[LAU] Sound quality of the Focusrite Scarlett 18i20 2nd Gen

Ralf Mardorf ralf.mardorf at alice-dsl.net
Fri Jan 6 19:53:00 UTC 2017


first of all, with a non-rt kernel 4.8.13-1-ARCH threadirqs the Presonus
worked with 256 frames/period, in this regard the Focusrite is better,
it's possible to use it with 128 frames/period. I used the same
Qtractor song with fluid-dssi and hexter, as I used for the Presonus. I
didn't test S/PDIF.

I returned the Presonus, so I can't compare the Presonus and Focusrite

The headphone outputs of the Focusrite are the most worse I ever heard.
I made a test with 44.1 KHz. I ripped "weather with you" from a Crowded
House CD. Ardour played the ripped WAV and a CD player played the
original CD. A comparison with the RME HDSPe AIO's headphone output
makes no sense. I hoped that just the headphone amps of the Focusrite
are weak, so I compared the sound quality of the Focusrite's
analog outputs with a Behringer ADA8000 connected by ADAT with the
Focusrite, using the same cables and mixer channel and then by
listening to the mixing console's headphone amp. After that I used the
same cables to connect the Focusrite and the ADA8000 to a hifi amp,
without a mixer involved. The ADA8000's sound quality always is more or
less equal to a hifi CD player, the sound of the Focusrite was always
vastly worse. Not only nuances are missing in the audio signal, but I
have the impression that the bass is purposely boosted.

Since I need a device that provides ADAT and works with my iPad, I'll
continue testing, but for Linux usage only, without an ADAT device, I
suspect the Presonus is the better choice.

I suspect the Focusrite's headphone and analog outputs are completely
unusable for home recording. At least I would send back the Focusrite,
if I wouldn't need DAT for the iPad. The sound is close to a cheap
no-name Walkman with a bass boost feature. Using studio headphones
there anyway is some 80s Walkman headphone alike sound impression.

It doesn't require blind tests to compare a telephone with a hifi amp.
The Focusrite's sound is better than a telephone, but I want to make
clear, that there's an audible difference compared with other gear, that
doesn't require blind tests.

FWIW the front is made of plastic and a countersunk bolt isn't
completely countersunk, but the cross recess of the screw is damaged.
It's a brand new device, not a b-stock.


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