Our Gear Editor, Tyler Robinson, goes deep into what the Scarlett 6i6 Audio Interface is all about. With a quality piece of equipment like this, and at an affordable price for producers, the Scarlett 6i6 is a must. Here's what we thought...
An Audio Interface and Mic Preamp anyone can afford:
The Focusrite Scarlett audio interface series of audio interfaces gives solid studio quality audio with a sleek, portable and most importantly affordable new look. The Scarlett 6i6 is a perfect addition to their arsenal of award winning products, and can truly perform well in any audiophile whether it is in the bedroom or a multi-million dollar studio.
Affordable and powerful:
At the competitive price of $249 the Scarlett 6i6 comes with 6 audio inputs and outputs, 2 mic preamps and 24bit/96KHz audio quality. It is within the price range of most producers and bands, while being much lower in price than external mic preamps and other, less reliable audio interfaces.
Perfect for Producers and Bands:
The Scarlett is a solid all in one audio interface and mic pre with its own stand alone power that enables it to run smoothly on any device without diverting audio quality or processing power to receive power. The interface itself comes with numerous intuitive gain staging controls for adjustable volumes at the touch of the fingers. Each mic preamp has dedicated gain knobs with built in LED staging meters (ranging from green, to orange to red) that makes recording seamless and easy. The overall monitor gain knob is of course the largest and very solid for any musician to smoothly turn up or down what they are listening to, as well as two individual headphone outputs with separate level controls as well.
In addition to the hardware, the Scarlett comes with a bundle of software to sweeten the deal. First is the internal mixer control, which is not necessary to open to run the Scarlett smoothly, but does give enhanced controls as well as allows for the switch between line/instrument inputs on the preamp. It also comes with the free suite of Scarlett plug-ins in VST/AU/RTAS form. The suite includes Focusrite’s acclaimed Scarlett compression, reverb, gating, and EQ. Factor in the included Ableton Live Lite, a ton of royalty-free loops and samples, and the free Novation Bass Station synthesizer, and you have a complete music production sweet that’s ready to go whenever you need it.
The Not So Great:
There's not much to say against the Scarlett 6i6, then again, nothing's perfect. The individual peak meters on the mic preamp are LED circles which is a cool touch, but I’m sure most mixers would rather see a segmented bar meter, pushing the reliance to be on the meters inside of the DAW. Also, to switch from line input to instrument you have to open up the software mix control, which is one of the few times it is ever really needed.
High quality 24bit/96KHz audio interface for USB 2 with Mac, PC, and iPad
2 award-winning Focusrite mic preamps with phantom power
6 simultaneous Inputs and 6 outputs
Two unique headphone outputs with separate level controls
Tough aluminum unibody chassis
Unique gain halos for safeguarding your levels
Flexible routing options for easy signal flow changes
Scarlett MixControl ultra-low-latency DSP mixer and router
Powerful software bundle
Includes Ableton Live Lite, the Scarlett Plug-in Suite, the Novation Bass Station soft synth and Loopmasters sample content
Conclusion: It’s Awesome!
If you are looking for an affordable, reliable and easily portable audio interface and mic preamp then look no further. With everything that comes with the 6i6 hardware, and the software included, this is a solid deal for any producer, band or musician in general. With numerous pros and very few cons, the Scarlett 6i6 is an interface that’s here to stay.