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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    Hi gang,

    My GAS makes me suffer these days and I contemplate the idea to sell one of my 2 UA LA-610 and replace it with something else.

    I'm tempted by the WA273-EQ but I'm wondering if it will be better than the ISAs or not.
    I have 8 ISA preamps and they are my favorites..
    I could buy a used ISA 428 (4 preamps) for about the same price of a WA273-EQ (2 preamps).
    I see that the 273-EQ would be nice because of the EQ but also the fact than you can drive it more and lower the output volume which the ISA can't do. But I wouldn't be happy if the 273 doesn't sounds at least as good as the ISA. The ISA was designed by Rupert Neve originally and the WA273 is a clone of a Neve. How close could they be ?? Both offer 80db.. ?
     
  2. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Well-Known Member

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    imo, selling the UA to buy a WARM would be a step back. if i were in your shoes, i would hang on to any UA piece as a long term investment. plus if you sell the LA 610, you're losing the comp/limiter.

    i love what WARM is doing but what they are making are tools, not investment grade military spec gear like UA.

    the ISA range is a different design from the 1073 range. you're comparing apples to oranges. both great but very different.

    the WARM stuff is not very expensive. if it was me, i'd just save to get it and keep what you already have.
     
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  3. pcrecord

    pcrecord Quality recording seeker ! Well-Known Member

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    I have 2 LA-610 and rarely use them both at the same time.. actually I don't remember when the last time.
    I'm just debating having a different sound in my toolbox really.
    Going from 1 channel to 2 with the wa273 or to 4 with the ISA 428 is also apealling.. Of course I'm not doing many bands lately as you could have guess ;)
     
  4. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Well-Known Member

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    i'm for getting the ISA and the WARM and keeping both LA610's ....... :D
     
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  5. pcrecord

    pcrecord Quality recording seeker ! Well-Known Member

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    Hey hey !! I wish !! ;)
     
  6. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Well-Known Member

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    i'd wait ..... WARM stuff is hitting the used market just about now.
     
  7. pcrecord

    pcrecord Quality recording seeker ! Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, I'm considering a used one..
     
  8. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Well-Known Member

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    go ahead! do it!
     
  9. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

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    UK Sound makes a 1073 which sits between a Neve and a WA, and got a good review in SOS. Its a division of BAE and we know BAE is the real deal.

    To me if your gonna go Neve you want to go with the real thing or very close to it. As good as WA ect is, nobody is describing them as "magic". This is not a knock on WA, rather a compliment to truly special pieces of gear.

    That's my 2c.
     
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  10. Link555

    Link555 Well-Known Member

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    Having repaired a few ISA's 428 now ... I am not as a big of fan of them anymore... my comments here are not on sound quality or the usefulness of the box, but more the design and construction. The 428 is pretty jam packed with the all the features it has, but the PCB layout is a pushing the edge between cost savings and quality. I have worked on a few power supply failures now, and issues with digital circuits noise finding its way into the analog section. The original neve pre might be a good design, but what the box has grown into has, IMHO compromised the the circuit integrity a bit.
     
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  11. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Well-Known Member

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    i would guess that the ISA is a not built to military spec device like original Neve designs. mil spec is always easier to service. the Focusrite ISA's use printed circuits to keep manufacturing costs down.

    the ISA is not the same circuit as a 1073 / 1087 and their variants. to complicate things even more there are various broadcast Neve's that are different as well. to make things even more confusing, there can be differences in parts sourced from console to console with no two being exactly the same. the Sound City console that Dave Grhol owns is said to be very "special". so when you think Neve, keep in mind that you need to listen to a few, especially if you are auditioning vintage ones. some will have more mojo than others. this is what happens when things are crafted by hand. the ISA was a design requested by George Martin for AIR studios and was a departure from the earlier designs.
     
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  12. Link555

    Link555 Well-Known Member

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    Just to be clear, the design problems I have seen as not a result of the choice to use a printed circuit board(PCB). Any circuit, PCB or not will be much better when designed with heat and noise taken into consideration. Of course there are always compromises to be made. I think feature creep and price point (marketing department requests no doubt :sneaky:) drove the final quality of the ISA 428 down a bit.
     
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  13. pcrecord

    pcrecord Quality recording seeker ! Well-Known Member

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    Hey guys I missed it..
    I was looking on Ebay for the WA273-EQ and waiting to bid on the last day but the seller removed the item..

    Now to prove that I'm a crasy dude, I just say a used MILLENNIA MEDIA - HV-37
    Do I wait for an other WA273-EQ for it's coloration or do I go for the HV-37 for a cleaner sound ??
    What do you think..

    I also saw a Presonus RC-500 - this one is said to be very good at a low price
    Do I order both ?
     
  14. Link555

    Link555 Well-Known Member

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    apples to oranges... I am a fan of the Millennia for what they do.
     
  15. pcrecord

    pcrecord Quality recording seeker ! Well-Known Member

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    I know Millennia and Neve can't be further appart !! hey hey..
    I want to replace one of my 2 LA-610 and I'm looking for bargins around.. I found this brand new HV-37 with a 300$ rebate..
    My brain just go.. well why not having it very clean and if I want to color it after I can do it ITB..
    On the other and Neve is becoming like a Cult, having 2 channels even of clones might make customers more interested..
    I don't think Millennia preamps are well known to musicians like Neve..
    But on the other end. it's the end results that mathers.
    GAS is a real sickness !!! ;)
     
  16. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Well-Known Member

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    Marco, you are going to kick yourself down the line if you sell off one of your LA610s. the UA stuff is just as attractive to clients as any WARM thing will be. i do encourage the purchase of a couple of 273's but i also think you need to hang on to the UA. just my 3 cents.
     
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  17. pcrecord

    pcrecord Quality recording seeker ! Well-Known Member

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    I get you Kurt.
    The thing is, my 2 LA-610 were bought used from Ebay 5-6years ago.. They are MK1 produced in 2001 and were both in a studio running like crasy before I got them.. So they aren't what I'd call in pristine shape.
    Soundwise, they sound very different so I'm never tempted to use them for stereo recording. I did change the tubes on both of them and like one better than the other so I always use it..
    Of course they both retain some value for resale, but of course the time isn't so good so I might not be selling it right away.
    Liberating 2 space in my rack, that's where I think I could put more goodies and augment the channel count as well.

    So either I wait for a used Neve clone again or I jump on the Millennia and possibly the RC-500 to fill the 2 spaces..
     
  18. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Well-Known Member

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    i get you too:D. the Millennia you're thinking about has a smaller power supply than the HV3. it's the same power supply they designed for the 500 series stuff they put out and it runs on a lower rail voltage. there are other differences / compromises in the overall design as well. imo, if you really want a Millennia, get an HV3. the only Millennia i would have is an Origin. i had one for a long time and the only thing i didn't like about it was that i only had one. i really like the eq and compressor sections but i never was that stoked on the Millennia pre amp in either topology or with/without the transformer engaged. i mean they are actually really good pres but i just don't like how clean and transparent they are even in tube /transformer modes. i like gear that exhibits transfer function. if you're recording string quartets and symphonic music, transparent is what you want. but for most pop music applications i prefer mic pres with attitude.
     
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  19. pcrecord

    pcrecord Quality recording seeker ! Well-Known Member

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    That gives me some thought.. You're right I'm more into pop / rock music...
    So my first thought about the WA-273-EQ isn't that bad.
    Do we know how much the EQ affects the sound of the Neve pre ? I read that even without an EQ curve applied, just engaging it adds to the sound.
     
  20. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

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    Ive only used a calrec, and the eq is not particularly subtle. I wouldn't say it effects the sound in any way that isn't expected from an eq.

    Ive grown to appreciate the fixed frequency selections, and stepped knobs (switches). In my experience the unit sounds a bit "much" by itself but sat perfectly in the mix, and took dsp processing much easier than tracks recorded with lesser units did. The coolest thing is your ear recognizes the sound. Its satisfying to be recording your stuff and it sounding like "real records".

    I hear some people talk about the neve top end, but for me the mid range is its most powerful region.

    Part of me dislikes the fact that neve sound is so ubiquitous, but its because it works. I would certainly aim to have a few other more unique peices for creativity sake. But the neve does alot of work.

    If i recall correctly Al Schmidt works on a neve console, and does alot of jazz and classical, though doesn't use eq much.

    Have you looked into a used BAE??
     
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