Focusrite Scarlett 6i6
The Scarlett 6i6 is a six-input, six-output USB 2 audio interface operating at 24-bit and at sample rates of up to 96kHz. It works with both Windows PC and Mac, and may also be used with an iPad via USB 2 and the Apple Camera Connection Kit. Power comes from a supplied power adaptor and there's a slot on the rear panel for fixing a security kit.
Two of the 6i6's inputs feature mic preamps and are fitted with 'combi' sockets that can accept XLR mic-level signals, or line-level signals on the centre jack section. Phantom power is applied to both using a switch (which lights up in red when the phantom power is on) mounted between the channels. The line inputs can also accept high-Z instrument sources via switching in the bundled MixControl software.
The other inputs include a stereo pair of line jacks on the rear panel, alongside a coaxial S/PDIF digital port. On the output side, there are four balanced line outputs and an S/PDIF digital output, so if you have no digital devices to connect you still have the potential to connect four analogue inputs and outputs. Also on the back panel are the 6i6's MIDI I/O ports.
For monitoring purposes, there are two built-in headphone outputs with separate level controls. All this is built into a rugged but attractive anodised-metal chassis, finished in a fetching shade of red with black panels. Focusrite have also taken a stylish approach to level metering: the two gain controls are fitted with LED rings that show green when the level is in the right range for recording, but turn red when the gain is set too high. If the input level is too low, they stay dark. In combination with the meters in your DAW, this should be more than adequate to ensure suitable recording levels. There are also status LEDs for Pad and Instrument selection, as set via the MixControl software. Finally, a green Status LED on the front panel monitors MIDI activity, while another confirms that the USB connection has been established correctly.