ISA220 or SSL XLogic or something else...

Discussion in 'Mixing' started by rpstro02, Oct 31, 2007.

  1. rpstro02

    rpstro02 Guest

    Hey guys,
    I'm looking for a pre-amp as the front end to my projectmix I/O which I run with Pro Tools M-Powered. I want to record vocals, guitar and bass for metal and pop-rock. Right now I'm looking into the Focusrite ISA 220 w/ digital card and the SSL XLogic Alpha Channel. Can you tell suggest one of these or another one I haven't thought of? One of the big sellers with these is I feel I will get higher quality A/D with these when I use the digital outs. So keep that in mind. Thanks for the help.
  2. kittonian

    kittonian Guest

    Go with the SSL. You'll love it and with the VHD circuit you'll be able to drive the 2nd and 3rd order harmonics as you see fit (either one or the other or a blend of both together). Great unit at an amazing price.
  3. rpstro02

    rpstro02 Guest

    Thanks for the advice man. Does anyone know anywhere that I can listen to these devices? I'd like to hear the difference between some stock pre-amp and one of these high end pre-amps. Is this the next thing I need for my studio? I wonder if the A/Ds on the SSL are high quality?
  4. AudioGaff

    AudioGaff Well-Known Member

    Silicon Valley
    I'd say something else. The Focusrite ISA series in general is useful, but not the same Focusrite sound quality of yesteryear and there are many other preferred chocies. And the SSL outboard stuff is way over hyped, and much to expensive for what you get for your money.
  5. tifftunes

    tifftunes Active Member

    I like my ISA428 pre.
  6. rpstro02

    rpstro02 Guest

    Got any recommendations AudioGaff??

    Tifftunes, what kind of music do you record and what instruments do you record with the ISA428?
  7. tifftunes

    tifftunes Active Member

    I record rock, pop, 'n' blues. So far I like the 428 for everything (it "stacks" well) from drums, guitars and bass, to vocals, and whatever. I like the subtle "iron" or transformer added to the sound, like vintage Neve consoles, but not too much. I haven't tried it on solo acoustic piano or a classical setting yet. Though I believe it'd be fine there too. I really appreciate the digital "soft-limit" feature, and A/D converters. I also like that I can run my vintage Ampex 354 pre (or any other 4 inputs of choice) through the 428 to use the 428's limiter and converters. While it may not be a "premium" mic pre (and in fact is a bargain at $400 per channel), I am not a gear snob, and it is good enough for my purposes. I do admit to being a gear slut however! :cool: :D
  8. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Fredericksburg, VA
    I tend to like the current ISA range of Focusrite as well. I'm not fan of the Platinum line, but that's a whole different beast.

    I would seriously consider the A2D from API though.
    (dead link removed)

    It's built on the 312 preamp which has got to be one of the best sounding preamps in existence and perhaps one of the most flexible! (Rock to problem!)
  9. AudioGaff

    AudioGaff Well-Known Member

    Silicon Valley
    Ya. But to give any worthwhile or specific advice I would need to more about you, your working style and what you are trying to achieve in sonics, and several other things.

    I'm also a big fan and user of API. It is just delivers one of those jaw dropping moments almost everytime you use it. The Vintech X81 complments the API well as does the Great River NV. If you want real tone that pretty much always works, then the ViPre or Fearn are great and hard to beat. I could on and on. There is a lot of great stuff to choose from these days. I just don't think the ISA stuff is among it.
  10. sessionkeys

    sessionkeys Guest

    I have several years of excellent tracks from my ISA220 - and the converters are quite good as well.

    For some reason this preamp pairs nicely with mics from BLUE.

    And it does layer well in multi-track productions.
  11. J-MADD

    J-MADD Active Member

    Home Page:
    All my stuff is currently tracked with an ISA 428 and you can hear it on my link below. I do want to get either an api or Neve style preamp next time, but the ISA stuff isn't bad especially for the price. I don't care for it as much on high gain electric guitars, but it excels on drums.


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