August 11, 2007

Focusrite ISA 828... Mmmmmm...

by Chris Randall

I first saw murmurings about this almost a year ago, and it was vaporish until about 3 months ago, but lo and behold, here it comes. This is an 8-channel mic pre is the current object of my desiring. There are some things about it that are really cool, and some that are annoying. For instance, the A/D section is really cool. But WTF with using a DSUB output for the digital? I'm not sure if they got the memo at Focusrite, but a DSUB digital connection is 2-way. As a result, if I wanted to connect this directly to my Lynx card, I'd need the following contraption: DSUB to XLR AES snake, and AES to Lynx header, and I'd have four AES connections just hanging out there. This is, IMO, kind of dumb, as those snakes aren't cheap.

But that said, I can live with that, I think, you sexy little blue thing, you. No price yet, and if it's not cheaper than an ISA 428, it's sunk before it even left the starting gate. Product page is here.



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Aug.12.2007 @ 2:15 PM
Aenemone Carbuncler
oh, for 8 channels, I would think a mix of the Seventh Circle Audio pres would bea good way to go unless you want them all the same. ...or need the digital I/0 of course.

Aug.12.2007 @ 3:00 PM
Sorry i did mean 428 not 424. :)

Aug.12.2007 @ 6:49 PM
CR: "Their material says it is the cheapest cost-per-channel Focusrite pre."

Surely not cheaper than the Octo-Pre (or whatever it's called) from the Platinum range?


Aug.12.2007 @ 8:16 PM
Aenemone Carbuncler
yeah, exactly I have doubts about any Focusrite now, i was a click away from getting the 428... then looked into it. it's still not a bad choice, and the feature set is exactly what I wanted, and even had a friend on GS that loved is.... well, i still had concerns--- that shit that costs this much shouldn't have. I really came to the conclusion that I'm just paying for the name.

Aug.12.2007 @ 8:28 PM
Aenemone Carbuncler
the heat issues from the 428 noted, wouldn't this need to to a substantial PS to power 8 pres of this quality adequately.
Even the C-labs 7602 say to mount the PS at least one rack unit away. this just seems like a compromise--- and i know, it looks sweet, but is it.
I love the C-labs stuff, but if i could afford I would get Great River, API, Vintech, or 7th Circle(if i needed more channels)... I just don't think Focusrite has much gonig for them now--in the high end. and this will be $3000+ anyway with the I/O card and if it's less i wouldn't trust it.

Aug.13.2007 @ 6:45 AM
Despite my (good) experience with an ISA 430 I had on loan a few years back, I've simply read far to many bad reviews/horror stories on sites like gearslutz. The general consensus seems to be that Focusrite's management has been compromising both the sound and build quality of their products for a better bottom-line.

Aug.13.2007 @ 8:16 AM
I have an ISA215 - from over 10 years ago - from before the dowwnmarket slide, name-whoring and platinum and green(!) (remember that?) range product lines.

It continues to be 'all that'


Aug.13.2007 @ 9:01 AM
Jeremy Cox
I dont think the 428 even sounds that great.

Aug.13.2007 @ 4:38 PM
I agree with the comparison of Focusrite to Lexicon: Once revered, absolutely high-end, out-of-reach-except-in-top-studios brands, now mostly known for cheaply made Musician's Friend catalog crud.

But even with their upper-end lines (e.g. Red series) I've had particularly bad fortune with Focusrite gear in many different studios, leading me to develop a (possibly unfair) aversion to Focusrite at large. For some reason--I could not realistically attribute it to universally bad design or construction--virtually every piece of Focusrite gear I have ever used has yielded a bad experience for me. Broken features, inconsistent performance, outright failure...with alarming consistency I have been disappointed with Focusrite build quality. It's more than enough to scare me away from a thing like the 828.

I don't mean to rant...just wondering if anyone else has had similar experience with the stuff.



Aug.13.2007 @ 9:51 PM
well blinkman, Liquid Mix is a great and fully-working product, but that's actually by Sintefex, eh?

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