Focusrite Scarlett 18i8 Review 2017
- Finalist for Best Audio Interface 2017
If you want to make a quality recording, you will need an audio interface. The sound cards built into your laptop, computer, or tablet are fine for basic recordings. But if you want a better quality recording to record instruments or voices, an audio interface allows you to record like a professional.
There are tons of options out there when it comes to digital interfaces. The prices also range very greatly. There are inexpensive ones that offer just 2 inputs and outputs, and these work great if you don’t need many connections as a solo artist. If you are recording a band, you will need something that offers more inputs to record all the instruments as well as vocals.
One of the best audio interfaces out there that is good for bands is the Focusrite Scarlett 18i8.
Focusrite has over 20 years of experience with manufacturing products for both the professional as well as the amateur musician. They supply customers in about 160 territories worldwide. Besides audio interfaces, Focusrite also produces other audio related products.
Let’s take a closer look at the Focusrite Scarlett 18i8 so that you can decide if it is the right one for you.
What We Looked For in the Focusrite Scarlett 18i8
Any great interface needs to have good quality inputs and outputs. There should also be enough inputs to do your recording, especially if you are recording a band.
Of course sound quality is an important factor for an audio interface. It needs to record clearly with no buzzing sounds. To get the best quality sound, go for an interface that can record at least 24 bits and 48kHz minimum.
Excessive latency is a huge problem for recording artists as it makes it difficult to focus since the sound played back through the headphones is delayed. A good interface has low latency to allow for the best recording.
Since you might take it on the road with you to and from the studio, a great interface needs to be durably built so that it will last you a long time.
Focusrite Scarlett 18i8 Product Overview
The Focusrite Scarlett 18i8 offers 18 separate inputs and 8 independent outputs. The first two inputs provide mic/line/instrument on universal XLR/TRS connectors.
The next two inputs offer mic/line capability on universal XLRs. Four more line inputs are available using TRS connectors . The ADAT optical digital connector gives you 8 more digital preamps. You can also use them with external preamps
When it comes to the outputs, it has two TRS monitor outputs, a stereo S/PDIF coax, and two independent stereo headphone outputs. The stereo headphone outputs have their own volume knob so that 2 people can listen at one time and control their own monitoring.
All of the inputs and outputs are 24-bit with a 96kHz sampling rate.
To assist you in recording, the halo LED rings around the level control turn green when the signal is good for recording, or turn red to indicate overload.
The monitor knob is large and easily accessible.
Protected by a unibody metal case, the Scarlett 18i8 is durable enough to withstand life on the road and at the studio.
Along with the purchase comes an authorization code that you can use to download free software.
The Scarlett 18i8 is compatible with Mac, Windows, and iPad.
Focusrite Scarlett 18i8 Pros And Cons
The casing is rugged and durable. Installation is easy and simple. Users report that the sound quality is excellent and there are no hissing sounds or other noises while recording.
The preamps are good quality and contribute to clean audio. It has very minimal latency which makes it much easier to focus while recording. The many inputs and output,s as well as the 2 headphone jacks, allow for versatility. The software that comes with the purchase is also great.
For such a great quality interface that allows for so many recording options, the Scarlett 18i8 is a great buy.
One complaint users have is that the input knobs are plain black so it is difficult to see where the level is set. Another complaint is that, although the included software that comes with it is great, it is confusing to set up. You will probably have to do some research to figure out how to use the software.
Final Verdict On The Focusrite Scarlett 18i8
If you need many inputs to record multiple instruments or voices, the Focusrite Scarlett 18i8 is a great option when a basic interface will just not suffice. It is a good quality interface that produces great quality recordings to give you a professional sound.
All images sourced from Amazon.com