What We Like
- Includes decent software bundle.
- Two headphone jacks.
What We Don’t Like
- Reports of crackling audio caused by interface.
- Not always friendly with Windows 10.
Focusrite prides itself on being “better in every way,” according to their website. They do have a reputation for being reliable, but does the Scarlett 6i6 audio interface meet that self-set standard? We’ll discuss that in this review.
You know how people say you look so much like your family members? That’s the case with the Scarlett 6i6 — it’s a spitting image of its brothers and sisters. It has the standard red metal casing, giving the feel of durability yet still being a lightweight device. The face of the device is simple enough, which is good for simple recording.
Everywhere online, you’ll see it boasts four inputs, but don’t let that mislead you — it allows two inputs at a time, each with the option of either an XLR or quarter-inch connection. Hence, four total input possibilities.
A bonus to buying this device is that it comes with a slew of software packages, including Pro Tools, Ableton Live, and Focusrite Control. The latter is now available for iOS, meaning you can make edits on the mix from your iPad, iPhone, or iPod Touch. Sorry, PC users, you won’t be able to control the mix through a mobile device (yet).
The Scarlett 6i6 has preamps built-in, which is a necessity for audio interfaces nowadays, and — this being the second generation — the two inputs have been upgraded to work with super hot pickups. Having the option to use either XLR or quarter-inch is huge, but this is an option with most interfaces in this price range.
Having two headphone jacks is a big plus because most two-input interfaces have just one. Having two headphones available at the same time can be convenient for recording with another musician, which a lot of DIY recording artists do.
It was smart of Focusrite to include a software bundle with this interface, but the software can also be a downside. Pro Tools and Ableton Live can take a while to get used to because they’re more complicated than some simpler digital audio workstations. If you’re just starting out as a recording artist, they can be overwhelming, so you may want to get another DAW, like GarageBand (Apple only) or Reaper.
Speaking of DAWs, this interface is not compatible with all DAW software — for example, users report incompatibility issues with Sonar Platinum. So if you’re not up for using the included software, just make sure you find a DAW that is compatible with this device.
Additionally, this interface is sometimes not so friendly with Windows 10. It’s not clear whether the problem is on Focusrite’s end or Microsoft’s end, but several Windows 10 users have reported bugs when using this interface.
Lastly — and probably most importantly — there have been several cases of a buzzing, crackling, or popping happening in the audio after about four straight hours of recording. Keep this in mind and consider buying from a reputable company with a good return policy.
Although the Focusrite Scarlett 6i6 comes from a good family, it misses the mark for the most part. Issues with crackling audio, Window 10 compatibility, and some DAW setup problems make this a cautious buy.