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Focusrite Clarett 2Pre USB Audio Interface Review

November 22, 2018

The Clarett 2Pre is Focusrite’s entry level offering in its Clarett line of USB audio interfaces. It’s a great option for singer-songwriters, traveling musicians, podcasters, and music producers who don’t require lots of connectivity.

The 2Pre features the same preamps that can be found on Focusrite’s higher end Clarett models, and have been designed with a specific “Air” circuit inspired by the company’s famous ISA preamps. On the input side, you can expect two XLR/TRS combo jacks with built-in 48v phantom power. For output connectivity, the 2Pre features four 1/4″ TRS outputs, one 8-channel ADAT outputs, and one 1/4″ headphone output. The 2Pre also has MIDI input and output support, as well as USB-C support for connecting to modern devices.

Key Specifications

Analog Inputs2x XLR/TRS Combo
Analog Outputs4x 1/4″ TRS
Digital Inputs1x ADAT
Digital OutputsN/A
Headphone Outputs1x 1/4″ Headphone Out
MIDI I/O1x MIDI In, 1x MIDI Out
Phantom Power48v Phantom Power
Dimensions (HxWxD)2.17″x8.27″6.34″
Weight3.0 lbs.

Focusrite Clarett 2Pre for Home Studios

The Clarett 2Pre is a solid choice for soloists and singer-songwriters who primarily record and mix in a home studio setting. Keep in mind the 2Pre will only allow you to record with two instruments or microphones at once. If you need to record more than two analog tracks simultaneously, you’ll either have to get another audio interface or an ADAT preamp expansion unit like the Focusrite Clarett OctoPre. If you’re a home studio owner on a tight budget, it may be worth looking into Focusrite’s Scarlett 2i2 instead. While it doesn’t have MIDI support or the “Air” preamps, it does offer the same number of analog inputs as the Clarett 2Pre at a much cheaper price.

Focusrite Clarett 2Pre for Pro Studios

If you’re operating a professional recording studio, the Focusrite Clarett 2Pre is most likely not the right choice due to its low analog input count. Instead, look into the Clarett 8Pre. It shares the same internal components as the 2Pre, but adds an additional six channels of analog inputs and four channels of analog outputs in a rack-mountable form factor.

Focusrite Clarett 2Pre for Live Musicians

The Focusrite Clarett 2Pre is a decent choice for live musicians who primarily perform with software like Apple MainStage and Ableton Live. The 2Pre’s MIDI input allows you to plug in keyboards and other MIDI controllers, while the MIDI output enables you to route MIDI triggers to control external devices and effects. Best of all, the 2Pre has four analog outputs, which allows you to route different instruments to individual output pairs.

Focusrite Clarett 2Pre for Podcasters

The Focusrite Clarett 2Pre is a solid choice for podcasters who don’t record with more than one guest. The “Air” preamps offer plenty of clean gain for popular dynamic microphones like the Shure SMB7 and Electro-Voice RE-20. Keep in mind the Clarett 2Pre only has one headphone output, so you’ll need a headphone splitter or headphone amplifier if you’re recording with a guest. Lastly, the 2Pre’s MIDI input can be used to connect a MIDI controller to trigger sound effects while recording a podcast episode.

Conclusion

The Focusrite Clarett 2Pre is a great USB 2.0/USB-C audio interface for home studio owners, live musicians, and podcasters. In addition to Focusrite’s own Red plugin suite, the Clarett 2Pre also ships with XLN’s Addictive Keys, SoftTube’s Time & Tone bundle, and Ableton Live Lite.

MSRP: $439
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