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Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 clipping

Postby noiseannoys » Fri Jan 11, 2013 9:56 pm

Hi all, newbie here. I'm hoping one of you clever chaps can help me out here. I'm relatively new to digital recording (though I've used Macs forever). I recently purchased a Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 to use with my imac (2008/9) for the specific purpose of being able to just plug in my guitar and record, using the internal models for tone should I so require. Despite what Focusrite claim, you can't do it. Even with the gain knob, and guitar volume, right down, clipping occurs and this seems to be a common complaint across the web. Am I missing something here? Common advice seems to be to buy a DI box, which I don't want to do (as good ones cost as much as the Scarlett). I'm just so disappointed. I've tried using the line out from my guitar amp and inputting with the socket set to line, but it's just too noisy. I assume micing the amp will have the same result. Short of sending the thing back to Amazon, I'm out of ideas.
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Re: Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 clipping

Postby Frog » Fri Jan 11, 2013 10:13 pm

Edit, sorry my mistake.
The 2i2 automatically switches between mic and instrument inputs depending on the input plug you use. The xlr is automatically switched to low level(for mics) and the jack input is higher level for instruments. For a guitar input you will need jack to jack.
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Re: Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 clipping

Postby nar » Fri Jan 11, 2013 10:35 pm

I have a 2i2 as well, the problem is that there's a bit too much gain even with it at zero. What pickups do you have? I have the same problem, but only if I dig in quite hard, so your pickups must have a very high output for it to be unusable. When it's too hot I usually just lower the volume on my guitar a bit and it's ok, or use a compressor pedal set to just be a clean cut.

If your guitar's active then you wouldn't need to use the instrument setting on the preamp.

If you're feeling adventurous you could even make something like this:

http://www.musikding.de/Kits/Musikding-Kits/Tools/Volume-Swi...

Or even just mod your guitar volume with a treble bleed so it doesn't reduce treble when turned down (it's quite simple).

Using a mic would (should) not clip at all with the gain on it's lowest setting - if it does then the 2i2 is definitely faulty.
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Re: Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 clipping

Postby noiseannoys » Sat Jan 12, 2013 12:19 am

nar wrote:I have a 2i2 as well, the problem is that there's a bit too much gain even with it at zero. What pickups do you have? I have the same problem, but only if I dig in quite hard, so your pickups must have a very high output for it to be unusable. When it's too hot I usually just lower the volume on my guitar a bit and it's ok, or use a compressor pedal set to just be a clean cut.

If your guitar's active then you wouldn't need to use the instrument setting on the preamp.

If you're feeling adventurous you could even make something like this:

http://www.musikding.de/Kits/Musikding-Kits/Tools/Volume-Swi...

Or even just mod your guitar volume with a treble bleed so it doesn't reduce treble when turned down (it's quite simple).

Using a mic would (should) not clip at all with the gain on it's lowest setting - if it does then the 2i2 is definitely faulty.

Hi,

I'm actually using a 1960s vintage Hofner that has low-power single coil pick-ups, so I don't think that pickup output is the problem. Yes, I do dig in but that is the way I play. And I have the problem even with the gain on O and the guitar volume on about 1. Single notes, fine, hit a chord with even a little enthusiasm, and the clipping ring goes red!

I know I'd avoid the problem by miking the amp but then I'd have a noise issue (though I suppose I could gate it). This just shouldn't be an issue though. I think the problem is actually bad design/marketing on Focusrite's part, which is a bit annoying. A fine product if you want to mic up for acoustic guitar and vocals, but not so good for electric. Oh well. Thanks for the comments.
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Re: Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 clipping

Postby Frog » Sat Jan 12, 2013 10:59 am

There are a number of videos on you tube showing people plugging an electric guitar into the 2i2 with no problems, I can't help feeling either the unit is faulty or there is a setting somewhere that needs switching.
I will try mine later today and see if I can help.
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Re: Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 clipping

Postby noiseannoys » Sat Jan 12, 2013 6:09 pm

Frog wrote:There are a number of videos on you tube showing people plugging an electric guitar into the 2i2 with no problems, I can't help feeling either the unit is faulty or there is a setting somewhere that needs switching.
I will try mine later today and see if I can help.


Beats me! I've tried switching everything that can be switched. Short of turning the guitar off completely. Latest drivers. Maybe it's firmware or something.

Plenty of people have the same problem. I'm not a metalhead btw - this is the first one I came across.
http://www.ultimatemetal.com/forum/backline/796363-help-focusrite-scarlett-clipping-problems.html

However, I've just tried running via a Zoom pedal with the gain on that turned right down and it seems to have solved the problem... phew. Thanks. I'll check out Youtube because if other people are plugging straight in with no issues, well, dunno what to say.
Anyhow, thanks one and all.
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Re: Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 clipping

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Sat Jan 12, 2013 7:06 pm

I have brought this thread to the attention of the Focusrite boffins and have been told they will respond here early next week.

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Re: Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 clipping

Postby Jim Lockhart » Wed Jan 16, 2013 4:36 am

I tried my Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 (on a PC) with a Fender Stratocaster plugged in through a standard guitar cord. The Inst/Line switch on the 2i2 was set to Inst, and I turned up the guitar volume knob to maximum and set the 2i2 input level about 1/3 of the way up. Chords hit very hard on the guitar did not send the level ring into the red. By advancing the 2i2 input level to about halfway, I was able to get the level ring into the red with very hard chords.

I assume you are connecting your guitar to the 2i2 via a standard guitar cable. If you try to use a phone plug to XLR adapter cable, you will get very high preamp gain and the kind of input clipping that you describe.
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Re: Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 clipping

Postby Skerrick » Wed Jan 16, 2013 8:23 am

i have a focusrite scarlett 2i4 and its the business. i use it for vocals, guitar and some keys.
i recorded this ( http://soundcloud.com/skerrick/eclipsed ) directly from a yamaha m06 as a L/R line in directly to the 2i4 and it came out a treat.
you may have got unlucky and accidentally bought a faulty product (it DOES happen) but man, i know a few ppl with the 2i2 and the 2i4 and theyre all happy as larry..
it could have been damaged from bad handling (seeing as you bought it off amazon)
i plug my guitar in and even without my DAW open it comes out through the interface straight to my monitors, so yeah i dont know man, i think you just drew the short straw. get in touch with focusrite/novation would be my only advice really..
unless you havent tried troubleshooting on google - which i assume you have and thats what led you here..
it could also be your guitar? mine has a bit of trouble picking up the bass strings when recording via xlr.. but i think its cos its a custom built semi acoustic and its just a shoddy pickup/installation, cos everything i mic up and everything else that works properly (my mc-303 & M06 etc) comes through all warm and rich and lush... so yeah haha i dont know what to suggest..
best of luck man!
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Re: Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 clipping

Postby Skerrick » Wed Jan 16, 2013 8:31 am

noiseannoys wrote:
Frog wrote:There are a number of videos on you tube showing people plugging an electric guitar into the 2i2 with no problems, I can't help feeling either the unit is faulty or there is a setting somewhere that needs switching.
I will try mine later today and see if I can help.


Beats me! I've tried switching everything that can be switched. Short of turning the guitar off completely. Latest drivers. Maybe it's firmware or something.

Plenty of people have the same problem. I'm not a metalhead btw - this is the first one I came across.
http://www.ultimatemetal.com/forum/backline/796363-help-focu...

However, I've just tried running via a Zoom pedal with the gain on that turned right down and it seems to have solved the problem... phew. Thanks. I'll check out Youtube because if other people are plugging straight in with no issues, well, dunno what to say.
Anyhow, thanks one and all.


ACTUALLY TRY THIS!!
next to the main large volume dial theres a smaller dial that says "direct monitoring"
whats it set to? try always leaving it around 50% and controlling all the volume with the larger knob to the right of it..
when i first got mine i thought it was broken cos the vol was like barely audible but the direct monitoring dial is really small and it was my first interface so i didnt check it.. if youre getting ridiculous clipping, you might have the direct monitoring dial all the way on full, it could also be a case of just adjusting the volume on your guitar corresponding with the gain, instrument switch on the input, and the main volumes...
hope you sort it out.
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Re: Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 clipping

Postby Elliot- Focusrite Tech Support » Thu Jan 17, 2013 5:43 pm

Although the 2i2 instrument input was designed to work with a wide range of guitars in mind. Due to electric guitars having such a wide dynamic range over models, the input will occasionally clip with certain guitars with higher outputs.
We are aware of this issue with the 2i2 and all we can suggest is to use a D.I box or turn down the output level of the guitar, but we are looking into improving this with future Scarlett products.

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Re: Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 clipping

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Thu Jan 17, 2013 5:44 pm

Thanks for finding the time to come on and contribute to this thread, Elliot. I'm sure it's greatly appreciated.

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Re: Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 clipping

Postby Dr Huge Longjohns » Thu Jan 17, 2013 6:26 pm

Although the 2i2 instrument input was designed to work with a wide range of guitars in mind. Due to electric guitars having such a wide dynamic range over models, the input will occasionally clip with certain guitars with higher outputs.
We are aware of this issue with the 2i2 and all we can suggest is to use a D.I box or turn down the output level of the guitar, but we are looking into improving this with future Scarlett products


Hmmm, nice of him to appear on the forum but what a design cock-up! I had mentally pencilled in the Saffire 40 as my next interface and now I wonder if that suffers from the same issue? I DI guitars and basses A LOT with my Tascam 1804 and it's got bags of headroom to spare with even very hot pickups. I only need to change it at some point because Tascam, bless em, aren't supporting 64 bit a la Mountain Lion for the 1804 as it's so old.
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Re: Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 clipping

Postby Skerrick » Fri Jan 18, 2013 12:18 am

Elliot- Focusrite Tech Support wrote:Although the 2i2 instrument input was designed to work with a wide range of guitars in mind. Due to electric guitars having such a wide dynamic range over models, the input will occasionally clip with certain guitars with higher outputs.
We are aware of this issue with the 2i2 and all we can suggest is to use a D.I box or turn down the output level of the guitar, but we are looking into improving this with future Scarlett products.

Elliot // Focusrite Tech Support


Elliott,

As someone using the scarlett 2i4, is this a problem i might run into as well? i find that when i connect my semi-acoustic via XLR the bass notes hardly get picked up, which is the opposite of clipping, but that could be that its a custom pickup built into an acoustic.. but i was wondering if there was also an issue with the 2i4 with its ability regarding semi-acoustic guitar? ive been told its better to mic them, and it sounds great mic'd up, but in terms of direct cable connection, is this something i should be concerned about?
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Re: Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 clipping

Postby Dr Huge Longjohns » Fri Jan 18, 2013 8:53 am

Having done a bit of online research it seems that clipping is a bit of an issue for new Focusrite interfaces generally at the moment, on mics dealing with louder sources (with no pad) as well as on instruments. Hugh, et al, is there anything that will indicate this might be an issue when one is looking at the specs of an interface? I don't want to buy an interface, Focusrite or any other make, and then find it won't handle a) DI guitars and b) loud drums which seems to be a lot of users' experience.
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Re: Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 clipping

Postby Dr Huge Longjohns » Fri Jan 18, 2013 10:30 am

OK, did a bit more research (much more fun than working at the day job). The Scarlett 2i2 instrument input is, according to their website, rated at a maximum input level of -3dB. Whereas my old Tascam's discrete guitar input is rated at +18 db. The next Scarlett (the 2i4) has the same rating as the 2i2 but also has a pad (10dB). Looking at other manufacturers, the M Audio 2626 is 13.7dB (without pad) and the new Tascam US2000 is +16dB (without pad). So if I'm reading these right, the OP's problems are explained by these specs? Is this correct Elliot?
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Re: Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 clipping

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Fri Jan 18, 2013 11:54 am

Yes. The DI input on the 2i2 appears to have the same gain range and sensitivity as the mic input, so I presume there is just a high-impedance input buffer on the DI input which then feeds the signal straight into the mic gain stage. As you say, a maximum input level of -3dBu isn't really high enough for a high-output guitar, so I can see why people are having problems.

If the guitar's own volume control can't be turned down sufficiently to cure the problem, then an external volume control would probably help -- the Boss FV500H, for example. Or you could make up a DIY in-line attenuator using a 250K log pot in a box with some TS sockets. Of course, there is always the chance that the additional resistance will cause unacceptable changes to the HF response, and there is some additional expensive involved....

Alternatively -- and I think this would be my preferred solution -- use a DI box and connect via the mic input itself... Given the cost of the 2i2 an expensive box is probably not a realistic option. However, I can strongly recommend the Orchid Electronics Micro DI box at £25 including VAT and postage.

http://www.orchid-electronics.co.uk/micro.htm

It's a well designed and good-sounding DI box powered directly by phantom power and it won't break the bank.

Here's my review:

http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/may12/a ... -boxes.htm

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Re: Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 clipping

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Fri Jan 18, 2013 11:56 am

Skerrick wrote: i find that when i connect my semi-acoustic via XLR the bass notes hardly get picked up

The XLR mic input has a very low impedance which is totally unsuited to a passive guitar pick-up, and will have a very significant affect on the tonality. If you want to use the XLR input you should use a DI box between the guitar and mic input.

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Re: Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 clipping

Postby Skerrick » Sat Jan 19, 2013 3:19 am

Huge Longjohns wrote:Having done a bit of online research it seems that clipping is a bit of an issue for new Focusrite interfaces generally at the moment, on mics dealing with louder sources (with no pad) as well as on instruments. Hugh, et al, is there anything that will indicate this might be an issue when one is looking at the specs of an interface? I don't want to buy an interface, Focusrite or any other make, and then find it won't handle a) DI guitars and b) loud drums which seems to be a lot of users' experience.

there is a pad button/function on the 2i4 to combat this problem with mic gain i believe?
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Re: Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 clipping

Postby Skerrick » Sat Jan 19, 2013 3:21 am

Hugh Robjohns wrote:
Skerrick wrote: i find that when i connect my semi-acoustic via XLR the bass notes hardly get picked up

The XLR mic input has a very low impedance which is totally unsuited to a passive guitar pick-up, and will have a very significant affect on the tonality. If you want to use the XLR input you should use a DI box between the guitar and mic input.

H

cheers man ill give this a try
generally if found that you get a better sound with a mic'd up acoustic anyway but i figure for ease of recording environment and the room im using that id be better off with xlr or 1/4"
cheers dude!
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Re: Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 clipping

Postby chris... » Sat Jan 19, 2013 11:31 am

Skerrick wrote:for ease of recording environment and the room im using that id be better off with xlr or 1/4"

What happens when you plug the guitar into the 1/4" ("instrument input") ? Isn't this what it's designed for ?

(as opposed to the XLR, which as noted above, will sound wrong)
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Re: Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 clipping

Postby Barjeelik » Thu Oct 30, 2014 3:08 pm

Interestingly the Saffire PRO 14 and Scarlett 8I6 have a better input level. Some of the other Sacrlett's have a figure of 8db instead of -3db but is this still quite low or acceptable, Hugh? I'm no expert but from looking at other manufacturer's specs and trying to find the same figure you also wonder if Steinberg's UR22 and M-Audio's Fastracks and Presonus's Audio moves are similarly afflicted? I don't want to be unduly harsh but how can manufacturer's have got away with selling products designed for and advertised as working with guitars that either perform badly or need a compromise workaround i.e. DI box to overcome? I think this needs highlighting more by the likes of SOS to protect consumers and perhaps while they are at it, indicating those AIs that don't have this problem so that in consideration bio all the buying factors, their readers can make an informed choice?
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Re: Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 clipping

Postby jimmynitcher » Thu Jan 07, 2016 10:41 am

My bass player has an instrument with active pick ups, has just bought one of these and it is unusable - why on earth are they still selling them?

I am a teacher of music tech and I won't be recommending any more Focusrite stuff to my students - I find it outrageous an employee would recommend a DI box!
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Re: Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 clipping

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Thu Jan 07, 2016 1:05 pm

jimmynitcher wrote:My bass player has an instrument with active pick ups, has just bought one of these and it is unusable - why on earth are they still selling them?


That's a question you need to address directly to Focusrite, I'm afraid. Of course, active basses are designed to put out a much higher level than passive basses... has your bass player tried turning the output level down a bit?

I find it outrageous an employee would recommend a DI box!


That seems rather melodramatic. A Focusrite representative has acknowledged on a public forum that the problem exists for some users in some situations, and suggested a suitable and inexpensive workaround for those users. Compared to the secrecy and poor communications offered by many companies, I think that level of honest and candid support is to be applauded. Moreover, it wasn't that long ago that dedicated instrument inputs were unheard of on mic preamps and interfaces, and we all had to use DI boxes! I fear the sense of proportion might be getting lost here...

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Re: Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 clipping

Postby Dr Huge Longjohns » Sun Jan 10, 2016 6:34 pm

That seems rather melodramatic.
Well, yes and no. I don't think it's unreasonable to expect a Focusrite interface to work as advertised with the vast majority of electric guitars and basses. An active bass is hardly an esoteric instrument.
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Re: Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 clipping

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Sun Jan 10, 2016 7:02 pm

Huge Longjohns wrote: I don't think it's unreasonable to expect a Focusrite interface to work as advertised with the vast majority of electric guitars and basses. An active bass is hardly an esoteric instrument.


I think it does work as advertised. It has an instrument input that accepts instrument signals and presents an appropriate impedance... The problem -- which Focusrite acknowledges -- is that this particular interface design doesn't have much headroom which can be a problem with some high-output instruments. I agree that that is certainly disappointing for such a generally well-regarded company. (Although they are not the only interface manufacturer to have fallen into this trap, to be fair) Full marks to Focusrite though, for holding their hands up about it and to changing the design to give more headroom in their later interfaces. I don't know if they have altered the design in the latest batches of 2i2s but I would be disappointed if not since this problem has been known about in the company for a while...

My 'melodramatic' reference was to the suggestion that it was 'outrageous' for Focusrite to suggest to their customer a practical and quite reasonable work-around.

If it was me, though, and I wasn't willing to adopt one of the suggested workarounds, I'd be asking the retailer politely to take the interface back as it wasnt 'fit for purpose' when used with an active bass. Other interfaces are available; they aren't all the same; they have different strengths and weaknesses. At least Focusrite provide comprehensive specifications allowing an informed purchase decision to be made -- which is more than many!

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Re: Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 clipping

Postby Studio Support Gnome » Mon Jan 11, 2016 2:00 pm

with an active bass, i think i'd just switch to line input instead of instrument…… it's not like it'll be affected badly , unlike the loading of a passive instrument by the input impedance.
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Re: Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 clipping

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Mon Jan 11, 2016 2:16 pm

Good Idea.

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