The better, faster, easier 26 x 28 Thunderbolt interface
Better. Faster. Easier.
Designed primarily for permanent studio installation, Focusrite’s 26-in, 28-out Clarett 8PreX combines eight mic preamps, class-leading digital conversion and extra-low round-trip latency – enabling DAW plugins to be used while monitoring recordings.
Clarett’s specially designed mic pre offers superbly low noise and distortion, plus the “Air” effect that models the sound of Focusrite’s renowned ISA transformer-based preamps.
Buy Focusrite | Clarett 8PreX on EMI for 3, 6, 9 & 12 months.
Use any of your DAW plugins in real time
With extraordinarily low round-trip audio latency over Thunderbolt, you can record and monitor with your favourite DAW plugins, in real time. No need for add-in DSP or special processing - choose any of your plugins, from virtually any manufacturer, to create the perfect recording path on every channel - as well as custom monitor setups for both you and your artists.
Latency, Conversion, Mic Pres & Ease of Use
Top performance – without delay
We all know there’s nothing like a supportive atmosphere to bring out the best in a performance, and nowhere is that more true than when it comes to making music – adding effects to the monitoring while they’re playing, for example, can help get a better take.
But this has often been hard to achieve. The delay resulting from inserting DAW effects in the monitor chain made it impossible. And the workarounds have often been difficult and complicated. Specialised add-on DSP cards. Or DSP in the interface. Neither comes cheap and they’re not the DAW plugins you prefer.
Imagine what it would be like if you could monitor using the plug-ins you already have on your DAW. Any of them, from any manufacturer. Well, now you can, thanks to Clarett Thunderbolt interfaces by Focusrite.
Thunderbolt itself has exceptionally low-latency. Combine that with careful design in the Clarett itself and you have latency so low that you can record and monitor with all your favourite DAW plugins, in real time. No need for add-in DSP or special processing: choose any of your plug-ins, from virtually any manufacturer. Take advantage of the vast range available including great-sounding freebies, to create the perfect recording path on every channel – as well as custom monitor setups for both you and your artists.
Clarett by Focusrite – the faster Thunderbolt interface by the world’s leading audio interface company.
Give your recordings some ‘Air’
The key to getting an analogue signal into your DAW is the microphone preamplifier – with its associated line and instrument inputs. Mic pres were among the very first modules that the original Focusrite company ever produced, thirty years ago, when master console designer Rupert Neve was commisioned by Sir George Martin to create a new series of console modules for his AIR Studios: we have plenty of experience behind us. So perhaps it’s no surprise that the Clarett mic pre, designed specially for the range, delivers very low noise indeed: an impressive –128dB EIN. That, combined with its low distortion, ultra-linear design and carefully chosen components, guarantees a clean, open and transparent sound that gives the most accurate representation of the original performance.
But there’s more to it than that. Mic preamps are very subjective things. There’s a complex interaction between the mic impedance and the input impedance of the preamp that can completely change the character of the sound you capture. Increase the input impedance and you enhance the clarity, transparency and accuracy of the sound. Reduce it, to a point, and you begin to bring out the innate character of the microphone. There is a time and a place for each. That’s why, with Clarett, we let you choose between the two, with a switchable “Air” effect emulating the sound of our classic transformer-based ISA preamps, and matching their input impedance. ‘Air’ harks back to our earlier designs, and in particular the ISA Range, acclaimed around the world for its signature sound – the sound behind thousands of hit records. The original Rupert Neve designs, and in particular their transformer-coupled mic preamps, were the inspiration for Focusrite’s acclaimed Red Range that formed the basis for today’s range of ISA ‘Heritage Sound’ products.
‘Air’ is the name our customers first coined as a simple description of the effect the ISA Preamp added to their sound recordings. There are three main elements that contribute to the classic ‘Air’ effect.
The ‘Air’ setting on a Clarett interface emulates these factors in the analogue domain. Engaging the setting on the Clarett Mic Preamp switches the impedance of the preamp to that of the original ISA and enables the ‘transformer resonance effect’, giving your microphone recordings the air and clarity of an ISA transformer-based mic pre recording. ‘Air’ is useful with any microphone, but in particular listen to the benefits with vintage microphones for which this input impedance was originally intended.
There are some extra little touches to the Clarett mic pre, too – such as a special law for the input level controls so they work smoothly and intuitively rather offering the conventional “all or nothing” approach.
Conversion as Art and Science
Focusrite has been in the converter business almost as long as the mic pre business – since the release of the Blue Range A/D and D/A converters in 1995. Like preamps, it’s an art we know inside out. Clarett’s 192kHz/24-bit converters deliver up to 118dB (A/D) / 119dB (D/A) real-world dynamic range, letting you capture every nuance and subtlety whether you’re recording or mixing.
A couple of decades ago, digital conversion was a kind of ‘dark art’, where theories were still being developed, discoveries made, and a few individuals were able to get impressive results by breaking the rules. Today, we can argue that this is no longer the case. The rules are established and well-known; the vast majority of converter chips in the same class offer the same kind of performance; and the art of conversion today is about how you use them, and whether or not you are prepared to take the trouble to get the best out of them.
Careful circuit design, choice of components, and even board layout have a part to play. Multi-layer boards provide internal ground-planes to reduce noise. Keeping analogue and digital parts of the circuit separate can reduce the likelihood of spiky digital clocking and other noise getting into sensitive analogue components. And of course component quality and selection are important considerations too.
It’s easy to play the numbers game with digital conversion, and believe a system is better because it looks good on paper, but in fact listening to it (or listening to someone who has) will tell you what you need to know: how clean the sound is, how low the noise, and how much like the original it sounds. Of course the numbers can help you evaluate an interface, as long as they’re real – and when we say that Clarett offers up to 119dB dynamic range via its D/A, we measured that in the real world, with a real interface: it’s not simply the number from the chip’s data sheet.
The heart of the studio
Specially designed for studio installation, Clarett 8PreX includes separate rear panel inputs for mic, line and instrument, as well as ADAT I/O to add 16 more channels, dedicated phantom power, phase reverse and high pass filters on every channel.
Intuitive and Easy to Use Sofware Mixer
Focusrite Control is a brand new software mixer designed for easy configuration of monitoring and routing setups. Simple and intuitive to use, Focusrite Control offers a traditional mixer workflow and allows immediate access to internal hardware functions. Every Clarett also includes the Red 2 & Red 3 AAX, AU & VST Plug-in Suite, which accurately models Focusrite’s classic Red range equalizer and compressor hardware.
Accessible metering and monitoring
Central panel provides analogue and digital input levels, and main monitor outputs, via a 6-segment, multichannel hardware meter. Monitor features include a large-diameter level control, plus dim and mute buttons, alongside dual high-power headphone outputs.
Exceptional I/O capability
Clarett 8PreX gives you all the I/O you need, fitting 26 audio inputs and 28 outputs into a 2U rack space, including 8 analogue inputs, 10 analogue outputs, stereo S/PDIF I/O and 16 channels of ADAT I/O. Connect up to 16 more mic preamps over ADAT for a 24-channel microphone setup.
Supported Sample Rates
Line & Monitor Outputs
Supported Operating Systems
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