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Focusrite OctoPre MkII Dynamic

Focusrite OctoPre MkII Dynamic

4.35 4.35 out of 5, based on 3 Reviews

Eight channels of Focusrite microphone preamplification, eight VCA-based Red 3-derived compressors and built-in 24-bit / 96kHz digital inputs and outputs


19th December 2011

Focusrite OctoPre MkII Dynamic by facloud

  • Sound Quality 4 out of 5
  • Ease of use 4 out of 5
  • Features 4 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 4 out of 5
  • Overall: 4
Focusrite OctoPre MkII Dynamic

the Focusrite OctoPre MkII Dynamic was perfect for what i needed, extra expandable channels for remote recording. The preamps are clean sounding, fairly easy to figure out and hook up to my 003 rack via lightpipe, and very solid. I've done quite a few remote recording sessions and have had no problems with the unit since i bought it two years ago. The compressors are very easy to use with one knob, and i found work well on drums especially.. if a very dynamic drummer is playing and I wanted to squeeze the top a bit. They go for around 500 USD and for the money I couldn't find anything else better that does what this neat little 1u rack mount does.

I was just reading that my review needs to be two hundred words or more.. i was hoping to be rewarded for being concise and not taking up too much of anyone's time. So i'm going to write a little more using this default font that loads up with the page. I don't think the emoticons count as words so i'll stay away from those, and perhaps try out some of the other fonts... such as this one. I wonder how close i'm getting to two hundred words... i'd really like to win the sE4400a Large Diaphragm Multi Pattern Condenser Microphone, it looks really nice and versatile and i bet sounds great! i promise if i get it that i'll write a really good review, and will be at least 210 words. no kidding. am i getting close to two hundred yet? i don't really want to go back and count all the words... do you guys actually count all of these to make sure people paid attention and qualify? peace!

28th February 2012

Focusrite OctoPre MkII Dynamic by ndv

  • Sound Quality 4 out of 5
  • Ease of use 4 out of 5
  • Features 4 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 4 out of 5
  • Overall: 4
Focusrite OctoPre MkII Dynamic

I first had the opportunity to use the Focusrite Octopre mkii when I borrowed a unit to add extra channels to my setup for a larger than ordinary gig, I was heartily impressed with the ease of use of the unit and found that clocking my current soundcard from the ADAT input was easily achieved, with sample rate and phantom power available on the front panel.

The sound of the preamps is fairly neutral, with a decent amount of gain around the dial for most sources; this unit is definitely a step up from similar units that are available for slightly less. (I don’t want to Behringer bash, but this unit is better, Although twice the price!)

I didn’t want this to be one side with just praise for the unit, as I don’t think that makes for a fair review. So I would say that the first two channels being on the front of the unit is a pain if you a running a multicore to sixteen channels, I have taken to use a couple of XLR patch cables to run round to the front of the rack.

The other issue is, the gain on the preamps channels is not linear, with most of the gain being between 6.5 to 10, this is something that has been covered in the forums here, and once you are used to it is easy enough to deal with. Perhaps these could be notes for the mkii unit, all sockets on the back and linear pots on the front.

On the whole it is a single unit rack of 8 solid colourless preamps with Jack/XLR combo sockets, that hasn’t let me down, I have even gone so far as to upgrade my soundcard to Focusrite’s Flagship Saffire Pro 56 to take advantage of their liquid preamps as well as the neutral ones.

17th September 2013

Focusrite OctoPre MkII Dynamic by proche3

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 4 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.75
Focusrite OctoPre MkII Dynamic

After being recorded by semi-pro engineers and realizing I’ve got enough knowledge and gear to do this myself it became apparent I needed to expand My focusrite Pro 40 interface from 8 to 16 inputs. I thought long and hard about what unit to purchase since the Pro 40 offered ADAT connectivity to any other unit that offers appropriate digital connectivity. The thing is, I’m not that smart to know the differences between wordclock, ADAT, PLL, all this terminology, I want my additional 8 pres to hook up and be ready to go and sound amazing, after all I’ve got work to do! This unit did this for me and if you check out some other reviews and “Shootouts” you’ll probably be okay going with Focusrite as your home studio rig too. I’m personally already familiar with the Focusrite Saffire Pro 40’s sound and I know I want 8 more of those with bonus compressors built in. In this review I’ll tell you how I hooked it up to my Pro 40 and explain the features and use of this unit to achieve what I’ve seen done in pro and semi- pro studios with very little messing around.

The first thing I noticed right out of the box on this unit was the sleek look similar to my Pro 40, the 2 look great in a rack by each other, it’s simple controls, sleek look and effective input meters had me excited already. I spent some time reading the manual of all the different connectivity options and basically, figured out that to get this to work with the Pro 40 it’s kind of backwards from the way I was thinking. You have to buy an ADAT optical cable. Reading reviews had me confused so I bought 2 wordclock and 4 optical cables… No need. You only need 1 TOS link optical digital audio cable (I bought a 6’ length on Amazon by a company called mediabridge). So, take the TOS link from the OUTPUT of the MKII Dynamic to the INPUT of the Pro 40, then turn it on, select “internal” on the face of the unit under “clock source”, fire up your computer and inside of the MixControl Software, under the “Sync Source” choose “ADAT”, instead of “internal”.. The reason for this (after some lengthy reading – You’re welcome BTW heh) is that by connecting them the way described above, then choosing ADAT, the Octopre acts as your master and the Pro 40 as your slave.. BACKWARDS I know, but once you get it hooked up you’re good to go. You’ve just unlocked all the possibilities of 16 preamp inputs, great da-ad converters, a mixer that gives 2 heaphone mixes of all 16 inputs plus a separate mix to your studio monitors in the control room. I’ve seen the pro’s using a lot of different gear to get this same set-up.

It’s fair to say that the preamps in this thing sound great. They are just as good as the Pro 40’s preamps and I’m not sure but maybe even a little smoother (just my imagination??). I recall reading a review of this that said the DA-AD conversion was a little better than the regular Octopre. The compressors are pretty nice. I was kind of torn on spending the extra $200 on the “Dynamic” version (vs plain OctoPre) especially because I’ll only use the compressors on a few select sources but I think it was worth it. Again, beyond my understanding of converters, and all the fancy stuff there’s no messing around, plug in hit a button and you’ve just added 8 preamps to your rig. You can simply turn the compression knob up and it very transparently compresses the signal. It was very pleasing with drum room mics, kick and snare and even the few vocals I tried. I did push the MORE button on the room mics. Read the manual for the compression settings but it’s set at a 2:1 ratio until you hit the more button to switch to 4:1 so they are tailored to tracking and you shouldn’t be able to overcompress your tracks with a little thought and care although the highest setting (turned all the way up to 10) is limiting compression, I have not tried this yet. Overall the compressors are a beautiful match with the smoothness of the focusrite pres, they really are a nice pair if you need some beautiful transparent compression on the front end.

You can turn the preamps up loud like the Pro 40 with no noticeable coloration of the sound, just the beautiful smooth response and accurate representation of your source. They work great for a dynamic mic like SM7B (for those of you wondering) so no worries on the signal to noise ratio here all the way to 9 or 10. The inputs accept either XLR or 1/4” the same as Pro 40, with line and pad inputs on the first 2 channels. The funny thing I had to read into was that with both the pro 40 and octopre dynamic, you have to plug in a ¼” input to either channels 1 or 2 to achieve line in (bypassing preamps) a helpful hint for those who are using outboard preamps, keyboards, etc.

All in all, this was a very beneficial purchase to expand my Focusrite Pro 40, 8 preamp interface recording rig, not only does it hold up against the semi-pro studio’s I’ve had the opportunity be record in, it minimizes your gear (and cost of it all!) to provide a concise, varied assortment of options with a great look, unbelievable software mixing interface, compression on 8 channels, great conversion, smooth response. I don’t know how you could go wrong, after 2 years I’m still smiling.

 
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