By Paul White Eight top-class preamps priced within reach of the serious project studio However, it is far more versatile and more highly specified than its Platinum pal, incorporating eight ISA transformer-based preamps, with circuitry based on the original Rupert Neve design used in the well-regarded Forte console, and subsequently in the ISA Mk2 and ISA preamps. The aforementioned type of network is more usually associated with the speaker outputs of power amplifiers, to compensate for the inductive load of the speakers, but here it compensates for the inductance of the input transformer. All this fits into a mains-powered, 2U chassis.
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Details The ISA eight-channel microphone preamplifier provides eight original ISA transformer-based preamps in a single robust 2U chassis, offering the Focusrite signature sound at its lowest cost per channel to date. The preamps are complemented by eight line inputs, eight line outputs and an optional eight channel kHz A-D converter boasting a dynamic range of dB.
Thanks to its convenient 25 pin D-Type connectors, the ISA also integrates quickly and seamlessly with ProTools HD, as well as other popular hard disc recorders and mixing desks. The microphone input stage additionally includes a variable impedance circuit, allowing the user to switch between four carefully selected input impedance settings.
The original ISA setting is supplemented by three further impedance settings to either perfectly match the preamp with any microphone, thus maximising level, or to use different settings creatively to shape the sound of the microphone being used.
The four front panel instrument inputs also feature high and low impedance options to provide a comprehensive and accessible DI solution. Insert switches are also featured on every channel, should the need arise to place extra processing between the preamp and converter. Finally, every channel features a six LED input meter, complete with global precise meter trim. His studio After Hours features a wealth of Focusrite gear. Among his collection is a rack of eight classic ISA modules from a Focusrite Studio console: considered by many as the finest recording mixers in existence.
More recently, I got the ISA and it has become one of my main pieces of gear, not only in the studio but when I travel. Another amazing feature of the box is the impedance selection, which gives you a broad style of sounds, depending on how it matches to specific microphones.
When you change the impedance, you can hear how the preamp is matching to the microphone. It can really open the sound up, or it can even make a microphone sound duller than it really is. You want things to be top-notch quality, you want them to stay the way you envisaged them sounding when you were tracking them. And that was the main reason why I got the ISA Some companies choose to quote chipset performance, which is misleading.
Rafa Sardina Chooses ISA Range