Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 1st gen vs 2nd gen. Which one is better?


Obviously, the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 2nd generation will be better than the 1st generation somehow or another as it is made to be a successor of the older version.

On the other hand, some other people still like the 1st gen better than the 2nd gen. But from my perspective, I would say that the 2nd gen is better than the 1st gen. Some small but important features have improved, and other hardware features have improved too. Here is the 2i2 1st gen vs. 2nd gen overview.

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Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 (2nd Gen) USB Audio Interface with Pro Tools | First
2,764 Reviews
Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 (2nd Gen) USB Audio Interface with Pro Tools | First
  • Two natural-sounding Scarlett mic preamps with plenty of even gain; two instrument inputs, 1/4-inch balanced jack outputs to connect professional studio monitors; one headphone output with gain control
  • Class-leading conversion and sample rates up to 192kHz / 24 bit; super-low roundtrip latency for using your plug-ins in real time without the need for DSP
  • LIMITED TIME OFFER: FREE Venomode DeeQ, Maximal 2, and Pivot, plug-ins upon registration and download.

Improvements

Physical

  1. The main features that have improved are the physical aspect of the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2  and the most obvious ones. The Controller of the Headphone level and the Monitor level has a brighter silver color – looks more premium, I would say. There is a black line instead of grooves to mark the level on the knob of the controller, which gives a better contrast making it easy to know the settings at a glance. The knob for the input gains has a clear red line level indicator, which is slightly better than that of a 1st gen Focusrite 2i2.
  2. The controllers now have 0-10 markings (the indicating levels). The entire front panel color has been altered to make it more clearly visible by the user. It is easier to read too.
  3. The case has the same quality, which is solid and compact – a red metal case. The color is slightly brighter than the 1st gen, and the logo is white in color instead of the grey color. The ports have been rearranged a little bit; the ¼ audio output sockets no longer protrude anymore. The screw holes are gone ( I don’t know where it has gone too ).

These are the noticeable changes that you can just directly find out. Now, let’s go under the hood feature changes.

Under the Hood

  1. They have improved the Input jack fixing the issue of active pickups – 1st gen 2i2 have issues with this, they give a red line even when it’s set to the lowest settings, but now they have fixed that.  It supports higher sample rates – can do 192 kHz instead of a 92 kHz ( which is on the 1st gen 2i2). The 2nd gen 2i2 has upgraded preamps, the 1st gen has a maximum gain of 46 Db, while the new 2nd gen has a maximum gain of 50 Db – I would say it is stronger, but it’s not that much.
  2. The overall latency is very much improved on the 2nd gen 2i2– has lower latency (what most people are talking about from what I see). Yes, it has lower latency, and it is better from the 1st gen 2i2. Getting a lower latency is very important for some projects.
  3. Another noticeable change is the booting time. The new 2nd gen 2i2 boots up faster than the 1st gen 2i2. The 1st gen 2i2 would flash its LED input signal a few times before getting ready; the new 2nd gen 2i2 would only blink a single time and will be ready to go. But this is not a thing to matter that much cause the 1st gen 2i2 also takes only a couple of seconds to boot up.
  4. 1st gen 2i2 doesn’t get the two best features of an audio interface. There is no power brick, as it is powered directly from the USB bus, and there is also no driver disc as it uses the Standard USB class protocols.

Check out what the best microphone is for the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 here!

Other Included Extras

The New 2nd gen 2i2 also comes with Ableton Live Lite and Pro Tools|First with rewrite capability to transfer the MIDI from Ableton to Pro Tools. It also comes with the Softube Time & Tone bundle, Scarlett Plug-in Suite, Red 2 and 3 EQ, and 11 stompbox effects.

You will say the Pro Tools is available for free on the web. Yes, you are right, but the difference is that it comes with many additional plugins and software ( you might have noticed it too ).

Bundled with the Scarlett 2i2 2nd gen Audio Interface, the Focusrite Creative pack adds 12 powerful plugins to Pro Tools|First, taken from Avid’s acclaimed Eleven Rack. Guitar tones with Elven Lite, Focusrite’s Exclusive cut down edition of the Eleven MK 2 amp Simulator.

There is even more – Black Op Distortion, a superb emulation of the Pro Co Rat Pedal.

Sale
Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 (2nd Gen) USB Audio Interface with Pro Tools | First
2,764 Reviews
Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 (2nd Gen) USB Audio Interface with Pro Tools | First
  • Two natural-sounding Scarlett mic preamps with plenty of even gain; two instrument inputs, 1/4-inch balanced jack outputs to connect professional studio monitors; one headphone output with gain control
  • Class-leading conversion and sample rates up to 192kHz / 24 bit; super-low roundtrip latency for using your plug-ins in real time without the need for DSP
  • LIMITED TIME OFFER: FREE Venomode DeeQ, Maximal 2, and Pivot, plug-ins upon registration and download.

Another Classic stompbox, Gray Compressor, gives the easy dynamics shaping of the Ross Compressor, making it a perfect partner of the Five-band Graphic EQ. The signal to process either with Flanger, Vibe Phaser, Roto Speaker, and Sci-fi Ring Modulator serves as a Spectacular range of Mind-bending modulation based treatments.

Finally, the speed up and slow down effects of Vari-Fi Speed Shifter, the classy algorithmic ambiance of the studio Reverb, the old school delays of the Tape Echo, the essential utility of Itune Digital Tuner.

Note: The Scarlett 2i2 shows will show up as an Apple USB device and automatically appear in the System Preferences alongside the built-in Apple audio hardware. Inside the Apple MIDI setup, we can change the format from the default 44khz to 48khz, 88khz, 96khz .. 192khz. It will continue to work with the future versions of Mac Os, too, as there are no special drivers. You can also use the new drivers on the 1st gen 2i2, odd and funny, but it works. ( Scarlett 2i2 is also a great choice for Linux Users)

And here is some of our handpicked Audio Interfaces that are the best in the market right now.

Conclusion

Scarlett 2i2 1st gen also works pretty well when compared to Scarlett 2i2 2nd gen. The main differences are in the physical features and some of the hardware upgrades Focusrite has done to the 2nd gen. (plus all the software tools added when you get the new 2nd gen 2i2).

If you are don’t own any of the 1st gen or the 2nd gen, and you are looking at which one to buy, then obviously go with the 2nd gen.

On the other hand,  if you own 1st gen and want to upgrade to 2nd gen – I would recommend upgrading it, but if you don’t have the money right now – it’s ok your 1st gen 2i2 will do its job for a while. You can upgrade your 1st gen later when you can. I hope I have answered your questions and cleared your doubts.

We did another comparison on its big brother, 18i8 series, you can check it out here if you are looking for an upgrade.

Last update on 2021-10-04 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Vinnie

I'm Vinnie, and I'm here to support you to create your own studio at home, whether it’s for photography, recording audio, podcasts, or videos!

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