Focusrite Scarlett 18i20

Last modified on March 27th, 2022 at 12:28 pm

The Best USB Interface Under $600

Focusrite Scarlett 18i20 $549.99

I think most electronic musicians will need the channels the 18i20 offers, so you might as well bite the bullet instead of working your way up through smaller interfaces. The 18i20 is the top of the Scarlett line. Mine in the header image is a 2nd generation though currently Focusrite is making 3rd generation 18i20’s (images below) along with their smaller Scarlett interfaces. This is a rack mount device, although many like myself do not mount it in a rack.

The real skinny is this is an 8 channel input interface. You can input 8 mono or 4 stereo or whatever mix of devices to equal those 8 channels. 2 of those channels have microphone/line preamplifiers and phantom power. To get 16 channels you can connect via optical ADAT two 18i20s together for full redundancy or more commonly an 18i20 and a Scarlett OctoPre also via optical ADAT. If you really want to squeeze out the 17th and 18th channels you can add 2 more expansion channels, but if you truly need 18 channels, you might want to consider a different interface with even more channels for future expansion. Realistically, this is a 16 input channel interface.

The Facebook user group below offers excellent community support for configuration, etc. Highly recommended if you need help or advice.

It should be noted Focusrite PLC owns Focusrite, Sequential, Novation, Adam and other music companies. Focusrite is a very good company, and owns the $600 and below price range. While there are many other options in this range, all things considered, I wouldn’t. If you need to save money, Focusrite sells refurbished 18i20 2nd and 3rd generation with varying availability. Keep your eyes open, you may score a deal.

Thanks!
–Yehuda

Manufacturer’s website
https://focusrite.com/en/scarlett

Product support, downloads
https://support.focusrite.com/hc/en-gb

Facebook user groups
Focusrite Scarlett unofficial

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Manufacturer Specifications: click to open/close or jump to comments

  • Computer Connectivity: USB 2.0
  • Form Factor: Rackmount
  • Simultaneous I/O: 18 x 20
  • Number of Preamps: 8
  • Phantom Power: Yes
  • A/D Resolution: Up to 24-bit/192kHz
  • Analog Inputs: 2 x XLR-1/4″ combo (mic/Hi-Z), 6 x XLR-1/4″ combo (mic/line)
  • Analog Outputs: 10 x 1/4″ (line out)
  • Digital Inputs: 1 x Coax (S/PDIF), 2 x Optical (ADAT)
  • Digital Outputs: 1 x Coax (S/PDIF), 2 x Optical (ADAT)
  • Headphones: 2 x 1/4″
  • MIDI I/O: In/Out
  • USB: 1 x Type USB-C
  • Clock I/O: 1 x Word Clock Out
  • Software: Ableton Live Lite, Plug-in Collective access, Hitmaker Expansion Bundle, 3-month Avid Pro Tools Subscription
  • OS Requirements – Mac: macOS 10.12 or later
  • OS Requirements – PC: Windows 7 SP1 or later (Scarlett), Windows 10 v1809 or later (3-month Avid Pro Tools Subscription)
  • Rack Spaces: 1U
  • Power Supply: Standard IEC AC cable
  • Height: 1.83″
  • Width: 19.00″
  • Depth: 10.23″
  • Manufacturer Part Number: AMS-SCARLETT-18I20-3G