Focusrite Clarett 8Pre 18x20 Thunderbolt Audio Interface

8-channel Microphone Preamplifier/Audio Interface, 24-bit/192kHz, with Thunderbolt Connectivity, and Included Plug-ins - Mac/PC
Focusrite Clarett 8Pre 18x20 Thunderbolt Audio Interface image 1
Focusrite Clarett 8Pre 18x20 Thunderbolt Audio Interface image 1
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Focusrite Clarett 8Pre 18x20 Thunderbolt Audio Interface
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The Core of Your Studio or Mobile Recording Rig

Focusrite's Clarett 8Pre 18-in/20-out audio interface is a powerful foundation for your studio or mobile recording rig. It sports eight great-sounding Clarett microphone preamplifiers, an outstanding dynamic range, and ultra-fast, low-latency performance enabled by Thunderbolt. Clarett's magic starts as soon as you plug your microphones in — the mic preamps feature Focusrite's switchable Air Effect, which gives your microphones the air and clarity of an ISA transformer-based mic preamp. With comprehensive connectivity including analog I/O, S/PDIF, and ADAT I/O, the Focusrite Clarett 8Pre is ready to integrate into virtually any recording rig.

Outstanding versatility, speed, and sonic performance

The Clarett 8Pre's eight newly designed Clarett mic preamps deliver a truly impressive dynamic range. Perfect for your studio or mobile recording rig, the Clarett 8Pre gives you a wealth of connectivity — including ADAT and MIDI I/O — all in a sleek 1U form factor. With its sonic performance, leading edge round-trip audio latency and ease of use, the Clarett 8 Pre is an excellent choice of interface.

Use your favorite plug-ins in real time

With the Clarett 8Pre's exceedingly low round-trip audio latency over Thunderbolt, you can record and monitor in real time with your favorite familiar DAW plug-ins. No special processing or DSP is required. Select any plug-in and create your dream recording chain on every single channel. Every Clarett ships with the Focusrite Classic Red 2 and Red 3 AAX, AU, and VST plug-in suite, which accurately models Focusrite's classic Red range EQ and compression hardware. Also included is Softube's Time and Tone Pack — a powerful plug-in bundle consisting of Softube's world-class TSAR-1R reverb, Tube Delay, and Saturation Knob.

Eight Clarett mic preamps with Air effect

Focusrite fitted the Clarett 8Pre with mic preamps that were designed exclusively for the Clarett range with loads of pristine gain and vanishingly low noise. In addition, these preamps include Focusrite's proprietary Air feature that switches in an analog model of Focusrite's acclaimed classic transformer-based ISA mic pre, breathing life into your recordings. If you've always wanted vocals that shimmer with presence and silky air, then try recording with the Clarett 8Pre. You will be impressed.

The cleanest way yet to get sound in and out of your DAW

Sweetwater engineers know that conversion is key to superior digital audio, and Clarett features Focusrite's class-leading 24-bit/192kHz conversion. Offering up to 119dB of dynamic range, Clarett is the cleanest way to get sound in and out of your DAW. And naturally, the Clarett 8Pre includes a word clock output for slaving external digital devices.

Generous I/O to handle any recording scenario

The Focusrite Clarett 8Pre gives you 18 audio inputs and 20 outputs packed into a trim 1U rackmount chassis. This includes eight analog inputs, ten analog outputs, stereo S/PDIF I/O, and eight channels of ADAT I/O. The ADAT output is perfect for sending audio to an external D/A for line output expansion, while the input can be used to bring in eight additional digital mic preamp channels, such as the Focusrite OctoPre MkII, for maximum flexibility. In addition, two front-panel mic/line/instrument inputs give you quick and easy access — even when you've got your Clarett rack mounted. And those hi-Z inputs have copious headroom to handle your guitars and basses with hot passive or active pickups.

Accessible metering and monitoring

Featuring a 6-segment, multichannel LED meter, the Clarett 8Pre's monitor panel keeps you informed of analog and digital input levels and main monitor outputs. Monitoring facilities include a level control, as well as dim and mute buttons. Add to that two wide dynamic range front-panel headphone outputs with enough power to deliver healthy levels to high-impedance headphones, and the Clarett becomes your go-to device for tracking and mixing.

Intuitive and easy-to-use software mixer

Your Clarett comes with Focusrite Control, a brand-new software mixer that makes short work of configuring your monitoring and routing setups. Simple and intuitive to use, Focusrite Control offers an easy-to-grasp traditional mixer workflow and gives you immediate access to dim, mute, and other internal hardware functions.

Remote control from your iPhone or iPad

With the free Focusrite iOS Control app, you can adjust the mixes you made with Focusrite Control on the desktop app from your iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch.

Included software bundle:

  • Red 2 and Red 3 Plug-in Suite accurately models Focusrite's coveted Red range EQ and compressor hardware
  • Softube Time and Tone Pack with TSAR-1R Reverb, Tube Delay, Saturation Knob, and Drawmer S73 Intelligent Master Processor
  • Ableton Live Lite
  • 2G Loopmasters Samples
  • Access to Focusrite's Plug-in Collective, with exclusive offers from Nugen Audio, Exponential Audio, Fabfilter, D16 Group, Flux, Positive Grid, Sound Radix, Eventide, iZotope, and more

Focusrite Clarett 8Pre Features:

  • 8 Clarett mic preamps with Focusrite's proprietary Air feature
  • Copious headroom, vanishingly low noise
  • Accurate digital conversion and clocking
  • Generous I/O, enough for the whole band
  • 8 analog inputs, 10 analog outputs
  • Stereo S/PDIF, 8 channels of ADAT I/O
  • 2 front-panel mic/line/instrument inputs
  • Accessible metering and monitoring
  • Intuitive, easy-to-use software mixer makes short work of configuring your monitoring and routing; provides quick access to internal hardware functions
  • Record and monitor in real time with your favorite DAW plug-ins
  • Create custom monitor setups for both you and your artists
  • Includes Focusrite's classic Red 2/Red 3 plug-in suite
  • Focusrite's class-leading 24/192 conversion
  • Up to 119dB of dynamic range
  • Word clock output for slaving external digital devices
  • 6-segment, multichannel LED meter
  • Monitor level control, plus dim and mute buttons
  • 2 wide-dynamic-range front-panel headphone outs

Additional Media

Audio Interface Buying Guide
Clarett 8Pre User Manual
Focusrite Control User Guide

Tech Specs

Computer Connectivity Thunderbolt
Form Factor Rackmount
Simultaneous I/O 18 x 20
A/D Resolution 24-bit/192kHz
Number of Preamps 8
Phantom Power Yes
Analog Inputs 8 x XLR-1/4" combo
Analog Outputs 10 x 1/4", 2 x 1/4" (headphones)
Digital Inputs 1 x S/PDIF, 1 x ADAT Optical
Digital Outputs 1 x S/PDIF, 1 x ADAT Optical
Clock I/O 1 x Word Clock
OS Requirements - Mac OS X 10.9 or later
OS Requirements - PC Windows 10
Rack Spaces 1U
Width 19"
Height 1.75"
Manufacturer Part Number Clarett 8Pre

Customer Reviews

Based on 19 reviews
Write your review

Clarett 8Pre

Super sweet interface , latency negligible . Would recommend for any pro set up.
Music background: Custom guitar

Yes! Yes! Yes!

I've had the Clarett for almost 2 months and have been recording non-stop for an upcoming Christmas EP with church musicians and Christian artists. Long story short, this is worth the investment. If you are planning on recording music and need 8 channels of clean, quiet input this is worth considering. Of all the 8 channel Thunderbolt interfaces this one is the best bang for your buck.To give you an example of my experience, I have recorded with a Shure SM 7B on most of the vocals for the EP using just the preamps on the Clarett. I literally crank the gain up for the vocals and there is no noise, no distortion, no latency. Setup up was straight forward with the instructions and online videos available. The Air feature is awesome. It works and provides options for you to work with on any source, especially vocals. I am impressed with what Focusrite is doing. This is a solid product. I don't want to fluff anything here, if you are in this price range check the Clarett 8pre out.
Music background: Singer, Guitarist


The Clarett 8 Pre is one of the most exciting things to ever happen to the recording world! With extremely low latency, it is lightning-fast utilizing the Thunderbolt connector. But the creme de la creme is in the incredibly crystal and pristine (but by no means "sterile") sound you get from the Clarett 8 Pre. It doesn't color or dull anything you record through it. In fact, in my initial test of the Clarett 8 Pre right out of the box, I recorded a complete arrangement in Logic Pro X and the ONLY plugin I really needed was a reverb on the vocal. The ISA analog pre-amps are beyond incredible... and when you add the "Air" feature, especially to a vocal, the results are just amazing. There is no real way to describe how something sounds, but truly; the Clarett 8 Pre by Focusrite is about as perfect an interface as you could ever dream of. It is the sound of the famous Focusrite consoles in a 19 inch rack mountable (or tabletop) heavy duty unit. Well worth making the investment if you're a serious pro. I'd rate this a 10 if I could.
Music background: Producer, Audio Engineer, musician


This unit is amazing. The preamps are incredibly quiet Even when at maximum gain. I can't recommend this interface enough. I have a macbook pro 15" mid 2012. I had the latency down to 64 with a few reverb plugins and the latency wasn't noticeable at all. Finally. I'm sure the UAD apollo is nice if you want to invest in their plugin suites but for me, i'd rather use what I have. The headphone amps are noticeably better then most on all the interfaces i've used.
Music background: I've been playing and recording music for over 16 years. I've been an avid apogee user for 8 years now.

Beauty, Simplicity, and Sonics, The Focusrite Clarett 8Pre.

I pre-ordered the Focusrite Clarett and got mine from the first shipment, upgrading from a Scarlett 2i2. I've used it on several projects so far including orchestras, choirs, and even an R&B artist.Sound:My first impression of the sound was that it was much more "powerful" than the Scarlett, the unit sounded like it had plenty of output to give. The preamps are VERY quiet, even when cranked all the way up, and the conversion produces very detailed sound. Air mode is a very nice touch, offering two flavors to each preamp independently and for me is useful for clearing up the "mud" on any sound source. It doesn't sound exactly like the ISA but is actually brighter and more noticeable. Air is great on instruments (like piano and trumpet) and some vocalists. Ease of use:The Clarett is straight-forward and easy to use. Period. You can make personalized headphone mixes or route out specific channels (like recording a choir but only routing out a soloist microphone to the speakers) in a matter of seconds. Also it is sturdy and built like a tank, and most of the controls are right in front of you so if you need more gain on channel 7, you just reach out and grab knob 7. The metering on the front panel has become an essential to me; very useful.Speed:Latency? What latency?All in all a great unit that stands up in terms of sound quality to units two and three times it's price. I highly recommend this interface for anyone with mid to large I/O needs looking for solid sound quality. Focusrite really hit a home run with this one. Beauty, Simplicity, and Sonics all in a 1U rackspace, the Focusrite Clarett.
Music background: Trumpet Player, Music Teacher, Recording Business Owner.

Sweetwater Advice

Mitch Gallagher

What is it that you want from an audio interface? Transparent sound quality, dynamic and detailed mic preamps, low noise, no latency, and ease of use. In many ways, you can sum it up by saying that the interface should pretty much disappear. It should work so invisibly that you don't have to think about it -- just hit record or play and make music. With the Clarett 8Pre Thunderbolt audio interfaces, Focusrite has achieved just that. These are great-sounding, easy-to-use interfaces with virtually no latency and no need for complex control apps. Just power it on, plug in your mic and monitors/headphones, launch your DAW, and get to work. Beautiful! There are two models in the Clarett 8Pre family: the Clarett 8Pre and the Clarett 8Pre X. Both offer support for up to 24-bit/192kHz resolution, monitor control functions, dual headphone outs with independent level control, MIDI in/out, stereo S/PDIF digital in/out, 8-channel (8Pre) or 16-channel (8Pre X) optical in/out, dedicated stereo monitor outs, and eight line-outs. So what's the difference between the two? Aside from the extra optical I/O on the 8Pre X, which makes it a 26 x 28 interface (the 8Pre is 18 x 20), the primary differences come down to form factor and control. On the 8Pre, phantom is switchable in two banks of four channels. On the 8Pre X, each of the eight inputs has independent phantom switching, and a highpass filter and polarity invert are added on each channel. The 8Pre is a streamlined single-rackspace unit where the 8Pre X occupies two rack spaces. The 8Pre uses combi jacks for mic/line input, while the 8Pre X has separate XLRs for mic in and 1/4" for line. The 8Pre has a word clock input for digital sync; the 8Pre X adds word clock out. Both 8Pres feature Focusrite's killer mic preamps with a new feature: Air. A switchable function that uses analog circuitry to re-create the tonality of Focusrite's classic transformer-based ISA preamp, Air adds clarity, shimmer, sparkle, and detail to the sound. It really is a beautiful effect, and even though it's switchable, I left it on virtually the entire time I was tracking! With Air disengaged, the 8Pre and 8Pre X preamps are transparent and neutral sounding, ideal for a wide range of sources. Perhaps the most impressive thing about the 8Pre and 8Pre X is the latency -- or lack thereof! Though the interfaces come with an elegant new app for control and cue mixing, there's no need for it in general use. Latency is so low that you can track straight into your DAW without noticeable delays. This makes for a very fast and natural workflow. But if you do need to create special headphone mixes, the control app can handle it for you. Both the Clarett 8Pre and 8Pre X offer flawless ease of use. The sound quality is exemplary, the specs are outstanding, and the ear confirms those numbers hold up. There's plenty of I/O for most rigs and all the features you want; in other words, the 8Pre and 8Pre X are pure winners. The only question is which one is right for you. But either way, you can't lose. Both are killer interfaces.
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See also: Focusrite, Focusrite Thunderbolt Audio Interfaces