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Focusrite ISA or SCA C84??
Old 6th September 2013
Focusrite ISA or SCA C84??

Ok, so I've had a Focusrite ISA 428 MKI for quite a while now and I've always got along with it nicely. Recently, I picked up an SCA rack loaded with 6 A12b modules and I've been looking for a pair of N72s to fill the last two slots...

Well, I have an opportunity to get another SCA rack, plus 4 C84 pres in it for about as much, or maybe even less than, what I could sell my ISA 428 for. This seems pretty attractive, as I still have the ability to expand the rack further with 4 more preamps, or possibly some DI/Compressor modules...

Now, the Focusrite is transformer-based, and while it's a "clean" preamp, I also feel like it still beefs up the lows and low mids on most things. Sounds great on stuff like bass, kick drums, acoustic guitar and I love it with an SM7b on vocals... That being said, the SCA pres I currently have have pretty much takn over its duties for everything, except drum overheads.

I'd still like to keep some clean preamps around, and the C84 caught my attention. I've heard great things, but I'm hesitant because of them being transformerless. I know they're supposed to be some kind of Millennia clone, which get rave reviews... but I'm afraid I'm going to miss the depth of the ISA pres (not to mention the great DIs, HPF and variable impedance). Ideally, I'd go with the J99s... but they're about twice the price and I don't think I'll use the clean pres enough to justify that much.

What do you guys think? Worth the swap, or should I just keep my ISA pres for now?
Old 7th September 2013
Lives for gear
Not a fan of Focusrite ISA 428 etc..Red Range is alright...with me..
Alot of folks are very happy with their Seventh Circle Audio...modules..
For me, I rather get a lunchbox then DIY some CAPI, SCA, Hairball Lola, etc...
Old 7th September 2013
Had my 428 for 10 years and really like it.
Old 7th September 2013
Never understood why so many people dislike the ISA range. I bought mine on a whim because the price was low and was pleasantly surprised with it, though I hear the original 428 is better sonically?

I just can't help but think 4 Millennia pres would kill them... I mean - They're over $750 a pre in the 4 channel unit and ISA is only $275. But the no transformer thing is throwing me off and I can't try it, or a Millennia first. I'd also be losing a lot of features on the ISA, plus the VUs look cool in my rack, haha.
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