Focusrite Scarlett 18i20 - USB Audio Interface

Category: Digital-Audio Recording
Author: Sean O'Donnell
Mon, Nov. 28th, 2016 @ 2:20:45 (MST)

This year, I've spent a lot of money on rebuilding my workstation at home. New speakers, new dual-screen monitors, more synths and drum machines, and alast... a new audio interface. A few months back, I picked-up a Roland MC-202 Monophonic Synthesizer from a long time friend, whom I once collaborated for years with, collecting analog synthesizers and drum machines, and playing live (techno/acid house) with at local parties, back in the 1990's.

I also picked-up a pair of Focal Alpha 50 studio monitors, and recently bought the Roland TR-09 boutique remake of the classic Roland TR-909 drum machine, which I once owned, many, many years ago.

Unfortunately, I've been using the Lexicon Lambda Audio Interface for my old laptop, which served it's purpose, but was a very low-budget solution for my needs. Now that I have a few more pieces of gear, I needed to upgrade to a better audio interface that could support the number of audio inputs that I need to interact with my current Digital Audio Workstation (DAW).

My old laptop was running on Windows 7, and has run smoothly throughout the years. However, I also suffered a complete loss on my Linux workstation/desktop tower, last summer, due to a fried power supply. I also recently replaced that workstation/tower with an ASUS GTX960, which came pre-installed with Windows 10. I was planning on replacing my linux workstation with this ASUS, but I've decided, instead, to use my laptop to replace my linux workstation, and this ASUS workstation to replace my laptop.

The Focusrite vs. the Lexicon is like night and day. The frequency response alone is undeniably better, but the drivers and lack of USB-power requirements helps make this audio interface sound far more clean on my new Focal Alpha 50 studio monitors. No more low-noise ground-hum or other signal interference from the usb-power requirements of the lexicon lambda.

My current hardware setup includes the following:

  • Akai APC40 MIDI Controller
  • Focal Alpha 50 Active Studio Monitors
  • Focusrite Scarlett 18i20 USB Audio Interface
  • Kenton USB Solo MIDI-CV/Gate Converter
  • Roland MC-202 Monophonic Analog Synthesizer
  • Roland TR-09 Drum Machine
  • Roland TR-8 Drum Machine

Using all this hardware with Ableton Live 9 Suite and various VST Instruments and Plugins, is proving to be very fun, and allows me to re-produce the capacity that I once required dozens of hardware devices in order to be able to achieve such sounds. While it's not nearly the same as true analog purism, the capabilities provided do not hold me back from producing the types of tracks that I once was able to, back in the 1990's, when I (literally) had a room full of analog gear. The fact that I can control most of it all from the Akai APC40, alone, is far more powerful than I had imagined things would be today (back when MIDI was really a shoddy-performing technology).

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