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Focusrite ISA428 Four Channel Preamp

Description

The ISA 428 is the perfect multi-channel front end for any professional DAW. Four classic, transformer-based pre amps with switchable impedance and direct instrument inputs. An optional eight channel 192kHz ADC, preceded by an all-new proprietary Soft Limiter circuit, provides the perfect path into a Pro Tools HD system. 

The benefits of the preamp's topology include superb common-mode rejection, an excellent overload margin and, with its shared gain structure (20dB from the hand-wound transformer and up to 40dB from the amplifier), an extremely low noise floor and super- wide bandwidth (10Hz to 200kHz). This pre amp design is the cornerstone of Focusrite's signature 'warm-yet-transparent' sound and is a point of reference for any discerning audio professional.

Here's what Focusrite say about the ISA428

The ISA428 MkII provides four of Focusrite's prestigious transformer-based microphone preamps. It features the same classic circuitry and renowned audio quality found in the original at a new level of affordability. With selectable input impedance, direct instrument inputs and an optional eight channels of high-quality analogue to digital conversion, the ISA428 MkII creates the perfect front end for the discerning recording professional.

First introduced in 1985, the ISA microphone preamp holds a reputation for outstanding transparency along with subtle warmth contributed by transformer core saturation. The addition of a variable impedance circuit allows ISA users to perfectly match the preamp with any microphone, or to use different settings creatively to shape the sound of the microphone. Unchanged for decades, the ISA microphone preamp topology offers incredible clarity and the signature Focusrite sound that makes it the top choice among many audio professionals today.

The optional class-leading eight-channel A-D converter option used with the ISA828 is also compatible with the ISA428 MkII. Along with the four mic preamp inputs, four additional inputs allow you to route other line signals through the converter. High quality Burr-Brown Pro Audio Amplifiers and flagship PCM4220 A-D converter chips seated within Focusrite custom analogue circuitry deliver unparalleled performance. Specifications include a dynamic range of 122dB and jitter performance below 250 picoseconds. The card can be retrofitted at any time. Thanks to its convenient 25-pin D-Type connector, it integrates seamlessly with most digital workstations, including Pro Tools.

Four instrument inputs, instantly accessible on the front panel, allow quick and easy connection without the need for a separate DI box. Extra processing can be placed between preamp and conversion via the units dedicated insert points, featured on every channel. Finally, accurate six-segment LED metering is designed to catch even the fastest transients on every channel.

Over 25 years, Focusrite has earned a reputation for bringing superb audio quality and engineering excellence to an array of audio professionals. Whether you're looking to preserve the sound of your classic microphones, or searching for the perfect front end for your digital studio, the ISA428 MkII brings legendary tools to your studio at an exceptional new price.

The ISA Pre

The ISA microphone preamplifier was first introduced back in 1985. This transformer-based preamplifier formed the first half of the ISA110 mic pre and EQ module on Focusrite's critically acclaimed Forté console. This console, and the later Studio console were hailed by many as the finest sounding consoles ever built.

The ISA microphone preamplifier went on to form the cornerstone of all ISA and RED Focusrite products. The topology has never changed, except for the addition of a variable impedance circuit, allowing ISA users to either perfectly match the preamp with any microphone, thus maximizing level, or to use different settings creatively to shape the sound of the microphone being used. The original ISA110 setting was supplemented by three further impedance settings.

The Focusrite preamp is renowned for its transparency, but there's also a subtle warmth that transformer core saturation contributes. This seeming contradiction of warmth plus beautifully open, unrestricted high frequencies, is a classic hallmark of the mid 80's Focusrite designs.

With processors whose bandwidth is strictly limited to the audible (20Hz to 20kHz) bandwidth alone, significant roll-off can still occur, affecting the higher audible frequencies of the signal. Therefore, in order to capture every subtle nuance, exactly as it occurs whilst avoiding any roll-off, the preamp must operate over a far greater bandwidth. The extremely broad frequency response of Focusrite preamps - close to 200kHz at the top end - guarantees accurate phase response across the much narrower range of human hearing, the roll-off point being moved entirely outside of the audible hearing range.

Four ISA series transformer-based preamps

ISA series mic preamps have been the producers' choice on countless hit records over the last two decades.

Eight-channel optional A-D converter

Four additional A-D converter inputs allow eight channels of high-quality conversion, with a dynamic range of 122dB and jitter performance below 250 picoseconds. More information can be found here.

Selectable impedance

Ideal for mic matching or extended microphone creativity. Settings include the 'Vintage ISA110' setting, providing the original Focusrite signature sound.

Four front panel instrument inputs

Instant access on the front fascia - no separate DI box required.

Dedicated analogue insert points

Switchable insert points are featured on every channel, allowing routing (between pre-amp and output) through additional external processing.

Variable high pass Focusrite filter

Provided on every channel, this is the same filter as featured on the original ISA428.

Accurate LED meters for every channel

Clear metering designed to catch even the fastest and most elusive of transients.

Additional Features

  • Phantom power available on every channel
  • Trim control allows 20dB of extra gain with fine adjustment
  • Phase reverse buttons help to correct phase issues with microphones or cables
  • Optional A-D converters easily synchronise to external word clock

Mic Inputs

  • Frequency response at minimum gain (0dB): -0.35dB at 20Hz and -3dB at 122kHz
  • Frequency response at maximum gain (60dB): -2.5dB at 20Hz and -3dB 103kHz
  • Gain range: 0dB to +60dB in 10dB steps, plus 0dB to +20dB continuously variable trim
  • Maximum headroom: +7.4dBu
  • THD+N: 0.0009% (measured at 1kHz -20dBu input signal, at 30dB gain setting, with a 20Hz/22kHz bandpass filter)
  • Noise EIN: -126dB (measured at 60dB of gain with 150 termination and 20Hz/22kHz bandpass filter)
  • Noise at main output with unity gain: -98dBu (measured with a 20Hz/22kHz bandpass filter)
  • SNR: 123dB (relative to max output 25dBu)
  • SNR: 120dB (relative to 0dBFS (+22dBu)
  • CMRR: 88dB.
  • Input Impedance, variable: 600, 1400, 2400, 6800

Line Inputs

  • Frequency Response at unity gain (0dB): -0.3dB at 20Hz and -3dB at 94kHz
  • Gain range: -20dB to +10dB in 10dB steps, plus 0dB to +20dB continuously variable trim
  • Maximum headroom: +25.4dBu
  • THD+N: 0.002% (measured with +4dBu input signal, 0dB gain setting, with a 20Hz/22kHz bandpass filter)
  • Noise at main output with unity gain: -91dBu (measured with a 20Hz/22kHz bandpass filter)
  • SNR: 116dB (relative to max output 25dBu)
  • SNR: 113dB (relative to 0dBFS +22dBu). Input Impedance: 10k

Instrument Inputs

  • Frequency Response at +10dB gain: -0.2dB at 20Hz and 0dB at 200kHz
  • Frequency Response at +40dB gain: -3dB at 20Hz and -3dB at 38.4kHz
  • Gain range: +10dB to +40dB continuously variable
  • Maximum headroom: +11.5dBu
  • THD+N: 0.006% (measured with -20dBu input signal, at minimum gain (+10dB), with a 20Hz/22kHz bandpass filter)
  • Noise at main output with minimum gain (+10dB): -95dBu (measured with a 20Hz/22kHz bandpass filter)
  • Input Impedance = >1M

High Pass Filter

  • Roll off = 18dB per octave 3 pole filter
  • Frequency range: 16Hz to 420Hz (continuously variable, measured at the 3dB down point)

Meters

6 LED meter is calibrated 0dBFS = +22dBu (the maximum level which can be correctly converted by the optional internal A/D converter before overload occurs). The meter calibration points are as follows:

Meter panel calibration value in dBFS / Equivalent dBu value

  • 0dBFS / +22dBu
  • -2dBFS / +20dBu
  • -6dBFS / +16dBu
  • -12dBFS / +10dBu
  • -18dBFS / +4dBu
  • -42dBFS / -20dBu

Front and rear connectivity

  • Analogue Channel Inputs (Inputs 1-4)
  • 4 instrument 14" TS jack inputs on front panel
  • 4 microphone XLR inputs on rear panel
  • 4 line 14" TRS jacks on rear panel
  • 4 insert return 14" TRS jacks on rear panel
  • 4 ADC XLR inputs on rear panel

Analogue Audio Outputs (Outputs 1-4)

  • 4 line XLR outputs on rear panel
  • 4 insert send 14" TRS jacks on rear panel

Other I/O

  • IEC power input connector 100Vac - 240Vac

Front Panel Indicators

  • 8 output meters, 6 segment
  • 4 30-60 mic gain range selection indicator
  • 4 +48V phantom power indicator
  • 4 Phase indicator
  • 4 Insert In indicator
  • 4 Filter In indicator
  • 4 Input selection indicators (Mic, Line, Inst)
  • 4 Z In microphone input impedance selection indicators (Low, ISA110, Med, High) Clock select indicators (44.1, 48, 88.2, 96, 176.4, 192)
  • Ext clock indicators (Lock, Word clock, 256X)

Weight

  • 5.5kg
  • 12.2lbs

Dimensions (W x H x D)

  • 480mm (W) x 88mm (H) x 280mm (D)
  • 19" (W) x 3.5" (H) x 11" (D)
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£1,299.00
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SKU:P+ISA428