Main Forums >> Recording Techniques
        Print Thread

Pages: 1
ryan mead



Joined: 19/06/05
Posts: 1381
Loc: Seoul
I hate my Focusrite ISA One
      #958044 - 09/12/11 04:09 AM
OK, the subject line is trolling. Sorry.

Here's what I hate about it:

1/ it's only got 1 channel
2/ it's not rackmount

I love it to death otherwise, so I've been thinking of getting rid of it and getting an ISA 428 instead.

I've noted with a bit of sadness the ISA 428 MKII. The only difference I can see is the loss of the VU meters. Focusrite's site assures us that sonically it's the same as the original, but thought I'd check here. Shame to lose those VU meters though.

Anyways, anyone have any experience of both? Am I getting 4 channels of ISA One regardless of which I buy?

thanks
ryan


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator     Back to top
SecretSam
active member


Joined: 29/10/02
Posts: 1527
Loc: Officially, I do not exist.
Re: I hate my Focusrite ISA One new [Re: ryan mead]
      #958047 - 09/12/11 07:09 AM
Can't contribute to the thread other than to say that trolling is part of what keeps the internet interesting. Don't apologise: keep up the good work !

--------------------
Instant gratification is actually pretty good. It's fast as well.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator     Back to top
The_Big_Piano_Player
active member


Joined: 13/05/04
Posts: 1659
Loc: Lincolnshire
Re: I hate my Focusrite ISA One new [Re: ryan mead]
      #958052 - 09/12/11 08:25 AM
Ryan's not trolling, just a bit of fun, I guess.

Personally, I couldn't live with my Audient Mico, it's got TWO channels - yay!

--------------------
Touch & Go


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator     Back to top
Bob Bickerton
active member


Joined: 20/12/02
Posts: 3073
Loc: Nelson, New Zealand
Re: I hate my Focusrite ISA One new [Re: ryan mead]
      #958058 - 09/12/11 08:53 AM
Happy 428 (mk1) user here and yes I would be frustrated if I only had one channel and it was not rack mountable.

Can't comment on the mk2 but factor in the cost of the digital card, it's really very good and provides an excellent clock for my system.

The mk2 doesn't look really as nice but then it's not looks that really matter.

Good luck.

Bob

--------------------
www.bickerton.co.nz


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator     Back to top
Hugh RobjohnsAdministrator
SOS Technical Editor


Joined: 25/07/03
Posts: 21590
Loc: Worcestershire
Re: I hate my Focusrite ISA One new [Re: ryan mead]
      #958083 - 09/12/11 10:17 AM
Quote ryan mead:

Here's what I hate about it:

1/ it's only got 1 channel
2/ it's not rackmount





Utter muppetry on your part then! It is what it is: a single channel desktop preamp!

Quote:

I've noted with a bit of sadness the ISA 428 MKII. The only difference I can see is the loss of the VU meters.




There's a little more to it than that. Ditching the meters saved a surprising chunk of money, and they also replaced the linear PSU with a switched mode one. Overall that saved about 25% of the cost, but it also improved the noise floor in a worthwhile way. So in performance terms the MKii model is slightly better than the original. Other than that the circuitry is the same: same Lundahl transformers, same preamp circuitry, same converters, same interfacing arrangements. It runs a lot cooler than the original too... and that has to be a good thing if you're rackmounting it!

Hugh

--------------------
Technical Editor, Sound On Sound


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator     Back to top
jaminem
active member


Joined: 19/03/01
Posts: 1127
Re: I hate my Focusrite ISA One new [Re: Hugh Robjohns]
      #958107 - 09/12/11 11:29 AM
Quote Hugh Robjohns:



Utter muppetry on your part then!




Funniest thing I've heard all day


LOL


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator     Back to top
ronmac



Joined: 27/09/06
Posts: 100
Loc: Nova Scotia, Canada
Re: I hate my Focusrite ISA One new [Re: ryan mead]
      #958108 - 09/12/11 11:39 AM
The ISA One fits a purpose, built as it is. I like the fact that I can take it out of the studio without having to "un-rack" it.

It's also worth noting that the ISA One is actually a dual channel unit, considering you can use the excellent instrument DI simultaneously.

A 428 would be nice to have in the rack.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator     Back to top
ryan mead



Joined: 19/06/05
Posts: 1381
Loc: Seoul
Re: I hate my Focusrite ISA One new [Re: Hugh Robjohns]
      #958237 - 10/12/11 01:59 AM
Quote Hugh Robjohns:

they also replaced the linear PSU with a switched mode one. Overall that saved about 25% of the cost, but it also improved the noise floor in a worthwhile way. So in performance terms the MKii model is slightly better than the original.



When I plug a ribbon into my ISA One and crank up both the impedance and the gain, there's rather a lot of hiss (to the extent that it steers me away from the highest impedance setting). Would the improvement in the noise floor be noticeable in this scenario?


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator     Back to top
ryan mead



Joined: 19/06/05
Posts: 1381
Loc: Seoul
Re: I hate my Focusrite ISA One new [Re: jaminem]
      #958238 - 10/12/11 01:59 AM
Quote jaminem:

Quote Hugh Robjohns:



Utter muppetry on your part then!




Funniest thing I've heard all day


LOL




Try being the muppet and see how it feels.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator     Back to top
ryan mead



Joined: 19/06/05
Posts: 1381
Loc: Seoul
Re: I hate my Focusrite ISA One new [Re: ronmac]
      #958239 - 10/12/11 02:11 AM
Quote ronmac:

The ISA One fits a purpose, built as it is. I like the fact that I can take it out of the studio without having to "un-rack" it.

It's also worth noting that the ISA One is actually a dual channel unit, considering you can use the excellent instrument DI simultaneously.

A 428 would be nice to have in the rack.




Thought of both of those things. I almost never record anywhere other than my little room, and when I do I'm usually looking for two channels anyways, so it's not a big consideration. If I were really interested in a pre I could take around with me, I'd look for something with two (microphone) channels that was smaller than the ISA One.

And yes I have used the DI and mic pre at the same time, but what I'm really looking for is two identical mic pres. If I understand the 428 correctly, it's got 4 DIs on it, so I can use any combination of DIs and mic inputs up to a maximum of 4 channels. That's enough for me. More than enough really: I only really NEED two channels.

The thing I should really be considering is whether I should just hang on to the ISA One and get two channels of another flavor. The DAV BG1u beckons...


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator     Back to top
ryan mead



Joined: 19/06/05
Posts: 1381
Loc: Seoul
Re: I hate my Focusrite ISA One new [Re: Bob Bickerton]
      #958240 - 10/12/11 02:17 AM
Quote Bob Bickerton:

Can't comment on the mk2 but factor in the cost of the digital card, it's really very good and provides an excellent clock for my system.



Debating that too. The clocking system in my little room is really simple: switch off the groovebox when working at 48kHz!! As we know from that excellent article on clocking a few months back, the fireface running on its own clock is going to be more stable than the fireface slaved to anything, no matter how good.

So the question(s) would seem to be:
1/ are the converters in the digital card (noticeably) better than the converters in my fireface?
2/ if the answer to #1 is "yes", is the difference worth the tradeoff (i.e. worth the decreased clocking stability)?


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator     Back to top
Bob Bickerton
active member


Joined: 20/12/02
Posts: 3073
Loc: Nelson, New Zealand
Re: I hate my Focusrite ISA One new [Re: ryan mead]
      #958244 - 10/12/11 06:09 AM
Not familiar with the Fireface converters and not sure which model you have, but if you're happy using the Fireface, why not go down the DAV route and hold onto the Focusrite? Nice combination! I have the 428 and the DAV BG2.

Bob

--------------------
www.bickerton.co.nz


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator     Back to top
Hugh RobjohnsAdministrator
SOS Technical Editor


Joined: 25/07/03
Posts: 21590
Loc: Worcestershire
Re: I hate my Focusrite ISA One new [Re: ryan mead]
      #958267 - 10/12/11 11:45 AM
Quote ryan mead:

When I plug a ribbon into my ISA One and crank up both the impedance and the gain, there's rather a lot of hiss (to the extent that it steers me away from the highest impedance setting). Would the improvement in the noise floor be noticeable in this scenario?




Unlikely. I think the improvement comes mostly from a reduction of hum components thanks to the absence of magnetic coupling. Higher input impedance will always mean more noise, as well high gains, of course.

And I'd second the 'keep the ISA and buy a BG' route too. Provides more tonal variation and character, without sacrificing any flexibility.

Hugh


--------------------
Technical Editor, Sound On Sound


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator     Back to top
Anonymous
Unregistered




Re: I hate my Focusrite ISA One new [Re: jaminem]
      #958299 - 10/12/11 03:52 PM
Quote jaminem:

Quote Hugh Robjohns:



Utter muppetry on your part then!




Funniest thing I've heard all day


LOL




+1 real studio language.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator     Back to top
IvanSC



Joined: 08/03/05
Posts: 7791
Loc: UK France & USA depending on t...
Re: I hate my Focusrite ISA One new [Re: ryan mead]
      #958424 - 11/12/11 04:47 PM
I thought only thuggish doormen from Billericay used the term "muppet"

--------------------
Me? But I`m such a loveable old bugger!


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator     Back to top
Jack Ruston



Joined: 21/12/05
Posts: 4473
Re: I hate my Focusrite ISA One new [Re: Hugh Robjohns]
      #958426 - 11/12/11 04:55 PM
Quote Hugh Robjohns:


It runs a lot cooler than the original too... and that has to be a good thing if you're rackmounting it!





Yeah, a word of warning in regard to 428 mk1's...They can get really hot. You can't rack them without spaces or the insides will melt. Actually.

The ISA's have a slightly soft, beautiful sort of sound. I'd get something a little bit more 'direct' to compliment it. DAV BG. Perfect.

--------------------
www.jackruston.com


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator     Back to top
RegressiveRock
Just half a pint of cherryade for me


Joined: 01/09/04
Posts: 5623
Loc: Buntingford, Herts
Re: I hate my Focusrite ISA One new [Re: Jack Ruston]
      #958449 - 11/12/11 07:59 PM
Quote Jack Ruston:

Quote Hugh Robjohns:


It runs a lot cooler than the original too... and that has to be a good thing if you're rackmounting it!





Yeah, a word of warning in regard to 428 mk1's...They can get really hot. You can't rack them without spaces or the insides will melt. Actually.

The ISA's have a slightly soft, beautiful sort of sound. I'd get something a little bit more 'direct' to compliment it. DAV BG. Perfect.




Interesting, I has an ISA 428 MkI for years and it ran pretty warm but it was in a (well ventilated) rack with units above and below and was fine. However, I rarely used all four channels at once. The extra four channels of conversion are an excellent bonus. Again the four channel Broadhurst Gardens unit is, as Jack says, an excellent compliment. If you do location work a couple of boxes you can chuck on the floor around the band such as the BG1 and the Apogee Mini MP are also a handy combo for those extra channels. The conversion is perfectly adequate to justify one of the old 4-slot lunch boxes with some nice press, if your budget and liking for different flavours are relatively unrestricted.

Back to the 428 Mk I, the sound is lovely, particularly if you sweep the high pass filter to the sweet spot for the particular voice or instrument. (I'm always commenting about this and no-one else seems to hear this but me).

Reg

--------------------
Google less; read more!


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator     Back to top
Jack Ruston



Joined: 21/12/05
Posts: 4473
Re: I hate my Focusrite ISA One new [Re: ryan mead]
      #958452 - 11/12/11 08:18 PM
There were a bunch of them racked up against each other at a studio that I use. The front panels were too hot to touch. I noticed some weird behaviour and when they went for service they were all melted inside. I guess it would be better if the units either side don't also get hot.

J

--------------------
www.jackruston.com


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator     Back to top
RegressiveRock
Just half a pint of cherryade for me


Joined: 01/09/04
Posts: 5623
Loc: Buntingford, Herts
Re: I hate my Focusrite ISA One new [Re: Jack Ruston]
      #958455 - 11/12/11 08:44 PM
Quote Jack Ruston:

There were a bunch of them racked up against each other at a studio that I use. The front panels were too hot to touch. I noticed some weird behaviour and when they went for service they were all melted inside. I guess it would be better if the units either side don't also get hot.

J




Jack you get a lot more time with kit than me, matey. I bow to your cautionary words. I used to keep a pair of Raindirks on top which run cold, cannot remember what I kept on the bottom. I do remember them being rugged enough to rack up in a flight case and use on stage! Worked really well with SM57s!!! They also make a nice pre for DIing bass with a good quality transformer-based DI. Lovely, smooth, penetrating sound!

Reg

--------------------
Google less; read more!


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator     Back to top
ryan mead



Joined: 19/06/05
Posts: 1381
Loc: Seoul
Re: I hate my Focusrite ISA One new [Re: ryan mead]
      #958627 - 12/12/11 09:43 PM
The thing is, I'd really like to be rid of it to recover the desktop space in my tiny rockwool-filled closet...


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator     Back to top
Hugh RobjohnsAdministrator
SOS Technical Editor


Joined: 25/07/03
Posts: 21590
Loc: Worcestershire
Re: I hate my Focusrite ISA One new [Re: ryan mead]
      #958704 - 13/12/11 11:12 AM
No problem. Just send it over here to the Robjohns Repository for Unloved Recording Equipment...

Hugh

--------------------
Technical Editor, Sound On Sound


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator     Back to top
Pages: 1

Rate this thread

Jump to

Extra Information
0 registered and 21 anonymous users are browsing this forum.

Moderator:  David Etheridge, James Perrett, zenguitar, Martin Walker, Forum Admin, Hugh Robjohns, Zukan, Frank Eleveld, SOS News Editor,  
Forum Permissions
      You cannot start new topics
      You cannot reply to topics
      HTML is disabled
      UBBCode is enabled
Rating:
Thread views: 7104

August 2014
On sale now at main newsagents and bookstores (or buy direct from the
SOS Web Shop)
SOS current Print Magazine: click here for FULL Contents list
Click image for August 2014
DAW Tips from SOS

 

Home | Search | News | Current Issue | Tablet Mag | Articles | Forum | Subscribe | Shop | Readers Ads

Advertise | Information | Privacy Policy | Support | Login Help

 

Email: Contact SOS

Telephone: +44 (0)1954 789888

Fax: +44 (0)1954 789895

Registered Office: Media House, Trafalgar Way, Bar Hill, Cambridge, CB23 8SQ, United Kingdom.

Sound On Sound Ltd is registered in England and Wales.

Company number: 3015516 VAT number: GB 638 5307 26

         

All contents copyright © SOS Publications Group and/or its licensors, 1985-2014. All rights reserved.
The contents of this article are subject to worldwide copyright protection and reproduction in whole or part, whether mechanical or electronic, is expressly forbidden without the prior written consent of the Publishers. Great care has been taken to ensure accuracy in the preparation of this article but neither Sound On Sound Limited nor the publishers can be held responsible for its contents. The views expressed are those of the contributors and not necessarily those of the publishers.

Web site designed & maintained by PB Associates | SOS | Relative Media