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The Best Audio Interfaces

1
BEHRINGER Audio Interface, Black, 1-Channel (UM2)

Top Pick
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The Behringer U-Phoria UM2 is a simple, affordable, and effective way to record music on your Mac or Windows PC. We were most impressed with this unit’s portability, volume control, and sound quality. The build quality and portability really stand out when you need to take the unit somewhere—whether it’s a gig, a band practice, or even just a friend’s house.

The unit’s low-latency direct monitoring also stands out, which is important for users recording vocals and guitars. We like that since there is no delay or lag in the returning signal, the result is a better performance and recording.

Key Features

  • +48 V-powered Mic Preamps
  • Phones output with level control and direct monitor select
  • USB port for connection and power
  • Compatible with numerous popular recording software programs

2
Focusrite Scarlett Solo (3rd Gen) USB Audio Interface with Pro Tools

Easy To Use
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When it comes to audio interfaces, features such as sound quality and build quality are critical, but ease of use and the ability to start up quickly are vital, especially for beginners. That's where we think this unit shines. We were impressed with the ability to connect the interface to a computer via its USB-C cable and then follow step-by-step instructions to get started.

At the same time, this unit isn’t just for beginners—its features include those experienced users look for as well. We like that the included mic preamp with a switchable air setting gives users’ vocal recordings a bright and open sound. We also like that the high impedance, high-headroom instrument input allows users to record guitar or bass without any clipping or unwanted distortion.

Key Features

  • Easy start tool
  • High headroom instrument input
  • Single mic preamp
  • High-performance converters enable you to record and mix at up to 24-bit/ 192kHz

3
Tascam US-4x4 USB Audio/MIDI Interface

Highly Versatile
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We like this unit’s technical features, including that its mic preamp design is based on discrete components to achieve an EIN rating of -125dBu so the noise level is extremely low, and that its mic/line preamps provide up to 57dB of gain with very low noise and distortion specs.

While the noise level and sound quality are notable, we are most impressed with the unit’s ergonomic design. Built with metal so it stays put even while moving mics around, the interface features separate volume controls for headphones and line output so when a user wants to work with headphones they don't need to switch off monitors. What’s more, rather than having controls on the front or the top of the device, the interface features an angled design for ease of use.

Key Features

  • 4-in/4-out USB 2 Audio interface
  • Ultra-HDDA mic/line preamps provide up to 57dB of gain with nearly inaudible noise and distortion
  • Includes two DAW applications
  • XLR and TRS inputs accept balanced mic and line level signals

4
PreSonus Studio 68c 6x6, 192 kHz, USB-C Audio Interface,

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We are impressed that the interface operates at up to 192 kHz for ultra-high-definition recording and mixing. What’s more, high-quality converters on every input and output and the XMAX mic preamps deliver an overall rich sound with crisps highs and balanced. deep lows.

We also like two other key features. First, a cue mix A/B function allows users to toggle between two mixes while monitoring through headphones—perfect for DJs and to listen in on a performer’s monitor mix. Secondly, the unit comes packaged with Studio One Artist music production software so users can compose, record, and produce music.

Key Features

  • 6x6 USB-C audio interface with MIDI
  • 2 mic/instrument/line inputs with XMAX Class A mic preamps
  • Includes Studio One Artist recording software
  • 6 ladder-style LED level meters

The CinemaBlend team realizes that—at first glance—many audio interfaces appear similar. And for first-time buyers especially, the differences in features may be confusing. That’s why we’re about to break down a few factors to consider before you buy an audio interface.

Portability

Users’ needs vary—and sometimes your own requirements will change. If a user is always on the go, whether it’s to a friend’s house or a gig, portability will be a significant feature. On the other hand, if a user is setting up a home studio, portability might not be as much of a necessity.

Mic preamps

Microphones produce a very low-level signal. Unless a mic preamp is used the signal will essentially be unusable. An audio interface’s mic preamp amplifies the signal from mic level to line level.

MIDI

Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI) is a technical standard used to describe a communications protocol, digital interface, and electrical connectors. This is a key feature when a user knows they will need to connect a variety of electronic musical instruments, computers, and related audio devices to play, edit, and record music.

Sampling rate

Converters enable users to record and mix at varying resolutions—typically either 48 kHz or 192 kHz. The difference is that 48 kHz is considered high quality while 192 kHz will be referred to as ultra high-definition. The difference depends on a user’s requirements.

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