Focusrite Scarlett Interfaces: Red Hot Quality!
Focusrite are a huge name in the world of audio interfaces - they've been providing home recorders and studios with high-quality methods of getting their instrument or vocal recordings into their software for years.
While Focusrite have had this long history of quality, there was a slight issue for a fair amount of people in that Focusrite interfaces relied heavily on firewire connections - great for Mac users, but not so great for PC recorders. This meant that the flagship interfaces such as the Focusrite Saffire Pro 24 DSP or the Liquid Saffire 56 were off bounds to a lot of home studio enthusiasts unless they modded their PCs with a firewire card, and all but ruled out the Windows laptop crowd.
Focusrite took some steps to fix this issue by releasing the Focusrite Saffire 6 USB - an interface with all of the quality of the Saffire Pros, but with a handy USB connection that could be used by PC or Mac alike. Featuring two Focusrite mic pres, MIDI I/O and SPDIF connections, the Saffire 6 USB was priced attractively and solved a lot of bedroom musician woes.
A couple of issues remained, however. The Saffire 6 USB is powered by the computer and not by external adaptor, meaning that sometimes a powered USB hub is required if you're running several bits of USB-powered gear. As well as this, the higher-end, more versatile interfaces were still Firewire only. If you were looking for something with loads of inputs for whole band recording or something ultra-portable for recording on the go, you were still a bit stuck. That's when Focusrite released the incredible Scarlett series of interfaces, solving both of these problems. The Scarlett range consists of three different interfaces, each with different aims.
The Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 is the smallest and most portable interface that Focusrite offer, featuring a simple two-in two-out design with two Focusrite mic pre inputs and a Headphone socket on the front of the box and two jack outputs for studio monitors on the back. The 2i2 requires no external power supply and is palm-sized, making it ultra-light and ultra-portable.
The Focusrite Scarlett 8i6 is somewhat like a souped-up version of the Saffire 6 USB - it includes all of the features of the Saffire with a couple of added bonuses, namely two extra jack inputs on the back allowing up to four simultaneous instruments and two extra jack outputs for extra monitor setups. The Scarlett 8i6 is also powered by AC adaptor, avoiding any power conflicts.
The current flagship of the Scarlett series is the Focusrite Scarlett 18i6, which features the two Focusrite mic pres and a massive six jack inputs on the back for 8 simultaneous channels recording. The icing on the cake, however, is the addition of an Optical in ADAT port - meaning that the Scarlett 18i6 can be expanded by a further 8 channels using an extra channel strip such as the Focusrite Octopre Mk2 - meaning that you can record 16 channels simultaneously with up to 10 phantom powered mics and 6 line inputs. Perfect for a studio, home or otherwise, and the one that's on my personal shopping list!
Come on down to our flagship music store in Leicester and check out the Scarlett range today, and we'll be happy to help you select the right one for you!