The interface is user-friendly and built to last. Behringer U-PHORIA UMC202HD USB 2.0 Audio Interface, 12. A USB audio interface can be connected to the computer, and with an active adapter, you can record it to your mobile devices as well. When you’re ready to get a bit more serious about your recordings, however, you’ll start to see the shortcomings of that simple setup. Photo: Sarah Kobos, The Scarlett 2i2’s front panel had the most intuitive layout of all the audio interfaces we tested. Iâll try to cover everything from the best audio interface under $200 to the best professional-level audio interface. We don’t think the added features and cost are necessary for most people, but if money is no object, it’s a great upgrade. These output ports deliver ultra-low latency, so you can enjoy delay-free monitoring. With this interface, you won’t run out of I/O ports for your MIDI gear. However, its front-panel layout isn’t quite as intuitive as that of the Focusrite 2i2, and its clip lights are smaller and harder to see. Here's how to choose the best USB audio interface for you. These 2 input ports include 2 XLR ¼-inch inputs, which serve as pre-amplifiers and instrument inserts. There is a growing demand and appreciation for quality content. If you want to start recording audio, you'll need an audio interface. This way, you get to choose the way you monitor your recordings. If youâre eager to join the Universal Audio UAD ecosystem but havenât known where to start, the Universal Audio Apollo x4 is the perfect point of entry. The Komplete Audio 6 employs a unique design that makes it easier to set up and use than other interfaces we tested, but it’s more expensive and has more inputs than you might need. Best Audio Interfaces There are so many options for interfaces in any price range that it can make you dizzy just looking at them. Since its box is pretty small and easy to pack, you probably won’t need to get a separate carrying case. The Focusrite 2nd Generation Scarlett Solo USB Audio Interface with Pro Tools comes with 1 microphone pre-amplifier. However, this does not influence our reviews or ratings. $109.99 $ 109. Shop for usb audio interface at Best Buy. Alexander Briones, The Best Budget Audio Interfaces - 2 Channels, Gearank, December 16, 2015, Alexander Briones, The Best iPad Audio Interfaces, Gearank, February 18, 2016, Chris Korff, Spotlight: Audio Interfaces, Sound on Sound, Barry Watson, PreSonus AudioBox iOne & iTwo, Sound on Sound. The Tascam US-16X08 16×8 Channel USB Audio Interface features 8 microphone pre-amplifiers, all designed based on discrete components. Universal Audio Apollo x4. The Behringer U-Phoria UMC204HD USB 2.0 Audio Interface includes 4 inputs and 5 outputs. The XLR connection also helps provide an additional level of security for the microphone. If you’re a musician who’s starting to get serious about recording your work yourself, you need a USB audio interface that lets you connect any microphone to a computer or iPad and record multiple tracks at once. The pre-amplifier also gives you plenty of headroom for unexpected or loud sounds that may cause clipping. This design might make sense when used with the recorders that Zoom makes, but we found it a little frustrating. These audio interfaces are great for beginners or for those who have a simpler audio setup. The Tascam US-16X08 16×8 Channel USB Audio Interface makes intensive recording sessions easy to handle, with its16 microphone and line inputs, hi-res recording capabilities, and convenient USB 2.0 connectivity. Please note: our picks for the year’s best audio interfaces are listed by category and not in any sort of ranking. For added convenience, this USB audio interface can also be used as a standalone microphone pre-amp. The built-in microphone preamps provide power for condenser mics, and the software interface is compatible with macOS, Windows, and iOS. Top 10 Best Audio Interfaces For Serious Music Production As we draw closer towards mid-year 2018, there seem to be more audio interfaces than ever in the market â which should you choose? We will cover the basics of what you need to consider when purchasing an audio interface in a bit, but for now, weâll review the best overall audio interface, runner-up, professional, desktop and entry-level audio interface on the market today. Updated October 2020 . The “best” USB audio interface will really depend on your needs and potential uses, so we’ll highlight brands and models with a range of I/O (input/output). You can use these for the synchronized operation of multitrack recorders and other recording equipment. Simply put, USB audio interfaces are among the most common in use today. The right equipment is essential to producing crisp, professional-quality audio. Once we assembled a list of the available interfaces that had these features (using Amazon, Sweetwater, and Musician’s Friend), we used the following criteria to decide which interfaces to call in and how to design our tests. Other â¦ If you don’t already have a digital audio workstation that you like, the Scarlett 2i2 comes with slightly downgraded versions of two very powerful DAWs: Ableton Live Lite (which limits you to recording only up to eight tracks) and ProTools First (which only lets you record up to 16 tracks). Interface Connectors. You can use these output ports for MIDI Out devices such as controllers and sequencers. port lets you directly plug instruments such as guitars, bass, keyboards, and drum machines into the audio interface, so you can simultaneously record two sound sources. Most USB audio interfaces come with a built-in preamp, which helps to power a microphone and allows for a cleaner sound, thereby alleviating many issues with power-starved, onboard sound cards. With either, you can send projects to the version of PreSonus’s desktop software that comes with the Audiobox iTwo: StudioOne Artist. 7 Best Audio Interfaces Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 (3rd Gen) The Worldâs Best USB Audio Interface. You can either use this adapter with a powered USB hub or this one with any USB power adapter you have around. When connecting an audio interface to a computerâ¦ There are 4 cable options commonly used: USB â which is typically seen on cheaper home studio interfaces, and offers the slowest data transfer rate. USB audio interfaces come in many shapes, sizes, and costs. This USB audio interface also features 2 outputs: a stereo output and a ¼-inch headphones output. Through six years and testing of more than 25 mics, the Blue Yeti is still the best USB microphone that’s an easy and noticeable upgrade over built-in mics. Lastly, I connected each interface to an iPad (6th-generation) using a USB-C hub to make sure it was compatible with iOS. 2. Read on to know more about them. Priced lower than $50, the Behringer U-Phoria UM2 seemed an almost-too-good-to-be-true budget option, providing both mic and instrument inputs. Two dual-balanced ¼-inch output jacks are also available, so you can connect amplifiers or self-powered speakers to this audio interface. These interfaces can be used with most computers, thanks to the availability of USB 2.0 or 3.0 ports on Macs and PCs. With this microphone pre-amplifier, you can be sure that noises from electronics don’t affect the sound and volume of your voice. The Behringer U-Phoria UMC22 USB Audio Interface is an excellent choice for people who don’t need a complicated audio interface for their recording needs. It includes low-latency, class-compliant drivers for Mac and PC; you can even use it with your iPad. However, its build quality is poor. The Behringer U-Phoria UMC204HD USB 2.0 Audio Interface is a desktop USB audio interface, so you can avoid the work of mounting the interface on a rack. The Behringer UMC 404HD Audiophile 4X4 USB Audio/Midi Interface offers 4 microphone pre-amplifiers. It would be nice if this interface came with something more universally used, like “lite” versions of ProTools or Ableton, but this wasn’t a dealbreaker for us. Each measured flat, corroborating our assertion that there were no obvious sonic differences between the different interfaces. Super-low latency ensures that there are no delays when you record. Audient’s pre-amps are popular for their ability to give audio a clean yet punchy character. The Behringer U-Phoria UMC202HD USB 2.0 Audio Interface lets you record in 24-bit/192kHz resolution and it gives you world-class microphone pre-amplifiers and zero-latency monitoring. Most importantly, each of the 2i2’s clip lights is shaped as a ring around its corresponding gain knob. That said, at least it’s located toward the top and all the way to one side—several interfaces we tested required you to feel around the back for a small slider somewhere in the middle. Wirecutter is reader-supported. The Behringer UMC 404HD Audiophile 4X4 USB Audio/Midi Interface features microphone pre-amps ready with phantom power, 4 outputs, plus MIDI I/O, so you’ll have enough inputs and outputs for any recording session. Not only are you restricted to using USB microphones (which tend to have trouble recording instruments and vocals clearly), but you’re limited to capturing one track at a time. Capture for iPad costs $10, but it allows you to record up to 32 tracks. The audio interface’s input comes in the form of a USB B-type input port. BEST USB-C AUDIO INTERFACE WITH 2 INPUTS. USB connectivity ensures that you can use this audio interface with almost all computers today. Each input is directly next to its corresponding gain knob, which means you’ll never make the mistake of turning up the signal on the wrong input and ruining a take. Everything you record goes through studio-grade converters with 24-bit/192 kHz capabilities, so you get the best sound quality possible. Unboxing, connecting, and adjusting each interface in succession made me hyper-aware of the small design differences between the models. This makes the audio interface easier to use because there’s no need to use to mount the interface on a rack. Its unique design, which places all of its monitor lights on the top panel, makes it a little easier to set up and use than the other interfaces we tested. But if you have an older MIDI instrument that connects through five-pin connectors, you’ll have to get an adapter. We also tested the Tascam 4 x 4 and the Focusrite 6i6, but ultimately we decided that these comprise a separate category of interfaces that we will consider testing further at a later date. An audio interface helps you produce recordings that are crystal-clear and makes the recording process easier, too. These state-of-the-art pre-amplifiers are expertly designed, sufficiently boosting microphone signals to match standard operating line levels. The first was Will playing the viola, which we recorded using a Studio Projects B-1 condenser microphone, which requires phantom power. Novation is best known for its MIDI controllers, keyboards and synths, so itâs only natural that their standalone audio interface plays well with others in the product line. Buyer Guides Studio Gear. We found nine interfaces that met our criteria, including the Tascam 2 x 2 (our previous pick), the PreSonus AudioBox iTwo (our previous runner-up), the PreSonus AudioBox USB 96, the Focusrite 2i2, the Behringer U-Phoria UMC204HD, the Native Instruments Komplete Audio 6, and the Zoom U-24. Letâs take a look at a few of the best USB audio interfaces for 2020: Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 USB Audio Interface This is the only interface with analog inserts on our list, 4 analog inserts for external gears like compressor or EQ, how cool is â¦ The 8 Best USB-C Audio Interfaces. This comes in handy if you’re planning to record podcasts or other vocal-heavy tracks. A USB audio interface helps you record audio and edit it on your computer as needed, as the interface serves as a connection between your computer and microphones, instruments, and other audio equipment. Here's how to choose the best USB audio interface for you. These pre-amplifiers help you achieve a clean, transparent sound, giving you enough headroom so you can capture the depth and details of what you’re recording. The AudioBox iTwo adds a five-pin MIDI input and output, which makes it compatible with older gear. All controls and switches are clearly labeled for hassle-free use. The Native Instruments Komplete Audio 6 has all of the advantages of the Focusrite 2i2, including clear clipping lights and macOS/Windows/iOS support, but it adds a built-in MIDI interface and two extra balanced line inputs and outputs. This results in minimal noise in your recordings for that studio-produced quality. Its compact, lightweight design makes it easy to toss in your backpack or suitcase for mobile recording sessions. Steinberg UR44 Audio Interface. You can place this USB audio interface right beside your laptop or desktop computer for easy recording and audio processing; for added convenience, this USB audio interface can simultaneously stream 4 inputs and 4 outputs. Learn more. The PreSonus Audiobox USB 96 is a classic, super simple USB audio interface.. Those with audio gear and utilize Thunderbolt connectivity should take a look at the Universal Audio Apollo Twin MKII. port. Home » Studio Equipment » 10 Best Audio Interfaces 2020 (USB, Firewire, Thunderbolt) 10 Best Audio Interfaces 2020 (USB, Firewire, Thunderbolt) Getting the most out of both your instruments and computer when doing recording, mixing and producing is achieved easily by having a good audio interface. You’ll have more options when it comes to recording audio. The input ports include 2 XLR/TRS combo inputs; these serve as microphone pre-amplifiers as well as line-level or instrument-level audio equipment. They have got great features like amazing designs, efficient power consumption and most importantly, and are budget-friendly. Aside from the main outputs being on balanced XLR and TRS connectors, the audio interface also has a powerful Phones output that comes with Level control and Monitor A/B source select. This microphone pre-amplifier also comes with 48V of phantom power, so you can use any microphone you want with this USB audio interface. The Komplete Audio 2, however, looks promising. If you're an avid musician or a pro singer, you really need the best audio interface for Windows 10. Combined with simultaneous I/O use, ultra-low latency makes editing easier, so producing studio-quality recordings is a breeze. The group included senior writers Lauren Dragan and Chris Heinonen, editors Adrienne Maxwell and Geoff Morrison, and contributor Brent Butterworth. Perfect for recording piano or DI electric guitar. The 2i2 lacks a built-in MIDI interface, but unless you have a lot of older MIDI instruments lying around, this shouldn’t be a big issue. Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 3rd Gen 2-in, 2-out USB audio interface . SSL 2+ audio interface. Disclosure: We may receive commissions when you click our links and make purchases. Some interfaces are Thunderbolt/USB compatible and some are better suited for Mac or PC (Windows), but it â¦ This means the audio interface is compatible with nearly every computer today. This USB audio interface also includes a dual headphone output, so you can plug in two sets of headphones. The audio interface’s outputs include 2 ¼-inch main outputs, which you can use for speakers, as well as a ¼-inch headphones output port for easier monitoring. This XENYX pre-amplifier from Behringer can reliably boost microphone signals so that your voice comes through loud and clear, without any background noise and distortion. 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