Focusrite are the makers of some of the world’s most revered preamps and channel strips. Their Red series and ISA rack models can be found in top studios the world over. It goes without saying that they know a thing or two about great front end audio equipment. This puts them ahead of the pack when it comes to building audio interfaces, as they already have a stable front end to build off. And of course, the reputation of the Red series is what Focusrite has banked on with their Scarlett range of budget audio interfaces. Targeted at home studio to intermediate users, the Scarlett series offers a wide range of recording solutions. The most versatile for a musician looking to start recording would probably be the Scarlett Solo Studio bundle.
Focusrite has taken its most compact interface and bundled it with a selection of tools to get you started right out of the box. Along with the included hardware, there is a wide range of included software to enable you to record, mix and produce the music you want. In fact, the software suite is one of the more impressive out there as far as bundles go. You get ProTools First Focusrite Creative Pack, as well as Ableton Live Lite in case you are not sure of the DAW that is right for you. Along with that you also get Addictive Keys for great piano sounds, and plugins from Softube and Avid Rack effects with your ProTools First edition. There is a lot of value in all that software by itself, but of course, it is backed by a great range of hardware to get your sound into the box to begin with.
The Scarlett Solo interface offers two inputs: one XLW microphone input and another 6.5mm jack instrument input. This allows you to sing and play guitar separately or at the same time. It also allows you to run a guitar direct in whilst using the microphone for the acoustic sound of the guitar or amp. Of course, that means a microphone is needed, and that is included in the bundle, too. A Focusrite CM25 MKII condenser microphone, clip and cable are packaged along with a pair of Focusrite over-ear headphones for monitoring and overdubbing use. These sound really good, too. I spent the best part of an evening listening to music from the computer through these, with my monitors turned off, totally forgetting that I had headphones on. In all, the bundle brings together everything you need except perhaps a microphone stand and a little talent. Add those to the mix and you’re ready to record.
Hits and Misses
Great price for bundled software and hardware
Everything you need to get started
Compact yet quality interface for simple setups
You still need to BYO talent