18 Channel USB2.0 Audio Interface with USB-C Connection
- 24 Bit / 192 kHz
- 4 Scarlett microphone preamps
- Phantom power: +48 V
- Switchable Air function
- 4 Mic/Line inputs: XLR / 6.3 mm jack combo balanced (2 of which can be used as an instrument input)
- 4x Line inputs: 6.3 mm jack
- 4x Line outputs: 6.3 mm balanced jack
- 2 Stereo headphone outputs: 6.3 mm jack
- S/PDIF input and output coaxial
- ADAT input
- MIDI input and output
- USB-C connection
- Input for external power supply
- For PC / Mac
- Dimensions (W x H x D): 241 x 61 x 159.5 mm
- Weight: 1.33 kg
- Includes USB cable (type C to A), power adapter and Ableton Live Lite, Focusrite Hitmaker Expansion (registration from 1 October 2021)
The scarlet heart of the studio
The Focusrite Scarlett 18i8, a USB audio interface for Mac and PC, has eight balanced line inputs for connecting synthesizers or other line-level audio sources, and four balanced outputs for monitoring. In addition, it features a digital stereo input and output in S/PDIF format and an eight-channel ADAT input. Four of the inputs are combined XLR/jack sockets and can thus also be used with microphones. The 18i8 is equipped with four high-grade Scarlett microphone preamps with switchable 48 V phantom power, as well as the brand-new Air Mode. Electric guitars and basses can also be plugged in directly, as the impedance of the four front sockets can be set to Hi-Z. The Scarlett 18i8 also looks great and is very attractively priced.
Love is in the “Air”
Focusrite’s outstanding reputation for building high-quality mic preamps has been established for over three decades now, and much of this expertise has been included in the third generation of Scarlett interfaces via the brand-new integrated Air Mode, which when selected opens up and brightens the high end in a way that is intended to emulate their classic ISA preamps – or, as the British manufacturer puts it, to provide “unique high-end detail for vocals and acoustic guitar”. Decades of experience really do speak for quality in this case, and the AD/DA converters provide optimum clarity and detail with a maximum bit depth of 24 bits and frequency rates of up to 192 kHz.
The power of 18
The Focusrite Scarlett 18i8 is a compact desktop interface and is therefore particularly suited to project and professional studios. It is sturdily built yet lightweight and portable. The 18 flexibly designed inputs should be fit for any purpose, and the four outputs mean you can create an alternative monitoring mix or integrate outboard effects units. What is more, the integrated MIDI interface can be used to connect a master keyboard, for example, since a sound generator of four XLN Audio Addictive Keys is already included in the bundled software package.
Founded in 1985 by Rupert Neve, Focusrite quickly made a name for itself with high-quality analogue consoles. Today, the company markets audio interfaces, mic preamps, consoles, analogue EQs, and channel strips as well as hardware and software for digital audio processing. The company is based in High Wycombe, England, and has won numerous industry awards. In addition to the Focusrite Pro line, the company also has subsidiaries that include Adam Audio, Novation, and iOS app creator Ampify Music.
Get started right away
The newly designed “gain halos” (the red and green LED rings around the gain controls on the front panel) are intended to make it easier to adjust gain settings, so that budding producers can start recording immediately after buying the interface. To make things simpler still, Focusrite has included a “Quick Start Tool” and put together an impressive and comprehensive package of free software, some in the box and some available for download, which includes Ableton Live Lite, Pro Tools First, Focusrite Red Plugin Suite, Focusrite Plugin Collective, Focusrite Control, Softube Time and Tone Bundle, a three-month subscription to Splice Sounds, and a software tool of four XLN Audio Addictive Keys of your choice.
In the spotlight: Solo, 2i2, 4i4, 8i6, 18i8, and 18i20
The third generation of Scarlett interfaces comprises the Solo, 2i2, 4i4, 8i6, 18i8, and 18i20 as well as two bundles, the Solo Studio and 2i2 Studio, each of which includes a microphone and headphones. The abbreviations 2i2, 4i4, etc. specify the number of inputs and outputs. In other words, “2i2” stands for two (i)nputs and two outputs, and 4i4 accordingly stands for four (i)nputs and four outputs. The “Solo” bends the rules in this respect, since it actually features two inputs and two outputs – the name instead suggests that it is intended for solo artists or singer/songwriters.
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