Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 Studio mixer review

The second generation of Scarlett was released three years ago and made Focusrite one of the leaders in home audio recording because those interfaces are still at the top of sales. Since its foundation, the company has been distinguished by its attention to detail and the desire to comply with the moment, so the company decided to immediately release a new series, not forgetting the wishes of customers.

Personally, I regularly come across a line of these devices. I propose to talk about the compact Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 Studio, which is available today in the third generation of devices. In the future, I think I will prepare reviews of senior products of the updated series.

Focusrite Scarlett 2i2

Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 Studio
Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 Studio

Pros: stylish appearance, ease of connection, universally high sound quality, high quality components

Cons: sound distortion when recording at very high volume

grade: 4.7/5


Basic information and appearance

Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 Studio is a notable example of a universal solution for songwriters, podcasts, bloggers, and novice producers from the first generation. The new generation’s novelty supports sampling rate modes up to 24 bits 192 kHz, offers high-quality sound with a low level of sound delay of the signal and has improved technical characteristics.

The device case is red with a black front panel. The most important control is that the monitor volume is silver, and next to it is a separate volume control for headphones. Right on the front panel, you can find a pair of combined inputs, each of which is equipped with phantom power. These inputs can serve both as a microphone input and as an instrument input. The reverse side of the “box” is concise. Only the mini-USB port and two line outputs for monitors are located here. The case of the sound card itself is made of aluminum, which gives a special sense of style.

I will clarify again the specifics of the functional elements on the case now in the review. The FOCUSRITE SCARLETT 2i2 3rd Gen has on the front panel gain controls, INST / AIR / 48V / Direct Monitor buttons, a headphone volume control, and a general volume knob. As for the switching capabilities of the FOCUSRITE SCARLETT 2i2 3rd Gen, they are represented by two combined XLR / TRS inputs, a headphone output, a pair of TRS outputs for the studio monitors, and a USB-C port.

In summary, the quality of materials and workmanship is high, especially considering the affordable price. Ports, buttons, and controls in all models are made in good faith, and the interfaces themselves are packed in durable metal cases with plastic panels. The third generation holds the brand and in quality does not lag behind its predecessors.

Sound and features

Recording quality
Recording quality

The audio interfaces are notable for their low noise figure and compatibility with a large gain. The company has been making microphone preamps since 80s, so they managed to develop confidence and skill in creating the top devices of this niche, and the words always confirmed with the deed. Among the innovations, since the newest generation, the device has received the AIR mode, which additionally colors the sound in frequencies and makes it more detailed. Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 Studio is marked in practice by a very low level of delay with the ability to monitor the signal with original plugins in real-time using the direct monitor switch. USB-C is responsible for working with a computer, so the product will remain relevant for a long time. If you’ll find this review five years ago, it can be still useful.

Now there is also a Loopback function, previously available on premium devices. Loopback allows the user to combine stereo signals from any outputs or virtual channels using 2 virtual inputs. This feature is especially useful for podcasts, streams and sampling.

Focusrite Control allows person to set general parameters for summing signals, routing, synchronization, as well as Air settings. Also, users of audio card owners have access to Plug-in Collective – free virtual tools and discounts on plugins regularly, plus a lot of useful software. In such a situation, the device will become a bestseller and an excellent working tool for home recording, obviously.

Another important thing that is especially useful for beginners is the Quick Start option. In fact, this is an instruction on registration and an overview of complete virtual instruments, plug-ins, and samples. For many, this device could be the first tool, at least the first with such a rich set of features.

And the last thing of the review, Direct Monitor is useful for those who record sound from two microphones. The function now works in mono and stereo modes. Accordingly, you can hear exactly the picture that is transmitted to the interface, and without actual delay.


The manufacturer has done a lot of work on the third generation of its devices: driver stability, rich equipment, super-quality preamps, Air mode, which will surely gain popularity, and, most importantly, attention to a wide range of users. Affordable price is also valuable. If you work a lot in stereo and can find applications for the Air mode, then it is definitely worth upgrading to the newest generation. From the point of view of the economy, I recommend you to pay attention to bundle equipment with headphones and a microphone.

Features and specifications

  • Professional solution at an affordable price
  • Stylish design in aluminum case
  • A set of premium features previously available only in expensive premium solutions from the company
  • Access to free (or discounted) software and plugins
  • 20 – 20,000 Hz frequency range
  • 106 dB dynamic range
  • 1, 48, 88.2, 96, 176.4, 192 kHz sampling frequencies
  • A pair of combined (line / microphone / instrument) XLR / 6.3 mm inputs

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