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Millennia Origin or ISA 220 + used Lexicon PCM 91

Discussion in 'Pro Audio Equipment' started by soundsbig, Jun 18, 2005.

  1. soundsbig

    soundsbig Guest

    I have to make the decision between a Millennia Origin STT1 or a Focusrite ISA 220 + a used Lexicon PCM 91. I am trying both of these pres out right now and I'm finding both of them to be stellar. The Millennia with the Solid State or the Tube path is tempting for flexibility.
    The Focusrite sounds different but still awesome when comparing just to the Millennia Solid State path.
    The dilemma is for similar money I can add a used PCM 91 to the Focusrite. Right now my main reverb is a Alesis Wedge.

    What would you guys do?

  2. RandomGuest

    RandomGuest Guest

    Feb 10, 2001
    I say get the 1 you want most. Or in other words...one at a time. But if you still want to get the Lexicon unit, there is always next week, or next month. You 'll live to see it :lol:
    The PCM91's are going for great prices on ebay now adays. I saw one go for $1250 one day. And it was basically brand new.
    Look man, I had $5000 to get anything I wanted. I wanted an API 3124+ and a Great River MP2NV, but the total cost was $$5600. So I bought only 1.
    Then 3 or 4 weeks later I saved up another $600 or so and..BAM!
    Now I own them both! :D woohoo :p
    So after that (needless to say)I was broke. Well to add to that, a month and a half later I saved up another $1700 and bought an Eventide Eclipse (it was that or I was gonna get the Lexicon PCM91). So try it one thing at a time, and you will save yourself the headaches of "which one" or "what should I do".
    Get the 1 you know you want most!
    Good luck man!!!!
    Happy buying
  3. songman

    songman Guest

    I have a Millennia STT1 and compared it to Focusrite preamps before buying. IMO the Millennia is far better. Sweet EQ, great COMP and a pristine SS path (vocals, acoustic guitar!). The VT path did not convince me (OK, but not sufficiently different to the SS path), so I got the Telefunken tubes for it (300$ from Millennia themselves). Now that was a great move. If you've ever heard an Avalon 737 then you can compare it to that but ever so much smoother, not a hint of graniness. So again, with the Telefunken tubes, far better than the Avalon 737. I agree with "that guy" you can always get a Lexicon box at a good price later, but you'll have a hard time finding a Millennia I think.
  4. RandomGuest

    RandomGuest Guest

    Feb 10, 2001
    I did hear great things about the Millennia STT1. Chris @ littledog says that it is awesome. And I want one too. :x maybe in a few months :cry:
    Everything I've read about the Millennia stuff has been raves!
  5. soundsbig

    soundsbig Guest

    Hey thanks for the replies. In comparing the two units I essentially stuck to the SS on the Millennia to be fair to the Focusrite. The Millennia definitly sounded more natural. The Focusrite had an immediate upfront quality to it that at first made the vocal track sound bigger. It sounded to me like it was smearing the high end in some way, but not in an unpleasing way. The transformer maybe?

    I'm glad to hear that about the Telefunken tubes cause I found the little I played with the tube channel to be a little lackluster.
    I ultimately want the Millennia but my practical side is saying the Focusrite sounds great and I lack a killer reverb to complete the family CD project which is very vocal oriented. I guess I could rent one for mixdown?

    Anyone else have any experience with these units?

    Thanks, Stephen
  6. henryrobinett

    henryrobinett Active Member

    Jan 30, 2002
    I haven't had any experience with the Focusrite, but I have had a lot with Millennia. The Origin, though I don't own one, I've used extensively. No question in my mind. Origin. I love that thing. I also own the 91. Great reverb, but you can pick one up later. Get the Millennia. I don't think you'll be sorry.
  7. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Jul 2, 2002
    77 Sunset Lane.
    I have an ORIGIN and I love it! It's just lovely to touch and when it's all lit up with circuits engaged, it's a 'ting of bee-youty! Its one of the best compressors I have ever used. The pres are great and the EQ section , well fugeddabout it. It's criminal how good this unit sounds. I want a second on for a pair to home master with ... and now after reading songmans post I'm going to have to swap out the original tubes for the Telefunkens that Millennia sent with the unit.
  8. soundsbig

    soundsbig Guest

    I thought I would post an update on my mic pre dillemma. Thanks again for all the input.

    After more listening tests, a soul searching look at the way I work as an engineer and to a lesser degree the studio wallet I have decided to go with the Focusrite ISA 220 and a Mac of some sort for softsynths and basic editing.

    As far as listening tests the Origin SS pre with no compression won slightly for it's natural sound. If I was recording solo voice with cello records their would be no question. For the generally pop stuff I'm doing many times I actually preferred the sound of the ISA pre. And when I did the blind taste tests the two units become harder to tell apart. Actually when you click in the transformer on the Origin they sound almost identical.
    I too found the tube path on the Origin a little lackluster so I borrowed some tubes from a buddy a 1974 Sylvannia AU7 and a Telefunken 12AX7 was the best combination. It now sounded warmer and more tube like but no matter what tubes I had in I was wishing for more gain.
    I found the instrument input quite dissapointing so I swithched out the Sovtek AT7 and put in a Telefunken EC81 but there must be something wrong with the tube cause it just sounded noisy and wierd. Put the Sovtek back in and again it did absolutely nothing for my bass. The instument input on the Focusrite kills it at least on bass IMHO.
    As far as the compressors and EQ on both units they are different but both sound awesome. I preferred the compressor slightly more on the Focusrite again for it's ease of operation. I found myself wishing for a dedicated make-up gain knob on the Origin.

    AS far as the way I work, I would love to be a "try 15 mics on the singer" kind of passionate engineer but I tend to be a "find something that works well and go with it all the time " type. So in this respect again the Focusrite won out for it's dead simple operation, tons of extra available gain and the fact that you can run the D'ser at the same time as the compressor which is something you can't do on the Origin?

    In Canada the Origin is $3600 compared to $2000 for the ISA 220 .If money was no object I would probably buy both units. I do need to choose one or the other but even if they were closer in price I think I would go with the Focusrite.

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