Thoughts on the Focusrite Scarlett 2i4

Anyone use one before, if so what were your experiences?

They're as popular as they are for a reason - but it really depends what your intended use for it is.

If it's just to use as an external DAC then you could probably get something with nicer converters for a similar price but with no inputs.

If you're using it as an interface for home recording though then they are a great introductory device - very very good preamps and converters for the price.

I am primarily looking for a dac/amp combo in order to get rid of my dated sound card. Id like the option to get some higher end headphones in the near future that it could support well. I'm also looking to expand to some bookshelf speakers and better mic in the future. It all would be mainly for a better gaming/movie/entertainment experience. But I would like to dive into some bigger projects in terms of music or content creation.

Sorry if that is too vague

So it will probably run most mid to high end headphones just fine from its built in output but you may need to get another external headphone amp if the ones you end up getting require a lot of power (can't say until you have an idea of what model you want).

If you get bookshelf speakers that are passive (i.e. they dont have their own power supply) the scarlett will not be able to power them - you'd need to send the signal from the scarlett to another speaker amplifier to power them. If the speakers you get are powered then you're fine.

For music/content creation - as I said before - you'll be hard pressed to find a better interface for the price. So no problems there.

I am currently looking at either the Audio-Technica ATH-M30x Professional Studio Monitor Headphones OR Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro.

There is currently a deal on amazon with the Audio technica and Focusrite as a combo deal for only $199, vs quite a bit more for the DAC and headphone separetely

And how much of an amp will the Focusrite act as/if any?

There's quite a big difference between the AT and Beyer headphones impedances. The scarlett will drive the AT fine, but the Beyers are 250Ohm - you'd almost certainly need an amplifier to drive them properly. The 2i2 would drive headphones with adequate quality up to around 100Ohms (anecdotal evidence only - mileage may vary!).

That being said, is there any compareable combo DAC/amp you can suggest that would not break the budget. Im continuing to look for reviews for the 2i2 as it would be the most cost effective currently

Edit: I have researched a bit more, and would like it to primarily run a nice pair of headphones as suggested. I am now wondering though, what would be needed in order to run a pair of bookshelf speakers and sub. Im unsure if there would be a need for future expandability but lets say no for the time being