Focusrite Scarlett 18i6 Audio Interface

The latest addition to Focusrite’s highly acclaimed audio interface range the Scarlett 18i6 offers massive functionality in a sleek, durable unit that exudes quality while also looking and feeling like it’s built to last. Launched at this year’s Frankfurt MusikMesse the 18i6 and 8i6 live up to their name offering 18 or 8 possible audio connections, be they analogue, MIDI or virtual, allowing this sturdy interface to track an entire band in one go. Our review model is the extended 18i6 version with eight line inputs – six on the back, and more importantly two on the front that go direct into two of Focusrite’s award-winning preamps – that offer astonishingly clear sound quality.

Indeed this is the defining quality of this unit, as it is USB 2.0 instead of Firewire all the connections are as near on silent as you can get, with none of the background hum or buzz, that can sometimes occur at even low monitoring levels. The neat front panel also features two channel gain controls, and requisite number of 8 LED level monitors (for each available channel), next to these are control room speaker volume and dedicated headphone volume and socket. The killer USP here though is exceptional audio quality at a very reasonable price – this unit retails at £249 – yet it also comes with its own dedicated virtual mixer – for creating individual monitor mixes for each band member, as well as Focusrite’s four dedicated FX audio plugins that work in any DAW (digital audio workstation) such as Logic or Pro Tools. To cap all that off you also get Ableton Live Lite software, the cool retro Bass Station plugin, plus over a 1GB of free Loopmasters samples that will have you up and running in no time. In short a hugely desirable and extremely usable pro interface, for an affordable price.

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