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Focusrite Clarett+ Octopre

Multichannel Mic Preamp & A-D/D-A Converter By Matt Houghton
Published July 2022

Focusrite Clarett+ Octopre

Twenty years on, the Octopre concept remains as strong as ever.

I can hardly believe it’s almost two decades since I first acquired an Octopre! I’ve used several of its successors too and have been broadly happy with all of them. The few small niggles of the earliest models were soon ironed out and the last one I tried, the Clarett Octopre, sounded wonderful and boasted some great facilities. Still, Focusrite clearly felt there was room for improvement: their new Clarett+ Octopre improves further on the specs of its predecessor, offering better converters and analogue stages boasting lower distortion, greater dynamic range and a frequency response that’s as near as damn it flat from 20Hz up to well beyond the limits of human hearing (within ±0.05dB between 20Hz and 20kHz).

Grand Tour

The Clarett+ Octopre is a 1U 19‑inch rackmount device with an attractive red front panel and a black chassis which extends about 24.5cm behind the rack ears. Inside the review unit box were the Octopre itself, an IEC lead, four stick‑on, anti‑slip rubber feet, and fold‑out multilingual safety instructions. There’s no hard‑copy manual, but the downloadable PDF one is worth reading if you’re new to ADAT and clocking. Register, and you also get licences for a range of high‑quality DAW plug‑ins from the likes of Focusrite, Brainworx, Softube, Antares and XLN Audio — this could potentially save you a pretty penny in subscription fees!

There are eight analogue input and output channels, along with A‑D/D‑A conversion. On the rear are inputs for six of the eight channels, each with a mic/line Amphenol combi socket, and the eight balanced line outs share a DB25 D‑sub connector. Each channel also has a TRS jack insert point. Inputs 1+2 are on the front panel, again on combi sockets, their jacks being switchable to become high‑impedance JFET instrument inputs. ADAT digital connectivity is via two pairs of Toslink ports, the second pair enabling support for higher sample rates through the S/MUX protocol. The word‑clock input and output are on BNC connectors, and the input is suitably terminated. Mains power (100‑240 V AC, 50/60 Hz) is delivered to the switch‑mode power supply via a rear‑panel IEC inlet, and I was pleased to note that there’s a front‑panel on/off rocker switch.

The Clarett+ Octopre not only acts as a bidirectional analogue‑to‑ADAT converter, but also boasts insert points for every channel.The Clarett+ Octopre not only acts as a bidirectional analogue‑to‑ADAT converter, but also boasts insert points for every channel.

Each channel has its own input gain pot, and this applies whether you’re working with mic, line or instrument sources. These felt pleasingly firm to me and I didn’t notice any annoying gain bunching. Each...

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