What’s the difference between the Focusrite Scarlett and Clarett interfaces?

scarlett-v-clarett

For that substantial chunk of extra money the new Clarett series costs over the Scarlett range, you’d expect some decent perks; fortunately Focusrite deliver by the bucketload. The Clarett interfaces feature the following improvements over the tried-and-tested Scarletts:

  • ISA-inspired microphone pre-amps
  • -128dB input noise, compared to the -100dB on the Scarlett 2i2. Keep in mind that dB is a logarithmic scale, which means there’s about 500 times less noise than the Scarlett. Impressive, huh?
  • 118dB of representable dynamic range, compared to 114dB on the Scarlett. Again, logarithmic… so that’s just over double the range.
  • Thunderbolt connectivity as opposed to USB, so can sustain latency of around 1ms, but can only currently be used on Macintosh computers. PC compatibility is in the pipeline, though.
  • 24-bit / 192kHz on the Clarett as opposed to 24-bit / 96kHz, so can capture ultrasonic frequencies up to 96kHz. That’s 2 full octaves above the human hearing range, and although we can’t hear them, they shape and affect the frequencies we can hear, so that’s a good thing. Probably. Bonus: The Clarett will allow you to write songs for bats and dogs.
  • True 64-bit architecture, as opposed to the Scarlett’s 32-bit-ported-to-64-bit framework. Still works. Awesome.
  • More detailed metering than the Scarlett: 6 levels of blinky lights as opposed to ambiguous “gain halos” that go green when you’re good and red when it’s clipping. I’m red/green colourblind. USEFUL!

Both are built like brick-outhouses, are funky red colours (probably, see point 7), have ADAT expandability and MIDI I/O. Basically, they’re both great, but the Clarett is greater.

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Guy Perchard

Digital editor & recording specialist at Red Dog Music
As well as being the marketing man-about-town at Red Dog Music, Guy is a busy, award winning record producer and mixing engineer. He is also partial to a chorizo stromboli for elevenses.

6 Responses to “What’s the difference between the Focusrite Scarlett and Clarett interfaces?”

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  1. Andrew Jeske says:

    ISA inspired? dB on Logarithmic scale? Got any links perchance chaps? I'm SURE you must have written about these. Or do I actually have to read those paper pagey things they call books that I bought (on your recommendation)!

  2. Standing for 'Input Signal Amplifier', the ISA range was born out of the original Focusrite Forte console of the late 80's. This console was, and still is, considered by many as sonically the finest console ever built. The core modules from this console live on with Focusrite's current range of ISA products, which have in themselves also become recording classics, and the choice of the world's finest producers and engineers.
    http://uk.focusrite.com/product-range/isa

  3. Standing for 'Input Signal Amplifier', the ISA range was born out of the original Focusrite Forte console of the late 80's. This console was, and still is, considered by many as sonically the finest console ever built. The core modules from this console live on with Focusrite's current range of ISA products, which have in themselves also become recording classics, and the choice of the world's finest producers and engineers.
    http://uk.focusrite.com/product-range/isa

  4. Nick Riley says:

    Thought it may be worth mentioning that the Scarlett 2i2 actually does Not have ADAT expandability as could be misconstrued by the above photos in regards to your second to last sentance.

  5. The EIN of the Scarlett isn't -100dBu it's -127dBu for the 2i2 and -122dBu for the 18i20. The Clarett doesn't offer a dB reading of THD + N although I'm sure it's better than -100.

  6. the rating of 0.001% on the Clarett is identical to the 18i20

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