Focusrite Launches 2nd-Gen Scarlett USB Audio Interfaces

This morning Focusrite announced the second generation of their popular Scarlett USB audio interfaces. While the input / output count of each of the interfaces remains the same, this new generation of Scarlett USB audio interfaces boasts many improvements. Delivering Focusrite’s fastest USB performance yet, the new interfaces’ roundtrip latency measurements are as low as 2.74ms.*

Focusrite_Scarlett_2i4The next-gen Scarlett series includes six interfaces, as well as two “studio pack bundles,” ranging from the two-in, two-out, single mic preamp Scarlett Solo up to the rack-mounted 18 in / 20 out Scarlett 18i20. Interface improvements include new metal gain controls and more sleek red metal chassis. The latest Scarlett mic preamp now features a more even gain structure, and the instrument input has been completely redesigned with increased headroom for handling “even seriously hot” guitar pick-ups.

Focusrite have provided analog protection circuitry across both the inputs and the outputs, guarding the interfaces against unwanted power surges. The Scarlett range also now operates at sample rates up to 192kHz.


Focusrite Creative Pack. Following the announcement of an alliance between Focusrite and Avid, Scarlett second-generation interfaces will now also ship with Avid Pro Tools | First. Named Focusrite Creative Pack, the bundle features the free version of Pro Tools digital audio software, and 12 additional plug-ins, including the Eleven Lite for real-life guitar amp emulations and Tape Echo to bring the sound of classic analog delays to mixes. Focusrite and Avid will continue to collaborate closely to ensure that all new Scarlett interfaces are compatible with subsequent versions of Pro Tools, “providing the best possible user experience.” Also provided with the Focusrite Scarlett USB audio interfaces are Ableton Live Lite, Softube’s Time and Tone bundle, the Focusrite Red Plug-In Suite, 2GB of Loopmasters samples and more.

Key features of the new Focusrite Scarlett Range:

  • New Scarlett mic preamps with a more a linear gain structure for accurate setting of levels
  • “Class leading” conversion up to 24-bit / 192kHz and real world dynamic range up to 109dB
  • Super Low Latency lets you perform and record using effects in real time. No DSP required
  • Newly-designed Instrument inputs, designed to handle seriously hot pick-ups
  • Pro Tools | First Focusrite Creative Pack with 12 additional plug-ins
  • Enhanced Software, including Ableton Live Lite and Softube’s Time and Tone bundle
  • Mac and PC compatible, working with all major DAWs

Focusrite_Scarlett_2i2Availability. The bus-powered range of Scarlett 2nd generation interfaces is available immediately, with the Scarlett 6i6, 18i8 and 18i20 following later in June. The Scarlett range is Mac and PC compatible, working across all major DAWs.


For more information, visit the Focusrite website.

* According to Focusrite, “super-low round trip latency was measured at 2.74ms, working at 96kHz with a 32 samples buffer on Logic Pro X, running on a Mac Pro and OS 10.11.”


36 thoughts on “Focusrite Launches 2nd-Gen Scarlett USB Audio Interfaces

  1. even with these updates I still feel the behringer umc series is the better choice. better drivers and more for your money.

    1. Behringer? BETTER drivers?

      I’ve seen many people on the internets remarking that Focusrite have poor drivers in this series of products, but are they really THAT bad?

      Buy RME and buy peace of mind…

      1. i chose Behringer UMC over Focusrite and haven’t had any problems yet… that being said i’ve only tried with MacOSX and iOS (which don’t need specific drivers due to class compliance support). there’s about twice as much connectivity for less half the price on those … but hey, it’s Behringer, so it must be bad. maybe one day i’ll find out why?

        1. Are you suggesting that Behringer are better now? Have they improved enough to make them a solid recommendation in any segment of the market? I am not bashing them – typical defensive fanboyish response to assume that – but they have a chequered history. Once bitten twice shy.

          As for which RME product I’d recommend: the one that meets your needs, there are many of them. Keep in mind that firewire is on the way out though and firewire -> tb converters introduce latency.

          1. “Are you suggesting that Behringer are better now?”


            So, first let me say that I get where the Behringer criticism comes from. When I started my audio company I bought a ton of their gear because, well, how else could I afford 16 channels of compression and 8 channels of EQ and… you get the picture. It did not end well. Basically, my hope was that I could do a gig, make money, and trade in a piece of Behringer gear for something better, all before it broke.

            That said, Behringer started to make good mixers right around 2008. They were still making this good pro-end stuff while making their pro-sumer crap though. In recent years Behringer’s stuff has simply gotten awesome. They absorbed Midas, one of the best mixer companies on the planet, and have introduced those components into their gear, using combinations of Midas and Behringer DSP and processing with Midas pre-amps.

            The XR-18 is simply brilliant. Their interface was a little wonky in version 1, but the new updates are greatly improved, and there has never been a problem with performance. I’d say I’m putting about 6-10 hours per week on the XR-18 and have not hit a snag.

  2. I bought a Focuusrite sound card a few years ago and now I can’t use it as they stopped updating the software, leaving their customer with a useless piece of hardware.

    1. What OS/computer do you use? I bought the Scarlett 2.2 a few years back and (despite the slight latency through Cubase) it has worked fine on Windows 7 ever since.

  3. 4 comments and all about their poor software – this company is out of the soundcard market in 18 months… sad case of bad management.

    1. It seems to be systemic from the top down. I recently purchased a Novation UltraNova, which is a great little synth, but the software they ship with it is extremely poorly design, and riddled with bugs to the point of being unusable, at least on OS X. I’ve contacted them multiple times, sent many bug reports, logs, samples, etc. All I get in response is “Wow, that’s strange. We really care. Sorry”. Needless to say plugging a Novation UltraNova into a Focusrite 6i6 has been far from a functional or rewarding experience. Two flakey software collections that do not go great together.

    2. HAHAH are you kidding? Look at how long Behringer have been making gear. Plus, Focusrites issues started long ago with their Liquid Mix line of products.

  4. Dudes, tell me something… which is better: audio interface or a mixer? I have some gear (volcas, monotribe, monotron, sh-101), and i wanted to connect all my gear and record it on computer. As far as i see, audio interfaces have few connections and are interesting when you’re playing few things one at the time, right? When you have lots of stuff a mixer -> recorder (computer, in this case) is always preferable. Am i right? I’m more used to plugins not real hardware.

    What is the brand to avoid in the mixers business? i’m looking for something to endure and with 15/20’s channels. Something for the future. Suggestions?

    1. Take a look at the MOTU devices. I’m using the UltraLite for about 8 years now and it has performed outstanding. Great A/D converters, huge I/O options and if you still need more they have a pretty broad lineup to choose from, containing models which offer even more.

      I can really recommend them and encourage everyone looking at Focusrite or RME to take a closer look.

        1. Owned the 18i8 and as soon as i heard an apollo at 96khz it was a nobrainer and i sold it 5 days later for ~300us and immediately bought an apollo8. The most trusted sound engineer i know here in NYC told me “its all about the transients… If your A/D isnt on the upper tier (apollo, rme, etc) your limitting all of your beautiful analog synths”

          Now when i play my tracks out on the BIG system they aound incomparably better. Was almost like .there was a pillow over uour eara before with the focusrite!!! Its made specifically for guitarists, just for the record(read the website)

    2. Some big questions in there. An audio interface is for getting multiple channels of audio into your computer. A mixer is for mixing multiple channels of audio to a stereo mix. They are usually not considered either/or. Some interfaces can be stand alone mixers and some mixers provide an interface. if you want to track more than 2 instruments (or one stereo channel) at a time on a computer, you probably want an interface.

      1. So, in the end it would be something as: instruments -> mixer -> audio interface -> computer. is that?

      2. bigger mixers have direct outs and subgroups however, and you could connect a multichannel interface to each of those and still use the eqs and other facilities on the mixer.
        i recommend to read tweakz’ page on mixers which explains all that.

      3. That’s not true, it’s just generally true. Lots of digital mixers have multi-track output over USB. Good digital mixers have totally separate chips which handle plugins separately from the digital i/o, meaning that you can run the mixer capabilities and the audio interface capabilities simultaneously.

    3. As I mentioned above, I recommend the Behringer XR-18. The Midas pre-amps sound fantastic and it has 18 channels of inputs and outputs over USB. I have used the XR-18 to live mix 14 channels of audio while simultaneously using it as a sound card to record 14 channels of audio and send/receive midi, all while using its built-in FX. It’s extremely powerful and quite affordable.

      I can’t recommend the XR-16 which only has stereo over USB (save up and get the 18), but the XR-12 (which also only does stereo) is great AND cheap.

  5. Gotta get a positive word in here. I’ve been using 18i20 for three or four years now and (at the risk of jinxing myself), it’s worked perfectly well. It does it’s job in a straightforward manner and hasn’t caused me any hassle thus far.

    1. Saaaame. 3 years with the 18i20.

      I would have loved focusrite to introduce some similar technology to motu avb at a cheaper price.
      2 adat interface isnt enough for me
      But still nice bang for da bwuuk

  6. I’ve tried A LOT of different audio interface brands (under 1000 euros), and so far only RME and MOTU have been totally trouble free. For most companies, including Focusrite, updating your line-up of audio interfaces usually just means that the first generation on interfaces are abandoned in order to get people to buy the same thing twice. Kudos to MOTU for updating most of the drivers on their older interfaces (although the first gen Microbook was total crap).

    1. Did you have any audio or latency issues with the first gen Microbook, or was it just frustrating that it completely lacked knobs and buttons?

    2. MOTU had a fairly recent driver update for the first gen Microbook; did you have problems with it’s performance (audio, latency, etc) or the fact that it lacked knobs and buttons, etc?

  7. Still rocking my MOTU 828 mk1. Have had it so long, maybe it’s vintage now. Has been very dependable using it as a hobbyist musician/ electronic music producer in my home studio.
    I run all of my hardware synths, sound modules, and drum machines into a Tascam 16 channel 4 bus analog mixer. Each of the 4 busses go onto the MOTU, and I run instruments directly into the MOTU as needed.

  8. Using the 18i20 without problems for years. Yes latency could be better. The Focusrite Scarlett range is the only affordable Linux supported USB interface. The Presonus seems to have gotten problems recently on Linux. Not sure the Scarlett Linux compatibility is now broken now by this new update.

    Hoped to see a FR with US 3.x and a 2nd ADAT to go up to 24 Line/Mic I/O channels (even if it means 96Khz) . It did not happen., so just keep waiting perhaps until Thunderbold 3 or AVB… and don’t see the need for 192 Khz actually. That is sampling at about 10x the maximum frequency people can hear.

Leave a Reply