The Focusrite ISA range has quite an illustrious history. Derived from the original ISA 110 module that drove the incredible Focusrite Forte console, the ISA preamp is still going strong to today, and in a choice of formats that means the perfect preamp for you is in there!
When Focusrite was established by Rupert Neve in 1985, one of the first jobs was to add some extra modules to a Neve console for one of George Martin’s studios. This produced the ISA 110 module: a microphone preamplifier with filters and EQ. The ISA 110 was then made available as an external module, and its production was followed by the ISA 130, which added dynamics to the portfolio.
When Focusrite decided to build the absolute undisputed heavyweight champion of the console-world, cost was put to one side and [just] two Focusrite Forte consoles were produced. While the console was perhaps the heavyweight champion of the world, Focusrite’s finances had some issues because of it.
After an acquisition and relaunch as Focusrite Audio Engineering in 1989 and the release of a new console the following year, things got a lot better for Focusrite as they started packaging up all the fantastic audio circuits into outboard units. With the Red, Blue, Green and Platinum ranges, everybody could get the right pieces of Focusrite processing in their studio setup at a price that they could afford.
The ISA preamp design remained the circuitry for which Focusrite were best known and which was destined to make a comeback. And make a comeback it most certainly has. With its Lundahl transformers and bespoke Zobel network, the cornerstone of the ISA 110 circuit remains to this day, and lives on in the Focusrite ISA range of preamps and channel strips.
From the most convenient of portable preamp modules to a portable 8-channel unit via a complete studio-quality fully-featured single recording and mixing channel, the Focusrite ISA range has something for you!
Focusrite ISA One
The Focusrite ISA One is the most affordable way to put an ISA preamp in your studio or location rig. With a range of input impedances for the mic input, a DI input and line input, along with a headphone output and an optional digital card, the ISA One is a great preamp option to have available for your next session.
Focusrite ISA 430 mk2
For the complete professional channel strip, the ISA 430 mk2 is what you need in your studio. For tracking and mixing, the ISA 430 mk2 is the perfect solution, with a great-sounding compressor with a choice of VCA or optical modes, ISA 110-derived EQ and an expander/gate, the Focusrite ISA 430 mk2 is a superb use of 2U of rack space!
For those times when you need multiple channels of Focusrite’s professional-quality transformer-coupled preamps in a single unit, then the ISA 428 mk2 might be the preamp for you. Featuring four ISA topology preamps with variable input impedance for pairing perfectly with any mic from your mic locker, or to dial in different tonal chanracters, the Focusrite ISA 428 mk2 does the job x4!
Focusrite ISA 828
When you need 8-channels of top quality microphone preamplifier sweetness in the convenience of 2U of rack space, look no further than the Focusrite ISA 828. For some users, the 4-channels of the 428 may not be enough, but if you need to be able to record a drum kit with the modern lots-of-mics approach, the 828 is the 2U box for you.
Put your stock in an ISA
Whatever your recording scenario, there is something in the Focusrite ISA range for you. Not designed to be super-transparent, but also not designed to be overly hyped in the warmth department, the subtle transformer colouration gives that little bit of saturation to help add that certain analogue ‘something’ to your mix.
With a product to suit almost any application and budget, the Focusrite ISA range is well worth a look.
If it’s good enough for George Martin…
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