The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
 Search This Thread  Search This Forum  Search Reviews  Search Gear Database  Search Gear for sale  Search Gearslutz Go Advanced
Why is Focusrite gear so cheap? Audio Interfaces
Old 15th September 2011
Gear Maniac
matt2525's Avatar

I have a Red 1 and a bunch of octopres. The Red 1 I have because it brings the best out in every mic, and has stepped pots (6db increments) which I love. I use it every day on every session. The Red series isn't cheap, but it's worth every penny.

The 3 octopres I have for a secondary mobile rig (which gets used maybe twice a year) They have functional preamps and AD conversion - nothing special but they do the job. I have plenty other options in the studio, so they never get used other than in the 2nd mobile rig. The original octopres have pretty useless compressor limiters on each channel which I always bypass, but the preamps are actually OK. The later versions (LE, MkII etc.) all have cheaper mic pres - the originals being built in UK with discrete components, and everything after in china with SMD and chips - hence the cheapness.

I will say, though, that UK focusrite service is great. They have a minimum charge of £50 for service, and told me that very rarely does any repair come to more than that. Last year I sent in a non functioning octopre and 2 ADAT cards for repair, had them all tested and fixed for £50 for the lot , and managed to buy an unused original octopre for £200 from their remaining surplus stock while I was at it!
Old 15th September 2011
Lives for gear
popmann's Avatar
I don't understand what you mean? Why is it cheap? Because it is. Do you think it's equivalent to Millenia or Hardy or API or UA preamps, just less expensive?
Old 15th September 2011
Registered User
It's cheap because it's made in China.

The market sets the price. If the market says this is undesirable, cheap sounding ****, then they can't charge any more.

If they make good stuff, and the market recognizes it as being good, then they can raise the price to match the competition around them.
Old 15th September 2011
Hmm, thanks for the Mercenary link.

I tend to believe what dude from FR is saying in that article for what it's worth. It wasn't a whole lotta spin, and if you know anything about circuit design, he's really being honest. He did use a little bit of flowery language when talking about cutting costs, but he was honest about what corners they cut.

This is why I asked if anybody had a/b'd right next to each other the cheap stuff, and the top range stuff.

Much of the circuits in ALL of these are pretty damn similar. Open the lid. Read the schematic. I mean lotta IC's in both boxes. One's transformerless, one's not. One uses sturdier hardware, switches etc.

As far as the surface mount thing, then I guess the new 1073lb thing is crap then, because it too uses surface mount?

As do your converters, your motherboard, and your outboard reverbs.

I don't know. I have been able to sneak in low end FR tracks into my mixes alongside the expensive stuff all the time in the past. I do it less and less now, because I have more gear, but still. I have NEVER EVER had a client say "That track sounds like ass, did you use a Platinum series preamp on that or somethin'? Yuck!"

So, while maybe not exciting...I can't really say they are causing damage either. Ceratainly better than a 1980's Soundcraft desk preamps or something...I mean really?

Whatever floats your boat.

Old 15th September 2011
Registered User
Much respect to Mercenary for posting the full response from Focusrite ...

I've bought too much cheap **** that fully disappoints, from vendors who are true mercenaries, because they don't have standards worth **** ... at least with "Mercenary" you know you a getting good stuff from people who care about sound.

I appreciate the colorful language and the no-nonsense approach.

Surface mount is a problem for repairers - it pretty much feeds the disposable philosophy ... too expensive to repair, better put it into landfill and buy the newer model ...
Old 15th September 2011
Gear Maniac
rogerdodger's Avatar

The main reason all this stuff is even affordable is the near non-existant labor costs and technology (SMD components for example). Pay guys a decent livable wage and some basic benefits and a lot of this chinese "crap" would be 5x the cost.
Old 15th September 2011
Originally Posted by Kiwi View Post
Surface mount is a problem for repairers
It is if you don't have surface mount re-work tools. Otherwise, no problem. I used to think this too.

Plus, smt sounds fine. People bag on smt all the time however. Things like the 2520 are now surface mount, and they sound ok. No? The new Neve stuff?

I agree, I'd rather have through hole, so I can work on it with my old tools, but if you open the compounder for example, the electrolytics are through hole. I think most of the parts that are likely to ever go bad are through hole.

I have already replaced the filter and some other caps in my early compounder. This unit is from the 90's, and was on for far over a decade,4-16 hours a day.

It's all about the circuit and the sound, people are quick to bag on anything that the lowliest home studio guy can afford.

If you really just think the sound is that horrendous, that's another thing entirely. Fair enough, yeah, there's better sounding stuff for sure. Just don't use it. Just remember that a lot of gear out there that is thought of as OK is using pretty similar circuits, and the exact same parts.



I like Fletcher too, and find his advice very useful. However, this is not the first time he has totally bagged on a company. He did the same thing with Neumann as well FWIW.

He is a cool guy and a great writer however.
Old 1st November 2017
Lives for gear
nowaysj's Avatar

Originally Posted by PhilDW View Post
These guys don't hold back on their opinion...
Mercenary Audio - Why Doesn't Mercenary Carry Focusrite Gear?
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearslutz Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.

Slide to join now Processing…
Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Forum Jump
Forum Jump