Focusrite Clarett+ Audio Interfaces: Even Better than Before

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Focusrite’s Clarett USB Type-C audio interfaces are well respected for bringing studio-level recording quality to artists, producers, and engineers, and the fresh Clarett+ range—the 2Pre desktop 10 x 4 model, the 4Pre desktop 18 x 8 variant, and the 8Pre rackmount 18 x 20 unit—makes these notably nice interfaces even better than before. The big change to the Clarett+ series is the introduction of a new D/A converter that gives all three interfaces heightened dynamic range, a lower noise floor, and less harmonic distortion at the input stage, as you can see below.

  Clarett USB Clarett+
Line Output Dynamic Range 118 dB 124dB
Line Output THD+N -103 dB -106 dB
Headphone Output Dynamic Range 115 dB 118 dB
Headphone Output THD+N -101 dB -104 dB
Input THD+N -107 dB -110 dB

Defining the Clarett+

A high-grade design philosophy is shared among the three Clarett+ audio interfaces. Their mic preamps provide loads of headroom and miniscule amounts of noise and distortion, ensuring clear and clean amplification for your precious mics. The switchable Air circuitry, which is completely analog, changes the impedance to 2.2 kilohms and adds a 4 dB high-frequency boost to impart the character of the classic Focusrite ISA110 pre.

The Clarett+ is also good news for guitarists and bassists. Outfitted with ultra-high impedance instrument inputs, these Clarett+ units offer the extended bandwidth needed to achieve organic sonics and response, even when not plugged into an amp.

In addition to having line outs for monitor feeds, the Clarett+ interfaces are made for demanding headphone monitoring. Their high-power headphone outputs preserve the integrity of your tracks and mixes with a flat frequency response, so you can be confident they won’t obscure the truth.

Clarett+ 2Pre

As the smallest of the Clarett+ models, the Clarett+ 2Pre sits nicely on a tabletop, but also serves portable setups because it can be bus powered via 15W USB Type-C ports. Its two analog inputs feature XLR-1/4" combo jacks that handle mic sources, line-level signals, or electric instruments, ideal for singer-songwriters and artists who record themselves. Expansion is possible by connecting an external multichannel mic preamp to the Clarett+ 2Pre’s ADAT optical 8-channel input. Outputs include four 1/4" line outs on the rear and a front-panel 1/4" headphone jack.

Clarett+ 2Pre front
Clarett+ 2Pre front
Clarett+ 2Pre rear
Clarett+ 2Pre rear

Clarett+ 4Pre

Though not massively larger in size, the Clarett+ 4Pre significantly increases the I/O to accommodate multi-instrumentalists, trios, and more. It has four mic preamps on XLR-1/4" combo jacks, two of which double as Hi-Z inputs. The back of the 4Pre provides four additional 1/4" line inputs for hooking up keyboards, drum machines, or analog outboard mic pres. It also adds a second headphone output and S/PDIF digital input and output connectors. Note that although it is a somewhat compact desktop interface, it is not bus powered.

Clarett+ 4Pre front
Clarett+ 4Pre front
Clarett+ 4Pre rear
Clarett+ 4Pre rear

Clarett+ 8Pre

Looking like it belongs in a studio rack, the Clarett+ 8Pre puts 18 inputs and 20 outputs in a 1 RU unit. 10 of the I/O channels are digital (8-channel ADAT optical and 2-channel S/PDIF), while the rest are analog. That yields eight mic/line inputs, with the first two alternatively functioning as Hi-Z instrument inputs. Analog outputs comprise 10 line outs and two headphone ports, all on 1/4" jacks. For engineers who’ll be syncing with other digital equipment, the Clarett+ 8Pre sports a BNC word-clock output.

Clarett+ 8Pre front
Clarett+ 8Pre front
Clarett+ 8Pre rear
Clarett+ 8Pre rear

Conclusion

Choosing between the three Clarett+ audio interfaces really comes down to the I/O needed, because they all have identical sound quality, MIDI I/O for integrating keyboard controllers and synths, remote control via the Mac/Windows/iOS companion app, and the same bundled plug-ins, including the Red 2 EQ, Red 3 Compressor, Brainworx bx_console Focusrite SC (an officially endorsed model of the rare Focusrite Studio Console), and access to free plug-ins and discounts via the Plug-In Collective.

Tell us, in the Comments section, below, which of the Clarett+ audio interfaces would best align with your audio-production style.

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