Focusrite Octopre MKII Dynamic | Mike J.
Since the mid 1980’s UK-based musical equipment manufacturer Focusrite has built their reputation designing high-end audio hardware and software. Focusrite offers multiple professional grade products in their Liquid, Rednet and ISA ranges and provide products in the Saffire range to meet the quality-for-the-price demand of the growing home studio market.
We talked in an earlier article about the OctoPre MKII and thought we’d provide an overview of the expanded Focusrite Octopre MKII Dynamic available in the Saffire PRO range. Like the basic MKII, the MKII Dynamic is an eight-channel microphone preamp with 24 bit/96 kHz ADAT output. But unlike the MKII, the Dynamic includes ADAT input as well. Another added feature on the MKII Dynamic that wasn’t included on the MKII is the single dial compressor-limiter on each channel based, in part, on the design of Focusrite’s Red 3 VCA except with some compromises to justify the lower price.
Like the MKII, Focusrite has designed the MKII Dynamic to handle a wide range of sonic frequencies, particularly at extreme levels so that the kick and snare of your drum kit don’t clip. And The Focusrite Octopre MKII Dynamic does a great job at keeping the audio output crystal clear with ringing highs and full, warm lower frequencies. The MKII Dynamic features two DI channels for Hi-Z instruments accessible on the front of the unit. The right side of the fascia has 5 LED input metering for each of its eight input channels so that you can avoid clipping. Digital to analogue conversion via ADAT is switchable from the front fascia with a dynamic range of 110dB
Focusrite Octopre MKII Dynamic Controls and Connections
The primary advantage I think the Focusrite Octopre MKII Dynamic offers, of course, is the built-in compressors that can be easily controlled from the front fascia with eight dedicated rotating knobs – one less plug-in to manage, more operating power for your computer. The other great thing is that with the ADAT I/O, you expand your input/output capabilities as well. They really did make quality affordable and far more accessible than comparable preamps with compressors that cost substantially more.
The Focusrite Octopre MKII Dynamic goes for around $600 new, and fits into a single 1U rackmount chassis with all controls adjustable from the front of the unit. The compressor allows the user to have a more dynamic control when recording. Some may still want to compress signals as they are multi-tracking drums or recording ensembles in a single take. You have the option to compress transparency or with effect and the ‘More’ switch doubles the ratio to deliver ‘compression with effect.’ MKII Dynamic’s compressor control is really simple and that’s a plus.