Focusrite Scarlett - Clean, warm and complimentary.
I record a lot of acoustic instruments, and needed a new portable interface I could use away from my small home studio. I have wanted to experiment with recording in other acoustic spaces, and so began my search for a small buss powered interface, One that I could just connect to my mac and record.
I spent a lot of time on-line researching, and was for a time very tempted to go with another interface that boasted burr brown converters and class A preamps. Many reviewers of that product talked about the the red boxes having a thin and harsh sound. So much for reviews, this Focusrite Solo is clean, full, warm and natural.
A visit to the Focusrite site and the great examples they give under "Products>Mic Pre Masters" menu helped me center my thinking and realize, the reviews of the Scarlett were skewed. Now after one week of ownership, and as a result of my experience with the Scarlett Solo during that week, I realize its time to retire my MOTU Traveler. In fact, I am now using the Solo for mixing in my studio until, I have the funds to get another, and larger RED box. In the meantime I will just put up with the limited number of ins and outs for the sake of quality of sound.
My final reason for choosing Focusrite comes down to personal experience with other Focusrite products. I have owned a Focusrite ISA one for about five years and this has and continues to be my go-to preamp for anything acoustic, including vocals. Also, my first ever USB interface was the original MBox which featured Focusrite preamps that also sounded great, certainly better than the grainier sound of my then Digi 02 preamps.
Maybe I sound like a Focusrite snob, but no, if I want ultra transparency then I turn to Grace, and while the Solo preamp does not have the same level of depth as the Grace 101, it adds no hyped color to the sound, rather, it reflects what it hears, with clarity and without harshness, .
One final thought, the Focusrite Red 2 EQ, and Red 3 Compressor plugins included with the interface, make the cost of the Scarlett Solo worth every penny. Focusrite's on-going customer support and their plugin collective program, clearly shows they want to help customers grow.
In summary, I like the Focusrite customer facing attitude, and the no fuss quality of their products. As long as they maintain these long lasting and very high standards, I will be a customer.