The Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 is one of the most popular budget audio interfaces available today. On nearly any recording forum, it’s almost guaranteed to be mentioned when users ask for low cost interface suggestions without the need for a large number of channels, and it seems to have gained even more interest since it was featured in some of Misha Mansoor’s videos about recording guitars. I recently decided to buy a Scarlett 2i2 so I could see if it’s truly such a solid choice.
The world of budget, portable audio interfaces is in great health. There are many options available today of very high quality. Preamps and converters in budget interfaces have reached a level that would have seemed impossible at such a low price point 10 or 15 years ago. If you don’t need to record a huge number of inputs simultaneously, there’s no reason you can’t make great recordings these days with a $200 interface (or even cheaper).
Even though it’s harder than ever to go wrong, I’m going to focus on one of my personal favorites: the Creative Labs E-MU 0404 USB 2.0. It’s been around for quite a few years and is actually discontinued now, so you may wonder why it’s even worth considering since I just mentioned how many great options there are these days, but these interfaces are pretty easy to find and I feel they’re still one of the best options out there. I even found a retailer selling one in a never-opened box less than 6 months ago. If you check eBay somewhat regularly, you shouldn’t have a problem finding one, and I believe it’s a worthy choice even if it has to be purchased used.