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Focusrite product compatibility with USB 3.1 and Thunderbolt 3 ports

Applies to: all current products

USB 3.1 and Thunderbolt 3 both use a 'Type-C' connector, however they are different protocols despite the fact that the ports themselves are identical.

USB 3.1 - supports USB devices only

Thunderbolt 3 - supports USB, FireWire and Thunderbolt devices via adapters

It's important to check which protocol your computer's ports support before purchasing peripherals (such as an audio interface) to ensure correct compatibility. For example, the 2016 Apple 'MacBook Pro' models each feature Thunderbolt 3 ports as the only method of device connectivity. Conversely, the 2015 Apple 'MacBook' features USB 3.1 as the only method of device connectivity, though the ports appear to be identical.

In general, it's best to assume that any 'Type C' ports on any computer are USB 3.1 only unless the Thunderbolt logo appears next to them () or this is stated by the manufacturer. Below is a run down of Focusrite product compatibility with each port type:

 

USB 3.1 ports

Scarlett Range (1st and 2nd Generation)

Adapter: Apple USB-C to USB-A adapter (or USB-C to USB-A cable)

Compatible: YES

Saffire 6 USB (USB 1.1 and 2.0 variants)

Adapter: Apple USB-C to USB-A adapter (or USB-C to USB-A cable)

Compatible: YES

Forte

Adapter: Apple USB-C to USB-A adapter (or USB-C to USB-A cable)

Compatible: YES

Saffire Range, Clarett Range, Red Range

Compatible: NO

 

Thunderbolt 3.1 ports

Scarlett Range (1st and 2nd Generation)

Adapter: Apple USB-C to USB-A adapter (or USB-C to USB-A cable)

Compatible: YES

Saffire 6 USB (USB 1.1 and 2.0 variants)

Adapter: Apple USB-C to USB-A adapter (or USB-C to USB-A cable)

Compatible: YES

Forte

Adapter: Apple USB-C to USB-A adapter (or USB-C to USB-A cable)

Compatible: YES

Clarett range

Adapter: Apple Thunderbolt 3 to Thunderbolt 2 adapter withThunderbolt cable (this has the same connector but is functionally different to a 'Mini DisplayPort' cable. Always check for the Thunderbolt logo)

Compatible: YES - please note that Thunderbolt 3 on Windows machines is not yet fully supported, see this article

Saffire Range

Adapters: Apple Thunderbolt 3 to Thunderbolt 2 adapter, Apple Thunderbolt to FireWire adapter (Firewire 800-400 cable)

Compatible: YES

Red 4Pre/8Pre

Adapter: Apple Thunderbolt 3 to Thunderbolt 2 adapter with Thunderbolt cable (this has the same connector but is functionally different to a 'Mini DisplayPort' cable. Always check for the Thunderbolt logo)

Compatible: Testing is still underway on Mac. At present, there is no Thunderbolt support for the Red Range on Windows.

 

If you are in any doubt as to whether your computer has USB 3.1 or Thunderbolt 3 ports please consult the computer manufacturer. If you need any further information regarding Focusrite product compatibility please Contact Technical Support

 

 

 

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