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Focusrite ISA428 A/D (and instrument DI) vs. RME 8 io (&

Discussion in 'Pro Audio Equipment' started by Bhennies, Jun 6, 2004.

  1. Bhennies

    Bhennies Guest


    This is a multi-part question (as usual). Thanks for your patience.

    I currently have an RME/Nuendo 8 i/o interface (48khz) going into a 002rack. I also use a Universal audio 2108 pre and I have 2 avalon U5 DI's that I use for keyboards, Rhodes piano, and bass guitar.

    I am essentially trying to build a 5 rack space "portable" setup for my powerbook, that I can transport around (no more than 6 mic pre channels needed at a time- I will have a home studio for mixing, while I will be tracking at a friend's house).

    I am looking into selling my Avalon U5 DI's, and also my RME interface, to get a Focusrite ISA428 with the A/D card. This a much more portable and all in one solution for me, as I would put the 002r, the 2108, and the focusrite in a rack, throw the powerbook in a backpack and have a kick ass studio in a small package.

    My questions are:::

    1. Is the conversion quality of the Focusrite A/D unit up to par with my RME?

    2. Will the Focusrite suffice as an instrument and keyboard DI? (the u5's are nice, but clunky and heavy and I don't use them too much- I've actually been using the 2108 for my rhodes lately)

    3. Will the Focusrite and Universal Audio pre's be different enough in character to give me a diverse selection of sonic possiblities? (I LOVE my universal audio pre, but would like some more selection).

    4. I assume that the Focusrite ISA pres are going to blow the 002r's pres away...or are they? I haven't really had a chance to demo them yet (002r's pres), so if anyone has the same setup (ISA with 002rack), that would be great if they could chime in.

    Thanks so much for everyone's patience and help, I feel like a kid in a candy store in this forum!!!!!!
  2. Markd102

    Markd102 Well-Known Member

    Apr 24, 2001
    I don't have hands-on experience with either unit, but based on my research, the 428 should be head and shoulders better than the RME for both pres and conversion.
  3. idiophone

    idiophone Guest

    I don't have the RME, I run MOTU PCI stuff instead. Nevertheless, I have the 2108 and the 428 with the digital option. The 428 is a great compliment to the 2108, and the converters blow the MOTU's out of the water (2408mk3).

    The 2108 is "dark but clear", and the Focusrite is "big but open". I'm VERY happy with the Focusrite for all sorts of stuff. Between the two of them, I can do a lot. I got the best, most open acoustic guitar sound with the ISA110 impedance and a 414 the other day. I really can't say enough good things about the ISA428.

    And the ISA110 is Neve, so there's your name value.
  4. Bhennies

    Bhennies Guest

    thanks guys...what about the instrument DI's?
  5. Doublehelix

    Doublehelix Distinguished Member

    Oct 7, 2001
    I hav to concur with what idiophone says, the 428 is a great, great unit. I am very pleased with all aspects of it. The variable impedience and balanced insert points are just amazing!

    I have done some basic DI work, but not enough to really give you a true impression, other than to say that I was happy with the sound in the few basic test I have done. I do very little DI work, and when I do, I have other boxes that I have been using for years, so rarely do I have occasion to tyr other methods.

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