The 2Pre offers quite frankly astonishing 119dB of dynamic range, which when combined with the ultra-low noise 24-bit/192 kHz converters provides a quality of recording that is sure to delight users.
Ports wise this is the smallest interface in the Clarett range and therefore has fewer connections than the larger and more expensive models. The 2Pre gives you 2 combo balanced XLR/TRS ports with optional +48v phantom power, four 1/4″ TRS line outs give you plenty of connectivity to attach amps or speakers, MIDI in and out ports, a 1/4″ headphone jack with dedicated level control and an ADAT expansion port which allows you to add an additional 8 Clarett preamps via the optional Clarett OctoPre add on. The Pre2 does require AC power unless you have a 15w PD capable USB-C port.
Build quality is excellent, the unit feels very durable in hand and we’re sure it’ll be a fixture of your studio for years to come. Portability is compromised if you need to use AC power, but otherwise, it should be fine to knock about in a kit bag. Focusrite is proud to stand by the reliability of their products and offer a 3-year warranty on all Clarett interfaces.
Measuring in at 210mm wide, 161mm deep and 55mm high you should have no problem finding space for the Clarett 2pre. The signature Focusrite red fascia is pleasant enough to look at and has a professional aesthetic.
The Clarett 2Pre includes a whole suite of software add-ons completely gratis, you’ll get: Ableton Live 10 Lite, Focusrite Control, XLN Audio Addictive Keys (1 of 4 instruments), Softube Time and Tone Bundle, Focusrite Red Plug-in Suite, Focusrite Plug-in Collective and 2GB of Loopmasters samples with your purchase.
This interface is all about professional utility and the control layout is structured with that in mind. Dedicated input gain controls allow fine control over your source audio. The monitor knob is of a reasonable size and it feels smooth in operation. +48v phantom power switches next to each input allow the connection of condenser microphones. A standard headphone volume control knob ensures ease of monitoring.
Focusrite has brought further controls to the digital age with its Focusrite Control software. The software runs on both Mac and PC computers, and there is an iOS app that is compatible with both iPads and iPhones. Focusrite control allows you to bring a more granular approach to your use of the interface and we really enjoyed that extra level of functionality.
The Clarett 2Pre can also be operated in what Focusrite is calling Standalone Mode, which does not require the use of a computer and allows the interface to run as an ADAT connected unit. You do need to set up Standalone Mode using the Focusrite Control software before though.
The quality of recordings produced by the Clarett 2Pre blew me away. Audio is crisp, clear and detailed. “Air” mode allows the introduction of a vintage recording aesthetic that can really enhance the sound of certain instruments and vocalists. The preamps are amazing, Focusrite isn’t lying about these when they brag about the quality.