As regular readers will know, I’m a fan of the latest line of Focusrite interfaces, notably the Clarett range. This new iTrack One Pre looks ideal for musicians who want to record on the go, unless you have an iPhone 7!
Focusrite iTrack One Pre iOS Audio Interface
There’s a lot of good things that make a good first impression here, starting with its looks. How cute! They’ve also considered that something this small could be dragged off a work surface with heavy cables attached. The micro suction base seems clever, I just wonder if it will lose it’s ‘sticky-ness’ over time. Presumably it also sounds good being a modern Focusrite unit. However, I wouldn’t expect the hint of red underneath to signify any correlation with their red-labeled devices. My guess is that this is a version of a Scarlett generation 2 pre-amp. I also think the glowing ‘gain-halo’ design will help musicians set the right recording level.
However, there are a couple of ideas which Focusrite seem to be glossing over. Firstly, they state on their site; “Never before have you been able to record a professional condenser microphone into your iPhone or iPad without needing any external power”. Well, that’s not entirely true for two reasons. Firstly, there are some (although admittedly not many) other options such as the Shure MVi or Zoom U-22. Secondly, if your ‘professional’ condenser microphone needs the full 48V phantom power, you will need the additional USB power supply. This isn’t a limitation of the One Pre, but a limitation of all iOS devices, requiring additional power for external devices. Therefore, the iTrack will provide enough power for up to 12V phantom power, which should be suitable for many microphones. However, Zoom’s U-22 uses AA batteries to provide the extra juice.
Focusrite have taken the decision not to include a headphone output. This feature alone might have been interesting for many, hopefully achieving a better sound quality than any iOS device’s built-in headphone amp. This of course has a huge knock-on effect for iPhone 7 users who don’t have a headphone socket. Therefore you will only be able to record on an iPhone 7, but unable to monitor your recording, or play to a click or backing track. This could prove more serious if Apple continue to remove the headphone jack from future iPads and iPhones. The aforementioned Shure MVi does offer a headphone socket, so it is possible.
With all this said, I’m sure this is very neat product. If sound quality is what you’re looking for, and the phantom power or monitoring situations don’t effect you, then this is sure to be a safe buy.
The iTrack One Pre will be priced around 120 GBP, which seems like a fair price for something with the Focusrite name on it. For more information, visit the product page on their website.
Here’s Focusrite’s ‘Getting Started’ video for the iTrack One Pre on their FocusriteTV YouTube channel: