Telling us that the Red series of interfaces represents the pinnacle of their interface range, Focusrite has announced the launch of Red 8Pre. Here's the full story in their own words...
With 64 inputs and 64 outputs (including a total of 16 analogue inputs and 18 analogue outputs) and eight of Focusrite's specially-developed digitally-controlled mic preamps, the Red 8Pre answers the need for more microphone inputs and a higher I/O count. In addition, in common with the Red 4Pre, the Red 8Pre includes two front-panel high-headroom instrument inputs, dual Thunderbolt™ 2, dual Pro Tools | HD DigiLink™ and Dante™ network audio connectivity. Featuring Focusrite's most advanced low-noise conversion and beautiful yet robust design, Focusrite's Red interfaces offer the perfect balance of form and function, delivering the sound quality and versatility engineers and producers around the world expect from Focusrite.
Air-enabled mic pres
The eight specially-developed 'Red Evolution' mic pres in the Red 8Pre represent the evolution of Focusrite's premier mic pre design for the needs of today's recording environment. They lie at the heart of the unit, featuring clear, honest audio performance with –129 dB EIN and 63dB of gain. Software control allows recall of settings and stereo linking, plus configuration of HPF, polarity invert and individual phantom power. In addition, the preamps and other parameters can be adjusted from the elegant front panel, with its clean multifunction controls and clear colour LCD displays. The preamps include Focusrite's unique 'Air' effect, recreating in the analogue domain the sound of the transformer-based mic preamps in the classic ISA range - ideal for bringing out the breathy quality of a vocal or adding presence to an acoustic guitar. Red 8Pre also includes two high-headroom instrument inputs, instantly accessible from the front panel.
Our best conversion
The Red 8Pre's high-performance conversion system features what Focusrite calls 'parallel path summing', where two matched converters are run in parallel to increase the signal to noise ratio. They operate at up to 24-bit, 192 kHz sampling - ideal for high-resolution audio - with a dynamic range of 118dB (A-D)/121dB (D-A). The Red 8Pre delivers less than 0.0009% THD+Noise and a frequency response flat from 20Hz to 35kHz plus or minus 0.25 dB or better.
Levels at the Red 8Pre's monitor outputs are adjusted via a Digitally-Controlled analogue Attenuator. This allows them to deliver full dynamic range at all signal levels, rather than the conventional approach using digital attenuation on the D-A, which is cheaper and offers slightly lower distortion, but means that bit-depth – and thus monitoring accuracy – is lost at lower levels.
Like its smaller brother, the Red 8Pre delivers exceptional connectivity - and more of it. Dual Thunderbolt 2 ports connect to a DAW while at the same time allowing daisy-chaining of drives and displays. Round-trip latency as low as 1.67ms permits recording with preferred plug-ins in real-time and simplifies workflow - no need for cue mix utilities or outboard DSP - while dual DigiLink ports connect the Red 8Pre directly to any Pro Tools | HD system. In addition, Red 8Pre features built-in Dante network audio connectivity. The dual Ethernet ports connect any Dante-compatible product, such as units from Focusrite's own RedNet range, adding up to 32 channels I/O via Ethernet exactly where they're needed - wherever there's an Ethernet network - with low latency and lower cost. Furthermore, Focusrite Control allows the user to assign any physical input or output to any driver/Pro Tools|HD channel making it easier than ever to customise the interface layout and integrate hardware inserts.
· The pinnacle of our interface design – the Red range of interfaces is our best yet, and the Red 8Pre offers the most extensive features. With eight of our cleanest mic preamps, our best-sounding converters and a build quality that harks back to the original Red series.
· Our best conversion performance – A 24-bit 'parallel path summing' dual converter configuration operating at up to 192kHz sampling – perfect for high-resolution audio – offers the optimal combination of sound quality, noise floor, dynamic range and conversion latency, with 118dB (A-D) /121dB (D-A) dynamic range. 0.0009% THD+Noise and a frequency response flat from 20Hz to 35kHz plus or minus0.25 dB or better.
· Dual Thunderbolt™ 2 ports for daisy-chaining – Connect to a DAW with our lowest round-trip latency whilst simultaneously connecting Thunderbolt devices such as hard drives and displays.
· Direct Pro Tools connection – Dual DigiLink™ connectivity with Pro Tools | HD systems and existing Avid® interfaces.
· Dante Network Audio enabled – Dual Ethernet ports for Dante™ audio-over-IP networking. Add up to 32 Dante I/O channels via Ethernet anywhere on the network, with low latency and lower cost.
· Eight 'Red Evolution' Air-enabled mic pres – Up to 63dB of ultra-clean gain, -129dB EIN and individual phantom power, setting recall, stereo linking, HPF and polarity invert, plus Air mode, for an analogue emulation of our heritage ISA preamp characteristics. Configure them via software or from the elegant front panel with its clean controls and clear colour LCD displays.
· Freely assignable input and output routing – Allocate any physical input or output to any driver/Pro Tools|HD channel; allowing fully customisable setups, perfect for creating hardware inserts.
· Round-trip latency as low as 1.67ms – Track with preferred plug-ins and record virtual instruments in real time. Simplify studio workflow: run a single mix for both overdubbing and mixing, with plug-ins in place, all the time. No need for cue mix utilities or outboard DSP.
· Expansion done right - add up to 32 input and 32 output channels of Dante interfaces to the Red 8Pre - wherever there's an Ethernet connection, over a greater distance, with low latency and at lower cost, without wasting money on unused hardware.
· Front-panel instrument inputs – Provide easy access to high-headroom instrument connections even when rack-mounted.
· Digitally-Controlled Analogue Attenuator on monitor outputs - Instead of simply turning down the level on the D-A, the monitor outputs are attenuated in the analogue domain, allowing the D-A's full dynamic range to remain available at all monitoring levels.
· 64 inputs/64 outputs – including 16 analogue inputs and 18 analogue outputs.
Software Included – Every Red 8Pre includes Focusrite Control software, allowing mic preamp control and the quick and intuitive set-up of mixes and monitors; the Red plug-in suite; and Softube's Time and Tone bundle.
Pricing and Availability:
The Focusrite Red 8Pre will be available from dealers for $3499.99.