“Bassy Bob” Brockmann’s career has taken him through music production’s biggest turning point, as it went from analog to digital. In the process, Brockmann (as a mixer, producer and in-demand multi-instrumentalist session player for a discography that ranges from Mary J Blige and Brandy to Faith Hill, Sheryl Crow and the Dixie Chicks) watched as record productions became denser, with the number of tracks steadily expanding as digital recording platforms offered seemingly infinite space.
A few years ago, Brockmann found a key tool that lets him manage these denser productions more easily: the Clarett 8Pre 18-in/20-out audio interface from Focusrite has since become an indispensable tool in Brockmann’s palette.
“Most of what I do now is independent artists, and their productions, from indie rock to EDM, have been getting bigger and bigger, with track counts going higher and higher,” he explains. “I needed something to create some space within these productions for certain tracks like vocals. The Clarett 8Pre does that. It puts space around the track – not just left and right but front and back. It lets you ‘see through’ the mix. And when the mixer has a clearer picture of what’s going on in a track, the listener is also going to have a better experience.”
Brockmann has come to rely on the Clarett 8Pre’s I/O count, with 18 inputs and 20 outputs, as well as connectivity including analog I/O, S/PDIF, and ADAT I/O and an included plugin bundle. But at its heart, the Clarett 8Pre is a Focusrite microphone preamp, with the sonic performance that comes with that, along with Focusrite’s switchable Air Effect, which gives microphones the air and clarity of an ISA transformer-based mic preamp. Along with features such as low-latency performance enabled by Thunderbolt, the Clarett 8Pre packs a lot into a 1U-rackmount space.
“When I think of the Clarett, I think of clarity, because that’s what the 8Pre gives me –articulation and transparency that lets me look all the way through the mix,” says Brockmann, who has been nominated for more than 30 GRAMMY Awards and has won twice; additionally, his mix of “There You’ll Be” from the film Pearl Harbor was nominated for an Oscar for ”Best Song” in 2001.
A recent project he used the Clarett 8Pro on was the initial mixes for an extended project he’s co-producing with Mickey Hart, drummer for the Grateful Dead and a solo artist, percussionist and ethnomusicologist.
“We did the initial cloud mixes for the next record using the Clarett 8Pre remotely in New Orleans, and they sounded fantastic,” he says. “That’s why I literally use the Clarett every day, on every session, for one thing or another. It’s just become part of my sound.”