A couple of weeks ago I posted a review of the 2nd gen Focusrite Scarlett 2i2, along with a comparison review between the 1st gen 2i4.
At first I experienced a number of problems with the 2nd gen drivers for the new 2i2, but then after Focusrite updated the drivers things were working a lot smoother.
The latency is much lower on the 2nd gen Scarlett interfaces so I was happy to replace the steady and reliable 1st gen 2i4 with the new 2i2.
But after a couple more weeks of using the 2nd gen 2i2, I’ve come to the conclusion that the Windows drivers just aren’t ready for prime time yet, at least not with my Windows 7 computer.
I’ve officially switched back to using the 1st gen 2i4 and things are working so much better that it’s kind of ridiculous actually. I wish the latency was a bit lower for tracking guitars and drums but the overall performance is so much more reliable than the 2nd gen 2i2 that it just doesn’t matter to me anymore.
Sometimes the 2nd gen 2i2 works great and other times it’s downright awful. I think maybe it has a poltergeist or something.
The first major issue that I encountered was using screen capture with Ableton Live. It causes CPU spikes and crackles like crazy, making it basically unusable for that.
Then yesterday while working with Pro Tools 12 I noticed the CPU meter kept spiking and causing distortion. After wasting a bunch of time trying to figure out what the problem was, I eventually plugged the 1st gen 2i4 back in for the first time in a couple of weeks and suddenly all the problems disappeared completely.
Then I threw like twice as many plugins on the tracks and maxed out the quality settings to test the 2i4 and it handled everything as smooth as butter, while not even approaching 50% CPU usage, where the 2nd gen was choking with half the plugins because the CPU kept spiking massively.
I haven’t totally given up hope on the 2nd gen 2i2 yet. I’ll keep an eye on the downloads page to see if they update the drivers again, but if they don’t have the problems fixed in couple of weeks I’ll say to hell with the 2nd gen 2i2 for good.
Update: So the good news is that I’m back to using the 2nd gen 2i2 again. Focusrite updated the drivers a week after this post. The new drivers didn’t actually fix the problem that made me stop using the 2i2 in the first place, but while testing the update I found the root of the problem and figured out how to work around it.
It turns out something about the 2nd drivers don’t play well with the CamStudio screen capture program. Using screen capture causes the drivers to go haywire. With Pro Tools it will double the CPU usage, even after the screen capture program is turned off and closed. And then even after the computer is restarted it’s still haywire until manually adjusting the buffer size from within Pro Tools. Using the ASIO app doesn’t fix it; it has to be adjusted within Pro Tools to get CPU usage back down to normal.
It’s incredible that the drivers of the second gen have more problem than the older version. I wait to buy the new gen, if the problem are solved I buy it, but now i stay on my line 6 UX2
Got my Scarlett 2nd gen a few days ago and the drivers are pretty atrocious. I’m so disappointed because it seems like a very solid unit, good audio quality and such, but the drivers have been annoying me to no end (I get some random distortions after a certain period of usage on W10).
It’s also managed to bluescreen Windows 10 a few times, so that’s quite the achievement there for Focusrite.
Update: I seem to be having some success with their Pro Tools|First dedicated drivers from this page: https://support.focusrite.com/hc/en-gb/articles/209125545-Using-Scarlett-2nd-Gen-with-Pro-Tools-First-Windows-Only
The Pro Tools one also seems to be newer, version 220.127.116.11 compared to 18.104.22.168 for the default one.
Weirdly enough it seems to have solved most of my grievances even though I don’t even use Pro Tools.
Maybe I’ll have to give that a try too. I saw it the other day and was wondering why the drivers would be different for Pro Tools First than regular Pro Tools 12. It doesn’t make much sense. They also recently added an optional low latency installer for Mac as well. I keep hoping to see a new update but it’s still the same version as it’s been for the past month.
Guessing they’re still working on getting it to work properly on various USB chipsets. For example I’d get bluescreens if I connected it to the ASMedia controller USB ports on my PC. On the Intel controller USB ports it is stable.
With about 6 hours of use so far, I haven’t encountered any issues with the 22.214.171.124 driver on Windows 10 64bit. CPU usage seems to be low too, though I have an overclocked i7 2600K.
After more prolonged use, I’m still having issues, so I guess the 126.96.36.199 driver isn’t that much better.
What a shame, the unit is pretty solid if not for the issues I encountered.
Well that sucks. Audient just announced the release of the Audient iD4, a 2×2 interface that’s the same price as the 2i4. It might be worth looking into.
This is the exact problem I am having, and it is still happening. It was okay as long as I only used the lowest sample buffer settings, but with the latest version of Studio One (3.5) their drivers have totally broken it because of how S1 3.5 handles latency.
I have seen the Steinberg UR 242 , it seem very goog, the drivers too.
Hi everyone. Since yesterday on the focusrite website there is a new driver, I dont know if it is exactly what will fix all the problems with the spikes of the second generation. Could you try this? Im with the money in my hand but I have a lot of doubts: 2i2 2º gen, 2i4 2º gen, or the old 2i4. I have hot pickups and windows 7 64b. PLZ help!
I saw that too. I just posted an article about it with an update as to what was causing the issues with my setup. I added an update above as well. The bottom line is I’d go with the 2nd gen because of the lower latency but the drivers still aren’t as stable as the 1st gen.
I just bought a 1st gen 18i8 and it works perfectly with my Win 7 x64 SP1 (with all updates and fixes).
First i preorderd a 2nd gen 18i8 but then i read about the various problems with the ASIO drivers around in the Internet.
So i decided to buy the more reliable 1st gen model. I use it with Cubase 7.5 The buffer size is on 2ms. On 1ms the sound crackles.
I also own an UR242 from Steinberg and it is a very good product. The latency is a bit lower than the 18i8 (around 1,5 ms). But i have not enough inputs for my setup, i need 8 inputs. The Yamaha driver is very stable, the lowest buffer size is 64 samples.
But the included mixer is pretty bad and very small even on my notebook monitor. There are complaints out there from users with 4k monitors that the mixer is not readable anymore, too small.
So i like the bigger mixer from the 18i8.
I think the focusrite gen 1 (for 2i4 ou 2i2) have too bad latency, the promises of the gen 2 are a fast latency but in the fact the drivers are bad ( too much issues). I think the Steinberg ur 242 is a best stuff.
I ll buy the ur 242 next week 😃
Thanks you for you return
Thanks Nathan, and congratulations for your articles.
After another day of having to toggle the buffer size every time I want to use Pro Tools, and not being able to use screen capture for video reviews and tutorials, I think I’m about ready to move onto a different brand. I’ll probably end up getting the new Audient iD4 to try since it’s the same price as the 2i4.
The UR 242 have a total latency of 8,7 ms . It’s not possible to get à better latency. I.m not happy. I ll return it back tomorrow and i ll receive the Roland quad capture this week.
8.7 ms is pretty good actually. I’d be happy with that, unless it’s only at the highest setting with an insane CPU hit.
It’s with the best setting … No cpu hit but no possibility to have a best results…
I bought a Focusrite 2i4 2nd Gen and the computer cannot find it. NO HARDWARE CONNECTED is all I get. It’s like as if it doesn’t even exist. I’m asking for a refund tomorrow because this is the biggest pile of horseshit I’ve ever seen. If Focusrite are so lazy with getting competent people to write the software for their stuff why the heck should I care?
Did you install the driver before connecting it to your computer?
If you’re too lazy to go through a few basic troubleshooting steps and/or contact support for help, then why should we care?
I received my 2nd gen 2i4 yesterday, and have been struggling to get it to work with 4 computers and still nothing…”no hardware connected”….after manually updating each pc, tried plug and play, tried manually installing the software, tried installing the software updater, etc….still nothing.
I tried it on 2 windows-7 (64bit) PCs, 1 Win-8 pc and a win-10 pc….nothing, nothing and nothing x2.
Been sitting for about 4 hours in total so far and getting extremely annoyed with this thing. I had a 1st gen about a year ago which worked in less than 5mins so I’m getting ready to send this back.
David Rosen says
It’s 2017 and I just found this post and I’m STILL having trouble with the 2nd gen 2i4 that I didn’t have with the 1st gen… I sold my 1st gen though so I’m stuck for now. Might jump ship soon to a different company but I don’t know what.
What driver version are you using? I had some problems in the beginning but it’s been running great on my PC since the 4.15 driver update.
Christian Lambros says
I am using the 2nd gen 2I4 Scarlett focusrite and Im ruining windows 10 on a new pc intel I7 with 8gig. So it’s not my pc. Im running ableton 9.2 and the cpu goes to 50% on ableton after running my plugins with only 10 tracks. How can I fix this? The cpu should not be running this way with am this 2017 modern pc that’s built to handle this with ease. Is it because this sound interface isn’t strong enough to handle this much work on ableton? Cause in Reason 9 sometimes with a lot of rack extensions the dsp goes up to 50% a well. So can this soundcard work better with some adjustments on my pc settings? Because today April 20 2017 is the last day to return this interface.
Raise the buffer size. Problem solved. It entirely depends on the plugins you’re using and the buffer size/sample rate. I could probably make 1 plugin on one track run at 90% if I tried. It doesn’t mean anything bad about the audio interface, just too low buffer size with maxed out plugin settings.
Christian Lambros says
Cancel my message I returned the audio interface today and picked up something way stronger. Thanks anyways.