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Why is Focusrite gear so cheap? Audio Interfaces
Old 14th September 2011
  #1
Gear Maniac
 

Why is Focusrite gear so cheap?

The Saffire interfaces and octopre seem to be regarded extremely highly around here, but I can't help but look at the price of these things and be suspicious. What is it that you aren't paying for?
Old 14th September 2011
  #2
Lives for gear
 
JoaT's Avatar
Have you noticed that despite the going rates they are still NOT saluted as bargains around here?

I thought the GS consensus on cheaper Focusrites is that despite the bargain basement prices they still are nothing to write home about.
Old 14th September 2011
  #3
Lives for gear
Its always puzzled me that Focusrite can make as great high end gear as the Blue and Red series, and also make absolute crap like the platinum series.

The Focusrite gear that folks around here revere is NOT the cheap stuff.
Old 14th September 2011
  #4
Gear Addict
 
Pies's Avatar
The platinum series all sounds dump to me and that was focusrites cheapest range wasn't it?

I haven't found an ISA I don't like the sound of yet and the ISA one is fairly cheap at £399! I did used to really like the sound of the original Octpre on toms (but hated the compressors) but from what I can remember those original OctoPres were a lot more expensive than the black ones they knock out now

Red series sounds fantastic and I even like the sound of green EQ on guitars.
Old 14th September 2011
  #5
Quote:
Originally Posted by Warfunkel View Post
The Saffire interfaces and octopre seem to be regarded extremely highly around here,
????

I think you should read some more here maybe.
For the most part, they are not very highly regarded at all around here. For a while, the opinion was comparable to Behringer, or worse.
Flat out despised for a couple of years even.

I just posted on a thread though, defending them, as they are not NEARLY as bad as to deserve all that IMHO. One of these preamps does
1db down at 10hz, and 3 db down at 200khz.
.002 thd, -128 ein etc. etc.

That ain't total sh*t.

In fact on paper it makes a lotta old preamps look pretty bad (performance wise) for that matter. Thing is like a lot of pretty clean preamps, they are just not very exciting. This is worse than loads of harmonic distortion around here apparently.

Couple that with a low price tag, and the concensus is it is crap you wouldn't wish on your enemy.

Yes I have used expensive sh*t to compare it to, and (imagine this)...I even own some. The FR is not the horrific pile of crap everybody seems to portray it to be in my mind. To each their own.

It makes me wonder how many pros actually have sat there with the entry level stuff, and a/ b'd it to their ISA's and RED's?

I mean, that probably sounds like the most mundane boring freaking task on the planet, but if you haven't, then you can't be sure if it was all the newbie recordists making those bad recordings, or the actual gear itself I guess.

People make it sound as if it's like recording through an answering machine or something. Worse than that, and answering machine that catches fire after a month of use.

I dunno,
john
Old 14th September 2011
  #6
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pies View Post
but from what I can remember those original OctoPres were a lot more expensive than the black ones they knock out now

Red series sounds fantastic and I even like the sound of green EQ on guitars.
Yes, well that is the preamp I am talking about, the original. Funnily it was the most hated it seems.

Apparently they say the green circuit is what they are using now.
Again, I dunno.

The original octopre and the compounder compressor to me are not bad.

I would have sold mine long ago if they were just crappy. Pres are ok for a portable rig etc., and extra inputs. I think I have 140 mic amps with my outboard, and the ones in my consoles, and I still keep it around. It's pretty freaking ok.

Yes, the limiters suck, don't use them.
j
Old 14th September 2011
  #7
Lives for gear
 
dxavier's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Warfunkel View Post
The Saffire interfaces and octopre seem to be regarded extremely highly around here, but I can't help but look at the price of these things and be suspicious. What is it that you aren't paying for?
I am not sure what threads you have picked up on here, but I have heard very little pleasant things said about any of the Platinum range of which the Octopre belongs too and although the Saffice interface is a good mid level interface, there are other interfaces in my opinion, within the same price bracket that are rated more highly than the Saffire range.

Focusrite used to be a high end company, producing the ISA range, blue mastering and red ranges too, but at some point, they decided to jump into the lower end market with the Green Range and after that, their focus shifted to that arena more than anything else.

Their recent partnership with Audient is interesting, but I am not sure where they are going with that, other than rebranding Audient gear and using their presence in the U.S to palm it off as their own creation.
Old 14th September 2011
  #8
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taturana's Avatar
i quite like the focusrtite stuff i used (and some of them, i still use).... not the best but it's fairly nice for he price...
Old 14th September 2011
  #9
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by dxavier View Post
although the Saffice interface is a good mid level interface, there are other interfaces in my opinion, within the same price bracket that are rated more highly than the Saffire range.
I'd be interested to hear which others ?
Old 14th September 2011
  #10
Lives for gear
 
dabigfrog's Avatar
 

REALLY?... they haven't made anything good since the red/blue series?!?

sounds thin veiled and cheap.... those ISA 4/8 packs seem like a bargain until you hear what real preamps do with those signals.

not a fan of platinum srs or anything after.

we have a red 1 and its ok for a vanilla pre x 4, and we want a red 3 comp.

we had a blue 230 and regret selling it.

but for the most part i steer away from them
Old 14th September 2011
  #11
Lives for gear
I've got mixed emotions about the Platinum range. a few years ago, I got a deal on four of the (mono) Trackmaster Pros and a TwinTrak. The four Pros were highly variable from one unit to another and the key controls weren't defective but they weren't as progressive as I would have liked. The upper midrange on two of the Pros was problematic whenever the levels were high. I still have the TwinTrak and have used it on a range of inputs in my mobile rig with good success, mostly with dynamic mics and condensors that don't have too much of a HF bump.

I've got a Compounder and like it for the most part. Like the Pros above, if pushed hard, I don't like the results. Also have a Mixmaster and in limited use have been pretty happy with it. Regardless, all of my remaining FR pieces are at or near the chopping block as I slowly buy new pres and compressors because I do lots of live and remote stuff where I want gear that hangs together well when the musician(s) get a little excess adrenaline and push their levels up. Headroom is your friend and my experience is that the Platinum range pieces don't have enuff.
Old 14th September 2011
  #12
Gear Maniac
 
portishead's Avatar
 

A bad quality and customer service experience with the Platinum Twintrak Pro was enough to turn me off of Focusrite forever (no matter what the color/series!). I used it for a year only for the preamps which were decent... I found the rest of the strip to be pretty much useless. The A/D card was okay.

I paid more than the unit was worth to get it working properly and sold it at at major loss for what I bought it for and had it repired for at their "authorized repair shop". All they did was replace some capacitors for $300.00 and the EXACT problem came back and they said the second issue was "unrelated to the repairs they did, and was a new issue".

After writing to Focusrite corporate they did nothing to help me.
Old 14th September 2011
  #13
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dxavier's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by serious View Post
I'd be interested to hear which others ?
I sometimes get the feeling that people say things like this, just to be confrontation. How many other interfaces are there at this price point? Anyway, if you wish to go down this road......

I checked out the following interfaces for a friend who wanted to spend a small budget on an interface to go with his laptop....

ALESIS IO/26

FOCUSRITE SAFFIRE PRO 24 DSP WITH VRM - £249.99

TC ELECTRONIC DESKTOP KONNEKT 6 FIREWIRE AUDIO INTERFACE AND MONITOR CONTROL - £165.00

NATIVE INSTRUMENTS KOMPLETE AUDIO 6 INTERFACE - £249.99 - Yes, it is Native Instruments but the conversion is quite surprising!

ECHO AUDIOFIRE 4 INTERFACE - £277

After comparing features and doing a shoot out between them on sound quality we chose the following three interfaces in this order.....

Echo Audiofire 4
Alesis IO26
Native Instruments Komplete Audio 6

The Focusrite sounded good and had good features but we both preferred the above three more.
Old 14th September 2011
  #14
Gear Maniac
 
Hricco's Avatar
 

Just want to chime in here.


As far as the interfaces go. I own the Liquid Saffire 56. I got it mostly because that's what I could afford at the time. but I think its great. The two liquid mic pres give me TONS of color/character choices on the way in. Do they sound like the mic pres they are trying to emulate? noooo. not at all, but the choices are there. lots of I/O good sounding mic pres. and it was 799.00. I use it with the RME 8 Chan A/D converter, and it sounds great.

I wanted to get a higher end interface. but decided that monitors were more important, so I picked up a pair of A7X Adam monitors. They opened up a while new world.

But....focusrite can and does make some cheap crap, but I think they struck a nice balance with the LS56.

I also own an ISA220 and 430. have you ever ran a bass Direct into one of these? Good Stuff.

I also own the liquid mix....again, it doesn't sound like the gear they are trying to emulate. but does sound good, and its great fun.

Man I own a lot of focusrite gear.....mmmmm
Old 14th September 2011
  #15
Quote:
Originally Posted by dxavier View Post
I sometimes get the feeling that people say things like this, just to be confrontation. How many other interfaces are there at this price point? Anyway, if you wish to go down this road......

I checked out the following interfaces for a friend who wanted to spend a small budget on an interface to go with his laptop....

ALESIS IO/26

FOCUSRITE SAFFIRE PRO 24 DSP WITH VRM - £249.99

TC ELECTRONIC DESKTOP KONNEKT 6 FIREWIRE AUDIO INTERFACE AND MONITOR CONTROL - £165.00

NATIVE INSTRUMENTS KOMPLETE AUDIO 6 INTERFACE - £249.99 - Yes, it is Native Instruments but the conversion is quite surprising!

ECHO AUDIOFIRE 4 INTERFACE - £277

After comparing features and doing a shoot out between them on sound quality we chose the following three interfaces in this order.....

Echo Audiofire 4
Alesis IO26
Native Instruments Komplete Audio 6

The Focusrite sounded good and had good features but we both preferred the above three more.
I would take the ECHO, and TC, the rest though? Man, features maybe, but not seeing the most important thing in any of those others. Sound quality.

You are saying the Alesis and the NI sound better too?

Why these companies don't get the bad press...I don't know.

Focusrite made some entry level stuff, in cooperation with Digidesign, to bring recording to every home studio on the planet. Kind of a lofty silly goal...

However, it's not like they stopped making their other stuff. And why didn't digi / avid catch any heat? They were the distributors (didn't they own a part of them?), and the same preamps were in their equipment.

Evil Focusrite...no....I'd blame evil digidesign and the home recording craze if anybody.

Can't fight demand I guess.

People want it, somebody's going to make it.
john
Old 14th September 2011
  #16
Gear Addict
 
Pies's Avatar
The pres in the original Mbox by focusrite aren't brilliant but they are just about usable and sound better than the pres in any other Mbox that has been produced since
Old 14th September 2011
  #17
Gear Addict
 
always_ending's Avatar
 

I have a focusrite ISA828 and have never had any issues with it or complaints about the sound.

clean? yes.

TOO clean as to be sterile sounding or not up to par with the other pre's I have (Vintech)? not in my opinion

I'm happy, especially considering the price and options it gives.
Old 14th September 2011
  #18
Lives for gear
These guys don't hold back on their opinion...
Mercenary Audio - Why Doesn't Mercenary Carry Focusrite Gear?
Old 14th September 2011
  #19
Gear Maniac
 
rogerdodger's Avatar
 

The best part of the whole Mercenary Audio article is that it actually makes them look like pricks and the Focusrite guy seem more rational and coherent from his lengthy scientific and anecdotal response.

Obviously there is some behind-the-scenes bad blood going on. Anyone who's been in the game for even a minute can sense it.

I don't own any focusrite gear, just observing the written interaction.
Old 14th September 2011
  #20
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88fingerz's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by rogerdodger View Post
The best part of the whole Mercenary Audio article is that it actually makes them look like pricks and the Focusrite guy seem more rational and coherent from his lengthy scientific and anecdotal response.

Obviously there is some behind-the-scenes bad blood going on. Anyone who's been in the game for even a minute can sense it.

I don't own any focusrite gear, just observing the written interaction.
I believe the Focusrite guy after reading it all.
Old 14th September 2011
  #21
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razorboy's Avatar
 

Fletcher sounds ill-mannered; but then, consider what the term "mercenary" means.

tutt
Old 14th September 2011
  #22
Registered User
Fletcher left Mercenary a long time ago, but his legacy continues.

I appreciate Fletcher's humour very much - if we can't laugh about this **** then this is probably the wrong industry to be involved in.

I've found Mercenary very good to deal with (and I live in New Zealand). I appreciate that they are very selective about the products they sound - life is too short to buy ****.

That doesn't mean Focusrite is all bad **** ... I'm hoping their RedNet stuff is going to be good **** ...
Old 14th September 2011
  #23
Here for the gear
 

I still like the sound of the compounder....hopefully I'm not alone here haha
Old 14th September 2011
  #24
Gear Addict
 
Pies's Avatar
just had time to read that whole thing
Wow Fletcher did come across very ill mannered indeed!

At the end of the day Focusrite are a business and are there to make money to do so they had to expand into different markets. In Focusrites case that was moving into the home studio market. Just because they started to offer entry level gear it doesn't mean that their mid level / high end gear suddenly started to sound like crap.
Old 14th September 2011
  #25
Gear Head
 

Fletcher was a pompous asshole... He sold Mercenary and moved to Germany... The industry is better off without him... Would never buy anything from a burnt out warehouse in some dingy town in MA...
Old 14th September 2011
  #26
Gear Addict
 
MikeRL's Avatar
 

The most boring part of that was not the reply from the dude at Focusrite.. it was certainly the adolescent rebuttal from Fletcher. Dude just sounds like a playground bully in a crotchety old mans body.


I totally agree the that platinum series is junk. There is one in front of me right now, and i only use 2 of the 17 knobs.. a little over featured i'd say.

Complaining about the expensive faceplate on the Red series is like complaining about a corvette having an expensive paint job. People want their expensive **** to look nice, i dont think thats a problem.
Old 14th September 2011
  #27
Fletcher is not against inexpensive audio gear - he is against bad sounding gear.

You'll notice he champions budget brands he believes deliver a professional level of sound, such as FMR (a company whose PBC-6A compressor hangs in with the big boys in Fletcher's opinion for example).

Fletcher may be over the top for some, but good tone is his mission.

I appreciate his honest, no bull$hit approach.

Old 14th September 2011
  #28
Gear Maniac
 

I disagree with Fletcher and the other guy...

If they dont like Focusrite maybe they should stop listening with their a-holes and start listening with their ears

Anyway, The liquid series are dope.
Old 14th September 2011
  #29
I've had a great experience with Focusrite. Great converters and their drivers are rock solid.

Tech support is on it too. Can't wait to see what they come up with for usb3/thunderbolt
Old 14th September 2011
  #30
Lives for gear
Talking

Old v. New Focusrite products... not much of a difference as far as I can see heh
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