An overview of the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 2 In/2 Out USB Recording Audio Interface.
An Introduction to the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2.
The Focusrite 2i2 USB audio interface is a 2 input 2 output unit that is simple to operate yet functional. This overview will help determine if it is suitable for your needs.
The first thing that is noticeable about the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 is the bright red anodized aluminum casing which not only looks great but makes for a rugged unit. In fact there is a lot to like about the construction of the 2i2 – it just looks solid and well thought out. Part of the appeal of this box is the simplicity. There are no LCD or jog wheel menus to worry about which takes away some of the confusion that newcomers can face when setting up their devices. Here the idea seems to be just plug it in and let’s start recording.
The front panel features 2 combination inputs that will take either XLR (microphone) cables or your standard quarter inch cable and each input is switchable to 48v phantom power (and a led to let you know when it’s on) which allows you to run a condenser microphone from each. there is also a headphone jack at the front with a volume control and a larger rotary knob to adjust your monitor levels.
The Scarlett 2i2 is powered directly via USB so there is no need for an external plugpack power supply. This makes it a truly portable audio interface since you can effectively plug this into a laptop and begin recording without the need for mains power (unless you are running an electric guitar or keyboard).
Another interesting feature are the circular rings around the gain control knobs which will glow green when the signal is at a good level and will turn red when clipping is present. This is a nice touch since it lets you know what is happening before you even start up your recording software.
The Scarlett 2i2 is compatible with any Windows-based DAW that supports ASIO or WDM and any Mac-based DAW that uses Core Audio.
Sample rates of 44.1 kHz, 48 kHz, 88.2 kHz and 96 kHz at 24 bits ensure high resolution.
Ableton Live Lite 8 so you can begin recording straight away with this DAW.
Focusrite Scarlett plug-in suite – This is a nice collection of plugins including compression, equalization and reverb.
Mac System Requirements.
OS X 10.6.5 Snow Leopard (32 and 64 bit) and above, including OS X 10.7 Lion
Windows System Requirements.
Windows 7 (32 and 64 bit), or Windows XP SP3 (32 bit only)
Windows Vista is not officially supported
A video of the Focusrite in action.
The Scarlett 2i2 is a rugged and practical performer that would be perfect for those on a budget. If you wanted something solid that simply does the job well without all the fancy menus and settings then this would be a great choice. I purchased one of these units to team up with my Macbook Pro running Logic and have found it to be an excellent product.
As a test I connected up a pair of AKG c1000 condensor mics and tried running them with the 48v phantom power enabled, hooked up to my late 2011 Macbook Pro.
I found it was possible to boost up the gain significantly to around 75 percent before the unit was struggling to deliver enough power to drive both mics. This would be an extreme case for most situations but something I wanted to look at since I wanted to see how it would work for capturing nature sounds which can sometimes be at a low level.
Having said that a single mic running up to 100 percent was fine. The preamps were very quiet and clean and did not show much noticeable noise.
I found the best result with the c1000’s as a pair at maximum was to use them without the phantom power and use internal battery power and then pump up the inputs on the Scarlett.