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Focusrite ISA430?

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Focusrite ISA430?

Postby Arpangel » Fri Oct 18, 2019 9:12 am

I'm still on the look out for some more mic pre's, as my Mike Skeet designed ones are becoming very flakey.
I've always liked Focusrite stuff, the build and sound is spot on for me. Someone mentioned the ISA430 in another thread, looks good, as I really could use a compressor too.
But I need stereo, I just looked at the Focusrite website, looks like the 430 has been discontinued anyway, so I was looking at the Two, but no built in compressor, an all in one channel strip kind of thing would be good, but even if the 430 was still available I'd have to link two of them, the best part of four grand! :(
The good thing about the Mike Skeet unit is that it has built in M+S decoding, a channel strip and mic pre with this feature would be great, but maybe I'm asking a bit too much?
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Re: Focusrite ISA430?

Postby Sam Spoons » Fri Oct 18, 2019 10:00 am

Could a good tech rebuild your Mike Skeet preamps or are there impossible to source components in the design?
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Re: Focusrite ISA430?

Postby The Elf » Fri Oct 18, 2019 10:38 am

Ahem... Liquid Channel... Ahem... :shh:
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Re: Focusrite ISA430?

Postby Arpangel » Sat Oct 19, 2019 8:32 am

The build quality of the Mike Skeet preamp is quite crude, I've already had it apart and reseated boards. It needs a rebuild, with some mechanical revisions. I'm not sure it's worth it.
I forgot about the Liquid Channel, but don't want to get into all that digital jiggery pokery.
I'll probably get one of those basic two channel Focusrite jobs, and try and keep the Skeet going for as long as I can. I'm open to other designs, from different manufacturers, but it's a mine field.
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Re: Focusrite ISA430?

Postby The Elf » Sat Oct 19, 2019 8:50 am

Arpangel wrote:I forgot about the Liquid Channel, but don't want to get into all that digital jiggery pokery.
Not sure what you mean. You can use it as an analogue pre and not even connect the digital side. I've never wanted another pre since I got mine - buy once, use forever.
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Re: Focusrite ISA430?

Postby Arpangel » Sat Oct 19, 2019 9:00 am

The Elf wrote:
Arpangel wrote:I forgot about the Liquid Channel, but don't want to get into all that digital jiggery pokery.
Not sure what you mean. You can use it as an analogue pre and not even connect the digital side. I've never wanted another pre since I got mine - buy once, use forever.

I'm going to have a rethink, I'll need two liquid channels, plus, they don't make them anymore. Although the 430 is still being advertised on some sites, but two of those is a bit OTT, I need a one box solution, but I don't think I'm going to find it, at any price.
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Re: Focusrite ISA430?

Postby Sam Spoons » Sat Oct 19, 2019 9:24 am

I seem to recall you saying on another thread how much you love the Mike Skeet pre's. If so, and nothing else does the job as well, I'd say a 'proper' rebuild was still worth considering.
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Re: Focusrite ISA430?

Postby Arpangel » Sat Oct 19, 2019 10:31 am

Sam Spoons wrote:I seem to recall you saying on another thread how much you love the Mike Skeet pre's. If so, and nothing else does the job as well, I'd say a 'proper' rebuild was still worth considering.

Yes, the Skeet job is perfect, I wish I'd got two! It's terrible as I know a few actually got thrown away before or when he died :shock:

OK, I'll get it looked at, but in the meantime I need something to use, I may get one of those Focusrite 2's to bridge the gap.
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Re: Focusrite ISA430?

Postby Urthlupe » Wed Oct 23, 2019 9:47 am

Lunchbox - configure your own channelstrips?

Loopy
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Re: Focusrite ISA430?

Postby Arpangel » Thu Oct 24, 2019 10:16 am

Urthlupe wrote:Lunchbox - configure your own channelstrips?

Loopy

Good idea, and the only reason I can justify for getting 500.
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Re: Focusrite ISA430?

Postby The Elf » Thu Oct 24, 2019 10:27 am

My LCs are flight-cased to go everywhere with me. If you want to give them a try I can drop 'em by for a few days. The offer is there if you fancy it.
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Re: Focusrite ISA430?

Postby Arpangel » Thu Oct 24, 2019 11:11 am

The Elf wrote:My LCs are flight-cased to go everywhere with me. If you want to give them a try I can drop 'em by for a few days. The offer is there if you fancy it.

That's amazing Elf! many thanks! I'll take you up on it, maybe we can sort something out via pm's, and I'll send you my email.
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Re: Focusrite ISA430?

Postby nathanscribe » Mon Nov 04, 2019 1:43 pm

Just to chuck another box into the fray, there's the UA 4-710d, which is a 4-channel unit with compressors: https://www.uaudio.com/hardware/4-710d.html

Not really a channel strip but you do get the dynamics at least.
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Re: Focusrite ISA430?

Postby MOF » Mon Nov 04, 2019 2:20 pm

Have you thought about the ISA 2 plus the latest software emulation of the console for its eq and compressors? The two together will still be cheaper than the ISA 430.

https://focusrite.com/news/introducing- ... -focusrite
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Re: Focusrite ISA430?

Postby Arpangel » Tue Nov 05, 2019 8:41 am

MOF wrote:Have you thought about the ISA 2 plus the latest software emulation of the console for its eq and compressors? The two together will still be cheaper than the ISA 430.

https://focusrite.com/news/introducing- ... -focusrite

The ISA2 is standing by, it'll be bought for sure, as the most important thing is to replace the preamp, I'm not really bothered about the rest right now.
Preamps are rather strange, my Skeet one performs extremely well "technically" buckets of gain, with no discernible noise, and incredibly high headroom, but, I can't comment on the sound, it doesn't really have one, and if a mic amp does its job well that's how it should be, and comparing similar engineered ones is a bit boring, there's very little difference, if any in the actual sound. As has been said on this forum many times, changing the microphone will make much more difference than changing the preamp.
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Re: Focusrite ISA430?

Postby jodaki » Wed Nov 06, 2019 1:52 pm

Arpangel wrote:But I need stereo, I just looked at the Focusrite website, looks like the 430 has been discontinued anyway, so I was looking at the Two, but no built in compressor, an all in one channel strip kind of thing would be good, but even if the 430 was still available I'd have to link two of them, the best part of four grand!

The ISA 430 MKII is still being sold and has a couple of improvements over the MKI model.

https://pro.focusrite.com/category/legacy-products/item/isa-430-mkii

https://www.soundonsound.com/reviews/focusrite-isa430-mkii

You can link 2 of them with an unbalanced jack cable for stereo operation and in addition to having a pretty superb stereo mic/line/inst channel, you can use the compressors and eqs as stereo mix or mastering effects.

But yes, the downside is the price...
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Re: Focusrite ISA430?

Postby Arpangel » Thu Nov 07, 2019 11:21 am

jodaki wrote:
Arpangel wrote:But I need stereo, I just looked at the Focusrite website, looks like the 430 has been discontinued anyway, so I was looking at the Two, but no built in compressor, an all in one channel strip kind of thing would be good, but even if the 430 was still available I'd have to link two of them, the best part of four grand!

The ISA 430 MKII is still being sold and has a couple of improvements over the MKI model.

https://pro.focusrite.com/category/legacy-products/item/isa-430-mkii

https://www.soundonsound.com/reviews/focusrite-isa430-mkii

You can link 2 of them with an unbalanced jack cable for stereo operation and in addition to having a pretty superb stereo mic/line/inst channel, you can use the compressors and eqs as stereo mix or mastering effects.

But yes, the downside is the price...

Thanks for that, yes, as always, price is the bottom line.
I can whole heartedly appreciate the quality that two if these would give me, but TBQH, it would be a waste of money as I don't use mic's enough to justify that type of spend, if it was my main thrust I'd say yes, definitely, but I'll probably get an ISA 2 just to cover what I've got, or as a back up.
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Re: Focusrite ISA430?

Postby jodaki » Thu Nov 07, 2019 11:31 am

Arpangel wrote:TBQH, it would be a waste of money as I don't use mic's enough to justify that type of spend, if it was my main thrust I'd say yes, definitely, but I'll probably get an ISA 2 just to cover what I've got, or as a back up.

In that case TBQH I would do the same ;)
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Re: Focusrite ISA430?

Postby Jack Ruston » Thu Nov 07, 2019 2:06 pm

I would EITHER...

Fix up the Skeet pre's and add a stereo compressor of some description. It's a good option because they're quiet and transparent, you already own them (!), they're going to be impossible to sell if they're not quite working perfectly, so you'll have to get them fixed if you want to replace them anyway, and you can add some colour on the compression side if you choose.

OR

Go for 500 series stuff, because although it's a significant outlay, it's a good way to get a dual mic amp AND a compressor, AND possibly eq or other things into a small and (relatively) economical form factor.

I would not buy a pair of ISA430's...They're nice BUT there are issues with a pair of them. Firstly, a lot of the controls are small and fiddly, which is going to be a factor when you try to match settings across the two units. They're a bit fussy in that respect. They're also quite 'soft'...the eq for example is very...lush. I don't know if that will suit you. The compressor is polite. I don't know if that will suit you. The mic amp is a great performer. You already have that. They're undoubtedly very high quality, at least the UK made ones were, but think the money might be better spent on a pair of nice compressors to hang off the mic amps you have.

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Re: Focusrite ISA430?

Postby Arpangel » Thu Nov 07, 2019 6:43 pm

Jack Ruston wrote:I would EITHER...

Fix up the Skeet pre's and add a stereo compressor of some description. It's a good option because they're quiet and transparent, you already own them (!), they're going to be impossible to sell if they're not quite working perfectly, so you'll have to get them fixed if you want to replace them anyway, and you can add some colour on the compression side if you choose.

OR

Go for 500 series stuff, because although it's a significant outlay, it's a good way to get a dual mic amp AND a compressor, AND possibly eq or other things into a small and (relatively) economical form factor.

I would not buy a pair of ISA430's...They're nice BUT there are issues with a pair of them. Firstly, a lot of the controls are small and fiddly, which is going to be a factor when you try to match settings across the two units. They're a bit fussy in that respect. They're also quite 'soft'...the eq for example is very...lush. I don't know if that will suit you. The compressor is polite. I don't know if that will suit you. The mic amp is a great performer. You already have that. They're undoubtedly very high quality, at least the UK made ones were, but think the money might be better spent on a pair of nice compressors to hang off the mic amps you have.

Jack

Jack, thanks for your reply, you've said what I really think, deep down.
When Mike made those preamps, he made them up to a quality, not down to a price. They are only 60's text book circuits, but if built properly, sound amazing, most mixer manufacturers couldn't afford to build them, they'd have to cut corners to even get anywhere near making a profit.
Problem is Mike made them primarily for himself, and they are quite "primitive" with slot-in bread boards!
I'm going to take it apart and have a go myself, I know Mike will be looking over my shoulder, so I'll be OK "Come on boy! you can do it!"

:)
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