Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 Studio

An interesting video. Thanks for that Al.

Thank you for this video, is very informative and very useful for recording newbies like myself.

Regarding the Scarlet, I got recently and electric guitar and the Boss Katana Amp, which I just found out can be used to record as well.

Now after seeing this video I’m doubting between getting the scarlet+mic or just a USB mic, since I can record guitar with the amp , maybe getting the scarlet is a bit overkill.

Hope some experienced friend can help me out!
Cheers!

I think it all depends on what your interests and goals are. There are so many good options available depending on your situation.

I’m not an expert and certainly don’t use it for anything serious but I’ve been capturing ideas and progress regularly (once or twice a week) for last 4+ months on piano and now also guitar. I do however really enjoy this side of it as much as the playing and it probably shows…

As such I can offer more what I’ve found works for me and why I’ve chosen certain options rather than being able to tell you what route to follow… :slightly_smiling_face:

I use the usb mic on my phone for ‘single take’ type recordings that I can trim and use straight away. My upright piano is in my kitchen / dining room so it needs to be kid and cat proof which cables and boom mics wouldn’t be. I can prop my phone with mic on a stool, do a recording and my focus is on the playing not the recording. Similar if I am camping and I’m strumming away on an acoustic guitar and want to capture it.

I use the Focusrite in a more permanent setup where I am lucky enough to have taken over a corner of a bedroom and have computer, speakers and guitar all permanently plugged in and ready to pick up and use. It’s in an ‘always ready to go’ state. I can record straight into a DAW and easily combine several instruments or layers.

A bit like the ‘keep your guitar out of its case in a room you use’ type advice - think about what would be convenient for how and where you plan to use it.

It also depends where you want to go longer term - if you are likely to change amps to one that doesn’t have usb at some point or want to play with software amps or pedals etc and are interested in setting up and recording into a computer then the audio interface will give you good long term options. Similarly - the audio interface approach gives good options for acoustic guitars and singing. Having a gain dial on the front of the audio interface that lights up when it reaches close to or starts to clip is really helpful and harder to see than when it’s done in software. Do you want to just quickly record and share ideas or want to get into recording and editing and playing with the sound and the mix etc?

USB mics are also more expensive than equivalent quality XLR mics as you are paying for the built in audio interface.

As with all gear - I think it’s worth exploring and recording and experimenting with what’s to hand until you find it’s limits. It’s easy to get pulled into the gear side of it… :grinning:

3 Likes

Thanks so much for sharing!
My idea is to record acoustic and voice so will have to end up getting a condenser mic probably.
Also the possibility of recording the guitar directly into the Scarlett and playing around with plug-ins and effects seems very interesting.
I’ve seen Focusrite has a sort of Home Studio Pack with headphones and mic, I’ll have to decide between that and getting a mic separately (I read good things about the Rode nt1a).

Thanks again, cheers

I would general avoid USB mics for music production. Yes, they seem convenient and inexpensive, but they tend to be quite limited.

As has already been pointed out, when you buy a USB mic you are also buying an onboard audio interface. Unless you are buying a high-end USB mic, then it’s almost certainly going to be poorer quality than buying a separate mic and AI.

With a proper audio interface, you can chose whether to use it with a microphone, or plug in an instrument. And you can get different mics to use with your AI if you want.

Plus a normal mic is handy if you ever want to perform, and an XLR mic lead can run far further than a USB cable if you need it.

Cheers,

Keith

1 Like

Thanks Al, this was indeed an interesting video!

I’m also considering this advice I received in my learning log from @DavidP:

And I guess if it comes to miking the amp as shown in the video, it can also be done with the 2i2 / 4i4.

Plus this audio-synching & video editing bit seems interesting. I’ve never really tried it before (didn’t have the equipment and need for it) but I think I’ll give it a try.

One lightbulb moment in the video was when he first switched to the dynamic microphone in front of the amp, and I recognized that cushioned kind of typical radio DJ tone, something that can get on my nerves :smiley:

If I understand correctly, the condenser mikes are more suitable for moderate volumes and the cardioid pattern reduces the background noise picked up by the mike. Do you think something like this would be suitable for recording acoustic guitar or miking an amp?

Hi @DavidP thats a really helpful explanation about the mics, but I don’t understand how you blend the phone camera recording with a separate audio recording. Do you do that with the Reaper software you mention? Does that remove the audio from the phone so you can overlay the audio recorded through the mic. Sorry if this is a really stupid question!

If it’s a stupid question then color me stupid, too! After posting my first recording a few days ago I have started thinking a lot about whether I want to invest in a little equipment to improve the recordings I may do in the future. I’m very intimidated by the whole AI / DAW idea.

1 Like

There no ‘stupid questions’ here, Tracey.

Like all things, when you are yet to start there is lots to learn. But no need to feel intimidated.

There are lots of members here who’ve travelled the road and can offer help.

I see the process of recording as a process of continuous improvement. You can do just fine with a mobile phone. Just shoot the video on the phone, share it from phone to YouTube, and paste the link into a Topic.

Then later you may want to edit the video. Perhaps add some kind of title and credits, trim the start and finish to crop the video to just your playing (and singing).

If you want to take a first step into home recording to produce music with better sound quality then you want to get yourself an Audio Interface, such as a 2i2 discussed in this topic. You can then plug in an instrument and a mic (again only needed if singing).

Once you have that setup you can now use your AI as an audio source on your computer. The next step could be to make your video on the computer, assuming the computer has a connected camera, either built-in to a laptop or a USB webcam.

You can then use OBS as the recording application. You can set it up so its video source is either the integrated camera or a webcam and the audio source is your Audio Interface. Once that is done then as simple as pressing record.

Another option, not much more tricky, is to use this software that allows you to connect your phone camera to OBS. That takes a few more steps but is also not too tricky and there are YT guides to take you through it. It’s a great solution that enables you to make a video that benefits from the camera quality of a modern smart phone and the audio quality of a home recording setup.

And all this without getting into the use of a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation). For recording yourself playing (and singing) it is not necessary. In time you may want to take things further and begin to make recordings with multiple layers, make use of digital instruments/MIDI, compose your own songs etc. But as I say, it’s a journey, one step at a time.

For this discussion I am not considering how you might make use of an electric guitar played through an amp that has a USB link to a PC. I have no experience of that but probably you’d be able to feed from the amp into OBS, as I assume there’d be some kind of audio driver on the computer to process the signal from the amp.

Hope that helps. And feel free to keep asking questions.

1 Like

Tracey so I use Ableton as my DAW ( which is the equivalent of Reaper ) . The DAW is used for polishing your audio. At the end you export a WAV or MP3 file.

To then merge that with your video you need some video/movie making software. I use Adobe Premiere ( I think David uses Corel ). You open the video you took in your video software ( premiere for me ). This will be laid out as a timeline i.e block/track of video. There will be two layers… one of the video you recorded and one for the audio you recorded on your camera.

You then import/open in the video software your audio that you exported from your DAW. This will appear in your video timeline as another row/track. So you’ll have three timelines Camera video, Camera audio, Exported DAW audio.

So you now have to sync your DAW audio with the camera audio. Most video software will have an option to do this where you select both audio tracks and then select a sync option.

Once they are synced you can then delete the camera audio row/track and you’ll just be left with your video track and DAW audio track both in sync.

You then export this final version of your video

It sounds a lot more complicated than it is!

As a example here are two recordings.

One of the band with the camera audio

And one if the band with audio recorded separately that I syncd with same video.

2 Likes

I think this is the key point.

I too have done exactly what Jason as described.

But this path is added work and only needed when you want to work on the audio in the DAW. In my own case, that is not usually necessary. For simple videos of me playing and singing a song, ‘live’ ie no over-dubbing over vocals, adding drums and bass, etc, I don’t find it necessary to work on the audio in the DAW.

So lots of options and different ways to go about things, depending on what you are wanting to achieve.

Thanks @DavidP and @Rossco01. There’s a lot to take in here so I’ll need to read through a few times and do a bit of thinking and testing things out.

I know a bit of this as I bought a focusrite solo (I think it’s called) a year of so ago and started messing around with GarageBand, but adding video is a whole new dimension that I’d be interested in looking at, but it feels a bit daunting at the moment. I’ll give it a lot of thought for the future. Thanks for the really helpful explanations guys.

1 Like

10 posts were split to a new topic: About mic stands and positioning

Thank you @TheMadman_tobyjenner and @Jozsef for that info.

I’ll do a few takes tonight and see how I get on.

1 Like

I see focusrite scarlett talked a lot on the internet. Is it the best interface choice for this price range or is there other choices that are as good ?

I just got a Scarlett 2i2, and I am super impressed. I already had all of the drivers installed, so installing it on windows was as simple as plugging in and running through a first setup/hardware registration.

I’ve been practicing primarily with my little knockoff squier strat, and enjoying myself a ton. But the problem was it just wasn’t loud enough to hear the places where my tone was really bad. I didn’t realize how much of an issue that was until I tried to play an acoustic and sounded like crap. So the choice was either switching to a different guitar, or getting an audio input. The audio input was 1/5 of the price.

The direct monitoring works great with my monitoring headphones. Connecting it to apps like amplitube and rocksmith on windows worked great. I haven’t tried Guitar Pro yet, or any of the DAW stuff included with the Scarlett.

But the real treat, imo, is that I don’t actually have to plug it into my computer though. I can literally plug the box into my cell phone with a USB-C → USB-C cable, turn off direct monitoring, and the phone automagically uses the 2i2 as an audio device. Then, if I turn on direct monitoring, I can load up the justin beginner app and it plays through the 2i2 and into my headphones, and automatically mixes it with my guitar. Definitely a great improvement since now I can control the levels of my guitar and the song audio independently, and everything gets mixed and sent up to my headphones.

I am going to be tinkering with this little guy a lot! I definitely understand why it’s so heavily recommended.

I’d love to see if I can figure out a way to use a powered USB hub to keep my phone charged, and power the 2i2 while still having the 2i2 registered to the phone. I suppose I can also put my phone on a wireless charger and see if that works. About an hour of playing dropped my battery by 10% so I don’t think it’s a huge issue, but still, it would be nice to have.

4 Likes

That sounds like a great idea!

I’m using a rocksmith cable and it has a little lag, does this (on pc)?

I got my Scarlett 4i4 this week and I can only echo @msarro’s sentiments. I made some test recordings of my 6 string acoustic and the sound was quite nice, though sometimes a bit bottom-heavy (I guess a lot depends on picking technique and microphone placement as well). I chose the 4i4 as I have a longish-term plan of getting a MIDI keyboard sometime to further my musical development, and the 4i4 has MIDI I/O sockets.

Currently, I use a headphone for monitoring, and it feels a bit weird to play while it’s on my head, but I think I’ll get used to it. After all, the pros also do this. I want to purchase new speakers for my recently-bought stereo amp sometime, so my old speakers could be repurposed as monitors for the 4i4… I still have to research the options for this.

4 Likes

They are certainly a popular choice but certainly not the only one.

I have a Presonus Audiobox iTwo which I got because it has an iPad interface (and normal USB). But it does everything a Scarlett would does. And I’m sure there are others.

1 Like