Attenuators with transformer preamps, a good idea ??

Discussion in 'Preamps / Channel Strips' started by pcrecord, Mar 19, 2019.

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  1. pcrecord

    pcrecord Quality recording seeker ! Distinguished Member

    Feb 21, 2013
    Quebec, Canada
    Home Page:
    The 511 seems a very good choice for someone already having a lunchbox. I don't think Focusrite offers the ISA in that format, but if you could find a used Red per.. this could be interesting too !
    Very different beasts, the texture and silk option of the 511 seems to be appealling. I know you often aim for some mojo sounding gear.
    I remember you telling me about the LA-610 and how you would push everything to maximum to see how it sounds.. eh eh eh ! ;)
    I'm changing the tubes on one of them in a few weeks, I'll probably do a video on it too.. Stay tuned for that !

    But this experience with the attenuator re-confirmed to me that the ISA is all about Clean sound, no noise, no distortion.. but still offers this nice transformer sound.
    kmetal likes this.
  2. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Distinguished Member

    Jul 21, 2009
    Boston, Massachusetts
    Home Page:
    My tastes have evolved some over the years.

    Oh yeeeeeaaaaaa

    Totally. From what i understand they chose the lundhal xformer, specifically because it's one of the cleanest xformers available. Plus if you consider the isa was made for a console, with eq and compressor, it makes sense that its cleaner with tons of headroom. The ISA is one of those pres that just sounds right imho.

    I would be curious to hear the attenuator in series, just to hear how the isa saturates.
  3. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    Apr 19, 2006
    Home Page:
    Sufficient attenuation between the output of a pre-amp and a following ADC allows the ADC to capture either the effect of transformer saturation or the onset of clipping, whichever is appropriate for the pre-amp's output architecture.

    I've done a bit more digging in the Focusrite literature, and, from what I can tell, the ISA One, Two, 428 and 828 are based on a common design that has input transformers only and no output transformers. The information is well hidden, but with these models, it looks as though the output will clip.
    kmetal likes this.

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