Focusrite Scarlett 3rd Gen Audio Interface: Best Value

Focusrite has been making quality audio interfaces for quite some time now. Just looking at their Scarlett suite of gadgets, we see that they are now at the third generation of interfaces and have made significant improvements to keep up with the rest of the techie world all the way along.

But first, before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s be clear on what this set of interfaces is for.

In general terms, a Scarlett box is for a recording artist (aka, you) who needs to connect his instrument(s) and/or his voice to the recording software in his computer. Even the best computers these days don’t have the ability to connect directly to your guitar, your drumset, your keyboard, or your mics. (Yes, there may be exceptions.)

So you need a gadget in the middle that will do the translation for you. That’s where an audio interface, like the Focusrite Scarlett Solo or Scarlett 2i2, comes in.

If you’re in a hurry right now and just want to check the pricing and availability of the Scarlett Solo, Scarlett 2i2, or Scarlett 4i4 at Amazon (all on the same page), you can click the link just below.

Which Focusrite Scarlett Audio Interface Is Best for Me?

If you’re like the vast majority of amatuer recording musicians who spend most of their time in a bedroom (or similar) “recording studio”, you likely only record one or two sound inputs – say, your voice and your guitar – at once. If that’s the case, then you either want the Focusrite Scarlett Solo (one input, as the name suggests) or the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2.

If you need more than 2 inputs at one time, go for the 4i4. Note that Scarlett does sell units with even more inputs, but those are generally intended for the professionals. (Also, you won’t find them directly using the link above.)

What Ins, Outs, Buttons, and Knobs Does the Scarlett Have?

I could (and will) show you all the gizmos available on the Scarlett Solo and 2i2 gadgets along with their specs, but, honestly, just reading a list of them isn’t really what you need. You want to see and hear what a Scarlett audio interface can do. For that, see the comprehensive video just below.

Scarlett Audio Interface Boxes

Immediately below is the front of the Scarlett Solo. I won’t insult your intelligence by repeating what you can see there.

Focusrite Scarlett Solo
Scarlett Solo Inputs

Next is the Scarlett 2i2 front.

Scarlett 2i2 audio interface
Scarlett 2i2 Inputs

Finally, here is the back of each unit. Other than the overall size of the box, both look the same, so I’m only showing one. If you must know, it’s the back of the 2i2.

Scarlett 2i2 outputs
Scarlett Solo and 2i2 Outputs (2i2 shown)

Scarlett Solo and 2i2 Specs

Here, direct from the Focusrite site, are all the numbers. They’re the same for both the Solo and the 2i2 interfaces.

Sample Rates

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

Mic Inputs

  • Frequency Response: 20Hz – 20kHz ± 0.1dB
  • Dynamic Range: 111dB (A-weighted)
  • THD+N: <0.0012% 
  • Noise EIN: -128dBu (A-weighted)
  • Maximum Input Level: 9dBu (at minimum gain)
  • Gain Range: 56dB
  • Impedance: 3kΩ

Line Inputs

  • Frequency Response: 20Hz – 20kHz ± 0.1dB
  • Dynamic Range: 110.5dB (A-weighted)
  • THD+N: <0.002%
  • Maximum Input Level: 22dBu (at minimum gain)
  • Gain Range: 56dB
  • Impedance: 60kΩ

Instrument Inputs

  • Frequency Response: 20Hz – 20kHz ± 0.1dB
  • Dynamic Range: 110dB (A-weighted)
  • THD+N: <0.03%
  • Maximum Input Level: 12.5dBu (at minimum gain)
  • Gain Range: 56dB
  • Impedance: 1.5MΩ

Line / Monitor Outputs

  • Dynamic Range (Line Outputs): 108dB
  • THD+N: <0.002%
  • Maximum Output Level (0 dBFS): 15.5dBu 
  • Impedance: 430Ω

Headphone Outputs

  • Dynamic Range: 104dB (A-weighted)
  • THD+N: <0.002%
  • Maximum Output Level: 7dBu
  • Impedance: <1Ω

Verdict: Scarlett Is a Best Seller for a Reason

As of this writing, these Scarlett interfaces rate a whopping 4.8 stars (out of 5) at that ubiquitous website that sells almost everything. OVer 19,000 of over 22,000 users give it the best rating possible. Less than 700 rate it below average. Their reasons seem to stem from getting lemons to having incompatible hardware setups. But obviously the vast majority of owners don’t have these troubles.

While I haven’t personally had the need to use a Scarlett interface, based on what others have said and for the reasonable price you pay for all that you get – some nifty software included – I see no reason not to try the Scarlett audio interface that suits your situation the best.

Scarlett Interfaces

Check the pricing and availability of the Scarlett Solo and Scarlett 2i2 at Amazon.

If you need more accessories for your instruments, check these out.

Gary Sonnenberg
Latest posts by Gary Sonnenberg (see all)
Focusrite Scarlett 3rd Gen Audio Interface - Best Value
Article Name
Focusrite Scarlett 3rd Gen Audio Interface - Best Value
Review of the Focusrite Scarlett audio interfaces - the Solo, 2i2, and 4i4.
Publisher Name
My Musical Picks
Publisher Logo