Audio interfaces are a MUST if you want good sound quality!
You may be stuck between two famous brands – Audient and Focusrite – and now you don’t know which interface to add to the studio.
I’ve got you!
Audient and Focusrite both have their own merits. I’ve taken the time to compare and contrast them here.
Curious about what Audient is in the first place? Close those tabs and keep your eyes focused on this one.
I’ve got everything you need to know below!
About the Brand: Audient’s Origins
This famous brand first started in 1997 with its directors, Dearden and Davis.
They offer affordable audio interfaces for every music enthusiast. Aside from audio interfaces, Audient also offers preamps, consoles, and monitor controls.
Audient prioritizes creativity, innovation, and professionalism. Let’s take a look at their products below!
You definitely know their iD and EVO lines if you’re familiar with Audient.
Let’s break down all their features and what you have to gain from Audient’s features and specs.
The iD Line
The iD line boasts some of the most powerful audio interfaces that deliver the best possible sounds. It includes the:
They vary mainly in how many inputs and outputs they offer. Don’t worry, though – each Audient product shares the same high-performance, professional features!
They all come with the Console Mic Preamps.
With a noise floor of 30,000 levels quieter than the signal level, distortion and noise won’t be a big issue!
Class-leading converters offer creative professionals warmth, subtle detail, and clarity.
Another similarity I like? Lower latency.
Low latency means you can blend seamlessly with the iD interfaces!
Plus, each Audient product allows you free access to creative software, from Ableton Live to Pro Tools. Every bit of this product is reliable and built to last, too.
The 2-in, 2-out Audient iD4 appeals to those who prefer portability.
- The Audient iD14, Audient iD22, and Audient iD44 offer ADAT input if you want to expand your channel count and sound quality possibilities.
- If you want the most powerful interface for your home studio, you can’t go wrong with the Audient id44, which is 20-in and 24-out.
The EVO Line
- These allow you to switch to phantom power at +48V.
- You can manually control your levels through knobs or automatically level them with one press of SmartGain!
- You are guaranteed lower latency and more balance in your headphones. They’re also intuitively designed for any music professional.
The EVO 4 is a 2-in, 2-out interface. But if you want more flexibility, I’d recommend the EVO 8, which is a fine 4-in, 4-out interface.
- Accurate and detailed sound. From the Audient iD4 to the EVO line, every model is designed for the best clarity possible! Audient offers low latency, high sample rates, and guaranteed clarity.
- Numerous expandability options. This interface packs a dual headphone output channel, instrument inputs, ADAT expansion options, and it’s USB-powered. Connect to a USB-compatible Mac or PC instantly.
- Top-notch construction quality. You’re assured longevity thanks to an all-metal construction!
- Extras. A software bundle comes with every purchase! Expand your knowledge and control with this interface.
- High price point. This brand is definitely on the higher end – whether you’re getting an Audient iD14 or iD4.
- Some models can’t record with two mics at the same time. The lack of input can put a damper on your experience.
Now, I’ll quickly cover Audient’s rival: Focusrite! It’s not a known name for nothing. See what Focusrite is all about below:
About the Brand: What is Focusrite?
Focusrite has been around since 1987 and has been delivering quality music and sound products since then.
From mic preamps to studio monitors, you can be sure Focusrite has produced them excellently!
The Scarlett Line
The Scarlett 2i2 is probably the most popular of Focusrite’s Scarlett line.
This line offers multiple low-latency options for the interface you want! It comes in every configuration possible.
Each Scarlett line product offers high headroom inputs for plugging your instruments right in. Their mic preamps also promise the best possible performance!
The high-performance converters are also there to make sure your mixes live up to studio-produced recordings everywhere.
Some characteristics vary from product to product.
I like the Easy Start tool, because it makes working with the Focusrite Scarlett Solo and Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 much more convenient.
If you need portability and the essentials, I recommend checking out the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 and Solo!
Balanced line inputs for connecting synths and audio and outputs for direct monitoring and effects are also available in the Scarlett line.
You also get a Loopback feature and talkback microphones in other Focusrite models.
The Clarett+ Line
The Clarett+ Line offers one feature: power.
If you’re an established producer searching for the best interface on the market, the Clarett+ line won’t let you down!
They offer the following:
- Clarett+ 2Pre. 10-inputs, 4-outputs, with a powerful USB-C interface.
- Clarett+ 4Pre. 18-inputs, 8-outputs, for mixing and mastering clarity and tonal balance.
- Clarett+ 8Pre. 18-inputs, 20-outputs, with all specs at studio-grade performance.
- Top-notch power. You can get the best possible caliber at low latency for both your voice and electric guitar – or really, any instrument.
- More variety. Focusrite’s tools and products give you more options to channel your talent.
- Professional-grade tools. Certain models with their output for headphones, mic preamp, inputs, and specifications are enough to turn your home into a studio!
- Take control using their software. Effects and instruments are available through their Pro Tools and Ableton Live Lite DAWs.
- Some Scarlett models are not iOS compatible. Instead, there’s a dedicated iOS interface that Focusrite offers.
- Focusrite does not offer a MIDI input and output. It’s a shame – MIDI is quite essential for many musicians! You may want to switch to another brand if MIDI input/output is essential for you.
- Malfunction reports. User reports include Focusrite models – such as the Focusrite Scarlett 212 – to suddenly malfunction and stop working.
Audient and Focusrite: Brand Showdown
Okay, so now you know every feature each brand offers. They share similar characteristics, and both have ASIO drivers.
Now it’s time for me to compare and contrast both brands to help you make up your mind.
Focusrite’s pricing ranges from $109 to $759 for the Scarlett line on their official website. For the Clarett+ line, the pricing ranges from $579 to $1,000.
Meanwhile, Audient ranges from $199 to $799. Their EVO line will cost you $300 at most.
The clear winner here is Audient!
It’s packed with a lot to give you the utmost control while keeping the cost somewhat affordable.
You can’t escape the heavy impact a price tag can have on your purchases. It’s a given that good software or hardware will cost you a pretty penny.
So, while I compare products based on which one’s cheaper or more expensive, I encourage you to look for one thing: value.
Does the product live up to other pro tools within its price range? Will it give you the controls and benefits you need?
Focusrite may have been around for longer, but I’d go as far as to say that Audient has more to offer in terms of brand reputation.
Audient offers tools that don’t skimp on its benefits.
However, according to some user reviews, Focusrite and Audient are pretty similar in their qualities.
But I still think that the direct monitoring and mic preamp Audient has is noticeably ahead!
With the Audient iD4, Audient iD14, and other models, you have the best channel possible to create and monitor your performances!
So, yes, another point goes to Audient!
Build and Design
With these interfaces, you want something built to last.
Audient uses all-metal construction for their interface. The design is compact and in features a matte black finish.
- All knobs, buttons, optical input and output, and mic inputs are on the front of the box itself.
- Meanwhile, the optical inputs, USB-C connections, scroll wheel, and optical input can all be found on one side of the box.
The Focusrite, however, has a red metal enclosure.
- All the knobs, optical input and output, headphone output, and USB input – among others! – can be found on one side of the interface.
Both are durable and made for conditions either at home or on the road.
However, in terms of sleek design and efficiency… I’d have to go with Audient!
I talk a lot about how important sound caliber is for your recording.
Before I give you the winner for this round, let’s discuss some of the things you should look for to ensure you get top-notch sound from your interface:
- Preamps. Good preamps will make anything you produce cleaner. Less distortion, less noise, and more accuracy!
- Converters. Good ones will have the production outputs much closer to the initial input.
- Lower latency. Latency is the short delay that happens during conversion. Low latency interfaces help upgrade the caliber of your recording in general.
- Sample rate. An analog signal is digitized at the sample rate frequency. It’s directly related to latency – the better your rate, the smaller your latency will be!
- Bit depths. Higher bit depths mean a higher resolution. Monitor your bit depths with each interface you encounter!
So with all these elements, who does it better – Audient or Focusrite?
The winner: Audient.
Their preamps are top-notch, with world-class converters and guaranteed lower latency. It supports a wide range of sample rates, too!
You want an interface that’s compatible with most software.
This way, you’re don’t limit yourself in terms of the workstations and production tools you’ll be able to connect to!
When you buy the Audient iD14, iD22, or any other product, it comes with a software bundle. In their ARC bundle, you’lll get:
- Cubase and Cubasis
- M-Tron Pro LE
- Torpedo Wall of Sound
- Produce Like a Pro online courses
- Waldorf Edition 2 LE
Of course, Focusrite also offers a software bundle of its own. When you buy Focusrite – whether you get a Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 or Clarett+, you can get the following:
- Hitmaker Expansion with content from Antares, Relab, XLN Audio, Brainworx, and Softube
- Ableton Live Lite, a digital-analog workstation with instruments and effects
- The Focusrite Plug-In Collective
- A three-month subscription to Avid Pro
- A three-month subscription to Splice Sounds
Honestly, I’d say they’re both winners on this one. Focusrite and Audient both share the crown!
Frequently Asked Questions
Why Is an Audio Interface Necessary?
Simply put, audio interfaces are tools that provide your home studio with more convenience and quality.
Believe me when I say they’ll make a big difference in professional music production. You can lower the buffer size and latency and use various features to get what you want!
Plus, they have all the instrument inputs and headphones outputs you can dream of. Connecting to MIDI is also much easier!
Trust me: an upgrade can make all the difference in your sounds!
How Is Mixing Different from Mastering?
With mixing in audio interfaces, you’re involved in the direct monitoring of multiple tracks. You can adjust and combine tracks on the recording as you wish!
In mastering, you transform your original mix into its final form!
You’ll need to account for transitions, sequences, and effects. It has more processing with specialized plugins.
However, you want your sound ready for listening where your audience hears it on speakers or headphones.
So, should a mix sound different compared to a master?
In my experience, the master will sound slightly different from the mix in terms of sound quality. However, the changes to your record can be minimal but, at the same time, dramatic.
Listen to both the mixed and mastered tracks and try to look for improvements.
It’s important to balance the sounds and levels you’ve got! Adjust frequencies and compressors as you wish.
What Makes a Hardware EQ a Mastering EQ?
Going analog is never a bad choice. Just turn to hardware equalizers if you want to explore out of the box!
Hardware equalizers are always to your production’s benefit. They can tailor your songs with subtle changes and sculpt what you need.
They’re simpler, continuous, and much easier to control!
Going for the Mastering EQ
I also have a few tips for mastering equalization!
Accuracy is a MUST! Make sure your speakers or headphones are sonically neutral and that you’re mastering your project in an acoustically treated room.
In the plugins, you use while mastering equalization, make sure each is activated. It’s also good to use the EQ plugins first before the compressors.
Correct the frequencies and aim for the balance your recording needs.
Final Verdict: Which Brand is Better?
Well, I have a clear winner!
In my opinion, Audient wins in almost all my categories.
The price, the value, benefits, and recording quality you get from Audient are unparalleled.
Too many interfaces to choose from? I’ve got you. Here are some top choices for different purposes:
If you need just the essentials:
- Audient iD4. It’s 2-in, 2-out, and has the professional style you need. It has a dual headphone output, and instrument input is USB-powered and is iOS-compatible, too!
- Scarlett 2i2. The Scarlett 2i2 simply sets the standard high. You’ll have everything you need with the Scarlett 2i2 to get the recording you crave.
If you want studio quality:
- Audient iD44. The ID44 is the expansive equipment you can channel all your creativity into great work!
- Make the switch to iD44 and experience classic warmth, professional design, direct monitoring, and effortless integration with the rest of your studio needs.
If you need portability:
- Audient iD4. The Audient iD4 is the most minimal interface Audient has! However, don’t underestimate it, and make the switch! The Audient iD4 is good for the road and will perform excellently.
- Audient iD14. The Audient iD14 is still on the smaller side, but it does pack a punch with its performance.
- The dynamic range and digital expansion outputs – for your headphones and instruments – that the Audient iD14 has is incomparable.
- Scarlett Solo. High-caliber, good sound, and the option to record your voice and guitar simultaneously. It’s the smallest model of the bunch!
- Scarlett 2i2. The Scarlett 2i2 is just the right size for traveling! No wonder the Scarlett 2i2 is a favorite amongst traveling musicians!
If you need one with a monitor-controller:
- Audient iD22. Among all the other Audient and Focusrite products, from the Audient iD14 to the Scarlett 2i2, the Audient iD22 is the clear winner if you want a monitor controller! It’s flexible for use and has hardware integration to make it easier!
That concludes my comparison post on Focusrite and Audient!
Whether you buy an Audient iD4 or Scarlett 2i2, rest assured that either brand will provide you with the best-sounding music possible!
Good luck with your search!