Apparently the Focusrite Scarlett range of audio interfaces are the number one selling interfaces in the world. Not one to rest on their laurels, Focusrite have just announced a complete overhaul of these popular interfaces.
Second generation Scarlett
The first and most important improvement is to the USB performance. It’s probably less well known that Focusrite also hold the number one spot for some of the poorest performing USB drivers in the world. They always worked fine enough but struggled at low latencies to the point where you could plug in an interface from a different manufacturer and suddenly be able to run a load more tracks, effects and instruments. Focusrite have demonstrated recently with the Clarett range that they are totally capable of producing world-class audio drivers and so it’s very pleasing to see this filter down to their USB range.
The microphone preamp has been improved, featuring a more even gain structure for accurate level setting, and the instrument input has been redesigned to give more headroom to handle hotter guitar pickups. Both the inputs and outputs are protected from power surges by analogue protection circuitry. And the converters can now operate at sample rates up to 192kHz.
The overall look remains largely the same but with a new metal chassis and metal gain controls, again probably inspired by the Clarett. There are 6 models in total which range from the simple Scarlett Solo with one mic and one line/instrument input up to the 18i20 with 8 mic preamps, ADAT and S/PDIF.
Included with each interface is a copy of Avid Pro Tools First which follows on from the well publicised Avid and Focusrite alliance. Although, as Pro Tools First is free to anyone, it doesn’t sound like Focusrite got a particularly good deal, but you do get a bunch of stomp box effects. You also get Ableton Live Lite, Softube’s Time and Tone bundle, the Focusrite Red plugin suite and 2GB of Loopmasters samples which sounds a lot more useful.
The three little ones are available now with the bigger three to follow at the end of June for both OSX and Windows. Pricing starts from £89.99 for the Solo, £119.99 for the 2i2, £159.99 for the 2i4, £199.99 for the 6i6, 279.99 for the 18i8 and at the top the 18i20 is £399.99 and that’s all bloody good value.
More information available on the Focusrite Scarlett product page.