Which Is Better? Focusrite Scarlett vs Clarett [Differences]

Focusrite surely knows how to make great audio interfaces.

Since the introduction of the Clarett into their lineup, a lot of users started considering upgrading their Scarletts, and a lot of newcomers can’t decide which one would work best for them.

The price difference is a clear indicator, but if you want to go more in-depth about what are the main differences between these 2 interfaces, we are here to help you.

If you want a short answer about it, here it is:

The main differences between the Focusrite Scarlett and the Clarett are that the Clarett is a more expensive interface and a step up from the Scarlett. The Clarett has more input gain headroom and will handle higher input levels before distortion or clipping. The Scarlett is an amazing entry-level option.

For those who want to stick around for a bit longer, in this article we will talk about the main features of each of these interfaces, then we will put them side by side to talk about their main differences, and finally, we will give you our insights into which we think might work better for you.

Are you ready?

Let’s get started!

Focusrite Scarlett main features

Focusrite Scarlett

The Focusrite Scarlett is the top-selling audio interface in the world. 

This title was surely achieved by combining good hardware with an affordable price.

Of course, this interface is not a studio solution, but it has been, for years, the go-to tool for many musicians around the world, myself included.

The Scarlett range has 6 models: the Scarlett Solo, the 2i2, the 4i4, the 8i6, the 18i8, and the 18i20. 

Their names sound a bit cryptic, but they’re actually pretty descriptive. Take the 2i2, for example, It means that this interface has 2 inputs and 2 outputs. Easy isn’t it?

This wider range of available models makes sure every player can find an interface that suits their needs, and that’s great so you can pay just for what you need.

Here are the Focusrite Scarlett main specs:

SpecFocusrite Scarlett
Frequency Response20 Hz to 20 kHz
Input gain range56 dB
Maximum input level+9 dBu
Dynamic range110 dB (A-weighted)
Phantom powerYes
ExpandableOnly 18i8 and 18i20 models
MIDI I/O16 channels
Headphone max output7 dB

Focusrite Clarett main features

Focusrite Clarett

The Clarett is Focusrite’s newest toy.

It’s a more expensive piece of gear, clearly catered to a slightly more refined audience.

This line of Clarett interfaces only incorporates 3 different models: The Clarett 2 Pre, 4 Pre, and the 8Pre.

The big advantage of this unit is that every model is expandable, so you can start small and grow later.

But don’t be confused, that doesn’t mean that it’s a more complicated interface or that it is studio grade exclusively.

When looking at the specs you will see that it’s just a step up from the Scarlett:

SpecFocusrite Clarett
Frequency Response20 Hz to 35 kHz
Input gain range57 dB
Maximum input level+18 dBu
Dynamic range119 dB (A-weighted)
Phantom powerYes, connected to power
MIDI I/O16 channels
Headphone max output16 dB

Main differences between the Focusrite Clarett, and the Focusrite Scarlett

The difference between these 2 interfaces is obvious when you look at the price, but it would be nice to rationalize it.

To begin with, let’s put them side by side:

SpecFocusrite ScarlettFocusrite Clarett
Frequency Response20 Hz to 20 kHz20 Hz to 35 kHz
Input gain range56 dB57 dB
Maximum input level+9 dBu+18 dBu
Dynamic range110 dB (A-weighted)118 dB (A-weighted)
Phantom powerYesYes, connected to power
ExpandableOnly 18i8 and 18i20 modelsYes
MIDI I/O16 channels16 channels
Headphone max output7 dB16 dB
PriceCheaperMore expensive

As you can see, it’s clear that the Clarett wins this across the board.

However, these are just numbers, what do they mean?

Well, Clarett converters are noticeably better. This unit has more input gain headroom and that’s something you would always want.

This means that the Clarett will manage higher input levels before clipping and distorting. 

The difference in headphone output of these 2 interfaces is also noticeable, especially if you are used to recording in a loud room and use the direct monitoring feature. You might prefer the higher volume possibility of the Clarett over the Scarlett. 

The competition is not fair, however, given that these pieces of gear are priced differently and clearly aimed at different audiences.

The Scarlett is still an amazing entry-level unit that will be very useful for beginner to intermediate players. 

The Clarett could be considered a step up catered to the intermediate segment, with its possibility of expansion for those who evolve into a more advanced space.

Which one should you choose?

Here in GearAficionado, we don’t like picking out gear for you. We prefer to give you the most important information we can gather so you could make your own decisions.

We always encourage you to try the gear before you buy it since trying it out on your own would give you a way more informative experience than reading a blog article or watching a YouTube video.

However, if you want to know what we think might be the best of these interfaces for you, here are our insights into it:

  • If you are new to audio interfaces, get a Focusrite Scarlett
  • If you already have a Scarlett and you are starting to outgrow it, try out a Clarett
  • If you have a Scarlett, but you are happy with its features, keep your Scarlett
  • If you are looking for a new small interface but think that in the future might need more channels, get a Clarett
  • If you are an amateur podcaster, get a Scarlett
  • If you do professional audio recording, a Clarett might be better for you