Focusrite Scarlett 18i20 USB Audio Interface, 3rd Gen
Overview by GAK
Focusrite’s 18i20 USB audio interface is the largest Scarlett interface and boats an impressive I/O configuration. As part of its 3rd-gen revitalisation, the 18i20 has been given switchable pads on all eight mic inputs plus an optical input and output. This permits eight channels of ADAT-format digital audio which can be accommodated at high sample rates (48kHz or 96kHz through a mic preamp such as a Scarlett OctoPre or OctoPre Dynamic, or four channels at 192 kHz), which greatly expands your recording and mixing capabilities. With the 18i20’s removable rack mount ears, you can either integrate it into your rack-based rig or take them off so it fits comfortably on your desktop. There’s a built-in talkback functionality which is bonus when using the 18i20 in a studio setting, as it allows you to easily communicate with the performer between takes. If you have a plethora of instruments that you like to use in your songs, with the 18i20 you can leave them all plugged in and ready to go.
At the top of the Scarlett series of USB audio interfaces are the 18i8 and 18i20. They’re by far the most versatile as they give you the greatest selection of inputs and outputs. Just like all the aforementioned Scarletts, the 18i8 and 18i20 have been enhanced as part of the third-generation. As well as the loopback functionality that was added to the 4i4 and 8i6, the 18i8 and 18i20 now have alternate speaker switching which is accesible via the Focusrite Control software.
The 18i20 is arguably the most professional solution and has a vast amount of options as far as hooking up multiple channels for simultaneous recording, it’s like having an entire studio in a box!
In the unlikely event your interface lets you down, all brand-new Scarletts come with a three-year warranty from Focusrite and their support team is friendly and knowledgeable.
The Clarett 8Pre USB is the “premium” version of the 18i20 and is worth looking into if you’re thinking about upgrading or have a bit more in your budget. The 8Pre USB shares the same input and output options as the 18i20 but boasts better latency performance and superior Clarett preamps, which Focusrite claim to be be the finest pre-amp they’ve built into a USB interface.
- Eight of the best performing mic preamps the Scarlett range has ever seen, now with switchable Air mode to give your recordings a brighter and more open sound
- High-performance converters enable you to record and mix at up to 24-bit/192kHz
- Two high-headroom instrument inputs to plug in your guitar or bass
- Four monitor outputs with anti-thump technology and speaker switching, and onboard talkback functionality with built-in, front panel talkback mic.
- Eight balanced line inputs for connecting synthesisers, drum machine and other line-level sources
- ֠֠Ableton Live Lite music making software
- ֠֠Pro Tools | First Focusrite Creative Pack
- Free 3-month Splice Sounds subscription with new Splice accounts Focusrite Red 2 & Red 3 Plug-In Suite
- A choice of 1 of 4 XLN Audio Addictive Keys virtual instruments
- Softube Time & Tone Bundle
- Access to the Focusrite Plug-in Collective
- Scarlett 18i20 3rd Gen.
- 1 x USB cable (Type C-A)
- IEC Cable (Power cable)
- Connectivity: USB Type-C
- Protocol: USB 2.0
- Form Factor: Rack Mount (1U)
- Simultaneous I/O: 18 x 20
- A/D Resolution: 24-bit/192 kHz
- Number of Preamps: 8
- Number of Pads: 8
- Phantom Power: YES
- Instrument Inputs: 2
- Line Inputs: 8
- Analogue Outputs: 10
- Headphone Outputs: 2
- Main/Alt Speaker Switching: YES
- Talkback: YES
- Digital Inputs: S/PDIF & 2 x ADAT
- Digital Outputs: S/PDIF & 2 x ADAT
- Loopback: YES
- MIDI I/O: YES
- Bus Powered: NO
- Included PSU : YES
Solid build - good software support !
Very well put together, unbelievable sound qaulity. Knobs feel sturdy when in use and has a professional feel. Downside was the Focusrite Control was was a little hard to get your head round ...but soon became easy to use. Out the box and with internet connection the drivers and associated software was a breeze to load. I use Cubase 11 and the interaction between this DAW and the Scarlett 18/20 had no problems .. great bit of kit ...So all good
Replaced my old digi 002 rack with this and linked with my Octopre , could replace the whole mixing desk with this.