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NAMM 2015: Focusrite unveils super-fast Clarett interfaces, AAX plug-ins

Now, "you can utilise the power of all the plug-ins that you want and hear them without any concern over latency," says marketing director Giles Orford

Focusrite will make two major new product announcements at today’s NAMM Show in Anaheim, California.

The first, the Clarett Range, is a line of audio interfaces that combine a new preamp design with the latest in Thunderbolt technology, offering an unparalleled interface latency of under 1ms.

Also making their debut are the Red 2 and Red 3 Plug-in Suites, featuring 64-bit AAX, AU and VST compatibility. plugins are the first from Focusrite to include AAX support, making them compatible with Pro Tools 10 and above. Red and 3 will be bundled free with all Focusrite Scarlett, Saffire, Forte and Clarett audio interfaces, but will also retail separately for $299.99.

“Thunderbolt is the new protocol that everyone is excited about because, with latencies that are below 2ms – in terms of monitoring or recording – you can utilise the power of all the plug-ins that you want and hear them without any concern over latency,” comments Focusrite marketing director Giles Orford. “As the number one interface manufacturer in the world, people were wondering, ‘Where’s Focusrite’s Thunderbolt interface?’, which is a reasonable question to ask.” Apple first announced Thunderbolt almost four years ago.

“It’s taken us a while to make sure that when we came in, our interfaces really were the best sounding and fastest available,” emphasises Orford.

Technical director Rob Jenkins suggests that, in a typical system, at 48kHz, the total roundtrip time – analogue input through a DAW, through a Core Audio/ASIO plug-in, back through the DAW and to an analogue output – might be 4.5 to 6ms. The Clarett range does it “in 2.5ms”, he says, effectively halving the latency.

“Practically, we wanted to produce something where you could use your plug-ins while you are recording,” reinforces Jenkins (pictured, below right, with the Clarett 2Pre). “We did that with RedNet, and we wanted it to do it with a standard computer interface, and we were only happy [to launch Clarett] once we’d achieved it.”

Orford adds: “It’s the perfect partner for Pro Tools – and now every single Scarlett [interface] customer gets a Red 2 and Red 3 AAX compatible plug-in for free.

“We have genuine love for our customers,” he concludes. “The community defines the brand, and if you don’t look after them, it all comes to nothing, and we won’t do that.”

The Clarett Range, available in spring/summer 2015, is made up of four devices: the 2Pre (10 in/4 out), 4Pre (18 in/8 out), 8Pre (18 in/20 out) and flagship 8Pre X (26 in/28 out). The 8Pre X has been designed with the permanent racked studio install in mind, featuring extended ADAT I/O and separate rear panel inputs for mic, line and instrument, as well as dedicated phantom power, phase reverse and high-pass filters on every channel.