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Thread: Focusrite Scarlett vs Clarett - Quality of preamps and AD-converters

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    Focusrite Scarlett vs Clarett - Quality of preamps and AD-converters

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    Hi recording enthusiasts,

    this is something for Focusrite Scarlett/Clarett (and a bit RME hdsp 9632) experts

    Short version:
    Which combination of this gear is the best combination regarding audio quality?
    - RME hdsp 9632 + Scarlett OctoPre via ADAT
    - RME hdsp 9632 + Clarett OctoPre via ADAT
    - RME hdsp 9632 + Input PCI-expansion board + Scarlett OctoPre analog outputs
    - RME hdsp 9632 + Input PCI-expansion board + Clarett OctoPre analog outputs

    Long version:
    I own a RME hdsp 9632 audiocard which only has two analog mono input channels (without additional gear). Due to my need of more input channels:
    1. I need to gear up my input channels either via ADAT or via an input extension PCI card
    2. I need preamps for every input channel.

    So both the Focusrite Scarlett OctoPre m.thomann.de/de/focusrite_scarlett_octopre.htm (358€)
    and the Clarett OctoPre m.thomann.de/de/focusrite_clarett_octopre.htm (635€)
    feature 8 input+output channels and a AD converter with ADAT interface, which is exactly what I need.

    But now I need your help:
    For the input channels I have either the choice of using the AD conversion behind the Focusrites‘ preamps if I use ADAT or of using the (at least people say) “excellent” AD conversion of my hdsp 9632 audiocard if I use the analog outputs of the Focusrites. Like mentioned above, in the latter case I’d need to extend the inputs via PCI expansion board which would cost additional 199€.
    My first question is which way can you recommend, are there major quality differences between the hdsp’s and Scarlett’s/Clarett’s AD converters?

    My second question is then how much better are Clarett’s preamps in comparison to Scarlett’s, especially regarding the price difference of nearly +100%?
    And what exactly of the Clarett is better then, is it the preamp quality itself or the AD converter quality or both?
    Because if it’s only f.e. the AD converters then I could go for a cheaper Scarlett and then use my hdsp’s AD converters.

    My focus here is the converter and preamp quality, all the other minor differences between Scarlett and Clarett e.g. peripheral assets like additional inserts in the Clarett etc. are not scope of the question.
    So basically it’s interesting to know which combination of gear would the sound quality benefit most from?
    Last edited by AudioTom; 2 Weeks Ago at 23:31.

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    Why limit yourself to Focusrite? My personal recommendation would be to take a look at the Audient ASP800 or ASP880. I find the Audient preamps much easier to use with sensible control layouts and good audio quality. Focusrite stuff is very fiddly to use in comparison with poorly designed controls.
    JRP Music - Audio Mastering and Restoration
    http://www.jrpmusic.co.uk

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    Well, all in all the OcoPres are simply preamps with 8 channels, amplification potis, 48V and some very limited routing options regarding ADAT in/out and analog in/out. So I don’t think they are fiddly to use.
    But thanks for the recommendation of the ASP800. At first glance I didn’t see any Instr inputs, that could be a bit limiting. But it looks interesting. My main focus is the preamp quality as well as the AD-converter quality, Can you say something about this maybe also in comparison to other devices (RME or the Focusrites)?

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    When you are working in a poorly lit area by the side of the stage it is essential to have controls that give you instant visual feedback. The Audient's illuminated buttons and shaped knobs give you that feedback whereas the Focusrite doesn't. Even in the studio it is good to be able to see the settings from across the room. The Focusrite interface that I use also doesn't have a very sensible gain range so it overloads easily. The Audient also has real numbers in dB for gain whereas the Focusrite just goes from 1 to 10.

    In terms of audio quality there may not be so much in it - the Audient preamps are quiet and transparent unless you switch in the transformer emulation that is available on some of the channels on the ASP800. I'm fairly sure that channels 1 and 2 on all models have high impedance instrument inputs on the front panel. One other nice touch is the switchable mic input impedance which will alter the sound of dynamic mics slightly on the lowest setting and decrease the loading on the mics on the highest setting which is useful if you are splitting the mic signals 2 or 3 ways in a live recording situation.

    The analogue to digital conversion is very good - possibly better than on the Focusrite though, for practical purposes, the difference is very small.

    As I say, the real difference is in usability - when there's a client waiting to perform I'd prefer to go for the Audient rather than the Focusrite.
    JRP Music - Audio Mastering and Restoration
    http://www.jrpmusic.co.uk

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    I haven't gotten a chance to test the Audient stuff much yet except for to test their TheSycon.de drivers' round trip latency, but even the cheaper Focusrite mic pres are DAMN good! Mic Preamps

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