Scarlett Solo vs 2i2

Scarlett solo vs 2i2 Which one is the best? An XLR microphone is what the pros use in recording studios and onstage during live performances.

We review both audio interfaces so you can make an easy decision when it comes to purchasing.

 

XLR mics (X connector, Locking connector and Rubber boot) are the best way to get the clean, noise-free sound all true audiophiles crave. But in order to connect your XLR mic to your computer and record that high-quality audio, you need an interface.

Focusrite makes some of the best audio interfaces on the market. And in this review we’re going to compare the  Scarlett Solo vs 2i2 (3rd Gen) interface.

 

Ideal for Solo Performers/Podcasters 

Scarlett Solo

Last update on 2020-10-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Record guitar and vocals or interviewer/interviewee simultaneously to separate tracks. Compact, versatile and compatible with Windows or Mac OS, the Solo helps you establish your home studio.

2 High-Quality Preamps, Studio-Class Audio

Scarlett 2i2

Last update on 2020-10-28 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

With 2 pro quality preamps, 2 mic and 2 instrument inputs, it’s far more versatile than the Solo. It has a super-clean interface and is compatible with all major DAWs.

Scarlett Solo Says “Less is More” While 2i2 Disagrees

While both of these XLR interfaces feature Focusrite quality, low latency and portability, there’s much debate over whether or not the dual preamps of the 2i2 are worth the bigger investment. The only way to find out if less really is more was to test them. So that’s what we did.

What We Were Looking For

If you’re intent on recording professional quality audio on your computer, you can’t do without the likes of the Scarlett Solo or the more upscale 2i2. We wanted to know:

The Specs

First let’s breakdown each audio interfaces technical specs.

Common Features 1: 24bit/192kHz Resolution

You could easily spend the entire day reading conflicting opinions about whether or not 192kHz resolution is better than say, 96kHz. Both the Scarlett Solo and the 2i2 offer 24bit/192kHz A/D resolution.

Scarlett Solo

192kHz analog to digital (A/D) resolution is alleged to provide more lifelike sound then you’ll get with a lower resolution like 96kHz. In truth, only the most rabid audiophile would be able to tell the difference.

2i2

Because both devices are products of Focusrite, you won’t find any difference between them when it comes to how they process those 192,000 24 bit samples per second. And again, unless your intended audience is dogs or maybe bats, no one is likely to notice the difference.

Common Features 2: Direct Monitoring

Some audio XLR interface devices send the input signal through your DAW first, creating a small but real delay or latency between the sound you’re creating, and the sound you’re hearing in your headphones. In contrast, both the Solo and the 2i2 offer direct monitoring, where the sound is sent directly to the headphones, bypassing the DAWs. The result: near zero latency.

 

Scarlett Solo

With the Scarlett Solo, it’s debatable whether or not the direct monitoring serves any useful purpose. After all, there are those that argue that if it’s just a singer and their guitar, monitoring output via headphones is kind of a waste of time.​

2i2

With the 3rd generation 2i2, direct monitoring has a much more clearly defined purpose. After all, if there are multiple instruments playing and singers singing, things can get confusing. Being able to monitor everything in what is essentially real time with any extraneous sounds eliminated can be a valuable thing.

Winner: 2i2

Why? Only because the value of direct monitoring is harder to quantify when it comes to single guitar/singer than it is with multiple musicians jacked in at once.

Which one are you leaning towards?

Sale
Focusrite Scarlett Solo (3rd Gen) USB Audio Interface with Pro Tools |...
  • One 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. One high-headroom instrument input to plug in your guitar or bass. Two hum-free balanced outputs provide clean audio playback.
  • 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.
Sale
Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 (3rd Gen) USB Audio Interface with Pro Tools |...
  • 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.

Last update on 2020-10-28 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Unique Features: Scarlett Solo

More Compact

The Scarlett Solo is truly a compact wonder. At just 1.73 x 5.66 x 4.7 inches, it’s about 10-15% smaller than the 2i2 and it weighs about half a pound less. And while that might not seem like a lot, every little bit helps when you’re out busking.

Lower Price

Both audio interfaces are under $200, but the Scarlett Solo can be had for about 50% less than the 2i2. Sure, you might like the twin preamps of the 2i2 and the ability to add a fellow musician down the line. But if you’re a solo act at the moment and you’re on a budget, that 50% saving can’t be ignored.

Unique Features: 2i2

 

More Inputs

If you typically play/record with more than one person, you’re going to appreciate the extra inputs. Being able to capture 2 singers or speakers at the same time to their own channels can provide a leg up when it comes to the quality of the finished audio product.

2 Preamps

This is the feature that gets most people’s attention and it’s easy to see why. Having dual preamps ensures that even if you have 2 guitarists and 2 vocalists plugged in simultaneously, everything will emerge from the amplifiers sounding clean and clear.​

Winner: 2i2

Why? It costs a bit more, but it’s a much more versatile tool.

Scarlett Solo vs 2i2: Pros and Cons

Below you’ll find the pros and cons of each audio interface. Let these help you decide with interface is best for your current setup.

Pros of Scarlett Solo

Cons of Scarlett Solo

Pros of the 2i2

Cons of the 2i2

Final Verdict

It’s hard to find significant fault with the Focusrite Scarlett Solo. It is, after all a fine option if you are basically a solo act and you’re working with a limited budget.

But, if we assume that coughing up the extra 50 bucks isn’t going to be an issue, then we have to come down on the side of the 2i2.

Not only is it on par with the Solo when it comes to delivering for solo artists, but it adds an extra layer of versatility without any loss of quality (thanks to the pair of preamps) that puts it over the top.