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DO NOT BUT THIS UNIT IT IS TERRIBLE looks sleek, seems the business but is wed to a tricky and truly dreadful piece of software called Focus Control which is akin to something out of a computer magazine circa 2000. User manual does not pin point issues with clarity and no matter how much you try, your workflow will be interrupted time and time again by peculiarity with this device. Send return issues, signal noise floor ridiculously high in parts, occasional headphones channel not working and illogically grouped software interface that’s clunky. Throws up hardware not detected at least once a day too. Gone from hassle free recording to a nightmare. I’m going to unrack and return back to a behringer which was a workhorse compared. A faff of an audio interface that I think is problematic owing specifically to its drivers. I read on a couple of forums where driver issues may have been recognised by the manufacturer themselves. Do not be duped by the looks, user ‘opinion former’ reviews Which always fawn new products. Until they can give concrete assurance the drivers and software robust and Fit for purpose, your money would be better spent else where. A decent looking build and spec totally let down by clunky poorly developed and poor UX user interface.
I recently wanted to replace my Native Instruments Komplete Audio 6 interface. I needed more physical inputs to hook up hardware synthesizers. I'd managed till now routing them all through a mixer and then into a single stereo pair of inputs on the NI interface. Leaving me the front 2 inputs for guitar and vocals when needed. This is fine as long as you only want to hear/record one synthesizer at a time, but can be limiting if you want to sketch out song ideas with multiple external synths.
So I started looking for a replacement audio interface that could handle multiple simultaneous inputs at the same time without need for a mixer.
I looked at a ProSonus and a Tascam, but my gut said "Try the Scarlett". Thing is... I then found the Behringer UMC 1820 at half the price! For under £200 you get 8 physical mic/line inputs and the option to expand that to a further 8 over ADAT. Unfortunately, although the external build quality was amazing and the size a little more convenient (it's much less 'deep' front-to-back than the Scarlett) when i received and started using the Behringer, it was obvious the internal build/firmware was lacking. I had digital distortion, electrical noise and random level dips on a number of the inputs. A real shame. Behringer gear can be really hit and miss. I have one of their recent analogue synth clones that is amazing, and have owned effects units and mixers that were great for the money, but i've also had one or two pieces where quality control obviously just wasn't there., the UMC being one of them.
It wasn't really up to the job, so I realised i might be better off returning the unit and looking at one of the more respected interface brands instead. I settled on the Scarlett, logic being it's possibly the best selling and well known line-up of interfaces out there, so likely to have the best support and more likely to be delivering the quality that keeps people coming back. Well all i can say is "always trust your gut instinct!". Compared to the Behringer, the quality, both externally and internally is noticeably higher. No annoying electrical interference or distortion. Solid reliable audio levels. And what make the Scarlett really shine is the intuitive companion routing software. It's so easy to set up and use different routing options. It's also has 2 specific options that I've always wanted on an interface but never found till now... 1. Internal computer audio loop channel. Record sounds from your computer and other apps without additional software. 2. Audio though monitoring... Route an input (or inputs) directly to the main outputs of the device, meaning, because the unit has it's own power supply, you can actually use the interface as a standalone audio mixer, without the computer even being on. This is really useful for when you want to 'Jam' or sketch out musical parts on hardware gear, without wanting to go through the bother of booting up your computer or setting up a session in a DAW.
So yeah. All in all very happy with the Scarlett. I feel it was well worth the premium over the Behringer in the end.
This unit is the heart of my Home studio offering 8 inputs and 10 outputs via USB to my PC. If I later go down the Optical route / interface the unit will still be there in "standalone mode". With perhaps superior Mic Pre amp devices connected to it. The sound quality more than meets my abilities as I jump into this new world of recording at home.
The routing of inputs and outputs at first seems daunting but with Focusrite control and Youtube you will get you there and is able to provide lots of options meeting my needs. Not able to compare it directly against any competition but I am happy with my purchase.
Brilliant product. Preamps are good. I/O options good. Great interface software that allows for very custom setups and panning of individual I/O. Good latency. Good connectivity. Good investment. If I had to mention a small negative, it would be that the master volume for your main mix is the same size as the rest of the faders which can be hard to locate at first but not a major issue.
This audio interface is truly fantastic and a pleasure to use. I have been able to make some really professional sounding recordings since owning this. It is very versatile and adaptable particularly with the control software.
I can't believe my latency nightmare is over; im very happy. Ill never use the full utility of this product, i just want to contribute my anecdote to help others feel assured this really does -in my experience- vastly improve the home recording workflow. Blair