Focusrite has launched the Forte, which it's billing as its new "flagship portable audio interface".
A 2-in/4-out device, this comes with two mic preamps and offers up to 24-bit/192kHz performance. It also has an OLED display, touch buttons and large control knob, ensuring that comparisons with Apogee's similarly-styled Duet 2 interface will be inevitable (though Focusrite's interface has the distinct advantage of being PC- as well as Mac-compatible).
Forte can be USB- or mains-powered (a supply is included) and features some of its I/O on a breakout cable. However, balanced line and independent headphone outputs are included on the unit so you may not need it all the time.
Focusrite Forte will be available in October priced at £400.
Focusrite Forte press release
British audio equipment manufacturer Focusrite has launched a brand new flagship portable audio interface: Forte. It represents the pinnacle of Focusrite's analogue audio circuit design coupled with the latest in digital conversion technologies, alongside stunning, no-compromise industrial design and professional practicality.
Forte is a premium two-input, four-output USB 2.0 audio interface that works with Mac and PC. It has two remote control mic preamps, as used in Focusrite's RedNet range of professional audio interfaces, and uses class-leading, 24-bit/192kHz A-D/D-A converters. Forte features a colour OLED (Organic LED) display to indicate input and output signal levels, mic preamp gain and other useful information, with stylish motion graphics giving you detailed visual information. A single, smooth-feeling control knob operates in conjunction with touch-sensitive icon buttons to give you complete control over input and output levels, and DAW control parameters.
- Premium two-input, four-output USB 2.0 audio interface for Mac and PC.
- Best-in-class mic preamp performance with 75dB gain range (0-75dB).
- Class-leading real world ADC (117dB A-weighted) and DAC (118dB A-weighted).
- Colour OLED screen with motion graphics to show input and output signal levels.
- Multi-function touch icons and scroll wheel with DAW control functions.
In addition to providing the highest quality signal path, Focusrite has paid particular attention to ergonomic design. A breakout cable with locking connector is used for microphone (XLR) and line/instrument (TRS) inputs, but balanced line and independent headphone outputs are provided on the unit itself, so the breakout cable is not required for playback-only applications. In addition, the mic and line-level inputs on the breakout cable are separate, meaning all inputs can be connected simultaneously, without having to re-patch when you switch from one to the other. The elegant aluminium case includes non-slip strips on the base to ensure that it is always stable during operation. An external power supply is included with the unit, however Forte can also operate as a USB powered interface.