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Focusrite Scarlett Solo vs. 2i2: Which One Is Better For You?

focusrite solo vs 2i2

So, you’re looking for an audio interface to help you record quality audio at home, eh?

You’ve been searching the internet, reading articles for some recommended products, going to page 2 of Google so that you can find one you like.

At last, you’ve narrowed down your devices to Focusrite’s Scarlett Solo or the Scarlett 2i2.

Well, let’s take a look at the two audio interfaces and see how they hold up in this post!

Table of Contents

Focusrite Scarlett Solo Overview

Focusrite Solo

First, let’s shine the spotlight on the Solo, the cheaper audio interface between the two devices!

Although it’s about 50 USD cheaper than the Scarlett 2i2, is it any good?

Features

The Scarlett Solo has a lot of features to it that won’t disappoint those who buy it! Let’s get into the specs:

  • A/D Resolution: 24-bit/192kHz
  • Analog inputs: 2
  • Analog outputs: 2
  • Mic preamp: 1
  • Instrument input: 1
  • Headphone out: 1
  • Digital I/O: No
  • BUS powered: Yes

Build and Design

As with the rest of the Scarlett series, you can only find the Solo in its signature RED.

The interface is wrapped in lightweight, compact aluminum.

Its front and back panels are both made of plastic but don’t worry as they do not look or feel cheap at all!

The buttons on the interface don’t feel like they’ll sink in after just a few presses, and the knobs feel well-secured.

All the ports take in cables pretty well, so you don’t have to constantly check if your cables are slipping out or not.

Performance Quality

Performance-wise, there’s nothing to complain about the quality of sound it produces!

Although you can only record with one microphone and one instrument at a time, it still delivers well with what it promises: GREAT AUDIO QUALITY!

Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 Overview

Focusrite 2i2

What sets the Focusrite 2i2 apart from the Solo? Is it anything substantial?

Let’s take a dive and find out!

Features

For the features of the Scarlett 2i2, there is no noticeable difference from the Solo.

  • A/D Resolution: 24-bit/192kHz
  • Analog inputs: 2
  • Analog outputs: 2
  • Mic preamps: 2
  • Instrument inputs: 2
  • Headphone outputs: 1
  • Digital Input/Output: No
  • BUS powered: yes

Build and Design

The Scarlett 2i2 and Focusrite Solo’s build quality are almost the same.

  • An aluminum case
  • Plastic front and back panels
  • Tactile buttons
  • Well-placed knobs
  • Latching ports

The only difference between the two is that due to the increase of knobs on the 2i2, it’s larger and weighs a bit more than the Solo.

However, that doesn’t mean you can’t bring your 2i2 when you go out to travel!

Performance Quality

When it comes to performance, there isn’t much difference between the Focusrite Solo and Scarlet 2i2!

The Scarlett 2i2 is a high-performance audio interface that allows you to create quality recordings, whether you are a singer, a voice actor, a podcast host, or an instrumentalist.

Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 | Complete Review

The Showdown: Which Focusrite Interface Is Better?

Feature Face-Off- Focusrite Solo Vs Scarlett 2i2

Tech Specs

Both audio interfaces have the same technical specs, more or less, but there are some differences.

Direct monitoring with the Solo and 2i2 is possible by plugging your headphones in the interface while your performance is ongoing.

Monitoring with either interface won’t be a hassle if you’re keen on nitpicking all the small details—the delay can’t be noticed much at all.

However, the Scarlett 2i2 offers LESS delay than the Solo.

There are also LED LIGHTS on the interfaces.

  • The green light comes on when the USB is plugged into the interface.
  • If you use the Phantom Power, the light will turn red.
  • Rings of light surround the gain knobs as well.
  • A green light comes on for the first knob and a red light for the second knob.
    • This is so you know when the gain level is nearing its maximum.

In/Out

The Solo has one microphone input for an XLR microphone and another ¼ inch jack, which you can find by spotting the guitar sign above the port.

That way, you can use a microphone and guitar all the same!

On the other hand, while the Scarlett 2i2 has the same number of line inputs, its inputs are multi-functional.

We say multi-functional because the inputs will take BOTH XLR connectors and ¼ inch jack cables all the same.

The Scarlett 2i2 also allows inputs to take in line-level signals if you want to.

The line outputs of both the Solo and 2i2 are located at the back, going to the left and right studio monitors/speakers.

Unfortunately, both interfaces do not support MIDI devices.

However, regarding the headphone output, the Scarlett 2i2 has a dedicated volume control knob, so you don’t need to rely on the monitor controls of the device itself.

It’s also worth mentioning that the 48V button allows the interface to use phantom power, allowing you to use condenser mics if you want to.

Because of that, the 2i2 gains a slight edge over the Solo!

Sample Rate

Fortunately, both interfaces support sample rates and a frequency response of 24-bit/192kHz for amazing sound quality.

That way, you won’t have a problem recording studio-quality songs or intricate guitar work with either audio interface.

If you want, you can also turn on both the Solo and Scarlett 2i2’s Air Mode to add a BRIGHT and CRISP note to your recordings!

You can do that by turning it on by the Air button found in front of both Focusrite interfaces.

Latency

The two audio interfaces both support low latency, but the 2i2 offers a marginally smaller amount of latency than the Solo.

Does it matter, though?

Not really. The latency is low enough with both interfaces that it doesn’t make a noticeable difference.

So unless you’re an audiophile who looks for the difference in latency, you won’t notice it.

PreAmps

The difference between both audio interfaces shines with the number of preamps they each have and how they function.

The Solo has TWO preamp types: one XLR and one ¼ that CANNOT be interchanged.

However, the Scarlett 2i2 has FOUR preamps: two XLR inputs and two ¼ inputs that CAN be interchanged.

For that reason, the 2i2 allows for a lot MORE VERSATILITY than the Solo when it comes to recording.

Connection Type

Say goodbye to the days of scrambling around your set-up to find an extra socket for your audio interface!

Both the Solo and 2i2 can be powered through a USB port on your computer, and you’ll be able to start recording in your home studio.

It’s also worth noting that the available USB type for both the Solo and the 2i2 is the USB-C type connection.

This is better than a USB-B type connection because USB-C links data FASTER than the former.

There is no need to worry about compatibility either—the USB-C works on older computers’ USB ports.

Durability

Based on the build quality of the two audio interfaces, the Focusrite Solo and 2i2 are built to last!

So long as you don’t drop your interface from a 20-floor building, it should be fine for the years to come.

Software Included

You won’t miss out on anything if you get one or the other. You’ll get the same software if you choose either of the Focusrite audio interfaces.

Focusrite will provide you with a copy of these programs:

  • Ableton Live Lite
  • Focusrite Pro Tools creative pack.

These are great recording programs as they are intuitive, easy to use and easily customizable to suit your taste!

But if you are a beginner, Ableton Live Lite is a good choice to start with!

DAW Integration

Focusrite’s Scarlett Solo and Scarlett 2i2 are compatible with most DAWs out in the market.

You can easily integrate both interfaces with most DAWs with the help of their guides!

MAC/Windows Compatibility

So, what do the Focusrite Solo and Focusrite 2i2 work with?

There’s no need to sell your computer if it’s from Apple or vice-versa, as both interfaces work just fine with either Mac or Windows!

Verdict: Which Interface Is Best For You?

Interface-Off

That wraps up this Scarlett Solo vs. 2i2 showdown, and now, we must announce a winner.

The Solo is a great choice for artists who only need their own voice and an instrument for their recording sessions.

It still offers the same quality as the 2i2 and will surely be worth your time!

However, if you’re planning to record with multiple people, pick up the 2i2 instead!

It might also be a great choice for solo recording artists who can shell out some extra money just for those extra features.

There isn’t much difference between the Solo and the 2i2. It will ultimately depend on your available budget and how serious you are about recording!


Changelog:

April 28, 2022 – updated content and product links

About the author

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After becoming obsessed with the beats that were the soundtrack to his youth, Nick became a student of hip hop, digging for vinyl records, looking for the perfect break. Before he got his hands on an MPC sampler, he would mash these records, beats, and breaks into mixtapes and live DJ sets.