Focusrite Scarlett 18i20
Focusrite Scarlett 18i20

Scarlett 18i20, USB audio interface from Focusrite in the Scarlett series.

Public price: $499 VAT
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All user reviews for the Focusrite Scarlett 18i20

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Average Score:4.5( 4.5/5 based on 13 reviews )
 7 reviews54 %
 6 reviews46 %
Audience: Anyone Value For Money : Excellent
Editorial review
  • 08/28/13Focusrite Scarlett 18i20 Review

    Focusrite Scarlett 18i20 Review - Red or Black

    It's almost two years since the Scarlett audio interfaces from Focusrite saw the light of day and the manufacturer has been introducing new models in the series ever since. The newest family member, the 18i20, which was introduced at the last NAMM, has just been launched, so it was the perfect opportunity for AudioFanzine to put it to the test. At first sight, the Scarlett seems to be in top shape…

Users reviews

Nonstopbeats's review"Focusrite Scarlett 18i20 review"

Focusrite Scarlett 18i20
The Scarlett-18i20 is an audio device that has a selection of inputs and outputs that can be effectively used to record a band. This device replaces heavy amounts of equipment that may you need in a studio in order to combine the mix and instead finds them all in a single audio interface. The device also has exceptional sound quality and comes with Mic pre-amps that are designed by focusrite and have an award winning sound to back them up. The audio interface also comes with a circuit design that is both analogue and digital and is therefore capable of recording audio at an extremely high quality.


The first thing I noticed about the Scarlett-18i20 was that it had a wide selection of inputs and outputs, as well as many ways in which to tweak the volume of each of the connections. I was able to plug the audio interface directly into my computer easily and effectively thanks to the 2.0 USB connection that it had.

Key features

I found there to be 18 inputs and 20 outputs. There was also 8 Mic preamps on the device with the ability to switch them to phantom power. The audio Interface also came with analogue inputs that had a combination of XL and jack sockets. As well as this, there are also eight channels of digital I/O which are accessible via an ADAT light pipe. There are also several headphones outputs which allow you the ability to send the mix to several individuals at once. For instance, you could send the sound output to the individual artist, as well as the sound engineer.

There is also a section for monitoring and this comes with buttons that you can use to cut the sound, as well as the ability to control the studio monitors that are running from the audio interface. I also was pleased that the audio Interface worked with software such as Abelton live, and it made the process of submitting the audio into the program easier and more fluid.


The closest audio interface that you could compare with the Scarlett-18i20 is that of the focusrite Saffire pro 40. I found the design of the Scarlett-18i20 to be very similar of the Saffire pro 40 and there was a similar amount of inputs and outputs, as well as a selection of control on the gain on the Saffire pro 40 which was similar to that of the Scarlett-18i20.

One of the main differences between the two audio interfaces is that the Scarlett-18i20 are continuing to be developed by focusrite, where as the Saffire models have stayed the same over the years, with the input design of a FireWire cable. This type of connection uses less CPU power than USB but is being discontinued by modern computers. This means that they risk being discontinued and may therefore be unsuitable for individuals who are running the latest computer software with which to use the device.

Pros and cons

This is a very well-designed audio interface with a wide variety of input and output options. I experienced very clean sound when I played guitar softly through the audio interface. However, when I began to play the guitar on a more intense level I found that clipping occurred. This can be an issue and you need to be careful that the volume on the instrument that you play into the audio Interface isn't too loud, otherwise you will get permanent clicking on your recordings and this will be undesirable in most situations.

Some individuals have also complained that the Scarlett-18i20 device did not work with their Mac computer and that they had to upload the latest drivers in order to get it working. I did not have this problem but I would imagine that it is not the most difficult procedure to carry out.


If you are interested in producing music for a band which uses many different inputs when recording music then a device such as the Scarlett-18i20 will be perfectly suited in a studio environment. The device is also light enough to carry around and this means that you can create high-quality recordings in any location. I recommend the Scarlett-18i20 audio interface for any individuals who have a desire to record music.

Anonymous 's review"Stable and good, but the finish leaves a lot to be desired"

Focusrite Scarlett 18i20
I bought this soundcard to have the maximum of inputs and outputs for my home-studio. In this respect, I have nothing to say. The soundcard is very good, you will be limited by the PC, not by the card itself!!! I use it with a UAD twinfinity 710 preamp and dbx 166xs compressor. Simply wow (for a home studio)!

Computer: intel core i3 3.10 Ghz, 4GB, running windows 7 64bits.


The drivers are very stable, not a single crash nor recording ruined. I don't know if they are updated frequently, there's no need to update

I use it with Cubase 6.5.

No issues recording 16 tracks at the same time. I haven't exceeded 16 playback tracks.


Problem-free installation. Setup relatively easy (except for the software routing).

I took a quick look at the manual. Sorry!


I've been using it for 4 months now. I had had four soundcards before. And this one is the best (I only know home-studio quality soundcards).
What I like best: Its rack format, that it's internally powered, its performance, its two headphone outputs, its combo jacks on the front, its stability.
What I like least: Its finish (slippery volume controls, small and very, very fragile pad, inst and phantom power buttons!!!). I've had two broken and I don't even know why!

Sonic.Fury's review"Nice"

Focusrite Scarlett 18i20
The technical features that motivated my choice were the number of I/Os, the flexibility in terms of routing, the two independent headphone outputs, which come in really handy, and the 1U rack format.
I use the interface with a preamp and my macbook pro 13" early '11 and a pair of Yamaha HS7 as monitors.
Especially to record guitars and some vocals, right now, but I will certainly use it for other things later. I use it mainly with Live 9 and Logic pro X.


On mac there's no driver as such, so it is very stable. The software included for internal routing isn't complicated and it works fine, with very practical presets.
Overall, it's really easy to use.
I have never had the chance to record more than 4 tracks simultaneously, but the latency is quite all right.
In terms of updates, I must confess that I haven't paid much attention.
In the end, everything works fine and without problems.
Moreover, it does its job very well, for the price and type of hardware, but you can't expect the same conversion as with a high-end interface. The preamps are all right for the price but they are certainly not the best. But, for the price, it's pretty good. You can do some pro stuff, as long as you have good mics and external preamps.


No remarks regarding installation and setup. I haven't even looked at whether it has a manual or not.


I've used it for almost six months now and I tried different interfaces at different price points. The most similar was the M-Audio Profire 2626. I think the choice is very subjective, but I prefer the scarlett. It looks nicer, the two jack/XLR inputs on the front are much more practical and I prefer the preamps of the scarlett.
Its value for money is all right, even if I bought it at my local store (to pay in installments) and it wasn't cheap. But focusrite are rather nice and offer a small bundle with some virtual instruments and a sample library that isn't bad at all. But it's the hardware itself that is a good deal secondhand.
Based on my experience, I would buy it again because it's gear I know I can keep some time before switching to something else.
Doctor John05/13/2014

Doctor John's review"Top of the pop, man"

Focusrite Scarlett 18i20
- Which technical specifications motivated your choice?
The number of inputs/outputs, the rack-mounting possibility, the MIDI interface, and the brand

- What do you use it for?
To record in a mini-home studio (awaiting more resources to expand), alone or with a band, to keep the settings of each track.

- What's your setup (motherboard, CPU, RAM, hard drive,...)?
Adobe Audition CS6 Windows 8, intel i7, 8GB RAM (good setup for the most part)

- Do you use it with other instruments or systems (mixing console, preamp, DtD, ...) and what's your setup? ...
I'm a newbie, so I can't give any specific characteristics. I use it with a Presonus Studio Channel preamp to record vocals.


- Are the drivers stable?
Never had a problem.

- Which software do you use?
Adobe Audition CS6 - no problems

- What's the latency of your system?
I record at 8 ms, and I think you can go further

- How many tracks can you record/playback simultaneously ? ...
Since I don't have a whole orchestra behind me, I have been able to record 4 tracks and play back 8/10 tracks without any problems.


- Did you have any problems during the installation?
You need an Internet connection to download the driver, after having validated a code.

- Did you have any incompatibility problems?
No, sir.

- How complicated is the overall configuration?
Even being new to it, I got how it works rather quickly, which means...

- Is the user's manual clear and comprehensive? ...
Uh... I haven't opened it.


- How long have you been using it?
Two/three months, not longer.

- Which feature do you like the most / the least?
The most: everything, really, I'm very satisfied!
The least: If you bear with me, I'll go look for something...

- Did you try any of other models before buying this one?
Two small interfaces: Presonus Audiobox USB and Yamaha Audiogram 3
The 18i20 dwarfs them both (fortunately!!)

- How would you rate its value for money?
For such a number of inputs and outputs, it's really a very good value for money. It is true that the preamps aren't of the best quality, but they are far from being bad. Anyway, at this price and given what the 18i20 offers, it couldn't be better.

- Based on your experience, would you buy this product again? ...
If I had the same budget, without hesitation.

Nico53's review"A good product"

Focusrite Scarlett 18i20
- Which technical specifications motivated your choice?
The number of I/OS, the brand.

What do you use it for?
Mobile recording and as audio interface for my keyboards (Mainstage).

What's your setup (motherboard, CPU, RAM, hard drive,...)?
I use it with a mac mini (Intel core i7, 16GB RAM, 500GB HDD)

Do you use it with other instruments or systems (mixing console, preamp, DtD, ...) and what's your setup? ...
For recording I have used an ADAT Marian (ADCON) converter to have free analog I/Os, otherwise I use ADAT cards on digital consoles...depending on the setups I find where I go. I almost only do demos, to be true.
For my keyboards, I use simply the MIDI interface of the Scarlett, together with a UM550 for MIDI routing of two keyboards and a pedalboard.
The audio of my Prophet08 is processed within Mainstage and then sent to the Scarlett.
I use 4 analog outputs (1 stereo for the stereo sum, in case the console is too small, 1 stereo for my personal monitoring on stage...And the rest is output separately via ADAT with the 8 outputs of the external converters. That way, the FOH engineer can do whatever he wants from the console.


Are the drivers stable?
Yes. Very stable, actually. To be honest, since I switched to Focurite, I have no problems in this respect. I used to have a Digi002, and it was a nightmare, but now I'm pretty chilled.

Are they up to date?
No, but when they work fine...

Which software do you use?
Logic pro 9, Reason 7 and Mainstage 3. Everything works smoothly. You only need to be careful with the launch options (32 bits/64 bits) so everything works together, but otherwise, it works fine.

What's the latency of your system?
On paper, too high.
With a 256 buffer, the software displays a round-trip latency of 20ms...But, actually when I play on top it's almost imperceptible. And I am pretty sensitive to such details, so I suspect the real latency value to be equal or less than 5ms with this buffer value.
And also knowing that my Mainstage uses a lot of resources (sometimes 6 or 8 virtual instrument tracks with my prophet08 which goes through the Scarlett and Reason in the background, the CPU gets really hot).
So I take some precautions.
To be true, recording live (even with 16 tracks) I can lower the buffer to 128...But, in the end, it's absolutely useless for what I do. So its awesome!

How many tracks can you record/playback simultaneously ? ...
I have already recorded 16 tracks. I haven't tested the playback, but I use 10 outs live and it works smoothly. I think you can push it to the limits without any problems.


Did you have any problems during the installation?
Yes, you need an Internet connection to get the drivers.

Did you have any incompatibility problems?
Not for the time being.

How complicated is the overall configuration?
It's easy, even if I don't like the Scarlett MixControl software...But, at the same time, with such number of ins/outs it's not easy to offer routing options that are clear without a Rube Goldberg machine. Personally, I haven't used it much. I muted all hardware monitoring from the interface to use software monitoring (or real monitoring on a hardware console before the interface, when I do demos).

Is the user's manual clear and comprehensive? ...
Yes. But, at the same time, it is dispensable.


How long have you been using it?
7/8 months.

Which feature do you like the most / the least?
The most: The stability
The least: The complexity of the MixControl software...But I think you can get used to it if you dedicate some time to it, which I haven't done. But it's no deal breaker.

Did you try any of other models before buying this one?
I had Focurite Saffire home, due to my laziness of having to take it off the rack every time to work. And I was very happy with it, given the stability of the drivers, so I decided to be loyal to the brand.

How would you rate its value for money?
Regarding the number of I/Os, very good.
The preamps are neither excellent nor bad.... they are OK and do their work. An interface with 18 inputs equipped with 8 preamps and a Wordclock output, for this price —and seeing how it all works—, is a good investment, I think. For the time being, at least.

Based on your experience, would you buy this product again? ...
Considering my budget. I think that if you want something better without compromising on the number of I/Os and features, you need to fork out a lot more with other brands. So, yes, I'd buy it again without hesitation.
Le Garage Studio12/12/2013

Le Garage Studio's review

Focusrite Scarlett 18i20
I use it in a post-production studio. 18 ins, 20 outs. Very comprehensive soundcard, Adat I/Os, SPDIF...


Very stable drivers, no dropouts, no problems in particular. Zero latency with a good computer behind. I use it with Cubase 5 64bits.


No remarks.


I cannot repeat this enough, I'm a Focusrite fan. I invested on this interface for my professional studio and I will most probably add to it RME converters. The Mix Control is extremely adjustable, you can do whatever you want with it. The converters are of very good quality for the price, I'm actually surprised because I didn't expect such quality. A truly excellent choice.

Bloodysatch's review (This content has been automatically translated from French)" well"

Focusrite Scarlett 18i20
What motivated my choice, it is primarily the number of inputs and outputs as well as the possibility of the sound card in a rack.


The drivers for the sound card are very stable, never had any problems so far, no crash, nothing.
I use the sound card with Cubase 5 and I use essentially the course scarlett mix control which is very convenient to change the routing in particular.
I can record two tracks simultaneously and read at the same time more than a dozen tracks without problems with latency set to 5ms.


The installation was easy, you just install the various elements in order and everything goes.
To configure it took me no more than 5 minutes to understand how the Scarlett Mix Control (very important with this card) and in front of the card there is almost nothing to do.
I did not have incompatibilities and the manual explains things very well.


I use the card for 8 months and I have not tried other equivalent models before have I just had a little roland quadcapture before.
What I like most is the scarlett mix control software which is really convenient to use and I also like to use the card in "stand alone".
The price / quality ratio seems more than good, I can make high quality recordings for guitar and bass (the recording were used for EP)

With the experience I certainly would do this choice!

KeBaTeK's review (This content has been automatically translated from French)

Focusrite Scarlett 18i20
2 headphone outputs
View technical document
I use it with a Micron and Electribe MX. Sometimes with a microphone. For registration for 1 month.
Plugged into A7X.


Focusrite trouble with their drivers. I have changed my USB cable for a course. At power monitors outputs are unbalanced.
I have not pushed the card performance.


Software mix is ​​complicated for nothing but offers many possibilities.


Despite the small computer bugs (everybody know that IT is not an exact science). The sound of this card is too great. The sound is clear. The midi interface is robust (I compare with M-Audio FTP).
Basically I love it and I remake choice!

PaowZ's review (This content has been automatically translated from French)" Excellent interface invoice"

Focusrite Scarlett 18i20
I need an interface with a multitude of inputs for recording drum sound. I racked and is used with a laptop usb (i7/8Gb/SSD) to record multiple tracks at once. For features, I refer you to the specs available here
This model is the most complete version of the Scarlett. A nice design, knobs good enough and do not plastoc crap, a meter to gain more practical.
Comes with keys to access Focusrite plugins directly on their site.


From a driver for it begins to affect stability. It may happen that the driver farts from time to time, requiring a reboot of both the interface and the PC. I put a reserve adding that my laptop may have a concern which we must do this procedure from time to time. Anyway, once the sequencer is running and I start recording, I do end to end on 8 tracks (drums) without a single stall and without loss of ASIO buffer. And that is a guarantee of stability, although sometimes the driver jumps. As such, a shift is released in October. Focusrite takes care of updating the software part. In terms of latency, I have to turn around 10ms, it is not a factor to be taken into account if you are in hardware monitor, which is my case. I put an 8 for the driver who jumps from time to time but once it is stable, 9 will be well deserved


Installation is seedless. A soft just detect the presence of the card and is activated to display the entire interface with which rule tracks and mix different configs. The interface is clean but needs a little grip when you do not usually have as many paths and choices that you can make. The possibilities are enormous, we can re-direct inputs to all outputs in all directions and backup configs on both PCs but also inside of the card for use in standalone (one salvageable config mode standalone), you can use it as a mixer and choose to scan the signal or not. Attention, all the features of the card are not necessarily adjustable from the GUI. It is not a problem so far, it is sufficient to know.
Sound, yes, most importantly, when I changed my cards, I hesitated between RME, Focusrite and MOTU. I fault myself turning to hybrid MOTU but concerns related to the USB has been reported, then RME, although renowned for its preamps, did not offer the possibility of Focusrite. And finally, I wanted to give it a try - risk - with a young material, but which seemed to offer a good price / performance ratio. Well I took. The preamps are quality and will start to breathe very late in the race knob, they offer a good dynamic range and are a good notch above the Profire and Tascam I have. The sound recordings are realistic. Not bad, not flirtatious or flattering (this is not what I ask what kind of material, moreover ..) but realistic sign of good transparency. I found the warmth of my 4c


I roll with this card for a few months. I have owned a few cards before, but none of that caliber. I could not tell if the resulting sound is better or worse than a MOTU / RME but it is far better than anything I've owned. For the price, Focusrite up a competitive product on the whole, given its potential. I remake that choice without problem. I just regret that there is no built-in a few effects to make direct DSP. So, I do it in the sequencer. Apart from this detail, this is a great product despite some driver errors, errors that start from now-and already be corrected with maj.
For the photo, we see the very bottom of the rack, I use it to record our rehearsal we made the headphone with electronic drum. A luxury, yes .. but a luxury that is affordable considering the quality.

unfixedstefio's review (This content has been automatically translated from French)" Perfect for me"

Focusrite Scarlett 18i20
What characteristics have motivated your choice?
- The number of inputs / outputs, noon, the rack format, Focusrite's reputation.
- The ability to create templates for routing using the card stand alone.

Which instruments and systems (console, preamp, DTD ...) you use it and how connections? ... AND For what purpose? What is your config (Motherboard / CPU / Ram / Hard, ...)?

- At home: a JV80 for audio input (jack 6.35) + midi, bass (instrument inputs 6.35), a low multi-effect insert (6.35 jacks) output audio BX5a monitorings m (6.35 to XLR jacks) .
- On stage: electronic drum midi (on addictive drums), ableton lite sequences triggered by the drummer, drums and ableton separate outputs, audio inputs from the console for recording.

A home PC: MSI motherboard P8P67_LE + 8GB Ram + Samsung SSD + i7 core 3.22Ghz + Protools 10.
On stage on laptop (not mine, I have no references at hand).


The drivers are stable?
Yes but with Pro Tools ... the shit that méchament (I lean more to a problem with PT more than asio drivers).

What software do you use most often?
Pro-tools 10 with amount of plugs, Ableton Live Lite.

How many tracks you get record / playback simultaneously? ...
-I tested 8, no problem (I have no ADAT devices to use the additional digital inputs).

Are they often updated?
- I have not seen any update since I bought it in late June but I do not feel that there really needs it.

What you get lag?
- On average depending on the setting between 8 and 20ms. (Usually about 11ms).


The installation is done it without problems?
- You click, it works ...

The general configuration is easy?
-Configuration Scarlett MixControl should get the hang of, and I admit that at first I struggled a bit, but it's pretty well done.

Have you experienced any incompatibilities?

The manual is clear and sufficient? ...
Slightly amber-but I've seen much worse.


How long have you use it?
- 4 months

Have you tried many other models before buying it?
I went through a EMU0404 (yuck!) and a M-Audio fasttrack pro.

What is the particular feature you like best and least?
- PLUS: the number of inputs / outputs, the sound quality.
- LESS: forced to push the knobs to have enough gain, the "I turn I turn back" 2/3 times for the usb is paid (I think it's just my usb motherboard, j ' have already seen problems with other stuff).

How would you rate the quality / price? With experience, you do again this choice? ...
- Quality / price hard to beat (€ 500 in Music Melody Rouen report, I prefer to go to my dealer where I've been going for over 20 years, when I have a problem, they provide, whereas with Thomann. ..), I would do this choice with his eyes closed.
- I hesitated with a more expensive mk3 motu, just a little too expensive for my means.