While some (many) press releases blend together, one caught my attention recently, from Focusrite, trumpeting its new home-recording package, Scarlett Studio.
Founded by the legendary Rupert Neve in 1985, who divested his ownership position several years later, Focusrite is known primarily for its mic pre’s and channel strips. Scarlett Studio offers something new in a market already crowded with digital audio workstations: a cross platform workstation that includes software (Cubase 6 LE, in a partnership deal with Steinberg) and hardware. The hardware consists of a two in/two out USB 2.0 audio interface that includes Focusrite’s own preamps ( capable of capturing audio at the 24-bit/96kHz level), a large diaphragm condenser microphone and a pair of headphones.
While the technology is impressive enough, the eye-catcher is that the package is draped with a beyond friendly price point.
Think back, if you can, and remember when Bruce Springsteen recorded “Nebraska” on a Tascam Portastudio back in 1982. The Boss initially recorded his songs to this four-track cassette format thinking the pieces would function as demos. After recording the material with his full band, Springsteen believed that the scratchy cassettes captured the essence of his ideas more fully, and released them as final product.
Think about it, the Portastudio was an amazing device, and everyone I knew had one. But, if I recall correctly, this device cost about four times as much then as Scarlett Studios does today. Sure, you have to own a computer on which to run Scarlett Studios. But, even after adding in the price of a laptop, you come out ahead, even if you don’t consider inflation.
That thought is pretty incredible.