Last year, I acquired a Focusrite Scarlett 4i4. The main purpose was to improve the quality of my live coding sessions, and also to allow me experiment with recording my own songs.
It was a pain from the moment I plugged this card into my laptop, until now.
As of today, I’m happy that I’m finally getting rid of it.
Allow me to explain how much of a disaster their approach is. Most USB digital audio interfaces are compatible with industry standards – they’re class compliant. That means they advertise features, inputs, outputs, etc, using a standard USB protocol.
Focusrite decided they didn’t like hardware buttons. So they removed them, and switched to software-controlled features.
For some reason that I’m yet to understand, Focusrite decided they wouldn’t use any standard protocol to advertise these features. So they invented a proprietary protocol only to control these features. This protocol is only usable through their Focusrite Control software – which, as you might have guessed, is proprietary, and only runs on Windows and Mac.
Focusrite decided they didn’t want their hardware to work on Linux, so not even a minimal documentation about routing was published. That makes it even harder for the heroes trying to reverse-engineer their cards.
I’ve contacted them and shared my thoughts about it. Their response, while clear and unambiguous, is still disappointing:
Focusrite clearly states on their website that Linux is not supported. And that’s okay, very few digital audio interface manufacturers claim that. But that wouldn’t be a problem if their hardware were at least class compliant. They are not. With that, there is enough evidence that Focusrite is hostile to Linux users, and we should not support their business practices until they switch this stance.