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Focusrite Clarett 4Pre USB Audio Interface Review

November 24, 2018

The Clarett 4Pre is Focusrite’s mid-range offering in its Clarett line of USB audio interfaces. It’s a solid option for singer-songwriters, home studio owners, traveling musicians, podcasters, and music producers who require more connectivity than what’s offered by the Clarett 4Pre.

The Clarett 4Pre is an 18×8 audio interface. On the input side, you can expect four XLR/TRS combo inputs, four 1/4″ line inputs, one 8-channel ADAT input, and one stereo coaxial S/PDIF input. On the output side, the 4Pre has four 1/4″ line outputs, one stereo coaxial S/PDIF output, and two 1/4″ headphone outputs. The Clarett 4Pre also has MIDI I/O to connect hardware instruments and USB-C to connect modern devices. Like the rest of the Clarett line, the 4Pre uses Focusrite’s low-noise “Air” preamps, which are modeled after the company’s legendary transformer-based ISA series.

Key Specifications

Analog Inputs4x XLR/TRS combo inputs, 4x 1/4″ line inputs
Analog Outputs4x 1/4″ line outputs
Digital Inputs1x 8ch ADAT, 1x 2ch S/PDIF
Digital Outputs1x 2ch S/PDIF
Headphone Outputs2x 1/4″ Headphone Out
Misc. I/O1x MIDI In, 1x MIDI Out, 1x USB-C
Phantom Power48v Phantom Power
Dimensions (HxWxD)2.5″x8.74″x7.56″
Weight2.98 lbs.

Focusrite Clarett 4Pre for Home Studios

The Clarett 4Pre is a suitable audio interface for singer-songwriters and independent music producers who primarily record and mix in a home studio setting. The 4Pre can also be used by bands that don’t need to use more than four microphones at one time. An example microphone setup for a band using the Clarett 4Pre would be one Shure SM7B for the singer, one Shure SM57 for the guitar player, and two AKG C414s for drum overheads. In this scenario, the bass player can run his or her instrument through an external preamp and plug straight into a 1/4″ line input on the Clarett 4Pre.

Focusrite Clarett 4Pre for Pro Studios

If you’re operating a professional recording studio, the Focusrite Clarett 4Pre 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 4Pre, but adds an additional six channels of analog inputs with preamps and four channels of analog outputs in a rack-mountable form factor.

Focusrite Clarett 4Pre for Live Musicians

The Focusrite Clarett 4Pre is a decent choice for live musicians who primarily perform with software like Apple MainStage and Ableton Live. The 4Pre’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 4Pre has four analog outputs, which allows you to route different instruments to individual output pairs.

Focusrite Clarett 4Pre for Podcasters

The Focusrite Clarett 4Pre is a great choice for podcasters who often record with multiple guests. The four “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 4Pre only has two headphone outputs, so you’ll need a headphone splitter or headphone amplifier if you’re recording with more than two or more guests. Lastly, the 4Pre’s MIDI input can be used to connect a MIDI controller to trigger sound effects while recording a podcast episode.

Conclusion

The Focusrite Clarett 4Pre 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 4Pre also ships with XLN’s Addictive Keys, SoftTube’s Time & Tone bundle, and Ableton Live Lite.

MSRP: $659
Buy on Amazon


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