The ISA Story goes back to 1985, when Sir George Martin commissioned legendary designer Rupert Neve to design new modules for the console at AIR Montserrat. They were so successful that more were commissioned for AIR London. These original modules form the basis of today’s Focusrite ISA range – delivering the legendary Focusrite sound to leading studios, artists, producers and engineers around the world. Literally hundreds of hits have been made with the Focusrite ISA Range – and continue to be made today.
Focusrite’s ISA Two brings together a totally independent pair of legendary ISA microphone preamps from the original ISA 110 module, combining the best of traditional solid-state electronics with the original input transformer specified by Rupert Neve – the Lundahl LL1538. Two is a nice round number – ideal for recording, say, a vocal and an instrument, or a stereo piano. But though you may only need two mic pres, you owe it to your craft to choose the best. (And if you need more, we offer ISA 428 Mk II 4-channel and ISA 828 8-channel units too.)
Variable input impedance:
We’ve made one little adjustment to the mic pre. The original ISA 110 had a single input impedance that was ideal for the mics of the time. We’ve added three more, allowing you to get the very best out of any microphone, vintage or modern. Give a vintage mic the input it expects to get a traditional, warm sound. Pair the ISA Two with modern microphones and get the most transparent sound imaginable. Or experiment and pull out the inner character of any microphone you care to try. Couple that with up to 80dB of gain and you can be ready for anything.
Up to 80 dB of gain. ISA Two offers up to 80 dB of clean, distortion-free gain. The much heralded ISA topology also ensures low noise, even at the highest gain levels. The transformer alone supplies 20 dB of gain, while ISA's input stage offers up to 60 dB in addition, giving an astonishing 80 dB of maximum gain on the microphone input.
Four choices of input impedance, including the original ISA 110 value, allow you to match the preamp to your microphone, even if it's a vintage type, giving you the best possible sound. The impedance is selected using a switch on the front panel, and the impedance choice is remembered even once the unit is switched off and back on.
Each channel has an eight-LED array to clearly display the level of your two signal. You can line up your analogue levels with your converters of DAW by using the calibration knob on the rear panel. You will be safe in the knowledge that you have avoided clipping on the way in.
Two 1/4in. jack sockets on the front panel of ISA Two give you instant access to a transparent DI input. TRS line inputs are available on the rear panel too, and you can step through them instantly to select the one you want.
Built in, and easily accessed with its own large knob an illuminated button, is an extremely smooth sounding 18dB/octave high-pass filter of the same design as the original ISA 110 module. This is ideal for cutting out rumble, thumps and other unwanted low-frequency sounds and with a range of 16 to 420 Hz, it's easy to lose what you don't want, and keep what you do.