Avid’s Pro Tools | Carbon interface gave Pro Tools users a powerful, DSP-accelerated hardware option that integrates smoothly with their DAW of choice, but it’s about to get a lot more exciting. Enter the new Pro Tools | Carbon Pre ($2,999), an expander unit that adds eight mic preamps, network connectivity, and more to the Carbon ecosystem. If you’re all-in on Pro Tools, this is the perfect unit to add to your rack for more inputs and greater flexibility.


Avid Pro Tools | Carbon Pre 8-Channel Mic Preamp and Expander

In short, the Carbon Pre gives you all the inputs of a Carbon interface without any extra redundant features. With eight balanced XLR/TRS combo jacks and two unbalanced quarter-inch instrument jacks, the Carbon Pre is ready for any mic or instrument in your studio. Both instrument inputs and four of the mic/line inputs feature Variable Z , so you can fine-tune the impedance to get the best sound from any input signal.

The eight mic preamps behind the inputs are identical to the ones in the Carbon interface (which is to say they’re awesome). Boasting 126 dB of headroom, -105 dB total harmonic distortion plus noise (THD+N) and -129 equivalent input noise (EIN), the preamps excel at capturing pristine audio with almost nonexistent noise levels. The line and instrument inputs, as well as the outputs, feature similar specs for all-around excellent performance. The D/A and A/D converters support recording and playback at up 32-bit, 192 kHz quality, just like the Carbon interface.

What really makes the Carbon Pre special is how seamlessly it integrates with a Carbon interface to create a “Carbon Expanded System.” Two Ethernet jacks on the back allow you to create a digital audio network with a Carbon interface and an optional second Carbon Pre, providing extremely low-latency connectivity. This allows you to take advantage of the Carbon’s powerful onboard HDX DSP and record through plugins to enhance your sound on the way in without putting any extra strain on your computer.

Additionally, two ADAT inputs and outputs provide extra flexibility, supporting eight channels of full-quality 192 kHz audio (or more at lower sample rates). This allows you to use the Carbon Pre with any ADAT-equipped gear, giving you almost unlimited options for expanding your system. DB25 connectors on the rear provide eight analog inputs and outputs for even more connectivity options. Finally, a coaxial word clock input and output allow you to connect to a clocking unit for rock-solid sync between units. Altogether, the Pro Tools | Carbon Pre is a powerful addition to any studio, but you’ll get the most value with a Carbon Expanded System.

Here are just a few of the ways you can expand your Avid rig with the Pro Tools | Carbon Pre:

Get to know the Pro Tools | Carbon Pre inside and out with the full list of features and specifications below:

Avid Pro Tools | Carbon Pre Features

  • 8 microphone preamps
  • 8 balanced XLR/TRS combo inputs
  • 2 unbalanced ¼” instrument inputs
  • AVB networked audio connectivity
  • ADAT optical input and output
  • DB25 analog input and output
  • Additional features when used with Pro Tools | Carbon interface
  • Includes power cable, Ethernet cable, rack-mount screws, desktop feet, and registration card

Avid Pro Tools | Carbon Pre Tech Specs

  • Chassis: 19-inch Rack-mount
  • Rack Spaces: 1u
  • Number of Inputs: 24
  • Input Connectors: XLR/TRS Combo Jack, Analog DB25, 1/4-inch TS, Optical, BNC
  • Number of Outputs: 24
  • Output Connectors: Analog DB25, 1/4-inch TRS, Optical, BNC 
  • Network Connection: Ethernet
  • Number of Preamps: 8
  • Clock I/O: In, Out
  • Maximum Sampling Rate: 192 kHz
  • Digital Format: ADAT