Here's some blast from the past....
Far Right: Focusrite Ltd ISA 110 Series
Right: Focusrite Master Rock Studio Console
In 1985 Rupert and Evelyn Neve incorporated a new company called Focusrite Ltd. A new modern range of outboard equipment was launched to meet the demands of the studios such as rack mounted Equalizers and Dynamics processors, microphone and line driving amplifiers.
Under enormous pressure to go into mixing consoles again and with many promises of support and investment from friends in the industry, Focusrite Ltd. accepted orders for eight monster sound control consoles. Though the audio part of the design was complete and proven, the digital control side of the design (outside Rupertís field of expertise) ran into delays. The company ran out of time and money that resulted in liquidation in January 1989.
Mr. Phil Dudderidge, who incorporated a new company Focusrite Audio Engineering Ltd, bought the assets of Focusrite Ltd. He inherited the Focusrite Range designed prior to 1989 and continued to manufacture and market it. He has since added other units to the range. Rupert has never designed products for Focusrite Audio Engineering Ltd.
***some random comments I foudn interesting*************
>FORUM POSTer unknown > ALSO IT WAS AROUND THE SAME TIME THE FOCUSRITE STUFF WAS FIRST COMMING OUT THAT PEOPLE WERE THROWING OUT THEIR NEVES API consoles etc... I remember my buddy picked up a blackface 1176 for $200 bucks from a well name studio. At that time the same studio had a awesome API console and a sweet Ampex 2" machine and they couldn't get rid of it. Everyone belived that Focusrite and SSL made their old gear worthless, that sure didn't last long. Not only is that funny, but it also prooves my point that a lot of times people's hearing is affected by the latest trend even professional engineers.
Also I'm not sure but I believe if you bought 2 channels of the Focusrite pre it only came with the pres. I don't think the red face had any output transformer, and 2 channels in a rack was 2k something. So you got 2 $50.oo input transformers and a few 50 cent opamps. I think the whole thing is poe
>Forum Tech poster>
Lundahl transformer, NE5534, lastly (and very importantly) "pumpkin" toroidal tranny output stage, which is driven by a strongly biased 5534 with a high current class AB follower stage.
Contrast the Focusrite BLue Lundahl tranny/5534 with the V-series OEP type tranny/5534. One rocks, one doesn't.
It's not Rocket science, it's Rock it science!!!
Platinum = cynical attempt to sell using the Focusrite name.
You have to understand the history of the company.
The original ISA Blue series were designed by Rupert, who listens to what stuff sounds like. 5534s are excellent op amps. I know you'll read otherwise, but consider the source: many of these people saying so are sheep rather than engineers.
Focusrite went broke after Rupert was beseiged and plagued by people begging him to make consoles. Despite £1,500,000 (about $3,000,000 at the time) in orders, the company cash flow was so inadequately set up for large-frame manufature that it crashed. Phil Dudderidge (of Soundcraft) saw an opportunity and bought in, keeping the name alive. Rupert was gone, but the existing designs were now Focusrite's property (and therefore Phil could use them)
The Red series was an attempt to make basically the same stuff, but with some cost savings. Many boards inside red equipment that I've worked on have had alternative parts placings for blue and red, so the same motehr board can be used, but perhaps with some transformers skipped here and there, or some cheaper pots or something.
The Green series was the cynical attempt to sell based on the good name of Focusrite, founded by Rupert's early work. It's totally transformerless from everything I've ever seen, the cases are cheap castings, the knobs are cheap mouldings. The gear sounds like utter crap and doesn't deserve to bear the same name.
The Platinum is actually branded as the "entry-level" Focusrite gear. I saw one once. It made me shiver just to be in the same room as it. I never looked inside it, but I felt utter certainty that if it really was a step down from the greens, I wanted no part of it.
My platinum experience is therefore insufficient to give an opinion, but the Focusrite history lesson should put the product lines into better perspective.
Rich, I get the distinct impression from your postings that you're influenced more by what you think something should sound like rather than actually listening to it... I don't mean this as a criticism, but it sounds like your friend summed the original design up nicely: a transformer, a 5534 and a high gain stage (the transformer was omitted from his summary)
If it's simple, it might just sould like gold. That's how it frequently was for tubes, after all!
As I get the Neve connection, to Focusrite Ltd....1985 and gone by 1989.
Then the new owner had the designs, owned property to Focusrite Audio Engineering-> where as the Blue 110 etc...were the Neve.
Red and Green and Patinum not so Neve-ish (Transformers and Op Amp designs).
ISA series built with transformers and op amps, "Neve 1985-ish designs".
clear as mud! interesting story....