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CL 7602 vs Focusrite ISA One vs Daking Mic Pre One?

Discussion in 'Preamps / Channel Strips' started by dickiefunk, May 28, 2009.


Which preamp

  1. Chameleon Labs 7602mkI (+ keep Tampa)

  2. Focusrite ISA One ( sell Tampa )

    0 vote(s)
  3. Daking Mic Pre One ( sell Tampa )

    0 vote(s)
  4. OTHER (please specify)

    0 vote(s)
  1. dickiefunk

    dickiefunk Active Member


    I'm looking for to upgrade my recording chain. I am currently using an M-Audio Tampa as my main preamp.
    I have read good things about the Chameleon Labs 7602, Focusrite ISA One and Daking Mic Pre One and they seem to offer excellent performance and value.

    I've been offered a secondhand Chameleon Labs 7602 for a good price which means I could keep my Tampa and buy the 7602 giving me two flexible channels.

    Alternatively I could sell my Tampa and buy the Focusrite ISA One or Daking Mic Pre One?

    I'm a little nervous about putting all my eggs in one basket as I do record Acoustic/Electric Guitar, Upright/Electric bass and occasionally brass and like having a couple of options/tones to choose from.

    What are your thoughts on this?
  2. iamfrobs

    iamfrobs Guest

    the new TapeOp magazine has a review of the Daking.
    It was a positive one. They liked the HPF and said it had a nice color you could dial in and out.

    That's all I got.
    Still using onboard...
  3. dickiefunk

    dickiefunk Active Member

    Thanks for the reply.

    They all look similar being Transformer based preamps though the Chameleon Labs has 2 input transformers and on output transformer where the Daking and Focsurite only use one transformer each.

    There is quite a difference in price. I've been offered the secondhand Chameleon Labs for £300. The Focusrite costs £410 and the Daking is £540!
  4. moonbaby

    moonbaby Mmmmmm Well-Known Member

    Be careful there! The CL has had a bad reputation regarding reliability issues, especially their earlier units. CL is a Chinese product (maybe the Focusrite is, too?), what can you really expect?
    The gear from Geoff Daking is really nicely built, and the pre has both input AND output trannies...
  5. Link555

    Link555 Well-Known Member

    Do you like the Tampa? IF you do then keep it.
  6. AudioGaff

    AudioGaff Well-Known Member

    Of those three, easy. Choose the Daking without hesitation.
  7. dickiefunk

    dickiefunk Active Member

    Where did you hear this about the Chameleon Labs?

    The Daking only has an input transformer.
  8. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    I have heard this too, but this was a couple of years ago right after the release and there were some issues with the first units. I believe they have corrected whatever was the problem and since then the units have worked well. They are a nice unit. Not quite the level of a Daking, but then what is....
  9. moonbaby

    moonbaby Mmmmmm Well-Known Member

    I stand corrected on the Daking. That particular model, unlike their other products, does have electronically balanced outputs. As far as the CL, there have been posts regarding their reliability. I acquired one about a year ago (used) from the local GC. I took it back because the gain control on the mic pre side was twitchy (scratchy and jumped in levels), and one of the EQ controls was starting to go that way, too. It also bothered me that the product was built in China, but that's a personal issue for me. So are some of my dbx boxes, they've fared fairly well, so maybe that's an unfounded bias on my part. On the other hand, I bought an early Focusrite Platinum box (Voicemaster) and hated the bastard-kept overheating and shutting down, and it turns out that they had a problem with the units doing that. Keep that in mind...:)
  10. dickiefunk

    dickiefunk Active Member

    Thanks for the replies!

    How does the Focusrite ISA compare to the Daking and Chameleon Labs?
  11. FastLane

    FastLane Active Member

    I have Focusrite ISA pre amps in the form of there ISA848 and even though they get bashed on some forums I have to say that I love them! The are very transparent but do have a slight bite to them. They haven't ever sounded bad but possibly a tad bland in comparison to a neve 1073 or the likes. It would be a fair large step up from the tampa IMO

    That being said, the daking gets some rave reviews and I'd say it would be up there with the big boys. Either the daking or the Focusrite will serve you well

  12. dickiefunk

    dickiefunk Active Member

    Thanks for the reply.

    Here is a rough recording I did with my Tampa and Studio Projects B1 mic a while back. As you can hear the vocals are a little harsh.


    The B1 was my only mic at the time. Since then I bought an Oktava MK-319, Rode NT-1a and MXL v67g.

    The Oktava is my favorite and I wish I had it when I did that recording.

    The Daking does look really great but I would need to sell all my pres to buy it and I could do with two channels!

    I could afford the Chameleon Labs and still keep my other pres :?

    I missed out on a secondhand Focusrite but have seen it new for £409. At this price I could keep either my Tampa or DMP3.

    Ideally I'd like one decent channel for vocals but also be able to record bass and guitar at the same time (I could use the pre in my Echo interface for guide vocals).
  13. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    While the Chameleon Labs isnt going to be the Daking in its sound, its still a decent piece, and if used correctly , will yield great results. It is a different sound than either of your current pres so it will give you another option for your palette. It seems sensible to me to chose something that allows you more options inlieu of lessening your choices in search of that one sound which you may or may not hear a great amount of difference with.
  14. dickiefunk

    dickiefunk Active Member

    Thanks Dave.

    What are your thoughts on the Tampa I have?

    Maybe the CL7602, Tampa and DMP3 combo would be a good combo till I can afford spending serious money on my setup?

    Ideally I'd like to have a Daking MP-1 and either a Focusrite ISA One, DAV BG1 or Audient Mico. Perhaps I could sell my piano hmmm!
  15. dickiefunk

    dickiefunk Active Member

    How would a True Systems P-Solo compare to the Focusrite ISA One and Chameleon Labs?

    I might have just scored a Focusrite ISA One + Digital Card secondhand. Just awaiting confirmation!
  16. dickiefunk

    dickiefunk Active Member

    Ok had a bit of a disaster today! My van died which means I can't order both wworried

    Has anyone compared the Focusrite ISA One to the Tampa or DMP3!?

    I've been offered a Focusrite ISA One with Digital Card for £400. I could just about scrape this but I'd have to sell either my Tampa, DMP3 or Yamaha MLA7 :(

    Alternatively I could buy a new GAP PRE-73 for £229

    Has ANYONE compared these with either the Tampa or DMP3
  17. dickiefunk

    dickiefunk Active Member

    I've just ordered the Focusrite ISA One with digital card!

    Will let you know how I get on!
  18. dickiefunk

    dickiefunk Active Member

    The Focusrite ISA One came yesterday and I did a quick test with it. The first thing I noticed was how quiet it is compared to my Tampa! I also noticed that the sound is less edgy than the Tampa.

    Will give it a proper run over the next week.
  19. DigitraxRec

    DigitraxRec Active Member

    First of all, keep the Tampa - not because it's as great as sliced bread (it isn't) - but because you want to have a second flavor no matter what you get.
    Secondly, it depends on what you're going for. Nothing beats the bang-for-the-buck of the 7602, but if you're not handy with a soldering iron, it may not be the pre for you. (The two I had were miswired - one had it's line in xfrmr out-of-phase; the other, it's output transformer out-of-phase - and they're not particularly rugged. They do, however, allow you to sub the amp cards out of actual Neves for the Chinese Neve-clone cards in there - kinda cool, but only if you're gonna do it. The Daking's solid and fast - aggressive without being as forward or edgy as API. Focusrite is a better QC'd Neve clone (read: "Big-shouldered sound"), but is virtually unmoddable and still not built quite as well as the Daking.
    Honestly, any one of them could be the best, depending on what mic/source/room you're using and what sound you're after.
    I know that's not super helpful, but that's why there are different pre's out there in the first place.
  20. DigitraxRec

    DigitraxRec Active Member

    Oops! Sorry. Didn't see your last posts before I added mine. Congrats on the Focusrite. I'm sure you'll like it.

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