Buyer's Guide: Focusrite Pro
Since it was started by Rupert Neve in 1985, Focusrite has spent over three decades creating essential tools for music creators. That legacy lives on today, as the brand continues to evolve its interface offerings for different kinds of recording studios. Focusrite Pro has played a pivotal role in this evolution.
Focusrite Pro has added four new products to its lineup today, including the RedNet R1 desktop remote controller, Red 8LINE interface, and newly updated versions of the RedNet D16R MkII and RedNet A16R MkII interfaces. In this Buyer’s Guide, we’ll breakdown this new gear and explain the differences between each line of Focusrite Pro solutions.
Before we get too far into the tech behind these groundbreaking designs, let’s talk a little about the start of Focusrite and how Focusrite Pro came to be a part of the company. Let's go back to the 1980s!
The Legacy Of Focusrite and Focusrite Pro
It all started with the creation of the very first Focusrite ISA mic pre in 1985. Rupert Neve custom-made the preamp for Sir George Martin's Neve console at AIR Monserrat Studios. Many might assume this is why Focusrite preamps continue to have AIR mode, but it's actually a coincidence. Customers would often say that when engaging AIR mode, the word was the best way of describing the space and sheen it added to takes.
As the professional and commercial division of its parent company, Focusrite Pro designs gear that will fit into the workflows of recording, post production, live sound, and broadcast studios. In recent years, they've been leading the charge of audio-over-IP technology, which gives users the ability to send high-quality signals to multiple devices on a network faster and with greater ease.
Focusrite Pro's full range of offerings consists of the Red series (the flagship multi-format interfaces), RedNet (a fully customizable audio-over-IP solution), and the heritage ISA range of microphone preamps. Let’s take a closer look at the technology behind each of these innovative devices.
Focusrite Pro Red Series Audio Interfaces
When it comes to the standards of modern audio interfaces, Focusrite meets and exceeds what engineers have come to expect in their gear. The brand's range of Red interfaces combine class-leading digital conversion with its signature mic pres, built-in monitor controls, and extremely low-latency.
The digitally-controlled Red Evolution mic pres used for the Red series offer up to 63dB of ultra-clean gain, in addition to the previously mentioned AIR mode. This mode actually models the sound of the transformer-based ISA mic preamp. The on-board mic pres also have stereo linking capabilities, individual phantom power, high-pass filter, and phase reverse.
Ideal for tracking, mixing, or even mastering, the Red interfaces come loaded with industry-leading plug-ins including Brainworx's bx_console, which features hyper-accurate emulations of the original ISA 110 Equaliser and ISA 130 Dynamics modules. Also included is Softube's Time and Tone Bundle featuring four of Softube's most popular plug-ins. Last, but not least, you’ll have access to the Focusrite Red Plug-in Suite, which accurately models Focusrite's classic Red range 2 and 3 equalizer and compressor hardware.
Class-leading audio-over-IP technology enables you to effortlessly integrate your DAW into Dante networks or expand your audio interface with additional I/O. Best of all, Red Series audio interfaces are compatible with nearly any system, offering Pro Tools | HD, Thunderbolt, PCIe, and Dante connectivity options.
Focusrite Red 8PRE
64 x 64 Audio Interface - 32x32 Dante I/O
Building off the platform of the original Red 4PRE, the Red 8PRE offers up to 64 inputs and outputs of connectivity. Red 8PRE features eight of Focusrite's legendary Red Evolution mic pres, as well as the same Parallel Path Conversion found in other Red series devices for pristine sound and ultra-low latency.
The Red 8Pre features both Thunderbolt 2 connectivity and dual mini-DigiLink ports, enabling quick and easy switching between Pro Tools | HD and any Thunderbolt-connected DAW. In addition, the interface offers a number of additional expansion options, making it a versatile option that’s ideal for a wide range of applications.
Need more preamps? State-of-the-art Dante technology allows for up to 32 additional input and output channels. Simply plug in an Ethernet cable to connect additional mic pres or line I/O with ease. Plus, Red 8Pre includes two ADAT ports for up to 16 additional inputs and outputs.
Focusrite Red 16LINE
64 x 64 Audio Interface - 32x32 Dante I/O
Just like the Red 8PRE, the Focusrite 16LINE interface brings a lot to the table for studio owners. You still have the same amount of connectivity, incredible conversion, and room for expansion, but the number of on-board mic pres has been reduced from eight to two. These two mic pres do offer connectivity via XLR inputs, something not available on the Red 8PRE.
Focusrite Red 8LINE
58x64 Audio Interface - 32x32 Dante I/O
As the newest addition to the Red series, the Red 8LINE offers the same great features as the Red 16Line with half the channel count at a lower price point. Perfect for home studios and small production facilities where sound quality is crucial, the Red 8Line combines Focusrite’s class-leading audio converters with two built-in XLR inputs and extensive connectivity capabilities.
Expand your I/O with Dante, ADAT, and S/PDIF connections, or connect to other devices using the convenient Thunderbolt, Loop Sync, and Word Clock ports. Don’t let its channel count lead you astray, the Red 8 Line is a powerhouse audio interface that offers up to 58 inputs and 64 outputs.
Focusrite Pro RedNet Audio-Over-IP Devices
The RedNet series of audio-over-IP devices combines Focusrite’s pristine A/D and D/A conversion with the flexibility of Dante for a fully customizable workstation. This line of interfaces is perfect for post-production, broadcast, live sound, and commercial studio applications.
Build the perfect audio solution for your workflow with RedNet’s wide range of remote-controlled mic pres, audio converters, and I/O devices. Choose from a variety of connectivity options including analog, MADI, AES3, Mac, Windows, Pro Tools | HD, and of course, Dante. Best of all, RedNet devices are compatible with any standard layer-3 IP network, making it easy to seamlessly integrate into any system using a common Ethernet cable.
Focusrite REDNET X2P
2x2 Analog I/O Interface
Focusrite's RedNet X2P makes it easy to capture world-class recordings anywhere in your studio. This compact and highly portable audio interface features two Red Evolution mic preamps with mic, line, or instrument level inputs, along with two line-level outputs and a powerful headphone output for monitoring.
Simple controls for headphone level, line output, and preamp settings make it easy to quickly dial in your sound. With dedicated headphone controls, a local input mix for "more-me" style monitoring and a dedicated mic stand mount, the RedNet X2P is the ultimate tool for the iso booth.
Focusrite REDNET AM2
Stereo Line Output And Headphone Amp For Dante Networks
With a compact design and a rugged steel chassis, the RedNet AM2 is the ideal monitor controller. Small enough to sit next to your mouse and keyboard and portable enough for a mobile rig, the AM2 is perfect for adding extra monitoring functionality to any audio network.
Focusrite REDNET A8R
8x8 Analog I/O Interface
The RedNet A8R is a 1U, 8x8 analog line-level I/O interface. Ideal for critical recording applications, the A8R features dual power supplies and dual network connections for silent fail-over in the event of power or network outage. With eight channels of high-quality line-level analog I/O via DB25 connectors, it’s easy to interface with your favorite gear. And with Word Clock I/O, DARS input and two channels of AES3 I/O, the A8R offers impressive flexibility in any setting.
Focusrite REDNET A16R MkII
16x16 Analog I/O Interface
Ideal for mid-sized or large studios and post production facilities, the newly released RedNet A16R MkII offers the same great sound and versatile features as the A8R with eight additional channels of I/O and expanded software controls. Now you can control hardware settings and individual channel levels directly from the free RedNet Control software. Quickly toggle mutes, dim levels, playback settings, and more.
Best of all, it’s easy to install and built like a tank. With sturdy construction and locking connectors that hold up through the most demanding sessions, RedNet A16R MkII is well suited to permanent installation and repeated strike and setup.
Focusrite REDNET PCIeR
128x128 PC and Mac I/O
The RedNet PCIeR audio interface is a 4x PCIe card that offers up to 128 channels of I/O over Dante at up to 96 kHz. Compatible with Mac and PC, the PCIeR operates with ASIO or Core Audio applications with extremely low latency.
Focusrite REDNET MP8R
8-Channel Remote-Controlled Mic Pre
Focusrite's RedNet MP8R is a 1U, eight-channel remote-controlled mic pre and A-D interface. Combining the brand's high-quality preamp design and cutting-edge audio converters with Dante technology enables up to 24-bit, 192kHz sampling rates with very low latency. With network and power supply redundancy, RedNet MP8R will give you peace of mind when in the most demanding recording scenarios.
Focusrite REDNET D16R MkII
16x16 AES3 I/O Interface
Focusrite's RedNet D16R MkII is a 1U, 16x16 AES3 interface that’s perfect for bridging between digital consoles, power amplifiers,or any other AES3-equipped audio equipment. Two rear-panel DB25 connectors provide eight pairs of AES3 I/O for seamlessly interfacing with your favorite digital audio equipment. Or grab one pair of I/O using the XLR inputs and outputs for added flexibility.
Additional XLR jacks provide added flexibility for connecting a single pair of I/O, while RCA connectors enable you to connect consumer S/PDIF equipment. All external audio inputs include sample rate conversion to reduce cabling and complexity.
New to the RedNet MkII series, the D16R now offers advanced software control. Using the free RedNet Control software, you can now control hardware settings, individual channel levels, mutes, dim levels, and more.
Focusrite REDNET HD32R
32x32 Pro Tools | HD I/O Interface
The RedNet HD32R makes it easy to integrate your Pro Tools HD system into a Dante networked with up to 32x32 channels of I/O in a compact, 1U rack unit. A pair of DigiLink mini connectors allows RedNet HD32R to connect directly to any Pro Tools | HD system whether it's Native, HDX or even a legacy TDM system. The RedNet HD32R also features dual Dante connectors and PSUs for redundancy, keeping your recordings safe.
Focusrite REDNET D64R
64x64 MADI Optical/Coax MADI I/O Interface
RedNet D64R extends the power and versatility of the modular RedNet system to your favorite MADI devices. Connect up to 64 channels of I/O via coax using two rear-panel BNC connectors, or via optical through an SC-Duplex connector.
Focusrite REDNET 1
8x8 I/O AD/DA Converter
RedNet 1 makes it easy to interface with your favorite analog audio equipment with eight channels of high-quality line-level analog I/O. Featuring Focusrite’s precision 24-bit audio converters, RedNet 1 offers 119 dB of dynamic range at sample rates up to 192 kHz.
Desktop Remote Controller For RedNet Interfaces
This compact desktop controller gives you complete control over your session—right at your fingertips. The RedNet R1 offers Dante, Pro Tools | HD and Thunderbolt connectivity for seamless integration with your studio. Quickly control level, reference level, preset selection, cut, dim, mute and more.
Ideal for post production, R1 supports a maximum of eight channels, each with up to 12 sources per channel, from 32 available audio sources. Plus, up to four monitor fold-down presets allow fast switching for checking downmixes. Two LCD displays offer highly accurate level metering and provide intuitive visual cues for menu navigation.
A built-in microphone with talkback controls and dedicated headphone outputs make it easy to communicate with artists in the studio. Or plug in your own talkback mic using the optional mic input. And with an optional footswitch input, you can quickly toggle the talkback mic, LFE and more with a tap of your toes.
Focusrite Pro ISA Series Preamps
Originally designed for the early Focusrite Forte console of the late 80s, and later used in the iconic Focusrite Studio Console, the “Input Signal Amplifier” range of preamps combine classic tone with modern precision. All ISA preamps use Lundahl LL1538 input transformers and a custom Zobel network for a rich, warm sound. Whether you’re looking for a portable desktop preamp or a versatile rack-mountable unit, the ISA series delivers unparalleled sound quality.
ISA ONE Mice Pre
Desktop Mic Preamp And DI
ISA One combines Focusrite’s classic microphone preamp design with a versatile DI channel and optional A-D converter card. Monitor your performance using the dedicated headphone output and volume control. A dedicated insert point makes it easy to incorporate your favorite analog equipment into the signal chain.
For even more versatility, check out the new ISA ADN2 two-channel AD card with Dante connectivity. Seamlessly integrate with any Dante-enabled network at sample rates up to 24-bit/192 kHz. ISA ADN2 offers extensive connectivity options with primary and secondary RJ45 Dante output ports, an XLR connector for AES3 output, a TOSLINK connector for ADAT output, and RCA connector for S/PDIF output.
ISA TWO Mic Pre
Two-Channel Mic Preamp
Capture pristine stereo recordings with the ISA Two rack-mountable two-channel mic preamp. Each preamp offers mic, line, and instrument-level inputs with variable input impedance to ensure you’re getting the best performance from every source.
ISA 428 MkII Mic Pre
Four-Channel Mic Preamp And Optional A-D
For even more connectivity, try the ISA 428 MkII. With four of Focusrite's renowned mic preamps and an expansion port for digital I/O, the ISA 428 MkII packs a ton of versatility into a compact 2U enclosure. Equip the expansion port with a range of optional DAC cards, including the new ISA ADN8, which offers eight channels of AD with Dante connectivity.
ISA 828 MkII Mic Pre
Eight-Channel Mic Preamp And Optional A-D
For large sessions, the 828 MkII offers up to eight channels of analog inputs of the classic ISA mic preamp design. Dedicated connectors for mic and line-level inputs mean you don’t have to hot-swap your equipment every time you want to record, making ISA 828 MkII perfect for permanent installation in a rack. And with four front-panel instrument inputs, you can quickly connect your favorite guitars and basses. The ISA 828 MkII also works with the new ISA ADN8 AD expansion card for eight Dante, ADAT, and AES3 outputs at sampling rates of up to 24-bit / 192 kHz.