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Focusrite Red 1 / Focusrite ISA 428

Discussion in 'Pro Audio Equipment' started by RyanDo1, Feb 2, 2004.

  1. RyanDo1

    RyanDo1 Guest

    4 channel pre packs that I'm sure many of you are familiar with.

    Do any of you have any experience A/B'ing these two side by side? I'm interested in recording rock-n-roll bands and these would be for drums/guitar. Probably SM57s/AT kick mic going in to them, running the kick/snare/toms and guitar cabs.

    They are about the same price, just curious to see what your feelings are and what applications you use them for.
  2. sdevino

    sdevino Active Member

    Mar 31, 2002
    Haven't compared side by side, but I have had a Focusrite Red 1 for about 3 years. It is definitely my go to pre for any dynamic mic especially on loud distorted electric guitars.

    It is also excellent on Kick and snare.

    I too would like to hear if anyone has compared.

  3. Duardo

    Duardo Guest

    The Red1 is actually about $800 more than the ISA 428. I have the 428 and haven't had the chance to do a side-by-side comparison, but from what I understand the preamp design itself is the same...the old Rupert Neve design that Focusrite pretty much built themselves on. However, the output circuitry is different (transformers on the Red 1) and the 428 has a few nice extras (variable high-pass filters, selectable impedence, A/D option). The Red box is actually very expensive to build, and it's still made in the UK whereas the ISA428 is built in China. Still, the 428 seems to be very well-built. I opted for that one because the features were attractive to me and I was able to get it outfitted with the A/D card for a little less than the price of the Red 1.

  4. AudioGaff

    AudioGaff Distinguished Member

    Feb 23, 2001
    Silicon Valley
    The biggest difference besides the Red series having a look of real class and the ISA stuff looking like a cheap made up street hooker, is that the Red has 6db gain steps and the 428 is continously variable. All of the newer Focusrite ISA stuff is now different sounding than the Red series and original ISA series. Some design changes such as surface mount components or lack of output transformers, and other cost cutting measures has changed and cheapened the good old Focusrite sound to me. It is still decent and above average stuff, but clearly not what Rupert intended. Quite a shame.
  5. TanTan

    TanTan Guest

    Rupert neve never design anything for focusrite.

    "In 1985 Rupert and Evelyn Neve incorporated a new company called Focusrite Ltd. A new modern range of outboard equipment was launched to meet the demands of the studios such as rack mounted Equalizers and Dynamics processors, microphone and line driving amplifiers.
    Under enormous pressure to go into mixing consoles again and with many promises of support and investment from friends in the industry, Focusrite Ltd. accepted orders for eight monster sound control consoles. Though the audio part of the design was complete and proven, the digital control side of the design (outside Rupert’s field of expertise) ran into delays. The company ran out of time and money that resulted in liquidation in January 1989.
    Mr. Phil Dudderidge, who incorporated a new company Focusrite Audio Engineering Ltd, bought the assets of Focusrite Ltd. He inherited the Focusrite Range designed prior to 1989 and continued to manufacture and market it. He has since added other units to the range. Rupert has never designed products for Focusrite Audio Engineering Ltd. "
  6. Duardo

    Duardo Guest

    Right, Rupert never designed products for Focusrite Audio Engineering Ltd...but he did design the consoles for Focusrite Ltd. The preamps and EQ's in the Red and ISA series products were taken from those original Rupert Neve designs (although, as pointed out earlier, that doesn't necessarily mean they sound the same), so while it's true that Rupert never designed products for Focusrite Audio Engineering Ltd, the preamp and EQ sections in some of their products are his designs.

  7. Doublehelix

    Doublehelix Distinguished Member

    Oct 7, 2001
    Well, I am about to "bite the bullet" and buy the 428 either today or tomorrow. I keep going around and around with what I am going to buy...but unless someone talks me out of this...I should have the 428 in my hands by the end of the week...
  8. Doublehelix

    Doublehelix Distinguished Member

    Oct 7, 2001
    Well, I finally broke down and ordered the ISA428, which shipped out yesterday (Feb 12). Should be here early next week. Got it for a great price too :) (less then US$1600 without the A/D).

    Having four channels is great for me. When tracking drums, I now can put the kick, snare and both OH's through the pres, and then use my Presonus pres for the rest of the kit.

    Next year I will probably compliment it with a pair of either API or Great River... Now we are talking kick and snare!!! Ouch! :D

    Wish me luck, and no buyers remorse! Dang, I do hate waiting!!!
  9. Skeetch

    Skeetch Guest

    You won't regret getting the 428. I've got it and the Great River and they compliment each other very nicely IMO.

    Re: waiting for gear. I hear ya. I've got a dBX 160SL on the way and shortly after that arrives probably a KSP8. Be about 3 and half weeks before it all gets here. Feeling kinda slutty about it all, but I sure hate waiting for it to get here.
  10. Doublehelix

    Doublehelix Distinguished Member

    Oct 7, 2001
    Thanks Skeetch... I know that you and several others I have talked with are very high on the 428, and I am expecting good things. It certainly is in the upper half of what is available to us home studio guys. It is not like the Focusrite of old, but it also is not a Mackie or Behringer either!

    It has a lot of versatility, and when coupled with the A/D card, gives a really good value. It actually fits quite nicely into my current setup, and will provide 4 more A/D's for future mic pre purchases. It has tons of gain (80dB), variable impedience, variable HPF...pretty cool value for the price.

    As much as I would love to have the GR or the API, I think that for my needs, I need something like the ISA428 first, then add some pres with more "flavor" later (like the GR or API).

    Anyway...back to the waiting game...tick, tock...tick, tock...tick, tock... <yawn>
  11. existence

    existence Guest

    Doublehelix Said:

    "...Got it for a great price too (less then US$1600 without the A/D)."

    Do you have an 'insider', or perhaps you might be willing to share where you got this price?

    I'll be curious to see what your impressions are of the 428. The magazine reviewers went ga-ga over it, but I've seen some opinions that say it sounds better on some sources than others.
    At any rate, seems like a great value.

    - David
  12. lorenzo gerace

    lorenzo gerace Active Member

    Jan 27, 2002
    Yes Doublehelix...

    Would you mind sharing with us where you got that deal on the 428?

    The best I've been able to find up to now is from [DLMURL="link removed Photovideo[/DLMURL] , but considering shipping overseas (I'm from Italy, and purchasing it in the US is going to cost me less than here in Europe, shipping included) it's going to cost a little more, in the $1850 ballpark; if you have a link for a better price....


  13. Doublehelix

    Doublehelix Distinguished Member

    Oct 7, 2001
    Go to Alto Music, and ask for a quote by email. I got mine for *much* less then US$1600 actually...closer to US$1500...

    Alto Music

    Good luck!
  14. lorenzo gerace

    lorenzo gerace Active Member

    Jan 27, 2002

    I contacted them and they gave me a really good quote on the 428, I'm going to save another $200 which is really not bad, and they ship overseas too. Now I only have to wait for some gigs I did to get payed and I think I'll get it.

    Thanx for the link

    L.G. :D
  15. Doublehelix

    Doublehelix Distinguished Member

    Oct 7, 2001
    Good luck, they were really helpful when I contacted them. I am expecting to receive it early this week...
  16. Doublehelix

    Doublehelix Distinguished Member

    Oct 7, 2001
    Well, I got the ISA428 yesterday! :D Nice piece of gear! I haven't really had a chance to put it through its paces yet, and now tonight is my son't birthday, so another day gone without playing with my new toy!

    I can tell you that Alto Music is great to deal with. I ordered it on Thursday, and it was on my doorstep Monday morning!
  17. Doublehelix

    Doublehelix Distinguished Member

    Oct 7, 2001
    Wow! The ISA 428 is a really nice piece! It is clear, but certainly is not "transparent", it has a bit of an "attitude".

    Very full and detailed bottom end. Quite a bit of difference between the 428 and my Presonus for sure!!! Much fuller sounding, and more "3-D like" somehow.

    So far, I have only used for my vocal, direct acoustic guitar, and some DI'ed electric guitar, but I am really pleased with the sound. I'll try mic'ing up an acoustic tonight, and probably an electric guitar. Next, I'll mic up the drum kit this weekend. Next week will be my first full session with it, so I will be able to really put it through its paces then...

    The inserts are really cool! :) It is nice to be able to patch in some outboard gear at will like that.

    No, it is not the API's that I have been drooling over for the last several years, but it is a great stopgap, and fills a big need in my studio. Next year, the APIs for *sure*!!! ;)

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