Scarlett Solo vs 2i2 – Which is Better?

After the pandemic started, a new revolution in the music industry began. Many musicians and artists turned to home-recording due to the difficulty of traveling to their favorite studios. Even those who were forced to stay in their homes turned to home-recording to reduce stress. 

This is where the importance of the audio interface comes along.

Since the invention of the audio interface in the 1980s, Focusrite has been of the more popular brands due to its high-quality products. As of the time, they are offering their two most basic small-format audio interfaces in the market, the Scarlett Solo and the Scarlett 2i2.  

Both are top-selling products in all musical stores worldwide, which is why we are here to help you determine which is the better audio interface for its worth.

Sound Quality

Scarlett Solo

Focusrite Scarlett Solo 3rd Gen USB Audio Interface, for the Guitarist, Vocalist, Podcaster or Producer — High-Fidelity, Studio Quality Recording, and All the Software You Need to Record

The Scarlett Solo is the cheapest audio interface produced by Focusrite that is available in the market. It must be noted that being cheap does not equate as bad. The Scarlett Solo is truly the best performing audio interface for its range.

The Scarlett Solo is its most straightforward audio interface that is capable of creating studio-quality sound and allows you to record, mix and play it back.

Supported sample rates of the Scarlett Solo:

  • 44.1kHz
  • 48kHz
  • 88.2kHz
  • 96kHz
  • 176.4kHz
  • 192kHz

Focusrite has raised the bar in the Scarlett Solo by reducing latencies and now supports a 44.1kHz sample rate, which is the best sample rate to ensure your audio is recorded at the highest quality possible.

Audio Specifications for the Scarlett Solo:

Scarlett SoloSpecifications
Channels of I/O2 Inputs / 2 Outputs at 192kHz
Max. Sample Rate/Resolution192 kHz / 24-bit
Gain/Trim RangeUp to +56 dB
High-Pass FilterNone
Frequency Response20Hz – 20kHz 
Bit DepthsUp to 24-bit (AD/DA Conversion)
Dynamic Range111dB (XLR input)110.5dB (Line input)110dB (Instrument input)

Even though Scarlett Solo is a small and budget-friendly audio interface, it provides an excellent dynamic range. Although its XLR input is usually used for vocal microphones, it can also handle acoustic instruments impressively. Using the Air function provides a nice tone for acoustic instruments as its equalization can focus on the higher frequencies.

The Scarlett Solo is also equipped with a top-notch mic pre-amp. It can cope with a lot of input volume and capture 24-bit/192kHz analog to digital signal conversion for professional-quality recordings.

The Scarlett Solo is the best-selling audio interface on Amazon. Amazon gave an average score of 4.7 stars out of 5 stars from its 29,915 reviews. The reviewers also gave an average score of 4.6 stars out of 5 stars for its sound quality, praising its exceptional studio-quality results, which is very impressive for its price.

The Scarlett Solo is the best audio interface in its range. Period. This product is really great for those artists with a tight budget. You won’t regret buying this one.

Scarlett 2i2

Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 3rd Gen USB Audio Interface for Recording, Songwriting, Streaming and Podcasting — High-Fidelity, Studio Quality Recording, and All the Software You Need to Record

The Scarlett 2i2 is Scarlett’s best-selling audio interface where millions of musicians are using it to write and record every day. It has already been an icon in the music industry, as you can always see this item on the desks of a vast global community of musicians, producers, and home-recordists.

Complete beginners and industry veterans love the Scarlett 2i2 for its studio-quality audio recordings at a lower price.

The Scarlett 2i2 have identical sample rates supported with the Scarlett Solo. 

Similar to the Scarlett Solo, the Scarlett 2i2 offers low-latency monitoring. It eliminates potential latency issues that you might experience from monitoring your computer. The quality of the recordings still depends on your microphone and recording technique, but the Scarlett 2i2 is capable of producing clean, latency-free, and excellent recordings.

Audio Specifications for the Scarlett 2i2:

Scarlett 2i2Specifications
Channels of I/O2 Inputs / 2 Outputs at 192kHz
Max. Sample Rate/Resolution192 kHz / 24-bit
Gain/Trim RangeUp to +56 dB
High-Pass FilterNone
Frequency Response20Hz – 20kHz 
Bit DepthsUp to 24-bit (AD/DA Conversion)
Dynamic Range111dB (XLR input)110.5dB (Line input)110dB (Instrument input)

The Scarlett 2i2 has almost identical specifications with the Scarlett Solo, except it has 2 XLR inputs versus only one XLR input with the Scarlett Solo. This means that the two inputs can access the Air function, which provides a great tone for acoustic instruments as its equalization can focus on the higher frequencies.

There are not only one but two mic pre-amps available in the Scarlett 2i2, unlike the Scarlett Solo. These allow you to have two inputs that can emulate Focusrite’s original ISA preamps, which is ideal for miking up instruments and recording vocals.

The Scarlett 2i2 is the top-selling audio interface on Amazon. Amazon gave an average score of 4.7 stars out of 5 stars from its 29,916 reviews. The reviewers also gave an average score of 4.6 stars out of 5 stars for its sound quality, praising its ability to record two high-quality audio tracks at the same time by using the two XLR inputs. 

The Scarlett 2i2 is really a class on its own when it comes to small-format audio interfaces. Its mic preamps are outstanding, and the Air function is an excellent addition to improving already studio-quality audio. 

You’ll never regret choosing Focusrite audio interfaces, including the Scarlett 2i2.

Build Quality

Scarlett Solo

The Scarlett Solo has one of the best-build in the entry-level category for audio interfaces. You can rarely find any faults in the build quality of the Scarlett Solo. That is why it is the best-selling entry-level audio interface in the market.

Dimensions of the Scarlett Solo:

HeightWidthDepthWeight
Scarlett Solo9.58cm14.35cm4.34cm318.0 g

The Scarlett Solo is one of the smaller and lighter audio interfaces ever produced by the Focusrite, as it is made in an aluminum housing. It is compact, sturdy, and small enough to pocket, which is pretty great for those traveling artists looking for portability.

The Scarlett Solo also does not take too much space due to its size and does not easily break even if you accidentally drop it due to aluminum chassis.

It is also equipped with an excellent mic preamp, which can take high volumes for a long time without clipping. This characteristic is essential in purchasing an audio interface as its primary purpose is to record studio-quality audio.

Amazon gave an average score of 4.6 stars out of 5 stars for the quality of materials used in creating the Scarlett Solo. Many of its reviewers praised the product for its excellent build quality.

This product defies the logic of cheap audio interfaces. It is excellent for its price—no wonder why this is the best entry-level audio interface available in the market.

Scarlett 2i2

The Scarlett 2i2 has an identical chassis with the Scarlett Solo. The high-quality audio interface is built with a tough aluminum casing, and its knobs are sturdy and durable. This is why just like the Scarlett Solo, the Scarlett 2i2 is also one of the top-selling audio interfaces in the market.

Dimensions of the Scarlett 2i2:

HeightWidthDepthWeight
Scarlett 2i29.88cm17.5cm4.75cm470g

The Scarlett 2i2 is bigger in dimensions and is heavier than the Scarlett Solo. This thing is not fragile as it can take a drop without acquiring any damage due to its chassis.

With an upgrade from the Scarlett Solo, the Scarlett 2i2 is equipped with two top-notch mic preamps but capable of accessing the Air function and can take a very high level of volumes without distorting or even clipping.

Amazon gave an average score of 4.7 stars out of 5 stars for the quality of materials used in creating the Scarlett 2i2. Many of its reviewers praised the product for its outstanding build quality and portability as it like packing a mobile studio into an average-sized shoulder bag.

The Scarlett 2i2 is an excellent small-format audio interface and is well built that can last for many years. Its number of sales tells it all why this is such a great product. Rest assured, this thing’s build quality will not fail you.

Controls

Scarlett Solo

The Scarlett Solo is ideally the best audio interface for home or on the road. It has 2-in 2-out, which is the most basic format for audio interfaces.

Connectivity Specifications of the Scarlett Solo:

Scarlett SoloSpecifications
Analog Audio I/O1 x XLR 3-Pin Balanced Mic Input1 x ¼” TS Unbalanced Line / Hi-Z Input2 x ¼” TRS Balanced Monitor Output1 x ¼” TRS Unbalanced Headphone Output
Phantom Power48 V, Selectable On/Off
Host Connection / USB1 x USB Type-C (USB 2.0)

The Scarlett Solo’s channel one, which is an XLR input, comes with a phantom power button and Air button, a feature exclusive to its XLR input, and emulates Focusrite ISA preamps. It boosts the high-mids and high frequencies just enough to add some extra clarity and top-end. This function is really impressive for what its worh.

Operating systems compatible to the Scarlett Solo:

  • macOS 10.12 or Later
  • macOS 11
  • Windows 7 or Later
  • iPadOS

The Scarlett Solo is compatible with almost recent available operating systems in the market from Microsoft and Apple. If you also buy a Scarlett Solo, you also get two free-licensed digital audio workstations (DAW); both are pretty great for recording studio-quality audio.

Included Plug-ins for purchasing the Scarlett Solo:

Scarlett SoloPlug-ins
DynamicsFocusrite Red 3Drawmer S73
EqualizationFocusrite Red 2
Virtual InstrumentsXLN Audio
Reverb & RoomSoftube TSAR-1R Reverb
DelaySoftube Tube Delay
Harmonic & TapeSoftube Saturation Knob

The Scarlett Solo has included plug-ins that are very handy when you want to achieve studio-quality recorded audio. 

Amazon gave an average of 4.6 stars out of 5 stars for its user-friendly setup. Many reviewers liked its straightforward method for its installation, which is very helpful for those who are still beginning to understand how an audio interface works.

The Scarlett Solo is one of the greatest entry-level audio interfaces in the market. There is no reason to have doubts about this product for all its features.

Scarlett 2i2

If you want to step up your home recordings to a higher level, the Scarlett 2i2 is maybe the answer to your problem. A high-quality audio interface allows you to record, mix, and play back studio-quality audio anywhere you want.

Connectivity Specifications of the Scarlett 2i2:

Scarlett 2i2Specifications
Analog Audio I/O2 x Combo XLR – ¼” TRS Balanced/Unbalanced Mic/Line/Hi-Z Input2 x ¼” TRS Balanced Monitor Output1 x ¼” TRS Unbalanced Headphone Output
Phantom Power48 V, Selectable On/Off (Applied to All Inputs)
Host Connection / USB1 x USB Type-C (USB 2.0)

The Scarlett 2i2’s two input channels come with a phantom power button which allows you to use condenser microphones. Both channels also have an Air button, which allows emulating Focusrite ISA preamps resulting in boosted high-mids and high frequencies just enough to have some extra clarity and top-end.

Scarlett 2i2 and Scarlett Solo have the same compatibility with operating systems. It also includes two free-licensed digital audio workstations (DAW); Ableton Live Lite and Pro Tools First, just the same with the Scarlett Solo.

The Scarlett 2i2 and Scarlett Solo have identical free plug-ins when you purchase any of the two products. These plug-ins are beneficial in achieving the studio-quality recorded audio you dreamt of.

Amazon gave an average of 4.6 stars out of 5 stars for its ease of use. Many reviewers liked its user-friendly controls as it is very easy to operate with.

The two XLR inputs with Air function is really what I loved from the Scarlett 2i2. Having two mic preamps is really a big difference from having just one, as it allows for better audio quality. This is an excellent option for musicians and artists who want to record studio-quality audio.

Price

Scarlett Solo

The Scarlett Solo is the Number 1 best-selling audio interface on the Amazon website. This alone is a testament to what it’s worth. 

Maybe it’s a little expensive for others, but based on its track record, the Scarlett Solo is really worth it. You can’t find a better audio interface for its price.

Scarlett 2i2

The Scarlett 2i2 is one top-selling audio interfaces on the Amazon website. Considering all its features, maybe the product should be priced more but thankfully not. This audio interface is really exceptional for what it’s worth.

You are buying this product like you have a huge discount for its value.

Pros & Cons

Scarlett Solo

Pros:

  • XLR with phantom power and Air feature
  • Hi-Z Instrument Input
  • Low Latency
  • Direct monitoring
  • Professional sound
  • Cheap, but greatly built
  • LED indicators
  • User-Friendly set-up
  • Free DAWs and plug-ins

Cons

  • Limited to one XLR and one Hi-Z/Line only
  • One preamp only

Scarlett 2i2 

  • Easy to set-up
  • Low-latency monitoring
  • Upgraded mic pre-amps provide expanded headroom
  • Low noise
  • Air feature enhances high-end detail
  • Light and portable
  • Flexibility

Cons

  • No digital I/O
  • Light hiss when the gain is turned up higher
  • Easily pulled by cables due to its lightweight

Which is better?

Both audio interfaces are great for what it’s worth. But if I have to choose which one is better? I’ll go with the Scarlett 2i2 because of the availability of the two mic preamps, which is really great when it comes to recordings. It greatly improves the quality of your recorded audio.

There is a reason why Focusrite has been the top-selling brand in the audio interfaces products, including these two models; choosing either one of them is really an excellent choice for stepping up your recording journey.

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