Focusrite are one of the premier names in audio history.
The company was originally formed by Rupert Neve after he sold the original Neve brand to Siemens. Rupert's intention was to develop his flagship 8078 console and produce the highest spec recording console ever made. Certainly, the original Focusrite Forte was the most expensive beast of its type, and initial orders for four were taken (including one from the venerable Mr. Peter Townsend. Who? Yes - that's him...) Not for the first time, Mr. Neve hit the financial rocks and the two consoles completed at that time went to Master Rock and Electric Ladyland respectively.
The name and remaining assets of Focusrite were sold to Phil Dudderidge, one of the genuine nice guys of the audio industry, fresh from the sale of his own Soundcraft console company. Under his astute guidance, Focusrite produced their famous Recording Console, a scaled down and rationalised version of the Forte, and orders for thirteen desks were taken before the cost of production and massive price ticket led to the demise of the console. As a spin-off from the desk, studios and producers around the world had started to order racked up versions of the eq module, the excellent ISA 110 and Focusrite turned their attention to satisfying the demand with a rack version - the ISA 115. And that's how Focusrite became established as manufacturers and designers of quality outboard equipment.
The ISA 115 was soon followed by the ISA 215. In what was then a radical departure for the boring old audio bizz, Phil designed a range based upon traditional, classic Focusrite electronics married to stunning hand etched solid aliminium front panels finished in striking reds and blues. In many ways, by this one visionary stroke, Focusrite changed the face of outboard forever - literally. All today's multicoloured boutique offerings owe their genesis to that moment, that fateful day when Phil Dudderidge determined that black and grey should no longer be the only colours in the rack.
Over the last decade, Focusrite have forged forwards with a range of budget gear that has swept the MI industry coupled to a continued development of high end product that offers excellent value for money. I take a little credit for the ISA range, in that it was I who suggested that Focusrite revert to their original classic blue and yellow livery for the current range of high end products.
Focusrite have been around longer than most and will still be around when many of today's young Turks have been and gone. They are the one British company who have genuinely reinvested themselves and stayed ahead of the game as trends and fashions have come and gone. They're good guys and deserve their current success.