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Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 Review

by Stuart Charles Black

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Hi friend and Welcome!

Before we get into the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 USB Audio Interface, grab a snack, sit back and relax because…

You’ve come to the right place!!

What I will bring you in this review

  • Ratings/Price
  • Specifications
  • Summary and Backstory
  • Value & Ease of Use
  • Sound
  • Build Quality
  • Easy to hook up!
  • Pros/Cons
  • Who this interface benefits?
  • Consensus/Conclusion

Focusrite Scarlett 2i2

Chillin’ in studio 🙂

Ratings/Price

Specifications

  • 2 in / 2 out USB audio interface. What does an audio interface do?
  • 96 KHz, 24-bit conversion
  • 2 Focusrite microphone preamplifiers
  • Red anodized aluminum unibody chassis

Front panel

  • 2 line/mic/instrument combination inputs – high quality XLR/¼” TRS Jack Combo. What is XLR?
  • 2 Line/Instrument switches
  • 2 Gain knobs
  • 2 Gain halo signal indicators
  • 48V Phantom power switch
  • Direct monitor switch
  • Large monitor level dial
  • USB Connection LED indicator
  • Headphone output – ¼” TRS Jack
  • Headphone level knob

Rear panel

  • 2 balanced monitor outputs – ¼” TRS Jack. TRS vs. TS
  • USB 2.0 Port
  • Kensington Lock slot

Summary and Backstory

The Scarlett 2i2 is a nice entry-level unit that oozes quality. I had a really bad experience with the M-Audio Fast Track pro in the past, and it really soured me on interfaces in general. I went years without even so much as a thought about one.

Then one day I decided to upgrade my studio and purchase the JBL LSR 305’s (after careful and exhaustive deliberation).

I didn’t have anything to power them, however, and once again it was back to the internet to scour every page I could in hopes of coming to a conclusion.

What was that conclusion?

To find the best and most affordable audio interface. I didn’t really have a budget other than I didn’t want to fork over my arms and legs. Lol.

I can say without a doubt that the Focusrite 2i2 has met and surpassed all of my expectations.

Is it over-hyped? Yeah, it has gotten a lot of attention over the last couple of years. BUT IT’S AN EXCELLENT PRODUCT. That’s why it gets all of the buzz and attention. Other people don’t seem to get it. But I know you will after I’m done here.

Value & Ease of Use

The Scarlett 2i2 may be the best value out there in terms of price to performance ratio. My initial investment now seems like an afterthought. It’s a little workhorse machine, a tank disguised as a supermodel if you will. 😛

Sound

Obviously, the interface itself doesn’t emanate any sound. But paired with a good set of studio monitors and you will hear what it’s capable of. It’s quiet and powers my JBL’s with ease.

It’s also a breeze to set up and is almost instantly recognized by your computer.

paired with the 2i2.

I use it with my Samson CO1 microphone, as well as my Audio Technica AT2020. There’s a convenient 48v phantom button on the front which indicates that the mic has received juice. It turns red and looks pretty slick in the dark.

Aesthetic aside, microphones in general sound really good with this unit, even with the gain set at 50%. Every mic is different, so experiment with the level until you hit that sweet spot!

My C01 is so old that even at 95% it still doesn’t quite sound loud enough. I’m not really sure if it’s because I’ve had the mic since 2007, or the XLR cable needs replacement (it’s also 10 years old), but I’m willing to bet that the mic is worn out. What is XLR? Why? Because my newer AT2020 sounds plenty loud with the gain turned up. Who knows. 😛

Build Quality

This is where the Scarlett 2i2 shines (no pun intended). It’s got a nice aesthetic but also sports an efficient and rugged build. It’s heavy enough to keep your mind at ease, but also light enough for portable use.

The buttons and knobs feel pretty solid, and I never got the impression that I purchased a unit made from cheap or poorly designed materials. The volume knob is my favorite. It’s nice and big, and I really do enjoy turning it. Lol.

There’s also a headphone jack that supports a 1/4″ adapter. It’s nice and convenient to be able to switch from mixing live on monitors, back to headphones for a bit of reference.

Easy to hook up!

So you want to pair it with some studio monitors? All you need is: Well all you need is love Lol, but for our purposes:

Pros

  • Great value.
  • The price to performance ratio is remarkable.
  • This unit is built to last like Duralast.
  • Very quiet and pairs nicely with The JBL’s.
  • Also pairs well with a variety of affordable microphones.
  • Records acoustics very nicely.
  • Build quality is solid.
  • Flexibility. Combo units enable TS (instrument cable) as well as XLR (microphone, etc.)

Cons

  • Static can be heard when turning up and down the volume. No effect on the sound.

Who this interface benefits?

  • Those looking to record guitar.
  • Those looking to record vocals.
  • Those looking to pair this with a nice set of studio monitors.
  • Those looking for exceptional value.
  • Those who are new to home recording and need an affordable, reliable solution to their dilemma.

Consensus/Conclusion

I have nothing but good things to say about this puppy. The build is solid, it looks great in the studio, it’s quiet, and it powers my monitors with no problems. My computer also recognized it immediately upon hook up, and there hasn’t been one driver issue or malfunction since I purchased it. I record vocals with it beautifully as well.

9/22/17 Update: I was having an issue with it but downloaded the latest driver and I think it fixed the problem. *Fingers crossed*

In the open I talked about bad times with the M-Audio Fast track pro. My experience with the Scarlett 2i2 has fortunately been the complete opposite! Highly recommended.

 


Well that’s about it for today my friend! I hope you gained some insight on the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 USB 2 audio interface! If you have any questions or would like me to clarify something, please Contact me!!

Also what do you think about this unit? Does it seem like a good value? Let me know as well down below!!

All the best and God bless,

 

 

-Stu

[Xtr@Ba$eHitZ]

Be sure to check out my Reviews and Resources page for more helpful and informative articles!

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Focusrite Scarlett 2i2

5

Value

5.0/5

Sound

5.0/5

Build Quality

5.0/5

Ease of use

5.0/5

Pros

  • Great Value
  • Durable and Solid
  • Extremely Versatile
  • Easy to Use

Cons

  • Potentiometer Fuzz when turning knob at times

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16 comments

David Snodgrass January 1, 2015 - 9:40 pm

your review is entertaining and well done

Reply
Stu January 1, 2015 - 9:50 pm

Thanks David!

Reply
K January 1, 2015 - 10:02 pm

What a great website. You really know what you’re talking about, and the way you write is user friendly!

Reply
Stu January 1, 2015 - 10:17 pm

Thanks Kylie!! I appreciate your feedback 🙂
-Stu

Reply
Sarah January 1, 2015 - 10:05 pm

I like that: a little tank disguised as a super model. Really gives quite a metaphor.

Reply
Stu January 1, 2015 - 10:16 pm

Haha I’m trying to be colorful and lively.. It’s really fun! 😀 Thanks for the comment too. 🙂
-Stu

Reply
Lis January 1, 2015 - 11:04 pm

Some recording devices can give off a irritating persistent humming sound. So it is great that manufactures are learning how to quieten them down. Great article. Lis.

Reply
Stu January 1, 2015 - 11:12 pm

Yes the fast track pro was notorious for that as well as terrible driver issues (which grandma WOULD have trouble with) LMAO. Thanks for the love!
-Stu

Reply
Cindy January 1, 2015 - 11:19 pm

Very educational, and entertaining with it.

Reply
Stu January 1, 2015 - 11:27 pm

Thanks Cindy!

Reply
Rapper S.K September 23, 2017 - 9:12 pm

Classic review friend

Reply
Stuart Charles Black September 24, 2017 - 2:11 am

Thank you kind sir! If you ever need anything just contact me!
Blessings,
-Stu

Reply
John E. June 15, 2018 - 6:43 am

Stu, thanks for all your articles! Very informative and honest. You clearly state your product experience behind your opinions.

As for the volume knob scratchiness, I recommend you contact Focusrite and ask them what kind of contact cleaner to use on the pot and if it’s sealed or not. Whether you can just remove the knob and spray into it, or, remove the case to spray it, either way, should be a quick easy solution.

Reply
Stuart Charles Black June 15, 2018 - 7:16 pm

Thanks for the love John! I’ve found that having the 2i2 for almost four years now hasn’t resulted in any adverse effects from that scratchiness so I kind of just ignore it. I almost don’t even notice it anymore because my brain has blocked it out lol.

Reply
stanley August 9, 2018 - 4:52 pm

I am setting up a studio in which i will use a MIDI keyboard. I hear the 2i2 has no MIDI intake slot. what do u recommend I do?

Reply
Stuart Charles Black August 11, 2018 - 1:26 am

Hey Stanley!

I would go with the 2i4 as it has MIDI ins/outs. Let me know if that helps!!

Reply

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