Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 vs 4i4 [2023 Compared]

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Focusrite Scarlett 4i4 4th Gen
  • Price to Performance: 8.5
  • Input / Output: 9.5
  • Sound Quality: 9.5
  • Connectivity: 9.5
  • Additional Features: 9
Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 4th Gen
  • Price to Performance: 9.5
  • Input / Output: 8.5
  • Sound Quality: 9
  • Connectivity: 9
  • Additional Features: 9

Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 vs 4i4 Features

 

Focusrite Scarlett 2i2

Focusrite Scarlett 4i4

Generation

  • 4th
  • 4th

Connection

  • USB-C
  • USB-C

AD/DA

  • 24-bit/192kHz Resolution
  • 24-bit/192kHz Resolution

Dynamic Range

  • 120dB
  • 120dB

Inputs

  • 2x rear panel Neutrik® XLR connectors.
  • 2x front panel Neutrik® ¼” (6.35mm) jack sockets.
  • 2x front panel Neutrik® XLR combo connectors.
  • 2x rear panel Neutrik® ¼” (6.35mm) jack sockets.
  • 1x standard 5-pin MIDI In.

Input Gain

  • +69dB
  • +69dB

Phantom Power

  • Yes
  • Yes

Input Frequency Response

  • 20-20kHz ± 0.06dB
  • 20Hz-20kHz ± 0.06dB

Outputs

  • 2x rear-panel Neutrik® ¼” (6.35mm) TRS jack sockets
  • 1x front panel stereo ¼”
  • 4x rear-panel Neutrik® ¼” (6.35mm) TRS jack sockets
  • 1x front panel stereo ¼” (6.35mm) TRS jack socket
  • 1x standard 5-pin MIDI Out

Output Frequency Response

  • 20-20kHz ± 0.02dB
  • 20Hz-20kHz ± 0.15dB

Headphone Impedance

  • 50Ω
  • 11Ω

THD + N (AD/DA)

  • -110dB/-115dB
  • -110dB/-115dB

External Power

  • Yes
  • Yes

Dimensions

  • 1.87” x 7.09” x 4.60” (47.5mm x 180mm x 117mm)
  • 2.36” x 7.09” x 5.12” (60mm x 180mm x 130mm)

Weight

  • 1.31lbs (595g)
  • 1.76lbs (798g)

Box Contents

  • Scarlett 2i2 Interface
  • USB-C to USB-A Cable
  • Scarlett 4i4 Interface
  • USB-C to USB-C Cable
  • USB-A Male to USB-C Female Adaptor
  • 5V USB-C Power Adapter

Features

  • Air Mode
  • Inst Toggle
  • Auto Gain
  • Clip Safe
  • Loopback
  • Hardware Direct Monitoring (Stereo & Mono)
  • Software (Pro Tools, Ableton Live Lite, Hitmaker Expansion Bundle)
  • Focusrite Control App
  • Air Mode
  • Inst Toggle
  • Auto Gain
  • Clip Safe
  • Loopback
  • Software Direct Monitoring (Stereo & Mono through)
  • Software (Pro Tools, Ableton Live Lite, Hitmaker Expansion Bundle)
  • Focusrite Control App

Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 vs 4i4 Scoring Model

focusrite scarlett 2i2 vs 4i4 scoring model comparison, quantitative analysis

Price to Performance

The Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 is a ton of value for the price. If you can do without the 4i4’s extra I/O, you get the same features, and more with a physical direct monitoring switch. The preamps are fantastic as well, with impressive dynamic range and plenty of gain, though the lack of a USB-C adapter is unfortunate. Nonetheless, for what it offers, the cheaper Scarlett 2i2 earns a score of 9.5 in Price to Performance.

The biggest edge that the Scarlett 4i4 has over the 2i2 is its extra balanced line outputs, as well as MIDI I/O. The features are comparable between them for the most part, but the 4i4 sounds just a bit better on our recordings, especially with the Air circuitry and the built-in DSP. However, for a bigger price tag, the biggest upgrade is I/O, which might not benefit every studio setup. For those reasons, we can’t score the 4i4 any higher than 8.5.

Input / Output

In terms of I/O, the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 has exactly the same inputs as the Scarlett 4i4, barring the additional MIDI In slot. However, it offers half the balanced line outputs, and lacks any MIDI input option for mixers and controllers. Additionally, it doesn’t have a lot of room for future proofing and expanding studio needs, so we can only rate the 2i2 an 8.5 in the category.

The Scarlett 4i4 has measurably more I/O options than the smaller 2i2. However, its most useful addition is its MIDI Input/Output, which allows easy integration with controllers and keyboards. While it is a lock-in if you need the extra ports, one negative here is that the XLR combo sockets are only on the front sockets. Factoring everything in, we give the 4i4 a score of 9.5 in the category.

Sound Quality

The Scarlett 2i2 has the same phenomenal AD/DA conversion as Focusrite’s flagship RedNet range, so it outputs less unwanted noise than other similar audio interfaces. With more gain than the previous generation, we got a bit more boost in volume with our Shure SM7B as well. The interface also has great dynamic range, offering our vocal recordings better contrast and clarity between the loud and soft parts. The Scarlett’s impressive performance guarantees it a score of 9 in Sound Quality.

Similarly to the Scarlett 2i2, the Scarlett 4i4 has hardly any noise, outputting -127.2 dBu during our testing. It also has a similar high-quality preamp, so we didn’t require Cloudlifter to drive more gain-heavy microphones. The Scarlett has the warmth and clarity you’d expect from Focusrite preamps, especially with the nice sizzle you get with vocals on the top-end using the Air circuit. One notable difference between the two devices is that the 2i2 has much higher headphone impedance than the 4i4. For those reasons we feel comfortable rating the Scarlett 4i4 9.5 out of 10.

Connectivity

Like most other modern interfaces, the 4th Generation Scarlett 2i2 uses a digital USB-C host connection. The audio interface can also be plugged directly into the wall through the 5V DC port on the back panel. For its future-proof connection, we give the Scarlett 2i2 a 9 in the category.

The Focusrite Scarlett 4i4 uses the same low-interference USB-C connection as the 2i2, and has the option of plugging directly into a power source as well. One thing to keep in mind is that you do get a USB-C adapter with the 4i4, but not the 2i2. For that, we give the Scarlett 4i4 a 9.5 in Connectivity.

Additional Features

As far as Additional Features go, the Scarlett 2i2 makes the biggest impression with its built-in DSP. The extra processing helps the Clip Safe feature to monitor your levels and avoid spikes, and Auto Gain to avoid recording too quietly. With both features at your disposal, recordings are almost impossible to mess up. You also get a handy Inst toggle for Hi-Z inputs, Loopback, hardware-level mono/stereo direct monitoring, the Focusrite control app, as well as some bundled software. For its considerable features, we give the 2i2 a score of 9.

The 4i4 mimics the 2i2 in features perfectly. It has the same useful Auto Clip and Auto Gain features with Loopback and a Hi-Z toggle. You even get the same software, as well as Air functionality with EQ and a pleasant harmonic saturation from the DSP. However, the Scarlett 4i4 only offers direct monitoring through software, which is a bit of a downgrade from the hardware controls of the 2i2. However, it isn’t too big of an issue, so the 4i4 scores the same 9 in the category.

Verdict

All things considered, the winner between the two audio interfaces is the Focusrite Scarlett 4i4 with an average score of 9.2. The 4th Gen Scarlett 4i4 exceeds our expectations in every possible way. Not only does it have an excellent preamp with 69dB of gain for demanding microphones, it also has great noise performance. Plus, when paired with the Air function, the 4i4 has a delightfully impressive top end as well.

All text and image links lead to Amazon unless stated otherwise. All product scores are based on ProRec’s in-house scoring model

Its build quality is quite similar to the 2i2, with straightforward handling, extremely static knobs, and sturdy construction, however, an XLR input on the back would have made the design better. Apart from an instrument toggle and ease-of-use additions such as Auto Gain and Clip Safe, you also get a basket of software, Air mode, as well as loopback channels for streams. While this is similar to the 2i2, you can’t really expect a lot more for the price.

However, the Scarlett 4i4 does redeem itself with the addition of MIDI I/O and extra outputs. This makes the device more flexible to your growing studio needs than the 2i2, especially if you need to connect mixers, controllers, or keyboards. The Scarlett 4i4 also has remarkably simple routing if you’re sending audio to streams. While it doesn’t have the same physical button for monitoring as the 2i2, you don’t lose out on much since getting the headphone levels right is more of a challenge with no encoder for Direct Monitoring.

Considering its high-quality converters, silent preamps, and considerable list of features, the Focusrite Scarlett 4i4 sets a good standard for what an audio interface in its price range should offer. Highly recommended!