Saturday, January 12, 2013

Focusrite Red 1 500 series

Focusrite has announced the return of their acclaimed Red 1 series Mic Pre in the 500 series format.
For those unfamiliar with the Focusrite Red series the original Red 1 was only available in a 4 channel 19' standard rack mount format. It was a very popular piece that could be found in many of the best recording studios. I've used the original Red 1 in the past and it performed well with many different microphones.

From the website:

"Focusrite’s Red Range gained legendary status following its release in 1993. The Red 1 rapidly became a sought-after mic preamp in the world’s top studios, thanks to its ability to handle almost any microphone and its unique, signature sound.

Featuring the same circuit topology and components as the original transformer-based mic pre designs, Red 1 500 Series Mic Pre offers the same performance as the original Focusrite Red microphone preamplifier in a new, popular format: the 500 Series, or “Lunchbox” portable modular system. It’s ideal for mobile/location use as well as in the studio."

From their press release:

"The Red 1 500 Series Mic Pre has switchable phantom power, polarity invert, and an easy-to-read illuminated VU meter, making it the perfect preamp choice for a 500-series rack in the studio or on location. Its stepped gain structure (with a Grayhill gold-plated military-grade switch) in 6dB steps from -6 to +60dB, provides accurate, precise channel matching and recall. The output stage of the Red 1 500 Series Mic Pre will easily drive long cable runs without significant loss of quality, making it ideal for remote recordings.

Focusrite's unique mic preamp topology provides superb common-mode rejection, excellent overload margin and, with its shared gain structure (20dB from the transformer and up to 40dB from the amplifier), a very low noise floor combined with the signature extra-wide bandwidth (10Hz to 140kHz). This exceptional level of performance is maintained over a wide range of impedances applied to the input, making the Red 1 500 Series Mic Pre perform flawlessly with almost any microphone: ribbon, dynamic or condenser."


  • Original Red circuit topology and components
  • 500 Series “Lunchbox” format
  • Lundahl LL1538 Input Transformer
  • Carnhill custom output transformer
  • Grayhill gold-plated mil-grade gain switch
  • Suitable for virtually any microphone
  • Backlit VU meter with switchable calibration
  • Polarity invert and +48V phantom power
Release Date April 2013. MSRP $1249

See for more info.