ISA828 versus Onyx 800R - Gearspace.com
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ISA828 versus Onyx 800R
Old 31st January 2009
Lives for gear
mmcfarlane's Avatar
🎧 10 years
ISA828 versus Onyx 800R

Has anyone directly compared an ISA828 or 428 with an 800R?

I'm currently running a Portico, pair of Summitt 221-2BA's and an SSL Alpha VHD for 8 channels (and some other crap that needs to be decomisioned) all through an Aurora 16.

I need to add 8 more channels inexpensively. On of my good preamps is going in for repairs and I'll be without it for 6-8 weeks. I do find I prefer the Portico for somethings, Summitts for others,... but I really don't want to collect a bunch of different pres, I want to get on and make music. I wish I had a nice console...

There's lots of info on the 800R - incredibly good value, transparentish,.. The 800R someday could move easily to my mobile rig, and its cheap. Less info on the 828 (a lot on the 428 which soundwise should be similar).

I'm just wondering if the ISA828 would be a noticable improvement (perhaps in less 'sterility')...

I've looked at pretty much all the 8-bangers under 3K and the ISA828 was the only one that seemed it might be worth the extra bucks...

My location prevents auditioning the gear. (Actually, Lavry Engineering offered to loan me a DA10 to try out through a reseller, but round trip shipping and customs was over $300 so I just bought it).

Last edited by mmcfarlane; 31st January 2009 at 10:07 AM.. Reason: typo
Old 31st January 2009
Lives for gear
macgee's Avatar
2 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
I don't know the isa but the 800r is one great piece of flexible kit and for the price it's unbeatable imo - i was initially going to go for the isa 4 channel
Old 31st January 2009 | Show parent
Lives for gear
Aisle 6's Avatar
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
I do not know what the 800R is like, but I own an ISA 220 (same pre as the 828, supposedly!) and I find it hard to believe that the Mackie pre's would be as nice. The ISA gets a bit of a bad rap on GS, but it is very clean and accurate, but has a very 3 dimensional sound stage. Thanks largely to it's input transformer. I doubt that the Mackie would be as dimensional.
Old 31st January 2009 | Show parent
Lives for gear
🎧 15 years
I have never compared them side by side but I have used both. I think you could make a great record with either one.

Having said that...I've recorded through pretty much every pre that cane be found in commercial studios around here and I actually own a Mackie 800r. It sounds good and the bang for the buck is hard to beat.

Here is a link to something I recorded/mixed a while back. All the drums were recorded through the Onyx. The band was recorded live with no edits etc.

Old 31st January 2009 | Show parent
Lives for gear
🎧 10 years
i compared them side by side, or better should say had to compare them for a friend. also millennia hv-3d, audient asp008, yamaha ad8hr and the smpro ep84 through an aurora 16.

isa828 vs. onyx? isa828 hands down.

isa828 vs. millennia? well, we did many tests over 4 weeks. he chose the millennia in the end. the return-time passed before he chose one, so i´m selling his isa now. my taste is tube-only, so i don´t really like that classy a sound.

his ranking:

Old 31st January 2009 | Show parent
Gear Maniac
lblstudio's Avatar
🎧 10 years
If you just need eight channels of good, clean pre and plan to run them through your Aurora, I'd get two Sytek MPX4s.
Old 31st January 2009 | Show parent
GS Community Manager
Whitecat's Avatar
the isa is actually a superb value for 8 channels. the digital board is a bit expensive but very useful.

it's not the world's most interesting pre which is probably why it gets so much stick around here but it's pro-quality and you could make a record with it.

all things being equal i'd have it over the onyx.
Old 31st January 2009 | Show parent
Lives for gear
mmcfarlane's Avatar
🎧 10 years
Anyone used the ISA828 AD converter? Seems like a relatively cheap way to add 16 more channels to my Lynx system (bypasing the Lynx obviously) using the AES add-on card that goes in the computer chassis
Old 31st January 2009
GS Community Manager
Whitecat's Avatar
I can't speak about the 828 but I use the ADC board on my ISA One (I imagine they must be reasonably similar) and it's absolutely fine. Better than most audio interface ADCs. Very handy feature set and all the connectivity you could need.
Old 6th February 2009 | Show parent
Lives for gear
mmcfarlane's Avatar
🎧 10 years
Thanks everyone for your feedback. For the record, I ordered the ISA828.

I'll probably get the 800R for my live rig next year

Old 6th February 2009 | Show parent
Gear Head
🎧 10 years
Good luck with the Isa....

Just for info, I got a Mackie Onyx 1620 and really like the Onyx pre´s. Another 8 holder I was looking at the time was the Audient ASP008...
ASP008 - Audient

Good care,

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