Focusrite ISA vs Warm Audio WA273-EQ ??

Discussion in 'Preamps / Channel Strips' started by pcrecord, Oct 8, 2020.

  1. pcrecord

    pcrecord Quality recording seeker ! Well-Known Member

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    Buying BAE in Canada means twice the price of WarmAudio. . . If I could confirm that the EQ isn't that important..
    I could go with a dual 1073 clone on 1U rack space.. they are less expensive..
    I'll compare with other clones too.. ;)
     
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  2. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Well-Known Member

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    personally, i would want as much analog/ outboard EQ as i could get. be patient. i'm sure another WA273 will come up for auction on e blows. i watch it every day. i'll keep a look out for you.
     
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  3. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

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    I like to EQ on the way in, if its needed and available.

    That said the EQ on the neve clones vary in quality. If i recall correctly, golden age has a neve type thing with both eq and non eq models. The eq isn't regarded as particularly good, and most reccomendations ive seen has been for the non eq model.

    So i would investigate it for each model your interested in.

    A faithful neve eq, ie "sounds like and built like a neve", is a useful tool. I don't know enough about circuit design and componentry to speak on whats most critical. That's why i suggested the (unfortunately expensive in CA) BAE, since its quite close in design and componentry from what i understand.

    JDK makes a pretty cool sounding rack eq for a reasonable price by pro standards. Might be worth looking into if you go pre only.
     
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  4. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Well-Known Member

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    here's a couple of reviews on the WA273. the second link is a little critical.

    link 1

    link 2

    to summarize, the issues that have arisen are in regard to the Carnhill transformers not being an exact match to the original Mariners, the use of multiple boards and ribbon connectors as opposed to one big trace with slot connectors and the 24V regulator having smallish heat sinks that are not tied to the case leading to possible long term reliability issues.
     
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  5. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

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    Are the knobs/switches high quality?
     
  6. ronmac

    ronmac Active Member

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    If I were able to pickup another 2 channel preamp, this would be it:

    https://www.cranborne-audio.com/camdenec2

    https://www.soundonsound.com/reviews/cranborne-audio-camden-ec2

    Hugh Robjohns is, to me, a trusted reviewer who is technically capable of digging deep enough into a unit to see its pros and cons.

    http://www.economik.com/cranborne-audio/camden-ec2/
     
  7. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Well-Known Member

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    i've been watching E bay and no one is discounting the WARM stuff ...... and there's no used pieces up for auction either . same for Reverb.

    the best deal i've seen is this one ... almost new, 10% off

    Marco, have you considered getting 2 single channel units? imo there's an upside to that approach. you can spread out the expenditure, if you hate the first one you can sell it and move on and to me it's always better to get 2 mono units with separate power supplies.
     
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  8. pcrecord

    pcrecord Quality recording seeker ! Well-Known Member

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    @ronmac : I didn't know this maker at all. But now that I look at it, I remember that Glenn Fliker was given one of there 500 series rack unit and was very impressed. Specially for it being able to connect via ADAT.

    @Kurt Foster : Thanks for all the info.. I'm still debating to get a Warm 273 without the EQ, It's a one rack space unit and would be a lot more easy on my pocket..
    The only thing sad is that the 1U unit doesn't have XLR inputs on the front panel. But it's not a big deal.
    It we're not sure the EQ is good enough or adds to the mojo by only being engage.. I don't see why I'd pay an extra 1k.
    I still have my eyes on that used RC-500 if I end with one rack space empty.. ;)
     
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  9. Davedog

    Davedog Well-Known Member

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    Having lived with a ISA 428 second generation now for almost ten years, I can tell you that its an excellent piece that does what it does quite well but it is NOT a Neve in sound or in function. But it does have things your 828 doesn't have ....a variable low pass filter which is much more usable in tracking than most features on any preamp. Not to degrade the 828 at all.

    I've been through a couple of Warm Audio pieces. I bought the 76 comp and the WA-12 MkII. They both were entirely functional and if I was a home studio enthusiast building up a budget conscious rig I would have both of these in the rack. They sound great for the price. And, for what its worth, at those prices you could do a Revive Audio upgrade to bring these to a true pro level. In fact, I would look at the Revive site for things you might not know about or consider since they do a lot of mods and upgrades to all sorts of boxes.

    I recently went through an upgrade in anticipation of the opening back up of the business.

    One of the things I added to the rack was the UK Sound 1173. Its a mono unit with a 1073 clone pre and an 1176 clone comp. The only thing that I think it lacks is the ability to have dual outputs. Not a big deal since I was looking for a strip to track things with and this one is superb. You can switch out the comp but why would you?!! Kyle mentioned this company earlier and I can't help but reiterate his comments about them. They are basically a BAE design only with a PC instead of eyelet build. I have tracked bass through mine as well as a voice over. It is a damn good box for the money. The real highlight is how close the pre is to a 1073 in its sound field.

    I'm with Kurt on keeping the UA iron. You can't replace it for what you'd get for it.

    Another company to consider if you are looking for a 'Neveish' take on things with EQ is Phoenix audio. They've changed hands since I first bought my DRS- Q4 MkII. I bought mine used 8 years ago from Vintage King . It was not originally a MkII but it spent a week @ Phoenix Audio a few years ago to replace a ribbon connector and an upgrade on the EQ so it is now. There are used ones out there that are quite reasonable in price and this is a box you will track through for any source. It has that 'Neve' stamp in it's DNA as the original company came from England where they did Neve maintenance and mod services for consoles. I'm unsure as to the direction of the new Phoenix gear and can't comment on it at all. So I'm talking only older used gear.

    Perhaps you should look at filling out a 500 rack? My upgrade included an 11 space BAE for compressors and accessory boxes....EQ's, phase boxes, bass resonant tools etc... This allowed me to move my Radial 6 pack to the preamp section and add three pairs of matched preamps. And this is the reason I mention a 500 rack. Initially, you have to have a good rack. The power supply has to be robust and able to deliver the swings you get when driving iron. The Radial delivers that. So I kept it. In it I added a pair of Burl B1's. Consecutive serial numbers. If you haven't experienced Burl products you are missing out. If I was building a studio from the ground up, these would be my conversion. I also added a consecutive number pair of Avedis MA-5 pres. Again, something to behold. I also had a pair of custom made John McAllister pres built for me. These border on API preamps in sonics but it seems they have more depth to them. They are incredible. These are a choice I'd make on a stereo pair over a string quartet with the gain way up. No noise at all. Just lush reproduction of the mic capture.

    Don't sleep on used True Systems P2 Analog boxes. either. They can be had reasonably. No EQ but what they do to the sound is really nice. Distributed by Neumann....so? Maybe they know something.......
     
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  10. pcrecord

    pcrecord Quality recording seeker ! Well-Known Member

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    Yes my ISA 428 MK1 and my 2 ISA Two have the variable hipass and they get used all the time..
    Thanks for the great info Dave
    The UK 1173 could be a solution.. The idea of having a comp is kind of seducing.. I would have to buy one and the second one later.. due to my limited budget.
    Some says the 1173 is a bit noisy, did you experience that ?
     
  11. Davedog

    Davedog Well-Known Member

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    I guess I misread you. I thought you said you had an ISA 828. But I see now its the 428 and two ISA 2s......

    I did not experience any excessive noise with the UK 1173 but I have not used it all that much. It was stupid simple to track with and thats what I bought it for. Something I could get a quick capture with, without a bunch of setup. I tracked bass direct and a voice with a Bock U95. I did some messing around with it with a guitar plugged in direct and got a very usable sound kinda like the direct guitar sound on Maggie May. That was through the CADAC at Morgan Studios.

    I have better sets of signal chains but I have to patch them (NOT a lot of work!! btw...I'm lazy) .
     
  12. pcrecord

    pcrecord Quality recording seeker ! Well-Known Member

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    I'm lazy too.. I don't have a patch bay so everyone of my preamps are already plugged in. That way I just select the interface input from the DAW...

    With the previous discussions, I was about to settle for a 2 channel no eq WA-273. You see I really want 2 for stereo recording.
    But now I wonder how much better the recreation of the 1073 is on the UK 1173.
    I learned over the years that having a compressor on the way in is a must specially for vocals. I enjoy it with the LA-610 and I also got a Golden Age Comp-3a that I use with an ISA preamp..
    But I could get the WA-273 and a dual compressor unit later on.. OR go with the 1173..
    I'm guessing the 1173 has more 1073 mojo than the Wa-273... But when you didn't try either.. it's hard to decide...
     
  13. pcrecord

    pcrecord Quality recording seeker ! Well-Known Member

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    So I looked for pictures of the inside of the units. The WA-273 (no EQ)
    BANNER-WA273-INSIDE.jpg
    And the UK sound 1173
    03-uksound-1173-open.jpeg
    Is it me or the 1173 doesn't have much inside ??
    I know it doesn't make the sound but ...
     
  14. Davedog

    Davedog Well-Known Member

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    There is definitely less surface mount stuff in the WA. Have you ever looked inside an 1176 compressor? There is nothing. But take it for what you will. I liked my WA stuff, I just wanted better. I wanted a semi-budget channel strip I could use for single songwriters who wanted to track demos so I bought the 1173. I can't tell you which is better for your application. My choice was good for me. The 1173 is a very good sounding unit and is stupid easy to operate. You can get a killer sound in a minute.
     
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  15. pcrecord

    pcrecord Quality recording seeker ! Well-Known Member

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    Yeah I know the 1176 isn't the busiest design and it works great. The comp-3A I got is very simple too. . .

    I'm just trying to rationnalise an un-rationnal purchase.. eh eh ... If I spend 3.5k for 2 x 1173, I'm trying to convince myself that it's the best choice for me.. ;)
     
  16. pcrecord

    pcrecord Quality recording seeker ! Well-Known Member

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    Alright, the GAS have me once again, I'm going to order 2 x UK Sound 1173. One in stock and the other to receive later.. so it's going to let me time to lower my credit card...

    Thanks to all of you for your inspiring thoughts and infos.
     
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  17. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

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    Awesome Marco, it seems to me you got a truly professional unit, can't wait to hear it!
     
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  18. pcrecord

    pcrecord Quality recording seeker ! Well-Known Member

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    You know me, I won't fail to post some samples and probably a few videos about them ! ;)
     
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