Home Audio Interfaces Focusrite Scarlett Solo vs. 2i2: A Comparative Analysis

Focusrite Scarlett Solo vs. 2i2: A Comparative Analysis

by Stuart Charles Black
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Stuart Charles here, HomeStudioBasics.com helping YOU make sound decisions, so…

In the world of audio recording and production, having the right tools can make all the difference.

Enter the Focusrite Scarlett series – a lineup renowned for delivering professional-grade sound quality and intuitive design.

Among its standout members, the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 and Scarlett Solo take center stage and happen to be their most popular models.

These compact, well-built powerhouses are more than just audio interfaces; they’re gateways to capturing your creativity in pristine detail.

In this comprehensive comparison, we’ll delve into the intricate details of the Scarlett 2i2 and Scarlett Solo, exploring their features, capabilities, and the unique scenarios where each shines.

Toward the end, I’ll recommend a fantastic entry-level XLR condenser microphone to pair with the interface that we choose.

Whether you’re a musician, podcaster, or content creator, understanding these two champions of audio technology will empower you to make an informed choice that elevates your recording experience to new heights.

Let’s embark on this journey to discover the nuances that set the Scarlett 2i2 and Scarlett Solo apart, helping you find the perfect match for your audio aspirations.

With that, let’s dive in!

Input/Output Channels:

Scarlett 2i2

Focusrite Scarlett Solo vs. 2i2

This model features two combo XLR/1/4″ inputs, which can accommodate both microphones and instruments.

It also has two balanced 1/4″ TRS outputs for connecting to studio monitors or headphones.

Additionally, it offers MIDI I/O ports, allowing you to connect MIDI controllers and devices.

Scarlett Solo

The Solo, as the name suggests, is a simpler model with a single XLR/1/4″ combo input, suitable for connecting either a microphone or an instrument.

It provides one 1/4″ TRS output for headphones or monitors. Unlike the 2i2, the Solo lacks MIDI I/O ports.


Scarlett 2i2

paired with the 2i2.

This model is equipped with Focusrite’s high-quality preamps that provide clean and transparent gain.

The preamps offer a good balance between capturing detail and minimizing unwanted noise.

Scarlett Solo

The Solo also includes Focusrite’s preamps, which deliver decent audio quality, but since it’s a more basic model, its preamps might have slightly fewer features and a bit less headroom compared to the 2i2.

Sampling Rate and Bit Depth

Both the Scarlett 2i2 and Solo offer the same sampling rate and bit depth:

  • Sampling Rate: Up to 192 kHz
  • Bit Depth: Up to 24-bit


Scarlett 2i2

This model has separate gain knobs for each input channel, which allows for precise adjustment of input levels.

It also features a direct monitoring knob, enabling you to balance the direct sound from the inputs with the playback sound from your computer.

Scarlett Solo

The Solo has a single gain knob for its input channel and a direct monitoring knob, providing similar functionality to the 2i2 but with fewer knobs due to its single input configuration.


Both models are compatible with various digital audio workstations (DAWs) on both Mac and Windows systems.

They also come with Focusrite’s Scarlett MixControl software for configuring routing and settings.

Build Quality and Design

Both interfaces share a similar compact and rugged design, with a red aluminum casing that’s become a trademark of the Scarlett series.

They’re both portable and can easily fit into your home studio or even a mobile setup.


Due to the differences in features, the Scarlett Solo is generally priced lower than the Scarlett 2i2.

The Solo is often considered an entry-level interface, while the 2i2 provides more inputs and features for a slightly higher cost.

The Air Feature

In the pursuit of capturing studio-quality sound, it’s the little details that can make a significant difference.

Enter the “Air” feature found in the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2, a subtle yet powerful enhancement that has the ability to transform your recordings from good to exceptional.

Unveiling the Air Feature

The Air feature is a proprietary technology developed by Focusrite that is incorporated into select Scarlett interfaces, including the Scarlett 2i2.

This innovation takes inspiration from the legendary Focusrite ISA 110 equalizer – a classic piece of hardware renowned for its ability to add brilliance and presence to audio recordings.

The Magic of Air

When engaged, the Air feature applies a gentle and musical high-frequency boost to the input signal.

This boost is designed to enhance the presence and clarity of your recordings, especially when working with vocals or instruments that could benefit from a touch of brightness.

The result is a sound that’s crisp, detailed, and remarkably lifelike.

Versatility and Control

What’s truly remarkable about the Air feature is its subtlety and adaptability.

It doesn’t impose a harsh or artificial sound on your recordings; instead, it delicately enhances the upper frequencies in a way that complements your source material.

This makes it incredibly versatile – you can use it to add a touch of sparkle to vocals, emphasize the character of acoustic instruments, or even add a sense of space to your mixes.

A Tool for Every Scenario

Whether you’re a vocalist seeking that extra shimmer in your recordings, a guitarist aiming to capture the full resonance of your instrument, or a podcaster looking to elevate the clarity of your voice, the Air feature on the Scarlett 2i2 is your secret weapon.

It allows you to sculpt your sound without relying on extensive post-processing, giving you the freedom to focus on the performance itself.

Use Cases

Scarlett 2i2

This model is ideal for musicians and podcasters who require more flexibility, such as recording two microphones simultaneously or recording a microphone and an instrument simultaneously.

Scarlett Solo

The Solo is suitable for solo musicians, podcasters, and content creators who primarily work with one microphone or instrument at a time.

The Bottom Line

The main differences between the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 and Scarlett Solo are the number of input/output channels, preamp features, and controls.

The 2i2 offers more versatility with its two input channels, MIDI I/O, and separate gain controls, making it a better choice for users who need more flexibility in their recordings.

On the other hand, the Solo is a simpler option for those with basic recording needs.

Final Verdict

When it comes to venturing into the realm of audio recording and production, making the right choice from the outset can significantly impact your creative journey.

That’s where the Focusrite Scarlett series comes into play, offering an array of options designed to cater to various needs.

Among these options, the Scarlett 2i2 stands tall as a beacon of versatility and future-proofing that is worthy of your consideration.

Unleash Your Potential with the Scarlett 2i2

The Scarlett 2i2 boasts not one, but two input channels, opening up a world of possibilities for musicians, podcasters, and creators alike.

Whether you’re recording a dynamic duo of microphones, capturing both vocals and an instrument, or conducting an interview, the 2i2 empowers you to bring your ideas to life without constraints.

Its dual combo XLR/1/4″ inputs grant you the freedom to record a wide range of sources, providing unparalleled flexibility that can adapt to your ever-evolving needs.

Seize the Future and Save Upfront

Consider this: while the Scarlett Solo may initially seem enticing due to its simplicity and budget-friendly nature, it’s important to look ahead.

Opting for the Scarlett 2i2 not only equips you with more input options but also ensures that your setup remains relevant and capable as your creative projects grow.

The Solo, with its single input, could potentially limit you down the road, leading to an eventual upgrade.

Why go through the hassle and expense of replacing your equipment when you can start with a more comprehensive solution from the outset?

A Practical Investment

Think of your choice between the Scarlett 2i2 and Scarlett Solo as an investment in your creative endeavors.

By choosing the 2i2, you’re not just purchasing an audio interface; you’re securing the ability to capture a diverse range of sounds and expand your recording capabilities.

It’s a choice that allows you to focus on your craft without being held back by technical limitations.

In the end, the Scarlett 2i2 stands as a beacon of versatility, offering more inputs, more possibilities, and a roadmap for growth that the Scarlett Solo simply can’t match.

As you embark on your journey of capturing and creating sound, remember that saving money upfront and embracing the flexibility of the Scarlett 2i2 can be the key to unlocking your true creative potential.

Learn More:


As promised, here’s a great mic recommendation to pair with the 2i2.

MXL 990 and Focusrite Scarlett 2i2: The Ideal Pair

Embarking on your journey into the world of audio recording demands a foundation of quality tools that lay the groundwork for exceptional results.

The MXL 990 microphone, when paired with the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 audio interface, forms an impeccable entry-level setup that promises to elevate your recordings from amateur to professional status.

The MXL 990 Microphone: Your Sonic Canvas

The MXL 990 condenser microphone stands as a shining example of affordability meeting excellence.

Renowned for its neutral, detailed sound and versatile capabilities, the MXL 990 is a staple in home studios, podcasting setups, and content creation environments.

It’s tailor-made to capture the nuances of vocals, instruments, and practically any source you intend to record.

With its flat and neutral frequency response, high sensitivity, and low self-noise, the MXL 990 ensures your recordings maintain clarity and authenticity, providing a solid foundation for your creative endeavors.

The Focusrite Scarlett 2i2: Your Audio Gateway

Now, picture this dynamic duo: the MXL 990 microphone harmonizing seamlessly with the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 audio interface.

The 2i2’s dual input channels make it the perfect companion for the MXL 990, allowing you to capture both the richness of your voice and the intricacies of your instrument simultaneously.

The Scarlett 2i2’s pristine preamps and high-quality A/D conversion further enhance the MXL 990’s capabilities, ensuring that every sonic detail is faithfully translated into the digital realm.

A Match Made in Audio Heaven:

When combined, the MXL 990 and Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 become more than just tools – they become a gateway to sonic excellence.

This pair is not merely about capturing sound; it’s about capturing emotion, atmosphere, and the very essence of your recordings.

Whether you’re an aspiring musician, a content creator, or a podcaster, this combination lays the foundation for professional-grade audio that will leave a lasting impression on your audience.

The Value of Entry-Level Excellence

In the world of audio, quality often comes at a cost, but the MXL 990 and Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 prove that professional-grade sound doesn’t have to break the bank.

This entry-level setup enables you to achieve results that punch above their weight, giving you the confidence to create and share your content without compromise.

In conclusion, the MXL 990 and Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 make for an impeccable partnership that embodies the very essence of entry-level excellence.

With the MXL 990’s detailed sound and the 2i2’s versatile capabilities, you’re poised to embark on a journey of audio recording that starts with professionalism, quality, and creative freedom.

Learn More:


Well, that’s about it for today folks! I hope you’ve enjoyed this Focusrite  Scarlett Solo vs. 2i2 comparison and gained some valuable insight.

Questions? Comments? Requests? Did I miss the mark on something? Please let me know down below or Contact me!!

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Which of these interfaces seems right for your needs? Are you a fan of the MXL990? I’d love to hear from you. Until next time…

All the best and God bless,





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