Focusrite ISA One - Wonderful Christmas Present

Discussion in 'Preamps / Channel Strips' started by DonnyThompson, Dec 22, 2017.

  1. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Well-Known Member

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  2. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Well-Known Member

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  3. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Well-Known Member

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    good for you Donny! happy festivus!:)

    AKG states the impedance as 200 ohms. Recommended load impedance: >= 2,200 ohms. i would go through the settings while you speak into it. monitor on headphones. what ever sounds the fullest or best is the right selection.
     
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  4. dvdhawk

    dvdhawk Well-Known Member

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    Wow! That's fantastic!! I look forward to hearing that killer combo.
     
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  5. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

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    Same on all counts. When all science fails, trust the ears. You'll hear where it shines. What a great gift.
     
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  6. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Well-Known Member

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    A wonderful gift!

    Selectable input impedance is most effective with dynamic microphones (moving coil and ribbons), but you can get subtle character change with condensers as well. I have noticed this when using the Audient ASP880, especially with transformer-output condenser mics.

    Try it and see. Start at the highest impedance setting and work downwards. Tune your ears for small changes. Write down a few words of description for each setting. Then go through the exercise again using an SM57.
     
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  7. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Well-Known Member

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    According to SOS, the impedance settings are as follows:
    Low-600Ω, ISA110-1.4kΩ ,medium - 2.4kΩ and hi - 6.8kΩ).
     
  8. pcrecord

    pcrecord Quality recording seeker ! Well-Known Member

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    Yes I too recommend going by ears
    Congratulation on the great addition to your arsenal.
    I can't wait hearing some samples and reading your comments since I've been raving alone about the ISAs for years... ;)
     
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  9. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Well-Known Member

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    medium is 2.4. akg drives a 2.2 load. lo is for ribbons? like 600 ohm or lower perhaps?

    perhaps you can get different tones out of it by switching the loads on the mic?
     
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  10. Makzimia

    Makzimia The Minstrel Well-Known Member

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    Grats Donny, I’ve never had the pleasure of a multi impedance preamp, just different headphone impedances, I would have thought suck and see too though :). Enjoy!!
     
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  11. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Well-Known Member

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    Mon Ami'... what's the total available gain rating on the ISA?
    It has several gain settings, I'm assuming they are "pads" (?) but from what I've read so far, according to SOS, the typical gain is 60db, with the "Trim" pot adding up to an additional 20db if needed - did I read that right? is that correct? Is this pre really capable of 80db of gain? If it is, this is a monster and would be awesome for low output dynamics/ribbons! And, being able to match the impedance load on moving coils (or at least getting damned close) could result in even more gain, no?
    Or am I wrong?
    Also tagging @Boswell
    Here's a link to the SOS review:
    https://www.soundonsound.com/reviews/focusrite-isa-one
     
  12. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Well-Known Member

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    The 80dB max gain is available when using a zero-Ohm source. A real microphone is going to have a non-zero output impedance, so the actual achievable gain will appear to be a little less than that. For example, if the pre-amp input loading were to be adjusted to equal the microphone output impedance, it would result in a 6dB attenuation, giving an apparent maximum gain of 74dB, this being an actual 80dB gain applied to an input signal reduced to half amplitude by the loading.

    It's interesting that, from your photo, it looks as though you have been given one of the original ISA One models, i.e. before the sloping front was introduced. There are reports that these models were a few dB quieter in noise terms than the later ones, but I've not had any confirmation of this.
     
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  13. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Well-Known Member

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    I'm looking forward to playing with it more seriously after the smoke clears from the holidays. I've already tried an SM58 through it, just for fun, and it sounds fantastic. :)
     
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  14. dvdhawk

    dvdhawk Well-Known Member

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    Remember when “plug and play” meant plug it in and play with it, rather today’s meaning of, ‘theoretically no software/driver configuration required’?

    Have fun!
     
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  15. ronmac

    ronmac Active Member

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    Congrats on the present and, more importantly, on having such an awesome friend.

    I've had one of these on my desk for the last few years and love it. Having such a high level of gain works magic on the SM7B I have it coupled to, and being able to use the impedance loading for such mics allows you access to a few different flavour options on the way in. As others have mentioned, the impedance options don't offer much when used with active, buffered mics.

    The coolest part of the design (by Rupert Neve, no less) is having two independent gain stages. This allows you to set the bulk of the gain on the main control (keeping the noise at that stage to the minimum) and adding the remaining on a clean driven second stage.

    It is a well designed and built piece of gear, with an impressive feature set.
     
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  16. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Well-Known Member

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    The more people I hear from on this mic pre, whether it's here or online reviews, the more I'm impressed by it. I've yet to read or hear anything negative about the ISA at all.
    I too love that it has the second clean gain stage. I'm also impressed that it has inserts, should I ever get the chance to add something like an LA2 to the gain chain.
    And, just this morning, found out that it provides L and R inputs for a cue/2 mix from my DAW.
    So far, and as you've mentioned, I've not heard any noticeable differences yet switching through the impedance settings using condenser mics... but a HUGE difference when using a Ribbon mic. Like, REALLY noticeable.
    I'll put the ISA through more use after this weekend... but so far I'm blown away by this mic pre. Makes me wanna go back and retrack some vocals I did recently. ;)
     
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  17. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Well-Known Member

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    I think you and I are gonna have fun with this pre when we fire up the OASIS sessions again.
    I can't wait to hear your SM7 through this pre. ;)
     
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  18. dvdhawk

    dvdhawk Well-Known Member

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    Well, I can’t afford an LA2A, but I did pick up one of those Klark 1176 clones, we’ll have to try that on the insert to see what you think.
     
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  19. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Well-Known Member

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    that's a cool feature. it gives you the option of placing processing gear between the pre amp and the gain amp or you can patch from the output. my MCI console had patches both between the pre and post eq as well as pre fader. there can be a big difference in the how a processor works depending where you patch in.
     
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  20. pcrecord

    pcrecord Quality recording seeker ! Well-Known Member

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    I never went to the maximum gain even with ribbon mics.
    But you must activate the 30-60 button which will give up to 60db on the selector then you get an extra 20db on the trim pot...

    I'm glad you are getting excited about the ISA as I am.. Yes they are not millennia's but they have their own thing !
    I'm so glad I have 8 of them !
     
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