Focusrite ISA 428 Pre - Comments / Suggestions

Discussion in 'Preamps / Channel Strips' started by Axeman32, Feb 17, 2003.

  1. Axeman32

    Axeman32 Guest

    I am investingating the Focusrite ISA 428 Pre. It has a price point around $1500 for 4 inputs based on NEVE design. This would be my first "real" pre purchase. I am planning it to go into an Event EZ-Bus digital mixer direct to the a Mackie SDR recorder (on order) or straight into the Mackie depending on which converters sound better. Primary Mic is a Rode NT1. I plan on buying better mics and AD converters down the road.
  2. Sister Dimension

    Sister Dimension Active Member

    Jul 27, 2002
    ...Maybe we can see a review of the ISA 428 in the new RO Reviews section? I, too, am ready to pounce on this pre... I can't seem to find any reviews on this unit anywhere; anyone have any experience with it?


  3. scottlwilson

    scottlwilson Guest


    It's the same preamp section as the ISA-220 and a variation of the ISA-110. I have a couple friends who bought the 220 and love it. The 428 and 220 are made in China, but who cares if the sonics are there. Based on the 220, I'll get one myself.


    Scott L Wilson
  4. lamp

    lamp Guest

    Im looking hard at the 428 also,but have never heard a focusrite preamp.
    I know it is based on the ISA 110 that Mr Neve had a hand in,but what do people that have used these preamps have to say?
    Are they similar to a 1073? Or a tottaly different clean type of sound.
    Four amps and 8 soft limiters plus 8 channel A/D for around $2300 sounds pretty good.
    I wonder how good the a/d conversion is?
    Who knows Focusrite stuff!
    I have a Sytek and will have a Great River MP-2NV soon.
  5. Marcus Black

    Marcus Black Guest

    I´m also interested in the isa428, mostly as a "luxury-input" for line signals to my DAW. I´ve used the isa430 ProducerPack a couple of times and IMO it´s totally awesome. I´ve made my best-sounding acoustic guitar recording ever with the 430. Fantastic also on vox and bass. Haven´t recorded anything else with it. The 220 is supposed to sound pretty much the same as the 430 but is more limited when it comes to routing-possibilities (which are impressively extensive on the 430) and a stripped down Eq. The 428 on the other hand has less controls (not a compressor for each channel etc...) but if you get 4 channels of that awesome sound with good A/D-conversion for the same price as a 220-strip it´s definetely a winner.
  6. Do Makes

    Do Makes Guest

    I have been toying arround with the idea of getting one + ADC option. Would really love to hear some peoples real world experience with them. I've checked other forums as well. Doesn't seem to be much talk about this. Still 4 channels of ISA pres + 8 channels AD, sounds real good for a stree price of about $2500.
  7. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Jul 2, 2002
    77 Sunset Lane.
    I would love to do a review on the unit. I have a few others for JLM and Studio Projects I need to finish first but I will put it on the list. A link to the company would be helpful if anyone has one.. Thanks for the suggestion. Kurt
  8. Doublehelix

    Doublehelix Well-Known Member

    Oct 7, 2001
    Sound on Sound magazine did a review of it a few months ago. They normally publish their reviews online for free after about 6 months or so...

    OK, I just checked, and it was reviewed in the May 2003 you still have a couple of months before it is available online to the genreal public.
  9. Ras Judah

    Ras Judah Guest


    Greetings All,

    Whilst it got a pretty good write up in the SOS article to which DH refers I would advise against getting one in the above situation unless you specifically require four identical pres (e.g. for multi-tracking BVs).

    I'd suggest instead that you go for the 430 (or 220) or perhaps two (or more) different/individual pres - variety being the spice of life and all that :D

    Focusrite have a good reputation here in the UK and the (high end) units that I've heard have indeed been very good, although I haven't yet heard this particular model. However, personally I prefer the sound of the API pres (especially on vocals).
  10. Doublehelix

    Doublehelix Well-Known Member

    Oct 7, 2001
    Here! Here!!!
  11. AudioGaff

    AudioGaff Well-Known Member

    Feb 23, 2001
    Silicon Valley
    Ya, the API mic pre (or even the comp and eq) is some of the few things that when I first used it, it blew me away and made me pick up my dropped jaw off the floor...
  12. A Fak

    A Fak Guest

    What do you guys think of the avalon vst737sp
  13. AudioGaff

    AudioGaff Well-Known Member

    Feb 23, 2001
    Silicon Valley
    It's a decent unit but I'm not a big fan of the 737. I know many others that really like it so it can't be that bad.
  14. I recently picked up an ISA 428. Havent really had time to A/B it against anything else, but so far have recorded Kick's Snares, Bass, and vocals thru it. the unit gets a big thumbs up from me. I think it sounds great.
    Its not my main overdub pre. Someone asked about the 737, which i personally think is awesome. My typical vocal chain, and main overdub chain of any kind is usually a Sony C800G thru the 737, thru a Lang PEQ2 program EQ into an Apogee Rosetta into the 888. I've never been happier, and i've gotten nothing but raves from clients on the sounds. I dont know who doesnt like the 737, but for an all in one box, i think its the best, and i love the compressor, lots of control and very transparent. the EQ is functional, not amazing like the Avalon 2055, but very usable and better than most.
    I bought the 428 to have several high quality channels for basic tracking and it definitely fits the bill. Everything put thru it sounds big and crystal clear. The budget focusrite stuff is crap. I Also have a Sytek 4 channel pre which for the money is great(bout half the price of the 428), and also just bought an Oram Sonics Octasonic 8 channel mic pre, which also gets rave reviews from me after a few uses. I'd recommend any of the above, in their given price ranges they are all great pieces for the money.
    There was another thread on the Oktava ML52 Ribbon mic, which most people completely dissed. I bought 2 a while ago and they got on their first guitar cabinets today thru the Oram pre's. I was floored. thought they sounded great. Now i dont doubt for a moment that a royer or coles would sound better, but i dont have that kinda bread to drop on mics for guitar cab's. I will say the ML52 smoked the SM57 on the same cab in the same place. I'm going to buy 2 more. $200 per is totally worth it if you record guitar cabinets.
    over and out
    Full Time Dreamer
  15. AEW

    AEW Guest

    You can't go wrong with the ISA 428 even if u had a collection of other pres this should be a great addition to it. Four preamps with digital and analog outs plus you can run another 4 preamps through the line connection out to the AD card into say Protools. That's 4 pres with 8 AD converters and I must say the converters are very good, even equal to the converters on the Digi 192 IO.
    The preamps are quiet, clean, heaps of head room and the AD card has a soft limiter (mild compression 2:1) with sample rate up to 192k.

    This could be the Swiss tool pre, ok it hasn't got EQ but it has got a HP filter which selects from 16Hz to 420Hz if u need it.
    It's cheap to boot. No I don't sell them I just like it.

  16. Doublehelix

    Doublehelix Well-Known Member

    Oct 7, 2001
    OK..I have been down this road so many times trying to decide what my next set of pres will be. I am basically down to API, Sebatron, and the ISA428 now. For the money (US$2K), I can only get 2 API pres (with the lunchbox that leaves me 3 open slots).

    Now that you guys have had the 428 for a while, any more comments? I will mostly be using it for vocals and drums (2OH + kick + snare).

  17. Duardo

    Duardo Guest

    That's exactly what I mainly use it's especially versatile if you use dynamics on kick and snare as you can usually find an impedence setting that sounds better than the others. I've even used a ribbon outside of the kick through it with great results. I liked it so much I picked up a 220 for vocals after the price dropped to $1500. What a steal.

    As for the converters, I haven't really listened to them critically in an A/B-type comparison, but offhand I haven't noticed any significant difference between them and my Rosetta. Maybe someday I'll get around to doing some sort of quasi-scientific comparison.

    In any case, they're a great deal for the money.

  18. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Jul 2, 2002
    77 Sunset Lane.
    I don’t need to review the 428 to know that I already covet one. In fact I would love 2 with the converter cards ... Here are some
    reviews on the 428.

    (Dead Link Removed)
  19. lorenzo gerace

    lorenzo gerace Active Member

    Jan 27, 2002
    OK Kurt

    But I definitely want to hear your thoughts you "Maximum Censor Of All Things Gear" :D , even though I think I'm getting one in the first Q of the next year.

  20. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Jul 2, 2002
    77 Sunset Lane.
    Well what's not to like? Transformer, Class A, robust power supply, and a timeless design. This is a well known and proven pre design repackaged. Great front end for DAW.
  • AT5047

    The New AT5047 Premier Studio Microphone Purity Transformed

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice