Audio interfaces such as Scarlett Solo Vs 2i2 are necessary to help connect your analog inputs to the computer. They are also helpful if you have a condenser microphone that requires phantom power and a dynamic microphone. The two are close siblings and very similar to each other. Here are some of the most critical factors for those considering these popular interfaces.
In this comparison, we are going to talk about:
- What is an Audio Interface
- What are Scarlett Solo and 2i2
- How are the Design of Scarlett Solo and 2i2
- How are the Controls in Scarlett Solo and 2i2
- How are the Specs of Scarlett Solo and 2i2
- What else Scarlett Solo and 2i2 can offer
- How are the Performance of Scarlett Solo and 2i2
- Scarlett Solo Vs 2i2
In modern days, most of us are working with smart devices like computers to process data and collect information, including audio. The essential equipment for recording sound is a microphone, but not all microphones directly connect to your PC or laptop. Other sound sources like electric instruments may also need the same help, and this is where the audio interface becomes useful. An audio interface is a bridge connecting your input to the computer or other equipment.
The purpose of the audio interface is to convert microphone and instrument signals into a format that your machine, in this case, a computer, so that the software can recognize it. The interface also routes audio from your computer to headphones or speaker monitors. Usually, the interface will connect to a computer through a USB connector and some via Thunderbolt, Firewire, or even Ethernet. Like your microphone, they vary in price, but most people can rely on the basic model to provide basic features.
Do you need an audio interface? It depends on your input, but those with XLR microphones will need it to convert the signal and provide the proper connector. Besides giving a phantom power for the condenser mic and amplifying the dynamic microphone, many audio interfaces also add features to the equipment. But, if you have a USB microphone such as Yeti or QuadCast, there is no need to buy an interface despite being condenser type because the mics already have a USB connector and internal power supply.
|Scarlett Solo||Scarlett 2i2|
|Shop now at Amazon||click here||click here|
|Product Dimensions||3.77 x 5.65 x 1.71 inches||7.68 x 2.09 x 1.32 inches|
|Shipping Weight||1.1 pounds||1.1 pounds|
About Scarlett Solo and 2i2
Considering that most of us are working with computers nowadays, it is crucial to have them. An audio interface is not only acting as a connector but also improves your audio because the signal has to pass its processing unit before entering the computer. There are many good options to consider according to your budget and what you want from the unit. The more inputs you wish to record at once, the bigger and more expensive the interface is.
For those starting the project, whether you are working on a podcast, recording voice overs, or making music, the affordable and reliable interface like Scarlett Solo and 2i2 will be two good options to consider. As you may already know, the two are close siblings, and to put it simply; the Solo is a smaller version of the 2i2. Both audio interfaces are currently in their 3rd generation, so we will be comparing the newest variants as they are also the latest update.
The Scarlett Solo and 2i2 are very popular among new users or small setups because they offer all the basics. What’s most important is their overall performance which is satisfying for most users, and it is a guarantee that there are high chances you will love them. The main differences between Scarlett Solo and 2i2 are connectors and additional features because we don’t find the performance or audio quality differences. If you use two inputs at once, the Scarlett 2i2 is the ideal choice.
The interface provides two inputs that are equally powered or microphone or instruments, instead of just one powered input in Solo. We think most people will be better with Scarlett Solo because it offers all the basics and is noticeably cheaper. You mainly want to upgrade or choose 2i2 because your second input also requires phantom power, or you want to adjust the outputs separately. Read also: Behringer Q1202 vs QX1202 here.
Scarlett Solo and 2i2 Design
One of the most attractive points of Scarlett Solo and 2i2 is the appearance. The Scarlett name is identical to this bright red aluminum housing. Both variants use the same material and are only different in form factors. Because the Scarlett 2i2 has to fit more, it is also wider than the Solo, but the depth is very similar. In the box, you will get the interface and USB cable from type A to type C; it is not USB 3.0 but USB 2.0, which should be sufficient.
The overall build quality is impressive as the previous generations. The knobs are plastic, but we don’t have any issues. They seem to attach nicely to the housing and feel sturdy when rotating it. The buttons are small such as the phantom power or Air feature, but they are light and easy to press. There are also LED lights around the input knobs and buttons, which help you notice the stat of the interface or what feature is currently active.
Scarlett Solo and 2i2 Controls
Let’s see the connectors, buttons, controllers, and I/O on Scarlett Solo and 2i2. As you can see, the most noticeable difference between the two is the XLR/TRS connector because Solo only has one while 2i2 has two. The Solo has one XLR/TRS connector and one line-level or quarter-inch jack for your instrument, which means we can’t connect two inputs that require phantom power to the Solo. Each input has a gain knob with LED light circling it; green when stable, yellow when almost clipping, and red when clipping.
There is a 48V button to activate the phantom power on both models. We can find a quarter-inch headphone connector to monitor the input on the far right, and Solo has one big knob that adjusts its volume. The Scarlett 2i2 has two knobs to adjust the output level, and the big one is for the rear monitor while the smaller one is for the headphone. There is a button to activate direct monitoring on both models but the 2i2 offers two modes of monitoring.
Moving to the rear, we can find the USB Type-C connector to power and connect the interface to your computer—a pair of outputs for your studio monitor and a security lock. Solo also uses the large knob at the front to adjust the output level on this side, so both headphones and monitors are adjusted using the same knob.
Scarlett Solo and 2i2 Specs
Next, let’s see the general specs of Scarlett Solo and 2i2, which are identical. The microphone, line, and instrument input frequency response is 20Hz to 20kHz. The microphone’s dynamic range is 111dba, 110.5dba for line level, and 110dba for the instrument. The noise level for the microphone is -128dbu, which is very quiet, and the maximum input level for the microphone is 9dbu, 22dbu for line-level input, and 12.4dbu for the instrument. The impedance for the microphone is 3k ohms, 60k ohms for line level, and 1.5M ohms for the instrument.
The output specs are also the same, with a dynamic range of 108db for the monitor and 104db for headphones. The maximum output level for the monitor is 15.5dbu and 7dbu for headphones. The impedance for the monitor is 430 ohms and less than 1 ohm for headphones.
Scarlett Solo and 2i2 Features
Both Scarlett Solo and 2i2 also have some exciting features, and one of them is the Air. Both models carry this feature which is supposed to emulate the original Scarlett preamp for the XLR input. This preamp was a work by Focusrite founder during the 80s. This feature is similar to a filter that boosts your sound source’s mid and high-frequency range. Like how the feature is called, it gives your recording a sense of airiness and makes it sounds brighter.
There is also an option to adjust direct monitoring on Scarlett 2i2. This feature is the same button to activate direct monitoring, and by pressing the button twice, you can activate the stereo monitoring. Stereo monitoring is essentially a separate mode where you can hear one input from one side of the headphone and the second input on the other side instead of mixing both.
Scarlett Solo and 2i2 Performance
Lastly, we want to talk about the overall performance. Both Scarlett Solo and 2i2 are recording at 24-bit and a maximum sample rate of 192kHz, above what our ears can hear. In practice, the preamp works well. The Air feature we mentioned above changes the frequency response and makes your voice brighter or sharper. The gain range on these two models has improved, so they are suitable with microphones like SM7B, which is very low insensitivity.
Scarlett Solo Vs 2i2
Both Scarlett Solo and 2i2 are good options you may want to consider. The two are very similar in specs and performance-wise, but the latter is richer in features. The Scarlett 2i2 offers two XLR/TRS connectors, so we can use phantom power for both inputs. You can change the second input to instrument and monitor the inputs as a mix or separately. The stereo feature allows each input to play on each side of your headphone. The 2i2 also adjusts the headphone and monitor level individually.
There is no wrong option, but you can shop based on what you need. Suppose you will be using one microphone that requires phantom power. We recommend getting the Scarlett Solo because it is cheaper and already carries all the basic features, while performance-wise, it is the same as the 2i2.