Which are the best audio interfaces? The answer depends on what YOU want to record. Read on to discover what audio interface you need for your home recording studio. To make it easy, we have selected the one we think is best for each recording situation. For more detailed information, you might want to refer to our in-depth guide on choosing an audio interface. But read on for our quick time-saving round-up! First, though, a video of the key things you need to consider to choose the best audio interface for your recording needs.
Table of contents
- Best Audio Interfaces – Video Tutorial
- The Best All-Round USB Audio Interface
- The Most Popular USB Audio Interface in 2021
- The Best Audio Interface For Guitarists And Vocalists
- A Recording Interface For Keyboard and Piano Players
- The Best Audio Interfaces for Mobile Devices
- Best-Selling Audio Interfaces for Mobile Devices
- Getting Connected
- THE Best Selling And Most Popular Audio Interfaces in 2021
- Further Information about Home Studio Recording
Best Audio Interfaces – Video Tutorial
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The Best All-Round USB Audio Interface
In our view, the Presonus Audiobox iTwo is a great all-round USB audio interface for several reasons:
- Multi-platform: PC, Mac and iPad. Buy once, use with your iPad, laptop and desktop. So designed from the ground up to be versatile and mobile..
- Audio AND MIDI on one interface. Very few interfaces tick both boxes at this pricepoint.
- Recording software included to get started immediately. Also works with any other recording software or DAW you want to use
- Record vocals, guitar, keyboard, any acoustic instrument (via mic), any line level signal
- Two high quality mic/line inputs. Record 2 mics or any combination of 2 inputs at the same time.
- Available in two packages. If you already have mic and headphones then you can purchase the iTwo audio interface as a separate, or buy the complete iTwo studio package complete with everything you need to set up your first professional home recording studio.
The Most Popular USB Audio Interface in 2021
The Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 USB Audio Interface – now in its third generation – has been a consistent best-seller since its launch. And here is why. Firstly, very high quality microphone pre-amps. Focusrite was founded in 1985 and has been designing and manufacturing high-end audio equipment ever since. Quick to spot the trend for integrating mic pre-amps into recording interfaces, they have set the standard that others follow in home recording equipment.
The Focusrite 2i2 is not just a great looking interface. It has two mic inputs (with the before-mentioned pre-amps) that can be switched to instrument level input. You can effortlessly record two mono tracks at once (say vocals and guitar) or you can record a stereo track (for example the sound of your digital piano or keyboard). This would be our pick for a vocalist.
If you are in the process of buying your first home recording studio equipment, then we particularly recommend the Scarlett 2i2 Studio Bundle. With mic, headphones and XLR cable, plus Pro Tools software, it really has everything you need to get started, and is easy to set up. Literally thousands of these have been sold with good reason. A solid choice if you want to record on Mac or Windows. (NB can also be used with iPad or iPhone if you purchase the Apple Lightning to USB 3 Camera Adapter . This cable will allow you to power the interface and so you won’t get that annoying ‘Device requires too much power’ error message)
The Best Audio Interface For Guitarists And Vocalists
If you want to record guitar on PC or Mac, then we recommend the Focusrite Scarlett Solo. Designed from the ground up to record guitar and vocals, with specialist inputs for microphone and instrument. This interface works perfectly out of the box on PC or Mac. You can also record on iPad if you buy the Apple MK0W2AM/A Lightning To USB Camera Adapter.
Record direct onto your iPad, into Garageband or other apps, as well as on your Mac or PC. It is just one bit of guitar recording kit designed to be totally mobile, portable and multi-platform.
Also consider the Scarlett Solo Studio Bundle which comes with complete with a professional mic, headphones and cables. Plus great suite of software. An instant studio in a box with everything you need to start recording your guitar. And absolutely created for the guitar-vocalist.
The Scarlett Solo is also perfect for podcasters and YouTubers – especially the studio pack with the mic and headphones. This will seriously professionalise your video voiceovers and podcasts.
A Recording Interface For Keyboard and Piano Players
Why the Alesis MultiMix audio interface for keyboard players? We think it is ideal for all these reasons:
- Dedicated line inputs so you can take a line output from your keyboard and record the sound of it with high quality
- Has 4 channels – so you can record your keyboard and microphone(s) at the same time
- Class compliant – for PC and Mac
- You could also consider the the Presonus Audiobox iTwo if you want to combine audio recording with MIDI too.
The Best Audio Interfaces for Mobile Devices
There is no shortage of choice of interface when it comes to recording on your iPad. There are audio interfaces for iPad at every price point. We have already pointed out the Presonus Audiobox iTwo, which is directly compatible with the iPad.
But also consider the high quality and versatile Shure MVi digital audio interface – works with a lightning iPad out of the box with dedicated cable. Also works on Mac and PC with the included USB cable.
The great thing about all those is they are multi-platform, so you can use them with your iPad, your Mac and any Windows machine.
But here are another two options, each slightly different.
The Yamaha AG03 can turn your iPad into a professional looking recording studio. Although you will also need to purchase the Apple Lightning to USB Adapter, once you have that this Yamaha USB Mixer will work very well on iPad. Yamaha recommends the Cubase App available from the Apple App Store.
On a very tight budget, the Tascam iXZ iPad recording interface is really worth considering. Perfect if you just want to connect a condenser mic or record your guitar. High quality and very inexpensive. Plus small enough to travel easily with your iPad.
Note … the above are all recommended because they have been designed specifically for iPad and iPhone. BUT here’s the thing … you can use many USB audio interfaces directly with iPad or iPhone if you purchase the Apple Lightning to USB 3 Camera Adapter.
Best-Selling Audio Interfaces for Mobile Devices
- 2-channel audio interface for iPhone, iPad, Android and Mac/PC
- 2 line-level RCA inputs to connect mixers, keyboards and more
- Combo mic/headphone jack - monitor in real time and talk over a mix
- A pocket-sized device that turns your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch into a recording studio
- Plug in a microphone, guitar or bass to interact with the latest guitar amp, sampling, recording and DJ apps
- Despite its small size, it is even capable of supplying phantom power for condenser microphones
- STREAMLINES YOUR RECORDING SESSIONS - The Zoom U-24 is a multi-channel and stereo USB audio interface compatible with Windows, Mac, iPhone, and iPad. *NOTE:...
- ACCEPTS VARIOUS TYPES OF MICROPHONES - The 2 mic/line combo inputs are equipped with high-performance mic preamps and supply +48V phantom power. You can connect...
- OFFERS VERSATILE CONNECTIONS - You can connect external microphones, keyboards, guitars, basses, MIDI synthesizers, and drum machines with U-24. The audio...
- The only portable mix controller that supports PC/Mac, iOS & Android apps
- Ready-2-Mix' hardware with audio interface and all necessary mixing controls
- Channel strip with club mixer design - full-size control knobs, 45mm Pro-Faders, 3-band EQ, gain trim pots, bipolar filters and VU meter
- Connect electric Guitar or bass to iOS devices, Mac and PC
- Powered by iOS device or Mac (no batteries or external power required)
- Apogee Pure digital circuit design eliminates signal noise
Last updated on 2021-06-30 / Affiliate links / Images via Amazon Product Advertising API
Once you have picked out the perfect audio interface for you, don’t forget to order all the audio cables you’re going to need. If you’re not sure about this, then you’ll find our post on audio cable types useful. And also consider whether you need new studio headphones to mix and monitor, and/or a good set of studio monitors.
THE Best Selling And Most Popular Audio Interfaces in 2021
This is a bang up to date list of the absolute best-selling audio interfaces right now. If in doubt, this gives you a useful guide to what is most popular in home recording. As you will see, the best brands (Focusrite, Presonus, Behringer etc) all feature often in the top 10. For a reason. Well priced, good features, and the tech support and backup of a good audio specialist company.
- Two of the best performing mic preamps the Scarlett range has ever seen, now with switchable air Mode to give your recordings a brighter and more open sound....
- High-performance converters enable you to record and mix at up to 24-bit/ 192kHz.
- Quick start tool to get up and running easier than ever.
- Podcast, Record, Live Stream - This Portable Audio Interface Covers it All – USB sound card for Mac or PC delivers 48 kHz audio resolution for pristine...
- Be Ready for Anything with this Versatile M Audio Interface - Record guitar, vocals or stereo line input signals with two combo XLR / Line / Instrument Inputs...
- Everything you Demand from an Audio Interface for Fuss-Free Monitoring – 1/4” headphone output and stereo 1/4” outputs for total monitoring flexibility;...
- Desktop 8x14 Thunderbolt 3 & USB 2.0 audio interface for Mac/Windows with 4 discrete preamps, 4 Hi-Z/line inputs and 36 real-time plugins included
- Craft album-ready recordings on your desktop - The studio-quality recording path is provided by 4 low-noise high-gain discrete ultra-linear preamps, high-spec...
- 36 real-time analog-modeled plugins included - The plugin library consists of emulations of most coveted and hard-to-find studio analog gear from around the...
- 2x2 USB audio interface for recording microphones and instruments
- Audiophile 48 kHz resolution for professional audio quality. Maximum sampling rate: 48 kHz
- Compatible with popular recording software, including Avid pro tools, Ableton live, Steinberg Cubase, etc.
- desktop 2 x 4 usb audio interface with class-leading 24-bit/192 khz audio conversion
- unison mic preamp and guitar amp emulations from neve, api, avalon, manley, marshall, fender, and more
- realtime uad processing allows near-zero latency tracking with classic uad plug-in effects, regardless of software buffer setting
- 2-in/2-out USB Audio Interface with Pro-grade Converters
- 2 x Mic/Line/Instrument Preamps
- Macro-MMC Clocking Technology
- Eight Premium Mic Preamps, Compact I/O, Pristine Sound Quality
- AUTO-SENS function intelligently sets optimal input levels for all preamps
- Extreme low-latency VS Streaming driver. Low-noise, wide-range power supply. Compact with durable aluminum body and direct box functionality. Bundled with...
- [2 In 2 Out]This audio interface has 2 high-headroom instrument inputs and 2 out USB-C audio interfaces with a high-headroom, Class A DYNA microphone...
- [ 24-bit/192 kHz]The usb audio interface Direct Monitoring feature lets you hear what you are playing in “real-time”, without the effects of computer...
- [TRS Balanced ] TRS balanced output of mixer audio interface provide high quality audio output without hum or interference.
- 24-Bit/192 kHz, USB-C 18x8 audio interface (8x6 at 192 kHz)
- 2 mic/instrument/line inputs and 2 mic/line inputs with XMAX Class A mic preamps and +48V phantom power
- 8 channels of ADAT Optical input (4 channels at 96 kHz)
- GIVES STUDIO-QUALITY AUDIO REPRODUCTION - The bundle features the PreSonus AudioBox USB 96 Audio Interface, which produces 24-bit/96kHz resolution, and an MXL...
- OFFERS QUIET OPERATION - The AudioBox USB 96 is equipped with two noiseless preamps that supply +48V phantom power. It also provides a 0-35 dB Gain Range.
- RECORDS 2 TRACKS SEPARATELY, STRAIGHT TO A PC - The XLR-1/4" combo inputs allow you to plug in microphones and record to 2 separate channels, perfect for duets....
Last updated on 2021-06-30 / Affiliate links / Images via Amazon Product Advertising API