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MF MD HG Ask Our Gearheads 07-08-14

Focusrite Scarlett 8i6 USB Audio Interface  

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    Focusrite

    8 in / 6 out USB 2.0 audio interface featuring two Focusrite mic preamps

    The Scarlett 8i6 is an 8 in / 6 out audio interface with outstanding sonic performance and flexibility at a truly affordable price. Part of Focusrite’s new range of USB audio interfaces, the Scarlett 8i6 is designed to make home studio recording and mixing easy without sacrificing audio quality.

    Twenty-five years of mic pre excellence form the foundation of this new interface, with two award-winning Focusrite preamps. Combined with a host of additional I/O options, the Scarlett 8i6 helps you get the tracks you want without having to constantly re-patch your studio.

    Alongside the two high-quality mic preamps, two additional analogue inputs, four analogue outputs, S/PDIF and MIDI open the door to true multi-track recording. Two Hi-Z instrument inputs let you plug straight in without the need to buy additional DI boxes, and two virtual Loopback inputs are also available for routing digital audio between software applications - ideal for capturing online audio.

    Included with the Scarlett 8i6 is Scarlett MixControl, an 18 x 6 DSP mixer. Offering a level of flexibility that is remarkable at this price point, the MixControl software enables you to create six separate mixes with ultra-low-latency. Route any combination of input signals and sequencer outputs to any of the Scarlett 8i6 outputs. Intuitive one-click configurations help you track, monitor and mix as quickly as possible.

    Scarlett 8i6 comes with all of the additional tools needed to start making music straight away. Scarlett VST/AU/RTAS Plug-in Suite comes in the box, adding Focusrite compression, reverb, gating and EQ to your recording system.

    Focusrite’s established Xcite+ bundle is also included. The bundle features Ableton Live Lite (for all your production, performance and compositional needs), Novation’s Bass Station soft synth and over 1 gig of royalty-free samples from Loopmasters.

    Two Focusrite preamps ensure low noise and distortion, whilst cutting-edge digital conversion captures your audio with pristine quality. Combined with the very latest in USB interfacing technology, excellent routing flexibility and rock-solid driver stability, the Scarlett 8i6 is the heart of the modern home studio.

    Scarlett VST/AU/RTAS Plug-in Suite
    Scarlett includes a professional plug-in suite that provides a definitive suite of Compression, Gating, EQ, and Reverb for tracking and mixing. Scarlet includes the most popular formats including VST/AU and RTAS (Pro Tools). From one of the most prestigious names in pro audio, made famous by the original Red range and the classic ISA console modules, this plug-in suite provides the perfect upgrade for your Digital Audio workstation. Not only does it sound great, the new Scarlett user interface features a stunning new Red anodized look and feel, which takes the recording and mixing experience to whole new level! Scarlett sets a new standard for drop- dead gorgeous plug-ins!

    Each powerful plug-in has a host of fast and easy-to-use pre-sets, providing a great starting point for a huge number of popular sound sources, from vocals and guitars to synth bass and percussion. In addition, every plug-in parameter can be finely tuned to bring out the optimum sound you want, exactly the way you want it. So whether you want a fast set-up or an advanced set-up, Scarlett is destined to become your new 'go-to' plug-in.

    Xcite+ Software Bundle
    'Xcite+' comes on a DVD-ROM filled to the brim with royalty-free loops and samples alongside some powerful applications ideal for getting the new user started, or to expand the experienced user’s creative toolbox.

    Ableton Live Lite 8 forms the foundation of this collection, providing the ideal platform to create, produce and perform. Novation’s classic bass synth, ‘Bass Station’ enables you to create bass and 303-styled patches. Alongside these comes an entire gigabyte of royalty-free samples, exclusively compiled by LoopMasters, providing a selection of loops and samples large enough to satisfy the appetite of even the most demanding artist.

    Features

    • Two high-quality award-winning Focusrite preamps
    • High-quality 24-bit/96kHz USB interface
    • Total I/O count of 8 inputs and 6 outputs
    • Scarlett MixControl ultra-low-latency DSP mixer/router
    • Scarlett VST/AU/RTAS Plug-in Suite
    • Xcite+ Software Bundle
    • Two Hi-Z instrument inputs
    • Dedicated front-panel headphone bus
    • Monitor levels are always within reach
    • Switchable phantom power
    • Software PFL
    • Includes USB cable, universal DC power supply, installer CD, self adhesive rubber feet, Xcite+ Bundle

    Order the best sounding interface in its class.

     

    Scarlett 8i6 USB Audio Interface Specifications:

    • Focusrite Scarlett 8i6
    • Microphone Inputs 1-2
    • Frequency Response: 20Hz - 20kHz +/- 0.2 dB
    • Gain Range: +13dB to +60dB
    • THD+N: 0.001% (measured at 1kHz with a 20Hz/22kHz bandpass filter)
    • Noise EIN: 124dB analogue to digital (measured at 60dB of gain with 150Ω termination (20Hz/22kHz bandpass filter)
    • Input Impedance: 2kΩ
    • Digital Performance
    • A/D Dynamic Range > 109dB (A-weighted), all analogue inputs
    • D/A Dynamic Range > 106dB (A-weighted), all analogue outputs
    • Clock Sources: Internal Clock; Sync to Word Clock on SPDIF Input (RCA)
    • Clock jitter < 500 picoseconds
    • Supported Sample Rates: 44.1kHz, 48kHz, 88.2kHz, 96kHz
    • 8 input channels to computer: Analogue (4), Loop-back (2); SPDIF (2)
    • 12 output channels from computer: DAW (12)
    • 6 output channels from Scarlett 18i6: Analogue (4), SPDIF (2)
    • 18 input by 6 output mixer
    • Line Inputs (Inputs 1-2)
    • Frequency Response: 20Hz - 20kHz +/- 0.2dB
    • Gain Range: -10dB to +36dB
    • THD+N: 0.001% (measured with 0dBFS input and 22Hz/22kHz bandpass filter)
    • Noise: -90dBu (22Hz/22kHz bandpass filter)
    • Input Impedance: >10kΩ
    • Line Inputs 3-4
    • Frequency Response: 20Hz - 20kHz +/- 0.2 dB
    • Gain Range: Switch-able between +16dBu or -10dBV for 0dBFS (balanced inputs)
    • THD+N: 0.003% (measured at 1kHz with a 20Hz/22kHz bandpass filter)
    • Noise: -100dBu (22Hz/22kHz bandpass filter)
    • Input Impedance: >10kΩ
    • Instrument Inputs (Inputs 1 and 2)
    • Frequency Response: 20Hz - 20kHz +/- 0.1dB
    • Gain Range: +13dB to +60dB
    • THD+N: 0.004% (measured with 0dBu input and 20Hz/22kHz bandpass filter)
    • Noise: -87dBu (20Hz/22kHz bandpass filter)
    • Analogue Audio Outputs (Outputs 1-4)
    • 4 Electronically Balanced Outputs
    • Maximum Output Level (0dBFS): +12dBu
    • THD+N: 0.001% (0dBFS input, 20Hz/22kHz bandpass filter)
    • Crosstalk (Channel Isolation)
    • Any input to input: > 100dB
    • Any output to output: > 100dB
    • Any input to output: > 100dB
    • Connectivity (Channels at a glance):
    • IN
    • 2, Mic/Line/Inst, Combo XLR, Inc. 2 instrument inputs
    • 2 Line analogue, ¼” TRS Jack, on rear panel
    • 2 S/PDIF , RCA phono, on rear panel
    • 16, MIDI, 5 pin DIN connector, provides 16 channels of MIDI
    • OUT
    • 4, Line analogue, ¼” TRS Jack, on rear panel
    • 2, S/PDIF, RCA phono, On rear panel
    • 16, MIDI, 5 pin DIN connector, provides 16 channels of MIDI
    • Analogue Channel Inputs (Inputs 1-8)
    • 2 Mic XLR Combo (channels 1-2) on front panel
    • 2 Line ¼” TRS (channels 3-8) on rear panel
    • Automatic switching between Mic / Line (channels 1-2)
    • Switching between Line / Instrument Inputs (channels 1-2) via Scarlett Mix Control Application
    • Switching between +16dBu (low) and -10dBV (high) gain on inputs 3-4 via Scarlett MixControl Application
    • Digital Channel Inputs (Inputs 9-18) 44.1 - 96kHz
    • Stereo S/PDIF input on RCA
    • Analogue Audio Outputs (Outputs 1-4)
    • 4 ¼” TRS Jacks
    • Output Level control (analogue) for outputs 1 and 2
    • Stereo Headphones on ¼” TRS (also routed to Outputs 3 & 4) with independent analogue volume control
    • Digital Channel Outputs (Outputs 5-6) 44.1 - 96kHz
    • Stereo S/PDIF Output on RCA
    • Other I/O
    • 1 USB Type “B” Connector
    • 2 Standard 5-pin DIN MIDI connectors: In and Out
    • DC Power Input Connector (for use with supplied universal input power supply)
    • Front Panel Indicators
    • 2 two segment input meters, -18 and 0dBFS
    • “LKD” Lock Indicator
    • “USB” Host Connected Indicator
    • Instrument input source selection LED for channels 1 and 2
    • Phantom Power (48V) switch and LED for inputs 1 and 2
    • Physical:
    • Dimension (W x H x D): 215mm x 45mm x 220mm (8.5 x 1.8 x 8.7 inches)
    • Weight: 1.5kg / 3.3lbs
    • Compatibility:
    • MAC OS X 10.6.5 Snow Leopard
    • Windows 7 (All versions), Windows Vista (32bit only), or Windows XP SP3 (32bit only)
    • Scarlett VST/AU/RTAS Plug-in Suite
    • System Requirements
    • Mac OS
    • Power PC G4/G5 or Intel Mac
    • Mac OS 10.4.11 or higher
    • 512 MB RAM
    • XVGA [High Colour 1024x768]
    • Windows
    • Windows XP* or Vista (All Versions)
    • Pentium III 600 MHz CPU or faster**
    • 512 MB RAM
    • XVGA [High Colour 1024x768]
    • Supported Formats
    • Windows - VST
    • Mac OS - VST, Audio Unit
    • * Windows XP users are advised to use Windows XP2 or higher
    • ** 1GHz CPU recommended
    Customer Reviews
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    Review Snapshot®

    by PowerReviews
    FocusriteScarlett 8i6 USB Audio Interface
     
    5.0

    (based on 4 reviews)

    Ratings Distribution

    • 5 Stars

       

      (4)

    • 4 Stars

       

      (0)

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    Reviewed by 4 customers

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    (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

     
    5.0

    Welcomed surprise

    By DaBaz

    from Bremerton, WA

    About Me Professional Musician

    Verified Buyer

    Pros

    • Clear Sound
    • Compact
    • Versatile

    Cons

    • Non Usb 30

    Best Uses

    • Home Studio
    • Performances

    Comments about Focusrite Scarlett 8i6 USB Audio Interface:

    At first, I was intimidated that I needed to "upgrade" driver and software before deploying the device and then NOT work correctly but, a few days of "thinking outside the box" solve it. A simple search on the "net" produced a video tutorial and somewhere along the way it mentioned a clue.."ASIO"! All this time my sequencing engine was setup with the "WDM/KS" driver as the default. Needless to say once ASIO was selected I played back numerous Midi/Audio sequences to demo the product and WHOA!!! I was blown away with the prestine sound! It was like night and day in comparison my older interface. Instruments that I know exist but faintly hearing them are now upfront LOUD & CLEAR! Even my non musician friends tell me that it sounds very clean, clear and different. I perform live as a soloist and for backing tracks I use my sequencer. I spend alot of time "perfecting" each instrument & backing vocal tracks. I don't bother with "dumping" 2 track mixdowns unto MD/CD/MP3 since I would have no control of drums, bass, & solo lead tracks via my mixer. Ima happy happy camper with Focusrite Scarlett 8i6. Folks on the web have a sour taste regarding this product not working out for them and their DAW. It can get complicated if their computer operating system was not "tuned" for audio production. I would never buy a PC off the shelf if it was not tweeked!

    Comment on this review

    (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

     
    5.0

    This is a solid USB interface

    By Salty Donkey

    from Grand Rapids, MI

    About Me Experienced

    Ask me a question

    Pros

    • Clear Sound
    • Compact
    • Durable
    • Versatile

    Cons

    • Not Rackable

    Best Uses

    • Amateur Recording
    • Events
    • Home Studio
    • Mobile DJ
    • Performances

    Comments about Focusrite Scarlett 8i6 USB Audio Interface:

    I purchased this unit to supplement my Firewire interface since my laptop didn't have firewire, and I wanted to try using ITB effects at live shows. The goal was to evaluate using it for "live" vocal effects and to play backing tracks from Reason at small gigs, as well as feed MIDI to the Yamaha for keyboard parts.

    I was worried the latency would be too high, and that the USB might glitch out occasionally or be unstable, but it so far has been rock solid at ~6ms using the Asio4All driver on Windows 8. My CPU is an AMD A8-4500 in an ASUS laptop, and I'm using REASON as my DAW and effects host. So far I'm pleased to report there are no issues with compatibility or weirdness, and the only glitch I had was solved by disabling the wifi adapter when I'm running a show.

    I'm using this as an "Insert" type effect on two vocal channels for compression, reverb, and the occasional telephone filter or other special effect, plus sending a mono backing track and a click track to the MixWiz. In this configuration it has been stable so far, and the ~6ms latency has been barely noticeable. As a precaution, I'm returning the Vocal feeds to two spare channels instead of a true "insert" on the mixer, so if the PC goes down it's easy to mute the return channels and unmute the originals, then go on with the show. It hasn't been a problem yet, but makes sense to have a backup plan when working with computers. Plus it avoids using the pre-amps on this unit, so I get a consistent interface for sound and levels setting on the mixer.

    The best round-trip latency results were achieved using the Asio4All 2.1 driver, a sample rate of 88,100Hz, buffer size of 64 in Reason, and a "1ms" setting on the FocusRite control panel. Additionally, I disable my WIFI card and DVD drive just to be safe, since they seem to increase the odds of a glitch. The FocusRite driver seems to add about 1-2ms additional round-trip latency that the Asio4All driver doesn't add, but still gives respectable results in the 7-8ms range at 88.1kHz.

    I have not really scrutinized the pre-amps or converters, since my application is just for live use. They sound good live, but in a demo recording were a bit noisier than my Profire 2626 rig. The Profire has really good pre-amps though, and this Scarlett 8i6 wasn't too far off. In practice it may not even be noticeable for home recordings.

    The feature set is pretty decent. I wish FocusRite had a rackmount kit for this unit... It looks like it's designed for a 1/2 rack space but I couldn't find any kits to actually bolt it in. Instead I velcro'd it on top of another rack unit, and it stays put pretty well while being accessible enough to bypass or tweak on if anything goes wrong.

    Comment on this review

    (7 of 7 customers found this review helpful)

     
    5.0

    good interface

    By Andy

    from Iowa

    Comments about Focusrite Scarlett 8i6 USB Audio Interface:

    Takes a bit of time to set up the first time. Doesn't come with manual, you have to go online. Have to play with the latency settings a bit to get rid of poping.
    Excellent.
    Solid. Well made steel &amp; aluminum box.
    Good, especially considering it comes with Ableton Live 8 Lite (which is the main reason i got) $211 new.

    Comment on this review

    (4 of 5 customers found this review helpful)

     
    5.0

    Good interface

    By Sean

    from San Francisco

    Comments about Focusrite Scarlett 8i6 USB Audio Interface:

    Initially I was worried I would have to send it back. Audio kept cutting out, and I would have to turn the unit on and off (by unplugging it--there's no switch). However, this seemed to be corrected when I installed the latest version of the control software (I think it's called Mixcontrol. I'm using a Mac btw). This loaded new firmware the next time I used it, and that seems to have fixed the problem entirely!

    The mic preamps seem very nice so far--very quiet at full gain. I could stand another 6 dB or so on my condenser mic, but so far it hasn't been an issue.

    Overall I can't believe the quality for the price. I think this product deserves top marks, assuming the new firmware continues to be as stable as it seems so far. I only wish it came in a different color!

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