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Focusrite Octopre MK2 Review

focusrite octopre review

When looking for mic pre’s you want uncoloured transparent routing for your audio, simple right? With flexibility in the studio and easy of use whilst tracking. As Focusrite have a history of creating high end and extremely well manufactured mic pre amps and consoles, recently they have created a whole range of affordable yet high quality pre amps for the project studio market.

Building on its great successes form the original OctoPre, Focusrite have hit the nail on the head with this 8 channel preamp the OctoPre MKII! In the package the OctoPre offers sixteen channel ADAT, eight per port, with eight microphone pre-amps. The OctoPre also offers two HI Z instrument inputs which are easily reached on the front panel of this 19 inch 1u module. Each of the channels sports a -10 dB pad. This option can be extremely useful when tracking high SPL recording environments such as drums.

As you would expect from most mic pre amps, all eight pre’s have phantom power which is selected accordingly from 2 banks (1-4 and 5-8) from the front panel. You are also given the option to choose to sync via internal or WorldClock, with a selector switch again situated on the front panel. Also we see on the front of the device there is a five LED meter for each of the eight channels. These meters are fairly responsive and do provide a basic level indication whilst tracking. However I would only use these as a rough guide as they can be a little under what the level truly is. This in turn has made me run, on occasion, some channels a little two hot. As do many preamps on the market the MKII has the option to switch between multiple sample rates. These can be switched between 44.1,48,88.2 and 96 from a selector switch also located on the front panel.

I have used these pre’s on various recording situations with great successes. I have mainly used these on drum tracking sessions and have had excellent results. Focusrite say they have optimised the pre’s for drum tracking and this really does come through, especially on the kick and snare as I can track fairly hot and have no clipping or distortion issues. I have also discovered that this pre has great head room and I can always push the signal that little bit further. Knowing you have this versatility whist tracking always speeds up sessions and gives you a stable point in your set up to work around. I trust my OctoPre and I know I can always rely on its sound. This preamp also allows for easy routing of audio in and out through its 8 outputs on the back. I have compressors which I route into my signal path and the OctoPre allows me to do this with zero apparent decline in audio quality or signal interference. Whilst working in my studio, I have always received great response from artists with the sound we get though the OctoPre whilst tracking.

The transparent sound of the MkII makes it an absolute must have purchase for under £400. Even though the meters can, on occasions, be misleading the quality matched with an outstanding price means the Pro Audio Web Blog gives the Focusrite MkII a well deserved 5 Stars!

Chris Pavey

Chris Pavey - 26th February 2013

US RRP: $599.99 | UK RRP: £349.00

Editors Rating:

Five Star Award