December 2021 - 58

REVIEW
Focusrite: Clarett+ 8 Pre
An already stellar design...improved!
REVIEW BY JOHN CZERWINSKI
F
ocusrite is well regarded as an interface company, with two lines of
USB interfaces: the ubiquitous Scarlett range, and the premium Clarett+
line, which comes in three flavors: the 2Pre, 4Pre, and 8 Pre; 'Clarett+'
branding signals upgrades on the previous Clarett models. We reviewed
the Thunderbolt Clarett 8Pre upon its debut in our November 2015 issue.
Then and now
Over a 36-year history, Focusrite has
provided innovative products that have
served both professional and home recording
studios alike. Its initial standalone
preamp offering, the ISA 110, was
born out of a request from Sir George
Martin for a custom module for his console.
In 1993, Focusrite integrated this
ISA circuitry into the 2U rack-mounted
Red Range, featuring a bold color and
distinctive curved fronts designed to set
them apart from other rack gear-and
thus the crimson-colored die was cast.
As mentioned, the new red-tinged Clarett+
range consists of three models offering
two, four, or eight channels of analog conversion
over USB-C. The 2Pre, 4Pre and
8Pre are essentially the same tech. All three
editions offer eight-channel ADAT expansion
ports, allowing you to chain devices
together and expand your channel count.
Seeing red
I was struck by the simplicity of the
design (which remains unchanged) and
the obvious workmanship. The chassis is
solidly built, the knobs and buttons offer
a high-quality feel, and the pots have
just the right amount of resistance for
making fine adjustments.
58 RECORDING DECEMBER 2021
Analogue Input Dynamic Range (min. gain)
Input THD+N (mid gain)
Line Output THD+N
Headphone Output Dynamic Range
Headphone Output THD+N
Clarett USB
118dB
< -107dB
-103dB
115dB
-101dB
Clarett+
118dB
-110dB
-106dB
118dB
-104dB
The front panel is uncluttered and
straightforward. Two combo XLR inputs
reside on the left-hand side of the unit, followed
by two 48v select switches for implementing
phantom power on channels 1-4
and 5-8. Gain knobs for all eight channels
follow, with dedicated LEDs to acknowledge
whether AIR has been invoked on
that particular input (more on AIR below).
A generous six-segment LED bar graph allows
you to monitor the input and output
levels. Two independent headphone jacks
with level controls round out the front panel.
The rear panel features six combo XLR
jacks for inputs 3-8, two balanced outputs
with 'anti-thump' technology for monitors,
eight balanced line outputs, word clock,
SPDIF, ADAT, and 5-pin MIDI I/O.
New and improved
The big Clarett+ improvements lie under
the hood: a 3dB improvement over
the THD+N (total harmonic distortion plus
noise), and a 6dB greater dynamic range
on the line outputs. Furthermore, the headphone
output's dynamic range gained a
3dB boost as well (see the table for a quick
side-by-side overview of the improvements).
What does all this practically mean
for the end user? Clearer mixes with better
detailing, along with headphone outputs
that deliver powerful and precise
sound across the spectrum.
AIR
Scarlett and Clarett interfaces both feature
Focusrite 'AIR' technology. In the highend
Clarett+ line, the AIR processing is assisted
in the analog domain so as to more
closely approach the feel of the classic
Rupert Neve-designed ISA 110 preamp.
According to Focusrite, this feat is achieved
by changing the input impedance to present
the same load as the original ISA 110.
AIR also adds two cumulative high shelves
for a 4dB boost in the extreme high frequencies.
The effect is subtle but certainly
noticeable, providing an openness and
sparkle to the sound, perhaps summed up
as 'clarity' (Claretty?). Breathiness is more
readily perceived on vocals, the upper harmonics
on acoustic guitars come alive, and
there is generally more space to the sound.

December 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of December 2021

Fade In
Fast Forward
RECORDING’s 2021Holiday Buyer’s Guide
Arturia: MiniFuse 2
AKG: Ara Professional Two-Pattern USB Condenser Microphone
A day in the head of Still Woozy: Making modern pop and beyond
Austrian Audio: Hi-X15
Plugin Outlet: Black Rooster Audio OmniTec-67A
Inside the Box with Joe Albano: Free and Entry-level DAWs
ART: Project Series USB Pre IV Audio Interface
Plugin Outlet: Reverb Foundry Tai-Chi
Audeze: Euclid Closed-Back Planar Magnetic In-ear Monitors
Session Log: The AngelHeaded Hipster, Part 12 Mastering and Beyond: The Final Steps…
Genelec 8361A
Focusrite: Clarett+ 8 Pre
Inside the Studio with Mark Hornsby From the Studio to The Stage
Pioneer DJ VM-80 Active Monitor Speaker
Fade Out: Don’t Wait—Create!
December 2021 - Intro
December 2021 - Cover1
December 2021 - Cover2
December 2021 - 1
December 2021 - 2
December 2021 - 3
December 2021 - Fade In
December 2021 - 5
December 2021 - 6
December 2021 - 7
December 2021 - Fast Forward
December 2021 - 9
December 2021 - RECORDING’s 2021Holiday Buyer’s Guide
December 2021 - 11
December 2021 - 12
December 2021 - 13
December 2021 - 14
December 2021 - 15
December 2021 - 16
December 2021 - 17
December 2021 - 18
December 2021 - 19
December 2021 - 20
December 2021 - 21
December 2021 - Arturia: MiniFuse 2
December 2021 - 23
December 2021 - AKG: Ara Professional Two-Pattern USB Condenser Microphone
December 2021 - 25
December 2021 - A day in the head of Still Woozy: Making modern pop and beyond
December 2021 - 27
December 2021 - 28
December 2021 - 29
December 2021 - 30
December 2021 - 31
December 2021 - 32
December 2021 - 33
December 2021 - 34
December 2021 - 35
December 2021 - 36
December 2021 - 37
December 2021 - Austrian Audio: Hi-X15
December 2021 - 39
December 2021 - Plugin Outlet: Black Rooster Audio OmniTec-67A
December 2021 - 41
December 2021 - Inside the Box with Joe Albano: Free and Entry-level DAWs
December 2021 - 43
December 2021 - 44
December 2021 - 45
December 2021 - ART: Project Series USB Pre IV Audio Interface
December 2021 - 47
December 2021 - Plugin Outlet: Reverb Foundry Tai-Chi
December 2021 - 49
December 2021 - Audeze: Euclid Closed-Back Planar Magnetic In-ear Monitors
December 2021 - 51
December 2021 - Session Log: The AngelHeaded Hipster, Part 12 Mastering and Beyond: The Final Steps…
December 2021 - 53
December 2021 - 54
December 2021 - 55
December 2021 - Genelec 8361A
December 2021 - 57
December 2021 - Focusrite: Clarett+ 8 Pre
December 2021 - 59
December 2021 - Inside the Studio with Mark Hornsby From the Studio to The Stage
December 2021 - 61
December 2021 - Pioneer DJ VM-80 Active Monitor Speaker
December 2021 - 63
December 2021 - 64
December 2021 - 65
December 2021 - 66
December 2021 - 67
December 2021 - 68
December 2021 - 69
December 2021 - 70
December 2021 - 71
December 2021 - Fade Out: Don’t Wait—Create!
December 2021 - Cover3
December 2021 - Cover4
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