Packed with everything your recording studio needs the Focusrite Scarlett 18i20 has enough inputs/outputs and features to track drums in one session and record guitars and vocals in the next.
With a whopping 18 ins and 20 outs, and eight microphone preamps, all with switchable phantom power, recording just got a whole lot easier and quicker, especially with the interface’s 24-bit/96kHz Analogue-Digital/Digital-Analogue converters picking up every nuance and delivering it in pristine quality. The Focusrite Scarlett 18i20’s analogue mic/line inputs are versatile in their design with XLR/jack combo input sockets. Channel 1 & 2 connections are front facing, and offer additional Hi-Z instrument modes and a switchable 10dB pad. Provided via the ADAT lightpipe, the audio interface also has eight channels of digital I/O, or four channels at 88.2/96kHz, with S/PDIF you also have an extra stereo digital input and output.
Pushing what the Focusrite Scarlett 18i20 Audio Interface is capable of, you can use the ADAT port to inflate the number of preamps to 16 (with the OctoPre MkII or OctoPre MkII Dynamic)! The unit also has two independent headphone outputs to separate mixes between the engineer and performer, and this is alongside a monitoring section for your studio monitors.
The Focusrite Red 2 and 3 plugins
These new plug-ins are accurate models of Focusrite’s renowned classics the Red 2 equaliser and Red 3 compressor units which are prized and renowned fixtures in professional recording studios the world over. Now, the Red 2 & Red 3 Plug-in Suite lets you exploit the famous natural sound of the originals conveniently from within your DAW of choice including Cubase, Ableton, Logic and Pro Tools.
The plug-ins faithfully reproduce the sonic qualities of the hardware. The Red 2 EQ is a sweet sounding 6-band design, with high/low pass filters,high/low frequency shelves, as well as fully parametric low-mid and high-mid frequency bands. The Red 3 compressor is a VCA compressor design, excellent for natural sounding dynamic control of drums, bass, vocals, and acoustic instruments.
Along with the award-winning preamps of the Focusrite Scarlett 18i20 and excellent A-D/D-A conversion, the interface offers a dynamic range of 108dB, USB 2.0 audio streaming, and compatibility with both Mac/PC and all major DAWs. The interface also includes Scarlett Mix Control & the Scarlett VST/AU/RTAS Plug-in Suite.
Manufacturer Focusrite Model Scarlett 18i20 Dimensions (H x W x D) 130 x 470 x 244 mm Weight 2.4kg Connectivity Inputs
- Mic/line analogue: 8 x Combi XLR - Including 2 instrument inputs
- S/PDIF: 2 x RCA Phono
- ADAT: 8 x Optical Lightpipe - 4 channels via SMUX 2 96kHz
- MIDI: 16 x 5pin DIN Connector
- Line analogue: 2 x 1/4" TRS Jack - Dedicated monitor outputs
- Line analogue: 8 x 1/4" TRS Jack - 4 outputs (7/8 & 9/10) are also available via the 2 independently controlled, stereo headphone ¼” Jack on the front panel
- S/PDIF: 2 x RCA Phono
- ADAT: 8 x Optical Lightpipe - 4 channels via SMUX @ 96 kHz
- MIDI: 16 x 5pin DIN Connector
Included Software Scarlett Xcite+ Pack Scarlett Plug-in Suite Digital Performance A-D Dynamic Range 109 dB A-weighted (all inputs) D-A Dynamic Range 108 dB A-weighted (line outputs) Supported sample rates 44.1 kHz, 48 kHz, 88.2 kHz A 96 kHz Clock jitter 250 picoseconds Microphone Inputs Frequency Response 20 Hz ± 0.5 dB, 20 kHz ± 0.1 dB (min. gain) THD+N 0.001% (1 kHz, –1dBFS, 20 kHz BW) Noise EIN –122 dBu CCIR-RMS (measured at 60 dB of gain with 150 ohm termination) Maximum input level +8 dBu (without pad) Line Inputs Frequency Response 20 Hz – 20 kHz ± 0.1 dB THD+N 0.007% (1 kHz, –1dBFS, 20 kHz BW) Noise (NiPoS) –105 dBFS CCIR-RMS (measured at min. gain with 50 ohm termination) Maximum input level +28 dBu Instrument Inputs Frequency Response 20 Hz – 20 kHz ± 0.1 dB THD+N 0.007% (1 kHz, –1dBFS, 20 kHz BW) Noise (NiPoS) –103 dBFS CCIR-RMS (measured at min. gain) Maximum input level +8 dB (without pad) Line Outputs 1 and 2 Maximum Output Level (0 dBFS) +16 dBu, balanced THD+N 0.001% (1 kHz, –1dBFS, 20 kHz BW)
- Customer Reviews
- This product changed my life...
I initially bought this with the idea of taking audio parts out of my DAW into a hardware mixer to mix 'out the box'. And I have that option if I do want to use the full features of a hardware mixer in the Studio.
But where this has revolutionized my working processes is in live work. I work with a mixed hardware/software set up, where for a smaller gig I can move more of the parts into Ableton Live as audio, but if I have the space/transport and have been paid well and want to show off I can bring out more hardware for live tweaking.
With this, I can run my live synths into the Laptop as external instruments, and route parts back out through the synths' effects and filters. You can also save the mixer state to the Hardware unit, so for messing about and composing on my grooveboxes without the computer I can just switch on and go...
Paired with a patchbay, I can route anything into my studio into one of the ins (or send from the outs) in an instant, and it is there in my DAW waiting to be worked in to a live arrangement, or printed down to a file.
It sounds great for the price-range and it is also pretty forgiving of the odd peak in the signal without degenerating into noise.
So why did I not give this a 5 - well, nothing is perfect. I have a couple of little niggles.
The main on is that the midi out does not produce enough power to run my splitter, so that's another wall-wart I need to use. The knobs, particularly the main monitor are slightly wobbly - I know it is not super-high end kit, but it is still £400. The most irritating thing, however, is the front panel which protrudes half an inch forward of anything else in the rack. cosmetically this means you see half a logo hidden under whatever is above the unit. Practically it means you knock the pots if you are reaching to grab something else fat. It's like the unit wants to scream 'look at me' - but all it really shows is a slight lack of care in the design.
And, like many I did have a few issues at install, and went through a spate of creating a BSOD when I plugged anything into another USB port. But these seem to be resolvable with a little bit of care.
The final thing to take note of is that (as is often the way) the 18 in 20 out spec is a bit of marketing. You need an ADAT interface to access 8 of these. And a further 2 are on co-ax S/PDIF which is not the most common connection. Though I have a Zoom RFX2000 multieffects which randomly included this when mini-discs were popular in the 90s.
All in all, this is versatile and solid unit, which can probably be used in as many ways as there are people who use it!
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