British manufacturer Focusrite has enjoyed enormous success with its affordable range of USB Scarlett audio interfaces. From home and project studios to radio stations and anyone who needs a simple to use and reliable audio interface with good microphone preamps, the Scarlett range was the epitome for “good-enough” studio equipment from a respected brand. Now in its 3rd Generation, Focusrite updated the interface itself to USB 3.1 and using a USB-C connector and matched updated 24-bit audio circuits so they’ll sound better than ever.
According to Focusrite, the new range features six configurations of ins and outs with the best performing Scarlett mic preamps the range has ever heard, now with Air, high headroom instrument inputs, and high-performance AD/DA converters. Simply put, the 3rd generation of Scarlett USB interfaces takes everything a step further.
Focusrite has been making mic preamps for 30 years, and the 3rd Gen microphone preamplifier is “the best Scarlett ever experienced,” according to the brand. Able to record up to 24-bit/192kHz and adding increased dynamics (measured according to the AES17 standard, which evaluates the complete audio-chain and not only the chip specifications), the Focusrite Air circuit adds unique high-end detail. Basically, the upgraded mic preamps can reproduce the Air effect of Focusrite’s original ISA mic preamp, giving vocals and acoustic music a brighter and more spacious sound.
Like the previous series, the 3rd generation of Focusrite’s best-selling interface range includes I/O configurations to suit almost any situation. The range starts with the simple Solo one-channel preamp interface and evolves with the two-channel 2i2, 4i4, 8i6, and 18i8, all the way to the 1U rackmount 18i20, which offers 8 preamps, and a total of 18 inputs and 20 outputs. The new 4i4 and 8i6 models add more line I/O vs the 2nd Gen 2i4 and 6i6.
Also as with the previous series, Focusrite keeps the Solo and 2i2 Studio Packs, now with updated interfaces, complemented with the Scarlett HP60 MkIII headphone and CM25 MkIII condenser microphone included – perfect for anyone who just wants to start recording.
The complete new 3rd generation Scarlett series is complemented with Focusrite’s Quick Start tool, which speeds users through registration and setting up software and drivers. Since the new units now support faster USB 3.1 data interfaces, the latency is even lower, allowing users to record and monitor everything in real time, even when using their favourite plug-ins. Also, the fact that the interfaces use the latest USB Type-C connection means that they can be used with modern computers without adapters and can be powered directly by the USB connection, for portable applications. Anyone still using an old computer with an old USB A connector just needs to use the supplied USB-C to USB-A cable.
As Focusrite details, the new Scarlett range received updated audio circuits, starting with instrument inputs with improved headroom, additional line-level inputs for flexible recording setups, and balanced TRS outputs to eliminate speaker hum. All interfaces feature intuitive monitoring panels, using Focusrite’s intuitive gain controls and input levels meters, making it easy to get distortion-free recordings. And very important, all interfaces are supported by the Focusrite Control apps, allowing to route audio, cue mixes, loopback and monitor mixes, from a Mac, PC, iPad, iPhone or iPod touch.
On top of Scarlett’s new features, all Scarlett interfaces come with a whole range of software tools including “lite” versions of music software such as Ableton Live Lite or Pro Tools First Focusrite Creative Pack, and there’s a free three-month Splice Sounds subscription (for loops), XLN Audio Addictive Keys virtual instruments, the excellent Focusrite Red Plug-in Suite that accurately models the brand’s classic Red 2 equalizer and Red 3 compressor, and finally the Softube Time & Tone Bundle, which includes reverb, delay and distortion plug-ins, and an an easy-to-use mastering tool.
Every interface also comes with a two-year warranty and membership of the Focusrite Plug-In Collective, offering regular free software downloads and generous discounts.
Visit focusrite.com for more information.