Best USB Audio Interfaces iMore 2021
There is a growing demand and appreciation for quality content. And the best time to invest in an excellent USB audio interface for your home or commercial studio rig is now. These units connect to both Macs and PCs, offer excellent sonic power, and sufficient input/output options for an array of musical instruments. We have done the legwork, and here's our round-up of the best USB Audio interfaces for absolute beginners and seasoned audio creators.
- Focus: Focusrite Scarlett 2i2
- Premium Build: Steinberg UR242
- Budget: Behringer U-Phoria UMC202HD
- Magic on the Move: PreSonus Studio 192 Mobile
- A Legend: RME Fireface UCX
- Future Proof: M-Audio AIR Audio Interface
- The Mac Champ: Tascam US-4x4
- Input Auto-Sensor: Roland OctaCapture USB Audio Interface
Focus: Focusrite Scarlett 2i2Staff Pick
The third generation Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 is an iconic USB audio interface with exemplary features. It has dual instrument input ports with sufficient headroom and two mic preamps with switchable air mode to give you the freedom to record both vocals and guitar acoustics. This USB audio interface has premium converters (24 bit / 192 kHz), so you can record, mix, and play your audios in studio quality.
Premium Build: Steinberg UR242
Steinberg is a household name in the international music industry. The UR242 audio interface comes with four in and two out USB 2.0 ports making it an all-round workhouse with exceptional audio input and output. Build to standard by Yamaha engineers, the audio interface packs 24-Bit/192 kHz converters for pristine audio. You will enjoy creating beautifully detailed and transparent sound.
Budget: Behringer U-Phoria UMC202HD
You don't have to settle for mediocre audio quality even as a beginner on a tight budget because the Behringer takes your input seriously. This value-packed audio interface features a Quality 2-channel USB 2.0 recording interface, 24-Bit/192 kHz resolution audiophiles for quality audio recording. It has dual-stream I/O compatible with Windows XP and Mac OS X or higher.
Magic on the Move: PreSonus Studio 192 Mobile
The PreSonus Studio 192 Mobile USB 3.0 audio interface Features a compact design packed with sonic excellence, flexible connectivity, and genius mixing controls. This unit produces superior sound quality thanks to its digital audiophiles operating at 192 kHz and a 118-dB digital conversion for the flawless conversion of analog signals, perfection for creators on the move.
A Legend: RME Fireface UCX
RME is a renowned brand in the music and audio production industry. The Fireface UCX is a continuation of RME's legacy that is packed to the brim with all the essential and professional connections for a studio recording session. RME really worked magic in fitting a ton of the latest technology into a 19-inch sound beast without sacrificing a single bit of phenomenal sound quality.
Future Proof: M-Audio AIR Audio Interface
The M-Audio is a world-class interface and a perfect fit for a home studio. Featuring a polished metallic chassis with an elegant volume knob, It creates supreme 24-bit/192kHz sound quality. Included are standard USB and USB-C connection cables for connecting to your Mac or PC. The interface combines high-speed USB connectivity and a dedicated balance knob for latency-free recording sessions.
The Mac Champ: Tascam US-4x4
The Tascam US-4x4 is built to target beginner music and audio content creators. The USB interface features an easy-to-use design with stunning sound delivery. Mic preamps are significant determinants of sound quality, and the interface packs some high-quality ultra-HDDA microphone preamps for both vocal and stereo recording. It's plug-and-play for Mac OS X and iOS devices.
Input Auto-Sensor: Roland OctaCapture USB Audio Interface
The OctaCapture boosts eight high-grade inbuilt mic preamps with XLR inputs and independent phantom power. At the push of a button, you can turn on the AUTO-SENS feature, which automatically captures the playing instrument and sets the right recording level for each. Enhanced with VS Streaming technology, the interface is incredibly stable with low latency.
Our top picks
USB audio interfaces are a must-have for any home or commercial studio, especially in this day and age where USB connectivity is the order of the day. Even better, USB interfaces directly connect to both Macs and PCs, with only a select few requiring you to install drivers. The iconic Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 remains our best USB audio interface. It uses a third-generation microphone preamplifier with an air function option so that your vocals and instruments sound as natural as possible.
For beginners, the Tascam US-4x4 is such an excellent option to get you started with simple set up and easy to use controls. When you are short on cash but need to create stunning audio files, the BEHRINGER-U-PHORIA-2 has your back. You don't have to comprise your audio quality to fit the bill, BEHRINGER takes your input seriously.
We may earn a commission for purchases using our links. Learn more.