FocusriteScarlett 2i4 Review – The Big Guns

4.1 out of 5 stars

Focusrite’s Scarlett audio interface collection is fairly extensive, with models ranging from entry-level devices to premium interfaces for professional studios. However, for quality home recording, the low mid-range Scarlett 2i4 proves one of our favorite sub-$200 audio interfaces on the market in 2018. Worth taking a closer look? We think so!

FocusriteScarlett-2i4-Design

Design

When it comes to the design of the Scarlett Series, there’s a similar theme running throughout the collection – red! These devices prove very eye-catching and, providing you don’t have an aversion to bright red, you will be pleased to have this sitting on your desk. With a bright red aluminum chassis, a black control panel, and red and green highlights on the controls themselves, it’s a very attractive interface and feels a little different to many of the others.

Standing at 8.27” wide and 5.43” deep, it’s still a portable interface, and comes across as a tough little machine. Nothing you’d be afraid of chucking into a backpack to take on the road. Finally, the I/O options and controls are quite standard in their setup, with inputs on the front and outputs on the back.

FocusriteScarlett-2i4-Features

Features

With aesthetics covered, let’s move onto what can make or break an audio interface – the features! Firstly, the hardware in the USB-powered Scarlett 2i4 is very solid. The list starts with two award-winning mic preamps, which really impress as they are found in devices across the Scarlett Series – even higher-end models. Then we have the second-generation class-leading A/D converters, capable of reaching 192kHz resolution with no noticeable latency.

One of the Scarlett 2i4’s defining features are its four outputs in the back, which make this device a very versatile interface indeed. You get a quad RCA cluster and a dual balanced 1/4” TRS, as well as MIDI I/O options (and don’t forget the headphone jack).

At the front, you have a similar setup to the lower-priced Scarlett 2i2, with two combined TRS/XLR inputs, each with their own chunky gain controls. However, you also have the addition of attenuation pads on each input channel, a stereo/mono switch, and a source select switch for headphones monitoring. Throw in a good haul of software, including Ableton Live Lite and an extensive library of included plugins and effects, and the Scarlett 2i4 should be a tempting prospect.

Performance

It’s not just a pretty face as the performance on offer with the Scarlett 2i4 is consistent and very versatile. The mic preamps deliver a well-balanced sound that is clean and surprisingly transparent, while the instrument lines are just as impressive – plug in a guitar with even the most aggressive pair of active pickups and you’ll still get a pristine result. If you are into recording guitars, this interface is a solid option, with Focusrite having established their authority in this market for a long time.

Conclusion

At the end of the day, Focusrite’s Scarlett 2i4 is another winning addition to the Scarlett family, which brings a tangible upgrade compared to the entry-level 2i2. It’s reliable, consistent and has been proven countless times – for home studios and guitarists in particular, this audio interface is a sensible option.

For more info about the FocusriteScarlett 2i4, click here.
For more Audio Interfaces Under $200 you might like, click here.


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