Applies to: Scarlett 4i4 3rd Gen (also applies to 8i6, 18i8 and 18i20)
The Scarlett 4i4 uses Focusrite Control to configure its internal routing and no longer has hardware-based direct monitoring, e.g. a switch or blend dial on the front panel of the unit as featured on the Scarlett 2i4 2nd Gen.
How to Direct Monitor on the Scarlett 4i4
The Scarlett 4i4, in conjunction with Focusrite Control, allows “zero-latency monitoring”, which overcomes this problem.
By using Focusrite Control to monitor your input signals, you will hear yourself in real-time along with the computer playback, even with very high buffer sizes. The input signals to the computer are not affected in any way by this setting.
However, note that the effect of any plug-ins instantiated in the DAW will not be heard whilst recording because by monitoring in this way you are hearing the signal before it reaches the software. Also, remember to mute the channel you are recording to in your DAW otherwise you will hear both the signal you are monitoring and then the echo effect of the signal coming back from the DAW.
Information on this can be found in the Focusrite Control User Guide here:
You will probably have heard the term “latency” used in connection with digital audio systems. In the case of the simple DAW recording application described above, latency is the time it takes for your input signals to pass through your computer and audio software, and back to you.
While not an issue for most simple recording situations, under some circumstances, latency can be a problem for a performer who wishes to record while monitoring their input signals. This might be the case if you need to increase the size of your DAW’s recording buffer, which could be necessary when you record overdubs on a, a particularly large project using many DAW tracks, software instruments and FX plugins.
Common symptoms of a buffer setting that is too low could be glitching audio (clicks and pops), or a particularly high CPU load within your DAW (most DAWs have CPU readouts). If you experience this on a Mac, you can raise the buffer size from the DAW application itself but on a Windows PC, you will most likely need to change this from the ASIO Control Panel which can usually be accessed from your DAW Setup Preferences.