Ahead of the NAMM 2018 musical equipment trade show in California, renowned British manufacturer Focusrite announced Clarett USB – formerly Thunderbolt-only, the Claretts are now USB audio interface material, too! The Clarett series comprises three USB interfaces, four Thunderbolt interfaces, and an 8-channel mic preamp & AD/DA converter. They are:
- The Clarett 2Pre, featuring 10 inputs and 4 outputs
- The Clarett 4Pre, featuring 18 inputs and 8 outputs
- The Clarett 8Pre, featuring 18 inputs and 20 outputs
- The Clarett 8PreX, featuring 26 inputs and 28 outputs (Thunderbolt-only)
- The Clarett OctoPre, an 8-channel mic preamp and analog-digital/digital-analog audio converter
At a glance
All four interfaces support up to 24-bit/192kHz audio and have Air-enabled microphone preamps, designed to reproduce the input impedance and frequency response curve of Focusrite’s original ISA mic preamp. While the 2Pre offers two mic/instrument inputs, four line outputs, MIDI I/O and ADAT, the rest of the line-up brings extended connectivity with more I/O, S/PDIF connections, and a pair of headphone outputs with volume control. The devices are compatible with Windows and Mac computers.
An audio interface it is not, at least not in the traditional sense, but the Clarett OctoPre still has its rightful place inside the line-up. Serving as an expander unit, the OctoPre allows for eight additional Air mic/line preamps and eight line outputs to be added to your existing interface over ADAT. Focusrite proposes routing the device’s mic pres to its analogue line outs as to drive a live board whilst simultaneously recording from the digital outputs, or hooking up the ADAT inputs to the digital outs – adding eight digital channels to an analog mixing configuration. Flexibility doesn’t seem to be a point of complaining here!
All Focusrite Clarett products ship with a comprehensive software bundle to get users started recording, mixing, and mastering on their computers immediately. The following items are included:
- XLN Audio Addictive Keys – keyboard instrument
- Red Plug-in Suite – emulations of classic Focusrite gear, such as the Red 2 equalizer and Red 3 compressor
- Softube Time and Tone Bundle – contains reverb, delay, mastering and distortion plug-ins from the renowned Swedish developer
- Focusrite Plug-in Collective – access to exclusive offers, tutorial content, and software from leading plug-in companies
- Ableton Live Lite – a paired down copy of the highly popular music-making software
- 2GB of royalty-free sample libraries from Loopmasters
- Focusrite Control – user-friendly control software for routing and monitoring mixes from your Mac, PC, iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch
Price & availability information
Focusrite is already selling the Clarett USB series at its international web store, and at distributors such as Thomann. The prices are as follows:
- Clarett 2Pre USB – 400 USD | 420 EUR | 370 GBP
- Clarett 4Pre USB – 600 USD | 620 EUR | 550 GBP
- Clarett 8Pre USB – 800 USD | 830 EUR | 740 GBP
With its Clarett range, Focusrite is after its competitors’ market turf in an unusually – and commendably – aggressive manner. The British manufacturer is firing on all cylinders, offering solutions for both hobbyist and professional recordists across every major niche, at price points that seem trim considering the features, functionality, and craftsmanship at hand. Essentially, Focusrite is bringing pro-level technology and build quality – we’re talking Air preamps, high-resolution conversion, advanced studio connectivity (S/PDIF, ADAT), color screens, metal chassis, and plenty of studio plug-ins – down to the mid-priced gear segment. Now with USB connectivity, the Claretts are ready to tackle a massive market. We believe the bold value-focused approach will resonate with music tech enthusiasts, letting Focusrite move plenty of Claretts throughout 2018.