Focusrite Clarett 2Pre Review

There’s a reason that we spend a lot of time covering Focusrite interfaces. That’s because they make the most popular line of interfaces in the world. Today we’ll go in-depth into the Clarett 2Pre, the younger sibling of the Clarett 4Pre (review).

While the hardware is similar, the affordability factor might push you more towards the 2Pre. As you guessed, the 2Pre only has 2 preamps compared to the 4 that the 4Pre offers. However, the difference is about $200.

Focusrite Clarett 2Pre USB 10-In/4-Out Audio Interface
  • Two Air-enabled ultra-low noise Clarett mic pres / inst. inputs; ultra-low distortion and up to 119dB dynamic range. Four balanced outputs including a dedicated stereo pair, headphone output with dedicated gain control; MIDI I/O, ADAT input (expand up to 8- additional inputs and outputs)
  • Precision 24-bit/192Khz A-D and D-A conversion for the ideal signal path; high-headroom instrument inputs for recording super-hot pickups with no unwanted distortion
  • Included standard USB and USB Type-C cables connect to PC or Mac
  • Includes Ableton Live Lite, Brainworx bx_console Focusrite, Softube Time and Tone Bundle, Focusrite’s Red Plug-in Suite, Focusrite Control, 2GB of Loopmasters samples, Choice of one free XLN Addictive Keys virtual instrument, all available via download upon purchase and registration
  • Between 10-1-20 and 12-31-20, Focusrite gives you The Hitmaker Expansion: Antares Auto-Tune Access, Relab LX480 Essentials, and XLN Addictive Drums 2: Focusrite Special, for free! Register your new Clarett on the Focusrite website to access The Hitmaker Expansion.

Note: Sponsored link

If you’re looking for a high quality, 2 Channel interface, this should be a serious contender. The Clarett series is one notch above the more budget-friendly, also 2 channel Scarlett series interface, which is still a solid budget pick.

The Important Specs

  • Precision 24-bit/192Khz A-D and D-A conversion
  • PC and Mac Compatible
  • 2 Ultra-low noise preamps / inputs
  • 4 Balanced outputs
  • Midi Input / Output
  • ADAT connectivity allows up to 8 additional inputs

Pros of the Clarett 2Pre

  • Fantastic AD/DA Conversion – Up to 192Khz
  • High quality preamps
  • People notice the difference between this and cheaper interfaces

It’s clear that Amazon reviewers love this thing, with 77% 5-Star ratings. Most of the users noticed a definitive difference between the 2Pre and their previous, cheaper units. Sound quality, low noise, and high headroom were other qualities that were noticed. However, even the positive reviews had a couple random complaints. We’ll dig into those next.

 

Cons of the Clarett 2Pre

  • Some Windows users reported driver issues

While the hardware is loved by most, the only weakness with this unit seems to be in the software. Some Windows users reported driver issues with the audio cutting out while recording, and others mentioned that if the unit is idle too long, it can freeze up in the DAW, causing you to have to restart the DAW. Overall though, the vast majority of online reviews are positive, and people are clearly overcoming any shortfalls with the software.

Ready to Go

Whether you’re on Windows or Mac, you’ll find installation a breeze. Mac is plug and play, and Windows users will want to download the latest drivers. The 2Pre comes with a standard USB C cable to connect to your computer.

The 2Pre also comes with a software package including plugins, virtual instruments, and 2 Gigs of samples. Be sure to register your product for any extra goodies that it comes with!

As for a DAW, this interface comes with Ableton Live Lite, although you’re always able to use the DAW of your choice.

Using the Clarett 2Pre

Once you’ve got your drivers installed and the unit plugged in, the rest of the setup will depend on your DAW. Now, keep in mind you’re limited to 2 tracks, unless you happen to have a unit to connect more preamps via ADAT. This is a useful feature typically found on higher end interfaces.

So with only 2 tracks to work with, who is this interface meant for?

Well, if you’re looking for something for a portable rig, this might be for you. It’s also right at home in the studio, where you can record guitar and vocals or guitar and bass at the same time for example, as well as perhaps a keyboard or other midi controller.

There are really many situations where this interface can shine, but just remember that due to the limitations of only having 2 channels, you might not be able to record a full band as well as with a unit that can offer more inputs, like the Clarett 4Pre.

Conclusion

The Focusrite Clarett 2Pre is not a beginner’s interface, but a step up from the cheaper options out there. For the price, your needs may dictate an interface that gives you more input, but then again this unit is also capable of expansion via ADAT. It has some of the best preamps in it’s class, and good conversion to make your lows sound clearer and your highs more transparent. Overall there are plenty of reasons to buy this one if you’re in the market for a solid, high quality 2 channel interface. It’s got the Amazon reviews to back it up and thousands of happy customers.