The Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 USB Audio interface, and its bigger brother the Focusrite Scarlett 2i4, are a great way into Focusrite-quality sound recording at an affordable price.

These little boxes are truly portable USB audio interfaces. They take their power from the USB cable so in theory you could take one and your laptop on battery power and record anywhere. In practice you’ll probably want to plug your laptop to the mains so that you don’t lose power mid-take but at least it’s one less plug in your setup to worry about.
Focusrite Scarlett 2i2
Both models come with Focusrite microphone preamps, +48v switches to power condenser microphones and a direct monitor function. What that means is you’ll capture a great sound through the preamp as you record, you’ll be able to use a decent condenser microphone without having to carry another power supply for it, and when you are recording you’ll hear the sound you’re making directly in your headphones without that annoying time lag that can happen when recording to computer.

It’s worth mentioning the quality of construction – both come in a very smart anodised aluminium casing which is lightweight but very strong – the input meters are built into the surround of the Gain controls which looks cool and is a great way of squeezing the most out of the limited front panel space. In fact all the knobs and controls are of much higher quality than you would expect at this price point.

Recording quality is superb on both units with 24 Bit convertors, even using pretty modest equipment you’re going get crystal clear results with little in the way of background noise or “colour”.

What’s the difference between the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 and the Focusrite Scarlett 2i4?

The main difference between the 2i2 and 2i4 is pretty straightforward. You get two more outputs on the 2i4. No prizes for guessing that.

Other differences are that the 2i4 includes pad switches on the inputs to give you some clipping headroom, esp useful for D.I.-ing electric guitars with hot pickups or mic-ing drums, and MIDI i/o so you can link with MIDI keyboards, drum machines and so on.

If you want to buy the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 or Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 then we’ve created a few bundles for you to save you some cash. Just add laptop.

Focusrite Scarlett Studio Computer Recording Bundle
Includes Focusrite Scarlett 2i2, Cubase, Mic, Cable & Headphones.
And get a Red 2 & 3 plugin completely free

SE Electronics Magneto Mic, Reflection filter, Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 and Konig Meyer Mic Stand Bundle
Includes Focusrite Scarlett 2i4, SE Electronics Magneto Mic & RF-X filter and mic stand
Separately worth £265.99 – save over £40 if you buy the bundle!

Rode NT1a pack, Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 and Konig Meyer Mic Stand Bundle
Includes Focusrite Scarlett 2i4, Rode NT1-A Microphone w/ Suspension Mount, Pop Filter, Cable and mic stand
Separately worth £341.99 – save just under £50 if you buy the bundle!

Lastly, this video gives a good overview of the 2i4 in action: