12 Best USB Audio Interfaces in 2017
Due to the development of high-tech gear, home studios have become more common than they have ever been. With the right equipment, you can produce outstanding results that would have required significant investments in the past.
If you want to enhance your home studio by equipping it with the best USB audio interface, stay with us: you’ll find our buying guide useful.
Without a suitable, high-quality audio interface, you won’t manage to reach your highest potential. With the right gear, the quality of the audio content you produce is first-class; plus, you can enjoy super power and amplification. So, in this article we plan on highlighting the top 12 audio interfaces, and some basic guidelines to bear in mind while shopping.
Table of Contents
Top 12 USB Audio Interfaces Comparison
|Design||Name||Ease of Use||Sound Quality||Rating (1-5)|
|1. Peavey USB Audio Interface||5/5||5/5||4.5|
|2. Steinberg UR12 USB Audio Interface||5/5||5/5||4.3|
|3. TASCAM US-2×2 USB Audio Interface||5/5||4/5||4.2|
|4. Roland QuadCapture Audio Interface||5/5||5/5||4.1|
|5. TASCAM US-1200 USB Audio Interface||3/5||5/5||4.1|
|6. BEHRINGER U-PHORIA UM2||4/5||5/5||4.0|
|7. PreSonus AudioBox USB 2×2 Audio Interface||3/5||4/5||4.0|
|8. Mackie Onyx Blackjack 2×2 USB Recording Interface||4/5||4/5||4.0|
|9. Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 (2nd Gen) USB Audio Interface with Pro Tools||5/5||5/5||4.0|
|10. Apogee ONE Audio Interface for iPad & Mac||3/5||5/5||3.9|
|11. PreSonus Studio 192 26×32 USB 3.0 Audio Interface and Studio Command Center||3/5||5/5||3.9|
|12. M-Audio M-Track 2X2M C-Series||3/5||4/5||3.4|
Features to Look For
Considering that there are so many audio interfaces on the market, pinpointing what features the best USB audio interface is significant.
It is implied that each product delivers a performance that is directly proportional to its price. Still, paying for a feature that you don’t intend to use isn’t the best practice either.
- Multi-Use Inputs – The most inexpensive alternatives of USB audio interfaces will present at least one input. Still, you may find between two and four inputs in most basic models.
From a general mindset, the more inputs, the better; but you should also consider a number of signals you intend to record at once. For example, if you plan on recording vocals and instruments in tandem, you should choose an interface with at least two inputs.
Still, if you intend on recording drums, bear in mind that your device should have at least four inputs.
- MIDI Capability – MIDI keyboards have grown in popularity, and they are here to stay. And there’s a reason for that: they are easy to use, edit and really flexible. They are excellent especially if you plan on filling out a recording mix with some additional elements.
On that note, if you intend on using your interface in this way, you should make sure that it has this feature; otherwise, you’ll be required to purchase a separate MIDI interface.
- Mic Preamps – The mic preamp enables one to increase the low-level mic signal in order to attain the right working level. That is accomplished by amplifying the voltage power of the incoming electrical signal. That significantly enhances the signal.
In plain English, the preamp alters the way in which the mic signal sounds. So, it’s up to you to establish if you want a mic preamp to make your recording more colorful or you’re into keeping it neutral.
- Construction – The structure of the device is also important; it has a direct impact on the durability of the audio interface. A high-quality product is well-made and will assist you in your recording plans for a while.
- IOS Compatibility – Professional and amateur musicians alike have started utilizing iPads for capturing life performances, since it’s more convenient than using a laptop. If you fit into the same category, perhaps you should select a device that is compatible with your iPad.
Top 4 Best USB Audio Interface Reviews
This USB audio interface by Peavey is a reliable product that delivers a consistent performance.
We ran various tests before creating this guide, and it performed excellently every single time. It works wonderfully for its designated use. It eliminated the annoying 60 cycle hum we all hated, which was great.
We liked that this audio interface is user-friendly, which means you won’t encounter many challenges while using it. That often happens with various devices. Not with this one, though. Regarding the USB connection, we concluded that it is dependable and works consistently.
All things considered, we recommend this device for the following reasons: it is qualitative, reliable, inexpensive, and does what it is created to do.
If you equip your home studio with this audio interface, you won’t be sorry. We tested this product, and its superior quality convinced us to recommend it to you.
To begin with, it is featured by no less than six inputs (4 with preamp) as well as four outputs. That enables you to get most of your work done, as a road musician or at your home studio.
It looks really durable as if you could walk over it and it would still perform. Of course, we didn’t do that, but we were pleasantly surprised by this element.
MIDI and iPad compatibility are equally important, particularly if you’re a producer and you work on the road, now and then.
The Tascam US-2×2 USB audio interface is a decent entry-level device that incorporates fantastic sound quality and rugged construction.
It features a built-in MIDI and has iOS device support. Therefore, the device is a great versatile alternative, which is fitted for desktop recording as well. The iOS support is a practical feature which enables you to record using an iPad.
The MIDI interface facilitates the playing of software instruments while utilizing an external controller.
After testing the quality of the sound for days, we established that there is a consistency in the recording quality. The design is user-friendly as well, in comparison to other models we have tested that are more challenging to use.
The manufacturer paid maximum attention to the design of the device, which is extremely practical. The frames of the product are featured by sturdy aluminum, protecting the device at all times.
Setting up this audio interface is a breeze; we didn’t face any challenges whatsoever. This is really important if you’re a novice.
Sound wise, we couldn’t have been more impressed either. The sound is crystal clear, and preamps don’t show any noise. It definitely surpassed our expectations.
Moving on to the next aspect – construction, this device is well-built, and the design appears practical. It also has MIDI capability if you’re interested.
If we were to balance the characteristics of the device and its price, we could say that the price quality ratio is just right.
The best USB audio interface cannot match the needs of every user. We have carefully reviewed each of the products we added to our buying guide, but now it’s up to you to establish which one of them will fit your needs and preferences.