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Focusrite Scarlett 2i2
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Focusrite Scarlett 2i2

USB audio interface from Focusrite belonging to the Scarlett series

TreDay TreDay

« Solid bare essentials audio interface »

Published on 10/22/14 at 15:20
The 2i2 features 2 XLR-TRS combo inputs with independent volume knobs that have an LED ring around them to indicate levels. These inputs can be switched between line and instrument levels independently of each other. There’s a 48v button for microphones that require phantom power. There are 2 ¼” TS outputs on the back for your monitors. You can enable direct monitoring via a switch on the front and control the overall output of the audio interface via the monitor knob. There’s also a headphone output with an independent volume knob. The interface is bus-powered and connects to your computer from one USB port on the back. The one downside to the unit is that it doesn’t have a MIDI input/output which some audio interfaces in this price range do have.


UTILIZATION

I've been using the 2i2 for 2 years with Renoise, Maschine, and REAPER on both a Windows 7 and 8 64-bit system using an Intel i5 2500k @ 4.5ghz. It's possible to get the latency under 10ms round trip, however, I ran into driver instability when trying to go lower than that where the driver would sporadically crash and cause lots of distortion and slowed down audio. Outside of that, absolutely no driver problems or latency when recording instruments.

GETTING STARTED

It’s a pretty simple interface and very straight forward to use. Very clearly labeled knobs and switches for all of the functions. The software for controlling the interface is a one function affair--changing the buffer length. All other functions like changing the sample rate and bit depth are done through the Windows Control Panel.


OVERALL OPINION

It’s a fairly low-noise unit, I’ve mostly used it for recording guitars or synths directly and I have no real complaints there. The headphone output is not bad even with high impedance headphones like my 250 ohm Beyerdynamic DT880s. There’s not a ton of gain and I need to set it about half way on the headphone volume knob to get to my preferred listening level, but it does drive them okay and the DAC is very good. It would certainly drive lower impedance headphones satisfactorily.

It’s a great interface for someone who doesn’t need a lot of inputs, outputs, or advanced DSP features. Although the lack of a MIDI in/out is a bit of a bummer, if you just need to record one or two instruments or if you need an interface for your mobile production setup, this is definitely something to consider.

Pros:
+ Great Price
+ Portable
+ Clear sound
+ Good monitoring features

Cons:
- No MIDI I/O
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