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millenna stt-1 or Focusrite isa 430 or Focusrite red 7 ?


i have a Manley gold mic.
and i would like to know whats the best pre amp for that mic.

i wanna a transparente, clear, open and super big sound.

i have the 3D Pre CD Volume 1, Preamps in Paradise-Preamp Summit DVD-ROM, 3D Mic CD and ADCD Converter CD . :)

i kown there are GORDON, BUZZ AUDIO, GML... but in CD i prefer the Millennia or the focusrite.

but i dont know what to buy. is RED 7 better than 430 ?

is Millennia more open and big than Focusrite ?

thanks a lot


moonbaby Wed, 09/06/2006 - 06:17
I am currently using a Red 7 and think it's great. I have also been tracked (VOs) through an Origin. Now that is one flexible and sweet-sounding unit! But it's a bit out of my price range at the moment. The 7 is very clean with a slight 'edge'...a forwardness in the top end. Very good for VOs, and when used with a nice tube mic, pretty smooth for any vocal work. From what I have read and heard, the newer Focusrites are simply not up to par with the Red series.
If I could afford the Origin, I would buy it and not look back. But at roughly $1000.00 cheaper ("previously owned"), the Red 7 is a real steal.
now if I could just convince the owner to swap it for my '65 Twin!

AudioGaff Wed, 09/06/2006 - 11:04
The ISA430 has Eq that the Red-7 doesn't so it is not a direct comparison. I am not a fan of the revamped Focusrite ISA stuff although it is still good stuff. I much prefer my Red-7 to any the ISA units . If money is not an issue, and of the choices you listed, then I would suggest the STT-1 as a great unit to own.

Pro Audio Guest Wed, 09/06/2006 - 13:53
the focusrtie ISA 430 is the best unit out of the ones you mentioned i believe. red 7 and millennia are not bad, but i don't know. the millennia is a pretty cool thing you know being twin topolgy (actually they claim for the FET portion they have a completely JFET based path input to output) i have a hard time believing that completely, they refuse to reveal their specs. they've probably just found a way to hybrid an op-amp (which yes all basic components of electro-magnetic circuitry contains transistors and transformers) with a transistor.

as far as dynamics the red 7 and millennia might be better. i would put the ISA 430 first then the millennia, then the red 7. the millennia has got 5 tubes in it so if youre looking for a tube device then go with the Millennia, its gonna be really similar sounding to an avalon like the 737.

the focusrite ISA430 is easily the best thing focusrite has to offer. but yeah youpicked out that the red 7 is the only other good thing focusrite offers. and out of all the millennia stuff i don't see any reason why the stt-1 isnt the best of what they have to offer. they are all good though.

moonbaby Thu, 09/07/2006 - 07:03
I will try to stay on topic here, but a previous post begs for a response.
For starters, as a PREVIOUS owner of the Avalon ST737, The Origin is leagues better in terms of component quality, sonic performance, and reliability. And Millennia Media DOES indeed publish the performance specs of all of their products-right there with the product information. And very good spec's they are-look at the output rating of +32 dBu (bal)-that alone is enough to knock the Focusrites-both of them-into the dirt. They also describe the HV-3 circuitry used in the FET portion of the front end as a discrete circuit, and provide more information about this than most other manfacturers do. I have been involved in too many sessions with MM and Focusrite gear. Millennia Media rules.
The Red 7 is no longer made so the statement that the ISA is the best that Focusrite makes now is moot. The Red Series is still their top-end line. Focusrite has continually cheapened their product quality as the years have gone by, witnessed by their willingness to put their name on the Chinese-built Platinum line. I don't have the time to describe the problems that I've had with that product line, but it is not a professionally-built product.

Cucco Thu, 09/07/2006 - 09:14
I'm with you Moonbaby -

First - Millennia DOES publish their specs. In fact, they're located

You'll even see that they have published their block diagrams.

Furthermore, it's hard to quantify what makes a preamp better than another, however, I will go on record and state that I would choose the Millennia over either (or any) Focusrite in almost any situation. (And yes, I HAVE used all of the above.)

As for the Millennia sounding like the Avalon.......NOPE. Not even close.

Gabriel - I wouldn't put too much stock into those comparison CDs. I know their intent was to inform in as accurate a way as possible, but they just don't compare to the real thing. Personally, I would seriously consider the Buzz MA2.2Tx if I were you. It's an amazingly transparent pre and when using the transformer balanced outputs, you can get just a little bit of bite to the sound if needed. Overall, this is one of the best sounding and best built pres I've seen/heard in years.

Good luck and let us know what you decide.


omegaarts Thu, 09/07/2006 - 10:18
The Stt Origin is one one the most versatile units ever.
I'm amazed at all the sounds that unit can produce.
I own one and use it all the time.
To be honest I wish I had another one.
I don't think it's over priced at all for what you are getting.

CHANGE OUT ALL THE TUBES! it really makes a difference.

moonbaby Thu, 09/07/2006 - 10:43
I am shocked at your post. As many times as you have publicly lusted for a Millennia, and now suggest another!! Heresy I say!!!!!
I aim to get an Origin by the end of the year. And when I die they can bury it with me!!!! (I was gonna will it to YOU, but...)
Question:What's the difference between a poster of Paris Hilton and a Red 7??
Answer: You can't hold a Red 7 up in one hand!!!

Pro Audio Guest Thu, 09/07/2006 - 15:29
Gabriel Sousa wrote: hello,

i have a manley gold mic.
and i would like to know whats the best pre amp for that mic.

i wanna a transparente, clear, open and super big sound.

i have the 3D Pre CD Volume 1 , Preamps in Paradise-Preamp Summit DVD-ROM , 3D Mic CD and ADCD Converter CD . :)

i kown there are GORDON, BUZZ AUDIO, GML... but in CD i prefer the millennia or the focusrite.

but i dont know what to buy.... is RED 7 better than 430 ?

is millennia more open and big than focusrite ?

thanks a lot

MIC pres are arguably the most difficult choice to make and like most (if not all) everything else it's a subjective choice.

I use the STT-1 along with units from Universal Audio and TL-Audio & NEVE. Each has its place, just like microphones.

If had to keep one it would be the STT-1 - often times I direct-connect the straigth mic pre from the Millennia into the U-AUDIO compressor section. Great tracking chain.

Pro Audio Guest Thu, 09/07/2006 - 17:03
yes i clearly have a lot to learn. can you please tell me what basis you have for saying the red 7 is equal to or better than the ISA 430?

by the way i got my information from barry rudolph of mixonline (its technically on the NSEQ that millennia makes:

"TWIN, MINIMALIST AUDIO PATHS The NSEQ-2 features dual circuit paths, one solid-state and the other vacuum tube. Front panel push-button switches allow you to select the topology you want, independently for each channel. The solid-state path is an all-discrete, Class-A FET amplifier path. The vacuum tube path is all Class-A triode. Neither signal path uses any transformers.

Each channel features four active filters. But, unlike other active filter designs, which place the filters in-line or in parallel in the audio path, Millennia's proprietary technology places all filters in a shunt from the main circuit to ground. Because the filters are not technically in the audio path, each band has minimal interaction with the others.

If this sounds a bit vague, it's on purpose. Millennia is reticent to reveal its trade secrets. But what will grab most people's attention is that there is only one active stage in the entire audio path from input to output in unbalanced configuration. One amplifier serves as input buffer, EQ amplifier and output driver. Millennia says that this minimalist approach yields a signal-to- noise ratio improvement of greater than 20 dB over passive designs."

which leads me next to psycho-acoustics, do any of you believe that once something gets to a certain SNR it gets difficult to ascertain? similar to frequency response among analog and digital, where its presence can still be sensed to some degree after 20kHz, due to the roll off. my question is for a console what SNR is typical of quality studio console?

and if there is a certain ratio that is the breaking point for audible comprehension, what is it typically? where would something like the m-audio projectmix fit in?

off topic sure, but the point is i never said the millennia was a bad piece of gear. i think it is pretty interesting given the twin topolgy. but in my opinion it truly is a minimmalist approach. with the tubes and with the transistors. i think that something like the focusrite ISA being strictly a transistor based piece to the best of its ability is more worthwhile.

im not exactly sure how a millennia divides up all its tube usage, but in most cases you get 1-2 tubes per channel select. they go as follows:
DI input : selected 12AT7
preamp : selected 12AX7, 12AU7
dynamics: selected 12AX7, 12AU7
a total of 5 tubes

as far as tube compliment is concerned there are just plenty of other things id rather have that are better and priced better. then as far as transistor based units again there are other brands out there.

ill say it again, i believe the twin topolgy is a neat little function on this unit, i imagine it is pretty quiet all around. having something like a tube EQ in there is pretty neat too. for a simple minded project studio it could be very well suited, cause it technically is an all in one box. judging from those almighty specs the stt-1 isn't better in its noise rating compared to the ISA 430.