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Old 12-28-2008, 03:52 PM
Kevin James Kevin James is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 1,005
Well its been just about a week now since I recieved my isolator and I've put about 10 hours in on the unit so here are my thoughts.

Over all I like the unit. There are a few things I think could have been done better though IMO. I promissed a fair honest review and that is exactly what this will be. I will break it down in to 4 sections: functionality, feel, build quality/metal work and of course sound.

1. Functionality: The unit opperates simply and as it should. Nothing fancy, just a simple 3 band ISO. It is un cluttered and simle to operate. The 0 marking on the pots (12:00) IS absolute unity. Switching the loop in and out on the Rane 2016a there is no change in volume what so ever. I really like the effects switch alot even though I don't have anything plugged into it yet. The switch is exactly where I feel this type of switch should be, on the front panel not the rear. Some effects units degrade sound quality <cough> PIONEER EFX <cough> and this location of this switch allows you to use that unit but keep the loop switched out to keep sound quality intact, and you can engage the loop when an effect is desired. The 3 way design of this switch is a nice touch as well. I tested for bleed and I did find the same issue Greg G metioned in another thread. The highs do have a slight amount of bleed. I think that should have been adressed and corrected before the unit hit production.

2. Feel: I like the feel of the pots. Very smooth with a somewhat tight resistance. I do wish they were still a bit tighter as they will surely loosen with time, but over all not bad. I would compare the feel more to the pots on the Rane 2016a then the Urei LE. Both mixers use Alps Blue velvets, but they feel noticably different between those two units. The Urei is tighter then the Rane, and I have tried multiples of each and found that difference to be consistent between all examples of each. The pots on the GSA are not as tight as on the Urei which I was a little dissapointed in. The spacing of the pots is nice wich adds to the overall feel of the unit IMO.

Build quality/Metal work: I have to be honest, I was disappointed in this area. I don't like the design of the chasis. I just don't feel it is as heavey duty as it should be for a $900 unit. The metal felt somewhat thin to me, and I don't like that the top folds over and is also the back, and the bottom folds up and is also the sides. This is just my oppinion but I don't like that style of chasis. I like to be able to take the top off to look at the board without removing half the chasis. I have been told that this is the same chasis as the original RLA X-3000. Well, if that is the case then I don't like the chasis on the original RLA X-3000 either. Just because RLA did it the same doesn't make it good automatically. Another thing I noticed that disturbed me was the GAPING holes the RCA conectors poke through. I feel like at least SOME attempt should have been made to fit the connectors to the back plate a little better. It just doesn't scream quality fit and finish to me. But again, just my oppinion. To be fair though I will say that once the unit is mounted in your console these are all non issues. I still feel like the build could have been done better though for a $900 unit.

Sound Quality: This is the main reason I wanted to hold off on commenting. I wanted to be fair, and give the unit a chance bcause when I first installed it I did not like the sound. The highs and upper mids sounded harsh to me, the snare hits sounded metalic, and the bass did not sound as clean as it should IMO. The sound DID start to change after playing on the unit for about two hours. This is SPECIFICALLY why I decided to wait on commenting, because the sound changed for the better after a couple hours which led me to think maybe the unit needs a break in period or something. I don't know, but I DO know somehow the sound started to change after the first couple hours. TO BE FAIR after giving the unit 10 hours of use and making some tweaks to my system the unit sounds MUCH better now. The bass sounds full and warm, the mids and snare sounds as they should (the metalic sound has disappeared). The highs do still sound a little harsh and hashy to me though. I listened to the unit on my modest studio system, and also recorded some audio to take my studio rig out of the equation and listen back in some different environments. I only tested with dance music. My reasoning on that is simple. The unit is for DJ use, and while I like all types of music I play house when I dj, so that is the only music that counts as far as I'm concerned.

So, there you have it. These are my honest thoughts about the unit after 10 hours of use. If I had to give it a rating of 1-10, 1 being the lowest and 10 being the highest I would rate it a 7. It is a very nice unit, but some things could have been done better IMO which would have given a higher rating.

I will say the unit will come in very handy for gigs. I will be packing it in my record bag and taking it to gigs for sure... cuzz no one out here has isolators installed and I'm addicted to them lol. I will also say that I will be buying the matching 5 band program EQ to go with it when it is released.
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