The ISA828 by Focusrite is a powerful eight-channel microphone preamp that is like a super powered version of the Focusrite Octopre. It can function exactly like this older product if that’s what you want, but it has a lot more to offer than the Octopre, especially in terms of versatility and function. The eight original ISA preamps are compacted into a small space, creating an awesome sound quality.
The ISA828 features circuitry based on the design created by Rupert Neve. It’s a classic, and Focusrite has used it in a number of their products. It also features the Lundahl L1538 audio transformer, another standard for Focusrite. The ISA828, however, was also designed to be incredibly affordable, and it has the lowest cost per channel of Focusrite’s products so far.
In addition to the preamps, there are eight line inputs and four instrument inputs. Four of the preamp channels feature high/low impedance switching, plus four of the instrument inputs are unbalanced. While some devices don’t feature a very good layout, the ISA828 places these inputs on the far left of the front, letting you use them as high-performance DI boxes. There are also a number of other controls can be easily accessed.
The ISA828 interfaces easily with ProTools and other popular apps, so you’ll most likely be able to use it with whatever software package you prefer to use. A switchable input impedance, one for each channel, gives you four different settings, so you can adjust your sound in a number of different ways. There are also switchable input points for each channel, plus a vintage high pass filter to help you eliminate any low frequencies you don’t want. The Focusrite ISA828 may seem to be expensive at $2,499, but you won’t find a cheaper device that does all of this.