A friend of mine is traveling outside the country for a few months and let me borrow some of his equipment. First delivery were a Focusrite Red 7 and a U87. Needless to say that I was eager to see it smoke my current channel - which are two Rodes (NTV and NTK) and an Event EMP-1 mic pre that actually came as a freebie with the NTV (and turned out to be much more usable than I expected). To cut the story short: I have not been able to get the Focusrite to sound rite. I played with pretty much all settings and combinations but it is even the simple pre amp function that doesn't quite cut it. It seems that I can't get a decent level out of that thing. With everything cranked I am getting close to an "acceptable" signal level (peak at -6 .. -12dB), but it still sounds thin and liveless. My EMP-1 has almost the opposite problem, it peaks at minimum gain with a loud singer at close proximity. The sound with the NTV is generally warm and full (in my ears, anyway) and very usable with little or no EQing. I looked for literature on the Focusrite web site but didn't really find anything useful. Besides, it seems that the unit is simple enough not to need a user manual ... And yes, I tried various mics to eliminate the mic as a factor and I know the relevance of phantom power. My question now: Do I have to conclude that there is a problem with the Red 7 unit that requires tech service ? Is this a common problem that is potentially easily fixed (e.g. a tube replacement) ? OR, do I simply not recognize a good thing when it hits me ... (meaning that the low gain is perfectly normal and what I call "thin and lifeless" is actually the "character" of this unit)? I frankly can't imagine, but I am the first to admit that it is a possibility. Your opinion and help is most appreciated ! Thanks in advance and Happy Holidays ! MisterBlue.