Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 3rd Gen - A Year and a Half Later

By Darren Nathanael on Sat, Jan 20, 2024


After owning the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 for around a year and a half, I can confidently say that it is meh. It’s right there, not the best, but not that shit. Would I recommend the Scarlett 2i2 3rd Gen today? Yes, it’s reasonably priced and available as a refurbished or secondhand.

Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 3rd Gen, Powering Mackie SRM Speaker

Build Quality

One of the first things that struck me about the Scarlett 2i2 was its build quality. I love the metal case and the vibrant red’ Plus I can knock on it, and it has that metal quality sound. The knobs all are there, the headphone outputs are fine, they’re not to brag about. The monitor knob is a bit rough, you can hear “scratching” on your monitor when you turn it; It’s not that annoying after a while.

Performance & Durability

Yes, it’s pretty solid. I chuck this anywhere I go, and I love it. The preamps are just enough, it can drive an SM57 & Beta 58A solidly. It powers my ATH M40X headphone reliably, and the inst inputs are solid too.

Everywhere I go, I bring the Scarlett with me and because of the metal case, there’s no scratch on it. Solid red box.

Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 3rd Gen, Sitting on my desk

Scarlett 2i2 3rd Gen vs the new 2i2 4th Gen.

In my opinion, the Scarlett 2i2 4th Gen is not worth buying; the only reason in which I can recommend the 4th Gen is if you plan to get the Scarlett 4i4.

From a price standpoint, The 4th Generation Scarlett 2i2 is priced at $199.99, while the 3rd Generation model is priced at $119;

Although there are certain improvements over the 3rd Generation model with the 4th Generation Scarlett 2i2, it’s necessary to think about whether these improvements are worth the additional price. My own experience has shown me that the 3rd Generation model is worth the price tag.

Aside from the gain, the other changes in the 4th Generation model, such as the split XLR and line inputs and the additional Air Mode settings, do not appreciably improve the user experience. In fact, I prefer the 3rd Generation model’s tiny and uncomplicated appearance.

In conclusion, while the 4th Generation Scarlett 2i2 is advertised as an enhancement, I believe it is overhyped. The 3rd Generation Scarlett 2i2 has excellent performance and build quality at a lower cost, making it a better option. Of course, this is just my viewpoint, and others may find the improvements in the 4th Generation model to be worth the extra money. But for the time being, I’m sticking with my reliable 3rd Generation Scarlett 2i2.

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