Focusrite Scarlett Solo Gen 2 USB Audio Interface Review

Focusrite Scarlett Solo gen 2 usb audio interface review

Focusrite Scarlett Solo gen 2 usb audio interface review.

The world of audio equipment aimed a smaller creators on a budget is a vibrant one, full of options. One particularly important piece of hardware you’ll need when recording audio is an audio interface. In this post, we’re going to look at an entry level interface that boasts crystal clear audio  and low latency at an affordable price. But does it live up to its claims? This is my Focusrite Scarlett Solo Gen 2 USB audio interface review.

But Why Do I Need an Audio Interface?

It all depends on what you’re doing and what your budget is. If you don’t have a lot to spend and you’re making electronic music with all-software instruments, you don’t really need an audio interface. On the other hand, if you’re recording live instruments, you probably do. If you’re doing anything that involves live feedback, such as using guitar amp simulation software, you absolutely need an audio interface.

You see, your average computer is not good at handling audio out of the box. It can do all the things you need it to after a fashion, but when you start to get into more in depth, you’ll soon find it lacking in quality, performance, and ease of use.

The point of an audio interface is to ease that transition between you and your computer. Reducing latency (the delay between you sending an audio signal and it playing through the computer), providing a high quality signal, and giving you the inputs to connect your devices.

The Focusrite Scarlett Solo Gen 2 USB Audio Interface Review

So let’s get into it. I’m going to break this down into three sections. Look and feel, features and performance, and value for money. Starting with…

Look and Feel

The Scarlett Solo feels solid. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend throwing it around, but it definitely feels like it could withstand an accidental drop or two. The controls feel well made, not flimsy or easily breakable.

Beyond that, the device looks great. The stylish anodised red chassis and black face plate mate up wonderfully to give a subtle class to Solo. Nothing looks overdone or under-thought. If I were to come up with one gripe regarding the design, it would be over the space available. If you have both your inputs and the headphone jack full, the front is very crowded, and a little awkward to adjust settings. That being said, it is a small device, and while this can be a tad tricky at times, I’m not sure they could have done much better with the space available.

Features and Performance

Being an entry level device, the Scarlett Solo doesn’t boast a lot of bells and whistles. For the modest price tag of roughly $100, you get;

  • An XLR input with +48v phantom power
  • A 1/4″ input jack, switchable between line input and instrument
  • Individual gain controls for each input
  • Direct monitoring
  • Left and right RCA outputs
  • Headphone out
  • Clipping indicator lights
  • 24 Bit / 96KHz audio
  • Kensington Lock Slot
  • USB 2.0 connection
The front panel of the Focusrite Scarlett Solo Gen 2 USB Audio Interface

The front panel of the Focusrite Scarlett Solo Gen 2 USB Audio Interface

…which is actually quite impressive for this price range. Everything on the interface works as advertised, smoothly and efficiently. The halo indicator lights are a nice touch, making nice use of the limited space on the front of the device.

One particularly nice aspect of the Solo is the fact that it does not require an external power source. It draws all the power it needs through the USB 2.0 connection, making it ideal for a portable set up.

The quality of the audio is, while perhaps a bit lower than a professional audio producer would like, is more than enough for an entry level device such as this.

As a final added bonus, the Solo comes with a number of software licenses for various packages and virtual instruments, as well a sample library. 

Value for Money

As mentioned, the Solo is an entry level device, and is the most inexpensive offering in Focusrite’s Scarlett range. There are many audio interfaces available that provide more features, or are cheaper, but when it comes to pure value for money, the Solo is one of the best around.

And that concludes this Focusrite Scarlett Solo gen 2 USB audio interface review. If you’ve been moved to pick one of these little beauties up, why not get it at Amazon. Alternatively, if the Solo just isn’t enough interface for you, check out my review of the Akai EIE Pro.

[All Pictures: John Bullock]

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