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Hi all,

Some info, and two specific questions at the end.

I am thinking of picking up a pair of good sounding preamps. I currently have 2 channels of 'consumer' Focusrite in the form of an 18i6, 4 channels of Onyx, and two channels of gnarly vintage 60's pres(hand wired with 12AX7's). I do mostly voice and acoustic stringed instruments, but don't want to be limited to that. I Would like to be able to do horns or OH's, and feel like the stuff could do a good job.

The following are all two channel models that are in line with my funds, and currently available.

Focusrite ISA 2 dual mono
Black Lion Audio 2 channel Auteur
I think the DAV BG1 is also in my price range, but they're pretty tight lipped about the actual cost until you contact them

Q and A:
1-Is there a standout among this available list that really shines?

2-(the more important question) In your opinion, would I experience a noticeable jump in quality, from what I already have, that makes this purchase worthwhile? There is no sense spending money just for the sake of spending money, only to find out the difference in quality is negligible.

Thanks all

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pcrecord Thu, 01/07/2016 - 05:05

I vote for the ISAs, I have 2 ISA two and I'm looking for a 428 if I can find a used one with the right price tag.
The ISA is not a colorless preamp because of its onboard transformers but it tends to be refered as clean anyway. What makes it my first choice is the ton of noiseless amplification it can deliver. (80db) with a broad sweet spot compared to lower quality preamps with narrow sweet spots.. It is great with ribbon and with quiet instruments like classic guitars.

You will see a great difference with the 18i6 and the Onyx that's for sure. With the vintage pre you have, I don't know if it's gonna be better be it will be different ;)

KurtFoster Thu, 01/07/2016 - 07:24

took-the-red-pill, post: 434994, member: 21836 wrote: , would I experience a noticeable jump in quality, from what I already have, that makes this purchase worthwhile???

it's subjective. you have to try them all and make a decision. i mean i can tell you i lean towards the ISA /DAV or the Black Lion but it wouldn't surprise me at all if you came back saying you liked the RNP.

took-the-red-pill Thu, 01/07/2016 - 11:53

In theory I would agree Kurt. But the only way for me to do that is to rent or borrow. In my current circumstance the only one I could do on a trial is the ISA, so all I'd be able to tell is if that particular pre was a step up from what I have.

So what I'm hearing so far is:

-Any of the choices are good options with no absolute clear winner. Slight leanings toward the ISA.

-They would all be a step up, but only some testing would tell how much.

Maybe I should get a $30,000 loan from the bank, buy 50 preamps and create a "try before you buy," service, so guys like me could rent for a month to decide for themselves.


took-the-red-pill Fri, 01/08/2016 - 08:24

Since all four(five now with the Millennia) dual channel pres great great reviews, and I would probably be hard pressed to tell the difference, I'm leaning toward letting features make the decision for me.

The ISA stands out:
-Four position select-able impedance. The Millennia has a 'ribbon' switch, but just in-out.
-Dial Variable HPF. This is a very useful option.
-Insert points. I'm actually surprised they don't all have this.
-My local music store has it. I could rent, test, and put the rental against the purchase price.

I will do that in the next while(currently the studio is being rejigged and looks like a bomb site), then get back to you to post some results.

Thanks Gents.