Focusrite has launched the 3rd generation of its successful Scarlett audio interfaces. The new lineup comprises the Focusrite Scarlett Solo, Scarlett 2i2, Scarlett 4i4, Scarlett 8i6, Scarlett 18i8, and Scarlett 18i20. Among other improvements, the microphone preamps now feature a new “Air” mode. Here’s what’s new.
Scarlett, the next generation
Focusrite says that the 3rd generation Scarlett interfaces are characterized by high gain values and low noise. As before, the interfaces record at up to 192 kHz / 24 bit, and feature fast USB drivers with low latency. The microphone preamps come with 48V phantom power. Take a closer look, and you’ll notice a new button labeled “Air” for each mic input. This activates a mode that emulates the roomy, airy sound of the ISA mic preamps, according to Focusrite.
The loopback feature allows you to combine stereo material with any hardware inputs or software playback channels, using two virtual inputs. That’s convenient for podcasts, live streaming, or sampling, among other things.
As always, the new Scarlett audio interfaces come with a nice software bundle:
- Ableton Live 10 Lite
- Pro Tools First Focusrite Creative Pack
- Softube Time and Tone bundle
- Focusrite Red plug-in suite
- One XLN Audio Addictive Keys instrument of your choice
As the owner of a new Focusrite Scarlett interface, you’ll also get a Focusrite Plug-in Collective membership. According to Focusrite, this gives you access to free software and exclusive offers every two months. The sample distributor Splice throws in free access for three months when you open a new account.
The Focusrite Scarlett interfaces come with different input and output configurations. You can check out the exact specifications of each interface by clicking on the links below.
Scarlett Solo now features balanced TRS outputs. This effectively eliminates hissing and humming noises, when you connect speakers with balanced inputs.
The Scarlett 4i4 replaces the Scarlett 2i4 and adds two additional fixed line inputs. This lets you do cue mixing, or route audio to external effects, among other things.
The Scarlett 8i6 takes the place of the Scarlett 6i6. Like the 4i4, this interface features two fixed-line inputs more than its predecessor, for connecting several synthesizers or external FX processors.
The Scarlett 18i8 features ALT speaker switching for dual monitor setups.
The Scarlett 18i20 comes with a talkback function, including an on-board microphone. This interface has dual ADAT connectors, which allow you to expand your setup with up to eight additional channels by adding an external A/D converter / mic preamp like the Focusrite Scarlett OctoPre.
Looking at the new Scarlett interfaces, I think that we can expect them to continue to perform very well. The Focusrite Scarlett series has always delivered great value. And if you’re just starting out, you might want to take a look at the two starter bundles that Focusrite is offering: Scarlett Solo Studio and Scarlett 2i2 Studio. These include a CM25 MkIII condenser microphone, HP60 MkIII headphones, and a microphone cable. That’s a nice package for your first recording setup, or podcasts, for example.
Prices and availability
The new Focusrite Scarlett series is available today. The prices begin at USD 108 / GBP 101 for the Scarlett Solo. The Scarlett 18i20 costs USD 567 / GBP 534.
Thomann product pages (affiliate links)
- Focusrite Scarlett Solo 3rd gen
- Focusrite Scarlett Solo Studio 3rd gen
- Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 3rd gen
- Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 Studio 3rd gen
- Focusrite Scarlett 4i4 3rd gen
- Focusrite Scarlett 8i6 3rd gen
- Focusrite Scarlett 18i8 3rd gen
- Focusrite Scarlett 18i20 3rd gen