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Hi,

Just looking for a consensus opinion between the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 2nd Gen, and the FS 2i2 3rd gen. My set up is digital piano to audio interface to Macbook Pro using Garageband to record solo piano, very simple. Doing the comparable spec research on both models, but would still value an opinion.

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What’s the difference?


Jazz piano Instructor. Technical Editor for Mark Levine's "The Jazz Theory Book". Studied with Mark Levine, Art Lande & Mark Isham (1981-1990). Also: Barry Harris & Monty Alexander (1993-present).
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Regarding Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 2nd gen vs. 3rd gen ... buy the cheaper one. The price will likely be the only difference anyone will notice.

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One thing to consider is the 2i2 doesn't have loopback if you care about that. I needed it and, after wasting too much time with virtual cables, had to exchange for a motu m2 instead

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One thing missing from your post ... What are you trying to accomplish with this effort?

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The biggest difference between the two is the 3rd gen has their air feature (derived from their high end Clarett interfaces) which introduces a subtle high end sheen when engaged. The 3rd gen claims slightly increased headroom but real world performance will not be noticeable, especially for what you want to do (solo piano into garageband).

Audio Interfaces are all about the Mic pres these days. Needless to say, inherently hype laden. You would be fine for your stated purposes with the 2i2 2nd gen which could even be sought for used at a bargain.

Last edited by Chuck W.; 06/09/20 10:36 AM.
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Maybe OT but the loopback feature may be useful in these days of COVID if one is taking remote lessons. I am and using my AG-06 for mic and headphone and the loopback feature came handy when I wanted to use Pianoteq to play a MIDI for the teacher to listen.


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Ok... I don't want to hijack (I keep saying that in these threads!!), but, can somebody explain this audio interface to me like I'm 5? I thought I understood their purpose (essentially a DAC - take the digital audio and render it into sound impulses).

But what is this "loopback" thing you speak of? Is this like using the external DAC to render audio, then sending it back along the USB interface to the PC for audio recording?

-Budding G.A.S. in Houston


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Loopback in an audio interface means there are virtual inputs within the interface software which permit recording of audio from other sources within your computer.

Example : recording web browser audio such as Youtube using a DAW.

The 3rd gen Scarletts do this. The 2nd gen doesn't.

Feedback loop precautions pasted from Focusrite support.

"Important! - MUTE THE DAW CHANNEL or set the output to No Output. If you are routing the output of the channel you are recording back to DAW 1 & 2, a feedback loop will be created, potentially damaging for your speakers, or worse – your ears."

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Originally Posted by kimby
Ok... I don't want to hijack (I keep saying that in these threads!!), but, can somebody explain this audio interface to me like I'm 5? I thought I understood their purpose (essentially a DAC - take the digital audio and render it into sound impulses).

But what is this "loopback" thing you speak of? Is this like using the external DAC to render audio, then sending it back along the USB interface to the PC for audio recording?

-Budding G.A.S. in Houston

I am still new to all of this so if I am wrong about something correct me. An audio interface is an external audio card. It improves the sound quality of your computer and allow you to connect monitor speakers/microphones/midi devices. It also lowers the latency between the computer and monitor speakers.

The loopback feature, as Chuck said, lets you use the audio that is sent to the monitor speakers as a recording device on the computer. I think it works in the same way "stereo mix" does on internal sound cards with windows. It can be useful for online piano lessons, for example, because you are able to use the sound going to your monitor speakers as an input device on skype/zoom/etc so your teacher can hear what you're playing directly (without a mic recording it)

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Razorbill, Exactly!

It's always an improvement over onboard audio. Your description was perfect!

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Originally Posted by Razorbill
Originally Posted by kimby
... explain this audio interface to me like I'm 5

The loopback feature, as Chuck said, lets you use the audio that is sent to the monitor speakers as a recording device on the computer. I think it works in the same way "stereo mix" does on internal sound cards with windows. ... you are able to use the sound going to your monitor speakers as an input device on skype/zoom/etc so your teacher can hear what you're playing directly (without a mic recording it)

Got it - that makes perfect sense! Thanks ChuckW and Razorbill! Now I understand the use-case you describe.


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Thank you to all piano purist's and music creationists who supported this post.

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Correction.

It seems that loopback isn't in the 2i2 3rd gen. That feature starts at the 4i4 interface and up. Sorry for initial mis-info.

But there is a workaround for older 1st and 2nd gen 4i4 and up units.

https://support.focusrite.com/hc/en-gb/articles/207546775-Does-the-Scarlett-range-have-loopback-


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