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Focusrite – 10 Years of Scarlett

18/11/2021
The Focusrite Scarlett audio interface is celebrating its 10-year anniversary of helping musicians achieve their dreams. We take a look at the history of the Scarlett interface and how this has changed the world of convenient musical recordings for the better…

The ubiquitous red box resides in four million studios and homes across 180 countries. So it’s no wonder Focusrite declare that the Scarlett has helped make more records than any other audio interface in history.

A lot has changed in 10 years within the recording industry. And the Scarlett audio interface has played a major part in this change, giving the power back to the people and making it easier than ever to unlock your creative potential…


Universally known, critically recognised

You’re starting to build your own home studio. You do the research, ask the questions, and try out every product you can – then you make your decision. You bring home the Scarlett interface and get recording.

From beginner to master, it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that everyone who has an at-home recording studio has had a Scarlett in their setup at some point throughout their career; the numbers speak for themselves.

Since its inception in 2010, the Scarlett audio interface has been at the forefront of the home-recording revolution, constantly pushing the boundaries of sound quality, design, and features.

Whilst it has undoubtedly evolved over the years, the Scarlett has always remained true to the core, earning praise from industry legends highlighting the quality of the interface and admiring that it punches well above its weight.


A prestigious lineage

Established in 1985, Focusrite aims to serve high-end, professional recording studios by creating premium production equipment. Beginning with vocal preamplifiers, EQ’s, dynamics modules, and more – Focusrite were often credited as being among the very best with regards to analog hardware equipment for recording studios.

In 1989, ownership changed hands and came under control of Phil Dudderidge, an industry veteran, and began to widen the range of products available that appealed to professional, commercial, and hobbyist musicians.

In the time since its inception, the ethos has always remained the same: delivering the best quality products possible to the market, and making it easier for musicians and artists to create music.


Putting musicians above anything else

Colloquially known as ‘the interface of the people’, Scarlett interfaces were designed with musicians in mind. Finally, an audio interface that didn’t require extracurricular knowledge or previous background in music technology to operate.

Maintaining a focus on ease-of-use and immaculate sound-quality enabled musicians, songwriters, and producers across the globe to take their music from concept to reality effortlessly. Designed for musicians – by musicians – the Scarlett range of interfaces makes use of a simple layout and class-compliant USB for universal connectivity to any laptop or computer.

Coming in a wide range of sizes with varying numbers of inputs and features, there’s a Scarlett for every recording situation. Whether you’re a solo musician looking for a portable recording interface, or building a home project studio, the usability and immaculate audio quality remains constant.


Evolution of the Scarlett

The First Generation

In 2011, the world was introduced to the Generation 1 of the Scarlett 2i2. A revolution in the at-home recording studio movement, this allowed more users than ever before to access the tools to create professional music at home.

Before the introduction of the Scarlett, the audio interface market was tenuous and the products available didn’t deliver on their promises of convenience and quality. Often, the products available were unreliable and complicated to set-up, usually reserved for those with existing expertise in studio recording.

Focusrite set out to change the landscape, with the ethos that the existing market simply wasn’t giving the average consumer the products they needed. It was crying out for a solution to let people flex their creative muscle in a way that made music-making accessible to all and – most importantly – sound great.

2i2-Gen-1

Taking feedback from existing Focusrite users and customers, the design of the Scarlett took on board the requests and demands of modern musicians to produce the best audio interface possible.

Designed from the ground up, the first generation of Scarlett interfaces was built by the expert engineers at Focusrite, using hand-selected components to produce the best professional-level USB interface possible.

Building the interface from scratch meant that no compromises would be made in regards to audio quality, reliability, and build-quality – avoiding any of the pitfalls from other audio interfaces of the time.

The unquestionable success of the original Generation 1 Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 birthed the expansion of the series between 2012 and 2014, with the introduction of the Scarlett 2i4, 18i20, 6i6, Solo and Solo Studio. Keeping the promises of excellent sound quality, reliable performance and immaculate build-quality, there was now a Scarlett interface for every recording situation.


The Second Generation

2i2-Gen-2

Always striving to create the best product possible for home recording musicians and engineers, Focusrite released the second generation of Scarlett USB interfaces in 2016. This revision delivered improved audio performance, with the ability to record at much higher sampling resolutions (up to 192kHz!) for an even greater level of detail with your recordings.

Continuing their dedication to provide budding home recording musicians the complete recording experience, the Scarlett Generation 2 interfaces now came included with Pro Tools First, a streamlined version of the industry standard DAW. Additionally, the Focusrite Creative Pack was now included with every purchase, giving you a wide range of professional plug-ins to mix and edit your tracks with.


The Third Generation

2i2-3rd-Gen

Now we move to the current crop of Scarlett interfaces, the Generation 3. Introduced in 2019, Scarletts third generation introduced some significant upgrades including a USB-C connection for a more universal compatibility with recording computers, as well as the revered ‘Air’ mode…

The ‘Air’ mode actives an emulation of the classic ISA preamp signature sound, adding extra flavour and depth to the already stellar sound that is offered by the Scarlett interfaces.


Complete suite of plug-ins, totalling over £1000 in value

Committed to ensuring that musicians gain access to a complete home-recording studio, with all the tools they need to create the best sounding music possible, the Scarlett range of audio interfaces come with a variety of plug-ins to edit, mix and master your projects.

Over £1000 worth of plug-ins come completely free to help get you started in the world of digital music production and include:

Auto-tune Access

A streamlined and intuitive pitch correction plug-in, ideal for vocalists, producers, and mixing engineers. Delivering highly accurate and authentic vocal tuning with CPU optimisation for high performance and low-latency.

XLN Audio Addictive Drums 2: Studio Rock

Powerful drum production, jam-packed with a variety of acoustic drums and rhythms. As well as a range of studio-grade effects to give you total control – all recorded by industry professionals in world-class studios.

Softube Marshall Silver Jubilee 2555

Immaculate emulation of the legendary Marshall amplifier, with cabinet speaker simulation recorded by acclaimed producer Tony Platt. Perfect for high-gain rock guitar tones.

Relab LX480 Essentials

Discover the critically acclaimed emulation of the legendary 480-style reverb unit.

Brainworx bx_console Focusrite SC

The definitive emulation of every channel strip featured on the legendary Focusrite Recording Console. Includes recreations of the ISA110 EQ and ISA130 Dynamics processor.

Brainworx bx_oberhausen

Authentic recreation of a famed ‘70s synthesizer, complete with 32-voice polyphony, unison modes, and studio effects.

Brainworx bx_masterdesk

Mastering made easy. Simple workflow and immaculate sound fidelity makes mastering your music ready for commercial release within reach.

Three-month Splice Sounds subscription

Get access to millions of high-quality, royalty-free one-shots, loops, and presets with new releases daily

This is only a taster of the world-class plug-ins that come completely free of charge with every purchase of a Focusrite Scarlett interface. For more details, find the full list here.


The impact of the Scarlett Audio Interface

Difficult as it may be to imagine, there was once a time where – if you had a catalogue of songs to record – you would need to find musicians capable of playing the material, rehearse the material to the point of exhaustion, and pay tens of thousands of pounds to have an engineer set up your recording session.

Not to mention the often-laborious process of 12-hour recording days to squeeze in your material in the studio’s very tight schedule.

Whilst this was the norm for the decades leading up to the home recording revolution, Focusrite looked to change the game. This meant giving the average musician a place to record their material at their convenience, without needing the backing of a major label to afford the expenses.

The change in music consumption through streaming services and digital downloads has had an adverse effect on the commercial success of artist’s record sales, meaning the previously set standards of recording practices are no longer practical to many up-and-coming musicians.

This decline of business for traditional studios left a large gap in the market, and a big divide between the average musician and their access to high-quality recording equipment.

Here’s where the Focusrite Scarlett enters. Using their expertise and wealth of knowledge in the background of professional recording equipment, Focusrite were able to produce an audio interface that delivered reliable performance and unrivalled audio fidelity for musicians to record in the comfort of their own home.

Making music easier has always been at the forefront of the Focusrite philosophy. And now, many artists and musicians can build project studios in their homes at a fraction of the cost of traditional recording studios.

Focussing on creativity and putting the needs of musicians first, the Scarlett range of audio interfaces offered something that wasn’t available until its introduction: simple and intuitive usability paired with unmatched audio-quality for the price point.

Many contemporary musicians started their careers on using Scarlett interfaces, taking advantage of the offerings that digital recording systems has to offer.

It would be unwise to deny the impact that the Focusrite Scarlett range of audio interfaces has had on the world of musicians looking for a simple and excellent-sounding way to record their music, but never been able to express until then.


A story of shared success

The longevity and achievements of the Focusrite Scarlett audio interfaces would not have been possible for it not the millions of people who made the Scarlett what it is today.

An instrument or piece of equipment only has a purpose when put in the hands of a creatively driven individual to bring it to life. The diverse range of artists that rely on the Scarlett interface for their creative process is testament to the musician-centric focus of the Focusrite Scarlett.


Find out more

To explore our full range of Focusrite audio interfaces, follow the links below!

Shop now | Focusrite Scarlett

See more | Focusrite Audio Interfaces

Find out more | Focusrite

Content Writer - High Tech

Cory has been known to be uncomfortable writing short biographies about himself in the third person.

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