Focusrite has been the brains behind world-class audio interfaces since the 1980s. If you’re in the market for one of its products, this Focusrite Solo vs 2i2 ultimate buyers guide should be useful. My choice in this segment is the Focusrite 2i2 because of the number of options it offers.
However, the Focusrite Solo works well if you’re an artist/composer rather than a producer. Here’s a brief look at the Focusrite solo vs 2i2 and a breakdown of some of their key features.
Focusrite Solo Vs 2i2
The Complete Comparison
- Includes two of Focusrite’s best mic preamps.
- Offers switchable air mode.
- Record and mix at up to 192KHz/24-bit.
- Includes Pro tools.
- Outputs only contain ¼-inch jacks.
- Software installation is a lengthy process.
The Scarlette 2i2 3rd gen has two of Focusrite’s best-performing mic preamps. You can also use the switchable air mode to give your recordings a brighter sound. This is a truly high-performance converter device that allows you to mix and record at a range up to 192KHz, making it ideal for most home studios and professional setups.
Your editing will be a lot easier thanks to a wide range of pro tools software:
- Ableton Live Lite.
- Tone Bundle.
- A three-month Splice subscription.
- Softube Time.
- First Focusrite creative pack.
- Access to one virtual instrument at XLN Addictive Keys.
- Two hum-free balanced output channels.
- High-performance converter.
- Record and mix up to 192KHz/24-bit.
- Includes quick-start tools.
- Includes one of Focusrite’s best-performing mic preamps.
- Can only record using one input at a time.
- Inputs aren’t universal as you have to use dedicated channels for XLR and ¼-inch ports.
This is the solo version of the 2i2 Focusrite Scarlett, which means that you can only use one input in this device while recording. Besides this one minor change, this model also gives you access to a high-performance converter that works at 192KHz and 24-bit. Note that you have access to two hum-free balanced outputs that can give you a crystal clear audio playback. This model also comes with a hefty set of free software to help with editing:
- Ableton Live Lite.
- Softube Time and Tone bundle.
- Red Plug-in Suite by Focusrite.
- Three-month splice subscription.
- Access to one free XLN addictive keys virtual instrument
Focusrite Solo vs Scarlett 2i2
Now it’s time to conduct a direct Focusrite Solo vs. 2i2 to understand which of these products has the edge.
This is where the differences between these two products really stand out. The Solo comes with two input channels—an XLR input and a ¼ inch jack port. The XLR takes in most of the mics you’ll use. On the other hand, the jack port is mainly for instruments and is recognizable thanks to the appropriate use of a guitar sign on top of the port. This model also has two ¼-inch outputs to let you play your work back.
In comparison, the 2i2 has two input channels as well, except these are dynamic input channels that work with both XLR and ¼-inch cables. This allows you to use either port for your instruments or your mics, offering greater flexibility in your recording process.
Additionally, the Solo doesn’t allow you to simultaneously utilize both channels for recording, but you can do this with the 2i2. This is the biggest difference between these two products, in my opinion, and it’s a make-or-break for many users.
Both models’ sampling rate of both models is 192kHz at 24-bit. The frequency range of both is 20Hz and 20kHz.
Both devices have extremely low latency, as they’re top-of-the-line third-generation products. Their monitoring abilities are also excellent and offer zero-latency while using headphones.
The Solo comes with only one preamp, while the 2i2 offers access to two preamp ports.
Both run using USB ports, which is one of the stand-out features of Focusrite audio interfaces in general. Thus, you won’t have to worry about finding a plug point, and you can simply attach the devices to your laptop or computer.
Both can also supply up to 48V of phantom power.
Both share pretty much the same switch and control alignment patterns. You’ll find three lights at the front, with the green light indicating which USB connections are in use. You’ll also find a set of lights placed around the gain knobs in each of the channels. There’s a connection between the red light and the second channel, and the green light and the first channel. These indicate when the gain levels are about to max out.
Thus, if you had to use this metric to make a choice, there wouldn’t be much difference.
The second-generation models of both these products utilize USB 3.0, but they both made the jump to Type-C cables in the 3rd generation.
When you’re picking between the Focusrite Solo vs. 2i2, you’d certainly want the hardware to be well-built and able to last the long run. Fortunately, both these models are extremely tough and rugged, as they’re made of the same composite material in the front and rear ends. This includes a machined aluminum material covering to give the desired stability.
In this regard, it’s safe to say that neither will give you any trouble with their quality casing.
The Solo’s dimensions are 5.65 x 3.77 x 1.71 inches, while the 2i2 measures 7.68 x 2.09 x 1.32 inches. This makes the Solo much bigger. Additionally, while the Solo weighs 1.1 pounds, the 2i2 weighs 1.43 pounds in comparison, making it slightly bulkier as well. However, this makes sense as the 2i2 is also packed with more features.
You’ll need to purchase the required additional cables separately for both.
In terms of software availability, there’s very little to pick between the products. Both include various important software, such as Ableton Live Lite and Focusrite Creative Packs. This includes a host of plugins and tools for your editing.
Both are compatible with all major DAW’s found in the market.
Both models work well with Windows and macOS.
Stand Out Features
By this point, there’s very little separating the Focusrite Solo vs. 2i2 argument. They’re third-generation products that have been subtly upgraded from their second-generation counterparts. This includes the addition of air mode for both products, bringing in some brightness and crispness to your recordings’ overall quality.
However, the Focusrite 2i2 stands out in these areas:
- Dynamic Input Channels: While both models have two input channels, only the Focusrite 2i2 allows you to use both channels at the same time for your recording. Additionally, you can use both channels interchangeably, as either is compatible with instruments or mics.
- Preamp Ports: Because of the above-mentioned feature, it makes sense then that the Focusrite 2i2 comes with two preamp ports, against the one available in the Solo.
The Focusrite Scarlett range has impressive audio interfaces, and both the Focusrite Solo and the Focusrite 2i2 will make any budding musician giggle with excitement.
Out of the Focusrite Solo vs. 2i2 face-off, I’d pick the Focusrite 2i2.
However, both products have their place…
Use the Focusrite 2i2 if you:
- Are a sound engineer or music producer.
- Have a home studio or small professional studio setup.
- Are invested in recording and editing more than working with instruments.
- Two of the best performing mic preamps the Scarlett range has ever seen, now with switchable air Mode to give your recordings a brighter and more open sound. Two high-headroom instrument inputs to plug in your guitar or bass. Two balanced line inputs, suitable for connecting line-level sources.
- High-performance converters enable you to record and mix at up to 24-bit/ 192kHz.
- Quick start tool to get up and running easier than ever.
- Includes Pro Tools | First Focusrite Creative Pack, Ableton Live Lite, Softube Time and Tone Bundle, Focusrite’s Red Plug-in Suite, 3-month Splice subscription, and your choice of one free XLN Addictive Keys virtual instrument, all available via download upon purchase and registration
- LIMITED TIME OFFER: FREE D16 Devastator 2 upon registration and download.
Use the Focusrite Solo if you:
- Are flying solo—artist or singer/songwriter.
- Want to focus on recording your instrumental work or vocals.
- Leave the editing and mixing to others.
- BUNDLE INCLUDES: Focusrite Scarlett Solo 3rd Gen USB Audio Interface, Closed Back Over-Ear Headphone, and 20-Foot Balanced Professional Series XLR Cable
- SWITCHABLE AIR MODE: The Scarlett Solo features a single upgraded third-generation Scarlett mic preamp with switchable Air mode to give your vocal and acoustic recordings a brighter and more open sound
- INTERFACE: The high impedance, high-headroom instrument input allows you to record guitar or bass without any clipping or unwanted distortion, while Gain Halo metering makes it easy for you to set the input level. Plus, Scarlett Solo's balanced outputs are hum-free when connecting studio monitors with balanced inputs, so you’ll always have pristine audio playback
- INCLUDED SOFTWARE: Your Scarlett Solo comes with all the software tools you need to get started, including two comprehensive digital audio workstations: Ableton Live Lite and Pro Tools First Focusrite Creative Pack
- FOCUSRITE AUTHORIZED DEALER: Includes USA Manufacturer Guarantee