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Focusrite launch new Clarett USB range
Old 16th January 2018
  #31
Old 16th January 2018
  #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelDroste View Post
No one doubts the good intentions, but we’re not there yet. As far as I can tell many pragmatic companies are integrating multiple connectivity options. Clarett USB is an example of that pragmatism at work, although probably would’ve been cheaper and simpler for focusrite to have both of them in the same interface.

At least half a dozen major companies aren’t going down the limiting route of UA and others. My PC/Mac upgrade decisions should not have a profound impact on my Studio. I had this conversation with a UA devotee recently. I should be able to use my studio gear (within Reason, and usb is still within reason) no matter what computer I use. MOTU are great in this respect, no matter what computer decisions I make, I have the option of THunderbolt, USB and AVB. It’s just smart business, making your products as accessible as you can to as many people as you can.

Would I want to pay an extra $100 for my Interface to to have multiple connectivity options, ensuring it was more flexible for any future scenarios I might have? I certainly would and I think others would too. In fact it’s one of my primary concerns when looking for a new interface. Dozens are claiming awesome DAC, awesome preamps ina similar price range, competition is hot. Connectivity is a primary decision for me along with these other major features, not a secondary afterthought.

Last edited by TonyHolmes; 16th January 2018 at 01:41 PM.. Reason: Fat fingers
Old 16th January 2018
  #33
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What's interesting to me is that their website claims these units are gonna compete with interfaces twice their price. I have to wonder what makes them so confident in that. The fact that they will have separate drivers from the Scarlett series seems promising to me and I've heard good things about the preamp, but I also read that the preamps are pretty weak and I'd still probably need a Cloudlifter for my 7B. But Jack from Focusrite also said that the USB versions will have some advantages over the Thunderbolt versions (and vice versa) so I'm interested to hear specifically what those differences are. I'd love to have an RME as much as the next guy, but the fact that I'm a a hobbyist makes it hard to justify that price. Let's see how this series compares.
Old 16th January 2018
  #34
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USB is slower and doesn't have the throughput compared to thunderbolt...
Old 17th January 2018
  #35
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May be tough

Quote:
Originally Posted by hebjam View Post
Yea, I ordered the 4 pre based on Jack's saying they should work on IOS.... I hope I don't regret it as I am recording in a basement with no computer!!!

I use a Clarett 4Pre and the iOS would not be usable without a computer. The Focusrite Control app connects to the computer. Not directly to the interface.
Old 17th January 2018
  #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelDroste View Post
USB is slower and doesn't have the throughput compared to thunderbolt...
Latency is clearly relevant, but bandwidth? What audio interface needs do you have that exceed USB’s throughput limits? Be specific.
Old 17th January 2018
  #37
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yes there is headroom BUT I'd rather have the truck than the car...
Old 17th January 2018
  #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Panelhead View Post
I use a Clarett 4Pre and the iOS would not be usable without a computer. The Focusrite Control app connects to the computer. Not directly to the interface.
So how do you connect both the computer and iPad or iPhone at the same time??
Old 17th January 2018
  #39
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Focusrite Control

Quote:
Originally Posted by hebjam View Post
So how do you connect both the computer and iPad or iPhone at the same time??
I can have Focusrite Control running on both the computer and iPhone. The phone connects to the computer. The computer connects to the 4Pre. The 4Pre does not have WiFi or Bluetooth.
Old 17th January 2018
  #40
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But isn't it like other interfaces, where you set it up on the computer and then those settings are retained when you unplug it to use with iPad/ iPhone? I have recording apps on the iPhone...
Old 17th January 2018
  #41
Here for the gear
I was looking to upgrade from my 2i4 to the bigger to 18i20, but it seemed to have problems with MIDI. If this one fixes those and the latency is good...perhaps I found my new interface?
Old 23rd January 2018
  #42
_gl
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hebjam View Post
But isn't it like other interfaces, where you set it up on the computer and then those settings are retained when you unplug it to use with iPad/ iPhone? I have recording apps on the iPhone...
Don't know about the Claretts (getting a 4pre Thunderbolt for use on Windows tomorrow), but the Saffires and Scarletts do support sending a configuration to the hardware which is stored permanently. I expect the Claretts do too.

BTW, wtf has happened to the Clarett Thunderbolt prices recently? Massive spikes everywhere. the 2Pre now typically sells for well over 400GBP (some have it at over 500GBP, claiming RRP is 700 (lol), Amazon still only charges 466GBP for the 4pre (but already had a massive spike recently which it came back from)! And that price is an anomaly (grab it while you can) as most are now charging way over 500GBP for the 4Pre. Same big jump on the 8Pre and all the rest it seems.

A lot of suppliers still listed on Google don't have them at all anymore - has UK distribution changed recently? Or why the bizarre increases?
Old 24th January 2018
  #43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by _gl View Post
Don't know about the Claretts (getting a 4pre Thunderbolt for use on Windows tomorrow), but the Saffires and Scarletts do support sending a configuration to the hardware which is stored permanently. I expect the Claretts do too.

BTW, wtf has happened to the Clarett Thunderbolt prices recently? Massive spikes everywhere. the 2Pre now typically sells for well over 400GBP (some have it at over 500GBP, claiming RRP is 700 (lol), Amazon still only charges 466GBP for the 4pre (but already had a massive spike recently which it came back from)! And that price is an anomaly (grab it while you can) as most are now charging way over 500GBP for the 4Pre. Same big jump on the 8Pre and all the rest it seems.

A lot of suppliers still listed on Google don't have them at all anymore - has UK distribution changed recently? Or why the bizarre increases?

One reason why I always buy my equipment used. I gotten my Clarett 8 Pre for 500 bucks. Looks brand new, not even a scratch. Its just like purchasing a car as you loose money in depreciation buying them new. I literally bought over $12k worth of equipment in 5 years for 3 quarters less than it would cost brand new. The biggest steal i've gotten was my MPC 5000 that originally retailed at $3,499.99. I got it used, very clean for little as $899.
Old 24th January 2018
  #44
_gl
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kasami08 View Post
One reason why I always buy my equipment used. I gotten my Clarett 8 Pre for 500 bucks. Looks brand new, not even a scratch. Its just like purchasing a car as you loose money in depreciation buying them new. I literally bought over $12k worth of equipment in 5 years for 3 quarters less than it would cost brand new. The biggest steal i've gotten was my MPC 5000 that originally retailed at $3,499.99. I got it used, very clean for little as $899.
I usually do too, but they're hard to find 2nd hand in the UK right now. I think they're too rich for most people, lots of Scarletts of course. When Claretts do show up the prices often aren't good, though I've spotted a few bargains in Ebay UK's history. I got a good discount on a B-stock 4pre (375 GBP) and I get full warranty with that, unlike used but in-warranty items which often aren't covered here if you're not the original buyer (not sure how Focusrite handle it).
Old 24th January 2018
  #45
_gl
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Quote:
Originally Posted by _gl View Post
Don't know about the Claretts (getting a 4pre Thunderbolt for use on Windows tomorrow), but the Saffires and Scarletts do support sending a configuration to the hardware which is stored permanently. I expect the Claretts do too.
Just got the 4Pre Thunderbolt. It does work like my prior Saffires in Standalone mode, but rather than specifically sending a configuration to the hardware memory (which you do via Saffire Mix Control), the newer devices including Claretts simply remember the current setting after a short time - nothing else to do. Details: How do I set up my Clarett or Scarlett 2nd Gen for Standalone Mode? – Focusrite Audio Engineering

On a quick audition, it sounds so much better than my Saffires (Liquid 56 and Pro 24 DSP). I used to have an Emu 1616m PCIe, which sounded really clear to me (maybe it was hyped?). The Saffires in comparison sounded a bit blurred at the high end, reduced clarity. I eventually got used to it, but I suspected the Clarett would sort that, and it does.

My reference track is Dashboard Confessional's 'Stolen', as it has deep warm bass and sparse clear cymbal crashes at the start. The first crash at the beginning is night and day, the clarity (which sounds like natural detail to me) is excellent. Everything sounds almost too sharp/clear and pointy now, but I have to retrain my ears back to hearing detail .

More listening to do, and this is the USB thread - but I'm sure the USB's sound about the same.
Old 24th January 2018
  #46
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Workingman View Post
I think these look great. Thunderbolt on Windows didn't go anywhere, but lots of standard off the shelf Dell and HP desktop towers have the USB type-C connectors these days. It will be great if the latency performance is close to thunderbolt.
We might see thunderbolt coming in the near future more to windows computers. If i recall correctly apple is about to, or has, forced intel to share this technique because Apple is gonna use amd cpu's.
Old 24th January 2018
  #47
_gl
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So I'm using a Dell XPS15 which has TB3, with Apple (or Startech) TB3->TB2 adapters. The extra annoying thing about Thunderbolt, and why it's a hard sell to the mainstream imo, is the expensive Thunderbolt cables, that nobody including Focusrite seems to bundle. I plan to use it live, so I need 3 - one in the studio, two on the road to have a backup. That's just a crazy expensive.

I get that these are active cables, but it's just not commercially viable outside of pro circles. The prices either have to come down, or they have to rethink their design (apparently the chips are used so lower-quality cabling can be used and retain the high bandwidth required - maybe using better cable works out cheaper in the long run? or optical?)

EDIT: .. oh and that Focusrite don't have a TB through port, so you can't daisy chain anything.
Old 24th January 2018
  #48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by _gl View Post
Just got the 4Pre Thunderbolt. It does work like my prior Saffires in Standalone mode, but rather than specifically sending a configuration to the hardware memory (which you do via Saffire Mix Control), the newer devices including Claretts simply remember the current setting after a short time - nothing else to do. Details: How do I set up my Clarett or Scarlett 2nd Gen for Standalone Mode? – Focusrite Audio Engineering

On a quick audition, it sounds so much better than my Saffires (Liquid 56 and Pro 24 DSP). I used to have an Emu 1616m PCIe, which sounded really clear to me (maybe it was hyped?). The Saffires in comparison sounded a bit blurred at the high end, reduced clarity. I eventually got used to it, but I suspected the Clarett would sort that, and it does.

My reference track is Dashboard Confessional's 'Stolen', as it has deep warm bass and sparse clear cymbal crashes at the start. The first crash at the beginning is night and day, the clarity (which sounds like natural detail to me) is excellent. Everything sounds almost too sharp/clear and pointy now, but I have to retrain my ears back to hearing detail .

More listening to do, and this is the USB thread - but I'm sure the USB's sound about the same.

Yeah the Saffire and Scarlett range is based on 2005 hardware, virtually the same product just different computer connections. I still have my Scarlett 18i20 (1st. Gen) I remember taking it apart and noticed the circuit board behind the faceplate said Saffire Pro 40 with the original Focusrite ff logo stamped on it. They have a much lower spec converter chip compared to Clarett range as they use the Cirrus Logic CS-4272 AD/DAC codec. The Clarett range uses high end spec discrete ADC and DAC conversion chips rather than an all in one ADC/DAC chip. It's just like the Forte.

The Clarett range sits in between the Scarlett and Red range, but it's more closely related to the Red range that shares many of the same electronic components. Infact the building blocks of the Red range was derived from the Clarett to build thier best high end interface. They both have the same mic pre designs with the exception of remote control mic pres on the red. They both use akm 5388 for ADC and akm 4413 DAC chips. The Stereo monitor outs on the Clarett uses the same Cirrus Logic CS4398 DAC that the Forte uses while the multi line outs utilizes the AKM 4113. That was one of the 2nd reasons why i bought the Clarett because it's digital conversion is about the same as the Forte which I still have. Soon as the Clarett 2Pre USB comes out, it will essentially replace the Forte.
Old 24th January 2018
  #49
_gl
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kasami08 View Post
Yeah the Saffire and Scarlett range is based on 2005 hardware, virtually the same product just different computer connections. I still have my Scarlett 18i20 (1st. Gen) I remember taking it apart and noticed the circuit board behind the faceplate said Saffire Pro 40 with the original
Thanks for the background, so Scarlett Gen1 was basically the USB version of the Saffires (makes sense in the timeline). And Clarett USB is basically Clarett with the Scarlett Gen2 USB engine (Focusrite's own published latencies for both are identical) - with apparently a couple of minor spec tweaks.

I'm especially interested in the Clarett monitor outs having their own high-quality DAC? That might explain why I don't find the headphone outs as high quality (amazing amount of volume though!). If there is a quality difference (and not just a case of not being used to the sound yet) that would be a bit disappointing, as I do a lot of headphone mixing with Wave's NX.

So far on my excellent Senn HD600's, it doesn't sound as good as the monitor outs on my speakers. The cans are also DIY balanced, and even connected to the 3/4 line outs balanced they don't sound quite as good as the monitor outs on speakers. But I will have to try connecting them to the monitor outs later to check if I'm right ...
Old 24th January 2018
  #50
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Quote:
Originally Posted by _gl View Post
Thanks for the background, so Scarlett Gen1 was basically the USB version of the Saffires (makes sense in the timeline). And Clarett USB is basically Clarett with the Scarlett Gen2 USB engine (Focusrite's own published latencies for both are identical) - with apparently a couple of minor spec tweaks.

I'm especially interested in the Clarett monitor outs having their own high-quality DAC? That might explain why I don't find the headphone outs as high quality (amazing amount of volume though!). If there is a quality difference (and not just a case of not being used to the sound yet) that would be a bit disappointing, as I do a lot of headphone mixing with Wave's NX.

So far on my excellent Senn HD600's, it doesn't sound as good as the monitor outs on my speakers. The cans are also DIY balanced, and even connected to the 3/4 line outs balanced they don't sound quite as good as the monitor outs on speakers. But I will have to try connecting them to the monitor outs later to check if I'm right ...


I believe the use of a "Stereo" DAC on the monitor outs was implemented to cut down on cost, but I could be wrong. The Rednet 1 and 2 converters also uses the CS4398 Stereo DAC. Far as I know the Red 4 Pre and 8 Pre uses the 4 channel AK4113 DAC for all line outs and Monitor outs. CS4398 and AK4113 are comparable 24 bit DAC chips with the exception of one being multi channel outputs. There are two AK4113 DACs that feeds the headphones on the Clarett. On the Clarett 8 Pre, those same DACs also feeds line outs 7-8 and 9-10.


Are you listening to a mono output signal on the line outs? I guess it depends from person to person as I didn't notice much difference between my Forte and my Clarett 8 Pre in sound quality. Both the Forte and Clarett is night and day compared to the Scarlett. It sounds more open, true flat response, very clear highs and wide stereo imagine. Not over hyped highs or foggy like Apogee. The "Real World" DAC specs are nearly identical with miniscule differences. The digital conversion performance is definitely up there with RME and many others. It all comes down how the analog circuit design was implemented around the converter chips depending on what capacitors, voltage regulators, power supply design, amplifiers ect was used.

Focusrite Clarett 8 Pre


Dynamic range ADC 116 dB (Line In)
THD+N 0.005% = -86 dB

Dynamic Range DAC 119 dB (Line Outputs)
Dynamic Range DAC 117 dB (Monitor Outputs)
THD+N 0.0007% = -103 dB

Focusrite Forte


Dynamic range ADC 117 dB (Line In)
THD+N 0.003% = -100 dB

Dynamic range DAC 118 dB (Line Out)
THD+N 0.0008% = -101 dB

RME Fireface UC


Dynamic range ADC 113 dB (Line in)
THD+N 0.0012 % = -98 dB

Dynamic range DAC 113 dB (Line Out)
THD+N 0.0015 % = -96 dB
Old 24th January 2018
  #51
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kasami08 View Post
Yeah the Saffire and Scarlett range is based on 2005 hardware, virtually the same product just different computer connections. I still have my Scarlett 18i20 (1st. Gen) I remember taking it apart and noticed the circuit board behind the faceplate said Saffire Pro 40 with the original Focusrite ff logo stamped on it. They have a much lower spec converter chip compared to Clarett range as they use the Cirrus Logic CS-4272 AD/DAC codec. The Clarett range uses high end spec discrete ADC and DAC conversion chips rather than an all in one ADC/DAC chip. It's just like the Forte.
AFAIK, the Saffire Pro series was released in late 2008, and is significantly different than Focusrite's earlier FW interfaces. The 1st Gen Scarlett 18i20 does indeed appear to be essentially the same as a Saffire Pro 40, except with a USB interface instead of FireWire, plus different knobs and color scheme. Some reports indicate that 2nd Gen Scarletts sound better than the earlier models, and thus also the Saffire Pros. I'm not sure how much of the difference in sound between earlier and later Scarletts/Saffires and the Claretts has to do with A/D-D/A chips and how much is related to the surrounding analog circuitry, although I suspect that the analog section may have a bigger impact.

With the latest drivers, the LLP of the Saffire Pros beats both generations of Scarletts and the Thunderbolt Claretts, and presumably the USB Claretts as well.

Last edited by 12Bass; 25th January 2018 at 12:10 AM..
Old 25th January 2018
  #52
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 12Bass View Post
AFAIK, the Saffire Pro series was released in late 2008, and is significantly different than Focusrite's earlier FW interfaces. The 1st Gen Scarlett 18i20 does indeed appear to be essentially the same as a Saffire Pro 40, except with a USB interface instead of FireWire, plus different knobs and color scheme. Some reports indicate that 2nd Gen Scarletts sound better than the earlier models, and thus also the Saffire Pros. I'm not sure how much of the difference in sound between earlier and later Scarletts/Saffires and the Claretts has to do with A/D-D/A chips and how much is related to the surrounding analog circuitry, although I suspect that the analog section may have a bigger impact.

With the latest drivers, the LLP of the Saffire Pros beats both generations of Scarletts and the Thunderbolt Claretts, and presumably the USB Claretts as well.
I was mainly referring to the electronic components that based from 2005 like converter chips etc. I think 2nd Gen Scarletts have been tweaked a little bit on the analog circuitry but the real world specs appears to be the same. The converter chips are the same unchanged from the 1st Gen. The embedded XMOS chip may have been upgraded which is USB 2.0 controller chip as well as firmware update. That should explain why it has better latency performance than previous 1st Gen besides new drivers. I plan on selling both my Forte and 1st Scarlett 18i20 soon. I was able to get my Scarlett down to 1ms using midi with a older driver from 2014.
Old 25th January 2018
  #53
_gl
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kasami08 View Post
I believe the use of a "Stereo" DAC on the monitor outs was implemented to cut down on cost, but I could be wrong.

<snip>

Are you listening to a mono output signal on the line outs?
So my speaker outs are stereo (2 x mono) as normal. My balanced Senn HD600 use the outputs the same way, each one feeding one ear.

I can't really tell a difference on the cans between 1/2 or 3/4. There was some confirmation bias where I expected 3/4 to sound slightly worse, but I don't think it actually does.

However, I definitely get more detail from the balanced cans then when I make them unbalanced (via an adapter) and use the headphone outs. Some of the top end clarity on the cymbals does get lost this way, on these cans anyway (which is fine because I use them balanced).

So maybe the headphone fidelity isn't quite as good as the line-outs, which I believe the official figures show (and it makes sense that they would compromise here rather than somewhere else for the price).

Quote:
It all comes down how the analog circuit design was implemented around the converter chips depending on what capacitors, voltage regulators, power supply design, amplifiers ect was used.
Yes I'm sure that's true.

I haven't tested the ADC's yet (that's next) but having listened to music for a bit, it does sound nice, the detail is great. The only downside is that I prefer a slightly warmer house sound, which I was getting with the Saffires by default . So I'll have to tweak my sub a little (or just get used to the new sonic signature).
Old 25th January 2018
  #54
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Quote:
Originally Posted by _gl View Post
I haven't tested the ADC's yet (that's next) but having listened to music for a bit, it does sound nice, the detail is great. The only downside is that I prefer a slightly warmer house sound, which I was getting with the Saffires by default . So I'll have to tweak my sub a little (or just get used to the new sonic signature).
The Clarett samples I've heard thus far suggest a clear, open, sound. Warmth can be added. Details lost in the recording process cannot. Some subtle EQ will likely get you there....
Old 25th January 2018
  #55
_gl
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Sure. One question, my new 4Pre gets really warm all over during use, even with no inputs connect and phantom power disabled. I can put my hand on it and it's not uncomfortable, but unusually warm. Normal? If yes, what's causing it?
Old 25th January 2018
  #56
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Quote:
Originally Posted by _gl View Post
Sure. One question, my new 4Pre gets really warm all over during use, even with no inputs connect and phantom power disabled. I can put my hand on it and it's not uncomfortable, but unusually warm. Normal? If yes, what's causing it?

Funny that you mentioned that because I messaged Focusrite about that as they said they will pass that on to their development team. Ever notice that the higher end stuff like the ISA, Red range and Rednet range all have ventilation holes while the Saffire, Clarett and Scarett range doesn't? Its a huge design flaw as heat reduces the life span of electronics. All three of my units get hot as its not just the Clarett's. Someone mentioned that they are using the enclosed case design as a heat sink but I'm not sure how that plays out. The Red 8 Pre even have cooling fans on the right side of the unit. All other competeors like the Apollo 8P, Apogee Ensemble all have ventilation.
Old 25th January 2018
  #57
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Quote:
Originally Posted by _gl View Post
BTW, wtf has happened to the Clarett Thunderbolt prices recently? Massive spikes everywhere. the 2Pre now typically sells for well over 400GBP (some have it at over 500GBP, claiming RRP is 700 (lol), Amazon still only charges 466GBP for the 4pre (but already had a massive spike recently which it came back from)! And that price is an anomaly (grab it while you can) as most are now charging way over 500GBP for the 4Pre. Same big jump on the 8Pre and all the rest it seems.
Looks like the prices for the Thunderbolt Clarrets have gone up by about $100 after the USB Clarett line was released, which now have the same prices that the TB Claretts used to have. Focusrite I guess positioning the TB Claretts as a more premium product.

Glad I bought my 8Pre when I did (last month).
Old 25th January 2018
  #58
_gl
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kasami08 View Post
Someone mentioned that they are using the enclosed case design as a heat sink but I'm not sure how that plays out.
Actually that does make sense to me, it's how tablets (which tend to be fanless designs) usually do it, the better designed ones have metal backs which spread the head from the processors, which are typically thermally interfaced to it using some kind of thermal tape.

That's exactly what the Clarett feels like, like it's been designed as a giant passive heatsink. I'm just wondering what's actually causing that much heat, it's not going to be the basic electronics like the converter circuitry right, maybe the mic preamps or power converters? It's just really damn warm even though it's has no inputs connected right now.
Old 25th January 2018
  #59
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Quote:
Originally Posted by _gl View Post
Actually that does make sense to me, it's how tablets (which tend to be fanless designs) usually do it, the better designed ones have metal backs which spread the head from the processors, which are typically thermally interfaced to it using some kind of thermal tape.

That's exactly what the Clarett feels like, like it's been designed as a giant passive heatsink. I'm just wondering what's actually causing that much heat, it's not going to be the basic electronics like the converter circuitry right, maybe the mic preamps or power converters? It's just really damn warm even though it's has no inputs connected right now.

I notice most of the heat is coming from the Power Supply Unit with the big capacitors, relays, regulators etc. But when you have soo many op amps and capacitors on a single PCB inside a box, can really heat things up quickly. I'm sure the ISAs with transformers get pretty hot too. The Forte small as it is, has a lot of SMD capacitors on board as those heat up the unit pretty quickly, but the Babyface Pro and Apogee Duet 2 are designed the same way with no ventilation.


I did notice some chrome looking tape around the inside of my Scarett 18i20 enclosure, the red metal chassis where the side screws go in. I'm not sure if its thermal tape or adhesive tape.
Old 25th January 2018
  #60
Quote:
Originally Posted by JCBigler View Post
Looks like the prices for the Thunderbolt Clarrets have gone up by about $100 after the USB Clarett line was released, which now have the same prices that the TB Claretts used to have. Focusrite I guess positioning the TB Claretts as a more premium product.

Glad I bought my 8Pre when I did (last month).
Yep, I expected USB models to be a little bit cheaper but not, just the opposite
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