22 Mar 2016

Focusrite Red 4Pre: High-end audio distribution system

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Focusrite Red 4Pre Focusrite Red 4Pre Focusrite / RedShark Sound

We profile the Red 4Pre system from Focusrite, which provides amples i/O and conversion options for your live production.

Focusrite is certainly a firm that needs little introduction, as its entry level interfaces are often the first stop for many a project or studio.The top end RedNet range, however, may not be so widely well known, as it focuses on higher end studios, education and live sound, where this Ethernet-based audio interface system can really excel.

Essentially, at its heart, RedNet is designed to be a highly scalable, near zero latency audio distribution system that can be used to expand I/O channel count, interface digital components and bridge between Pro Tools|HD or MADI and the Dante audio network.

Red-4-Pre_front.jpgFocusrite Red 4Pre Front View

I/O and conversion galore

The latest Red 4Pre interface tops the RedNet line with an I/O count of 58 in and 64 out and introduces Focusrite's next generation of technology, with the newly designed pre-amps and converters being key features of this unit.

The new converters offer up digital conversion at up to 24 bit/192KHz with up to 121dB of dynamic range to work with, as well as promising to be Focusrite's quietest design to date. The new pre-amps are capable of providing a total of 63dB of gain and offer a selection of features including phantom power and the ability to stereo link channels, as well as being able to recall settings as required. Alongside those, what is certainly new here is the 'Air mode' feature, which provides an analogue emulation of the characteristics found in the old Focusrite ISA preamp, included here to allow you to add a bit of flavour to your recordings.

Getting your audio into the system is the other strong focus here and the Red 4Pre offers up a number of options to facilitate this. Leading with a dual Thunderbolt 2 port configuration, the interface can be setup in the chain, along with storage and displays, to ensure you have access to all of your additional devices. The unit also features dual Digilink connectivity to allow connectivity to Pro Tools | HD systems, as well as being Dante Network enabled.

Dante explained

The Dante standard uses audio over IP networking sent over your Ethernet, that allows you to add additional channels over low latency connections anywhere on your network, making it ideal for many larger scale projects. Indeed a key application focus of this range is live sound events and the recording of large recording projects along with education applications, the large scale connectivity is what defines RedNet. The Red 4Pre continues with this design brief and is capable of allowing you to control up to 64 extra channels, via additional I/O units which can be added as required to your network.

Multi-multitasker

Red-4-Pre_rear.jpgFocusrite Red 4Pre Front View

The RedNet range most simply can be described as a problem solver, designed to handle large amounts of audio efficiently. Whilst it's certainly not a range that a lot of regular users may take note of normally, some of the new designs and features implemented here are certain to filter down to Focusrite's other ranges in the future and its always great to see a firm continue to develop and refine its range to the benefit of the end user.

For those users already working on larger scale projects that may require the capabilities on offer here, the Red 4Pre will be available from the end of March from Focusrite RedNet dealers.


Peter Gardner

Peter Gardner has spent 20 years working within the audio industry, from an early live sound background through to devloping and writing about IT solutions in the studio. A background that also has given growth over the years, to a great enthusiasm for anything new that combines music and technology.

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