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Focusrite Red 1 500 Series Mic Pre

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Quick Overview

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...

The Focusrite Legacy – in a new format.

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.

If you remember the unique, stunning sound of the original Focusrite Red range – or even if you don’t! – and want to bring that signature sound into your studio, then Red 1 500, with its signature red anodised aluminium front panel, is for you. As with the original Red range, this new module will also be 'made in England'.

Focusrite Red 1 500 Series Mic Pre

Red 1 500 offers a compact interface to digital recording systems or for location recordings as well as convenient access in any control room, with a Lundahl LL1538 input transformer, just as in the original; switchable phantom power; polarity invert; and an illuminated classic porthole VU meter. The output stage of Red 1 500, with its custom Carnhill transformer, will easily drive long cable runs without loss of quality – ideal for remote recordings. Mic gain is switched (with a Grayhill gold-plated military-grade switch) in 6dB steps from -6 to +60dB, for accurate, precise channel matching and recall.

The unique Focusrite mic amp topology provides superb common mode rejection, excellent overload margin and, with its shared gain structure, (14dB from the transformer and up to 46dB from the amplifier) a very low noise floor, combined with the traditional wide bandwidth of the original Red series (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 suitable for almost any microphone – ribbon, dynamic or condenser.

Red 1 500 Series Mic Pre – Focusrite’s signature sound in an exciting, popular new form factor.

Key Features

Focusrite Red 1 500 Series Mic Pre

Original Red circuit topology and components

Red 1 500 recreates the original Red 1 mic pre, made in England with the original components for that legendary, signature sound.

Red 1 500 Series Lunchbox format

500 Series “Lunchbox” format

For the first time, a Focusrite product is available in this popular portable rack format.

Red 1 500 series mic pre Lundahl LL1538 Input Transformer

Lundahl LL1538 Input Transformer

The original mic transformer used in the original Red modules helps to provide the unique sound and performance of this groundbreaking design.

Carnhill custom output transformer

Carnhill custom output transformer

An important contributor to the sound, the output transformer also allows Red 1 500 to drive long lines, ideal for remote and mobile applications for which the Lunchbox format was originally intended.

Grayhill gold-plated mil-grade gain switch

Grayhill gold-plated mil-grade gain switch

The switched gain structure of the Red 1 500 means accurate setting and recall, and with a solid, super-reliable, gold-plated selector switch you know you’ll get repeatable results.

Suitable for virtually any microphone..

Suitable for virtually any microphone

With gain from -6 to +60dB in 6dB steps and a carefully-chosen input impedance, Red 1 500 is perfect for almost any microphone, be it ribbon, dynamic or condenser.

Backlit VU meter with switchable calibration

Backlit VU meter with switchable calibration

The built-in VU meter helps gain accurate, repeatable results, with calibration to ensure your levels are always spot-on.

Polarity invert and +48V phantom power

Polarity invert and +48V phantom power

Maximum microphone flexibility in the studio or on location.

Maximum Output

+25.5dBu (20Hz–20kHz)

Maximum Input

>+28dBu (200Hz–13kHz), >26dBu (160Hz–20kHz)

Frequency Response

Deviation at 30dB gain (20Hz–20kHz)


Bandwidth (–3dB) at 30dB gain

103 kHz

Range at 60dB gain (–0.5dB)


Bandwidth (–3dB) at 60dB gain


Output Noise

–104.5dBu CCIR-RMS

–107dBu A-wgt


–124.5dBu CCIR-RMS

–128dBu A-wgt

Harmonic Distortion

(30dB gain, –30dBu input)

Third Harmonic

–101dB (0.0009%)

Second Harmonic

–88.5dB (0.0038%)

THD+N (20 kHz bandwidth)

–88dB (0.0039%)

CMRR (24dB gain, –4dBu input, 1kHz)

Common mode test: 102dB

IEC 60268-3:2000 test: 89dB