FOCUSRITE RED 8PRE: KING OF THE PACK
Until now, the Focusrite Red 4Pre was the brand’s ‘best’ interface in the relatively young family of Red I/O boxes. Perhaps four preamps wasn’t enough, because Focusrite has released the new Red 8Pre. As the name suggests it has eight digitally-controlled Red Evolution, Air-equipped microphone preamps on board, plus a bucketload of I/O. All up the Red 8Pre handles 64 inputs and 64 outputs (16 analogue ins and 18 analogue outs).
As with the Red 4Pre, the new interface has two front-panel DI inputs, dual Thunderbolt 2 connections, dual Pro Tools HD DigiLink and Dante network audio connectivity which lets you add up to 32 inputs/32 outputs over Ethernet. That’s a lot of options crammed into a 1U unit.
Software control of the mic preamps means easy recall of settings, as well as stereo linking capability and configuration of HPF, phase invert, and phantom power. All these parameters can be adjusted from the front panel using the multifunction controls, dual knobs and colour LCD displays. And of course the ‘Air effect, introduced in the Clarett range’ mimics the topology of Focusrite’s ISA preamps to provide extra presence and top end.
Focusrite says the Red 8Pre’s conversion is the best it’s ever been, featuring what it calls ‘parallel path summing’ where two matched converters are run in parallel to increase the signal to noise ratio. Capable of up to 24-bit/192k, the converters offer a dynamic range of 118dB (A/D)/121dB (D/A) and a stated frequency response from 20Hz – 35kHz ±0.25dB.
Purchase of the Red 8Pre includes Focusrite Control software plus the Red plug-in suite and Softube’s Time & Tone bundle.