MIKEROPHONICS Mic Pre-Amp Shoot Out: Neve 8801 Channel Strip vs Focusrite ISA One

08-26-2014 08:13 PM

I have in my grubby paws a nice Neve 8801 Channel Strip (thank you to A&E UK) and thought I would record a quick test (in the spirit of my recent mic pre shoot out) against my studio Focusrite ISA One.
The Neve 8801 Channel Strip

The 8801 Channel Strip is a complete channel from the Neve 88R console – often considered a great sounding analogue music console. Contained in a single rackmount unit, this unit is completely hand-built and hand-wired by Neve.
The 8801’s signal path consists of a Neve mic preamp, high and low pass filters, four bands of equalization, a compressor, gate, dynamics side chain and an insert point. The order of the signal path can be easily modified as the producer requires.The filter section and/or the equalization section can even be routed to the dynamics side chain to tailor the dynamics response of any input signal. There is even a USB socket to store the controls for recall.
Funky, flexible and fully buttoned then!
The Focusrite ISA One

The ISA One is a single channel, variable impedance Mic Pre-Amp (and Headphone Amp) and DI. It is my studio standard and based upon the legendary Focusrite Console
The Pre Amp Test

  • I recorded Richard Orford (thank you for your kind help) with an AKG 414
  • I had the ISA One input impedance on the standard ISA 110 setting.
  • All EQ and dynamics on the Neve were in bypass.
  • No plug-ins were used on the recording and both recordings were loudness measured to within 0.5 LUFS with Nugen VisLM metering.

Listening Results

For some fun I have made it a blind listening test, results to be revealed soon.
Please have a listen and vote for your favourite and leave some comments.

Which Pre Amp Do You Prefer

Have a listen to my other mic pre-amp shoot out here