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Focusrite Clarett+ 2Pre review

Want to upscale your interface? Focusrite could have just the thing

  • £440
Focusrite Clarett+ 2Pre
(Image: © Future)

Our Verdict

The latest generation of these excellent interfaces delivers handy software control alongside rock-solid audio performance.

Pros

  • Crystal clear mic preamps with plenty of headroom.
  • Air transformer input emulation.
  • Useful JFET instrument inputs.
  • Low latency monitoring and additional features via the PC/Mac software and iOS app.

Cons

  • Bus powering requires a 15W USB-C connection.
  • Control software won’t be appealing to everyone.

MusicRadar Verdict

The latest generation of these excellent interfaces delivers handy software control alongside rock-solid audio performance.

Pros

  • +

    Crystal clear mic preamps with plenty of headroom.

  • +

    Air transformer input emulation.

  • +

    Useful JFET instrument inputs.

  • +

    Low latency monitoring and additional features via the PC/Mac software and iOS app.

Cons

  • -

    Bus powering requires a 15W USB-C connection.

  • -

    Control software won’t be appealing to everyone.

Focusrite Clarett+ 2Pre: What is it?

Clarett is Focusrite’s premium studio-grade USB interface range and with only three devices to choose from, offer a more focused product line than Focusrite’s entry-level Scarlett. 

All three operate at up to 24-bit/192kHz, including MIDI I/O and additional connectivity via ADAT interface. They also have a decent bundle of software including Focusrite’s Red 2 and Red 3 plugins and Plugin Alliance’s bx_console Focusrite SC. Their recent update to Clarett+, as you might expect from an audiophile device, focuses on improving the performance rather than expanding that feature set.

The Clarett+ 2Pre we have for review is the smallest of the three and has two mic pres with front-mounted combination mic/line/instrument inputs with gain controls and individual self-illuminating phantom power switches. There’s also an Air LED indicator for the optional ISA transformer input emulation. Next to these, you’ll find the main Monitor output level and a single headphone output with level control. 

Focusrite Clarett+ 2Pre

(Image credit: Future)

Round the back is four balanced outputs on ¼” TRS jacks, MIDI I\O and the aforementioned ADAT optical input. This delivers a total I/O of 10-in/4-out and coupling the 2Pre with Focusrite’s own Clarett OctoPre would deliver a pretty compelling 10 mic input Air enabled tracking setup.  

Focusrite Clarett+ 2Pre

(Image credit: Future)

Clarett+ 2Pre is a USB 2.0 compatible device and connection is via a USB-C port on the back. This supports USB-C bus powering, but you’ll need a USB-C equipped device that provides 15W rather than 7.5W. If that’s not an option you can use the included PSU and you’ll find both USB-C and USB-A terminated cables in the box.

Focusrite Clarett+ 2Pre: Performance and verdict

The 2Pre works in conjunction with the Focusrite Control software and some functionality including selecting the instrument input is only accessible via this software. This won’t please everyone, but it’s extremely easy to use and setting up your low latency monitoring is pretty self-explanatory. The software also provides some great extra features, including choosing which output pairs, if any, are actually controlled by the hardware Monitor knob. Rather usefully, Focusrite Control is also available as a slightly simplified iOS app, so you can control levels, including your low latency monitoring mix from your phone. 

Clarett+ has new, improved independent A-D and D-A converters, slightly better noise figures throughout and improved dynamic range. It’s tough to judge this without A/B ing the unit with the previous generation. Nevertheless, the mic inputs are silky smooth and have plenty of headroom, and the outputs are crystal clear and suitably noise-free. 

If you want to add some life to your input, the Air option does just that, and although this is software controlled, you’ll hear the welcoming sound of a relay switching the circuit inside the unit. Also excellent are the two JFET instrument inputs. These sound substantially better than a regular instrument input and clip in a nice fuzzy way if you push them hard.

Overall, the Clarett+ 2Pre is a reasonably simple interface with some very handy features, that offers subtle yet welcome improvements over its predecessor.

MusicRadar verdict: The latest generation of these excellent interfaces delivers handy software control alongside rock-solid audio performance.

Focusrite Clarett+ 2Pre: The web says

"The Clarett+ 2Pre is an excellent recording interface that punches above its weight in terms of size and performance."
macProVideo

Focusrite Clarett+ 2Pre: Hands-on demos

FocusriteTV

Ruben Wan

Sweetwater

Focusrite Clarett+ 2Pre: Specifications

  • Inputs: 2 mic/line/instrument, 8 ADAT 
  • Outputs: 4 balanced line, 1 headphone 
  • Input gain range: 57dB (mic/line/instrument) 
  • Dynamic Range Inputs: 118dB (mic/line) 116dB (instrument) 
  • Dynamic Range Outputs: 124dB 
  • DIMENSIONS: 210 x 161 x 55mm 
  • WEIGHT: 1.11kg.
  • CONTACT: Focusrite