Are you ready to kickstart your music career?
Well, you have come to the right place! Audio interfaces are must-have items needed to provide awesome-quality audio recordings.
You might think you don’t need one, but after reading this list and trying one out for yourself, you are going to wish you had one sooner!
Let’s take a look at some of the best audio interfaces for home recording.
PreSonus AudioBox USB96
Focusrite Scarlett 2i2
RME Babyface Pro FS
A Guide to the Best Audio Interfaces
1. Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 – Best Overall
The Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 is easily one of the best audio interfaces on the market!
It has two inputs and two outputs with two XLR combos, two 1/4 inch outputs, and one headphone output.
Its channel volume controls come with halo lights that change according to their level. This is perfect for easy tracking and monitoring of volume levels.
No more continuously looking at your computer screen!
This desktop interface is compatible with both Mac and PC and comes with USB bus powering.
Note that this is a USB-C type connection, which is not compatible with USB-A or B connections.
One of the best features of this interface is its Air mode, which allows your vocals or instruments to be recorded with brightness and openness.
This comes equipped with phantom powering as well for clear microphone recording.
This is undoubtedly the best USB audio interface for beginners due to its intuitive setup and crystal clear recording quality. And also, it is super budget-friendly!
2. RME Babyface Pro FS – Best Value Pick
The RME Babyface Pro Fs is another extremely portable interface perfect for on-the-go recording!
Its design is already one of the most unique-looking ones as this one is a vertical rectangle, unlike the others, which are horizontal. It’s a nice little switch-up!
With a wild 12-inputs and 12-outputs in such a small package, the Babyface Pro also supports ADAT and S/PIDF inputs if you want to record with multiple devices.
- There are two stereo XLR inputs and outputs, both of which have phantom power and can be controlled from the unit itself.
- You also get two balanced line outputs, two digitally-controlled mic preamps, line/instrument outputs, and a MIDI port.
On the top of the interface are all the buttons needed for selecting which inputs or outputs to control.
- The large dial in the center can be used as a gain control knob and change the balance in your selected output.
- You can also use it to mix individual outputs right from the unit itself.
It also comes equipped with RME’s exclusive software TotalMix FX, where you can mix all channels of the Babyface Pro.
TotalMix FX is available on Mac, Windows, and iOS and can be operated via remote control!
This is definitely the right audio interface for beginners or experienced recording artists!
3. PreSonus AudioBox USB 96 – Best Budget Pick
You can count on the PreSonus AudioBox 96 to give you professional sound quality and features at the cheapest price possible!
It is one of the best portable USB audio interfaces for beginners and for remote or on-the-go recording sessions.
PreSonus equips its audio interface with its Studio One Artist DAW software and several additional ones straight out of the box. Lot’s to get started with!
Let’s take a look at the specs.
- It is a 2-in/2-out audio interface that is bus-powered with USB 2.0.
- You get a combination of XLR analog inputs for instruments and microphones simultaneously for simultaneous recording.
- It also provides 2 line outputs for your studio monitors.
- It comes with switchable phantom power for your condenser microphone and separate input gain control for each input.
- On the back are one headphone jack and two stereo output jacks.
The AudioBox interface also has built-in MIDI inputs and outputs so you can connect extra external hardware like keyboards.
Despite being quite a cheap audio interface and having fewer inputs, this is the best budget audio interface for you.
It is very easy and intuitive to use and provides excellent sound quality. It is definitely recording made easy!
4. Native Instruments Komplete Audio 2
The Native Instruments is another good choice for your home studio!
Its minimalist design and black chic look make it very appealing to use. But aside from that, it comes with the perfect specs and features for your next song or podcast.
- The Komplete Audio 2 has two XLR/TRS combo inputs.
- Beside them is a switch that allows you to change the TRS inputs from line to instrument, with the necessary gain knobs as well.
It comes with a knob that allows you to control the amount of direct monitoring and audio, which is more VERSATILE instead of just an on and off switch.
Its 24-bit depth 192-kHz sample rate allows you to record a very high dynamic range, which allows a nice amount of headroom while recording without noise or clipping.
Not to mention its unique software package, which is Native Instruments-exclusive! It offers a whole bunch of software to try out when you are just starting out.
5. Audient Evo 4
The Audient Evo 4 will provide the best audio and has an intuitive setup.
It runs on a USB-C connection, has two inputs and two outputs, and offers phantom powering for each input.
A big dial is conveniently placed in the center to adjust microphone gain, output volume control, and change the mix between zero-latency monitoring and computer playback.
Additionally, it has a Hi-Z input and a headphone output jack with allows for zero-latency monitoring and real-time playback.
One of the best features of this audio interface is its SmartGain feature.
- This automatically sets the input levels of your microphones or instruments.
- You will save A LOT of time in setting the perfect gain when recording, making it a lot easier and more efficient.
It also offers a loopback function, which is great for capturing playback from live streaming or calls for a podcast.
Its small size and portable weight make it a great choice for recording on the go. Just be careful with this one, though, as it has a rather plasticky build, making it not quite sturdy.
But nonetheless, still a great choice. One of the best compact audio interfaces, especially for beginners.
6. Solid State Logic / SSL 2+
Solid State Logic or SSL2 2+ is a classic high-end audio interface that guarantees quality recordings every time.
- The SSL 2+ is Mac and PC compatible, desktop-friendly, and can be bus-powered.
- It comes with 2 inputs, 4 outputs, MIDI I/O, and 2 preamps with two headphone outputs.
It has two individual channels with independent phantom powering, a toggle for mic and line inputs, and Hi-Z switches, useful for guitars and pedals.
There are five independent LEDs for easy input volume tracking.
- Although they are divided in increments of ten, it gives a decent enough reference point for how far or close to clipping your volume.
- It also comes with smooth gain knobs which offer just the right amount of gain.
The placement of the giant volume knob is really convenient, and it goes up to 11! The stereo toggle switch allows you to listen to channels 1 and 2 as a stereo pair.
It also comes with a unique 4K Legacy mode switch. What’s Legacy mode, you might ask?
- 4K Legacy mode is designed to emulate the sounds of higher-end, more professional studios, like the SSL 4000 (hence 4K).
- It ENHANCES analog outputs, giving it a high-frequency EQ boost and harmonic distortion, giving you more pronounced vocals and livening your microphone.
This audio interface has all the right options placed in all the right places and is definitely one to check out.
7. Universal Audio Apollo Twin MkII
If you are looking to upgrade your home studio, then the Universal Audio Apollo Twin MkII is a great audio interface to go with!
The Apollo Twin is equipped with a lot of the same goodies like:
- 10 inputs and 6 output
- Phantom power for your microphone
- Two XLR and instrument inputs and four outputs
- Plus a Hi-Z direct input for your guitar.
The Apollo Twin has all software and plugins at the ready! Just go to the Universal Audio website (uaudio.com) to download and register!
This audio interface also comes with built-in digital signal processing, which lets you run multiple UAD plugins simultaneously.
This saves your computer’s processing power from being all used up!
Of course, it has its own limits on how many plugins you can run simultaneously.
It also comes with a special plugin called Unison, which recreates classic hardware sounds without the use of external software. Add some color and vintage elements to your recordings!
Although the Apollo Twin is one of the most expensive audio interfaces, you certainly get what you paid for!
8. Behringer U-Phoria UM2
The Behringer U-Phoria is a nice little USB interface that is about the size of a smartphone!
But do not let its tiny size fool you!
This 2-input/2-output audio interface is equipped with a combination XLR input for your microphone.
The direct monitor switch allows you to hear your recording from both inputs with zero latency. This is a great feature to have for keeping track of real-time when playing an instrument.
Conveniently placed beside that are the signal and clip lights.
- Though it is just one light each and does not show you levels in increments or in a certain range, it is still useful for quick volume monitoring.
- The same lights are also placed next to the instrument input for the same purpose.
The top of the audio interface is a great plus point for its simple and super easy-to-understand design!
The gain knob is conveniently placed across the XLR input to control volume.
- The same goes for the instrument gain knob and the output volume knob!
- This is a great feature as what each knob controls is directly placed in front of them for easy spotting and no need to look twice.
Rest assured that the recorded audio is crisp and clear!
Despite its small plastic size and durability (take extra good care of it), it is a great pick for beginners.
If you are just starting out with little to no knowledge yet, its intuitive design will definitely be a great help!
9. Motu M2
The Motu M2 is another strong player in the audio interface game!
On the front of the device are:
- Two identical channels with XLR combo inputs
- A gain dial for each channel
- Independent phantom powering
- AND zero-latency monitoring switches.
It comes with MIDI ports for any other digital instrument or equipment, and RCA outputs monitor outputs, where you can connect speakers on both outputs simultaneously.
A big selling point for the interface is the large and super convenient LED monitoring screen.
- Unlike a halo or tiny flashing light, the monitoring levels are big and SUPER clear to read.
- You will be able to easily see the recording levels moving as you record in real-time.
An even bigger selling point is the loopback function. This allows you to record and capture your computer playback.
This is great if you want to record a Youtube video, a movie line, or anything else similar you might need for your project. Pretty handy!
The Motu M2 really sets the bar for the best audio interfaces! It is an entry-level interface that provides professional audio quality every time!
You cannot go wrong with this one!
10. Arturia AudioFuse Pre8
The Arturia AudioFuse 8Pre is one of the LARGER interfaces. It is not like those small desktop interfaces, but rather it is a rack-mountable interface.
But it is a great choice nonetheless!
- There are two XLR combo jacks and a whopping 8 channels.
- Channels 1 and 2 only allow instrument-level inputs.
- All 8 channels come with an indicator light to distinguish microphone inputs, line inputs, or instrument inputs.
- A gain dial, a level meter for volume monitoring, and a phantom powering switch.
- Remember to note that channels 3-8 do not have the instrument button.
A mono button is underneath the speaker volume knob to monitor the audio phase. You also get a mixed selection button to change the source being played through the speakers.
Beneath the headphone volume control knob are two headphone jacks, one (1) quarter-inch jack and one (1) eighth-inch jack. No need to buy a headphone adapter!
There is also a word clock button for if you are running multiple audio devices and need them to be in sync.
This brings us to the next point.
This audio interface is ADAT compatible and has an ADAT optical input and output, meaning you can stack multiple interfaces and have multiple channels!
This is a great feature that allows you to use any extra external power supply you might need.
This isn’t an interface you can bring around on the go due to its large size.
But if you are looking to really UPGRADE your home studio or have a big performance, then this audio interface can do that!
11. Tascam US 2×2
The Tuscan US 2×2 is another good audio interface choice for a small home studio!
This affordable audio interface is compatible with Mac, PC, and iOS devices. It comes with one XLR input, one TRS input, and one headphone jack.
This is already an optimal amount of inputs needed for recording vocals or instruments for beginners or those just starting.
It also comes with an HDDA (High Definition Discrete Architecture) preamp.
- This preamp is designed to provide crystal clear audio that has extremely low noise.
- However, it does not come with a knob for direct monitor switching.
It also comes with +48V phantom power, which is always necessary for a condenser microphone. It provides clear sounds with zero noise.
Another cool feature is its build is angled slightly upward for easy access to the panel.
This really comes in handy if you do not want to spend too much time looking for each knob and button.
Its small size and multi-platform access make it a great choice to bring around as well!
12. Focusrite Scarlett 18i20
Here’s another high-quality rack-mounted interface for you!
Similar to the Arturia AudioFuse Pre8, with a staggering 18 inputs and 20 outputs, it offers XLR combo jacks for 8 channels.
Additionally, there are 8 MORE optical inputs for ADAT compatibility, which means you can STACK another interface on top of that.
Accompanied by that is the word clock to sync multiple devices, if any.
There are two headphone outputs, each with its own volume control and dual monitor outputs at the back.
There is an additional MIDI input and output and a S/PIDF input/output.
S/PIDF is useful for transferring an audio signal from one device to another without having to convert them to an analog signal.
It also comes with a convenient talkback feature to communicate with talents or performers.
Like all Focusrite devices, it comes with an easy-to-read level metering feature to see the volume levels.
Unlike the ring light on the 2i2, the 18i20 comes with LED meters on the front panel.
While this is not exactly portable or easy to carry around, this interface will make a great addition to your studio.
13. Antelope Audio Zen Go Synergy Core
Antelope’s Audio Zen Go is another new kid on the block that provides excellent audio quality every time.
Its sleek design is already a plus, but let’s take a look at the features.
This desktop audio interface runs on USB bus power and comes with two combo inputs. This can be upgraded to four inputs since it has two S/PIDF outputs as well.
So yes, you CAN combine another interface with this one if you would like!
It comes with multiple outputs, too, including RCA, TRS, and two headphone outputs in the front. It also comes with Hi-Z inputs for your guitar.
The giant and super clear LED screen and easily-accessible volume knob on top make for very easy controlling and monitoring of gain and volume levels.
Another plus is its higher elevation for easy access and monitoring with extremely low latency.
You will also get a bunch of pre-packaged DSP effects like EQ, reverb, and guitar amps. It comes with a solid collection of software bundles, all free to access on the Antelope website.
Without a doubt, a great choice for beginners or experienced levels!
14. M-Audio M-Track 2×2
You can count on M-Audio to provide a simple but powerful audio interface for your home studio!
It has a USB-C connection and allows you to record 2 channels at once with its instrument and XLR inputs.
The build is compact and sturdy despite the top being made of all plastic.
The interface is slightly bigger than usual, which could be a plus if you need something that is very easy to spot and access.
But on the other hand, it may take up more space than usual on your workstation.
It comes with easy-to-read meter levels underneath their respective gain dials. Though the meters offer a rather small range, it is still quite useful to have them there.
Conveniently placed in the center is a smooth-turning monitor volume control.
There is also a mix dial, which allows you to switch between zero-latency monitoring and computer playback.
It also supplies +48 phantom power with light to let you know if it is activated.
At the front, you will find a Hi-Z input for your guitar and your headphone output.
Rest assured that your sound quality will be top-tier, with zero latency and noise and a high dynamic range. The buttons, dials, and everything else are also very intuitive for beginners.
Why You Should Get An Audio Interface
Audio interfaces are a great investment if you want to take your music career to the next level! Any audio engineer will definitely recommend one!
An audio interface transfers microphone and instrument audio signals to your computer.
It sort of serves as a middleman to hear your playback from your computer to your headphones.
This allows you to record clearer, more professional-sounding recordings so you can really get the most out of every recording. You can also find the tiniest details in each recording and are REALLY EASY to use.
If you really want to upgrade your songs or podcasts with better audio, then audio interfaces are a must!
How to Know Which Audio Interface To Get?
Even after going over the several possible options, it can still be a little confusing to choose which is the best.
Let’s take a look at some factors to consider when choosing the best audio interface for you.
Input and Output
The number of inputs and outputs is very important when choosing an audio interface.
If you are a one-person band or doing a solo show, an interface with at least two input types and outputs for your microphone and/or instrument might be ideal.
Any other interface or other audio gear with more inputs and outputs for additional audio sources, like MIDI, could also be useful.
On the other hand, if you are a full-piece band with multiple instruments and microphones, it is obviously best to go for four or more inputs and outputs.
- You might also want to consider digital inputs and outputs as well.
- These are used to connect extra hardware and could help increase the capabilities of your audio interface.
At the end of the day, it all depends on what kind of project you want to do!
Most interfaces come with their own package of free-to-access software, mainly on their website or found in the manual.
- You will have many different options of what software is necessary for your recording.
- Some of the most popular software you can use includes Garageband, Ableton Live, Cubase, and Audacity.
- Some companies even have their own line of exclusive software.
The software or DAW may be intimidating to look at, especially if you are a beginner, but with a little practice and playing around with it, it will be very easy and convenient to use!
It is also important to know if your DAW or software is compatible with your computer or device.
Make sure to check if your OS is updated and compatible with your DAW or software.
Set A Budget
Audio interfaces come at varying prices, although there are some really cheap ones that provide high-quality audio.
You will have a wide price range, from less than 100$ to more than 1000$, and a lot of choices to pick from.
Consider the amount of money you have saved up before making your choice.
Assuming you have enough money for the interface itself, you may want to consider other factors, such as extra hardware, extra microphones, more instruments.
These will obviously require much more money, so it is best to think about what kind of project you are working on and then plan out your budget accordingly.
What Specific Genre Will You Use It For?
Audio interfaces also allow for various genres and types of projects!
From the standard one-person recording to full set rock bands or drummers, audio interfaces can record several instruments, whether one or many, at the same time.
As mentioned earlier, it all goes back to what kind of genre or project you will go for.
- A one-person show or podcast may require a simple 2-input 2-output interface.
- While a full band recording a new album in a studio may require a higher input and output interface.
Best Budget Pick: PreSonus AudioBox 96
The PreSonus AudioBox is the most budget-friendly interface you can get!
At a modest price of around 100$ only, this interface does all the work in providing the best quality audio you can ask for.
From its free licensed DAW software to its MIDI in/out, you will definitely get more than what you asked for and at the best price possible!
Probably the best audio interface if you are looking to save money.
Best Value Pick: RME Babyface Pro FS
The RME Babyface Pro FS is the perfect interface that does all the right things plus more!
It comes with several extras like the remote-controlled TotalMix FX software, ADAT and S/PIDF inputs, and a high 12 inputs and 12 outputs all in one tiny little box!
You definitely get more than what you paid for!
Best Overall: Focusrite Scarlett 2i2
Focusrite has been the go-to for recording artists and audio engineers everywhere!
This is, without a doubt, the BEST audio interface you can invest in!
The simple and easy-to-understand layout of this audio interface is the perfect pick for beginners and experienced levels.
It provides all the necessary requirements and guarantees crystal clear audio every single time! No wonder it is so popular!
The best part is that it is one of the cheapest on the market right now. What more can you ask for?
There you have it!
Those are some of the best audio interfaces on the market right now. Audio interfaces are a great investment if you are serious about taking your music career to new heights!
We would personally invest in a Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 for its near-perfect sound quality and cheap price.
Hopefully, this helps you choose the best one for your studio and expand your music career.