• New Sponsor: ShipNerd, Ship Your Gear with Us... for less! Click Here.

Apogee Element vs Focusrite Clarett...please chime in!

Stratman76

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
1,115
Apogee Element vs Focusrite Clarett
What do you see as the pros and cons of both the Apogee Element and Focusrite Clarett? Please chime in. I’m in the market for a new interface and this is a tough call at this point.

I am a (sparse) home studio Logic user and that status might give the Element a slight advantage. For what it’s worth, I’m also a Mac tech – I’m happy to help you as well.

FYI - I’ve listed specs for the low-end of each range but intend for this discussion to encompass the entire Element and Clarett line-up.

Focusrite Clarett2 Pre
http://us.focusrite.com/thunderbolt-audio-interfaces/clarett-2pre

Features: ADAT in, Midi In/Out, 4 line out
Interface: Thunderbolt 2
1.38ms round-trip latency
24bit/192kHz sample rates
Balanced ¼” outs (4)
The following specs based on AES17 Standard:
Line in
Frequency Response: 20Hz – 20Khz +/-0.1 dB
THD+N: 0.001%
Max Input Level: 26dBu
Gain Range: 0-57dB
Instrument In
Frequency Response: 20Hz – 20Khz +/-0.1 dB
THD+N: 0.001%
Max Input Level: 26dBu
Gain Range: 0-57dB
Dynamic Range
Line Input: 118 dB (A-weighted)
Instrument Input: 116 dB (A-weighted)
Line Outputs: 119 dB (A-weighted)
Monitor Outputs: 118 dB (A-weighted)
Headphone Output: 116 dB (A-weighted)
MacOS Driver: Focusrite Thunderbolt driver (I believe Apple's Thunderbolt Audio was used until recently)
Control Software: Forcusrite Control (device settings, routing control)
iOS Software: None

Clarett Pros: AIR could be a pro (it seems to be for some). Has knobs for some device control sans software. Less coin than Apogee Element.
Clarett Cons: Using Apple Core Audio as the thunderbolt driver could be disadvantage.

Apogee Element 24
http://www.apogeedigital.com/products/element-24

Features: ADAT / SMUX / S/PDIF optical in and out, BNC Word Clock in/out
Interface: Thunderbolt 2
1.41ms round-trip at 96kHz with a 32 buffer setting
24bit/192kHz sample rates
Balanced XLR outs (2)
Stereo Headphone Out ¼ (1)
The following specs based on AES17 Standard:
Line in
Frequency Response: 10Hz – 20Khz +/-0.1 dB
THD+N: -110db
Max Input Level: 20dBu
Gain Range: 0-75dB
Instrument In
Frequency Response: 10Hz – 20Khz +/-0.1 dB
THD+N: -110db
Max Input Level: 20dBu
Gain Range: 0-75dB
Dynamic Range
Line Input – 119 dB (A-weighted)
Instrument Input – 119 dB (A-weighted)
Line Outputs – 123 dB (A-weighted)
Headphone Output – 117 dB (A-weighted)
MacOS Driver/Thunderbolt: Apogee Thunderbolt Driver. Apogee (claims 1.41ms round trip latency when using Logic Pro X)
Mac OS Control Software: Element Control
iOS Software: Element Control Mobile (device settings, routing control)

Element Pros: Logic Pro X integration (if you use Logic), built-in clock. Better converter, pre and line-in specs (over Clarett)
Element Cons: Issue/some limitation with monitoring with headphones? No hardware controls. Not a single review of any variety Element by anyone as of 12/22/16.
 
Last edited:

PBGas

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
6,957
I have been a focusrite Clarett user for more than a year so I am probably a bit biased. I am not at all an Apogee fan. I had a duet 2 go microphonic a week after warranty was up and it became a nice doorstop. I tried to see if they would consider warranty but they wouldn't. I completely understood that and respected their policy. I had a quartet with unexplained noise that was replaced in warranty, only to have the replacement unit do the same thing.

I have not had one issue with my Clarett unit and their updates have been timely and functional. It has worked regardless of operating system change. I love the rack mount, sound and ease of use of the unit.

I'm only string my experience here. Anything can break or go wrong with any product.
 
Last edited:

Stratman76

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
1,115
I have been a focusrite Clarett user for more than a year so I am probably a bit biased. I am not at all an Apogee fan. I had a duet 2 go microphonic a week after warranty was up and it became a nice doorstop. I tried to see if they would consider warranty but they wouldn't. I completely understood that and respected their policy. I had a quartet with unexplained noise that was replaced in warranty, only to have the replacement unit do the same thing.

I have not had one issue with my Clarett unit and their updates have been timely and functional. It has worked regardless of operating system change. I love the rack mount, sound and ease of use of the unit.

I'm only string my experience here. Anything can break or go wrong with any product.
I can't say I'm an Apogee fan either. The reason I'm in the market again is because I bought a Duet Firewire a few years back. At the time, firewire was preferred over USB. Apple eventually abandoned firewire and Apogee did as well. Then I learned that Apogee created their own Thunderbolt audio driver so now I'm wondering when Thunderbolt will be abandoned. Apogee could have written a macOS Sierra driver for firewire but elected not to. I know it takes some cash to develop a driver like that but this entire scene is making me wonder if I should invest in Apogee again. Today I discovered Motu's 624 which is both Thunderbolt AND USB 3.0..? Hmmmmm...
 

PBGas

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
6,957
I can't say I'm an Apogee fan either. The reason I'm in the market again is because I bought a Duet Firewire a few years back. At the time, firewire was preferred over USB. Apple eventually abandoned firewire and Apogee did as well. Then I learned that Apogee created their own Thunderbolt audio driver so now I'm wondering when Thunderbolt will be abandoned. Apogee could have written a macOS Sierra driver for firewire but elected not to. I know it takes some cash to develop a driver like that but this entire scene is making me wonder if I should invest in Apogee again. Today I discovered Motu's 624 which is both Thunderbolt AND USB 3.0..? Hmmmmm...
I think that Thunderbolt will be around for a while. At this point there isn't anything hardware-wise that has a faster transfer rate when we are talking plug and play with an external source connected. I'm trying to remember when how long ago I had a Mac with that port in it (still have one in my 2012 mac mini) but from what I can recall, I think it was in the mid-to-late 90s.
 

raph

Member
Messages
1,468
I can't say I'm an Apogee fan either. The reason I'm in the market again is because I bought a Duet Firewire a few years back. At the time, firewire was preferred over USB. Apple eventually abandoned firewire and Apogee did as well. Then I learned that Apogee created their own Thunderbolt audio driver so now I'm wondering when Thunderbolt will be abandoned. Apogee could have written a macOS Sierra driver for firewire but elected not to. I know it takes some cash to develop a driver like that but this entire scene is making me wonder if I should invest in Apogee again. Today I discovered Motu's 624 which is both Thunderbolt AND USB 3.0..? Hmmmmm...
I like the distinctive Apogee sound and its silky smoothed over highs but drivers/connections are lowering the usable lifespan of these devices. I hooked up a FW ensemble via a thunderbolt dock and round-trip latency increased vs. an older computer with a direct firewire connection running the same version of the OS.

I'm due for an upgrade anyway but it doesn't seem like a good time to buy the high-end stuff.
 

jamesie

Member
Messages
644
I´m using RME (HDSP 9632, UCX and BFP) since years, okay USB and not thunderbolt, but the thing is that the drivers from RME are one of the best in the business, and the support too - they are coming with USB very, very close to the performance of thunderbolt devices
 

vashuba

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,702
I'm looking for a new one too. The Element looks nice. As of now its between the Duet 2, Element 24, UA Apollo solo, RME Babyface

here is a quote from a rep on gear slutz

Hello Everyone,

Glad to hear you're excited for our Element series. Unfortunately, the Element 24 will not be bus powered. The quality of the converters and headphone outputs require more power then what thunderbolt bus power offers. Unless we sacrificed significant audio quality, these devices couldn't be bus powered! Also, the Element series audio quality and mic pre technology is on par withEnsemble Thunderbolt. A step above Duet & Quartet is an accurate statement. For example, the Duet's A/D converter offers Dynamic Range: 114dB (A-weighted) & Rel. THD + N: -106dB. The Element series A/D will be better with Dynamic Range: 119dB (A-weighted) & Rel. THD + N: -110dB.

Hope this helps!

Cheers,

Chris Shapiro
Apogee Electronics - Domestic Sales

Chriss@apogeedigital.com
apogeedigital.com
 
Last edited:

Stratman76

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
1,115
I'm looking for a new one too. The Element looks nice. As of now its between the Duet 2, Element 24, UA Apollo solo, RME Babyface
I've investigated RME and the UAD Apollo Twin series. The RME Babyface Pro is $749 and it looks like it's been around awhile because the converter and pre specs don't compare to Apogee Element, Focusrite Clarett or UAD Apollo Solo. Also, if you're considering UAD Apollo Twin Solo do some research. The reason you would invest in Apollo Twin would be to use their plug-ins and the Solo (=1 DSP) doesn't handle much in the way of plug-ins. The Apollo Twin Duo is $899. On purely a spec-level, the Apollo Twin is at Clarett level and under Element. The UAD plug-ins are what distinguishes the Apollo Twin; just be prepared to pay for some of them. That said, the year-end bundle looks pretty darned good but there is just no way I can justify $899.
 
Last edited:

paulvcarter

Member
Messages
2,680
Focusrite is more neutral sound, I liked my Apogee until I got a focusrite. Don't forget who was behind them, Mr Neve!
 

Stratman76

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
1,115
I was about ready to get a Clarett until I read about the problems several Mac users have had since Mac OS 10.11.5 There is still a lingering, significant problem with the iMac Model ID 17,1 that has been going on since at least May of 2016. From what I've been able to uncover, it appears that Focusrite was relying on Apple's Thunderbolt driver and has since written their own. This could also have something to do with the Thunderbolt chipset Focusrite is using but I may never get that information.
 
Last edited:

PBGas

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
6,957
I was about ready to get a Clarett until I read about the problems several Mac users have had since Mac OS 10.11.5 There is still a lingering, significant problem with the iMac Model ID 17,1 that has been going on since at least May of 2016. From what I've been able to uncover, it appears that Focusrite was relying on Apple's Thunderbolt driver and has since written their own. This could also have something to do with the Thunderbolt chipset Focusrite is using but I may never get that information.
There can always issues with software updates with any DAW. I never update until usually about 6 months later. Usually the bumps are ironed out by then. I remember years ago with Snow Leopard and Pro Tools. I took literally a year before they were able to get things working.
 

Stratman76

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
1,115
There can always issues with software updates with any DAW. I never update until usually about 6 months later. Usually the bumps are ironed out by then. I remember years ago with Snow Leopard and Pro Tools. I took literally a year before they were able to get things working.
I believe Focusrite was doing most of the Pro Tools/Digi external interface hardware back then. I know Motu has had their issues as well. Are there any Apogee Mac OS upgrade horror stories? Over all these years, one might think at least one of these manufacturers would be more capable in their software development effort. That said, I'm never an early OS upgrader. Six months is reasonable but a year is too long. A year to get your software functional seems like a disaster recovery situation, one the manufacturer was completely unprepared for. Either that or it's more a matter of a lack of justifiable funds to dedicate to a software development project for older hardware. It generally requires a real bit monkey to write driver code. Those projects can get very expensive and are often difficult to manage.
 
Last edited:

jmoose

Member
Messages
4,973
Are there any Apogee Mac OS upgrade horror stories?
Oh yeah. I have a friend who's been through hell & back again with Apogee.

Not enough time for a real reply, gotta get packing up for tonight but ALL of these boxes can & will have issues at some point. The only way to guarantee that you probably won't have an issue is to run a closed system. Offline, no upgrades. Even then everything has a limited useful lifespan before the device becomes techno trash.

I'll say that, generally speaking I'm not a huge fan of Apogee these days. Go back 10-15 years and you'd find their converters & gear in an awful lot of pro studios. At some point they hitched a ride with Apple and basically abandoned both the standalone converter market and Windows users.

I think the Focusrite stuff sounds great, definitely the top end of the bottom end. Really dig Motu gear as well, I've had nothing but good luck and great support from them even as a Windows guy!
 

waygorked

Member
Messages
604
I ran a Clarett since they were first released. It worked flawlessly until 10.11.5, and has been a brick ever since. The horrible pops, clicks, and distortion that would pop up at random rendered it unusable. Focusrite tech support reminded me of Apple, in that they kept running me through spurious routines to optimize my mac and pretending that I was the only one with the issue. It got old pretty fast, and I replaced it with a UA Apollo. All of my issues went away immediately.

The Apollo soundest least on par with the Focusrite, appears to have rock solid drivers by comparison, and has an opportunity to drive dozens of plugins. All of them appear in demo mode in ProTools, and there appears to be no way to disable this. Having to constantly scroll through a long list of plugins I don't own to get to the ones I do is almost a deal breaker. Other than that, it's a great interface.
 

Chris63

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
469
I've not had any problems with my Saffire Pro 40, @ 3 years. I have a Duet that worked well until it was replaced with the Focusrite.

Focusrite has been rock solid for me. I'll get the Red 8 Pre when I upgrade in the future.
 

Stratman76

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
1,115
I ran a Clarett since they were first released. It worked flawlessly until 10.11.5, and has been a brick ever since. The horrible pops, clicks, and distortion that would pop up at random rendered it unusable. Focusrite tech support reminded me of Apple, in that they kept running me through spurious routines to optimize my mac and pretending that I was the only one with the issue. It got old pretty fast, and I replaced it with a UA Apollo. All of my issues went away immediately.

The Apollo soundest least on par with the Focusrite, appears to have rock solid drivers by comparison, and has an opportunity to drive dozens of plugins. All of them appear in demo mode in ProTools, and there appears to be no way to disable this. Having to constantly scroll through a long list of plugins I don't own to get to the ones I do is almost a deal breaker. Other than that, it's a great interface.
This is what I've read about; you're definitely not the only one. I sent Focusrite an email requesting their current position on this. If I don't get a good explanation coupled with a real fix on this issue from Focusrite, then I'm out. One thing that is reallly alarming about this is how the problem occurred after an update to an existing, established OS (El Capitan) This was not a major OS upgrade. It makes me think they were using Apple's driver and now it seems that you were testing for Focusrite. Thank you for posting. Do you remember when you abandoned the Clarett?
 
Last edited:

Stratman76

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
1,115
UA Apollo Twin Duo price drop to $719 puts this interface in my budget.
 
Last edited:






Trending Topics

Top Bottom