It was announced back in September 2016 but Focusrite tells us that the pinnacle of its interface range, the Red 8Pre, has been released and is in the stores. They say that, with 64 inputs and 64 outputs (including a total of 16 analog inputs and 18 analog 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.
A spokesperson told us, "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."
Here's the full details in Focusrite's own words...
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 -129dB 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 color LCD displays. The preamps include Focusrite's unique "Air" effect, recreating in the analog 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, 192kHz sampling – ideal for high-resolution audio – with a dynamic range of 118dB (A-D)/121dB (D-A). The Red 8Pre delivers 0.0009% THD+Noise and a frequency response flat from 20Hz to 35kHz ±0.2dB .
Levels at the Red 8Pre's monitor outputs are adjusted via a Digitally-Controlled analog 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 customize the interface layout and integrate hardware inserts.
Addition of the Input Routing feature
The latest feature to be added to Focusrite Control for Red 8Pre, coming soon for Red 4Pre, is "Input Routing" tab. This allows for the default channel routing table to be rearranged so that all hardware input signals required can be accessed and sent to a DAW in a user-defined order. There are three routing tables available to reorder. These tables are associated with each of the sample-rate bands available: single (44.1/48kHz), dual (88.2/96kHz) and quad (176.4/192kHz). Each routing table can be independently configured in order to have full control over the routing at each sample-rate band. This brand new feature will allow for channels to be sent to Pro Tools | HD and the Focusrite Thunderbolt driver in a fully customizable order.
DigiLink I/O License
Together with Avid, Focusrite has created a simpler way for customers to combine Red 4Pre and Red 8Pre interfaces with Pro Tools | HD 12.6 and up, making their music easy to make. If customers buy and register a Red 4Pre or Red 8Pre interface after January 18, 2017, a Pro Tools | DigiLink I/O License can be placed on their iLok at no charge.
Pricing and Availability:
The Focusrite Red 8Pre is available now from dealers for $3499.99.