Top 10 Best Recording Audio Interfaces

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audio interface, best audio interface, usb audio interface

A few decade in the past, retailers like The New York Occasions wrote pieces like these, highlighting the rise of house recording made potential by growing entry to reasonably priced gear. The primary RPM Challenge was held in 2006, closely depending on the combination of 4 monitor tape recorders and low cost pc enter units obtainable then.

Not too lengthy after that, we received items like this one from The Christian Science Monitor pondering whether or not this development would mark the top of professional studios. I consider my audio interface on the time was the venerable Griffin iMic, in order that they didn’t have a lot to fret about from me.

The reality is, house studios have been round for much longer than that, with the discharge of the TEAC 3340 in 1972 offering one of many early signposts. Hobbyist recording setups have been common sufficient within the late 70s and 80s — a time when the (costly) skilled studio decidedly reigned supreme. There'll all the time be a use for each so long as recorded music is loved.

Costs proceed to drop and the standard continues to enhance. As with guitar effects pedals, we stay in a golden age of selection in relation to translating the sound of your instrument to your pc. There are a selection of nice choices on the market to fit your wants, and virtually all of them are able to capturing professional-level element and high quality.

Most have a comparatively restricted variety of inputs — you don’t want an entire mixing desk for residence recording — however that gained’t hold you from creating your masterpiece. When you’re recording an acoustic drum kit, you’ll need greater than the usual two inputs, however in any other case, the quantity gained’t matter a lot for solo artists recording on their very own.

In the event you’re trying to seize your work of musical genius, right here’s our record of the highest ten greatest audio interfaces for residence recording.


Guitar and Bass Interfaces

In the event you’re solely going to be recording one instrument at a time utilizing a 1/four inch jack, it can save you some cash and simplify through the use of one among these small interfaces with a single enter. Sometimes, these will let you hook up with iOS and Android units along with the pc, although some specialize. These have a tendency to not have MIDI nor XLR inputs, although, so something you report should make the most of a guitar cable.


1. Line 6 Sonic Port Channel Audio Interface

audio interface, best audio interface, usb audio interface

(Line 6)

Relying upon Line 6’s heritage as a guitar modeling answer, the Sonic Port boils down all you want into this easy gadget made for recording one guitar at a time. Extra particularly, that is meant to work with iOS units, so in the event you’re a fan of utilizing GarageBand on iPad or iPhone, that is the selection for you, although it's going to additionally work with different apps.

There are not any controls on this — simply plug and go. If you wish to use the Cellular POD software program as an results and amp modeler, there’s a 1/four inch out you'll be able to run to your amp. This provides you most tonal flexibility in each stay and recording conditions. It comes with each Lightning and 30-pin cables, so that you don’t even need to have a sure era of system to utilize it. Except for the 1/four inch and in outs, there’s additionally a 1/eight inch headphone jack and a 1/eight inch stereo in.

Why you'd select this one: You’re already invested within the iOS ecosystem and simply want one thing easy to make use of with these units.

Want extra choices? Browse more Line 6 products here.

Worth: $87.94 (12 % off MSRP)

Buy the Line 6 Sonic Port Channel Audio Interface here.



Stats:

  • Bit Depth & Sampling Price: 24-bit/48kHz
  • Variety of inputs: 2
  • Max variety of simultaneous tracks: 1
  • MIDI?: No
  • Software program compatibility: Line 6 and Apple Core Audio apps

Execs:

  • Small measurement makes it moveable
  • 1/four inch guitar enter and 1/eight inch stereo enter
  • Guitar output to be used with an amp
  • Consists of vital cables

Cons:

  • Meant for use with iOS units solely
  • Weight of plugged in cords will trigger unit to tip over
  • Just one enter can be utilized at a time
  • Plastic chassis will not be street worthy

Find more Line 6 Sonic Port Channel Audio Interface information and reviews here.


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2. Apogee JAM Studio High quality Guitar Enter

audio interface, best audio interface, usb audio interface

(Apogee)

Alongside the identical strains because the Line 6, this Apogee gadget combines that simplicity with the corporate’s pedigree of manufacturing high-end interfaces. Just like the Line 6, that is meant for getting guitar and bass sign into iOS and Mac units, and extra particularly into Apple’s Core Audio software program together with GarageBand and Logic.

This differs from the Line 6 with the addition of a achieve wheel which gives up 40 dB of enter achieve. The standing indicator mild on the entrance panel is inexperienced when it’s prepared or lively, however will flash pink when your sign is clipping. In commerce for these options, there's however one enter and no direct headphone monitoring.

Inside the easy, Apple-focused choices from Apogee, you'll be able to improve twice earlier than shifting onto multi-tracking models. The primary is the Apogee JAM 96k, which is $30 extra and encompasses a Class A enter stage for tube-like heat, in addition to a 96kHz sampling price. For extra performance, you might bounce all the best way as much as the Apogee ONE, which is an audio interface, microphone, headphone amp, and DAC multi functional.

Why you'd select this one: You need an Apogee system for engaged on guitar-based demos.

Want extra choices? Browse more Apogee products here.

Worth: $99

Buy the Apogee JAM Studio Quality Guitar Input here.



Stats:

  • Bit Depth & Sampling Fee: 24-bit/48kHz
  • Variety of inputs: 1
  • Max variety of simultaneous tracks: 1
  • MIDI?: No
  • Software program compatibility: Apple Core Audio apps

Execs:

  • Moveable
  • 40 dB of enter achieve
  • LED signifies prepared standing (inexperienced) and clipping (pink)
  • Noiseless operation

Cons:

  • Meant for use with iOS units solely
  • Occasional monitoring latency
  • Some complaints about sound high quality
  • Might probably include the improper twine

Find more Apogee JAM Studio Quality Guitar Input information and reviews here.


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three. Shure MVi Digital Audio Interface

audio interface, best audio interface, usb audio interface

(Shure)

In the event you want an answer that isn’t so fixated on guitars, this can be a good choice to think about. The only enter on the again of the system accepts each 1/four inch jacks in addition to XLR so you should use a mic. The Mode button on the entrance panel choose between 5 totally different DSP modes which alter the EQ, compression, and limiting to go well with every of the next makes use of: Speech, Singing, Acoustic Instrument, Loud, and Flat.

Different controls embrace a microphone mute, achieve, and headphone quantity. It’s additionally nonetheless very small — lower than six inches extensive — which suggests it’ll simply journey with you. It’s very strong feeling, with a metallic housing meant for taking abuse. Included within the package deal are two cables, one to be used with computer systems and Android units and a Lightning cable for iOS units.

Why you'd select this one: You’re a podcaster along with being a musician and may make use of the presets.

Want extra choices? Browse more Shure products here.

Worth: $129

Buy the Shure MVi Digital Audio Interface here.



Stats:

  • Bit Depth & Sampling Fee: 24-bit/48kHz
  • Variety of inputs: 1
  • Max variety of simultaneous tracks: 1
  • MIDI?: No
  • Software program compatibility: PC, Mac, iOS and Android apps

Execs:

  • XLR and 1/four inch inputs
  • Buffered, Class A preamp
  • 5 DSP presets for recording sort
  • Supplies phantom energy (12v on cellular, 48v on pc)

Cons:

  • Some noise at greater achieve ranges
  • Occasional monitoring latency

Find more Shure MVi Digital Audio Interface information and reviews here.


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four. IK Multimedia iRig HD 2

audio interface, best audio interface, usb audio interface

(IK Multimedia)

The iRig was the primary of those single-input interface units I can keep in mind listening to about. I nonetheless have the original iRig which was meant to get an analog recorded sign into cellular units. It was paired with the corporate’s AmpliTube software program, which is a Line 6-esque pedal-and-amp surroundings.

The HD 2 transmits knowledge digitally, in fact, utilizing high quality A/D converters for 24-bit/96kHz operation. Just like the others on this record, it has an 1/four enter and output so it may be used with an amp, in addition to a 1/eight inch headphone jack. The achieve knob can increase the sign by 28dB, which is used along side the multicolor LED that signifies each operational standing and enter degree. The colours sign the next:

  • Darkish blue: standby mode
  • Shiny blue: lively and related
  • Inexperienced: lively with low sign
  • Orange: lively with good sign degree
  • Pink: clipping

Along with this, there’s an FX/THRU change that optionally lets you ship the effected or clear sign to an amp or mixer in reside conditions. There’s a useful strap and velcro loop for attaching it to mic stands or amp handles. The preamp is designed to be tremendous clear and clear. AmpliTube, which is a free obtain, is improved, too, and the package deal comes with AmpliTube four in your pc.

The HD 2 isn’t the one iRig product on the market, both. There’s additionally the iRig Pro that handles XLR and MIDI inputs, the iRig Pro Duo 2 which does two of these directly, the iRig Pre mic preamp, the iRig Acoustic guitar mic, and even the iRig Stomp pedal for switching between the AmpliTube-effected sign or clear in your board.

Why you'd select this one: Strong worth contemplating the performance and the included app, whereas the preamp is good and clear.

Want extra choices? Browse more IK Multimedia products here.

Worth: $99.99

Buy the IK Multimedia iRig HD 2 here.



Stats:

  • Bit Depth & Sampling Fee: 24-bit/96kHz
  • Variety of inputs: 1
  • Max variety of simultaneous tracks: 1
  • MIDI?: No
  • Software program compatibility: PC, Mac, iOS and Android apps

Execs:

  • 1/four inch out and in to be used with an amplifier
  • Comes with AmpliTube four for in depth amp and pedal modeling and unlocks full model of the AmpliTube iOS app
  • FX/THRU change allows you to select sending a processed or direct sign to amps and mixers
  • Multi-function, multicolor LED standing mild

Cons:

  • Might require a firmware improve
  • Development just isn't as rugged because it might be
  • Some complaints concerning the companion software program

Find more IK Multimedia iRig HD 2 information and reviews here.


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5. Focusrite iTrack Pocket Moveable Stereo Microphone and Guitar Enter

audio interface, best audio interface, usb audio interface

(Focusrite)

Musicians are sometimes tasked with their very own promotion, and nowadays, meaning YouTube as a car for displaying off your prodigious expertise. When you’ve received an iOS gadget (one thing in a phone-shaped type issue will work greatest), this little cradle/audio interface mixture could also be simply the factor for you. When you may shell out extra money on one thing to supply your album, for fast and respectable recordings for, say, Patreon, this answer simplifies your life significantly.

Together with your late-model iPhone (learn: Lightning-equipped), you possibly can select between the built-in stereo mics or a direct 1/four inch enter for capturing sound whereas the digital camera in your telephone grabs the video. The free Focusrite Influence app will allow you to edit your fast masterpiece and push it to YouTube. If you need audio-only, it’ll work with any app that works in your iPhone, together with GarageBand. Hey, Springsteen used a unclean previous four-track to document Nebraska, so this is perhaps ok on your album functions, too, should you’re into that kind of factor.

Why you'd select this one: You steadily report video in addition to audio and wish a cellular manufacturing studio.

Want extra choices? Browse more Focusrite products here.

Worth: $69.99

Buy the Focusrite iTrack Pocket Portable Stereo Microphone and Guitar Input here.



Stats:

  • Bit Depth & Sampling Fee: 16-bit/48kHz
  • Variety of inputs: 2 (one built-in mic, one 1/four inch)
  • Max variety of simultaneous tracks: 1
  • MIDI?: No
  • Software program compatibility: Focusrite Influence and iOS apps

Execs:

  • Good answer for YouTubers
  • Free Influence app for modifying and publishing
  • Nice for sketches or capturing performances
  • LED for enter clipping

Cons:

  • Just for iOS
  • Requires Lightning enter (iPhone 5 and later)
  • Meant for streaming-quality publishing; in all probability gained’t reduce it in your album monitoring
  • Caught with the built-in mics

Find more Focusrite iTrack Pocket Portable Stereo Microphone and Guitar Input information and reviews here.


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Multi-Monitor Interfaces

In fact, there’s much more to life than simply guitar and bass. Even I, an entire guitar hack, assume so. When you’ve obtained greater than only a 1/four cable to deal with, to incorporate microphones and MIDI, you’ll need to take a look at one thing extra superior on your audio seize functions. Generally, you’ll additionally need the power to document multiple monitor at a time. These audio interfaces offer you extra energy, flexibility, and general robustness for dealing with nearly any state of affairs.


6. Apogee Duet 2 Audio Interface for iPad & Mac

audio interface, best audio interface, usb audio interface

(Apogee)

In the event you’ve obtained an Apple ecosystem, this modern however highly effective choice might slot in properly with it. This small system incorporates with in it two high-end mic preamps, which let you document something when paired with a top quality microphone. You can too use two 1/four inch inputs for guitars and digital drums. There are 4 analog outputs, two of that are balanced 1/four inch to be used with screens.

The entrance of the unit has only one knob which is assignable to many various parameters, in addition to an OLED display for monitoring ranges. In fact, there's 48v phantom energy on your condenser mics. One of many keys to that is Apogee’s “Gentle Restrict” algorithm, which prevents harsh digital clipping by offering a pure, analog-style limiter that permits for larger enter quantity.

When you want extra inputs, there’s additionally the Apogee Quartet, which is getting fairly costly, certainly.

Why you'd select this one: You’re already an Apple and Apogee fan and need high-end elements in a glossy package deal.

Want extra choices?

Worth: $649

Buy the Apogee Duet 2 Audio Interface for iPad & Mac here.



Stats:

  • Bit Depth & Sampling Price: 24-bit/192kHz
  • Variety of inputs: 2
  • Max variety of simultaneous tracks: 2
  • MIDI?: Sure, USB
  • Software program compatibility: Apogee Maestro and Apple Core Audio apps

Execs:

  • Excessive-end A/D/A conversion
  • Two XLR and two 1/four inch inputs
  • OLED metering display
  • Easy, multi-function controller knob

Cons:

  • Costly
  • Just for Apple units
  • MIDI is by way of USB solely
  • Some high quality management points (Apogee Guarantee service plan out there)

Find more pogee Duet 2 Audio Interface for iPad & Mac information and reviews here.


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7. Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 2nd Gen USB Audio Interface

audio interface, best audio interface, usb audio interface

(Focusrite)

The present best-selling audio interface is that this Scarlett line from Focusrite. They’ve created a compact but fully-featured pro-level recording unit priced completely for the house consumer. Now in its second era, they’ve improved the preamps and A/D/A conversion for much more pristine audio seize.

It’s so simple as it appears. Two inputs accepting 1/four inch or XLR jacks, every with their very own achieve knob with max 50dB of achieve. The knobs are backlit with lights that glow inexperienced with good enter degree and switch purple when clipping. Every enter has a change or Line or Instrument degree, which modifications the impedance relying in your wants.

The 2i2 doesn’t embrace MIDI, however for $50 extra, the 2i4 does. The 2i6 is $246.84 on the time of this writing and provides two line inputs within the again. If you have to report drums, you’ll need to take a look at the 18i8, which is $349.99 and has 4 mic preamps and eight complete inputs. The 18i20 is the entire shebang in a rack-mounted unit, and might be excess of most of us want. I like to recommend paying the additional $100 for the bundle that features headphones and a mic so that you’re able to go from the outset.

Why you'd select this one: You need one thing easy however top quality for a superb worth.

Want extra choices? Browse more Focusrite products here.

Worth: $149.99

Buy the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 2nd Gen USB Audio Interface here.



Stats:

  • Bit Depth & Sampling Fee: 24-bit/192kHz
  • Variety of inputs: 2
  • Max variety of simultaneous tracks: 2
  • MIDI?: No
  • Software program compatibility: All DAWs

Execs:

  • Extremely-low latency
  • Inputs deal with XLR or 1/four ins, with Line/Instrument impedance switches
  • Second era options improved preamps and converters
  • Consists of Professional Instruments | First and Ableton Stay Mild

Cons:

  • Seems to spike CPU utilization on some computer systems
  • Some models have static and crackling points
  • Driver points affecting some customers
  • Direct monitoring headphone jack is 1/eight inch

Find more Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 2nd Gen USB Audio Interface information and reviews here.


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eight. Native Devices Komplete Audio 6

audio interface, best audio interface, usb audio interface

(Native Devices)

In case you have a variety of totally different enter varieties in your house studio, you’ll need one thing that may deal with all of them. This comparatively cheap unit provides six totally different inputs, 4 of that are analog, one digital, and one MIDI. You continue to gained’t be capable of report a drum package with it, however you’ll be capable of use a mixture of mics, synths, guitars, and different sources all on the similar time.

Just like the Apogee, you get a big knob and a glossy interface on the highest of the unit for getting an at-a-glance take a look at your settings. Just like the Focusrite, you possibly can change the entrance inputs between Line and Instrument. What it presents past each of these is MIDI and S/PDIF out and in along with 4 analog line outs. With the inclusion of Traktor, this may be aimed extra on the DJ crowd, however will definitely meet the wants of nearly any house recording state of affairs. For $70 extra, you can too decide up a bundle pack that features a microphone, headphones, a mic stand and pop display, and an XLR cable.

Why you'd select this one: Your enter sources range and also you need to ensure you’re coated with out spending a fortune.

Want extra choices? Browse more Native Instruments products here.

Worth: $229

Buy the Native Instruments Komplete Audio 6 here.



Stats:

  • Bit Depth & Sampling Fee: 24-bit/96kHz
  • Variety of inputs: 6 (two XLR/TRS, two balanced line, MIDI, digital S/PDIF)
  • Max variety of simultaneous tracks: 6
  • MIDI?: Sure
  • Software program compatibility: All DAWs

Execs:

  • Six inputs overlaying every kind
  • Rugged development
  • Giant main quantity knob
  • Comes with Traktor LE 2, Cubase LE 6, and Komplete Parts

Cons:

  • Some clients expertise hassle activating the product and software program
  • Customer support missing
  • Attainable conflicts with Home windows 10 in some conditions
  • Output degree could also be low

Find more Native Instruments Komplete Audio 6 information and reviews here.


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9. PreSonus AudioBox iTwo 2×2 USB/iPad Recording System

audio interface, best audio interface, usb audio interface

(PreSonus)

At residence with nearly any system you may use to document, the power of this PreSonus providing it the power to attach it both to a pc or on to an iPad. For those who’re a GarageBand consumer, this may be an particularly good choice for you. Even when you aren’t, the Seize Duo app will will let you shortly report sketches you could then push over WiFi to your pc for additional improvement.

Aside from that, it’s a straight ahead audio interface. There are two mixture mic/line/instrument inputs that use high quality Class A preamps, in addition to MIDI I/O. You solely have two analog outs on this unit, however that gained’t maintain most individuals again. On prime of all that, the worth is true. In the event you needed to spend just a little extra, the bundle at slightly below $225 features a mic and headphones. Should you don’t need the iPad connectivity, you would additionally take a look at the standard AudioBox USB, which is underneath $100.

Why you'd select this one: You need to use your iPad to work sometimes with out sacrificing computer-based efficiency.

Want extra choices? Browse more PreSonus products here.

Worth: $130.60

Buy the PreSonus AudioBox iTwo 2×2 USB/iPad Recording System here.



Stats:

  • Bit Depth & Sampling Fee: 24-bit/96kHz
  • Variety of inputs: three (two mic/line/intrument, one MIDI)
  • Max variety of simultaneous tracks: three
  • MIDI?: Sure
  • Software program compatibility: All DAWs

Execs:

  • Two Class A mic preamps
  • Combine knob controls direct monitoring to effected monitoring
  • Capability to hook up with pc or iPad
  • One contact recording and wi-fi switch by way of Seize Duo app

Cons:

  • When utilizing iPad, the 2 channels are summed right into a single twin mono monitor
  • Included software program middling
  • Home windows 10 customers have hassle downloading companion software program
  • Potential latency points with MIDI

Find more PreSonus AudioBox iTwo 2×2 USB/iPad Recording System information and reviews here.


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10. Roland OctaCapture USB 2.zero Audio Interface

audio interface, best audio interface, usb audio interface

(Roland)

What when you do have to report an entire drum set? You’re going to need to pay a bit of extra for one thing with the suitable variety of inputs. This Roland answer has them in spades. Not solely do you get eight mic/line/instrument inputs with extraordinarily top quality preamps, there’s additionally S/PDIF and MIDI inputs to spherical out your choices.

The entrance panel options an LED for monitoring the degrees of all ten channels. You'll be able to select from 4 totally different monitor mixes, which might be routed to any of the analog outputs. Different on-board options are unbiased phantom energy, low-cut filter, part inversion, and digital compression. To prime it off, the OctaCapture can set the suitable enter ranges routinely, utilizing AUTO-SENS. It consists of rackmount ears in case you need to mount it.

In the event you don’t have fairly the cash to spare, you would additionally think about the opposite choices on this line, every with their applicable variet

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