Focusrite recently released the Clarett+ range of audio interfaces, the next generation of its popular Clarett range. In an afternoon jam session with local musician Nick Granelle, we had the opportunity to see – or rather, hear – what’s been improved for the Clarett+ 2Pre, one of the three new interfaces.
When the new range was first announced, we compared the specs of the Clarett vs Clarett+ interfaces. Despite being almost physically identical to the previous generation, we found several key differences. Our hands-on session with the 2Pre interface allowed us to see how these changes have impacted the interface in a real-world application.
Focusrite Clarett+ 2Pre Review
The Clarett+ 2Pre fit very comfortably in Granelle’s Brooklyn studio. The sleek, aluminum build has the same dimensions and weight as the previous 2Pre model, with the same iconic black & red brush finish. Small enough to fit in a bag or backpack, and capable of running power through its USB-C cable (15W USB-C port required), the interface is remarkably portable.
Like the previous generation, the Clarett+ 2Pre features two studio-grade microphone preamps. Featuring 118dB of dynamic range and a +57dB gain range, they offer plenty of headroom for even the most ferocious musicians.
The preamps also still feature the optional Air mode functionality, which enhances high frequency signals such as vocals and acoustic guitar. In playback, we could hear a subtle difference in the recordings with and without Air. The Air mode recordings had the slightest boost in clarity, helping Granelle’s vocals pop.
Additionally, the Clarett+ 2Pre still has a total of 10 inputs and 4 outputs, including a 5-pin MIDI I/O and an optical ADAT input. You can use this input to connect to other ADAT-compatible gear, such as the Focusrite Clarett OctoPre, which provides 8 additional preamps.
While physically very similar, the circuitry inside the new 2Pre has been updated around new A-D/D-A converters. This change ultimately enables the new interface to capture recordings with more detail and clarity and less distortion and noise. The specs show that the Clarett+ 2Pre now has a wider dynamic range (118dB) and reduced THD+N (-106dB) on the analog inputs.
While these are undoubtedly improvements, only experienced musicians and producers are likely to hear the difference between a recording from the new 2Pre compared to the previous model.
Another upgrade to the Clarett+ 2Pre is an enhanced headphone output. Designed to handle greatly varying impedances, the output has a flat frequency response at all output levels, regardless of the headphones you’re using. That means you’ll have no issue using the same headphones to listen while you’re recording soft vocals or thumping heavy metal.
The Clarett+ 2Pre is a sophisticated USB audio interface featuring studio-grade preamps and conversion capabilities. Beginners may prefer an interface from the Focusrite Scarlett range, which starts at a lower price point and offers more interfaces with varying I/O. However, experienced musicians and producers will appreciate the additional clarity and detail offered by the Clarett+ range.
As the most portable and affordable interface in the range, the Clarett+ 2Pre is a great option for intermediate musicians and producers looking to upgrade to a more advanced interface.