Today, the average musician doesn’t have to spend a lot of money for an audio interface. Why? Because even cheaper audio interfaces provide great quality. The differences in prices between various models are usually in the number of input and output ports, and the software that comes with the package.
For most people buying an audio interface with 16 microphone inputs is not the best idea. For many musicians, the Solo interface will be sufficient, especially if they just want to record their vocals and a guitar.
But other people will prefer something a bit more expensive and powerful, like Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 or 2i4.
Focusrite 2i2 and 2i4 are very similar, and at first glance, they look identical. But there are a few differences.
In this article, I will try to compare them, showing similarities and differences, and find out whether the higher price is justified.
They are well built and have a very sturdy red anodized aluminum casing.
The knobs have a perfect amount of resistance, which makes them great for adjustments. They don’t have a feel of being cheap.
On the bottom, there are rubber feet to keep the device stable.
On the device, you will find a few LED lights. The green light will indicate that the audio interface is connected to a USB plug. The red light will show if you have the Phantom Power activated.
Around the gain knobs, there are LED rings. The green light indicates that the signal is present and the red one indicates clipping.
In 2i2 and 2i4 there are two combo inputs. One of them accepts XLR and the second one 1/4′.
Both devices can record at the max of 24bit 192 kHz, which is more than enough for most people.
These audio interfaces work flawlessly with all major DAWs and you can find two of them in the bundle. One of them is Ableton Live Lite which is a stripped-down version of Ableton Live and the second one is Pro Tools | First – a limited version of Pro Tools 12.
The Audio interfaces also come with Focusrite Creative Pack. It offers 12 additional plugins, such as Black Op for distortions and overdrives, and Eleven Lite for guitar emulations.
2i2 is smaller and weighs less than 2i4. 1.32 pounds (600 grams) to 1.87 pounds (848 grams).
2i2 has two outputs, while 2i4 has 4. It can be useful if you are a DJ because you can monitor different sound in headphones without playing it over speakers. So if you are a DJ, you must go with 2i4.
Another difference in favor of 2i4 is that it has a pad switch to lower the overall decibels without affecting the tone.
This can be very useful for electric guitars with hot pickups, where reducing volume with a knob in order not to overload the interface will affect the tone of your instrument in a negative way.
Both interfaces come with balanced line inputs, but 2i4 adds 2 sets of unbalanced RCA outputs.
Now, there is about 20$ of the difference between these two models. In my opinion, 2i4 is the way to go. It’s better and costs almost the same as the 2i2.