Top USB Audio Interfaces reviewed here. If you need to connect mics, guitars or line level devices such as keyboards, mixers or tape decks to your computer or iPad, then you need an audio interface.
A USB audio interface makes it very easy to connect the interface to the USB slot of your computer. Your USB audio interface can be used in various ways – as a interface between the mixer and your computer. The outputs can go to the TAPE INPUT jacks of your mixer or active monitors, or directly into the input channels of the mixer, and so on.
Try getting a mixer into your recording setup (whenever you’re ready and have the budget). Sending the output of your audio interface to mixer input channels gives you access to more features of your mixer that can help to build better mixes for your recording sessions.
You may connect music instruments (synthesizer, stage piano, acoustic or electric guitar) as well as microphones to the line input of these interfaces. Indicators on these interfaces inform you if you’ve got a good signal level for recording, or its clipping (in which case you reduce the gain).
You can also connect a pair of headphones to your USB audio interface to monitor the sounds.
Besides getting zero latency and besides using these interfaces for audio recording, you can use them to get your old music (stored on old cassette tapes) into the digital realm. Its faster to get all your analog audio into your computer.
All of these audio interfaces Work with both Mac and PC. The more expensive ones come with bundled software, have more ins/outs and comes with better quality preamps.
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Steinberg UR22 2-Channel USB Audio/MIDI Interface
The Steinberg UR22 2-Channel USB 2.0 Audio/MIDI Interface comes with high quality microphone preamp, two analog XLR/TRS combo inputs, headphone output, Cubase AI software is included in the package.
TASCAM US-4×4 USB Audio Interface
The TASCAM US-4×4 USB Audio Interface comes with top quality mic/line preamps. Comes with Cakewalk SONAR X3 LE and Abelton Live Lite DAW recording applications.
Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 USB Audio Interface
The Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 USB Audio Interface comes with high quality mic preamps.
Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 USB Audio Interface
The Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 USB Audio Interface comes with top quality mic preamps, two combo XLR inputs, 4 RCA outputs, headphone output, includes DAW and effects Software
Focusrite Scarlett 6i6 6 In/6 Out USB Audio Interface
The Focusrite Scarlett 6i6 6 In/6 Out USB Audio Interface comes with two top quality mic preamps, 6 inputs and 6 outputs and 2 headphone outputs with seperate level controls. You also get access to software like Ableton Live Lite, Focusrite’s Scarlett plug-in suite and the Red 2 & Red 3 PlugIn Suite (AAX/AU/VST). Compatible with all major DAWs.
Other inexpensive options include the Behringer UCA222, an inexpensive yet effective audio interface from Behringer, and the Peavey USB Audio Interface is another great option if you’re looking for a plug and play audio interface.
With switchable phantom power, you can connect dynamic or condenser microphones to the XLR or 1/4″ input. Use the Hi-Z connection for a guitar or bass, and connect line level devices through the RCA in/outs on the back.
Usually, both the mic and guitar inputs have gain level dials, making it easy to control your levels without having to use your mouse.
The adjustable headphone out is perfect for monitoring your mix.
The built in hardware reverb makes it easy to add effects without taxing your CPU. As a class compliant audio interface, you can connect the AudioLink USB to your iPad, Mac OS X, Windows 7, Vista or Windows XP (32 or 64 bit) machine and start recording right away – there is no need to install drivers.
Low latency ASIO drivers are available. Use the Apple Camera Connection kit to connect the AudioLink II to your iPad so you can record from a mic or guitar directly to your iPad!
When it comes to audio interfaces, you have several options that are designed to offer good sound quality, rugged durability, and also complete portability of your computer-based studio. With a USB audio interface, you just have to plug it into your computer, install DAW software, and your studio is ready to rock.