Updated: Nov 10, 2022
There is one tool in your digital recording arsenal that is really what makes it all possible. The audio interface is the heart of your recording setup, and without it, you're back to recording reel to reel. Everyone from mixing and mastering professionals to first-time songwriters use audio interfaces, and there is an incredible number to choose from. Here are some of our favorites that combine affordability, functionality, and features.
This is a series of audio interfaces that has a huge following. One big reason is these little red powerhouses do a great job for a very low price. There are several models to choose from depending on your needs. They have a solid, metal exterior that gives them a rugged feel, and their distinctive red coloring sets Scarlett apart from the crowd.
Focusrite Scarlett Solo
This is a great, compact audio interface that's perfect for singer/songwriters. The Scarlett Solo is ideal for beginners, with a simple interface and powerful features like conversion and sample rates, one mic preamp, and one microphone input.
Focusrite Scarlett 2i2
The 2i2 takes it up a level with two natural-sounding mic preamps. The Scarlett 2i2 is the best-selling audio input in the world for a very good reason. It goes anywhere, is easy to use, and offers powerful features like 48v phantom power for condenser microphones.
Behringer Audio Interfaces
Behringer is a name that has been around for a long time, and they make everything from mixers to drums to lighting systems. Their experience in the music industry means that Behringer audio interfaces know how to get the job done. Plus, their interfaces start at very affordable prices and have metal housing that gives them great durability.
The Behringer Uphoria UMC22 offers an audiophile 2x2 USB interface and MIDAS mic preamplifier. It is ideal for small home studios, and its compact size means you can easily throw it in your gig bag. Other great features of this powerful little unit are its 48 kHz resolution and over 150 free effects plug-ins.
The UMC404HD is a 4x4 USB 2.0 Audio/MIDI Interface for instrument and microphone recording. It takes things up a notch with some amazing, professional-quality features including:
An audiophile 24-Bit, 192 kHz resolution Compatible with popular recording software Streams 4 inputs / 4 outputs plus1x MIDI I/O with ultra-low latency4 MIDAS Mic Preamplifiers with +48 V phantom power analog InsertsZero-latency direct monitoring Input/Playback Mix control Stereo/Mono switch for direct monitoring
Designed and engineered in Germany, this audio interface is built like a tank and has a 3-year warranty.
In the beginning, there was Mxox, basically the only audio interface you could use with Pro Tools in the early days. Now, M-Audio offers M-Track, a great line of audio interfaces that give you tons of recording options.
If you're looking for a tiny, compact audio interface that packs a lot of punch, here it is. M-Tracks 2x2 gives you an easy-to-use interface with 24-bit, studio-quality recording capability. You can record two channels at once with a 1/4-inch balanced input as well as a dedicated XLR/1/4-inch combo input. Other features include a 5-pin MIDI in and out. This unit is a great choice for solo artists looking to record the next great single.
Jump up to a rack-mounted audio interface and you gain a lot of power and features. The M-Track 8 is a USB 2.0, high-resolution interface with Octane Preamp technology built in. It features 8 XLR/1/4 combo jacks to hook up nearly anything and start recording. The M-Track 8 boasts pro-grade audio, improved monitoring, and a suite of plugins including over 20 guitar plug-ins.
Better known for its Cubase and Nuendo recording software, Steinberg also has a sweet line of audio interfaces.
Similar to the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 and the Behringer UMC22 but at a bit of a higher price point, the Steinberg UR-RT2 offers a lot of recording capability in a small package. Switchable Rupert Neve Designs transformers set it apart from the pack. The UR-RT2 has four inputs and two outputs, as well as a MIDI interface.
This rack-mounted interface redefines audio excellence with premium sound quality. The AXR4 is a Thunderbolt 2 system with an up to 384 kHz sample rate. It also boasts AXR hybrid mic preamps, SILK processing found in high-end analog devices, and SSPLL jitter reduction. This system is compatible with all recording software.
The Audient brand is an English company that has won awards for audio excellence. Its line of audio interfaces combines quality and affordability in unique packages.
The Audient Sono audio interface is designed specifically for recording guitars. It features a 12AX7 analog valve, a 3-band Tone control, and a Torpedo preamp designed specifically for guitar players. Its built-in valve gives it a classic analog tone and warm feel, and a 3-band EQ lets you find exactly the guitar tone you want.
The iD4 audio interface by Audient is a 2 in, 2 out system that gives you the quality of a large console in a portable package that is perfect for the studio or on the road. Features include converter technology that is the best in its class, 2 headphone outputs, Audient mic preamps, and console-style monitor control. What really makes it different is the "ScrollControl" technology that lets you control the action with an intuitive, virtual scroll wheel.
If you're looking for amazing audio interfaces that will let you record in your home studio or live, check out one of these amazing units. They offer a compact size and powerful features that will help turn your musical ideas into reality. Once you record your amazing song, don't forget that mixing and mastering are the final pieces. Get in touch today to find out how professional mixing and mastering gives your music the professional sound it needs to be its very best.