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Focusrite Red 7

Discussion in 'Pro Audio Equipment' started by MisterBlue, Dec 24, 2004.

  1. MisterBlue

    MisterBlue Guest

    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 !

  2. AudioGaff

    AudioGaff Distinguished Member

    Feb 23, 2001
    Silicon Valley
    As someone who has owned and used a Focusrite Red-7 for many years, I can assure you that thin and having low gain is NOT normal. The Red-7 has no pad but does have a dual range gain switch on the left. When lit and pushed in, it is in high gain mode. Make sure you are using that if you need it. The output level on the far right is not a gross gain but is a fine tune gain that only has +6dB gain possible. Gross gain must come from the mic pre level and/or compressor make up gain, which is way more than enough to overload and line level device it feeds. Also, thin sound could be that the compressor and/or the exciter are on and set incorrectly.
  3. MisterBlue

    MisterBlue Guest

    Gaff, thanks a lot for your reply.

    I made sure to try both gain settings - in the low setting virtually nothing came through, the higher setting gave me at least an audible signal. I also made sure that the compressor and exciter were not engaged (well, I tried basically all kinds of combinations).

    I guess I am arriving at the conclusion that the unit has a problem. As I am also at home in Sili Valley, do you happen to know a reasonable place that I can take it to to have it checked through ?

    Thanks once more,


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