Focusrite Clarett 8PreX
Better. Faster. Easier.
Excellent sound is the quality Clarett owners love most. With up to 119dB dynamic range, superbly low noise, precision 24/192 conversion and eight specially-designed mic preamps with a unique analogue “Air” effect, Clarett 8PreX is the Thunderbolt audio interface that simply sounds great, easily out-performing other interfaces in its class and beyond. Meanwhile, its astonishing 1.67ms round-trip latency* simplifies your workflow and lets you use your favourite plug-ins in real time.
Give your recordings some Air
The key to getting an analogue signal into your DAW is the microphone preamplifier – with its associated line and instrument inputs. Mic pres were among the very first modules that the original Focusrite company ever produced, thirty years ago, when master console designer Rupert Neve was commissioned by Sir George Martin to create a new series of console modules for his AIR Studios: we have plenty of experience behind us. So perhaps it’s no surprise that the Clarett mic pre, designed specially for the range, delivers very low noise indeed: an impressive –128dB EIN. That, combined with its low distortion, ultra-linear design and carefully chosen components, guarantees a clean, open and transparent sound that gives the most accurate representation of the original performance. But there’s more to it than that. Mic preamps are very subjective things. There’s a complex interaction between the mic impedance and the input impedance of the preamp that can completely change the character of the sound you capture. Increase the input impedance and you enhance the clarity, transparency and accuracy of the sound. Reduce it, to a point, and you begin to bring out the innate character of the microphone. There is a time and a place for each. That’s why, with Clarett, we let you choose between the two, with a switchable “Air” effect emulating the sound of our classic transformer-based ISA preamps, and matching their input impedance. ‘Air’ harks back to our earlier designs, and in particular the ISA Range, acclaimed around the world for its signature sound – the sound behind thousands of hit records. The original Rupert Neve designs, and in particular their transformer-coupled mic preamps, were the inspiration for Focusrite’s acclaimed Red Range that formed the basis for today’s range of ISA ‘Heritage Sound’ products. ‘Air’ is the name our customers first coined as a simple description of the effect the ISA Preamp added to their sound recordings. There are three main elements that contribute to the classic ‘Air’ effect.
Conversion as Art and Science
Focusrite has been in the converter business almost as long as the mic pre business – since the release of the Blue Range A/D and D/A converters in 1995. Like preamps, it’s an art we know inside out. Clarett’s 192kHz/24-bit converters deliver up to 118dB (A/D) / 119dB (D/A) real-world dynamic range, letting you capture every nuance and subtlety whether you’re recording or mixing. A couple of decades ago, digital conversion was a kind of ‘dark art’, where theories were still being developed, discoveries made, and a few individuals were able to get impressive results by breaking the rules. Today, we can argue that this is no longer the case. The rules are established and well-known; the vast majority of converter chips in the same class offer the same kind of performance; and the art of conversion today is about how you use them, and whether or not you are prepared to take the trouble to get the best out of them. Careful circuit design, choice of components, and even board layout have a part to play. Multi-layer boards provide internal ground-planes to reduce noise. Keeping analogue and digital parts of the circuit separate can reduce the likelihood of spiky digital clocking and other noise getting into sensitive analogue components. And of course component quality and selection are important considerations too. It’s easy to play the numbers game with digital conversion, and believe a system is better because it looks good on paper, but in fact listening to it (or listening to someone who has) will tell you what you need to know: how clean the sound is, how low the noise, and how much like the original it sounds. Of course the numbers can help you evaluate an interface, as long as they’re real – and when we say that Clarett offers up to 119dB dynamic range via its D/A, we measured that in the real world, with a real interface: it’s not simply the number from the chip’s data sheet.
Revolutionise your workflow with Clarett
If you’re used to having to put together two mixes every time you record – a stripped-down minimum-latency mix for overdubbing; and a regular DAW mix for playback with all your favourite plug-ins – you’ll find Clarett a refreshing change. Thanks to its low-latency design and the inbuilt speed of the Thunderbolt interface, Clarett offers just 1.67ms round-trip latency*. That means you can bring up the best possible DAW mix and use it all the time, with all your favourite plugins in place, and monitor the input only on the track you’re recording – like the traditional overdub mode that studios have used since the beginnings of multitrack recording. You’re also free to use your favourite plugins while you record – to add reverb to a vocal, for example, or play guitar through your preferred amplifier simulator. You can even use virtual instruments in real time in a live performance. Take advantage of the vast range of plugins available, including great-sounding freebies, to create the perfect recording path on every channel. And create custom monitor setups for both you and your artists with the new Focusrite Control software mixer. Clarett by Focusrite – the faster Thunderbolt interface by the world’s leading audio interface company.
Exceptional I/O capability
Clarett 8PreX gives you all the I/O you need, fitting 26 audio inputs and 28 outputs into a 2U rack space, including 8 analogue inputs, 10 analogue outputs, stereo S/PDIF I/O and 16 channels of ADAT I/O. Connect up to 16 more mic preamps over ADAT for a 24-channel microphone setup. It’s the Thunderbolt audio interface for the user who demands the best sound quality over a high channel count.
Focusrite Clarett 8PreX Features at a Glance:
- Eight Clarett mic preamps with Air Effect
- Accurate digital conversion and clocking
- Expanded I/O for big tracking sessions
- Accessible metering and monitoring
- Intuitive, easy-to-use software mixer
- Record and monitor in real time with your favorite DAW plug-ins
- Create custom monitor setups for both you and your artists
- Eight newly designed Clarett mic preamps
- Copious headroom, vanishingly low noise
- Focusrite’s proprietary Air feature
- Focusrite’s class-leading 24/192 conversion
- Up to 119dB of dynamic range
- Word clock I/O master/slave functionality
- Eight analog inputs, 10 analog outputs
- Stereo SPDIF, 16 channels of ADAT I/O
- Two front-panel Hi-Z instrument inputs
- 6-segment, multichannel LED meter
- Monitor level control, plus dim and mute buttons
- Two wide-dynamic-range front-panel headphone outs
- Makes short work of configuring your monitoring and routing
- Traditional mixer workflow
- Quick access to internal hardware functions
- Includes Red 2/Red 3 plug-in suite and Softube’s Time and Tone Bundle
- Softube Time and Tone Pack
- Loopmasters sounds and samples (1GB)
- Novation Bass Station VST and AU plug-in synth
- XLN Addictive Keys