One of our favorite creators of audio equipment, Focusrite, has added an additional model to one of the most popular collections of gear in the market, the Scarlett audio interface series. The Scarlett Solo audio interface is a more simpler and convenient approach towards recording your sounds as compared to their other solutions. We’ve got the basic necessities with this one: if it’s what you need,it’s what you should buy. You get your basic essentials; an XLR and 1/4″ input, RCA outs for some studio monitors, as well as extra connectivity for your guitar, bass or keys. We love it because of it’s raw capabilities that doesn’t offer any extra software or features we don’t need to justify a high price.
Main features of the Focusrite Scarlett Solo audio interface
- Focusrite preamp built-in for phantom power
- DI/line for guitar, bass or keys
- 24-bit resolution audio quality (sample rates up to 96kHz)
- Dynamic range of over 105dB
- Gain halos give you a visualization of levels
- Direct monitor switch
- Large volume dial on front
- Aluminum chassis build
- Connect via USB 2.0
- 1 XLR, 1 1/4″ inputs
- 1 stereo RCA, 1 1/4″ outputs
- Frequency response: 20 Hz – 20 kHz +/-0.3 dB
- Kensington Lock slot
In terms of overall features, the Scarlett Solo is actually quite impressive for the price. As stated earlier, if you’re looking for a basic audio interface that offers you the nitty gritty of what AI’s are supposed to do, this is the one for you. Focusrite is a huge name in the audio interface world so you know you won’t be disappointed — brands nowadays in the music equipment world need reputation, and they have it, especially for gear like this.
We’re pretty happy they released this as it isn’t necessarily an eye-popper, but it does give us plenty of options when it comes to choosing with audio interface, and in particular which Focusrite AI, to buy. One main concern is that it has only one XLR port, but if you’re only using one mic you’re good to go. You can also hook up your studio monitor speakers with the RCA outputs, switch between your headphones on the front, and use that red knob for your guitar, bass or various other instruments you may incorporate into your studio setup.
Another huge plus with Focusrite’s gear is the build quality. The Scarlett Solo has an aluminum build, so combine that with it’s small size and portability, you’ve got a solid on-the-road type of interface on your hands. If you travel a lot or perform on stage, this audio interface doesn’t take up too much room and is built like a grenade (most likely won’t break if you drop it). You’ve also got the USB-powered function, so no lugging around an AV adapter if you perform, or it’s one less wire if you’ve got it parked in your studio.
Lastly, you’ve got some decent software that comes along with the Scarlett Solo. Ableton Live Lite is one of our favorites in terms of DAWs, you also get the Novation Bass Station plug-in, and 1GB of loopmasters samples — none of this will hurt, although they aren’t too attention-grabbing (I have used a few of the loopmaster samples and there some gems in there, just takes some digging).
The final word on the Scarlett Solo interface
We saw their legendary Scarlett 2i2 rig make the ranks of our 10 best audio interfaces article, so if you want some more options to compare with you can check that out as well. When it came to reviewing the new Solo interface, everything went just as expected, which is basically the preferred result when you’ve got a new piece of gear that is open and honest with what it offers. Not to mention if you’re looking for a new copy of Ableton Live Lite, this makes it a killer steal. Even if you do have your digital audio workstation all set up, you may want to try Ableton to see if you like it if you’re ever bored — it wouldn’t hurt.
It’s great not only for a beginner to a semi-pro, but ultimately those who know what they want: an XLR port, 1/4″, RCA’s, monitor switch, headphone jack, volume knobs, and ultimately a solid audio interface that gives us crystal clear 24-bit sound quality with a sample rate of up to 96kHz — no complaints here. Could be cheaper, but beggars can’t be choosers, especially with that Focusrite brand tag. The Focusrite Scarlett Solo Audio Interface is a solid piece of gear to help your studio setup.