
 

DAV BG-2 is around the same price and a step up from the ISAs IMO.
Old 17th May 2006
  #4
Moderator
 
TonyBelmont's Avatar
 

I can't believe nobody has said to get the API 3124+ yet....

Well, there get the API 3124+!
Old 17th May 2006
  #5
Trp
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by TonyBelmont
I can't believe nobody has said to get the API 3124+ yet....

Maybe because it´s about twice the price he mentioned so it doesn´t fit his budget?
At least in Europe...
Old 17th May 2006
  #6
Moderator
 
TonyBelmont's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Trp
Maybe because it´s about twice the price he mentioned so it doesn´t fit his budget?
At least in Europe...
Wow... you guys are paying a huge premium over there then.
Old 17th May 2006
  #7
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StudioKing's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by TonyBelmont
Wow... you guys are paying a huge premium over there then.
Yes, i have found some gear to be as much as 50% cheaper when i have been to America, and other gear to be around 20-30% cheaper.
Old 17th May 2006
  #8
if you want a preamp that has flexibility have a look at the sebatron valve preamps.
the sebatron vmp4000e is a great performer. a good compliment to the ISA 428.
Old 17th May 2006
  #9
DHD
Gear Nut
 
DHD's Avatar
 

Hi there Fastlane.

Try the DAV BG2 or Audient ASP008. Affordable for people in your part of the world.

I gotta say though that the API 3124+ is the biz on drums and guitars.

Oh yeah and see whaty you can get for your Focusrite 430 producers pack and buy a Pendulum Quartet II. Infinitely superior to the 430 in everyway.

Peace,
DHD
Old 17th May 2006
  #10
Lives for gear
 
octatonic's Avatar
If it is the same preamp as the ISA 220 then I'd say almost anything.
Not bad, but unremarkable- although I quite like my 220 for female vocals.

Sytek MPX4 should so you right- or 2 x FMR really nice pre's and save a bundle.
I really want to hear the Audient ASP008 also.

James
Old 17th May 2006
  #11
Lives for gear
 
fastlane's Avatar
 

DHD,

You think the audient is better that the ISA???? Interesting. I kinda thought they weren't in the same league.
Now I would like pendulum quartet but I gotta go one step at a time. It's a touch pricey and I can't imagine the difference would be would an extra 3000, well, not right now at least.



I was looking into a few options. One very good plus with the ISA 428 is with the Digital option installed you have 8 channels of AD convertors at 96kHz.
I was impressed to hear that. 4 of those are for the ISA 428 pre's and with the other 4 I can use for my other pre's.
Now here's the other question, are the focusrite convertor better than my RME fireface 800????
If so then I think it a step in the right direction, I think the RME is great, so if the AD's on the ISA428 are better then I'll be more than happy. At least until I can afford more gear.
Old 17th May 2006
  #12
if you go ISA, look for the older version (MARK I??)..the new one was built with cheap parts from china.. lower building quality, lower parts quality.. lower sound quality.. and thats not vodoo.. you can hear it easily..
Old 17th May 2006
  #13
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kudzu's Avatar
 

Get the ISA 428 (with AD card) ... The pres are good ... the AD is good ... Xtra 4 ADs lets u expand ... more pres ... ( I got API 3124's in mine ... clocked to a Big Ben ... sounds SWEEEET)

RME FF 800 converters are very good ... I think they're up there with Apogee ... lotsa classical / jazz recordists like'm ... the pres aren't bad either
Old 17th May 2006
  #14
DHD
Gear Nut
 
DHD's Avatar
 

Hi again Fastlane

for me it's an aesthetic thing. To put it bluntly, I don't like the focusrite pre sound at all. I've done pre shoot-outs and for tone they are lacking.

What you read about matching levels of tracks to make a good comparison is the way to go because with the voice (the sound to which we are porgrammed to hear from learning to speak) we almost always pick something that sounds the most forward (read loud). The Focusrite pre sound has this steely high upper mid/treble sound to it that is synthetic to my ears and there is no realism or great tone in the mids. I think Focusrite pres can work on female vox because a female vox is all about detail in the range that the Focusrite hypes. It is still very synthetic though.

The reason I recommended the audient is the value for money AND the quality. As you say, you want to use it for drums and guitars then it's great for that! In fact it's good enough to record acoustic music; folk, classical because it is transparent and detailed and not synthetic. Yes the DAV is a step up but it has 4 pres for the money and you want to record drums so I thought the Audient with 8 pres at a good UK price.....

Your experiences of your Producer pack will have inspired you but if you really go beyond that attatchment and get into listening to the tone rather than hyped detail then the focusrite stuff just aint there.

I'm just trying to offer good suggestions from my experiences with these pres and all my comments are subjective to some degree. I don't sell gear! Just trying to help bro!

Peace,
DHD
Old 18th May 2006
  #15
Gear Addict
 
tmarra's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by George Necola
if you go ISA, look for the older version (MARK I??)..the new one was built with cheap parts from china.. lower building quality, lower parts quality.. lower sound quality.. and thats not vodoo.. you can hear it easily..
Your talking about a ISA-430. All the ISA-428's are the same.

-Tony
Old 18th May 2006
  #16
Lives for gear
 
kudzu's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by George Necola
if you go ISA, look for the older version (MARK I??)..the new one was built with cheap parts from china.. lower building quality, lower parts quality.. lower sound quality.. and thats not vodoo.. you can hear it easily..
That's so weird ... I had a Mk1 430 out on demo ages ago ... liked it alot ... then a while later I used a MK11 430 in a studio I was working in and it didn't happen for me ... I thot it was the singer / mic / room issue ... it screwed me up a bit 'cause I'd had great results from the MK 1 ... Oh well, thanks George, now I know why ....
Old 18th May 2006
  #17
Gear Maniac
 

428

I really regret selling my ISA 428.
Old 18th May 2006
  #18
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by fastlane
Hi,
I already own a Focusrite 430 producers pack with I use on vocals, acoustics and bass. I must say I am very happy with it.
But I need 4 more high end channels, mainly for recording drums and electric guitars. Now in a perfect world I would go with some neve's or even a few avalons but I'm afraid my pockets aren't that deep.

I already know the sound of the ISA 428 but I'm wondering are there any other alternatives for in and around the same price.

Thanks in advance
I dont think there are many alternatives in the same price range with the same feature set.

The 428a is a very versatile pre especially with the impedance loading options.
I thought they were fairly clean, high-headroom pres. I liked them very much.

Your other option would be two RNPs ($1000) or a Sytek (~$800).
Actually you can get 8 channels of Sytek for the money (and 6 RNPs) but neither would have the flexibility of the 428a.

Other than that, you would have to go used....

Good luck,
David
Old 18th May 2006
  #19
Lives for gear
 

I'm selling a 428 right now if anyone's interested. It's a nice pre, really clear, used it on drums for a bunch of rock albums, but now I'm mostly mixing so it's time for it to find a new home.
-brian
Old 18th May 2006
  #20
Gear Maniac
 

I’m working for Focusrite and I didn’t see any difference between boot generation units; they still use the same transformer, IC etc.

Did you really try it?

Jean-François Nolin
Expertise technique / Product Specialist
Erikson Audio
514 457 2555 ext 306
1 888 816 2333

www.eriksonaudio.com
Old 19th May 2006
  #21
Gear Addict
 
tmarra's Avatar
What they are refering to is the ISA-430 and the ISA-430 MkII. The new one is made in China and has a couple of additional features that the original, made in the UK, ISA-430 did not have.

Also the optional digital cards are NOT the same for these two units. The ISA-430 uses the same card as ISA-220 while the ISA-430 MkII's card is similar to the ISA-428. (just minus 2 convertors from the 428)

Do they sound the same? That's for you guys to decide.

-Tony
Old 19th May 2006
  #22
Lives for gear
 

focusrite gets a bit of a bad rep around here but they are worth checking out.
yesterday i was in a studio with a 428 and the AD card and the original vertical rack ISAs in the studio across the hall. the owner is very pleased with the 428, it comes close enough to the original and the switchable impedance makes it more versatile. to top it off the AD gets used over the HD 192i/o at 44.1Khz.

you should consider all the options but the ISA428 does shape up to be seriously considered, add the AD and then a couple of great pres later on and you could have a complete solution
Old 19th May 2006
  #23
Gear Addict
 
joninc's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by [email protected]
I dont think there are many alternatives in the same price range with the same feature set.

The 428a is a very versatile pre especially with the impedance loading options.
I thought they were fairly clean, high-headroom pres. I liked them very much.

Your other option would be two RNPs ($1000) or a Sytek (~$800).
Actually you can get 8 channels of Sytek for the money (and 6 RNPs) but neither would have the flexibility of the 428a.

Other than that, you would have to go used....

Good luck,
David
i sold my RNP last year to get a 428 and i like it way more. the RNP is solid, well made and clean but after a few years i found it boring - kind of sterile. the 428 sounds fatter to me (the transformers help for sure) and more musical - sweeter maybe. not harsh at all - smooth and warm.

the sytek i have tried and are decent but i like the burr brown units way better than the other ones.

i also have more boutique stuff - great river/vintech/chandler pres and i think the 428 hold their own well - if you can get one used they are a great deal to fill out tracks. i tend to go to it for acoustic instruments - overheads etc...
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