Back in the mid-1980s, Sir George Martin commissioned console design legend Rupert Neve to build a series of new, ‘no compromise’ console modules for AIR studios. They were an enormous hit and formed ... Read More
Back in the mid-1980s, Sir George Martin commissioned console design legend Rupert Neve to build a series of new, ‘no compromise’ console modules for AIR studios. They were an enormous hit and formed the basis of the Focusrite Studio Console, widely regarded as the best-sounding analogue recording console of all time. Today, the descendants of those modules are used in leading studios around the world, and their sought-after Focusrite Heritage Sound lies behind hundreds of hit records. Today’s ISA Range from Focusrite puts the classic sound of Focusrite into your own studio or live performance.
Featuring a rugged, portable all-metal enclosure, the ISA One combines the classic Focusrite microphone preamp with a flexible, independent DI channel and optional 192kHz precision A/D conversion.
At the heart of the ISA range is the microphone preamplifier with its Lundahl input transformer – essentially the same circuit, based on the original ISA110, that has been used for 30 years in successive Focusrite designs. The input transformer imparts a special character to the sound that can’t be truly emulated in any other way: inseparable from the microphone itself, the transformer input stage is ideal for use with classic microphones. But this mic pre has a twist the original didn’t have, which makes it far more versatile: four carefully-selected impedances allow you to match microphone to input in different ways. Bring out the character of a classic mic or emphasise a special feature, or go for a totally transparent, modern sound – it’s up to you.
Whether you’re an artist, engineer or producer, you’ll appreciate the versatility of the ISA One, with its front-panel DI input. The DI includes low/high impedance switching and an amplifier output, and its own feed to the optional A/D converter and separate rear-panel XLR output.
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Reviewed by 7 customers
Displaying reviews 1-7
What a great pre-amp! I've been dealing with a lot of cheap ones that sound ok, but when I connected this ISA ONE to my Shure SM7b, it was like the clouds rolled away, and all was great. Absolutely no noise, and this holds true for all of my mic locker...condensers, ribbons, etc. I can't recommend this enough, and talk with your Guitar Center pro audio guy, and he will probably give you a nice break on the price. Focusrite...you got it right.
I dont do a lot of reviews but this unit is special. Its built well, it has TWO CHANNELS, which many miss that point. The most important fact is the great tone. I was ready to return it if it didnt improve my HR setup, but not only did it improve the sound, the ease of use and ability to plug in a Bass DI, or a SM7 (dynamic) mics into the main channel was why I give it a 5 star rating. I plug its outputs straight into my Recording Interface Line In and there is such a high quality sound without adding anything is amazing and makes it a solid piece to own and enjoy.
I use an AKG C414 XLS, and I wanted a good tube preamp to compliment the clarity of my AKG. I had done lots of comparisons of other preamps, but they were in the $1,000+ price range. I was reluctant to buy the ISA One because I thought it was ugly, but I decided that the price I bought it for was worth trying out. I was so surprised and pleased with how my mic sounded after using it. So much clarity and smoothness. It felt fuller and warm. I did some sound comparisons without it, just to see if it was my head playing tricks on me. Nope, the signal was fatter, the sound was full and smooth, and the artifact noises were diminished. I just wish it looked more modern.
I ordered the Focusrite ISA One and the Universal Audio Solo 610 so I would have one very nice Solid State transformer based Preamp and one very nice Tube Preamp in my home studio. In my opinion, this is "the preamp" everybody should save up for and buy as a first preamp as opposed to buying a couple of lower priced preamps before buying a "good" preamp. For less than the price of an ART MPA II and a Focusrite Trakmaster Pro, the ISA One gives you a multi-faceted, "multi-color" preamp that you'll most likely keep for a long time. I love how my Solid State and Tube Condensor microphones sound going through this thing, especially at the ISA 110 setting. That setting, its Swiss Army Knife capabilities and its incredible price make purchasing this unit a "No-Brainer". PS-I have owned the ISA One for 3 months. It is built like a tank. The look and feel is fantastic for what that might be worth. More importantly, though, I think it sounds great!
This unit was recommended often on the forums and articles by pro's for a someone wanting a pro pre amp. I took it home and tried this to see what a "pro" unit is. Out of the box it was built like a tank. Plugged in and turning the pots it was just impressive, the layout and feel of the pots and also the extreme tones one can get from the various settings. Its also a 2-channel unit which makes this unit over the top a great value. 2 professional channels. Plugging in a microphone the gain is there for any mic type you can toss at it. The sound can be super clean, or if ran with certain settings a pure compressor tone from the transformer is obtained for that familiar sound we hear on records or the radio. This unit is an extremely great value, because of the 2 channels with separate outputs. A DI and a Main Mic Channel would also work great for coffee house gigs for a beautiful sound. A company good enough for Sir George Martin, and this unit is of that design family tree with Lindy Transformers and color layout.
This pre is the TRUTH!. lol, I use the pre as my go to for vocals in conjuction wit a blue blueberry mic. I record hip hop, and rnb vocals on a day 2 day basis and my clients love the sound of this unit. Its hard to describe u just gotta hear it for yourself to understand. If you can imagine your vocals with this "glossy sheen" to them, thats what it sounds like. They come across very focused and and transparent. Please do yourself a favor and get this pre!
This thing is great, just gotta throw that out. It has a character you can't mistake. Because of the lundhall transformers, you get this sort of sizzle that you have to hear to understand. When ABed with some less expensive preamps you will notice the effects immediately. I also enjoy the fact that you can use it as a latency free piece. During a session, the singer was having trouble singing through pro tools and my latency. I didn't want to sacrafice plug's to improve latency, so we ran it through the ISA. This really is the centerpiece of my pro tools rig. I find myself running everything through it. I would say it is a great value that can stand up to all the other big name pre's.
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