Recommended Audio Interfaces


When choosing the best audio interface for your studio, there are some key features that you need to look into before getting it.

Some main key features to look for are:

  • Inputs (How many inputs does it have?)
  • Outputs (How many outputs does it have?)
  • Phantom Power
  • Preamps
  • Portability or Size
  • Latency

These are the main things that you need to look into when you are getting a good Audio interface for your studio. And you must choose the one that is going to satisfy all your needs.

You might need more inputs or outputs for different types of instruments that you have. The more inputs it has, the more instruments or mics that you can record simultaneously. Having more outputs will give you the freedom to connect it to multiple channels.

Generally, only two outputs are commonly used (for beginners)-

  1. One for connecting to a pair of stereo monitors, and
  2. Another one for connecting to a pair of headphones

If you are going to do vocal and acoustic instruments recording, then you are going to need a large diaphragm condenser mic and for that, you are going to need “Phantom Power” supply so as to make it capable of picking up the smallest details.

Then comes the “Preamps” which helps in amplifying the sound signature so that the mix or record is reasonably loud and clear compared to the unwanted noise.

And for “Latency” – lower the latency, the better it is. So just choose the one having lower latency if it satisfies all the other needs.

A word of caution; many interfaces are marketed to look like they have far more inputs and outputs that are actually useable in a practical recording situation.  Some might say they have “16 inputs”, while they only feature 8 actual XLR inputs that are connected to preamps.

Take care to look at the pictures themselves, and count the number of XLR connections (the ones with the three small holes in a larger circle) in order to determine how many actual usable inputs an interface has.

Note : You can always buy them in studio bundles for a better price with all the other essential gears included.

I’ll give a couple of examples of interfaces I have used, at a couple of different budget levels. There are many to choose from. That can sometimes be really paralyzing.  Hopefully, this narrows it down some for you.

Budget Audio Interfaces

1.Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 USB Audio interface – I can’t say enough great things about the Focusrite brand.  They have fantastic sound quality, are really easy to use, it’s not surprising that this little guy is the world’s top-selling USB audio interface.

Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 (2nd Gen) USB Audio Interface with Pro Tools | First
2,752 Reviews
Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 (2nd Gen) USB Audio Interface with Pro Tools | First
  • Two natural-sounding Scarlett mic preamps with plenty of even gain; two instrument inputs, 1/4-inch balanced jack outputs to connect professional studio monitors; one headphone output with gain control
  • Class-leading conversion and sample rates up to 192kHz / 24 bit; super-low roundtrip latency for using your plug-ins in real time without the need for DSP
  • LIMITED TIME OFFER: FREE Venomode DeeQ, Maximal 2, and Pivot, plug-ins upon registration and download.

I have used one of these (and its bigger brother, the 18i20) on countless recordings, and they’ve been featured on lots of top albums as well, believe it or not!

The 2i2 has two inputs, and two outputs, “direct monitoring” (which allows you to monitor your signal while tracking directly off the interface, instead of going through your DAW, which can introduce annoying lag to the playback while you’re tracking) via either headphones or monitor speakers, and really is very very simple to operate.

It’s basically a plug and plays, I especially love how small and portable it is.  You can take it to band practice and with your laptop do some mobile recording, and it’ll fit in your gig bag.

A truly quality model that’ll give you years of great use.

Check out how the Focusrite Scarlett 8i6 compares with Komplete Audio 6 MK2 here!

Sale
Focusrite Scarlett 18i20 (2nd Gen) USB Audio Interface with Pro Tools | First
151 Reviews
Focusrite Scarlett 18i20 (2nd Gen) USB Audio Interface with Pro Tools | First
  • Eight natural-sounding Scarlett mic preamps with plenty of even gain; two newly-designed instrument inputs, ten 1/4-inch balanced jack outputs including a dedicated stereo pair; two headphones output with dedicated gain controls; MIDI I/O; S/PDIF in and out; ADAT I/O (expand your channel count)
  • Class-leading conversion and sample rates up to 192kHz / 24 bit; Super-low roundtrip latency for using your plug-ins in real time without the need for DSP; Focusrite iOS Control - download the free Focusrite iOS Control app and adjust cue mixes remotely from an iPad, iPhone or iPod touch
  • Frequency response - 20 Hz - 20 kHz ± 0.1dB. Supported Sample Rates: 44.1 kHz, 48 kHz, 88.2 kHz, 96 kHz, 176.4 kHz, 192 kHz. Compatible with Windows 7 and higher, and Mac OS X 10.10 and higher. Impedance - 430 ohms. Focusrite now offers a 3-Year Warranty on this and all other Focusrite products.

Premium Audio Interface (Our Pick)

2. Apogee Duet 2 ir?t=homestudio101 20&language=en US&l=li3&o=1&a=B00BB2QBLIThis simple little interface was the heart of my studio for years.  Apogee is a company known for making top-of-the-line, pristine AD/DA converters, and their upper-level interfaces cost many thousands of dollars.

This gives you an opportunity to harness that quality at a much lower price.  While at the mid-range price, it’s significantly more than the Focusrite 2i2, the quality is amazing and if you can afford it, go for it.

It’s simple to use, the sound quality really is tops, and what’s better, this model is now compatible with Windows 10 (it used to be Mac only).  It’s even compatible with Mac iOS, so you can connect it to your iPad and have a truly mobile rig!  It’s crazy what you can do now…

I used this interface for a long time before I finally decided I needed more inputs and wanted to start recording drums.

Apogee Duet 2 - 2 Channel USB Audio Interface for Recording Mics, Guitars, Keyboards on MAC and iOS Devices, Made in USA
114 Reviews
Apogee Duet 2 - 2 Channel USB Audio Interface for Recording Mics, Guitars, Keyboards on MAC and iOS Devices, Made in USA
  • AD/DA conversion for recording up to 192kHz / 24-bit.
  • USB 2.0 High Speed connection to Mac or Windows PC
  • Direct digital connection to iPad and iOS devices (iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. Lightning and 30-pin cable sold separately).

Want to Setup your Home Recording Studio Under 400$ or Under 1000$! Then you can Learn More about Some of the Best Setups for different price ranges we have prepared fro you!

Wrapping Up

While there are many different interfaces to choose from, the good news is, you are going to get great recordings out of pretty much any of them.  The build quality and conversion these days are simply fantastic.  Let the number of inputs you need, your budget and this article help guide you for a start!

Good luck, and happy recording!

Last update on 2021-08-01 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Vinnie

I'm Vinnie, and I'm here to support you to create your own studio at home, whether it’s for photography, recording audio, podcasts, or videos!

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