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Focusrite vs. Universal Audio?

Discussion in 'Pro Audio Equipment' started by radlid, Apr 8, 2007.

  1. radlid

    radlid Guest

    Hi guys!

    My questions is,

    I'm looking to buy a good mic pre and comp/limiter in one. And I'm looking in the $1000-$1500 range.
    The two that are very interesting to me are the Focusrite ISA 220 and the Universal Audio LA-610. As I understand it the 220 is just the best for Bass D.I. but the 610 has the same compressor circuitry as the LA-2A and it's tube wich is something that really does my style of music well. But the 220 is based on the higly acclaimed 110, which I read about every where. Haven't really heard either one of them and I don't know if the music store would allow me to compare them or even if that is possible in a big noisy store.

    Oh and I am mainly using it for vocals if that helps...

    Thank you kindly for any inputs...
  2. dcj

    dcj Guest

    From my experience, you're really talking apples versus oranges here. However, there are a few split-hair issues that you do bring up. The ISA 220 has a few more bells and whistles on it than the 610, of course that's simply considering the features of channel strip versus channel strip. The 220 also has a digital option that the 610 doesn't have. As far as vocals are concerned, the 220 has de-essing capabilities, and a more verstile eq section. I know a producer that uses a $13,000.00 Brauner tube mic with an ISA 220 and swears by that combination for most male vocals. He also has a UA 2-610 that I've only ever seen him use to warm up the mix bus out. You may also have some of your info wrong. I have heard more raves about the 610 being used for bass di than the 220. If you're truly just going to use the unit exclusively for vocals, you may want the 220 for it's added features. Other than that, you're still talking completely different sounding pre's. My advice, get one of each. I know, that's easier said than done.
  3. moonbaby

    moonbaby Mmmmmm Well-Known Member

    Do you want "color" from the pre? Or do you want a cleaner, more detailed sound? "Apples to oranges" indeed. I have used a Focusrite Red 7 for my VO work and really like it. The de-esser is very good to me, and easy to set up. There is a certain amount of color (due to the input transformer), but the sound is more extended and detailed. I would think that this would hold true with the 220 as well.
    The LA610 is something that I recently experienced at a local ad agency.
    Very strong on the low mids, even with an RE20 it was "fat". The comp section is a classic, not as surgical, more musical. And, yes, the box was their "go-to" for DI'ing the bass. But because of its tendencies toward the "fat scale", you have to be super-careful about how you apply its character on a multi-track production. Too much of a good thing...
  4. radlid

    radlid Guest

    Thank you guys for your helpful response!

    I guess what I'm looking for is something that makes the vocal pop out right in your face. An edgy sound(crisp I guess).
    Lots of presence and warmth yet dirty and vintage like.

    But still be able to use it on guitars and bass...

  5. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    You have described a Groove Tubes ViPre.

    They do have a new 'strip' with some of the ViPres features in the pre as well as the compressor they build. Havent heard it though.
  6. dcj

    dcj Guest


    I second your motion for the Vipre..........fanatstic unit! But, at a street price of $2,899.00 I think it's more than radlid bargained for.


    Moonbaby brought up an excellent point about the warmth of the 610. It can be easily overused in an exponential sense during multitracking. What can be perceived as "punch" during tracking, can often turn into "mud" at mixdown. The ISA 220 may be the way to go during this round. In fact, you may want to eventually combine it with a decent medium priced tube mic like the AT4060. That would be a good alternative in case you didn't get the punch that you wanted from the 220 alone. But, my guess is that you'll be happy with the 220. In fact, depending upon where you are in the country, I can turn you on to a mail order dealer that sells them for $1290.00 w/o tax and including shipping. PM me if you're interested....
  7. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    Not experienced enough to say from, well experience, but.

    Glen Ballard used : vintage C-12-> Demeter preamp (which model?) ->LA-2A- "then straight to tape". (adat) No eq on the way in.
  8. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    Glen Ballard claims to have used this signal path to track Alanis Morissette's "Jagged Little Pill". (Vocals)

    "vintage C12-going into a Decemeter preamp, into an LA-2A, and then straight to tape." (ADAT)

    Further reading will tell he "scorched" one of the vocal tracks on the album w/ this setup.

    Reference is : Behind the Glass, Howard Massey

    P.S. Alanis made him keep "scorched" version instead of "edited" one.

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