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4.3 out of 5 stars
Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 USB Audio Interface
Size Name: 2 inputs (2 mic pres) / 4 outputsStyle Name: Interface OnlyChange
Price:$174.99 + Free shipping with Amazon Prime
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115 of 120 people found the following review helpful
on October 23, 2011
Size Name: 2 inputs (2 mic pres) / 2 outputsStyle Name: Interface Only
It took me a while to get this device set up properly. Technical support was little help, and by the time I got their number, I had figured out the issue on my own. This difficulty wasn't the product's fault - it was mine, for being new to using ASIO. I was still trying to output via my soundcard, while inputting via the interface and the applications were dying in the process.

Once I quit splitting the workload between the devices, everything worked like a charm. I got the latency down to acceptably microscopic. 6ms actual tested return latency at 64 samples in+out @24/96khz (compared to the DAW claimed latency of 2ms).

My current signal chain: Mic -> Trakmaster Pro (hardware compression is vital when recording digitally) -> 2i2 -> PC.

Even when I was recording on directsound drivers, it sounded pretty good - except for the latency. But now the latency is sufficiently small that it's not a major distraction during tracking. There will be people who claim that 6ms is far too much, and maybe they are really that time sensitive. However, For the average home recording hobbyist, 6ms is a synonym for imperceptibly fast.

If you're looking for that secret $150 audio interface that is exactly as good as a $1500 MOTU, let me assure you that it does not exist. That said, I defend my 5 star rating as follows:

The 2i2 is a massive step up from recording with a cheap PC microphone through your onboard sound chip. The latency is far improved, the D/A conversion is superior to a soundcard not specifically designed for recording, and the whole thing is reasonably transparent.

It's only got 2 inputs, but I only record 1 musician at a time to avoid bleed, and I never record drums. So even recording in stereo, I'd never need more. It does exactly what I need, which is to allow me to interface my audio hardware seamlessly and transparently into my computer.

It even comes with a reasonably decent DAW (Ableton Live Lite)

There's a lot of people out who want to start recording, but don't have a lot of money to spend. It's easy to get caught up in the 'which one is better' game, causing costs to escalate quickly.

No interface is going to make your $20 radio shack microphone sound professional. If your recording equipment is good you'll get good results from the 2i2.
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95 of 100 people found the following review helpful
on July 3, 2012
Size Name: 2 inputs (2 mic pres) / 2 outputsStyle Name: Interface OnlyVerified Purchase
Hi,
I've had this interface for a few weeks now, and my final rating is basically what everyone else has said:
Drivers: Horrible
Hardware: Fantastic

I'm am running Pro Tools 10 on a new(ish) HP Pavilion Core i5, with Windows 7 64 bit. Add the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2, and if you Google around, you'll find this is a perfect recipe for disaster. Maybe you have a pretty similar set up, and that's why you're reading this. Well I'm here to tell you that although Pro Tools 10 is somewhat buggy on the PC, and although Focusrite's drivers are horrendous, I got everything to run pretty smoothly after 3 or 4 days of errors, intense googling, and even contacting Focusrite. I'm going to give you the steps that I took, and maybe, if you're having the same problems I was, you can make it work, because honestly, we all would love to give this interface a five star rating.

So the drivers installed great, no errors or anything. Plugged everything in, and opened up Pro Tools. Pro Tools found the interface, and I was like "YES!!!". It appeared everything would be ok. But when I started up a new session at 24 bit and 44.1 kHz, but got an error saying that the ASIO properties for my interface had been changed, and Pro Tools needed to restart. After posting on Avid's Pro Tools forums and seeing what they had to say, I came to the conclusion that I needed to set the 2i2's sampling rate BEFORE I opened Pro Tools. Unfortunately, the Focusrite drivers don't give you that option. The only way I knew to change the sampling rate was from inside of the DAW. I Googled like mad, and after many hours of being frustrated, and being THIS close to sending the 2i2 back and getting something made by Avid or M-Audio, I finally got everything to work. Here is what did it:

Step 1
Download the MOST recent drivers at beta.focusrite.com, not the ones off the public Focusrite website. Instal them.

Step 2
On your PC, go to the Start Menu>Control Panel>Hardware and Sound> Under Sound click "Manage Audio Devices". Click the recording tab, and set the Scarlett 2i2 as the default device. Click "properties" and then "advanced", from here you can set default format to "2 channel, 16 bit 48000 Hz".

Step 3
Go to the Star Menu, and type "Focusrite" in the search, and then bring up the Focusrite USB 2.0 Audio Control Panel. Set the buffer length to 6 ms.

Step 4
Open up Pro Tools (or your DAW of choice). Start a new session at 24 bit 48 kHz. If it says (like it did for me) that the ASIO properties had been changed, and that it needs to restart, click ok, but than click cancel when it asks you if you want to save. Then go to "Setup" and then "Hardware". From here set the sample rate to 48 kHz, and set the buffer length to 6 ms.

Step 5
Close Pro Tools, open up the Focusrite Audio Control Panel on more time and double check that the buffer length is set to 6 ms.

Step 6
Open Pro Tools, start a new session at 24 bit 48 kHz, and pray no errors will show up when you press record!

And there you have it. This took me about 4 days to figure out. Hope it works for you! And if it doesn't, or if you have any questions, leave comment below and I'll see what I can do!

As for the 2i2, yeah, its a fantastic little interface. Super quiet pres, awesome halo clip indicators, phantom power. Some people are complaining the headphone gain doesn't get very loud, but I found it sufficient. The little line/instrument switches are plastic, by the way, the pictures make them look like metal, but its plastic ;) Altogether, its a sturdy little box, great for the price, I just wish Focusrite would put a bit more effort into their drivers.

Cheers!
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158 of 175 people found the following review helpful
on November 25, 2011
Size Name: 2 inputs (2 mic pres) / 2 outputsStyle Name: Interface OnlyVerified Purchase
I use this little guy in connection with my DAW and digital piano. I run the piano sounds through balanced cables into the line-in ports for recording, and I also run VST intruments on my DAW that I trigger via USB MIDI from the piano and use this device for digital/audio conversion. I listen through Sennheser HD 595 headhphones plugged in to this and I also have some studio monitors attached using balanced cables.

I purchased this to upgrade from my previous audio interface, the Behringer UF0202. That device worked quite well for this purpose as well but lacked two things: a volume knob, and balanced in/outs. The volume knob thing I could work around, but my current monitors seem susceptible to ground loops (even with a ground lift plug), so I needed to go with balanced cables. I'm glad I did. The balanced cables completely eliminated my noise problems. This was a good purchase. However, I would say to anyone who doesn't need balanced cables and is on a budget that they should consider the Behringer. It's a tiny fraction of the price and it works pretty well. Further, it's class complaint so you don't have to use Behringer's drivers. It's plug-and-play.

I have some good things to say about the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 (all about the hardware) and some bad things (all about the software). I've tried using the driver version 2.1, which came with the disk, and the udpated 2.2, which I downloaded from Focusrite's website.

To let you know what I need in an interface:

1. Balanced stereo in/out
2. High quality headphone amp
3. Volume knobs for headphone amp and for the main line
4. Good digital-to-analog conversion
5. Low output latency (input latency not important to me)

I don't use the Mic preamps, which is one of the big selling points of this device.

================ The Good ====================

This box is simple and well-designed. It does what you want, has very convenient controls, and has high build quality. I'm pleased with the digital-to-analog conversion. It has a great big volume knob and another for the headphone amp. It has switches so each input can be a line-in or microphone pre-amp. It has a switch for zero-latency monitoring (of whatever is coming in).

* The headphone amp was of particular concern for me. I use headphones a lot and a poor headphone amp can be quite a problem. The Behringer headphone amp was only ok. Specifically, it has an output impedance of 50 ohms. The rule of thumb for good headphone/amp matching is that the output impedance should be 1/8 the impedance of the headphones--my hd 595's have 50 ohms of impedance. Breaking this rule you get distortions of the frequency response. In my case mostly this meant attenuation of the bass. Most manufacturers don't list their output impedance, possibly because they are embarrassed. Anyway, Focusrite does, which is one reason I trust them a little more. The output impedance is less than 10 ohms--respectable but not amazing. Still not as low as I would need in principle but I can notice an improvement in the bass response in my headphones. There's plenty of extra voltage here too, so I could drive higher impedance cans if necessary. Anyway, good headphone amp. Check.

* Balanced ins and outs work very well, The ins accommodates a 1/4 TRS style in and XLR. The light around them shows when something's actually coming in and shines red when it's in danger of clipping. There's lots of gain available. I have them turned all the way down almost. The outs are TRS style (balanced or unbalanced) and are located on the back.

* I like the look of the box, with a red metal case, and the front and back are sturdy and attractive as well.

* The USB cable is just a type B port. This means you can replace it if it gets damaged or whatever. The Behringer, for example, was hard-wired to its cable...king of annoying.

* It's bus-powered. I actually would have been fine with a wall-wart, but this is even more simple.

I really have no complaints whatsoever about the hardware.

===================== The Bad =========================

The driver for this thing is horrible under Windows XP. I have a clean installation with nothing installed except my DAW software, acrobat reader, and this driver. I mean, my computer is really stripped down. Performance using the Behringer was good. The latency (time between playing a note and hearing it out the speakers) was 8 ms using the Behringer, which isn't really perceptible.

Unfortunately the focusrite driver, though it's technically ASIO apparently, doesn't have anything like an acceptable latency. The lowest latency I could set it at and get sound out instead of crackles and pops was 23 ms. At that level the instrument begins to sound very sluggish and laggy. It's very difficult, at least for me, to work with a large latency like that.

I was ready to return this device when I decided as a last ditch effort to install ASIO4ALL. That's sort of an ASIO driver to use if you absolutely cannot make the manufacturer's driver perform at a decent level. I installed it and it worked. The output latency was a tiny 4.3 ms (only .3 of which are actually output latency, so this is REALLY impressive). I conclude that the hardware is very, very good in this machine, but the software is horrible.

Unfortunately, you can't actually uninstall the focusrite driver because otherwise windows doesn't recognize the device and it never even turns on--it's not class compliant, unlike the Behringer. So now I have two drivers for it installed, only one of which I use.

The bad news is that this configuration is very buggy. In general when I just turn the computer on and try and play my VST instrument, all I get is crackles and pops until I open the ASIO configuration panel and increase the buffer. The funny thing is that it doesn't matter where the buffer starts out, I always have to increase it before I get any good sounds out. I can start it out with a huge buffer--lots of latency--and it will crackle until I open it and increase the buffer yet more. I have to do this every time I turn on the computer. Also, sometimes if I leave it on for a while and come back, it will be crackly again until I increase it yet another step. We are talking about major bugs here.

I decided to try ditching ASIO4ALL and trying to make the focusrite drivers work again--maybe there was a setting I was missing. As I was trying to set the buffer size, I heard the sound of an explosion and then my computer rebooted. When it came back I couldn't get good sounds out, even when I turned the buffer way up. Tried rebooting a few more times, still didn't work. So I uninstalled and re-installed the focusrite software. At first it didn't work. I had to install ASIO4ALL as well, and now I can sort of get sounds out of it, half the time.

I hope you are getting the idea. These drivers are terrible. Awful. A monkey could have written a better driver. I would give it 1 star if it wasn't for the fact that the device works very, very well when all the stars align and the driver recognizes the drive and allows it to play. I guess I'm willing to sacrifice convenience and stability for nice hardware when it works. I would never use this in a live situation or when time is critical.

The good thing about drivers is that they can update and fix them. I'm hoping for that. They have already revised the driver once, which is amazing because even the 2.2 driver is seriously an abomination, just like the 2.1.

================ Closing Thoughts =======================

Unfortunately, there really isn't a USB interface that has a good driver. The Behringer driver always worked, but if you moved the interface from one USB port to the other, it was no longer recognized and you had to reinstall the driver. However, you didn't have to use the Behringer driver and ASIO4ALL would give you 11 ms and perform without any complications. That's about as trouble free as I've seen in this type of device.

If you read about the Presonus Audiobox USB and the M-Audio Fast Track Pro (probably the two closest competitors to this focusrite), what you get is a bunch of comments just like this one...horrible, horrible drivers that never get fixed. Actually Mackie makes a competitor as well, the Onyx Blackjack--but the reviews of that show that the driver is possibly even worse than this one. Unfortunately none of the pro music manufacturers cares about their drivers, so we have to live with unstable systems that only work half the time. Maybe it's better under mac. I don't know.

Interestingly, this is really the only USB 2.0 device in this range. That's quite shocking considering how long the USB 2.0 standard has been around. The only real implication of this is that the USB 1.1 devices like the M-Audio and Presonus can only do two channel 24/96 audio in OR out, not both at the same time. There's not enough throughput in USB 1.1.

So in light of the competition, the Focusrite looks kind of ok. Unfortunately all audio interface manufacturers--at least in this range of device--think there's no need for good hardware and (especially) good software. At least the hardware in this one is up to spec. We can cross our fingers for improved drivers in the future.

Bottom line: this is a fantastic, 5-star device...if you can make the software work consistently.

If you are on a tight budget or don't care about balanced in/out, I'd recommend you go with the Behringer UCA202 or UFO2020. They are tons cheaper, class complaint, and have better drivers. If you use a high impedance headphone with it, even the headphone amp is pretty good on that one.

================ Update May 2012 ==============

A new version of the driver, 2.3, came out since the writing of the above. The new driver actually works. I have stopped using ASIO4ALL and I get decent latency. Once in a while--not too often--it will inexplicably require me to edit the settings and increase the buffer, and some percentage of the time when I do that it will reboot my computer. If I don't change anything, most of the time, it works ok. I would never use this in a mission-critical setting (i.e., gigging or pro work), but for my home use, it's good enough now. If you have issues with the driver, definitely update.
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123 of 138 people found the following review helpful
on May 2, 2013
Size Name: 2 inputs (2 mic pres) / 4 outputsStyle Name: Interface Only
I am writing this review after having owned & used this interface for about 5 months now on a daily basis. Currently there are 1 each of a 1, 2 and 3 star rating. One 4 star states the unit has flimsy buttons. I am shaking my head and wonder if people have King Kong fingers when they use their stuff. Seeing how so many "take care" of their vehicles and houses it is no surprise that people pull knobs off and junk up their equipment in the same manner.

The fact is this is a great unit. The switches are not flimsy at all unless you drop kick the unit into the wall. Then they are really flimsy. It's actually very solid. There is NO crackling, popping, noisy stuff going on AT all. Not on my setup. So if mine doesn't do it, why do theirs? Good question...if one of us gets it to work with no problems and buttons do not break on it (within reasonable knowledge, not babying it either) then it must be a user issue. No manufacturer can account for the myriad of different systems out there, I get that. But as a consumer of this unit I wonder why I am having a seamless time with this interface and these other people are not. If it had an inherent noise issue wouldn't it crackle and pop for me? If the knobs were flimsy wouldn't they be for me? If the monitor output didn't work wouldn't it not work for me?

They all do, and stellar. Hooked it up to my computer, my DAW read the ASIO drivers no problem and whamo... I am sure some of these users got bad units. But I am also certain it is user lack of knowledge on some of them as well.

In following the Amazon tradition, I will now be blamed by some as being a shill for the manufacturer, having stock in Focusrite or being married to the daughter of the founder. As much as I'd like to at least have the 2nd one (I don't know if the founder has a daughter to be honest) I cannot lay claim to any of these. But there is a 96.367% possibility someone will accuse me of that.

PS- Yes, you do have to download the drivers from the Focusrite website. I cannot express. I cannot convey. I cannot quite display to you how dang SIMPLE that process is! To say in one reviewers words "it is a pain" was side splittingly painful for me when I think of the future of humanity. How do some people eat? Thought I. How do some walk and talk at the same time? I now take my leave to ponder the meaning and evolution of life...

Buy it...it's great.
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38 of 42 people found the following review helpful
on October 21, 2012
Size Name: 2 inputs (2 mic pres) / 4 outputsStyle Name: Interface OnlyVerified Purchase
I have a small home studio that is only used occasionally. I previously had an RME fireface 400 that uses firewire. Well, if you haven't noticed firewire support is dwindling. Windows 7 barely supported it, Windows 8 further removes some 'work arounds' that were needed for audio devices (aka the legacy driver drivers are not signed for use with Windows 8), and I've even seen Apple, who owns firewire, dropping it from their products. That left me without a working device when I switched to Windows 8, and RME tech support has went on a "we hate Windows 8" rampage, and customer service was horrible.

So I replaced it with this unit. It worked instantly once plugged in and drivers installed. Actually the software looked a bit more polished than I expected, and there has been no lockups, buzzes or other issues so common with the RME. The I/O was what I needed; 2 Inputs for Voice over work and Mid-Side recording, and 4 Outputs; 2 balanced outs going to JBL powered monitors, 1 going to a small guitar amp for previously mentioned Mid-Side recording. If you wanted to use external effects, you would probably want 4 Inputs, but other than Mid-Side recording, I have switched to using all software and that was not needed in my case. Latency is reported as 4.875ms at 48k, using Cubase 6.5.

Bottom line, I would have no hesitation working on a project in front of a client (if I still did that) with this device, and that means I trust it to work. I can't say the same for RME.
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41 of 47 people found the following review helpful
on December 27, 2012
Size Name: 2 inputs (2 mic pres) / 4 outputsStyle Name: Interface OnlyVerified Purchase
I spent a lot of time deciding which interface to get. I went with this one because of a few reasons.

Focusrite Saffire 6 - this was my first choice, but this one only has USB 1.0 which is not future proof and will soon be outdated.

Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 - this is 2 in 2 out and it does not have MIDI control. I felt that I might get a MIDI controller one day so this wasn't going to work in the future. But it does have USB 2.0.

Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 - found this last minute, includes everything with MIDI Control and USB 2.0. A bit more expensive but exactly what I was looking for. It can also output 4 instead of 2. Recommend Scarlett over Saffire and only recommend this if you need MIDI.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on June 20, 2013
Size Name: 2 inputs (2 mic pres) / 4 outputsStyle Name: Interface OnlyVerified Purchase
I bought this unit to use as part of my laptop DJ setup: I route outputs 1/2 to the main speakers, and outputs 3/4 to my headphones for monitoring the mix; I use input 1 for a crappy un-powered microphone; and input 2 sits empty.

Having successfully played out with the 2i4 for four separate 5 hour-ish gigs, I'd like to share my thoughts on this product from the perspective of an in-the-club performer (rather than an in-the-studio producer or an on-the-stage musician).

Pros:
1) The physical build quality on this thing is excellent. It feels good in the hands, sure, but the real test for me has been its performance on the road: on its second time out, I accidentally dropped it from about four feet off the ground. It survived that fall (with just a small ding on the metal casing) and proceeded to rock the house for the next several hours without a single hiccup. Oh, and it survived having half a beer spilled on it, too - though I wouldn't expect this kind of luck a second time.
2) This thing outputs plenty loud for almost any club environment you are likely to find yourself in. Also, I know some folks on here think the headphone output (the 1/4" jack in the front of the unit) isn't loud enough. Those folks are either noise junkies, have headphones with terrible isolation, or are suffering from some kind of hearing loss. Trust me: the headphone volumes are more than adequate for monitoring even in a loud club environment.
3) Not that my usual clientele (i.e. drunk dancers) really care or notice, but to my ear the sound quality seems pretty good. The lows come out punchy (not muddy) and the highs don't sound tinny, and that's really all I care about as far as my mixing is concerned.
4) Solid USB device drivers (I'm using a windows 7 machine): good latency, no audio stutters, and no dropouts. Enough said.

Cons:
1) The large 'Monitor' dial on the front of the unit controls the output volume for lines 1/2 *ONLY IF* lines 1/2 are outputted via the balanced TRS (1/4") connectors on the back. If the the RCA connectors are used, the dial will do diddly squat. This is a limitation that is not well noted in the product description. (UPDATE: This is no longer an issue with the latest device drivers!)
2) The unit is a bit bulky/heavy for a traveling soundcard, but this is really just a personal quibble (I already have tons of kit to lug around). Heck - some might even think the larger size makes it look more "pro."

Overall:
The 2i4 has met or exceeded all my needs as a DJ: it's sturdy, loud, and reliable. I can't speak to its value as a production tool (where the sound quality is the deciding factor), but as a performance tool I can't think of a better USB-based option on the market at this price point. Seriously, forget about those Native Instrument cards (s***ty drivers), and forget about those Numark cards (muddy dynamics) - just get the 2i4 and get on with the show.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on September 30, 2014
Size Name: 2 inputs (2 mic pres) / 2 outputsStyle Name: Interface OnlyVerified Purchase
Overall, I am really pleased with the Scarlett. The physical interface itself is beautiful and it's intuitive to use. I like how the ring around the gain will light up red if it detects you are clipping. Most importantly, with a good microphone, a decently quiet room, and a simple audio recorder, the audio quality is really superb. I am very happy with this purchase.

I want to clarify a few things for future buyers, though, and don't take this as a warning to stay away from this product. It is excellent if you can set it up right.

#1 - MICROPHONES V. INSTRUMENTS. The Scarlett has a very nicely designed combo jack, which allows you to plug in both an XLR connector and a 1/4" TRS jack plug. The Scarlett is automatically configured to recognize any XLR connector as a microphone and any 1/4" TRS jack plug as an instrument. So if you intend to use microphones I urge you to get an XLR cable to connect them. It is basically necessary you use XLR for condenser microphones to utilize the 48V phantom power. Even with a dynamic microphone, I really recommend you use an XLR connection. A dynamic microphone using a 1/4" TRS will be much quieter than one using an XLR, and can hardly be heard through a headphone monitor even with the gain turned up 100%.

#2 - MONITORS. If you intend to use headphones as a monitor (to listen to yourself as you record), you will need headphones ending in a 1/4" jack (6.35mm). Most headphones rarely end in anything other than a 1/8" jack (3.5mm), so it is 99% likely you will need an adapter. Get yourself a 1/8" female to 1/4" male TRS adapter if you want to use headphones. You can find these easily at Wal-Mart, BestBuy, etc. As a side note, on the back are two line outputs that also require 1/4" TRS jack plugs - these are for loudspeakers, not headphones. There is only one jack for one pair of headphones. (I am pretty sure you can use a headphone splitter if you need more headphones.)

#3 - DRIVERS. The package insert for this product will tell you to register your product on their website so you can download a USB driver. Go ahead and register because there are other free downloads, but DO NOT install the USB drivers from focusrite.com if you are using Windows. If you already installed it, you must uninstall it by going to Control Panel > Uninstall a Program. Go to http://beta.focusrite.com/releases/focusrite_usb2_drivers/ and download/install the latest USB2 driver (last I checked, there was only one available). You will know the driver is working if Line Output and Line Input appear and are enabled in Control Panel > Sound when you plug in the interface.

#4 - Find, download, and read the manual for this product. It will save you from any disappointment or surprises.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on November 6, 2013
Size Name: 2 inputs (2 mic pres) / 4 outputsStyle Name: Interface Only
Technology marches onwards, and this product gives individuals the opportunity to make studio-quality recordings at a budget price. My impressions of this unit (I own both the 2i4 and 2i2, by the way) are as follows:

The unit's preamps seem to be pretty quiet.

The build quality is very good (this one is designed in the UK but made in China).

The XLR input volume knobs feel quite nice, but the other controls feel a little less nice. You can see rough edges on the two silver knobs's plastic, but I see the same quality of knob on other USB interfaces, so no big deal.

Make sure you use a quality shielded USB cable with two ferrite filters. The USB cable on my first 2i2 unit seemed to give me data errors.

It works with my Vista 32 bit laptop (only 1.8 ghz, and an SSD), and Win 7 64bit desktop. I use the maximum 10 ms buffer, so that I don't get any bugs in Reaper.

The first 2i2 unit I tried had an intermittent soft buzzing sound coming from the right channel, which didn't respond to interchanging left and right xlr cables, or switching computers. Hence, I returned it and got another one, which seems fine. And my 2i4 seems fine. You have to turn up the recording gain on the 2i2 and listen to the background hiss to hear it most easily. You don't have to record something first, as you can just monitor the mics through the headphone jack.

The sound quality is very nice. Clean and clear, and not brittle. It doesn't have that metallic harshness of cheap stereo gear, for instance. For $150, you're talking studio-quality sound for the masses. Couple this with some world-class inexpensive mics like the Little Blondie and a lot of pros may be jealous that regular folk can compete with them.

The gain knob gets more sensitive as you turn it clockwise.

I recorded at 44.1, 48, 88.2 and 96 khz in stereo with two mics and Reaper and directly rendered all four recordings at the Extreme setting to a CD. The real key test is sound quality, and my findings are:

all 4 settings - the have the same basic timbre of sound.

44.1 khz - the higher frequencies are not that focused. This is a very common finding to me vis-a-vis digital in general, since a chief complaint about CDs is that the highs are unfocused, compared with the same LP (this is why some people like their old LPs). It's very smooth sounding, though. when I turn up the volume, it's still smooth, just louder.

48 khz - sounds slightly more focused than 44.1 khz, albeit a little less smooth, not surprising since the math to go from 48 to 44.1 is messy; 48 doesn't divide to 44.1 very well. It may be that the increased distortion makes your ear localize the distortion more.

88.2 khz - the highs are more focused now, the sound is more lifelike. It's as smooth as 44.1, and more smooth than 48 khz therefore.

96 khz - the midrange and highs seem more focused compared with 88 khz. Voices seem well localized in space, very lifelike. However, it's less smooth sounding that 88.2 khz. When I turn up the volume, it starts to hurt my ears slightly compared with 88.2. My guess is that the SRC (sample rate conversion) isn't perfect, probably because 96 doesn't divide into 44.1 well, and neither does 48 to 44.1, and some artifacts remain because the math isn't perfect (just like halving a 963 x 374 jpeg results in some jaggedness because of the rounding errors.

Since I find that most commercial CDs are quite harsh, I think I might record at 88.2 to maximize smoothness.

The unit doesn't seem to burn much electricity from USB. My laptop normally will run 6 hours on a charge; connecting the 2i2 or 2i4 makes it 5 hours, long enough to take everything into the field for a recording without a power cord. Now that's convenient!

As mentioned, I have both the 2i2 and 2i4. I like the latter since their output RCA jacks can be plugged into a stereo amp and out to speakers. This is what I do currently with my desktop computer, where the motherboard line out is connected to the amp. You would select the 2i4 as the output in the Sound settings in Control Panel of Windows. Unlike the mono direct monitoring of the input with zero latency in the 2i2, you get stereo sound in direct monitoring with the 2i4.

Tech support told me the current draw of the two units is about the same, about 480 mA if memory serves. This is in line with competing USB interfaces.

You may not need a super fast computer to make this interface run. I have have an old Vista laptop with a 1.8 ghz pentium 2, and it seems to work just fine. But beware that the drivers aren't certifi ed for Vista.

Although they're very attractive-looking units, if you're out in the field,the 2i2 is so small that some people might wonder if you can do serious recordings with such a tiny box (and the answer is "YES!"). The 2i4 is big enough to impress.

If you plug and unplug the headphones while recording, there will be a low-level clicking sound in the recording (I tested this by recording silence and plugging the phones in and out). But it may or may not be masked by the music, so to be on the safe side, plug the headphones in before the recording starts, and then don't touch it.

Preamp gain seems ample. Recording a smaller choir with piano with a Rode NT1A requires gain at about the two o'clock position (max. gain is at about the five o'clock position).

The pots are analog, so when you turn them, they can be a little scratchy. If you're only nudging them a bit during a recording session, you won't hear noise. The headphone pot is also a tiny bit scratchy.

All in all, I'm happy with my purchases. You should be too! Cheers!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on January 29, 2015
Size Name: 2 inputs (2 mic pres) / 2 outputsStyle Name: Interface OnlyVerified Purchase
Honestly I do not know what to say about this other than it works perfectly as described, was super easy to install and start using. I have been doing recording,mixing,mastering for years and have used everything from analogue consoles to a lot of Presonus digital equipment. I find the quality of Focusrite preamps to be some of the best I have ever heard. The construction quality is fantastic and the direct monitoring works perfectly. My use case for this right now is for live streaming and youtube. I also use it with teamspeak and other VOIP software. It just works. And everyone keeps complementing me on that awesome "AM radio" sound. I have NO post production done to the sound and my mic is a Shure B57Alpha dynamic mic.
I highly recommend this product and would buy it again.
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