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Focusrite OctoPre
Old 21st May 2003
  #1
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Tim Farrant's Avatar
 

Focusrite OctoPre

Perhaps I should have posted this in the Moan Zone, but today we had in for service a Focusrite Octopre that was oscillating on one channel. The fault turned out be a factory modification piece of wire replacing a missing ground track on the circuit board which had come adrift. I suppose no product is perfect, but I thought this mod was a bit messy from someone like Focusrite.

But then I read the user manual, the FAQ page to be exact and I quote;

"IS THE OCTOPRE A CLASS A DEVICE AND IS THAT IMPORTANT?
Yes. the Octopre is a Class A Device. Why? Well Class A is a type of amplifier design......"


I won't bore you with all the blurb, but later in the same paragraph it states;

"...Cheaper processors use IC amplifiers which run close to Class B..."

Then in the next paragraph;

'MY OCTOPRE GETS QUITE HOT WHEN IN USE. SHOULD I BE WORRIED ABOUT THIS?
No. This is the result of the high-quality Class A circuitry inside your Octopre and should not be a problem..."


The whole thing leads you to believe there are no IC amplifiers in this product. Well, the Octopre does have a Class A mic input amp, but it ends there. There are 5 IC op amps in the signal path after that and another 3 when the dynamics are switched in.

IMO the statement the OctoPre is a Class A device is a complete lie. As a manufacturer of gear myself I find this sort of stuff misleading to the potential buyer and appalling conduct on the part of Focusrite.

Tim.
Old 21st May 2003
  #2
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dave-G's Avatar
They're also claiming that the new ISA 428 is a class-A preamp, yet go to great lengths to attribute the circuits' origin to Rupert Neve's original Focusrite design, which I always thought was class-AB (not that there's anything wrong with AB, per se... some of my best friends are class-AB ). They also use the same, vaguely disparaging language about ICs, despite the fact that everything in the Focusrite line, from the Neve designed ISA-100 series to this new stuff, has always been built with 5534s (or was it 5532s?) in major roles.

While I own a few pieces of Focusrite gear and like em, between marketing grease like this and their pathetic professional support infrastructure (ie: if your Isomorphic Blue EQ loses a switch, you'll be calling ProTools' tech support line)... ... well ... I'm through with Focusrite.

-dave
Old 21st May 2003
  #3
Gear Maniac
 

Re: Focusrite OctoPre

...more than likely the IC's you see are not in the audio path, probably some other stuff....


NYC Drew
Old 21st May 2003
  #4
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dave-G's Avatar
Re: Re: Focusrite OctoPre

Quote:
Originally posted by NYC Drew
...more than likely the IC's you see are not in the audio path, probably some other stuff....
Not so. The 5534 IC is the basic, primary opamp used in the circuit of all the "vintage" Focusrite stuff, the Red Range, the Blue/ISA-Range, and I'd assume, this new Blue piece too. I have no idea about the Platinum stuff, but given it's target market and price, I have a hard time fathoming that they'd use something "better" than a 5534 in them.

However, to be fair, the ISA 115, their Blue Mastering stuff, and even some of the Red series are proof that a good design made with a 5534 can sound good.

-dave
Old 21st May 2003
  #5
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impact studios's Avatar
 

Hi All

Any of you guys familiar with a Rupert Neve unit 33650...?

Just that theres one on Ebay for cheap price

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.d...category=23792

Cheers Paul
Old 21st May 2003
  #6
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e-cue's Avatar
 

Maybe this explains why I've always found Focurite gear to be mediocre... I don't think they are bad, but focusrite gear has never been my first choice.
Old 21st May 2003
  #7
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heinz's Avatar
 

Certainly there has been much slamming and dismissal of the octopre on the boards. Has anyone actually tracked 8 channels with it though, say, for drums? Can someone describe what it may be lacking sonically, in context of the price point? Marketing bull**** abounds so Focusrite seems no less guilty than anyone else, to read the websites Mr. Neve has designed nearly every commercial preamp made.
Old 22nd May 2003
  #8
Moderator
 
Tim Farrant's Avatar
 

The IC's in the Octopre are 5532's and MC33078's. I have the circuit diagram for the unit, they are definitely in the signal path. I'm not saying the Octopre does not perform well or that it sounds bad, but the information about the circuitry used is misleading.

Tim.
Old 22nd May 2003
  #9
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Midlandmorgan's Avatar
 

I have one...use it frequently for many situations....most recent endeavor had all 8 channels running - 1 DI bass, 1 DI acoustic scratch, and 6 drum mics...

For what I have invested in it, 8 FR pres with (IMHO) good compression in a single rack space, its a killer...no, its not esoteric and has absolutely zero snob appeal, and it won't replace any of the major players...

In guitar amp terms: its a basic Fender...not a Matchless/Marshall/Dr Z/flavor of the month here...and like a basic Fender, it does many things very well....but usually doesn't do any one thing exceptionally...

Again - one man's opinion.
Old 23rd May 2003
  #10
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heinz's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally posted by Midlandmorgan
In guitar amp terms: its a basic Fender...not a Matchless/Marshall/Dr Z/flavor of the month here...and like a basic Fender, it does many things very well....but usually doesn't do any one thing exceptionally...

Again - one man's opinion.
Well there's one at least... thanks for the feedback. That sounds about like what I expected in any case. Not a big fan of cheap stuff but a quality 8ch pre/ad rig is no minor investment. Me wants a crane song spider, that will have to wait for a bit. I will have an octopre here next week and report back.

Quote:
Originally posted by The Buzz
I'm not saying the Octopre does not perform well or that it sounds bad, but the information about the circuitry used is misleading.
Tim just to clarify I wasn't responding directly to your post, the "class a" issue is valid and from your description beyond misleading... I agree the marketing language implies pure class A although I suppose one could do the math and realize something is up.
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