Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 vs 4i4 - Which One Is Better To Buy?

Unless you’re new to music production, I’m sure you’ve heard about the Focusrite Scarlett range of audio interfaces. For those who are new, they are a line of popular audio interfaces that have been designed for home recording. The Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 vs 4i4 are both great options but there are some key differences between them which will be outlined below so you can decide which one is best suited to your needs.

The short answer is the Scarlett 4i4 gives you a little bit more control and flexibility than the Scarlett 2i2, at an extra cost of around $70. That said, I think the 2i2 is a superb interface for a home studio and I have been a happy 2i2 user since 2016.

2i2 vs 4i4 Similarities

The Scarlett 2i2 and 4i4 are in fact very similar in what they can do. So before we get into the differences, let’s quickly get out of the way just what both of these great interfaces are capable of.

Both the 2i2 and 4i4 are USB audio interfaces that can record 2 inputs at a time at high quality (24-bit 192kHz). Both interfaces have two XLR inputs with 48V Phantom support for condenser microphones. Likewise, both interfaces have one stereo headphone output that you may use for live monitoring your recording sessions.

 

focusrite scarlett 2i2 vs 4i4

2i2 vs 4i4 Differences

With the similarities out of the way, let’s get into the specifics of their differences.

Line Inputs

While both XLR inputs on both interfaces can double as line inputs. The 4i4 has 2 additional line inputs in the rear, which you can use to connect synths or other instruments.

Line Outputs

While the 2i2 has two line outputs for monitoring, while the 4i4 has four, giving you two extra line outputs which you can use either for monitoring or effect sends.

Focusite Control Software

With all the extra inputs and outputs, you might need a way to control what’s going where. That’s why with the Focusrite Control Software you can route any of the Scarlett 4i4’s inputs to any of its outputs.

MIDI In/Out

Finally, MIDI I/O is still preferred by some people as a means to sequence MIDI signals in the DAW of their choice instead of in hardware that would otherwise be connecting via USB. 

Scarlett 2i2 vs 4i4 Comparison

Focusrite Scarlett 2i2

focusrite scarlett 2i2 front
Front
focusrite scarlett 2i2 back
Back
4.5/5
Technical Specifications

Focusrite Scarlett 4i4

focusrite scarlett 4i4 front
Front
focusrite scarlett 4i4 audio interface rear
Back
4.8/5
Technical Specifications

Which One Should You Buy?

So which of the two is right for you? The answer to this question will depend on your needs. If you are looking for a simple audio interface with the ability to plug in your microphone or instrument and start recording and monitoring through headphones and studio monitors, then the Scarlett 2i2 will be just fine. And I believe this is the case for the vast majority of home studios, as it has been for myself!

However, if you need more inputs, more outputs, the ability to route various inputs to specific outputs, or perhaps you like to be picky about sequencing MIDI with a dedicated MIDI I/O, then the Scarlett 4i4 may be better suited for your needs.

The bottom line is both of these audio interfaces are great choices for a home studio, and it’s up to you to decide if the extra $70 or so are worth the bit of extra flexibility and control that the 4i4 brings to the table.