I was invited to a press event this week by Focusrite who unveiled a new product which they are describing as the ‘pinnacle of Focusrite’s interface range’. The new Red 4Pre is a combination of technologies Focusrite have developed over many years, which also breaks down many barriers we face in the modern world of audio I/O. To start, this is a 58 in, and 64 out interface in a 1U rack space!
Following on from the release of their high-end Clarett interface range towards the end of last year, the Red 4Pre holds many similarities, but brings many more tricks to the party. The Red 4Pre, as the name suggests, will have 4 of Focusrite’s highest quality mic pre-amps including their new ‘AIR’ feature which I can vouch for as sounding amazing. However, with additional improvements, the Red 4-Pre’s have an even higher performance level of –129 dB EIN and 63dB of gain. That amount of gain enables a mic-pre the ability to handle any incoming signal level without the need for a pad, which can effect tone and the noise floor.
The Red 4Pre will also be a Thunderbolt 2 interface, but this time offering two Thunderbolt ports for daisy-chaining of drives and displays, which I wish they’d included on the Clarett’s. The Thunderbolt connectivity delivers a sub-2 millisecond round trip latency, which Focusrite believe is the way forward for modern audio interfacing. With modern computing power these days, this permits you to use your own third-party plugins whilst tracking.
Here’s the big news then. This is the first interface to combine the flexibility of Dante (Audio-over-IP) on an interface, that can also bridge to other formats. AoIP is the way of the future and this is the first time it has been implemented in this fashion on an interface. Focusrite were the company to do this with their extensive knowledge acuqired during development of the RedNet range. In addition to Thunderbolt, the Red 4Pre also sports Dual DigiLink connectivity with Pro Tools HD systems and existing Avid interfaces. This direct bridge between a Dante network and Pro Tools HD is very exciting, offering huge expansion options with any Dante-enabled device.
Recommended Retail Price in the UK will be 2099.99 GBP, and the unit will be available from mid-April. This might seem high to some, but this is an incredible amount of functionality for a wide variety of applications, suitable for the professional in today’s, and tomorrow’s world of audio. Continuing as it does the legacy of their ‘Red’ anodised units, Focusrite say this is a product of the highest quality.
My only personal wish would be for it to host some DSP power on-board. I appreciate the incredible round-trip latency that’s possible here, and the ability to host processing within your DAW, but mixes are getting more and more challenging. The processing requirements for plugins is only going up.
Keep an eye on: Focusrite for more information.