MnG Reviews - Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 (3rd gen)
The perfect interface for travelling light as well as minimal home studio setups.
The Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 3rd Gen is the perfect interface for travelling light as well as minimal home studio setups. It’s a no fuss 2 in 2 out unit that is well built and offers excellent performance for a small price tag. Having worked in studios purpose built for the ‘laptop producer’ generation, I frequently saw clients bringing in their own portable interfaces and the Focusrite Scarlett range was one of the most popular. I have no doubt that some great records have been recorded on these units whether in the hotel room or on a tour bus.
While mixing at home I was struggling with the performance of my headphones while working out of the Apple Mac headphone output. After plugging in the Scarlett and working on it’s own built in headphone output I noticed how I could hear much more depth and a clearer sound stage in my mixes, allowing me to more clearly place objects in the mix and this allowed for better translation when I played my mixes on different systems. This shows the excellent quality of the converters used in this unit.
In record, the unit also functions extremely well. I often use the instrument input with guitars and basses going straight in and find there is more than enough clean gain for this. The instrument input sounds clean and transient with ample headroom.
The microphone input works well with dynamic and condenser microphones, however having a maximum 56dB of gain available is not quite enough for me when using ribbon microphones on quiet acoustic sources.
The unique ‘Air’ option on each preamp is Focusrite's emulation of their own ISA One preamp. When engaged the mic pre’s deliver a noticeably brighter and more open sound. This is great for vocals, guitars, and just about every instrument. In use I find it really brings the sound forward and projects out from the speaker more however if I were to use it on every element of a song It may become too bright and one dimensional so I would tread carefully when using this.
Notable Features and Build Quality
|USB C port - It ships with a USB C to standard USB3 cable. This new standard allows for ultra low latency monitoring.||Phantom power - although it would be nice to have a seperate control on each preamp for phantom power switching.|
|Direct monitoring for even further low latency monitoring options||‘Air’ option on both mic pre’s (including instrument inputs)|
The build quality is very sturdy and robust, the outer casing seems very solid and all the buttons and knobs have an ‘expensive’ feel to them.
|+ Small, Lightweight, Portable||- 56dB maximum gain could be too low for some applications|
|+ Excellent quality converters for the price|
|+ Air mic pre setting performs very well|
|+ Low latency monitoring options|
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