Focusrite Scarlet 2i2 is a great audio interface to help improve your podcast efforts


The Focusrite Scarlet 2i2 external sound interface.

My Focusrite Scarlet 2i2 has been through the wringer.

Jack Wallen/ZDNET

I’ve done many podcasts over the years. I’ve also recorded audiobooks and voiceovers of all types. Back in my early days, I was able to get by using a USB mic (such as my favorite Blue Yeti). Eventually, I realized it was time for an upgrade on my mic front, and I turned to the CAD E100S. For that mic, however, I had to add an external audio interface, so I could make use of the XLR connector used by the mic.

I’ve tried a number of different devices, but one always stood out as not only the easiest to use but the most reliable. In fact, I’ve had a few devices go out on me. This recently happened with my trusty Tascam US-4×4. Out of nowhere, I had output but no input. I went to record a voiceover and my operating system refused to detect my mic. 

At first, I thought it was Audacity (the software I use to record voiceovers, audiobooks, and podcasts. Eventually, however, I realized it was the audio interface. Fortunately, I still had my trusty Focusrite Scarlet 2i2. In a couple of minutes, I had the devices switched out and was back in business.

Also: How to remove background noise in Audacity for better-sounding podcasts

At the time time, I was reminded why I bought the Focusrite in the first place. Not only is it as simple as it gets (and is automatically detected by Linux – which means it shouldn’t have any problem with MacOS or Windows), but it’s built like a tank and offers everything you need for a single mic input (it looks like it has input for two mics but those are left and right channels).

If, like me, you’re always looking to improve your production values, you will want to look into the Focusrite. It’s relatively inexpensive and can be set up in about a minute.

The specs

Of course, you want to view the specs. Here they are:

  • Input can be switched from line to instrument
  • Individual channel gain control
  • Low noise-balanced output
  • Resolution – 24-bit/192kHz
  • Number of preamps – 2
  • Phantom power 48V
  • Instrument/mic inputs – 2
  • Line inputs – 2
  • Headphone outputs – 1
  • Bus-powered
  • Three-year warranty
  • Dimensions – 7.68 x 2.09 x 1.32 inches
  • Weight – 1.1 pounds
  • The third generation of the 2i2 includes a new Air switch which adds extra clarity to your acoustic instruments
  • Connectivity – USB Type-C (for the 3rd gen) and USB Type-A for 1st and 2nd gen
  • The Focusrite Scarlet 2i2 is a gem of an audio interface.

The performance

I’ve always enjoyed the performance delivered by the Focusrite Scarlet 2i2. Is it perfect? No. Case in point, my Tascam US 4×4 has a lower noise floor than the Scarlet and offers four inputs for either mic or instrument. However, the Tascam does require a separate power source, whereas the Focusrite draws power directly from the USB connection to your computer. Besides, any extraneous noise can be removed in post, so with a bit of extra work, it’s a wash. 

The back side of the Focusrite Scarlet 2i2.

The rear of the Scarlet includes the USB connection and the line inputs.

Jack Wallen/ZDNET

Even better, the Focusrite takes up less desk space than the Tascam. And because it doesn’t require a separate power source, it’s a much better option for recording on the go. For me, that makes the Scarlet 2i2 much more versatile than the Tascam. On top of that, the Focusrite is not nearly as finicky as the Tascam (or just about any other external sound device I’ve used). The Scarlet 2i2 just works every single time.

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So, if you’re looking to up your podcast game, and you don’t want to break your budget, the Focusrite Scarlet 2i2 should definitely be on your radar. It’s a solid piece of technology that should serve you for years (as it has for me). Besides, if you want to migrate to a pro-level XLR mic situation, you will have to start using an external sound interface.

In the end, if you’re looking to power a single dual-channel, XLR mic, you cannot go wrong with the Focusrite Scarlet 2i2.


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