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Review: Focusrite Clarett 2Pre, Thunderbolt Audio Interface

Can this Thunderbolt audio interface offer improved performance over USB devices?

Item: Focusrite Clarett 2Pre, Thunderbolt Audio Interface

Price: $499 (US), £349 (UK)

Mic Rating: 4.5/5

At A Glance: Designed for the singer/songwriter, Focusrite’s Clarett 2Pre is a Thunderbolt audio interface that features two mic/instrument/line preamps, 192kHz/24-bit digital conversion, and ultra-low round-trip latency. The mic preamps feature an “Air” effect, which models the sound of Focusrite’s acclaimed ISA transformer-based preamps. The 2Pre also features MIDI and optical connections and outputs for studio monitors and headphones. There is also metering on the front to provide an indication of levels to avoid clipping.


High Notes: Its extremely low latency makes it possible to use your DAW plug-ins for monitoring while you record. The ‘Air’ effect helps add come character to vocal recordings; offering a sound that is slightly warmer, yet still clean and detailed. The 2Pre’s software mixer makes it simple to configure your monitoring and routing setup, and the device also comes with a range of effects from Focusrite’s Red 2 and Red 3 plug-in suite, as well as Softube’s Time and Tone Pack (TSAR-1R reverb, Tube Delay, and Saturation Knob).

Off Pitch: Surprisingly no Thunderbolt cable is included with the device and its need for an external power supply makes it less mobile than some other interfaces. Also, when compared to some other devices, the 2Pre only offers very basic monitor controls.

VoiceCouncil Reviewer Says: Focsrite’s Clarett 2Pre offers a lot of features and sound quality a great price-point. While a Thunderbolt only device might put off a lot of PC owners, the device is capable of an impressively low latency performance when compared to USB devices. If you need more inputs, Focusrite also offer the Clarrett 4Pre and 8Pre, which feature more microphone inputs – or you can always use the ADAT connection to connect an external pre-amp with digital output to add up to 8 channels.

Manufacturer’s Website: Focusrite

Other Reviews: musicradar. | Sweetwater

  • I have two of these interfaces as well as the more professional system, the ISA One. They are great interfaces and preamps. If anyone has any questions about them, feel free to contact me at http://www.TheFourPillarsofSinging.com.

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