The Scarlett 2i2 and the Audient iD14 are two of the best-selling small Audio Interfaces currently available that you can use in your home studio.
However, there are some key differences between them which you should know before going forward and spending your cash on any of them.
In this post I will go over the differences, all their specs and features, free software that comes with them, as well giving you my opinion on which one to choose depending on your needs.
Let’s get started…
Focusrite Scarlett 2i2
The Focusrite Scarlet 2i2 3rd Gen is one of the most popular USB Audio Interfaces currently on the market.
It’s the younger brother of the Scarlett 2i2 2nd Gen which is one of the best-selling Audio Interfaces in the world…
This is mainly due to its great construction quality, great performance and really affordable price.
The 3rd generation of the Scarlett series got a couple upgrades when compared to the 2nd gen, which are:
- The inputs and outputs all benefit from wider dynamic range, gain ranges and higher input and output levels.
- It comes with an “Air” circuit that, when engaged, gives a slight boost to the “air” frequencies, brightening up the sound.
- USB-C port instead of the traditional USB 2.0.
It has 2 XLR inputs and 2 outputs.
All Scarlett preamps are of great quality and feature an even gain structure, which allows for accurate gain level setting.
The instrument inputs are designed to be able to handle really hot pickups for recording electric guitar… even though the one on the Audient is a bit better.
The channel controls are fairly simple;
Gain knobs and Line/Instrument switches for each channel as well as the Air switches.
A 48V Phantom Power switch, a Direct monitoring On/Off Switch and a Headphone volume Knob.
Note: The direct monitoring feature can be switched from Mono to stereo, in case you’re running a stereo microphone set.
It’s small, compact and very durable, it looks like a little red brick! Ideal for recording at home or taking on the road!
The knobs on the device are pretty easy to rotate; they are not stiff at all and seem like they were made to last.
One cool thing about this Interface is that it comes with Pro Tools, Ableton Live and a suite of software and samples, so you can start recording straight away.
If you are like most home recording musicians, then this one will suit you well, especially if you’re on a budget…
It’s easy to use, works well and also comes with those added downloads, which I think is just great!
One BIG issue is that it doesn’t have MIDI input/output!…
Take that into account when deciding on the interface you’re going to purchase.
Still, it’s definitely a good Audio Interface, especially since it sells at the same price that the older generation did, but it simply comes with some extra features.
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Let’s take a look at its performance;
The latency while monitoring is surprisingly low, about 6ms.
But should you have some issues with it, you can always switch the direct monitoring on, which will give you true direct monitoring with zero latency.
As far as the recording quality goes, I honestly can’t complain.
It sounds very clear; the sound doesn’t get distorted like it does with some really cheap Audio Interfaces like the UM2…
With the UM2 I noticed that if the signal was a bit too hot, not necessarily clipping but around -3dB, it would sound distorted.
This won’t happen here.
Sure, there are a lot of other alternatives out there which you should also consider, but the Scarlett 2i2 is one of the best ones, for the price.
On last thing is that I’ve read multiple comments online where people complained about the drivers and that the interface would suddenly stop working.
This has never happened to me, but it’s worth mentioning just in case.
What do you get in the box?
- The Scarlett 2i2 3rd Gen Interface
- USB Cable
- Free Software Keys
- Two natural-sounding Scarlett microphone preamps
- Up to 192kHz audio resolution with super-low latency
- Air circuit
- Mono/Stereo Monitoring control
- Compact, lightweight and sturdy enough to take with you anywhere
- Includes Pro Tools | First, Ableton Live Lite and a suite of software and samples
- Free XLN Addictive Keys license with purchase
- Red 2 & 3 Plug-In Suite, Softube Time & Tone Bundle and 2GB of Loopmasters Samples are included as a free download.
- Focusrite offers a 2-year manufacturer’s warranty
The Audient iD14 comes with the ASP8024 Class A Mic Preamp Circuit which is the same one used in the Audient consoles and it also has the Burr-Brown Converters.
These preamps are some of the best I’ve ever tried…
The detail you get is just insane!
The construction quality is probably also one of the best I’ve ever seen on one of these small interfaces.
It’s made completely out of aluminum and feels very solid, plus the dials don’t feel cheap at all…
None of them, except maybe the big one, have any give or feel wobbly at all.
Let’s take a quick look at the inputs and the outputs of the Audient Id14:
Inputs: 2 x XLR/TRS combo Jacks featuring their ASP8024 Class A Mic Preamps, one D.I. input, as well as an optical input.
Outputs: 2 x TRS outputs for your monitors, and the ¼” headphone output.
On the front of the interface you get the ¼” JFET D.I. Input as well as the ¼” headphone output which offers free latency monitoring.
On the back you’ll find the USB 2.0 connector, the ¼” TRS outputs to connect to your monitors, the two XLR/TRS combo Inputs, and lastly the optical input.
What is the Optical input used for?
The optical input allows you to connect a A-D and D-A converter to expand the channel count, which gives you an extra 8 channels of ADAT at 44.1kHZ or 48kHz, 4 channels of ADAT at 88.2kHz or 96kHZ, or 2 channels of S/PDIF between 44.1kHz and 96kHz.
Essentially, this means that you can convert the 2-input interface into a 10-input one.
On the top You’ll find the Mic Gain controls for both inputs, and a button to control your Speaker Output Volume, another one to control the headphone output volume, as well as the iD button.
When activating the iD button, you can use the big dial to scroll through- or adjust any settings in your plugins or DAW.
Lastly, the iD button can be programmed to perform different functions such as;
Scroll Control, mono summing, –15dB dim, Talkback, and more.
Otherwise, the big dial allows you to control the volume of the outputs (Headphones and Speakers).
Note: Just like with the Scarlett 2i2, the Audient iD14 doesn’t have MIDI I/O.
Lastly, this interface provides you with a set of indicator lights which work as a meter, ranging from -36dB to 0dB.
It can record up to 96kHz/24-db which is more than enough to get excellent recordings.
- Console Style Monitor Control
- Free guitar and bass cab emulation
- Steinberg Retrologue 2 Synth
- Produce Like a Pro Mixing bundle
- Cubase LE and Cubasis LE 2
- And More…
Read more about the free software you can download here.
Let’s take a look at its performance;
As far as the sound quality goes, this Interface is just fantastic…
The preamps sound extraordinary, and I have to admit that the overall recording quality is better than the one of the Scarlett 2i2… Way better!
Especially the D.I. input, since it’s one of the best sounding ones I ever tried.
It provides you with a lot of headroom, and the signal-to-noise ratio is excellent!
The great thing about this interface is that it can be expanded, and since it sounds so good you probably will never need to upgrade from it…
Just purchase a converter to expand the channel count and you’re set.
With the Scarlett 2i2 you would need to upgrade pretty soon.
Contrary to what I’ve read online about the Scarlett 2i2 drivers, no one seems to have had any issues with the Audient ones.
This is a clear pro, in my opinion.
What do you get in the box?
- The Audient iD14 Interface
- USB Cable
- Free Software Keys
- 10-in/4-out USB Audio Interface
- 2 x Class-A Audient Console Mic Preamplifiers
- High Performance Burr Brown AD/DA Converters
- iD ScrollControl Mode
- 1 x Discrete JFET Instrument Input
- Main Speaker Output
- Independent Class-AB Headphone Output
- Full Monitor Control Functionality (software controlled)
- ADAT Input for Expandability
- Low Latency DSP Mixer
- USB2.0 Bus Powered
- All-Metal Enclosure
- Free plugins and software with ARC
Here’s a link to Amazon where you can check the price and reviews of the Audient iD14.
The sound quality of the Audient iD14 is far superior to the one of the Scarlett 2i2, plus it features an optical input which allows you to increase the total channel count to up to 10, as well as the iD scroll feature.
The scarlett 2i2 3rd gen, on the other hand, offers the air circuit which can help brighten up the mid-high frequencies.
Which one should You Get?
So, both Interfaces are worth every penny, in my opinion…
However, I think that there’s a clear winner here which is the Audient iD14.
The reason for this is that even though it sells for twice as much as the Scarlett does, having the optical input means that you won’t need to purchase another interface down the line.
Not only that, but the difference is sound quality is pretty noticeable.
This is why I think it’s the best alternative, even though I understand that paying twice as much for an Interface that offers the same channel count may seem a bit dumb.
But remember, you will never need to purchase another one, unless you need over 10 simultaneous inputs…
Which in a home studio isn’t really necessary.
So, if you need a budget friendly interface and you are certain that you won’t need to upgrade, go for the Scarlett 2i2…
If you want the best sounding one, and better overall, go with the Audient iD14.
You should really think about what your current needs are.
If you don’t have the budget for the Audient iD14 and you don’t really need more than two inputs, then it makes a lot of sense to go with the Scarlett 2i2.
However, if you feel like at some point you’d want to be able to record a band, or at least be able to use more than two mics…
Then you should definitely go with the Audient iD14.
I hope this information was useful!
Have a great day!