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Best audio interfaces that will definitely impress you

  • HT By Affiliate Desk
  • Published on Nov 24, 2022 19:02 IST
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Summary:

A suitable audio interface is crucial for all recording and music professionals as it offers several essential features.

product info
A good audio interface can take the quality of music a notch above the rest.

Having the best audio interfaces in the studios is paramount for musicians and recording artists. It allows you to connect different instruments, headphones, and speakers and offers several essential features like metering. Whether you have a home studio or a professional studio, having one of the best audio interfaces is essential. It will directly impact the quality of music you are creating and can thus have a bearing on your professional reputation. Hence, you must compare different available options before shortlisting one for your requirements.

With numerous options available to choose from, you may get confused while deciding. After intense research, we have created a list of the 7 best audio interfaces for you. The parameters considered while creating this list are connectivity options, supported software, number of channels, in and out ports, and several others These audio interfaces offer excellent functionality and ease of operations to enhance your productivity manifolds.

Here is a list of the 7 best audio interfaces for your perusal: -

1. Focusrite Scarlett 18i20 (3rd Gen) USB Audio Interface

Focusrite Scarlett 18i20 (3rd Gen) is a rack-mountable third-generation product in the Scarlett series that offers fantastic sound quality through 20 outputs and 18 inputs. Compatible with the Focusrite Control app, this audio interface makes it easier to route monitor mixes, loopback, and audio mixes through your smart devices. It is one of the best audio interfaces that many professional artists prefer.

Specifications

Speed: Record and mix at up to 24-bit/192kHz

Sound Quality: Open and brighter sound with switchable Air mode.

Line Inputs: Eight balanced line inputs

Outputs and Inputs: Fascinating quality through 20 outputs and 18 inputs.

Software: Studio One

Connectivity: USB

ProsCons
Best-performing mic preampsHigh Price
High-headroom instrument inputsDriver issues
Supports multiple line-level sourcesSoftware bugs
High-performance converters 
On-board talkback functionality 

2. Motu M2 2x2 USB-C Audio Interface

Surely, one of the best audio interfaces in the market at present. Motu M2 2x2 USB-C Audio Interface has several high-end features like ESS Sabre32 Ultra DAC Technology to provide a fantastic 120 dB dynamic range. The sole interface in its price range features a fully-colour LCD with precise details for all outputs and inputs displayed through level meters. M2 offers best-in-class speed to monitor live inputs.

Specifications

Latency: 2.5 ms Round Trip Latency

Buffer: 96 kHz with a 32-sample buffer

Interface: USB-C

Software: Ableton Live Lite and MOTU Performer Lite

Compatibility: 100+ instruments

Technology: ESS Sabre32 Ultra DAC

Audio: 24-bit audio

ProsCons
6 GB Free Loops and Sample PacksOnly USB-C Interface
 Supports over 100 instrumentsQuality control issue
 Premium converter technologyBugs
129 dBu EIN on mic inputs 
Full-colour LCD Display 

3. RME Babyface Pro FS USB Audio Interface

RME Babyface Pro FS USB Audio Interface is one of the best audio interfaces and supports 24 channels, 12 analogue inputs as well as 12 outputs. With an optical TOSLINK I/O; you can use it as either an ADAT port with SMUX support or a SPDIF for sessions up to 192 kHz. Its sturdy aluminium construction makes it suitable for commercial usage, and is regarded as one of the best audio interfaces. All these features make it one of the best audio interfaces.

Specification

Preamps: 2 instrument and 2 microphone preamps

Inputs: 12 outputs and 12 analogue inputs

Circuit: Full SteadyClock FS circuit

Interface: USB 2.0

Software: RME’s TotalMix FX

ProsCons
Good performanceHigh price
Excellent sound qualityLack of after-sale support
Highest jitter immunity 
6 samples less latency 
Study aluminium build 

4. PreSonus Studio USB-C Audio Interface

PreSonus Studio 68c 6x6, 192 kHz, USB-C Audio Interface is one of the best audio interfaces with a USB-C interface. A powerful performer for small studios with professional metering-monitoring and MAX analogue mic preamps. Flexible output options with two stereo outputs and a fantastic headphone amp make it a powerhouse choice for musicians and recording artists. PreSonus Studio USB-C Audio Interface has become one of the most comprehensive home recording studios. It comes with a complimentary studio One Artist music production software license to get you started immediately.

Specifications

Channels: 12 (6 inputs and 6 outputs)

Preamps: XMAX Class A mic preamps with 2 mic/line inputs

Software: Studio One

Compatibility: All recording software compatible with Windows or macOS.

Speed: Record and mix at up to 24-bit/192kHz

Interface: USB-C

ProsCons
XMAX mic preamp to capture complex harmonicsCompatibility issues
Four ¼-inch TRS, line-level outputsSlow speeds
Professional input and output metering 
Clean and ultra-high-def sound 
DC-coupled for sending control voltages 

5. Behringer U-Phoria UMC204HD Audiophile

Behringer U-Phoria UMC204HD Audiophile 2x4 is one of the best audio interfaces with 24-Bit/192 kHz Audio with a USB 2.0 Interface. The in-built MIDAS mic preamplifiers deliver exceptional performance in studio settings. Its incredibly fast performance allows artists to start recording within a few minutes, with excellent connectivity support for MIDI devices, guitars, microphones, and keyboards.

Specifications

Software: Ableton Live and Avid Pro Tools

Connectivity: USB 2.0

Preamps: Midas-designed mic preamps

Compatibility: Compatible with Windows or macOS

Speed: Record and mix at up to 24-bit/192kHz

ProsCons
Competitive priceDriver issues
Easy setup completed in minutesCustomer support issues
world-class Midas-designed mic preamps 
+48 Volt phantom power for condenser microphones 

6. Arturia MiniFuse 1 USB-C Audio Interface

Arturia MiniFuse 1, 1in / 2out USB-C Audio Interface has exciting features like a built-in USB Hub, 1 Mic/Line/Instrument Preamp, Loopback and software bundle compatible with Mac and Windows. Coming at a pocket-friendly price, This audio interface supports a wide range of software packages like Ableton Live Lite, Arturia FX, Splice Creator, Native Instruments GUITAR RIG 6 LE and several others.

Specifications

Range: 110db dynamic range

Input noise: -129dB

Interface: USB Type-C

Warranty: 5 years

Built: Rugged aluminium construction

Input: XLR-1/4" combo input with 48V phantom power

ProsCons
Best software bundleNo line-level input
Economical pricingMinor performance issues
Compact size 
110dB dynamic range 
MiniFuse Control Center App 

7. Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 Studio 3rd Gen USB Audio Interface

Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 Studio 3rd Gen USB Audio Interface comes as a bundle with seven exciting accessories. These include Microphone, Pro Tools First, XLR Cable, Knox Studio Stand, Headphones, Pop Filter, and Shock Mount. This studio-ready audio interface comes with leading software tools, including Pro Tools First Focusrite Creative Pack and Ableton Live Lite. This complete bundle is preferred by many artists worldwide and has emerged as one of the best audio interfaces.

Converters: High-performance 24-bit/192kHz AD-DA converters

Interface: XLR and USB

Microphone: CM25 MkIII condenser

Headphones: HP60 MkIII professional closed-back

Warranty: Three Years

ProsCons
All-in-one packageSlight performance issues
Hitmaker ExpansionHigh price
Supported on iPad Pro 
Three-year warranty 

Price of best audio interfaces at a glance:

ProductPrice
Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 Studio 3rd Gen USB Audio Interface BundleRs. 51, 586.00
Arturia MiniFuse 1, 1in / 2out USB-C Audio InterfaceRs. 10,490.00
Behringer U-Phoria UMC204HD AudiophileRs. 13,999.00
PreSonus Studio 68c 6x6, 192 kHz, USB-C Audio InterfaceRs. 35,266.00
RME Babyface Pro FS USB Audio InterfaceRs. 79,000.00
Motu M2 2x2 USB-C Audio Interface with XLR-XLR Cable BundleRs. 38,252.00
Focusrite Scarlett 18i20 (3rd Gen) USB Audio InterfaceRs. 59,318.00

Three best features for consumers:

ProductFeature 1Feature 2Feature 3
Focusrite Scarlett 18i20 (3rd Gen)Record and mix at up to 24-bit/192kHz20 outputs and 18 inputsSwitchable Air Mode
Motu M2 2x2 USB-C96 kHz with a 32-sample buffer96 kHz with a 32-sample buffer24-bit audioSupports over 100 instruments
RME Babyface Pro FS24 channels, 12 outputs and 12 analogue inputsUSB 2.0 interfaceFull SteadyClock FS circuit
PreSonus Studio USB-C12 channels (6 inputs and 6 outputs)Record and mix at up to 24-bit/192kHzXMAX Class A mic preamps
Behringer U-Phoria UMC204HD24-Bit/192 kHz AudioUSB 2.0 interfaceXMAX Class A mic preamps
Arturia MiniFuse 1 USB-C110db dynamic rangeXLR-1/4" combo inputUSB Type-C interface
Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 Studio 3rd Gen24-bit/192kHz AD-DA convertersXLR and USB interfaceCM25 MkIII condenser

Best value for money

Arturia MiniFuse 1, 1in / 2out USB-C Audio Interface is available at a pocket-friendly price but is loaded with exciting features. This audio interface has an impressive software bundle that gives it a distinct professional edge over its competitors. The product undergoes over 200 tests and comes with a 5-year warranty ensuring impeccable performance in studio settings. Most of the buyers have rated it as one of the best value-for-money audio interfaces.

Best overall product

If you are looking for one of the best audio interfaces for your studio, then Focusrite Scarlett 18i20 (3rd Gen) would be your optimal choice. Loaded with exciting features, this rack-mountable audio interface delivers 18 inputs and 20 outputs of incredible sound quality for a great music recording experience. All these features make it one of the best audio interfaces.

How to find the perfect audio interface?

Selecting one of the best audio interfaces is essential to ensure optimal quality for all your studio recordings. When you are building your studio, it is essential to have a robust audio interface. To make an informed decision, you must undertake detailed research based on parameters like what I/O you require, your budget, which features you desire, what build quality you prefer, and the desired sound quality. All these factors will help you decide on the best audio interfaces for your studio.

When you consider all these aspects, Focusrite Scarlett 18i20 (3rd Gen) meets all your requirements. It is available at a great price, has 18 inputs and 20 outputs, excellent software compatibility, and much more.

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