Hi everyone! Hope you’ve been having an amazing 2017 so far!
Today, we’ll be taking a look at the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 USB audio interface. I actually bought this in a recording bundle, along with some software and the MXL 550/551 mic pair (to be reviewed in a separate segment). You can find the link to this bundle below:
So, without further delay, let’s get right into it!
So, what actually is an interface? Long story short, it is a box that lets you plug XLR microphones into your computer. This then allows you to record into software of your choice, such as Logic, Pro Tools, Cubase, or Reaper.
The Scarlett 2i2, along with its larger counterparts, is aimed more at the home recording crowd. There’s no need for folks like us to have a 24 channel mixer with external mic preamps and rack effects and blah blah blah. While it’d be nice, it’s not needed and we just don’t have room most of the time. However, Scarlett interfaces are compact and powerful. The chassis and casing feel very solid and premium, being a red (or scarlet colored) brushed metal.
There are many good things to say. Solid all around interface for a basic home studio.
-Feel in hand is good. I love the red metal, and how it has a decent amount of weight. Not to heavy to be an issue if I wanted to carry it around, but just enough to give it a nice premium feel.
-It’s also really freaking compact. I don’t have the exact dimensions, but you definitely have room for this little guy.
-The Scarlett comes with combo jacks. These are just XLR jacks with a 1/4 inch jack embedded in the middle. Really neat, and it allows you to take DI’s of instruments like guitars and bass.
-Comes with a lot of software. At least, mine did. Ableton Live, Focusrite Red Plugins, Softube and Tone bundle, a bass station, and some Pro Tools stuff.
-Phantom power switch is easy access. I also love the gain/clipping halos around the knobs, letting you know when your signal is at just the right level (green) or if it’s clipping and to hot/loud (red).
-The direct monitor feature is pretty neat. It just plays back a copy of what the microphone is picking up directly, so it effectively cuts the latency down to nothing.
You’d be hardpressed to find something majorly wrong with this interface. However, it’s easy to nitpick:
-The headphone output volume knob is a bit jiggly on my unit. It still works fine, and I highly doubt it’ll cause any issues, but still. Not exactly reassuring.
-The rubber feet on mine don’t rest evenly on the desk.
-Also note that while it comes with TRS cables, it doesn’t include monitors. You have to either already possess them or buy them separately. For me, I just switch my soundcard from the Scarlett to Windows Waveout when I’m done recording and need to mix (my speakers run off my HDMI external display) Again, this isn’t a real issue, it’s just something worth noting.
I am thoroughly impressed with the Focusrite Scarlett interface. It is fantastic for a home recording studio, especially in the bundle I bought it in. It is possible to even record drums with this interface, using the two inputs for the overheads of the Glyn Johns method. That being said, if you plan on recording drums in a home studio, you should probably be looking at the four input or even eight and higher input versions of the Scarlett USB interface.
This interface receives a 9/10.
The bundle together receives an 8.5/10.
Keep an eye out for our review on the MXL 550 and 551 microphones!