We knew we'd done well with the Penta, but it's great to hear
this from the people who've chosen this unit above so many
Since its release back in July 2001, the Platinum Penta has
picked up every award that Future Music can offer, (alongside
glowing reviews from every other publication - see below)
including a Platinum Award, Best Buy Award as well as being
voted 'Best Outboard' by the dedicated readers of Future Music.
We'd like to take this opportunity to say thank you. Thank
you for knowing quality when you hear it.
The Focusrite Crew.
"The first results with all units
were outstanding. Perfect processing, through good construction
and outstanding performance characteristics makes these units
the first choice for project studios"
Sound and Vision, Germany
"Focusrite has chosen to innovate
at this price point with units that have chops that you won't
find elsewhere in its own portfolio or in those of anyone
"There is also a TUBE SOUND pot with a switch that adds
that second harmonic type stuff and the effect is apparent,
pleasant and most tasteful on delicate sounds when you're
trying to sound expensive."
"Indeed you can't knock the Penta for trying very hard,
the presets are surprisingly (almost too) applicable to the
short descriptions they're given and they do sound different,
it's as if there's some sort of side-chain emphasis going
on to achieve the results."
"Focusrite will sell an awful lot of these because at
£299 (UK), that's what I said, you get an awful lot
of box for your money. And it fills 2U, and it's got lots
"I can confirm that the Penta does in fact sound very
quiet, good and interesting particularly with the TUBE CONTROL
and the STEREO WIDTH pot. It also continues something of an
original twist on the dynamics issue that focusrite introduced
with the excellent Compounder."
"It's worth investigating purely for the fun of it especially
as it's more than up to the job performance wise."
Zenon Schoepe, Studio Sound, August 2001
"Ingeniously, the Ratio, Attack
and Release controls always operate from a centre position
to provide both positive and negative adjustment of the value
used in the currently active preset. In other words, if these
controls are left centred, the preset works exactly as programmed
by the designers."
"To make the Penta as versatile as possible, it has been
designed so that it can function as a mono mic/line/instrument
processor (via the left output,) or as a stereo line-only
processor, making it suitable for both tracking and mixing."
"The pre-amp architecture is similar to that used in
the Focusrite Voicemaster except that FETs are used instead
of bipolar transistors, one advantage being that the circuit
behaves much more politely under overload conditions and approximates
the soft limiting of a valve."
"Once the desired pre-set has been selected, the centre
detented controls can also be used to fine tune the pre-set
if necessary, but a lot of work has gone into getting these
right, and in most cases, adjusting the Compression and Makeup
gain controls is all that's needed."
"I tested the pre-sets with a number of sound sources,
including live vocals and guitars, and found them to be well
"At lower gain reduction settings, the compressor controls
the dynamic range gently without making the compression obvious,
but at higher gain reduction settings, the compressor displays
an obvious but smooth attitude that is reminiscent of some
of the classic tube compressors. "
"Certainly it's very hard to get a bad sound out of this
unit as even excessive compression still manages to sound
"Mix compression is also handled sympathetically, but
again with the capacity to pump up the energy in a more obvious
way if needed."
"The limiter preset does its job well enough as a routine
limiter, but it's also very nice on vocals for that big, limited
rock vocal sound."
"The tube emulation works particularly well and is great
fattening up vocal or bass sounds without losing the top end
or making them seem too muddy. It adds a depth and lower mid
warmth that EQ rarely manages to replicate"
"I've tried all the Platinum units so far and have never
been disappointed. However, the Penta is just a little bit
special in the compression department and the tube emulation
is also surprisingly authentic sounding."
"I particularly like the way in which the front panel
controls interact with the pre-set parameters on the rare
occasions you do need to make changes."
"Overall, the well designed presets makes the Penta very
easy to use, and the availability of mic, line and instrument
inputs makes it a good choice as a voice channel."
"It is very quiet and transparent-sounding, even on the
instrument input, something that is not always easy to achieve,
and the wide audio bandwidth is important as cascading several
systems that have only adequate frequency responses can cause
cumulative top end loss."
"The stereo line facility means you can use it for mix
or stereo subgroup processing, so those with computer-based
systems might find it ideal as both a front end pre-amp while
tracking and as a post processor when mixing to an external
* Easy to set up.
* Extremely good sound quality.
* Compressor sounds musically satisfying as well as clean.
* Useful and effective tube emulation
"SUMMARY: Focusrite have not only managed to create a
pre-set compressor that meets the majority of needs, but also
built in a lot of flexibility for the more experienced user."
Paul White, Sound On Sound, July 2001
"The mic pre is clean, quiet and
has plenty of gain. It's better than most pre amps in small
consoles and I actually preferred it for certain tracking
instruments where I wanted a straightahead sound sans glorification
"Preset attack and release settings within the various
individual instrument presets were all good choices. They
all worked fine for their designated tasks or were very close
- within a quick manual adjustment."
"The Tube Sound circuit has three FET-based blocks, each
biased to generate a specific harmonic. The overall circuit
generates second, third and fifth harmonic distortion in amounts
dependent upon the position of the rotary control. At low
settings, it's mostly second, advancing the knob cranks more
third and fifth. Second order harmonic distortion emulates
the softness of a tube compressor. Turning the control more
toward Warm, I got more of a tube-like "blooming"
sound - great for rounding out bright harshness."
"This method is a far better way to tweeze presets than
say, the original HHB FatMan where you would first have to
match the knob setting manually against the values listed
in the owner's manual before switching from pre set mode to
manual mode, where further adjustments are possible. With
the Penta pre sets, all the knobs are always active for "on-the-fly"
"If you are into value-oriented project/home studio gear,
Barry Rudolph, Audio Media US
"One of the stunning features of
the Platinum Penta is without doubts its sixteen Presets.
Compressors are one of the most difficult audio equipment
to use. The available Presets are of wonderful help for beginners
all the way to pro users. Penta Presets are covering all
necessary applications and are very easy and quick to use.
Due to he
possibility to also adjust all parameters, the preset operation
has no limitations for users.
"It is more an instant reference point for further adjustments.
The Tube Sound function is very handy and of great value especially
for bass and guitar applications. The Phase Width function
makes the Penta also a brilliant mixing compressor."
"With its high value mic preamp the Platinum Penta is
not only a stereo compressor but a fully loaded channel-strip.
With the optional digital card the Penta is a perfect compressor
for hard disk recording. The possibilities are just unlimited.
Perfect preset compressor with great sound and very limited
price. It has never been so affordable to call a real Focusrite
Keys magazine (Germany), November 2001
"...value for money combined with
the flexibility of the Penta, makes this my favourite Platinum
"...the way Focusrite handles analogue presets, seems
more logical and elegant than the way done by other manufacturers".
Interface magazine (Netherlands), October 2001