If you want to set up a home recording studio, buying a good audio interface is a must.
An audio interface allows you to get sound in and out of your computer, so it’s an essential tool for every home studio.
To help you choose the right one, we’ll show you the best products on the market right now.
We’ll tell you all about their main features and functions so you can decide which audio interface suits you best.
Without further ado, let’s take a look at the best audio interfaces for your home studio!
1. Universal Audio Apollo Twin X – Best audio quality
Universal Audio Apollo Twin X is hands down one of the best audio interfaces for home studios out there.
It’s available in two formats: Duo and Quad, named for the amount of DSP processing chips they possess.
So, the only difference between the two Apollo Twin X interfaces is in the strength of the processors.
Both interfaces come with powerful features, and they have everything you need for world-class audio conversion and music production.
Compared to the original Apollo Twin, Apollo Twin X is the next level for many reasons – for instance, it has increased dynamic range and ultra‑low THD.
Also, it allows you to record through preamps from Neve, API, Manley, and more, with near‑zero latency.
Its front face has a large knob used for volume control of monitors, headphones, and input gain.
And its buttons can be used for phantom power, muting, and other handy features.
All in all, if you’re looking for a reliable audio interface to upgrade your home studio, you can’t go wrong with Apollo Twin X interfaces.
They will provide you with a spacious, organic sound and make your music production process more professional as well as enjoyable.
2. Audient iD4 MkII – Best on a budget
Audient iD4 MkII is another great option for anyone starting out with music production
In fact, this popular audio interface is an excellent choice for beginners as well as experienced producers.
But it’s also a fantastic budget-friendly option – compared to some other interfaces on this list, it’s very affordable.
Also, Audient iD4 MkII offers great value for money.
It features a mic preamp (complete with phantom power for using condenser mics), an instrument-level DI for plugging in guitar or bass, and a smart scroll wheel that allows you to tweak settings in your software.
Audient iD4 MkII is also very convenient – it’s powered via USB-C and, with Apple’s camera connection kit, and it’s compatible with an iPhone/iPad.
All things considered, if you’re looking for an inexpensive audio interface for your home studio, Audient iD4 MkII is a top choice.
3. Focusrite Scarlett Solo (3rd Gen) – Best for beginners
Focusrite Scarlett Solo is another great budget-friendly option.
This eye-catching audio interface features 1 mic input (XLR), 1 instrument input (1/4″ TRS), and 2 line outputs (1/4″ TRS).
In essence, Focusrite Scarlett Solo provides all the basics that will allow you to plug in your piano, guitar, and microphone and start recording at home.
It comes with Ableton Live Lite, Pro Tools First Creative Pack, Red Plug-in Suite, and Focusrite Plug-in Collective access.
The interface is also quite simple, so it’s ideal for beginners.
That being said if you’re just starting out with music production, Focusrite Scarlett Solo might be a perfect audio interface for you – it’s easy to use, and it’s quite affordable.
Plus, it looks cool.
4. Audient Evo 4 and 8 – Best compact audio interface
Made by well-established British manufacturer Audient, the Evo series of audio interfaces are reliable, well-constructed, and compact.
Audient Evo 4 features two combi mic/line inputs and intelligent mic preamps that set their own levels with Smartgain.
The interface is also beginner-friendly because its controls are very easy to navigate.
It comes with powerful features such as Smart Touchpoints, JFET Instrument Input, and class-leading converters.
And it’s compatible with Mac, Windows, and iOS.
The Audient Evo 8 interface is more expensive, but it allows two people to monitor with studio headphones.
The Evo 8 is a professional audio interface for recording music at home or on the go, featuring high-quality microphone preamplifiers, a loopback function, smart gain, and other handy features.
Finally, the Evo series will provide you with a nice, clean sound that will allow you to record your songs in a professional way.
5. Behringer U-Phoria UMC202HD – Best for versatility
Behringer U-Phoria UMC202HD is a well-built and flexible audio interface that will certainly meet your needs.
Thanks to the easy setup, it’s a good option for seasoned producers as well as beginners.
If you want to record at home, this popular audio interface will help you bring the best out of your music.
Thanks to its top-class Midas-designed mic preamps, you can record clean vocals right to your computer-based DAW.
The preamps include +48 Volt phantom power for condenser microphones and studio-grade 24-Bit/192 kHz converters.
And it’s compatible with Windows XP, Vista, 7-10, as well as Mac OS.
All in all, Behringer U-Phoria UMC202HD offers great value for price, and it will meet your needs regardless of your level of experience and goals.
6. SSL 2+ audio interface – Unique SSL sound
With the SSL 2+ audio interface, you’ll get that recognizable SSL sound and great monitoring and recording quality.
This audio interface also comes at a good price, so you won’t break the bank either.
The interface is well-built and easy to navigate, so it’s suitable for all levels of experience.
It comes with 2 Independently controllable headphone outputs, 2 mic/instrument inputs, and 2 Monitor outputs.
And a +48v option allows the connection of both condenser and dynamic mics.
That said, the SSL 2+ audio interface is flexible and versatile, and it’s a good choice for anyone looking for an audio interface with a good reputation.
7. Presonus Studio 24c – Best for streaming
The Presonus Studio 24c is an excellent choice for producers and singers who want to dive into different music and sound projects.
The Presonus Studio 24c is very versatile, and it’s amazing for recording anything from speech to music.
It provides everything you need for recording, tracking, and streaming.
It features MIDI connectivity to the back of the unit and the Universal Control software which makes it more flexible when routing audio between different applications.
The Presonus Studio 24 generally offers great value for money.
And you won’t be disappointed, regardless of what you intend to use it for.
8. Audient iD24 – Best for flexibility
If you’re looking for a reliable audio interface for beginners, Audient’s iD range of interfaces offers products that are well-built as well as eye-catching.
And another Audient product we recommend is Audient iD24.
It’s a 10in/14out interface with two of Audient’s reputable 8024 Class-A mic preamps.
This fresh-looking model also has a front-mounted JFET-based instrument input and two stereo pairs which can be assigned as Main and Alt monitors.
And thanks to its flexible software-driven routing options and tactile top panel, you can use it for any type of recording with ease.
The iD24 is ideal for beginners as well as experienced music producers.
It certainly offers good value for money.
9. Solid State Logic SSL 12 – Best for budget recording
Solid State Logic SSL 12 offers good value for money.
In fact, Solid State Logic is one of the best options for quality budget recording.
This affordable audio interface provides great sound and low noise.
It also provides numerous routing options, it’s bigger than other SSL options, and it also offers extra connectivity.
It features four XLR combo mic/line inputs with high-gain SSL-designed mic preamps, including a +48v option for using condenser microphones.
Since it comes with four balanced outputs and two sets of headphone outs, Solid State Logic SSL 12 is well-rounded and convenient.
It’s also very easy to use, and it’s an ideal audio interface for a small studio.
10. MOTU M2 / M4 – Best for beginner studios
We hope our list of the best audio interfaces for home studios helped you find what you were looking for.
But if you’re on a budget, we have another suggestion – MOTU M2 / M4.
This beginner-friendly audio interface is a popular choice for home recording studios because it’s affordable and well-built.
Its main features include 2 combo inputs, 2 line outputs, stereo headphone output, MIDI In/Out, phantom power, power switch, and USB-C functionality.
And it comes with MOTU Performer Lite, Ableton Live 10 Lite, Bundled Loops/Sounds
All in all, if you’re looking for a cheap yet reliable audio interface that will help you in your music production journey, you should definitely consider getting a MOTU audio interface.
How to Choose an Audio Interface?
Every musician and producer who wants to record music and listen back to them needs a good audio interface.
The audio interface links together all the tools you use to input and output sound, and it’s required to connect an instrument to your computer.
In other words, audio interfaces allow musicians to record any audio into their computer or smart device.
That said, if you want to make your music production easier and more efficient, you should invest in an audio interface.
But what should you look for in an audio interface, and how to choose the best audio interface for your home studio?
How many inputs and outputs do you need?
First of all, you should choose an audio interface based on how many outputs and inputs you need for your project.
If you’re a solo musician or producer and you’ll use one instrument or mic at a time, then one or two inputs will do just fine.
But if you plan to record a full band, then you’ll need an interface with multiple inputs.
Also, if you want to use the interface to produce music in a DAW, you’ll probably need a few outputs to connect your studio monitors and headphones.
So, this depends entirely on your goals and musical needs.
Different types of inputs and outputs
Another thing you should think about is the type of inputs and outputs you need for your studio.
Most audio interfaces feature both XLR and 1/4-inch inputs, and they are combined into connectors that allow you to plug mics, guitars, and synths into the same input.
Also, if you want to incorporate a MIDI controller or keyboard into your workflow, make sure your audio interface also features MIDI in/out connectivity.
Some interfaces also offer a phantom power option, which is necessary if you plan to use condenser microphones.
Phantom power is a way of sending the DC electrical current required through a balanced XLR cable – this way, there’s no need for bulky power supplies.
How to connect an audio interface?
There are different ways you can connect your studio interface, including:
Now, most audio interfaces can connect to your computer by USB or Thunderbolt.
In most cases, you can just plug your interface in and start using it, while some interfaces come with extra software.
And since most of them are bus-powered, you won’t have to plug a mains power supply into them.
What is low latency recording?
Many top-rated audio interfaces offer low-latency recording.
And this means that these interfaces allow you to stay on time with your project when you’re adding more tracks.
So, a low latency audio interface has a built-in ADC (analog to digital converter) that converts an analog signal to a digital signal so your computer can store the sonic data.
Best audio interface brands
When choosing the best audio interface for your recording studio, you should think about your musical needs and goals.
However, it’s also good to opt for a trusted brand.
Generally, some of the most popular audio interface brands in the world right now include Audient, SSL, Focusrite, Native Instruments, Steinberg, and Universal Audio.
All of these brands offer well-built audio interfaces for all levels and applications.
That said, you should browse different products and choose an audio interface that fits your preferences, goals, and budget.
What about DAWs?
DAWs are a different story, but if you need a quick suggestion about what to get for your home studio, you should take a look at the following products and brands: Ableton Live, Pro Tools, FL Studio, GarageBand, Steinberg, PreSonus.
You should take your time to browse and choose the right DAW. We’ve also got a guide on the best DAWs.
After all, a DAW is one of the essential pieces of music production equipment, as they’re used for recording, mixing, and mastering music.
With a good DAW and the right audio interface, you’ll be able to record and produce in an efficient and professional way.
And in this day and age, it’s possible to set up an affordable home recording studio that will allow you to make music that meets industry standards.
Best Audio Interfaces – Final Thoughts
Choosing the right audio interface for your home studio is crucial.
And that’s why we hope our list of the best audio interfaces helped you narrow down your list.
Once you get an interface that meets your needs, you’ll be ready to record and produce without hassle.
What is the best audio interface for audio quality?
The Universal Audio Apollo Twin X is often considered one of the best audio interfaces in terms of audio quality. It offers exceptional sound reproduction and professional-grade audio processing capabilities. The Apollo Twin X features high-resolution converters, pristine preamps, and onboard DSP (Digital Signal Processing) for real-time UAD plugin processing. This combination allows for capturing and processing audio with utmost clarity, detail, and sonic fidelity. With its reputation for top-notch audio quality, the Universal Audio Apollo Twin X is a highly regarded choice among professionals and enthusiasts looking to achieve the best audio recording and playback experience.
Do expensive audio interfaces sound better?
Expensive audio interfaces often offer advanced features, higher-quality components, and improved signal processing capabilities. While price alone does not guarantee better sound quality, higher-end audio interfaces tend to provide more precise and accurate audio reproduction. They may have better analog-to-digital and digital-to-analog converters, low-noise preamps, and enhanced circuitry, resulting in a cleaner and more transparent sound. However, it’s important to note that the perceived improvement in sound quality may also depend on the specific recording setup, the quality of the source material, and the listener’s discernment. Therefore, while cost can be an indicator of better performance, it is not the sole determinant of audio quality.
Does it matter what audio interface you have?
Yes, the choice of audio interface does matter in the overall quality of your audio recordings. An audio interface serves as the crucial link between your computer and the analog world, responsible for converting analog audio signals into digital data and vice versa. The quality of the audio interface can impact factors such as sound fidelity, signal-to-noise ratio, latency, and overall audio performance. A good audio interface will provide clear and accurate signal conversion, low latency for real-time monitoring, high-quality preamps, and sufficient connectivity options. It plays a significant role in capturing and reproducing audio with clarity, detail, and minimal distortion. Therefore, selecting a suitable audio interface for your recording needs can significantly impact the quality of your recordings and overall audio experience.
Do I need an audio interface for home recording?
While it is possible to do some home recording without an audio interface, having one can greatly enhance the quality and versatility of your recordings. An audio interface serves as the bridge between your recording equipment (such as microphones, instruments, or MIDI controllers) and your computer. It provides essential functions like analog-to-digital and digital-to-analog conversion, preamps, and connectivity options.
An audio interface offers several advantages for home recording. It ensures better sound quality by providing high-quality converters and preamps, reducing latency for real-time monitoring, and offering more precise control over recording levels and input/output options. It also typically provides better compatibility with professional recording software and allows for recording multiple channels simultaneously.
While it is technically possible to record using the built-in sound card of a computer or a USB microphone, the audio quality and flexibility may be limited. Therefore, for those seeking higher-quality recordings and more control over their sound, investing in a dedicated audio interface is generally recommended for home recording setups.
How many inputs and outputs do I need?
The number of inputs and outputs you need will depend on factors such as the size of your recording projects, the number of musicians or instruments you plan to record simultaneously, and whether you will be incorporating external hardware into your setup. For example, a solo artist recording vocals and guitar may only require a few inputs, while a full band recording drums, guitars, vocals, and more will need a larger number of inputs to capture each instrument individually. Similarly, if you plan to use external processors or hardware effects, you’ll need additional outputs to accommodate those connections. Assessing your specific recording needs will help determine the ideal number of inputs and outputs for your audio interface.
What’s the best audio interface for streaming?
The Presonus Studio 24c is often considered one of the best audio interfaces for streaming. It offers a combination of high-quality audio performance and convenient features specifically designed for streaming applications. The Studio 24c provides pristine audio quality with its high-resolution converters and low-noise preamps. It offers a compact and portable design, making it suitable for streaming on the go. The interface also includes MIDI connectivity, headphone outputs with independent volume control, and direct monitoring options for real-time audio monitoring without latency. With its reputation for reliability and streaming-friendly features, the Presonus Studio 24c is a top recommendation for those looking to enhance their streaming audio quality.
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