Focusrite 18i20 - 2nd or 3rd gen? Or still UMC1820?

Hello everyone, so far I have been using a Behringer UMC 1820 with the ADA8200 as my audio interface. This combination does the job however I still have my eyes on the Focusrite 18i20.
There is a clearance sale directly at Focusrite for the 2nd gen at a price of 280€. Usually I like to buy my stuff second hand but when it comes to an audio interface I am a bit more picky though still not excluding it.
So the options are:

  • take the plunge and buy 2nd gen for 280€
  • keeping an eye on the 3rd gen and maybe buy it somewhat later, prices are around 490€
  • check for a used 3rd gen at appr. 400€ while probably missing out the nice included software
  • just being happy with the UMC1820 and forget about it

Why am I considering this at all?
Good Q, probably because I like nice little updates and because I think overall the Focusrite does a better job when it comes to stability and latency. Plus considering I will be able to still sell my UMC1820 for at least 100€ it won’t break the bank.

Connected HW:
Roland TR8s, Blofeld, Virus B. TD-3, RD-6, AS-1, Streichfett, some pedals and some rarely used “guests” plus DT, DN, A4, AH via Overbridge
Timing often is a hassle, already have been considering getting a E-RM Multiclock instead which might still be on my GAS list even after replacing the audio interface (if I do).

Any thoughts / ideas from you good and appreciated people? Is 200€ more for 3rd gen really a sensible choice for a hobbyist?
Thanks in advance

Oh btw I really had trouble to get the TR8S in sync. First it received MIDI clock directly via USB from Ableton which was not working out at all. Since I switched to MIDI DIN and connected it to DT it became so much more stable with DT’s clock out.
As far as I understand DT is receiving the clock signal from Ableton directly via Overbridge and not from the UMC. After all DT is not connected to the UMC.
Is that a sign that the UMC sucks?

I have a 2nd gen focursite 18i20 and i’m not very impressed. The plastic buttons on the front switching between pad and instrument are chintzy and broke off pretty easily, so my first channel permanently has a pad on it, and my second channel I can’t swtich to instrument if I wanted. The fifth channel is dead. I take good care of my gear and have never had anything else break on me like this.

Nextly, the software is extremely lacking and also buggy, not having any update since 2017 or something? You can adjust the latency from 1ms to 20ms, but for whatever reason in a DAW it doesn’t translate one-to-one and you’re left with these really weird numbers and sampling blocks. Like normal sampling block sizes are 16, 32, 64 etc. But you end up having all these strange numbers in between that messes with my ADD. I can easily record stuff with seemingly zero latency and I’m happy about that, but I also have a very good computer I think is probably doing a good amount of work. As for the scarlett suite being buggy, sometimes it’ll just freeze at 48kHz even though I always have it set at 44.1 and I can’t change it, so I have to restart my interface and then it fixes itself.

I would not buy a Scarlett again tbh. In fact, I want to get a Behringer UMC 1820 but the only one I bought was actually a dud lol. Literally outputs 1 and 2 just did not work properly. Duds happen, but I got my money back and didn’t bother to get a new interface.

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Thank you for posting your experience! This is very helpful for me.
I think I have not even barely touched the front panel of the UMC, in fact there is still the protective film on it. The power button is the only exception and that one is not made for eternity as far as I can tell.

I mean I got kinda lucky. I sold my little four-input scarlett, and with that money I bought the 18i20 used from my friend, so I upgraded for zero cost. But if I had bought it outright I would not be happy and I still consider getting a new interface every so often.

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I have two 18i20 Gen2 interfaces running together, very curious about the issues you’re dealing with. Mine have been rock solid with zero exceptions. Also the software has been updated pretty regularly, I just installed a new version of Focusrite Control a few months ago I think. Never had a single issue with a bug ever and I’ve been using them for years now, also never encountered anything you mentioned in your post. Are you sure the interface has been updated, and that your version of Focusrite Control is up to date? Post which firmware version yours is running and which Control version you’re on, just curious. Mine are below.

FW: 1653

BTW I know you know what you’re doing and have plenty of experience with this stuff, not doubting you, just think it’s strange.

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Last I looked at the focusrite control suite compatible with Gen 2 it was one from years ago. The same I have. I will check again.

Hmm interesting, I’m seeing 3.6 as well. When I get home today I’ll see what my Scarlett Suite is, but I’ll probably download this new one. Hopefully that will fix some bugs I’ve had.

And yeah, I admit I could’ve gotten a lemon. Lemons happen. But for three of my plastic buttons on the front panel to just break off is pretty crazy. And for a channel to just die on me. I had my prophet plugged into stereo inputs 5 and 6 and one day I turn it on and it’s only coming out of the right speaker lol. So I plugged a guitar directly into input 5 and got no sound whatsoever. Just a dead channel.

I will say my friend whom I bought it from also bought it used before me. So it’s possible that guy didn’t take care of his shit.


Totally, I’ve been toggling the pad and instrument buttons on on off a couple times a week as I swap gear around for years now and they are solid, since I saw your post I’ve been messing with them and wondering how they could get busted off without something slamming into them from the side. I mean, they have a little bit of wiggle when they’re out but not too much. My guess is it was abused but who knows, I bought one of mine new and the other used. The used one cost me like $90 and came with a cool gator rack case, screaming deal.


So I guess you do recommend the 18i20 2nd gen?

Oh hugely recommend, it’s been dead reliable for me, no freezes ever, the software has always worked perfectly and is easy to use, sounds good… but I don’t use microphones for much of anything, and when I do hook one up I run it into a little mixer, through the Analog Heat, and then that goes into the interface so I can’t comment on the pres at all. I use the routing in Control to send stuff through my outboard and that all works great too, easy to understand. Headphone outputs work fine to drive my K702s, sounds good. The main interface hooked to my computer over USB is slaved to the secondary on via ADAT, works great, all channels come through and I never have any artifacts or glitching or messed up timing or anything that I’ve noticed.

Huge caveat though, this is just my experience with my particular computer, setup, etc so it could be different for you, as evidenced by Gir. Now that I’ve been thinking about it, I do remember that I needed to update the firmware on both of them at least once this year, maybe twice.

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Thank you for your input. Appreciated!

@GirTheRobot I just looked in the release notes for the latest software, is this what you were talking about?

" - Fixed an issue that caused some DAWs (namely Studio One, Reason and Sibelius) to expose
unsupported buffer size options"

I’m not sure the Focusrite will be any better than the behringer. Are you having problems at the moment with the behringer (latency, sound quality or software issues)?

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I just installed Focusrite Control earlier and it literally didn’t even recognize my 2nd gen 18i20. It also did me the “favor” of uninstalling mixcontrol (the thing i’ve been using, which must’ve been what i was referring to hasn’t been updated for four years), but then of course I wasn’t able to use my interface. So since I had a client coming over (stupid of me to mess with this stuff before she got here lol) I quickly uninstalled focusrite control, reinstalled some old ass mixcontrol and got on with my day.

I guess I will mess with it later, but I have no clue why focusrite control would not recognize my scarlett. I of course restarted everything.

I’ve been using two of the gen 2 connected to an iMac for a few years running both Logic and now Bitwig with zero issues.


Yes, using the UMC feels sometimes awkward. Timing is not very stable while Overbridge with DT / DN does a remarkably good job like described above. Also, I think latency could be way better.
No software issues since the UMC does not have any software.
Sound quality however is totally sufficient.

That is exactly why I am so unsure in this case and opened the thread.

I’m thinking about getting an 18i20 as a dedicated input interface for my synths.

Can it be used as a standalone line mixer?

Can you link the mono line ins to create stereo pairs? Or do you have to balance the gain manually?

Yes to both. You can use Focusrite Control to set all this up and then the settings remain even when it’s used standalone.


Are you using a Mac?

nope. windows 10