Review: Focusrite Scarlett 2i4
The Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 is a high quality but inexpensive USB powered audio interface with 2 inputs and 4 outputs and MIDI I/O. It has very low latency and great sound quality. The two microphone and line/instrument inputs are located on the front using combo XLR + 1/4" TRS (jack) connector. The TRS input accept both a 2-pole non-balanced instrument (e.g. guitar jack) or a 3-pole balanced line input from e.g. an external audio mixer - use the LINE/INSTR switch to switch between line or instrument input. When using a XLR connector the preamplifier is automatically configured for microphone level. The pre-amps have a 50dB gain range and allows for up to +4dBu input level for microphone or +13dBu for instrument, which should allow recording even the loudest guitar pickups!
On the front you will also find a switch for 48V phantom power for condenser microphones and a red light tell you when it is turned on. Nice! Other audio interfaces has this switch on the back e.g. Native Instruments Komplete Audio 6 which I find a little annoying...
Another nice feature is the colored halo around the gain buttons: Red warns you of clipping, green tells you the level is fine. It is such a small feature but so useful!
The front also host a single headphone output together with separate volume level control for the headphone. If you need two headphone outputs consider upgrading to Scarlet 6i6.
The outputs are located on the back together with 5-pin MIDI In/Out. The Scarlet 2i4 has 2 balanced 1/4" TRS outputs for studio monitors as well as 4 RCA outputs for home speakers or DJ mixer. An USB connector for the PC/Mac is also located on the back side.
The user guide and online tutorials are excellent and very useful.
Tested on Windows 10 x64 using Ableton Live.
- Great sound quality and Super-low latency!
- 48V phantom power switch located on front.
- Nice big monitor button.
- Colored halo around the gain buttons makes it easy to set the right gain level.
- USB powered for greater flexibility.
- The build quality is very good with a solid metal casing.
- Include a software bundle with enough goodies to get a beginner going: Ableton Live Lite, Protools First, Novation Bass Station, Red 2 and 3, Softube Time & Tone , 2GB of Loopmasters samples
- I would personally prefer another software bundle as I had most of it already, lol
- If you are planning to use it when travelling you may consider something smaller and lighter
- Nothing important really. This is a really great audio interface!
I was having a lot of trouble with my old USB audio interface and spend a lot of time searching for a replacement and finally decided to try FocusRite Scarlett 2i4. After some testing of the Scarlett 2i4 I concluded that my latency now is about half of what it used to be and I have not experienced the troublesome dropouts and crackling noices that caused me to finally give up on my old audio interface, so I am very pleased with this interface!
You may also consider:
If you want something small and cheap for when you are traveling consider the Scarlett Solo. Notice however that this model do not have balanced output for studio monitors, only 2 RCA outputs for home stereo speakers.
Small and cheap with balanced outputs for studio monitors, then you should consider the Scarlett 2i2.
If you want more inputs (e.g. for recording a drum set or a band) consider the Scarlett 6i6 with 6 inputs or Scarlett 18i8 with 18 inputs. Notice however that these audio interfaces are not USB bus powered as the 2i2 or 2i4 but require a separate power supply, for which reason they may not be as useful when traveling as the smaller interfaces.
- Class leading conversion and samplerates up to 192kHz / 24bit
- Round-trip latency as low as 2.74ms
- 2 combi XLR + 1/4" TRS inputs with 48V phantom power
- 5-pin MIDI In/Out
- 2 balanced 1/4" TRS (jack) outputs for studio monitors
- 4 RCA outputs for home stereo speakers or DJ mixer
- 1 headphone output with separate volume level
- Dimensions: 4.7 x 21.0 x 13.8 cm (H x W x D)
- Weight: 0.87kg
For more information: Visit focusrite.com