When it comes to the best and most affordable audio interfaces out there, the Focusrite Scarlett lineup is at the top of the list. The company has been a major player in the industry since 1985 or so with a focus on offering pro-level gear at budget-conscious prices. That trend continues today with the launch of the new 3rd generation Scarlett audio interfaces for Mac/PC. All the details are down below.

The Scarlett line might not be the most affordable audio interfaces out there, but they are certainly among the best in a budget-friendly price range. The 3rd gen boxes start at just $110 shipped and come with a series of new features. There are 6 configurations (Solo, 2i2, 4i4 8i6, 18i8 or 18i20) ranging from a single input/output up to a pro-level box with 18-ins and 20 outputs.

Most Affordable Audio Interfaces just got Even Better:

After making preamps for over 30 years, Focusrite claims the “the 3rd Gen mic pre is the best Scarlett has ever experienced.” Along with the inclusion of Air (more on this below), high headroom inputs, and “high-performance” digital to analog converters, the mid-range options are receiving some connectivity enhancements as well. The new 4i4 and 8i6 models include additional line I/O options by comparison the comparable 2nd Gen 2i4 and 6i6 (note the change in naming conventions there).

The 3rd generation mic preamps can “reproduce the Air effect” of Focusrite’s original ISA mic preamp. It is essentially a legacy effect that has been carried over to the new lineup via a toggle switch. It will add a sort of brightness and spacious environment to vocals and acoustic instrument recordings. And a particularly nice touch by Focusrite on what is essentially some of the most affordable audio interfaces out there, if you ask me. 

The best and most affordable audio interfaces - action shot

More Specs/Software:

You’re looking at 24-bit/192kHz converters across the board as well as “the latest USB connectivity for greater versatility”. There is an included USB-C to USB-A cable to connect your new 3rd generation interface to your Mac. And as if that wasn’t already too much for some of the most affordable audio interfaces available, the included software bundle is quite impressive as well:

Ableton Live Lite, Pro Tools | First Focusrite Creative Pack, free three-month Splice Sounds subscription,  XLN Audio Addictive Keys, Focusrite Red Plug-in Suite and Softube Time & Tone Bundle. Plus a two-year warranty and membership of the Focusrite Plug-In Collective, offering regular free software downloads and generous discounts.

The new focusruite Scarlett interfaces for Mac/PC are available now starting from $110 at Amazon and direct from Focusrite. Just for comparison sake, the 2nd Gen Solo is currently down at $94 on Amazon.

The best and most affordable audio interfaces return

9to5Toys’ Take:

As previously mentioned, the Focusrite Scarlett family has always been my personal choice for the best and most affordable audio interfaces on the market. The previous gen Scarlett Solo was one of our top picks for an affordable podcast interface. They offer professional-level quality at a stellar price and are easily my top recommendation for home Mac studios on a budget. That recommendation just got a whole lot easier with the 3rd generation offerings. The base model Solo, for example, is launching at $110, the same price as the previous generation, but with better sounding pres, additional features and the Air tech.

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