Using a Focusrite 18i8 under Linux

Focusrite’s Scarlett USB audio interfaces are cost-effective units with a wide range of input and output options. Out of the box they can be used by most digital audio workstations on Linux because they are USB class-compliant. However, besides the entry-level models (Solo, 2i2 and 2i4), you will certainly miss a few features for recording that just cannot be accessed due to a lack hardware controls. For these you need to use the Focusrite Control software which – as you can imagine – is available only for Mac and Windows. Fortunately, there is a device specific ALSA driver for the Scarlett devices that exposes mix controls to set gains on the different ins and outs as well as controls to enable Hi-Z or Pad modes on certain inputs. Unfortunately, using alsamixer to set these values is a huge PITA.

Now Robin Gareus, a very active contributor to Ardour, JACK and LV2 made the scarlett-mixer for his Scarlett 18i6 that allows one to control all the parameters with an easy-to-use graphical user interface. Now, I counted one and one together, made the appropriate changes and added support for the 18i8. So, no longer do I need to resort to the borderline crazy Alsa Json Gateway software 🙌