In this article, we help you choose the best USB audio interface available on the market. If you are into mixing or DIY audio recording, we will help you get started. If you want to use an extremely sensitive microphone for detailed, warmth, and comprehensive audio recordings, you should try one of the products that we have listed below.
Why an Audio Interface? Because it is one of the essential parts of DIY music-making. The audio interface helps to get the extra details for optimal sound recording. There are hundreds of audio interfaces in the market with different connectivity options and features. These products vary across price ranges depending on the feature sets.
For a beginner, It might be a tough job to find out the best audio interface for recording from an iPad, iPhone, Mac, or even a PC. To help you choose the best, in this post, we have compiled a list of best USB audio interface for iPad, Mac, and PC.
USB audio interface has the advantage of getting connected to a lot of devices. An audio interface is a device that connects your various audio equipment to your computer.
Some of you might be wondering why to use an audio interface when we have an inbuilt sound card. The inbuilt sound card can be useful when you have recorded for fun or typical home use. When it comes to professional recording, the sound card built on your PC, iPad, or Mac cannot produce the audio depth, warmth, or the connectivity options that feature on an audio interface.
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Best USB Audio Interface for iPad, Mac, or PC
Audio interfaces are available in various sizes and features. Most of these USB Audio interfaces provide professional audio software as a bundle. It is one of the factors which could help you choose one over the other. Devices such as AudioBox iTwo natively supports iOS devices and includes the “Studio One digital audio workstation” software bundled.
If you are not a musician, but a podcaster, who is only interested in recording voice, a simple USB Mic Converter should help you achieve this. So the bottom line is; first, you need to identify what you need and what is your use-case. Once you figure that out, proceed with our recommendations.
So let’s start the list of best USB audio interface for recording from the cheaper ones and finish off with the premium ones.
1. BEHRINGER U-CONTROL UCA202
Behringer U-Control UCA202 is ultra-flexible audio interface connects your instruments, mixer, etc. with your computer for recording and playback. It has high-resolution 48 kHz converters for high-end audio quality.
This USB audio interface works with your PC or Mac computer. You don’t have to install any drivers. You get a free audio recording and editing software that is available for download. There is a stereo headphone output with dedicated level control. It will let you monitor both input and output.
Behringer USB audio interface features an additional S/PDIF optical output for direct digital conversion. It is powered via USB; no external supply power source is needed. It comes with three years warranty program. Overall, this is the most affordable USB audio interface for PC and Mac.
2. Lexicon Alpha 2-Channel Desktop Recording Studio
Lexicon Alpha 2-Channel is a portable USB audio interface to record anywhere. It packs Studio quality hardware and powerful software that will turn your PC or Mac into a 24-bit high-quality recording studio. It is compact and comes with features that are needed to get a professional audio recording.
It has a USB powered input/output mixer. This device has stereo line inputs for keyboards, drum machines or uses an analog output of a CD/MP3 player. It packs Low-noise mic preamp with balanced XLR inputs. Plus, a high-impedance front panel input for electric guitar or bass.
Talking about the professional mixer features, it has a separate mic and line level input controls with individual peak indicators. The high-powered headphone amps give precise fidelity while delivering optimal power to any headphones.
You can record up to two tracks at once. The audio quality sample rates are 44.1kHz to 48kH with 16-bit or 24-bit audio resolution. No doubt, this is the best USB audio interface for recording under $50.
3. Mackie Onyx Blackjack USB Recording Interface
The Onyx Blackjack Premium USB audio interface brings the studio-quality sound and features at an affordable price. It features Boutique-quality Onyx preamps that are usually found on the expensive consoles. It offers improved radio frequency (RFI) rejection and ultra-wide dynamic range. Along with 60 dB of available gain, it stands ahead among the competitors.
The Onyx Blackjack uses Cirrus Logic converters offering 114dB dynamic range. It ensures that the sound has the lowest noise and distortion possible. The actual analog path monitoring directly from the preamps to your studio monitors and headphones offers zero-latency recording.
Both channels deliver 48V phantom power, so it will let you use studio-quality condenser mics. Onyx Blackjack features a sleek, powder-coated all-metal chassis that makes it rugged and stylish both at the same time. With a 25-degree inclination, it allows a full view of all the controls without any hassle.
4. Focusrite Scarlett Solo USB Audio Interface
Focusrite Scarlett Solo USB provides the easiest way to start recording from your PC and Mac. This USB audio interface for recording is ideal for singers, songwriters, and guitar players. Its simple and compact design gives you the freedom to carry this anywhere and record.
It comes with Ableton Live Lite recording software and a suite of software and samples, so you can start recording straight away.
It works with all the leading DAWs on Windows and Mac. It offers lower latency than other comparable audio interfaces in this price range. You can also record two vocals at the same time.
It operates at sample rates all the way up to 192 kHz with super-low latency for ultra-clear audio recording. Every part of your record will be crisp and clear; you can amplify the quieter moments as well, without any unwanted hiss or buzzing.
5. PreSonus AudioBox USB Audio Interface
Whether you are musician, producer, or podcaster on a tight budget, the AudioBox USB audio interface is for you. This audio interface for recording comes with a simple and handy design that makes your recording hassle-free.
It has the right set of features and hardware for basic recording. The AudioBox USB has two front-panel combo mic & instrument inputs that make it ideal for singer/songwriters and guitar or guitar-bass collaborations. A mix control on the front panel gives you the control over the input and computer playback, without any delays.
This audio interface also has a pair of balanced line-level outputs, crystal-clear headphone output port, and MIDI I/O. Talking about the build quality, it has duty steel chassis and metal knobs to bear the rough and tough usage.
6. Native Instruments Komplete Audio 6
Raising the budget to a high level, we have Native Instruments Komplete Audio 6 USB audio interface. It is an advanced audio interface designed to record for the professionals. This thing offers four analog ins/outs, digital in/out, and MIDI in/out.
It is USB powered, so you need not worry about power. It gives the flexible connectivity, pristine sound, and some useful software with a low latency interface, making it the best fit for professional audio recording. Komplete Audio 6 is an all in a sleek with rugged metal casing audio interface.
It provides 48V phantom power for condenser mics and active DI boxes. Plus, the big analog volume knob delivers refined level control to the user. It also comes with high-quality preamps with individual gain control to record lower voice with ultra-clarity. So, this is the best USB audio interface for recording if your budget is somewhere around $200.
7. Apogee ONE Audio Interface for iPad and Mac
Apogee ONE has a studio-quality microphone and USB audio interface for iPad and Mac. It is designed for creating professional and amazing sound recordings on your iPhone, iPad, or Mac. It comes with a special circuitry design to deliver professional performance for iPad and a low latency USB 2.0 port for Mac.
This audio interface will cost you more than $300, but it is worth it. It comes with Apogee’s mic preamps, AD/DA converters packed in a sleek and stylish form factor design. It features two microphone preamps with an incredible gain range of 0 to 63 dB.
The best part is that it has an inbuilt mic, so you need not buy one. This audio interface is the best portable audio recording interface for those who are always on the go. It offers one stereo headphone out/speaker out, microphone/instrument input port, USB connector (iOS lightning port), and DC power supply port.
8. Avid Mbox 4×4 Audio Interface for Mac and PC
Avid Mbox is designed to record the amazing sound, edit and mix with professionalism. Easily connect mics, instruments, monitors, and other analogs with your PC or Mac to record and create the studio-quality sound. It delivers pristine sound and powerful performance with the lowest possible latency.
This USB audio interface comes with the Pro Tools Express for maximum speed, ease, and additional functionality. The professional-grade soft-clip limiter found in Avid’ Pro Tools HD Series interfaces prevents the distortion when tracking louder voices.
Talking about the hardware,
- 4 x 4 simultaneous channels of I/O
- Two XLR mic/line combo inputs and 48V phantom power.
- Two 1/4-inch DI inputs on the front panel.
- Two balanced 1/4-inch monitor outputs
- One 1/4-inch stereo headphone output with volume control
- Stereo S/PDIF digital I/O
- MIDI input/output
- A dedicated volume control knob
We hope our like would help you choose the best USB audio interface from the market. If you have questions or suggestions, do comment below to let us know.