Focusrite launches Clarett OctoPre 8-channel mic pre & AD/DA converter


Focusrite has announced the launch of the Clarett OctoPre, an I/O expansion kit featuring 8 mic preamps and a built-in 24-bit / 96 kHz ADAT output.

The Clarett OctoPre is designed to allow the rapid addition of eight mic/line inputs and line outputs with the Clarett range of audio interfaces, or other interfaces that include ADAT optical I/O.

Focusrite Clarett OctoPre wide

The Clarett OctoPre includes eight of the Clarett range’s ‘Air’-enabled mic pres: the ‘Air’ effect emulates the transformer-based sound of Focusrite’s ISA range of heritage mic pres. The preamps include extensive headroom, making them ideal for drums or other high-level signals. The rear panel inputs switch automatically between mic and line in and there are also two instrument DI inputs on the front panel. The ‘Air’ effect can be switched in or out on a channel basis and phantom power is also provided, switchable in two groups of four channels.

Each channel features a front-panel switchable relay-bypassed insert point allowing EQ, compression or other analogue processing to be left connected and brought into play with the push of a button. In addition to being fed to the A-D converter, the input channels are also available at the analogue outputs, from where they can, for example, be routed to a live mixing console while at the same time capturing the inputs digitally. The analogue outputs, which appear on a rear-panel DB25 wired to the AES59 standard, can alternatively be switched to pick up the ADAT inputs via the D-A converters.

Focusrite has been making digital conversion systems for years, and the Clarett OctoPre provides a level of conversion quality that matches that of the mic pres themselves, with precision digital conversion offering 24-bit operation at standard sample rates up to 192 kHz. The A-D converters measure a dynamic range of 118dB (A-Weighted); the D-A 119dB. Two ADAT input and two output ports are provided, allowing the Clarett OctoPre to carry eight channels of I/O at sample rates up to 96kHz and four channels at 176.4/192kHz. The Clarett OctoPre syncs either to external ADAT or Word Clock, or may be clocked internally, and features JetPLL™ jitter elimination. Word Clock out is also provided.

Metering is via a group of six-segment LED bar meters plus per-channel clip indicators next to the channel level controls. Function buttons select Insert and Air and are used in conjunction with assign buttons under the channel level controls, plus two buttons selecting the front panel instrument inputs on channels 1 and 2.

Clarett OctoPre features

  • The ideal Clarett I/O expansion kit: With eight Clarett mic pres, eight line outputs and ADAT interfacing, the Clarett OctoPre is the ideal way of adding inputs and outputs to your Clarett Thunderbolt audio interface – or any other interface with ADAT I/O.
  • The sound of transformer mic preamps: The eight specially-designed Clarett mic preamps include a switchable analogue ‘Air’ effect that imparts the sonic signature of the classic Focusrite ISA mic pre.
  • Focusrite precision conversion: 24-bit A-D and D-A conversion at standard sample rates all the way up to 192 kHz, with up to 118dB dynamic range A-D and 119dB dynamic range D-A (A-Weighted) to capture every nuance in recording and mixing. Up to eight channels of A-D and eight channels of D-A (four channels at 176.4/192kHz).
  • Eight high-quality analogue outputs: Feed them from the mic pres directly to a mixer in a live environment, simultaneously capturing your audio digitally via twin ADAT outputs. Or drive them from the ADAT inputs, giving you up to eight additional analogue outputs from your DAW.
  • Dedicated switched insert points on every channel: Track through your favourite analogue outboard equipment such as compressors, gates and EQ with maximum flexibility via dedicated switched insert points with clip indicators on every channel. Leave inserts permanently connected to your outboard gear or patchbay and switch them in and out as required.
  • Mic preamps optimised for tracking drums: Clarett OctoPre is designed not to clip, with preamps optimised to handle extreme levels from sound sources like kick drum and snare.
  • Two quality instrument inputs: Clarett OctoPre’s first two channels feature extreme-headroom DI’s, ready for you to plug in your guitars and bass, instantly accessible on the front panel and able to take the highest level pickup without distortion.
  • Six-segment LED input metering on every channel: Clarett OctoPre’s fast-acting input meters provide clear reference of input levels, helping you to avoid analogue or digital clipping. Additional pre-insert clip indicators ensure accurate gain staging when using outboard equipment.
  • 48V Phantom power on every channel: Switched in two groups (1-4 and 5-8), every channel is capable of supplying phantom power for use with condenser microphones.
  • Versatile clocking solutions: Clarett OctoPre provides wordclock I/O employing industry-standard JetPLL™ jitter elimination technology for rock solid, super stable clocking performance.

The Clarett OctoPre will be shipping in November, priced at $699.99 USD.

More information: Focusrite / Clarett OctoPre

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