1st Gen Focusrite Scarletts Work With 2nd Gen Drivers for Lower Latency



A couple of people have left comments over the past week saying that they were able to get their 1st generation Focusrite Scarlett interfaces to work with the Windows drivers designed for the new 2nd gen Scarlett audio interfaces.

So I went ahead and gave it a try and it’s true. The 2nd gen driver does indeed work with my 1st gen Scarlett 2i4. Crazy, huh?

The best part is the overall latency is just as low for the 1st gen as the 2nd gen (apparently the numbers aren’t accurate for the 1st gen, however—see comments).

Update: The 2nd gen drivers work with the 1st gen 2i2, 2i4, and Solo models, not the higher up Scarletts apparently…

Last month I posted a comparison review between the 1st and 2nd gen Scarlett interfaces, and by far the biggest difference with the 2nd gen is the lower latency.

Being able to take advantage of that improvement on the 1st gen is a major bonus.

With the 1st gen driver, the lowest latency setting for 48kHz is 12.4 ms on my Windows 7 PC. Using the 2nd gen driver, the lowest buffer size setting for 48kHz gives just 5.1 ms of overall latency.

To me it’s totally surprising that the 1st gen interfaces would work with the 2nd gen drivers. I’m sure Focusrite doesn’t want people to use them that way but it works nonetheless.

Focusrite has said on their Facebook page that they plan to update the drivers for the 1st gen Scarlett interfaces to improve latency, but that was a couple of months ago so who knows when that’s going to happen officially. In the meantime there’s a workaround if you really want the lower latency option on your 1st gen Scarlett interface.

Notes & Tips – Read First!

You can download the 2nd gen drivers from Focusrite’s website. This is reported to work on 1st gen 2i4 and 2i2 models. I’m not sure how or if it will work with the higher up Scarletts that use the Focusrite Control software.

To begin, you have to unplug the Scarlett interface from your computer and uninstall the 1st gen driver or it will just revert to using it instead of the 2nd gen driver (the 2nd driver doesn’t overwrite the 1st gen driver; they can both be installed at the same time).

I tested the 1st gen 2i4 using the 4.11.0 driver specifically and it was working just as well as with the 2nd gen 2i2, with a few exceptions…

Don’t try to use the higher sample rates from the ASIO control panel with 1st gen interfaces because that causes bluescreens. They support up to 96kHz only, but the 2i4 handled the new lower buffer size of 32 samples just fine.

As noted in my 2nd gen Scarlett 2i2 review, the 2nd gen drivers are buggier than the 1st gen drivers (at least on my system). Here are three tips that may help you avoid the same issues:

1. Make sure to close all audio applications before unplugging the interface from your computer, even if they aren’t running, or it may cause a bluescreen.

2. If the CPU starts spiking randomly and causing crackling noises, toggle the buffer size setting to fix it (for some reason I have to do this with Pro Tools sometimes but not with Ableton Live).

3. I had to turn off automatic screen timeout on my PC because sometimes when it would turn off the screen while audio was playing it would freeze up the PC.

At first I was really annoyed with these random issues, but now that I’ve figured out what causes them the 2nd gen 2i2 has been running great, and the lower latency is totally worth it for what I use it for.

Related Articles:

27 Responses to “1st Gen Focusrite Scarletts Work With 2nd Gen Drivers for Lower Latency”

  1. Thanks for the info, I’m thinking about trying the new driver with a 1st gen 18i20 on my Windows 10 laptop with Pro Tools, but on this page https://support.focusrite.com/hc/en-gb/articles/209125545-Using-Scarlett-2nd-Gen-with-Pro-Tools-First-Windows-Only it says for PT First you need to overwrite the Focusrite driver with the PTF driver. Did you have to do that to get yours to work? And do you know if it also applies to full PT software (12.5)?

    • I haven’t tried the Pro Tools First driver since I have full PT 12.4. I don’t know why the free version would be different but apparently it is.

      Now that you mention it, though, I’m not sure if this will work with the higher up models like the 18i20. The Focusrite download pages don’t show a driver for those models, just the Focusrite Control software, which I guess probably handles drivers too, so I don’t know how that will work with the 2nd gen driver for the lower end models. This has only been tested with the 1st gen 2i2 and 2i4, and neither of those models use the Control software, so the driver is just available to download directly and I’m not sure if it’s different from the higher up models.

      My 1st gen driver was called Focusrite USB 2.0 Audio Driver and the version was 2.5.1. If yours is the same then that means they’re probably all the same and it’ll work with the 2nd gen 4.11.0 driver. If not then I wouldn’t recommend trying it because it’ll probably just cause problems.

  2. hi,
    I cant get it to work on my windows 7 computer.
    When installing, windows says, the driver is not signed or something like that, and if i install it anyway, the driver cant detect the hardware.

    • Is your computer up-to-date? See the known issues note at Focusrite: Some Windows 7 PCs that do not have the latest Microsoft Windows updates may show an error regarding driver signing/not available. To resolve this, simply fully update your Windows 7. If you do not want to fully update Windows 7, the exact Microsoft update needed can be found HERE.

      • Hey man, Thanks for the reply. I was able to install the driver , everything worked fine.
        I followed the notes/steps as you have mentioned in the post, but the problem is, whenever I run Reaper, My pc shuts down (showing a blue screen) and restarts. :/

        • Well that sucks. The one thing I would suggest is to make sure the sample rate and buffer size are a match before launching Reaper.

          • Any suggestion , I mean for the matching?

          • Use the Focusrite ASIO control panel that installed with the driver and set it the same as your Reaper project. It should switch automatically unless it’s set at an unsupported setting… I got the bluescreen with Ableton when the sample rate was set too high in the control panel app. When I tested this it was working well at 48kHz/64 samples.

  3. Hi all,

    We are currently in the process of adding support for the smaller 1st Generation Scarlett units (2i2, 2i4 & Solo) with our 2nd generation 4.x driver, hence why you were able to get the 2i2/2i4 working. Development is ongoing and we will announce official compatibility for these units in due course. Please note that the latency reporting for the 1st Generation devices is inaccurate at present so I would encourage not to read into these figures for the time being.

    Jack // Focusrite Technical Support

    • Cool, thanks Jack! I was critical at first but the 2nd gen 2i2 has really grown on me since I found out how to avoid a couple of driver issues with my PC. The low latency is fantastic for recording guitars and edrums. I’ve been able to get a lot recorded lately. I really appreciate what you guys were able accomplish with the lower latency on these at a low price point.

    • Jack !! I suggest Focusrite Technical Support to give attention first to driver that is NOT working. and encourage customers who actually bought the second-generation interface and are unable to work, than to worry about the compatibility of the first generation interfaces. I had the misfortune to buy a 18i20 2Gen. and yet I could not Record any more band. Glitches..Glitches…Glitches !

  4. Hi Nathan,

    No problem, glad to hear that you like using the 2i2!

    If you do have any problems please let us know.

    Jack // Focusrite Technical Support

  5. Has anyone tried these Drivers on Mac? Just curios if I can update the Drivers of my Scarlett 2i2 1st generation with the new drivers on my Mac 🙂

    • I don’t know how it works with Macs but if you look at the downloads section at Focusrite they have an optional low latency installer for Mac that you might try to test.

  6. I have Focusrite 2i4 and 18i20 and i can confirm that 2nd gen drivers work with both of my 1st gen scarlets. Reported latencies under Reaper@44.1 Khz are buffer 16=3.8 ms, 32=4.4 ms, 64=7.8 ms. Both 4.10 and 4.11 drivers work. Also tried to use beta 4.12 with my 2i4 but couldnt get it to work. (they want me to upgrade to 2nd gen and i think they did something to newer drivers not to support 1st gen) They have definitely made some real progress with the drivers and would like to see them release these drivers for 1st gen also. Comeon Focusrite show some love for 1st gen also. 🙂

  7. Actually got 4.12 drivers to work also needed to unplug 2i4. Same latencies. Iam on Windows 10 btw. I dont know if latency readings are inaccurate. If i think of it maybe if 2nd gen have faster converters? But these sure are faster than 2.51 that i can tell. 🙂

  8. I tried this and got 8.3ms (16 samples buffersize; 4.11 2nd gen driver lowest it will go) and 10.4ms (45 samples buffersize; 2.51 drivers lowest it will go) The improvement is there but it is because 2nd gen driver allow you to select lower buffer 16 vs. 45. This was tested on my 2i4.

  9. Awesome that they are working on the 1st gen drivers too.

    I tried to get the 2nd gen drivers to work with my 1st gen 2i2, but the control panel says “No hardware connected”. I was only able to find 4.12 driver. Maybe the support for 1st gen was unintentional in the 4.11 driver version and was then disabled in the 4.12 version?

    • Perhaps. But you have to make sure to uninstall the old driver and unplug the 2i2 before installing the 2nd gen driver or it won’t recognize it. If not the link for the 4.11 driver can be found on this earlier comment. I still use 4.11 because it has better performance at the settings I use than 4.12.

      • No matter how I tried I couldn’t get the 4.12 working. But thanks for the 4.11 version! That one seems to work very well. The latency feels much better than with the old drivers.

  10. I am on OSX. Wondering what latency settings the 2nd generation drivers are using.

    And are the ms values you’re mentioning round tip or what the application reports?

  11. Can confirm that 2nd gen driver still works with 1st gen. (Atleast on surface)
    Can also see the scarlet control panel options.. after having uninstalled a lot and taken out the USB cable..

    In post it says that they said their working on gen1 driver??, but gen 1 driver is still from 09/04/2014 … blahhh.

    • They have the newer drivers listed if you hit the tab for the 1st gen 2i4 on Focusrite’s website. I don’t know why they didn’t update the sections for the other models when they use the same exact driver.

  12. Hey,

    I have the opportunity to buy Focusrite 2i2 1st gen for 75€.

    Can I still install the 2nd gen driver and got some nice latency?

    Thanks in advance

    • I don’t know how well they work with the 1st gen these days. When it comes to audio interfaces you’re better off not pinching pennies because they’re just about the most important part of an audio setup.