The short version: this is possibly the nicest mic I’ve worked with (sorry, AT2035). Now for the slightly longer review.
This beauty captures clear and crisp sounds that will make your voice or instrument sound as pretty as a, well, bluebird.
It’s got a 100Hz high-pass filter and a -20dB pad for even more control over your audio recordings. The pickup pattern is cardioid, a pretty standard front-of-the-mic recording pattern. Perfect for vocals.
I used it on most of the vocals for my upcoming album. I recorded acoustic guitar with it. I even recorded piano with it.
It’s a versatile son-of-a-beast.
This thing will set you back over $300, but I would say if you have the buck, you’ll get some nice bang. To be clear, I don’t own this mic (are you kidding? I don’t have that kind of money) — I borrowed it from a friend for a while (thanks, Dom).
So if you want an outstanding mic and have a freer budget, I highly recommend the Bluebird.
The keys are smaller than regular keys, but still a good size for my fingers (which some have called “fat”). And you get two octaves at once with the option of shifting the octaves up and down the piano.
There is a sustain button that works like a sustain pedal, but it has taken practice working it with my pinky so I can play chords and the bass note(s).
This controller plugs into my computer via USB, and one thing I noticed is that the playback method you use affects the latency. So if I plug headphones right into my laptop, there’s a good amount of latency, which makes it nearly impossible to use the controller. But when I plug my headphones into my audio interface and use that for playback, there’s zero latency.
I’ve been recording all of the piano for my new album on this little thing. So far, it’s going awesomely.
So for that reason, I’m going to review this bundle. I’ve never used it, so I’ll be aggregating user reviews combined with the equipment you get, the features included, and the price for it all.
So let’s get to it…
What You Get
To keep things easy to read, here’s a nice little list of the things included in this bundle:
Scarlett Solo USB audio interface (built-in pre-amp) with both a XLR and quarter-inch input
Scarlett CM25 large diaphragm condenser mic
10-foot XLR mic cable
HP60 closed-back studio headphones
Mic stand clip
Pro Tools | First
Focusrite Creative Pack
Ableton Live Lite
Softube Time and Tone Bundle
Focusrite’s Red Plug-in Suite
2GB of Loopmasters samples
Monthly Focusrite Plug-In Collective offers
One free XLN Addictive Keys virtual instrument plugin
Clearly, a lot of really cool things are in this bundle. But how does it all perform?
What Users Say
Now I’m going to look at what actual users are saying about this bundle. In order to avoid the extremes and focus on the more balanced reviews, we’ll look at mostly the 3- and 4-star reviews.
But I should note, 60% of the reviewers on Amazon gave it a 5-star review.
4-Star Review: The Scarlett Solo is “just simple and easy and all the knobs and plugs are in the right place. I like the halo light that indicates overload…but I can’t say Pro Tools is the most elegant editing program.”
4-Star Review: “Excellent unit. It works as intended with no pain… [but] the Direct Monitoring output is weak in terms of volume output, even when turned to max. The actual output to the PC is fine. Direct monitoring works, but the signal coming from the USB will drown it out rather easily.”
3-Star Review: “From a hardware standpoint, this audio interface is really, really nice. It provides a lot of clean gain, and its features are very enjoyable. But for me. I had a lot of issues with the drivers…”
3-Star Review: “The simple fact is that it works perfectly…for about 15 minutes at a time, after which the levels drop off dramatically. I’m not doing anything very complicated — just recording an acoustic guitar to Audacity using the Instrument input…”
2-Star Review: “Well, it’s great when it works…but y’know it’s bullsh*t when you’re making music and you get that sudden surprise [of a glitch] mid-recording.”
5-Star Review: “Overall, an excellent entry level choice for any Mac or Linux user wanting to connect a musical instrument, or for use as a general purpose high-quality audio interface.”
What You Pay
On Amazon, you can grab this bundle for about $200. Which seems like a great deal, considering you get a mic, interface, headphones, and an XLR cable for that. But this is assuming you’re happy with the quality.
So overall, this bundle seems like a great option for beginners, but maybe not for intermediate-to-experienced pros.
Although if you have a little more room in your budget, you could get a Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 audio interface for about $150 (can you tell I like it?) and a decent $100 mic, like the AT2035 or a Shure SM58. And then, of course, you’d need to get headphones and an XLR cable.
But that’s the beauty of the bundle. You can get all that for one lower price.