Podcast Engineer John Delore Chooses Clarett USB

Years ago, musician John DeLore decided to expand his professional life into the world of radio and podcasting, beginning a trajectory that led him to working closely with the Clarett 8Pre USB interface from Focusrite. 

Living in Brooklyn since 2003, DeLore had graduated with degrees in marketing and creative writing. “I realized I didn’t want to do anything with either of those,” he says. “But one day, I was in a bookstore and saw a copy of Mix magazine, and a light bulb went on: ‘Holy cow, this is actually an industry!’ I had been working on audio as a hobby, recording my own music, but for some reason it had never occurred to me that I could pursue sound as a profession. So, I signed up for a nine-month tech program at SAE here in NYC.” Once he finished his studies at SAE, DeLore worked at a major recording studio in midtown NYC, then found his way into public radio work at WNYC, and eventually entered into the burgeoning world of podcasting. He helped to launch Death, Sex and Money, one of WNYC’s early podcast hits. (In a nice bit of synergy, one of DeLore’s own songs serves as the show’s theme song.) He also did the live sound for the award-winning Radiolab podcast’s live tour and worked on Studio 360, On the Media, and Freakonomics, among other highlights. Eventually he ended up at industry leader Stitcher, a podcast company that focuses on the production, distribution, and monetization of podcasts, where he holds the title of Senior Production Manager.

Along the way, he’s worked on some of Stitcher’s biggest shows, “but my most sonically rich project, the one that I’m most proud of, is the Paris Review podcast,” he says. “We’ve tried to bend the format. Most shows have a lot of signposting, like, ‘You’re listening to this’ and ‘Now you’re going to hear a story from this author’ or whatever. We tried to do away with that and let the sound be your guide, with very minimal signposting. It relies heavily on sound design and music to carry you along.”

Needless to say, audio interfaces are important pieces of gear in DeLore’s line of work, and about six months ago, he made the switch to Focusrite. “I had been using a unit from another manufacturer,” he explains, “but when I’d be running 96k [sample rate] sessions with 20 or 30 tracks, along with lots of plugins and processing, the performance wasn’t quite flawless. There would be dropouts, Pro Tools crashes and whatnot. And I wanted to get something that specifically connected via USB-C.”

The decision to go with Focusrite came easily. “I’d been a fan for a long time,” DeLore says. “I’ve got the OctoPre [8 mic pre ADAT expansion box], which I love, in my own rack. And when we get people set up in their homes to do podcasts, we’ve tended to use Focusrite, like the Scarlett 2i2, or one of the other smaller models, for a lot of reasons. First of all, they just sound great. The sound coming into the headphones is really clear, the latency is really low, and the mic pres are super reliable, which is really important when people are recording interviews or whatever in their home studios. And they’re extremely affordable. If somebody says, ‘I want to start doing a podcast from home,’ I always recommend Focusrite.”

In his home studio, DeLore’s opted for the Clarett 8Pre USB interface, and it’s a decision he doesn’t regret. “Like I said, I’ve been running at 96k with a lot of plugins — and I haven’t experienced latency or any kind of system glitch yet since I’ve been using the Clarett. That’s a welcome change, particularly when you add in the fact that its digital-to-analogue conversion is great. And I love having two headphone sends right on the front. You don’t have to mess around with splitters.”

He continues: “As an audio engineer, keeping things simple is an eternal goal, and in that regard, the Clarett 8Pre USB interface is a godsend. It’s really plug-and-play. It’s simple: plug it in to your USB port, open Pro Tools, go to your I/O and it’s there. And aside from all the sonic elements – the sound, the great D to A [conversion], and the ability to run multiple tracks with invisible latency – it’s just super-clean. Everything is built in. There’s no way to avoid those occasional situations where you have cables running everywhere, so anything that helps to reduce that is a plus.”

If it sounds like DeLore is sold on the Clarett 8Pre USB interface, you’re right. “This one’s in the rack,” he says, “and it’s not going anywhere for a while.”