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Danuman

Clarett vs Scarlett

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Hi guys,

Once again I find myself hoping I might tap into your collective experience for a second...

I’m looking for a portable solution for live recording as well as a nice DI interface for tracking (bass) guitars at home.

I had sort of settled on the 18i8 Scarlett, because it’s affordable and feature-packed (8 analog inputs being (IMO) just 2 shy of ideal for live work, but there you go). However, I’m running Logic on a MacBook with Thunderbolt 3.

Are there any compelling reasons to spend a bit more and get the TB Clarett 4Pre instead?

Thanks in advance,

Daniel

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Posted (edited)

Hi Daniel,

Hope you don’t mind me chipping in on an official capacity, am only doing so as it’s both our products your’re comparing.

Essentially what you’re paying for with Clarett is upgraded preamps, and the ‘Air’ feature, which hardware models the sound of our  ISA preamps, really great for vocals (as well as other things of course, whatever your ear likes).

So whilst the Scarletts sound great, the Claretts are a step up.

If you’re running a very recent Mac (USB-C), and you don’t really need the simultaneous recording ability of the 4Pre just yet, you might also consider the 2Pre USB*, which you can bus power with your setup, no need for a power supply :). The 2Pre USB also comes with ADAT in, so you could increase channel count with something like a Clarett OctoPre at a later date if needed. Obviously in the Scarlett range, the 18i8 is the smallest unit to include ADAT in, so this is also a nice addition with the 2Pre.

Any questions, please let me know. Obviously fully encourage everyone else to chip in too! I know there are some Scarlett and Clarett fans on here :)

Cheers

Si // Focusrite Media Relations

*You can’t bus power the 2Pre Thunderbolt 

Edited by Sibob
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3 hours ago, Sibob said:

 

If you’re running a very recent Mac (i.e. with USB-C / Thunderbolt 3), and you don’t really need the simultaneous recording ability of the 4Pre just yet, you might also consider the 2Pre, which you can bus power with your setup, no need for a power supply :).

Ooh! - Do I need to change my cable? I am using my existing TB2 cable in to a TB3 adaptor in to the back of my new Mac. Bus Power doesn't seem to work, or are you referring to a USB3 version of Claret?

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Posted (edited)
5 minutes ago, dood said:

Ooh! - Do I need to change my cable? I am using my existing TB2 cable in to a TB3 adaptor in to the back of my new Mac. Bus Power doesn't seem to work, or are you referring to a USB3 version of Claret?

Actually just spotted on the website that it is the USB versions that bus power, not the TB versions..

 

Whilst I am here though, the Clarett is a great, great interface. Mine is use every day and has been used for recording bass on some pro releases. rock solid, dead easy to use and the low latency figures are bonkers good. Love it. I also love the free plug ins that come with the interfaces too including Addictive Keys, which I use every day.

Edited by dood

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The obvious difference is the reduced latency with the Clarett interface over Thunderbolt, I'd have though...

I use the Clarett 8pre X and have no issues at all with tracking multiple inputs whilst using plug-ins, and whilst I don't think the latency with USB is particularly bad, the TB connection is faster.

I'd go with the Clarett if you really don't need all the I/O that the 18i8 offers.

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Posted (edited)

Thunderbolt... 🤢... 🤮 BRING BACK FIREWIRE! SAFFIRE FOR LIFE!!! 😜

Edited by Akio Dāku
Typo
  • Haha 1

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Posted (edited)

Apologies, i am fully in Clarett USB mode lol (as they’re the latest products). You’re all quite right though, if comparing Clarett Thunderbolt to Scarlett, the other difference is a significant improvement in latency. The Scarlett and Clarett USB latency is still very low, but the Thunderbolt Claretts allow a lot more latency ‘headroom’ for those large, processing heavy sessions.

Si // Focusrite 

Edited by Sibob

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1 minute ago, Sibob said:

Apologies, i am fully in Clarett USB mode lol (as they’re the latest products). You’re all quite right though, if comparing Clarett Thunderbolt to Scarlett, the other difference is a significant improvement in latency. The Scarlett and Clarett USB latency is still very low, but the Thunderbolt Claretts allow a lot more latency ‘headroom’ with those large, processing heavy sessions.

Si // Focusrite 

The pre's do sound better though, and the headphone amps are really nice...

C'mon Si, don't make me do your job for you... ;)

 

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1 hour ago, WinterMute said:

The pre's do sound better though, and the headphone amps are really nice...

C'mon Si, don't make me do your job for you... ;)

 

First rule of marketing, let the happy customers talk about how good the products are ;)

Si

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Cheers guys, thanks for the replies so far.

Quite the conundrum though...

Although it would be very nice whenever I have some good singers 'round, realistically I don't think I really need the upgraded preamps, because of other limiting factors (acoustics, mics, me, etc.) that are probably much more significant. On the other hand, I want the convenience of recording with plugins, so the low latency tracking is very tempting indeed. Man, such a slippery slope... 

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Posted (edited)
10 hours ago, Danuman said:

Cheers guys, thanks for the replies so far.

Quite the conundrum though...

Although it would be very nice whenever I have some good singers 'round, realistically I don't think I really need the upgraded preamps, because of other limiting factors (acoustics, mics, me, etc.) that are probably much more significant. On the other hand, I want the convenience of recording with plugins, so the low latency tracking is very tempting indeed. Man, such a slippery slope... 

Ultimately, I think that in any given situation, you should buy the best quality interface that your budget allows. 

With regards to low latency and tracking with plugins, it’s worth having a think about what that really means. It’s pretty rare for me to record bass with any plugins on it for example. Some singers might want a small amount of Reverb, but that’s not restrictive with a USB interface unless you’re running a very slow computer. The only situation where you need a hefty system and perhaps a Thunderbolt interface is if you want to record guitar using amp/pedal modeling plugins, and perhaps multiple instances of that, that can suck up power! Bear in mind that it’s not particularly usual to pile on plugins during the tracking phase, that all happens in the mixing stage, and at that point you can dime your buffer size. That allows more CPU to be used for plugins, you’re not fussed about latency at that point because you’re done with tracking.

So have a think about what you’re doing, and what you want to do :)

Si

Edited by Sibob

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Thanks for taking the time for these replies Si!

I don’t usually record bass with any plugins, but recording guitars with amp modelling is indeed what I intend to do. (Don’t tell anyone, but I used to be a guitar player before I converted.) With my current setup I can just about manage, albeit with the occasional crackle.

I’ll go and have a think! :)

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28 minutes ago, Danuman said:

Thanks for taking the time for these replies Si!

I don’t usually record bass with any plugins, but recording guitars with amp modelling is indeed what I intend to do. (Don’t tell anyone, but I used to be a guitar player before I converted.) With my current setup I can just about manage, albeit with the occasional crackle.

I’ll go and have a think! :)

Anything else, just ask :)

Si

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I, on the other hand, record bass with a stack of AUD plug-ins and amp models...

I also record vocals with plug-ins and delay and reverb, plus dynamics and EQ for drums...

TB does indeed work if you're going down that route.

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There are lots of potential ways to add inputs over adat (old adat machines, digital mixers, budget 8in pres like the ADA8200 if you are on a budget and quality isn't absolutely critial), but you can't improve the performance of the bread and butter aspects of your interface that might niggle you on a daily basis - IMHO it makes sense to prioitise your spend on what you will get the most use out of, so having a couple of better quality pres, a better headphone amp and lower latency is where I would be spending unless of course you are recording live with lots of IO on a daily basis and charging people for the recordings.

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I can't comment on the Clarett but i do own the first gen Scarlett 18i8 and am very pleased with the results (using reaper as our preferred DAW), the only negative that i can come up with (and it's a very minor point) is that there isn't a simple way to rack mount it, i sorted it with a rack shelf and some home-made adapters but if there had been an off the shelf option i would have certainly bought it.

i've got mine mounted in a 4U rack with an octopre mk2 and a headphone amp and it's great, i have bought a 2i4 to have permanently setup on my desk for overdubs and mixing as the rack tends to live at our favoured recording venue (guitarists kitchen/dining room)

 

Matt

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Thanks guys, you’ve raised some valid points.

Although the price tag still has me wincing a bit, I’m currently leaning towards the better pre’s and reduced CPU load, as I’m hoping that means I can keep it around longer.

Does anyone have any good (cost-efficient) suggestions as to how I might add a few more preamps in the future? I’m guessing two to four extra should give me all the inputs I’m likely to need.

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4 hours ago, Danuman said:

Thanks guys, you’ve raised some valid points.

Although the price tag still has me wincing a bit, I’m currently leaning towards the better pre’s and reduced CPU load, as I’m hoping that means I can keep it around longer.

Does anyone have any good (cost-efficient) suggestions as to how I might add a few more preamps in the future? I’m guessing two to four extra should give me all the inputs I’m likely to need.

You might actually be better off looking for a second hand Clarett 8pre, rather than buying a separate preamp. I know it's a stretch but they come up on EvilBay fairly frequently.

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I find the form factor of the 4Pre particularly appealing, but I’ll definitely consider it!

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Posted (edited)
On 14/06/2018 at 09:39, Danuman said:

I find the form factor of the 4Pre particularly appealing, but I’ll definitely consider it!

I think what Wintermute was referring to was using a 2nd hand Clarett 8Pre to expand your channel count at a later date. Whilst primarily they are an interface, they can be used standalone as a preamp outputting digitally to whatever interface you’re using (assuming it has the appropriate digital ins).

One thing to consider with getting a ‘cheap’, non-matching channel strip for expansion at a later date is that you may well notice a different in quality between that cheap preamp set and your better quality interface. Just  because bear in mind :). Maybe just cross that bridge when you come to it, concentrate on the main interface for now, and as long as it has an ADAT in connection, you’re future-proof.

Si

Edited by Sibob

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Well, I pulled the trigger on a Clarett 4Pre. Bye money!

Here’s hoping it’ll help me do some lovely little projects.

Thank you all very kindly for indulging me. :)

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