Diamond in the Rough!

A Review On: Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 2 In/2 Out USB Recording Audio Interface

Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 2 In/2 Out USB Recording Audio Interface

Rated # 10 in Sound Cards
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Pros: Excellent price, with a great feature-set

Cons: Amplification somewhat lacking

I was looking for a USB soundcard/DAC that would allow me to control my monitors and headphones separately, and furthermore, one that offered balanced outputs (the monitors are a decent distance away from me, and are extremely sensitive to interference). The Scarlett 2i2 offers two inputs via XLR/TRS inputs, and two outputs (1/4" Headphone/Stereo on the front and balanced TRS on the back). For the inputs, you can choose Line-In or Instrument, which presumably allows for switching between line level and Hi-Z . There is also 48V phantom power switch that you can enable for microphones. Lastly, there is a "Direct Monitoring" switch which routes the inputs directly to the outputs, to eliminate any latency issues introduced by the USB interface.

On both Windows (8 x64) and Linux (kernel 3.5 x86) the drivers were correctly downloaded and applied automatically, although you can download the latest drivers from Focusrite's site. Also on there site is a collection of free VST plug-ins for your DAW for recording.

As far as sound quality goes, this thing is pretty darn close to my ODAC. But since this unit is powered via USB only, if you use high-impedance headphones, you might want to consider placing an amp between the phones and Scarlett. My 250-ohm Beyer DT990s require the volume knob to pretty much be maxed out. Even the monitors, active-powered KRK Rokits, were noticeably softer.

All in all, this unit is perfect for hobbyist audio recorders, audiophiles on a budget, and gamers alike.

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