The Focusrite Red Range is the most flexible and affordable way to bring the professional studio environment home. Featuring no-compromise analogue and digital audio circuitry, professional-grade conversion, a wide range of connection options as standard, and extreme low-latency operation with all software platforms including Pro Tools | HD, the Red 4Pre, Red 8Pre and Red 16Line offer all the features of a professional studio setup in a convenient 1U device.
James Towler is the long-serving in-house engineer at Wincraft Studios, musician Steve Winwood's personal recording and production complex. He uses a pair of Red 8Pre interfaces connected via Dante to record and mix new projects, and to provide a seamless studio-to-stage transition for the Steve Winwood band. The Red 8Pre interfaces reside in a large live performance space called the Dutch Barn, with another in the control room, a short walk away, but longer than would be convenient for analogue tie lines. James Towler explains. “The Red 8Pre is a really powerful box because there's so much crammed into it. There's the Dante connectivity, the analogue ins and outs, eight mic preamps and the routing capabilities. It has become the backbone to both the rooms." Both units are accessible on the Dante network, so the inputs and outputs of each interface are available in all areas. “If I want to stick a live vocal through my Bricasti reverb, which lives in the control room, all I need to do is connect the channels in Dante Controller and it's there."
Routing flexibility aside, it was the sound quality of the Red 8Pre that first attracted James. “For me, the preamps in the Red range are giving me the focus and clarity that I'm looking for in my mixes," he explains. “Musicians have commented on the clarity in their ears. For example, Steve plays organ bass, which before we had the Red 8Pre was sonically a bit wobbly and wavy. But now it sounds solid. It's a lovely sonic flavour which I like."
Claudio Cueni is a Los Angeles-based engineer/producer, who has worked with the likes of Boyz II Men, Omarion and Santigold, but who is best known for his work on numerous Tupac Shakur records. He bought a Focusrite Red 4Pre based on the sound quality of the converters and its connectivity, after comparing it to other similar interfaces at his personal studio. "I was looking at a few different interfaces. Most important for me was the sound. I A/B'd the interfaces, and the Focusrite was the best-sounding one to me; it wasn't even close. I never thought that converters made that much of a difference until I got the Focusrite."
He is no less impressed with the Red 4Pre's connectivity, which includes both Dante and DigiLink connectors for Pro Tools | HD. “I'm using it with Dante. I've got the Dante Virtual Soundcard on my computer and an Ethernet cable to the Red 4Pre — that's it. And it works amazingly well." To pull up pre-Pro Tools 12 sessions, he says, he hooks up a DigiLink connector to his Pro Tools | HD 10 rig.
After recently getting a call to record a live performance, Cueni says, he realised that the Red 4Pre's connectivity also offers a level of flexibility that makes it indispensable outside the studio as well. “The flexibility was an afterthought, but then I realised that I could use the Red 4Pre with Thunderbolt. I did a Stanley Clark live recording, where I brought my laptop and used Thunderbolt to the Red 4Pre. We recorded and did monitor mixes at the same time, flawlessly. It's a world-class live recording rig. It's one rack space, and it's got all this connectivity. It works – it never crashed, never anything weird and never had any clicks," he says. “And the mic pres are frigging amazing. I couldn't be happier with the sound."
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