Focusrite recently launched the fourth generation of their popular Scarlett USB audio interface line. This influential series offers personal and professional recording solutions ranging from basic 2-in/2-out setups to extensive multi-channel interfaces like the 18i20.
Three new models—the Solo, 2i2, and 4i4—directly replace their predecessors from the third generation. The Solo provides a straightforward option with one mic input, one line/instrument input, and two overall outputs. Stepping up, the 2i2 doubles the I/O while including two preamps for XLR microphones and lines. As the flagship, the 4i4 expands to four inputs (two mic, two line) and four outputs, plus MIDI connectivity.
All retain USB-C connectivity that is backward compatible with USB 2.0 ports. The 2i2 and 4i4 also incorporate an additional USB-C power socket since they require more power than the bus-powered Solo. External power supplies are included for computers lacking USB-C Focusrite implemented several technological improvements across the line. This includes 120dB dynamic range A/D conversion from RedNet and an enhanced headphone amplifier.
User experience upgrades involve slicker gain encoders and metering on the 2i2/4i4 models Notably, Air technology for virtually enhancing direct signals now offers two stages—presence or presence with added harmonic distortion optimized for electric guitars and basses. While the Solo applies Air solely to its mic input, the interfaces remain compact yet functional. Specs were also boosted on the higher-end 2i2 and 4i4 models. Their preamps offer a generous 69dB of gain, well-suited for low-output microphones. Further, auto gain and clip-safe options intelligently control levels in real-time or after brief analysis to avoid clipping. Although similar visually, Focusrite's new Scarlett USB interfaces showcase refined features, specifications, and mixing capabilities, making them worthy successors.
While any would suit basic recording, advanced users will appreciate the comprehensive options on the potent 2i2 and 4i4 models.