Choosing the right audio interface takes a lot of research! There’s tons of new terminology to the starter-producer, and getting your head wrapped around how things work – and what they’re supposed to be used for – is tough!
With that said, is the Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 worth the money? Is what people say on forums about their awesome pre-amps really true?
The short answer, yes. The Scarlett 2i4 really impressed me with its build quality, smooth integration with my DAW, and solid pre-amps!
But, in my honest opinion.. I feel the price-point of the 2i4 is a bit too much for what is offered, when comparing to other audio interfaces in the same price range.
If you are wondering how the audio was recorded, I used an Audio Technica 2035, and simply recorded directly into the Focusrite Scarlett 2i4, using Audacity to record my audio.
The Scarlett 2i4 allows for lots of flexibility by itself in its connections:
- 2 Combo Inputs – Plug in your microphones or instruments to record!
- Your regular 48V phantom power
- AMAZING halo lights as indicators of your volume level
- A Pad button to cut the signal down when it’s just too loud no matter what volume you dial in
- A decent headphone amp
- One pair of MIDI INs / OUTs
- The ability to have two different audio signals routing through it (1-2 and 3-4)
The halo lights are really something cool to see, and work with!
What Kind of Recording?
If you’re a home-studio beatmaker wanting to record over your beats, this may be a great option for you.
It has two high-quality inputs to record one microphone and an instrument, or two microphones at a time etc.
But, if you are the type of producer using analog gear to experiment with different routing combinations.. the Scarlett 2i4 may hold you back in terms of connections, taking up your inputs if you want to record with a mic/instrument!
Sure you can always unplug stuff to record, but it’s just nice to have things set up without having to unplug connections.
The Scarlett 2i4 Price-Point
As of writing this, Oct. 18 – 2014, you can buy the Scarlett 2i4 for around $200.
The Scarlett 2i4 is built with a real nice red chassis, powerful pre-amps for recording, and indicating halo lights that ACTUALLY WORK WELL!
All the knobs feel awesome, except the main volume and headphone volume knobs. (The main/headphone knobs are plasticy feeling, but not cheap feeling either! – The knobs for recording input have a nice rubbery feel to them.)
But besides build quality, which is very good, it is lacking input connectivity when compared to other brands in this range, but Focusrite is still charging the same price as if it has 4 inputs, like the M-Audio Fast Track Pro does!
In my opinion, you could probably get just the 2i2! (Or, look towards the 6i6 which gives more connections, and provides all the goodies of the 2i4.)
With your purchase of the Scarlett 2i4, and I think as well as the 2i2, you get some free stuff!
You get Focusrite’s “Scarlett Plug-in Suite” – which in my opinion, the GUI (the way the software looks), is very out dated.
In all honesty, when using the Scarlett plugins, it made me want to switch to even the most basic FL Studio plugins. So even though it’s free.. I do not feel it’s something to add value to your purchase.
Overall, the Verdict:
Is the Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 worth your money!?
In my opinion, yes because it does the job of an audio interface great. But comparing to other brands, it’s a bit over-priced.
You can easily get away with the Scarlett 2i2 if you don’t need RCA, the extra set of outputs, or need MIDI connectivity.
The 2i4 feels like the in-between product where you still pay a good penny, but all restrictions are not lifted, if that makes sense!
The 2i4 also has a mix knob feature, allowing you hear yourself better when recording, which the 2i2 does not, but in my opinion, I NEVER USE THIS! I find it drains out the song, and if at best.. is a “compromise” to help hear yourself better while turning down the music your recording to!
All in all, the Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 – although over-priced – is a solid product and will definitely allow for really high quality performances!
Just do some research before purchasing, because maybe investing an extra $50-$100 may be worth it to get the model up. Or, saving you $50-100 for the features you don’t need.