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7 of the best Home Studio audio interfaces

Choosing the right audio interface may seem a little overwhelming. There are all kinds of different input and output configurations, connection types, formats and many other options to consider. Here we give you the best priced  Sound interfaces for your buck if you have a home studio and are getting into the production field.

 

FocusriteScarlett 2i2

The Scarlett 2i2 is a 2-in / 2-out USB recording interface featuring dual award-winning Focusrite preamps and precision digital conversion. Housed in a rugged anodized aluminum unibody chassis, the interface not only sounds fantastic but looks great too. What’s more, it’s solid enough to take on the road. And inside is 30 years of pro audio design expertise.

• You can Use the front panel high quality XLR/jack combination inputs to connect line and instrument level signals as well as microphones – perfect for recording a synth or stage piano, or at the flick of a switch, an electric or acoustic guitar.

• Unique “halo” indicators let you know that you’ve got a good signal level for recording. Red means that your signal is clipping, and that you should reduce the gain. The halo will momentarily turn amber as the level returns to a healthy level, at which point it will turn green.

At the heart of Scarlett 2i2 is Focusrite’s precision digital conversion, ensuring you get the very best quality into and out of your computer. Focusrite has been building converters since the introduction of its mastering converter in 1993, and their careful choice of components and equally careful board design ensure that you get superior low noise and distortion performance.

• A large monitor dial provides a tactile control for monitor speaker volume, while a high quality headphone amp provides a clean yet loud signal to headphones connected to the front panel socket. The direct monitor switch routes audio directly from the inputs to both the headphone and speaker outputs, letting you monitor the incoming signal with zero-latency.

• All Scarlett audio interfaces include Ableton Live Lite recording software, plus two powerful software plug-ins: Red Plug-in Suite and Scarlett Plug-in Suite.

Features:
  • High quality mic preamps
  • Excellent digital performance
  • Rugged metal unibody case
  • Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 USB audio interface, truly portable interface
  • Includes an authorization code for Ableton Live Lite, Scarlett Plug-in Suite (RTAS/AU/VST), Red 2 & Red 3 Plug-in Suite (AAX/AU/VST), the Softube Time and Tone Bundle, Novation Bass Station, and 1GB of Loopmasters samples

  

Presonus AudioBox itwo

The tabletop style AudioBox iTwo is housed in the blue-colored chassis familiar from previous AudioBox interfaces. The unit is small and light, checking in at 7.6” (W) X 5.3” (D) X 1.7” (H) and weighing a scant 1.35 lbs. It supports up to 24-bit, 96 kHz audio on both Mac/PC and iOS. 

The front panel sports two XLR/1/4” combo jacks that can handle mic, line or instrument inputs. When connecting an instrument, you press the channel's Instrument button, which has a little guitar icon over it. A global 48V phantom power switch is the other front-panel button, and like the instrument button,  it lights up when activated. Also on the front panel is a 1/4” headphone jack, located on the lower right hand side.

 

Knob-wise, you get in input level control for each channel, and there's a global Mix control for varying between source audio and that from your computer or device, which allows you to monitor without latency. The front panel also contains a large master output gain knob, and headphone level knob. 

 

The back panel includes MIDI In and Out jacks, 1/4” Main leftand right outputs, a USB  port, and the Device port, for connecting your iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch.

If you’re using the box with a computer, you connect the included USB Type B cable from the interface’s USB port to that of your computer. In this configuration, the AudioBox iTwo is powered by your computer’s USB bus. 

 

If you’re connecting to an iOS device, you plug your dock connector cable from your device into the Device jack. When you do, you won’t see the AudioBox iTwo power up, because it’s not bus powered from your iOS device. You have to connect the USB cable from the unit to your iOS device's charging block to get power. So even though this unit is iOS friendly, it’s not a true mobile interface, for iOS at least, because you need AC to use it with your iOS device.

Features:
  •  Bus-powered USB 2.0/iPad® audio interface
  • 24-bit resolution; 44.1, 48, 88.2, and 96 kHz sampling rate
  • Compatible with almost all recording software for Mac®, Windows®, and iPad
  • 2 microphone inputs with low-noise, high-headroom, Class A mic preamplifiers and +48V
  • 2 switchable line/instrument inputs
  • 2 balanced ¼” TRS main line-level outputs
  • 1x1 MIDI In/Out
  • Stereo headphone output with independent level control
  • Zero-latency monitoring via internal analog mixer (Mix knob)
  • Large main volume knob
  • Signal present and clipping LEDs
  • Kensington lock hole
  • Metal chassis

 

M- Audio M-track plus

This flexible interface suits any signal, from an electric guitar to an expert condenser mic—and ghost force is given. Perfect for on-the-go artists, the smooth M-Track Plus elements strong aluminum case to withstand the rigors of the street. A solitary USB link gives both force and an information association with and from your tablet or desktop PC. The circuit plan minimizes portable PC battery channel. M-Track Plus likewise gives MIDI and coaxial S/PDIF associations, to inhabit the heart of your computerized studio. Finishing this capable bundle is Ignite via AIR music creation programming. Touch off conveys a far reaching way to transform the thoughts in your mind into a completed bit of music.

The M-Audio M-Track Plus operates at a maximum of 24 bit/48 kHz. While the sample rate doesn’t quite match up with the 96 kHz offerings from other companies such as Focusrite and Steinberg, we believe there isn’t a huge sonic difference at this price point. The preamps provide approximately 60 dB of gain. We found that it’s best to stay under 80% gain because the preamps start exhibiting a low level of noise after that point. 

M-Track offers ultra-low latency monitoring of the input signal—either through the speakers or via headphones. The monitor mix knob adjusts the balance between the direct inputs and the playback from your computer software. In addition, the input signal(s) can be monitored in stereo or mono using the convenient Stereo/Mono switch. This makes it easy to record new parts or add parts to an existing composition. The Headphone output offers its own level control.

Each input channel is also equipped with an insert jack, a professional addition not often found in this class of interface. The insert jack allows studio-grade effects to be used with any input source as you record.

In addition to the two audio channels, M-Track also support 16 channels of MIDI data and timing information. The MIDI In and MIDI out jack are compatible with all MIDI equipment.

Features

                      24-bit / 48 kHz digital audio processing
                      Zero-latency audio monitoring
                      S/PDIF coaxial digital input and output
                      Durable aluminum shell for on-the-go use
                      Engineered for low laptop battery drain
                      2 XLR mic inputs with selectable phantom power
                      Signal to Noise Ratio: 97 dB
                      THD+N: 0.005%
                      Freq. Response: ±0.35 dB
                      2 balanced 1/4" line inputs with guitar-level switching
                      Signal to Noise Ratio: 96 dB
                      THD+N: 0.034%
                      Freq. Response: ±1.2 dB
                      2 TRS 1/4" inserts; one per input channel
                      MIDI In and Out jacks
                      Balanced 1/4" main outputs with level control
                      Signal to Noise Ratio: 97 dB
                      THD+N: 0.005%
                      Freq. Response: ±0.35 dB
                      Headphone out with independent level control
                      Convenient single USB cable data and power connection
                      Includes Ignite by AIR music creation software

 

Akai EIE Pro

The EIE Pro is a tabletop USB 2.0 audio interface perfectly tailored for your project and portable studio setups. This four-in, four-out (4x4) device features low latency ASIO drivers and enables you to record up to 24-bit resolution and sample rates of 44.1 kHz/48 kHz/88.2 kHz/96 kHz into virtually any DAW, recording or performance software on Mac and PC-based systems. The EIE Pro also houses three convenient USB inputs, in addition to its main USB 2.0 port, enabling you to connect controllers, hard drives or any other peripheral when native ports on a computer may be limited. The compact recording interface contains high-quality components including nickel-plated input jacks, analog-style VU meters and a rugged aluminum casing for a powerful, professional, portable audio solution. 

Each channel of the EIE Pro has a XLR-¼” combo jack, dedicated sturdy, gain-pots and Mic/Line/Guitar switches. The EIE Pro features four discrete-design preamplifiers with 48V phantom power for use with virtually any microphone. Individual ¼” Nickel-plated jacks found on the back of EIE Pro provide you with channel inserts for processing audio signals externally. You can monitor sessions on multiple sets of studio monitors using the four ¼” balanced outputs, which are also Nickel-plated. Both pairs of outputs can be monitored visually with the high-quality, analog VU meters providing classic features with modern style. For remote tracking and alternative playback, the EIE Pro has a 1/4” TRS headphone output. High quality analog-to-digital and digital-to-analog converters ensure that every detail of your session or performance gets captured and played back faithfully.

 

Features
  • Professional 24-bit recording at sample rates of: 44.1kHz / 48kHz / 88.2kHz / 96 kHz
  • Ultra-low-latency driver included
  • 4 nickel-plated XLR-¼” inputs
  • Phantom power and four gain controls
  • 4 ¼” audio inserts
  • 3-port USB hub
  • 4 ¼” outputs
  • 5-pin MIDI I/O
  • Classic analog VU meters

  

Steinberg UR22

This interface is a 2-in/2-out, Bus-powered sound and midi interface targeted at home studio and portable markets. In spite of the fact that it is the littlest unit in the Steinberg's UR arrangement, the UR22 comes with a decent lot of elements including a couple of Yamaha's greatly touted "D-Pre" mic preamps which by the way can likewise be found in Yamaha's MGP Series blenders.

Steinberg/Yamaha interfaces have scored exceptionally well with numerous clients for their strength and steady unwavering quality. The UR22 is encased in a full metal skeleton and is generously substantial for such a little unit, tipping the scales at 2.2 lbs. The front of the unit has two Neutrik Combo A Series half breed connectors consolidating a 3 shaft XLR repository and stereo ¼" telephone jack in one XLR lodging. Despite the fact that the lodging itself is produced using infusion formed plastic, Neutrik is a surely understood top notch connector producer which includes a touch of consolation that these will bolster considerable wear and tear. There are additionally five revolving handles for increase control, all made of what gives off an impression of being solid plastic. The handles themselves feel exceptionally strong with no squirm room and a to a great degree smooth scope of movement that does not give too effectively. This is certainly consoling for somebody who might utilize the unit in a live setting and can do as such without trepidation of coincidentally turning a volume handle to unexpected levels effectively. One thing I will note is that the handles do project a little more than a ¼" from the unit's lodging. This could conceivably make it simple to sever them if something substantial where to arrive on them with enough weight or if the unit where to be dropped unintentionally. In any case, they do feel sufficiently rough to withstand generous power. The front of the unit additionally contains a little plastic impedance switch and a ¼" telephone jack that have some squirm room which shouldn't be excessively perturbing yet merits specifying. The remaining connectors situated in the back of the unit likewise seem, by all accounts, to be worked from solid plastic yet are mounted immovably to the unit.

Features
  • USB 2 audio interface.
  •  Recording quality of up to 24-bit/192kHz.
  •  Works with Windows XP SP3; Windows 7 SP1; Windows 8 (32- or 64-bit) and Mac OS 10.5.8 to 10.8 (tested using 10.7.2).
  • Two balanced mic/line 'combi' sockets with Yamaha D-class   preamps (input 2 switchable to unbalanced instrument input).
  •  Two balanced TRS line outputs.
  •  One quarter-inch headphone output.
  • Direct monitoring mix control.
  •  MIDI In/Out.
  •  Supplied with USB cable and Cubase AI 6 (via download).

 

BEHRINGER - U-PHORIA UMC204

MIDAS-Design Preamps

Renowned for their digital console design, Behringer's sister company MIDAS developed the world-class preamps for the UMC204, UMC202 and UMC22 interfaces—and thanks to the available +48 V phantom power, you can even use professional-grade studio condenser mics to create outstanding tracks.

 

96kHz Precision

You take your tracks seriously, and the U-PHORIA Series respects that, providing your choice of 96kHz resolution (UMC204/UMC202), or 48kHz resolution converters (UMC22/UM2), depending on your application. Both sampling rates offer better than CD recording quality for professional results.

 

Convenient Monitoring

All U-PHORIA models provide powerful phones output with Level control and Direct Monitor select, Status, Signal and Clip LEDs, and are powered via your computer’s USB port so they’re ready to go wherever you go. Plus we provide free audio recording, editing and podcasting software, plus 150 instrument / effect plug-ins—just a download away at BEHRINGER.com.

 

Compose. Record. Mix. Share

Tracktion is one of the world’s fastest and easiest Digital Audio Workstations (DAW) for composing, recording, editing, mixing and sharing your music with the world. Featuring a single-screen interface, and pushing the envelope in design elegance, Tracktion brings together outstanding Pro DAW features, such as dynamic automation, unlimited track count, MIDI recording and support for VST and AU plug-ins. This powerful music production software gives you all the tools of an entire professional-grade recording studio. Learning a DAW has never been easier, thanks to their vast and readily available library of resources.

Features
  • 2x4 USB2.0 Audio/MIDI Interface for recording microphones and instruments
  • Audiophile 24-Bit/96 kHz resolution for professional audio quality
  • Compatible with popular recording software
  • Streams 2 inputs / 4 outputs plus 1x MIDI I/O with ultra-low latency to your computer
  •  2 state-of-the-art, MIDAS designed Mic Preamplifiers with +48 V phantom power
  • Analog Inserts for use of external effects such as compressors, etc.
  • Zero-latency direct monitoring while recording
  • Input/Playback Mix control and Stereo/Mono switch for direct monitoring
  • Phones output with Level control and Monitor A/B source select for DJ-style cueing
  • Status, Signal and Clip indications for perfect overview
  •  USB port for connection and power
  •  Free audio recording, editing and podcasting software plus 150 instrument/effect plug-ins

  

KOMPLETE AUDIO 6 

The Komplete Audio 6 is a seriously heavy-duty interface. If you were blindfolded and held it in one hand and had any other similarly-sized interface in the other hand, you'd choose this because it has some serious weight and a high-quality feel to it. The convertors in this are a night and day difference between almost ANY other interface in its category. 

features four analog ins/outs, two digital ins/outs, and MIDI in/out and is powered via USB. Featuring low latency, high fidelity 24-bit/96 kHz recording and production quality mic preamps, the KOMPLETE Audio 6 is capable of covering almost any recording application imaginable, and the included KOMPLETE ELEMENTS – a full production package of sounds and effects. , DJ software, and a hearty enough sequencing/recording package to start creating music with no additional software/hardware needed.

          Getting started with KOMPLETE Audio 6 is incredibly simple; both MACs and PCs immediately identify the device and queue up the driver download. Unsurprisingly, Native Instruments software immediately recognized the device and reconfigured audio routing through it, and every non-NI DAW or player that was used during the review identified and rerouted through the KOMPLETE Audio 6. Connecting instruments and mics is as simple as plugging into a channel and adjusting the Gain knob. Helpful LED indicators on the top of the box give clear visual feedback when there is a signal detected for each channel.

 

          There is almost no latency when running even complex virtual instruments through the KOMPLETE Audio 6. Running multiple analog channels in conjunction with a MIDI controller in KONTACT yields a pleasant and lag-free experience for a small group, a feat unexpected in an audio interface in this price tier but crucial for accurate recording and live performance.

          The preamps for the analog channels are clear and quiet and enhance the sound without adding color to the original tone. Vocals passed through the preamp gain presence and enjoy a touch of additional warmth without the hissy white noise many audio devices in the same price point sometimes generate.    

Features:         

 

  •  Bus-powered USB 2.0 interface with 4-in/4-out analog I/O plus 2-in/2-out   digital I/O
  •  Up to 96 kHz/24-bit audio resolution
  • Two clean, clear microphone preamps with +48V phantom power with front-panel XLR-1/4" combination jacks
  • Two back-panel 1/4" analog line inputs
  • Four analog balanced 1/4" TRS line ouputs
  • Zero-latency monitoring 
  • Cirrus Logic A/D converters 
  • Bundled software: Cubase LE 6, Traktor LE2, and Komplete Elements

 

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