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Focusrite ISA828 Audio Interfaces
Old 28th August 2007
  #1
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Focusrite ISA828

New in the news is the Focusrite 828. It claims 8 channels of the old ISA 110 circuitry. Could be good but it could be just another preamp

http://www.focusrite.com/news/89

Thoughts, price preferences, additional goodies?
Old 28th August 2007
  #2
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anybody have an idea of where these are being manufactured?

thx.

oto
Old 28th August 2007
  #3
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There are already two relatively recent threads on this here and here...but I think that as the rest of the ISA range is manufactured in China it's probably a fairly safe assumption to make that this piece will be as well...
Old 28th August 2007
  #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Man View Post
It claims 8 channels of the old ISA 110 circuitry.
They're not ACTUALLY claiming that, are they?

I have the 428. It's totally fine, and don't let anyone tell you otherwise. It's modern, articulate, and sure, kinda 'boring' in a way (depending on your tastes). But, one thing it's NOT is an ISA 110.

Good for Toms, 'modern' Bass DI and sometimes kick or snare. Depends on what else you have.
Old 29th August 2007
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FossilTooth View Post
They're not ACTUALLY claiming that, are they?

I have the 428. It's totally fine, and don't let anyone tell you otherwise. It's modern, articulate, and sure, kinda boring. But, one thing it's NOT is an ISA 110.

Good for Toms, 'modern' Bass DI and sometimes kick or snare. Depends on what else you have.
I didn't say it was I just said that they are claiming it.
Old 29th August 2007
  #6
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From their site exact quote re 828

"The eight ISA-series transformer-based microphone pre amps feature exactly the same vintage microphone pre-amplifier design as the original ISA110 module from Focusrite's critically acclaimed Forte console (including the original Lundahl L1538 transformer and bespoke zobel network)."

They claim "exactly the same vintage microphone pre-amplifier design as the original ISA 110", so there you go, right from the horse's mouth.......
Old 29th August 2007
  #7
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Just because the design is the same doesn't mean it will sound exactly the same...and likewise, just because they don't sound exactly like the original doesn't mean that the design isn't the same...
Old 29th August 2007
  #8
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8 channels of pure boredom.
Old 3rd September 2007
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trickydicky View Post
8 channels of pure boredom.

Boredom in = boredom out
which is the corollory of **** in= **** out
Old 3rd September 2007
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by emkay View Post
Boredom in = boredom out
which is the corollory of **** in= **** out
Please elaborate... And hopefully this won't turn into a basher's thread...
Old 3rd September 2007
  #11
Quote:
Originally Posted by tifftunes View Post
Please elaborate... And hopefully this won't turn into a basher's thread...
Agreed. I'd like to hear an opinion of someone who's actually HEARD it rather than just making assumptions.

If you've heard it, and it's a POS, that's absolutely fair enough.

But if it's just random speculation, then that's just contributing to the growing problem with this forum.
Old 7th September 2007
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tifftunes View Post
Please elaborate... And hopefully this won't turn into a basher's thread...

Nothing to elaborate on here. The point is, record a boring performance, lets say through a Tube Pre and it'll sound like a boring performance through a low end pre....record the boring performance through a 1073 and it'll sound like a boring performance through a 1073.
Boring in = boring out
corollary---**** in = **** out

If that turns this into a basher's thread, I think the offended individuals don't get the point. That's all! Nothing more complicated than that.......peace?



PS--I was responding to a previous poster who commented
"8 channels of pure boredom."
Old 22nd September 2007
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by terminal3 View Post
Agreed. I'd like to hear an opinion of someone who's actually HEARD it rather than just making assumptions.

If you've heard it, and it's a POS, that's absolutely fair enough.

But if it's just random speculation, then that's just contributing to the growing problem with this forum.
Yeah yeah - I've used tons of Focusrite stuff in the past. In terms of Mic Pre / EQ the old ISA's were their best effort IMO.

The new ISA stuff is just so boring for me. Average. If they were guys, they would be called Tim and work in IT.

For me, the Red 3 is kind of OK on a buss.

Best product by Focusrite IMO is the compounder.

- And I can't see how an 8 channel version of an established mic pre will sound any better than a single channel version.

Last edited by trickydicky; 22nd September 2007 at 01:46 PM.. Reason: one more point...
Old 11th October 2007
  #14
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I have a 428, and it's big, heavy and gets really hot. How they could cram double the the pres into a box the same size is beyond me. There has to have been sacrifices made before you even consider price point.
Old 11th October 2007
  #15
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Well, it's obvious that they sacrificed the VU meters, the sweepable filters, and a few other bells and whistles...since the preamps themselves were initially designed to be side by side in a console it's not inconceivable that sound quality would have to be sacrificed to fit eight of them into a two-space rack box...
Old 12th October 2007
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tifftunes View Post
Please elaborate... And hopefully this won't turn into a basher's thread...
Agreed, i want to know about the 'boredom' element of these pres?

Define Bordem by using other pres as examples.

For instance i like my BA API (originals) and my Vintech X73, those are nice.
But i also have a the True Precision which ole Fletcher hates so much he foams at the mouth, but i find them quite usable, and with ribbon mics...they got more gain than law allows!
Got a demeter pre thats got lots of color, but again my True are not colored but VERY useable. Expecially on toms n stuff.

I'm considering the 828 and a buddy of mine loves his 428's. He's worked with SRV, Beachboys, Pattie Labelle, Allan Toussante among others. (Old Sea Saint Engineer).

Do you consider the True Precision ALSO to be boring?

Just looking for a benchmark for comparisons sake.

Please indulge,

Dennis
DCMIX
Old 17th October 2007
  #17
Gear Maniac
 

just got one 20mins ago...will be starting an album on friday...so ill give my review in about 13 days.....gotta be better than my rme octapre's (of which im selling 2 of if anyones interested!!!!)..
rock on!!!!!!!!!!!!
Old 17th October 2007
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by imaverysoundman View Post
just got one 20mins ago...will be starting an album on friday...so ill give my review in about 13 days.....gotta be better than my rme octapre's (of which im selling 2 of if anyones interested!!!!)..
rock on!!!!!!!!!!!!
Initial thoughts would be good!
Old 18th October 2007
  #19
Gear Maniac
 

ok....havnt had time to record anything or do any comparisons, but checked to see if all functions were workin, all good so far...
impedance settings are nice(57 with my voice is all i have to check with)lots of gain


regarding heat, its been on for 2 hours now and it seems the heaksinks doin a good job, my ad16x is hotter, so is my ff800....only annoying thing is that you have to have the dsub connector for the outputs...not really a problem but i didnt want to spend 100 on a new lead as im getting the adat card as soon as one arrives here in dublin...but at the same time happy that it has an insert dsub to connect my lurvely stressor,blue230......heh

dont really have too many pre's to try comparisons..voxbox,buzz audio arc,drawmer 1960,neve 1276,tubetech mc1a, r.m.e, im borrowing a rack of neves from a fellow slut (nice one neveboy!!!) for this recording so ill have a better view on sound/performance in a few days.....
first impressions are good.....
Old 18th October 2007
  #20
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thx

and good luck with the session
Old 19th October 2007
  #21
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Lookinf forward to a detailed review.
Old 19th October 2007
  #22
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Dear all,

There has been some debate as to the mic pre in the ISA828. Here's
the scoop:

The design and topology of the ISA828's mic pre IS essentially the
same as the ISA110 module that featured in the Focusrite console. The
pre design itself is for the most part unchanged, and e.g. the input
transformer is the very same Lundahl LL1538.

The only minor tweaks that we have made on the 828 are:

1.) The 828 features the same impedance switching circuit as the ISA
428 and 430 MK2 units, which was not present on the ISA110. However,
when the 828's impedance switch is set to the "ISA110" position, the
circuit values, including the zobel network detail (Same 220
picoFarad capacitor and 5k6 ohm resistor as the original zobel
network) and the impedance ( same 1k4 ohms value as the original
ISA110) are precisely the same as the original.

2.) The front panel controls now allow for an extra 10dB of gain due to
the greater range of the 'Trim' pot.

3.) In order to fit 8 ISA pre amps in a 2U rack, the unit is
unsurprisingly deeper (and heavier!) than other ISA units, and
incorporates a larger heat sink to dissipate the additional heat.
Incidentally the (still toroidal) power supply is similarly up-rated
of course, since it has to drive 8 pre's, (which by the way makes it
more not less expensive than e.g. the ISA110 limited edition reissue
unit's power supply!)

The detail on the ISA828's product page up at www.focusrite.com
incidentally was correct from day #1, and we have now added extra
detail to clarify further. Unfortunately the 'news' section of
www.focusrite.com included the phrase 'exactly the same as' which,
given the variable impedance circuit, is not accurate, so we've now
corrected this text to bring it into line.

As one post has already said, the best way to judge the pre is to
hear it for yourself with mics/material/in a facillty you know. Many
thanks to the diligent 'Slutz who brought this to our attention, and
apologies for any confusion.


Mick Gilbert
Focusrite Audio Engineering Ltd./Novation Digital Music Systems Ltd.


www.focusrite.com/answerbase
www.novationmusic.com/answerbase

t: +44 (0)1494 836328
f: +44 (0)1494 459920
e: [email protected] / [email protected]
Old 19th October 2007
  #23
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Thanks for the info Mick!
Old 21st October 2007
  #24
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Well, I really like my ISA428. It's also convenient to ba able to add 4 extra line inputs to the digital card (with soft limit) for 8 total channels. The A/D converters (and clock) are more than decent as well. Very happy with how the 428 sounds. I still need more time with it to learn more of its secrets. But I can say for sure it was a good purchase for my humble situation.
Old 1st November 2007
  #25
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Thanks for your info Mick - After reading your post I decided to get the ISA828.

Last edited by Kecinzer; 1st November 2007 at 09:30 AM.. Reason: Just because.
Old 5th November 2007
  #26
Gear Maniac
 

Cool

ok....had a few days testing these babies out....i would like to say first that i have never used an original 110 and i havnt tried any api's or most of the other highend pre's used here on g'slutz...
1st,...really clean,detailed and with loads of headroom...
2nd,...impedance switch really comes in handy to dull down over bright sources (harmonica in particular)or viceversa..
3rd,..dosnt run very hot at all even after a 16hour day
4th,..have to admit that we chose them over the neves(1272 with xtra gain stage) quite a few times...found the neves to be better on all the metal eg. hats,cymbals, ambient mics etc...but for bass,guitars and synths we all agreed 828 was more what we were looking for.....(knowing we could color it later if required)
havnt done any vocals yet so no pointers there..
5th,..dsub inserts is a cool option that was previously unavailable to me

over all i reckon there well worth the money (i got em a bit cheaper too 1900euro)
and as i do alot of live recording its the perfect setup for a small live rig..probably gonna get another one

tris147
Old 5th November 2007
  #27
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Nice thumbsup
Old 10th November 2007
  #28
How is the A/D option? I'm wondering about the quality of the
converter .. for a second recording rig (with a portability option) we have
a 003 and I'm considering using the 828 with the A/D option to gain another
8 channels... perhaps with a more stable clock.

anyone use this yet?

thanks,
jeff
Old 11th November 2007
  #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmarkham View Post
How is the A/D option? I'm wondering about the quality of the
converter .. for a second recording rig (with a portability option) we have
a 003 and I'm considering using the 828 with the A/D option to gain another
8 channels... perhaps with a more stable clock.

anyone use this yet?

thanks,
jeff
Yes, but with the 428 (see post #24 this thread). Should be the same results with the 828.
Old 12th November 2007
  #30
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As I understand it, the card for the 828 is an improvement over the one for the 428.
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