Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 (third Era) Evaluate

Should you want one thing extra succesful than a USB mic for recording music or creating podcasts, an audio interface with a number of inputs is the following logical step. The $169.99 Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 (third Era) is a straightforward recording answer that connects to your laptop through USB-C and presents stereo quarter-inch inputs that double as XLR inputs for mics. It offers low latency monitoring and a comparatively clear recording path with out unnecessarily complicating your setup. Our greatest criticism is that the left and proper acquire knobs cannot be adjusted collectively simply. However, we extremely advocate the Scarlett 2i2 to anybody on the lookout for an entry level into the world {of professional} recording, mixing and monitoring.

All of the inputs you want

The Scarlett 2i2 measures 1.9 by 6.9 by 3.9 inches; It has a black entrance panel and signature crimson enclosure. Up entrance are enter and management dials, which embody twin quarter-inch/XLR inputs with matching acquire knobs. You need to use these inputs for mics or as direct inputs for guitar, bass and keyboard. Word that combo inputs work with XLR mics, however not with XLR gear. For instance, in the event you plug in an XLR output to an results processor, the sign will probably undergo from distortion.

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Beneath these knobs, every enter has two buttons: Insta and Air. Choose the Instrument button to change between the quarter-inch and XLR inputs and the Air button once you wish to emphasize the upper frequencies.

A 48-volt phantom energy button that’s wanted for mics sits to the appropriate of those inputs, whereas a Direct Monitor button under it switches between the three monitoring modes. Set it to the OFF place to watch your audio via your software program’s output. In any other case, you may hear in mono or stereo mode immediately from the enter, thus eliminating any potential latency points that may come up from monitoring via your laptop.

On the far proper finish of this entrance panel, a big knob controls the speaker monitor’s quantity, and within the higher proper nook, a smaller knob units the headphone quantity stage. There’s a big, quarter-inch headphone jack just under the knob.

The again panel has a USB-C port for connecting the interface to your laptop through the included cable; This connection powers the field and transmits the audio to your PC. The left and proper quarter-inch line outputs have a frequency vary of 20Hz to 20kHz (for mic or line-in inputs), whereas the converter operates at 24 bits and in addition with sampling charges of as much as 192kHz (48kHz and 96kHz). Works. different). The again panel additionally features a slot for a Kensington safety lock – this lets you safe the field to quite a lot of objects utilizing a Kensington lock (not included).

Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 Rear Panel

We want the acquire knobs had detents, which might make it so much simpler to match the left and proper enter ranges when recording a pair of stereo mics or devices. There’s a single mark on the dial to point the place they’re indicated, however in any other case you’ll have to match them by sight and ear. We would desire the delimited place on the knobs or a button that connects the 2 knobs in order that shifting one adjusts the acquire for each.

The 1.1-pound Scarlett 2i2 sounds strong sufficient, however when you’ve got two cables plugged into the entrance, two plugged into the again, a USB cable connecting it to your laptop, and a pair of headphones hooked up to the entrance panel Any of those elements can drag and drop the field. The 4 rubber ft on the underside panel assist a bit, however do not present sufficient grip to maintain the field in place, particularly in the event you use thick or braided cables. Alternatively, the light-weight development of the field means it’s simply moveable.

Software program help and setup

The Scarlett 2i2 is suitable with computer systems working at the least Home windows 7 or macOS 10.11, in addition to the iPad Professional. The bundle consists of some helpful further options, resembling a set of Focusrite plug-ins and a few light-weight variations of the recording software program. For instance, it bundles Professional Instruments First, a light-weight model of Professional Instruments that limits you to 16 tracks. However the recording software program and apps that the Scarlett 2i2 helps is spectacular, together with Ableton Dwell Lite, Ampify Blox Wave, Ampify Groovebox, Ampify Launchpad, Auria Professional, Cubasis 2, FL Studio, and GarageBand.

After we first related the Scarlett 2i2 to a MacBook, an on-screen immediate instantly directed us to the registration course of. Alternatively, you may later register the field manually and begin utilizing it instantly by holding down the Phantom energy button for a number of seconds.

Simplicity meets transparency

Vocals are straightforward to file with the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2, and we discovered the sign to be clear. The standard of your recording in the end will depend on your microphone and your recording know-how, however the Scarlett 2i2 will not maintain you again; It’s able to producing clear, latency-free monitoring and wonderful recordings.

Setting the extent can be comparatively easy. The concentric LED circles across the acquire knobs glow inexperienced when the sign stage is right, amber when it’s inside 6dB of clipping, and crimson when it’s clipped. (Once more, although, we want we may have related the 2 knobs in order that it was simpler to match their ranges.) We had no hassle recording devices utilizing the quarter-inch enter immediately. The analog synth, results pedals and bass guitar all sounded clear and clear via the Scarlett 2i2.

Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 Lifestyle

Air mode is greatest once you’re recording vocals and guitar with a mic, although it’s going to work for any microphone sound supply. We have seen this characteristic a number of instances over time – it primarily opens up a band of high-frequency EQs and brings out a few of the brighter options in vocals and guitar work. This mode can add some further high-end to deep-sounding mics, resembling a ribbon mic, however fashions that already sound crisp could not want or profit from this further loudness. In our expertise, the field sounds greatest at its most clear settings, with out the Air setting turned on.

We did not expertise any operational issues with the Scarlett 2i2 in testing. It is intuitive to function and you will not want to start out troubleshooting in the course of an extended session or throughout a burst of creativity. It simply does its job and will get out of the best way.

increase your audio

When your recording wants could exceed a single-track USB mic, however you do not want a full-blown console setup, the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 is a superb answer. It is reasonably priced, offers a dependable audio expertise, and makes it straightforward to file, combine, and monitor stay audio. We might have most well-liked a barely totally different management setup for the acquire knobs, however that is a minor criticism. In any other case, the Scarlett 2i2 is virtually essential to improve your recordings.

Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 (third Gen)


The Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 is a straightforward stereo enter field that is excellent for recording and mixing each music and podcasts.

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