Anyone and everyone who has wanted to record music at home should know of Focusrite. This is the brand that put the preamp in the home studio. And from their top-end Red and ISA series’ right through to their entry-level priced Scarlett range, Focusrite have been delivering what musicians and producers have been wanting for decades. But, like as with most technological marvels, some devices come to an end of their lifespan and we get heralded with a new release to bring them forward into the next stage of recording. This is just the case with the Scarlett series, and the 2i2 in particular. It’s touted as ‘the best selling USB interface in the world’ and that is pretty easy to see how that might have come about. The 2i2 has now had an overhaul and is ready to deliver even more at the same great price.
ON THE OUTSIDE
The first and most obvious difference is the box. Yes, all new packaging with an all-new design and a smaller, more compact box to house a unit of much the same size. When you take it out, you will notice a few subtle changes to the original, but no so much that it doesn’t look like a Scarlett audio interface. The same red coloured housing is still the same, with the same specs as far as inputs and outputs go, but there are a few simple touches. Noticeably, the master volume and headphone volume knobs have had an overhaul, now replaced with metal knobs instead of the older plastic ones. The logo has shifted and switches are a little different, but essentially, it is the Scarlett 2i2 that we all know.
THE INNER WORKINGS
Most notable of all the changes to the Scarlett 2i2 is what’s going on with the analogue to digital conversion. This new model now offers sample rates of up to 192 kHz, which brings it in line with other competing devices in this price range. It is capable of delivering this audio quality without suffering latency issues either, so you can record and monitor at the best quality without concerns about the unit keeping up on playback.
For guitarists, and I am sure this sort of interface would appeal to many, Focusrite have reworked the instrument inputs on the new 2i2 allowing for hotter guitar signals to be captured without running out of headroom. This means you can use active pickups with very high output levels and be con dent in the 2i2 capturing all of your sound without unwanted distortion.
On top of all that, it’s still compact and bus powered, so you can take it with you and record without the need of an external power supply. Like the earlier version, the new 2i2 includes Focusrite’s Red Plugin Suite for amazing EQ and dynamic processing. But, as an extra bonus, these are now shipping with Pro Tools First as a download, allowing you to start recording straight away with a simplified version of the industry standard recording software.
Hits and Misses
Improved build quality
Greater sampling rate
Great selection of bundled software
It’s still missing MIDI I/O