Focusrite ISA430 MKII
The Focusrite ISA430 MKII Producer Pack Channel Strip provides a ton of great sounding processing power in two rack spaces. With circuitry taken from the mythical Rupert Neve designed Focusrite Forte recording console from the 1980s, the ISA430 MKII is outfitted with additional features such as a De-Esser, Gate/Expander, and more. An optional premium A/D converter card works for two channels, delivering pristine digital audio to your DAW.
The Focusrite ISA 430 MKII represents the pinnacle of Focusrite's analogue channel strip technology, bringing together all the classic designs in one comprehensive production tool. Augmented with additional features and flavours, alongside unmatched internal routing and connectivity, the ISA 430 MKII enables today's recording professional to enjoy the unique sonic contribution of these heritage designs within one extremely versatile processor. Focusrite's iconic status as the leading manufacturer of channel strips remains unrivaled.
Classic Focusrite ISA Transformer-based Mic Pre with Variable Impedance - The mic pre features a transformer-based design, with variable input impedance from 600 to 6800 ohms - so it will get the best out of any microphone, from modern condensers to the most finicky ribbon types (who tend to prefer higher impedance settings). The variable impedance can be set for transparency or to highlight special features of the mic, such as presence bumps and rolloffs. Depending on your choice of setting, you can maximise flatness and transparency or deliberately bring out the special features of your chosen mic, such as a presence boost or high/low-end rolloffs. And there's a special "air" button that brings in an inductor to enhance the effect without needing additional EQ.Switchable additional inductance adds "air" without EQ.
Versatile Dual Mode Compressor - The compressor section features both a transparent VCA circuit, which can be used to apply significant amounts of compression without audible artefacts, and a vintage optical design that brings with it the characteristic feel of a traditional compressor. Optional auto release and "blend" control add to the section's flexibility, the latter by allowing mixing of the original signal with the compressor output, maintaining as much as possible of the natural dynamics without losing the benefits of compression.
Gate / Expander - The Gate/Expander section is based on a transparent VCA design and includes a "hysteresis" setting that stops the gate chattering on difficult signals, while the de-esser is based on phase cancellation at the chosen frequency, rather than being compressor-based, leading to improved naturalness of sound.
Focusrite ISA 110 Derived EQ - The EQ section is exceptional, with HPF and LPF, two separate bands of parametric EQ (each with normal and x3 ranges for maximum versatility), and HF and LF shelving sections. In addition, individual parts of the equaliser can be switched into the side chain of the dynamics sections, allowing frequency-conscious compression, gate keying and other effects, while a "Listen" button allows you to audition the side-chain so you can tweak the EQ to get exactly the dynamics effect you're looking for.
Class-Leading Optional A-D Conversion - And finally, there is an optional Focusrite Stereo A/D - 24-bit 192 kHz Delta Sigma converter card which adds two channels of flawless 24-bit A-D conversion at sample rates up to 192kHz and with 120dB of dynamic range, preceded by a soft limiter to prevent clipping. Like the other parts of the ISA430 MkII, it can be used as part of the channel strip or as a completely independent unit.
Four Units in One, Independently Accessible - Use the mic pre, EQ, Dynamics and A-D converter independently, or route them to build powerful simultaneous processors. Re-order different sections to create multiple alternative signal paths.
Powerful Processing Options - Insert HPF, LPF and EQ into the Dynamics sections for frequency-sensitive processing - Listen function lets you audition the side-chain to fine-tune the effect.
The Most Versatile Channel Strip - The ISA 430 MkII features Focusrite's ultimate heritage sonic signature including transformer-based mic pre, versatile EQ with two dual-range parametrics, compressor with both transparent VCA and vintage optical circuitry, expander/gate, phase-cancellation de-esser and optional 192kHz/24-bit 2-channel A-D conversion.
Focusrite ISA430 MKII Features
- Classic Focusrite ISA transformer-based mic pre with variable input impedance
- Versatile equalisation including two dual-range parametrics, HPF and LPF
- Dual-mode compressor with both VCA and optical circuitry
- VCA-based expander/gate with "hysteresis" setting to avoid chattering
- Phase-cancellation de-esser for more natural processing
- Optional 192kHz/24-bit A-D conversion with soft limiter
- Two Year Warranty
Focusrite ISA430 MKII Specifications
- Line Input:
- Gain Range: +10dB to +40dB continuously variable
- Input Impedance: >1M Ohm
- Mic Preamp Input:
- Gain Range: 0 to +60dB in 10dB steps
- Input Impedance: Variable as follows: 600 Ohm, 1k4 Ohm, 2k4 Ohm, 6k8 Ohm
- EIN: -128dB with 150 Ohm terminating impedance at 60dB of gain
- Noise: -97dBu
- THD: 0.001% with -20dBu 1kHz input and 20Hz-22kHz bandpass filter
- Compressor (VCA mode):
- Threshold Range: -28dB to +12dB
- Ratio: 1.5:1 to 10:1
- Slope: Soft knee
- Attack: 100us to 100ms
- Release: 100ms to 7s, variable or auto (program dependent)
- Compressor (Vintage Opto mode):
- Threshold Range: -28dB to +12dB
- Ratio: 1.5:1 to 5:1 in Comp mode, 5:1 to 20:1 in Lim mode
- Slope: Soft knee in Comp mode, Hard knee in Lim mode
- Attack: Fixed
- Release: Fixed
- Low Pass Filter: 18dB/oct from 400Hz to 22kHz
- High Pass Filter: 18dB/oct from 20Hz to 1k6Hz
- Parametric section is comprised of: Low-mid & Hi-mid parametric, each with continuously variable boost/cut with centre detent, frequency sweep control with two ranges, and fully variable Q. Low-mid frequencies 40Hz to 400Hz (120Hz to 1k2Hz when x3 is pressed). Hi-mid frequencies 600Hz to 6kHz (1k8Hz to 18kHz when x3 is pressed)
- Shelving section is comprised of: High Frequency Shelf: The frequency range steps are 1.5kHz, 3.3kHz, 6.8kHz and 15kHz (2.2kHz, 4.7kHz, 10kHz and 18kHz when Hi Range is engaged). Low Frequency Shelf: The frequency range steps are 20Hz, 56Hz, 160Hz and 460Hz (33Hz, 95Hz, 270Hz and 655Hz when Hi Range switch is engaged)
- Threshold Range: -40dB to +10dB
- Gate Range: 0 to -80dB
- Attack: switched fast or slow
- Release: 100ms to 5s
- Hold: 20ms to 4s
- Expander Ratio: 0 to 5:1
- Threshold Range: 22dB
- Frequency Range: 2k2 to 9k2
- Ratio at centre frequency: 2:1
- Threshold Range: 20dBu
- Ratio: infinite (Brick Wall)
- Attack: Frequency dependent
- Metric: 484mm (W) x 85mm (H) x 250mm (D)
- Inches: 19" (W) x 3.5" (H) x 9.8" (D)
- Optional A-D Converter Specifications
- Output formats (All channels):
- AES/EBU (5V / 110 ohms), S/PDIF (0.8V / 75 ohms)
- ADAT lightpipe (SMUX I/II/IV)
- S/PDIF lightpipe
- Bit depth: 24 bits
- AES3 output jitter:
- <:500ps, 50Hz-100kHz
- <:400ps, 700Hz-100kHz
- Frequency response:
- All ranges: 20Hz-20kHz +/- 0.3dB (50Hz-16kHz +/- 0.1dB)
- 176.4kHz, 192kHz : 16Hz-55kHz +/- 0.5dB
- -117.5dB A-weighted, audio band-limited, 1kHz, -60dB FS input
- Maximum 0.004% at +/-1dB FS (1kHz)
- Minimum 0.0008% at +/-13dB FS (1kHz)
- Idle channel noise: 113.5dB at 44.1kHz, CCIR-weighted, full bandwidth
- Crosstalk: -109dB at 12kHz
- Output formats (All channels):
Focusrite ISA430 MKII Downloads
- Focusrite ISA430 MKII Users Guide / Owners Manual (PDF)
- Digital Conversion - The Focusrite Approach (PDF)
- 9-Pin AES/EBU Output Pin-Out for Optional AD Converter Card (PDF)
What We Think
"The Focusrite ISA430 MKII Producer Pack Channel Strip has been a longstanding product which set the standard for how a channel strip could and should behave when adapted to the 19-inch rack format. The myriad input output options manifest in the accessibility of individual components within make the ISA430 MKII an extremely versatile unit for both tracking and mixing. Use the Gate / Expander section for snare drum, the compressor for bass guitar, EQ on vocal, or whatever setup you like. It's there for you to experiment with. Therefore a patchbay is recommended for getting the most out of your ISA430 MKII (and your whole studio - Seriously, you don't know what you're missing out on if you don't have a properly integrated patchbay [We can help with this!] ).
But enough about functionality... How does it SOUND? Here's the thing, the ISA430MKII is for all intents and purposes the inspired manifestation of the ISA110 (the mic/line and equalizer module of the storied and mythical Focusrite Forte console) with additional processing. The Forte is renowned for being a departure from earlier designs of Rupert Neve (original designer/owner of Focusrite) in that it was crystal clear... with the addition of a little musical sonic mojo. In fact, the Forte indicated the patch which his designs would continue to refine as the years marched on. At the core of Focusrite ISA is the Lundahl transformer which is where the musical sonic mojo comes from. Lundahls are famous for being frequency-flat transformers that have a smooth character. The Focusrite isn't particularly "biting" in it's sound, which I find is good for capturing smoother tones. But the flexibility of the mic preamp is manifest in it's variable impedance settings. Here you can really capitalize on the character of your microphone and dial in on the sound you're after. This is really the first of Rupert's designs to offer an impedance going up to 6.8kOhm which allows more top end and dynamics to shine through with ribbon mics, or when you need to do a little sweetening with the preamp without reaching for the equalizer.
Speaking of which, the equalizer is really a joy to use. The large knobs serve great functionality to allow you to make more minute, fine adjustments. It's a smooth sounding eq that is both musical and surgical without sounding overwhelmingly obvious in that it is in use on the channel.
The compressor is extremely versatile in that you have dual mode operation. Need it grabby? Go for the VCA mode. Need it smooth? A vocal or bass? Go for the Opto mode. An LA-2A or LA-3A it is not, but it's still a very useful and good sounding opto compressor in it's own right. And the Gate / Expander is quite useful and very smooth. It's a unit to rival other console or outboard units worthy of professional consideration.
When you really break it down, the Focusrite ISA430 mkII is a Channel Strip that makes a perfect sense to have a PAIR of to allow ample flexibility for stereo tracking and stereo processing on the mix-bus or a sub-mix. And the optional 2-Channel AD converter makes for a great upgrade for the project studio user who is looking for a total signal path upgrade. And when comparing to other professional quality channel strips, the ISA430 mkII is a very good value - especially considering the sound and sheer quality and quantity of analog processing power."
No review yet, Be first to Write a Review