If you’re looking to produce music, you’re going to need to purchase an audio interface. In a recent article I went over what an audio interface is, so check it out if you’re scratching your head. You might also want to look into how to make a music studio if you’re just getting started. Knowledge is power, especially in an art such as music production. So now that you’re aware of the items you will need to procure (such as a desktop, studio monitors, the proper cables and, of course, an audio interface) and what the purpose of an audio interface is, I’m going to give you a few recommendations of some of the better audio interfaces available on the market. Read on for some details on the best audio interface for you!
The Best Audio Interface
Fanfare aside, there is no singular best audio interface. Different producers will need to have different audio recording needs met, so conduct research accordingly and find the best audio interface for your particular needs. But I’m going to give you all a head start and list a few of the current audio interfaces available on the market, their features, the budget necessitated, and so forth. Be sure to carry on additional research after this article and weigh every option carefully – recording music is an investment of time as much as it is an investment of cash. Without further preface, here’s a few choice audio interfaces to consider as you conduct your search for the right audio interface for you.
Native Instruments Komplete Audio 6
Native Instruments is a renowned music software and hardware company. It’s likely you’ve heard of them before from products like the Massive virtual instrument (very popular among EDM and dubstep producers and DJs), as well as the Guitar Rig virtual effects plugin used to add distortion and other effects to guitars. Their hardware is also of the highest quality, and I know as I’ve been using the Komplete Audio 6 audio interface for years. This 6 channel interface offers users 4 analog in’s and outs, digital in’s and outs, and MIDI ins and outs. It is USB powered, drawing power directly from your laptop or desktop. Native Instrument’s Komplete Audio 6 offers 24 bit / 96 kHz recording power. And for beginners and seasoned producers alike, Komplete Audio 6 also comes with great instruments and DJ software, as well as a sequencer!
Komplete Elements is a huge piece of software to include in this package, and is a full production package in and of itself. Traktor LE will help you get your foot in the door if you’re looking to start DJing digitally. Cubase LE comes with the package as well, giving you the ability to compose, record, and arrange your songs! As I mentioned, this bundle is just great for both beginners and advanced music producers and sound engineers alike. Definitely give it a look, at the price of just $229 you’ll be getting a lot of bang for your buck!
Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 USB Audio Interface
Looking to allocate your budget more carefully? Then perhaps the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 USB Audio Interface is more your speed. Focusrite preamps are award winning, so quality is both assured and expected from a company with such a great track record. This interface both sounds fantastic and looks great too, with a sleek, red aluminium exterior. Much like the firewire audio interface, the Liquid Saffire 56, the Scarlett 2i2 USB Audio Interface offers low noise, low distortion recording. Phantom Power is provided for microphones that need it. Two inputs on the front of the device allow 1/4″ instrument cables or microphone cable placement. With the flick of a switch, you can go from recording stage performed synthesizers and digital pianos straight to acoustic guitars and electric bass guitars. The effects suite offered with the Scarlett 2iB USB Audio Interface is compatible with many major DAW’s such as Garage Band, Cubase, Logic, or Pro Tools. Ableton Live Lite is also included in the overall package, making this a great beginners audio interface for producers to sink their teeth into at a reasonable budget.
Behringer U-Phoria UM2 USB Audio Interface 000-AVV
Still not looking to drop that much money? The Native Instrument Komplete Audio 6 and Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 USB Audio Interface just out of your monetary reach? Fear not, readers! The Behringer U-Phoria UM2 USB Audio Interface 000-AVV is a much more affordable deal, at only $50 to boot! Featuring 2 x 2 USB audio interface for recording microphones and instruments at Audiophile 48 kHz resolution, you will get professional audio quality results when using this interface. The Behringer U-Phoria UM2 USB Audio Interface is compatible with all the major DAWs, including Pro Tools, Ableton Live, Logic, Steinberg Cubase, and more! Both sampling rates provided offer audio recording quality that is better than CD quality – for just $50 the professional sound may just blow you away! This audio interface is powered by your computer via a USB plug in, and also comes with helpful software for audio production junkies and newbies alike. Traktion 4 is said to “put the fan back in the production process,” and will be a great piece of software to check out and familiarize yourself with. Traktion doesn’t limit the number of tracks you can record or the effects you can apply, so have at it and make some sprawling, cinematic epics!
Roland Duo-Capture EX Audio Interface
The Roland Duo-Capture EX Audio Interface is housed in a road-tested, compact metal case. This makes it a great audio interface for the home studio, or for the studio in your giant tour bus. (Some day….some day.) This USB audio interface is outfitted with a pair of VS preamps. These preamps feature the same pro components used in Roland’s higher end digital mixers – get that professional sound you crave at the low low price of just $199! The recording quality is that of 24 bit / 48 kHz. The interface provides two combo TRS / XLR inputs for connecting a guitar or microphone directly.
Pro Tools Mbox Audio Interface – 96 kHz / 24 Bit recording
To end the article with a bang, I thought I’d mention something a bit more pricey. While you can oftentimes find Pro Tools Mbox Audio Interface for much less, the asking price is nearly 700 bucks at $675. Yeesh! But if you’re looking for the highest quality money can buy and are using Pro Tools, the compatibility and recording prowess provided by the Pro Tools Mbox Audio Interface is a worthy investment! Easily connect any instruments, monitors, synthesizers, MIDI controllers, and microphones and immediately get professional level audio recording right in your home!
These are but 5 of the audio interfaces available on the market. As you can see, it’s a wild price range, from the $50 Behringer U-Phoria to the more expensive Pro Tools Mbox Audio Interface at a steep $675. There are plenty of other audio interfaces on the market, so be sure to check them all out and conduct additional research before making your decision. Happy producing, and good luck in your quest for the best audio interface possible! If you do not yet have a DAW to go with your fancy new audio interface that you are going to buy, I suggest checking out my article on my favorite digital audio workstations! You should also check out my article on ableton vs logic, ableton vs fl studio and reason vs ableton if you like comparison articles for DAW’s!