Focusrite’s classic Scarlett 2i2 USB Audio interface has a brilliant blend of I/O options and price, which makes it one of the world’s top-selling interfaces. From the third-gen, the 2i2 features direct stereo monitoring. The 2i2 allows you to simultaneously record and playback up to two channels, with independent headphone and monitor outputs.
The 2i2 is suited for singer-songwriters, travelling musicians, keyboard players and vocalists, and home recording. You can upgrade to the 4i4 and 8i6 for more I/O connections, or for more professional applications, there’s also the 18i8 and 18i20.
The 2i2 can either come with just the interface or as part of the “Studio Pack”, which is very handy for budding producers that are looking for a package that provides you with the tools you need to kick start your studio setup. It includes a pair of HP60 MkIII closed-back headphones, a CM25 MkIII large-diaphragm condenser, a mic stand attachment and a three-meter XLR cable. What’s advantageous about the included condenser mic is that, compared to a dynamic microphone, it’s a lot better at picking up the nuance and detail of your audio sources.
In the unlikely event your interface lets you down, all brand-new Scarletts come with a three-year warranty from Focusrite and their support team is friendly and knowledgeable.
The Clarett 2Pre USB is effectively the premium 2i2 and is worth considering if you’re looking at upgrading or have a bit more in your budget. Whilst the Clarett 2Pre USB has a similar look and form factor to the 2i2, it’s a step up in virtually every way - with a more versatile I/O configuration that includes ADAT and MIDI, stereo Loopback functionality, superior latency performance, two additional outputs and the specially-designed Clarett Preamps. Focusrite claims these are the finest preamps that they’ve built into a USB interface, with a wider dynamic range that emphasises quieter signals and tames louder ones.