Top 5 Audio Interfaces for Home Studios
What home recording studio is complete without a great audio interface? It’s the link between the physical instrumental world and the digital editing world. It can help you accurately listen to your music, track instruments and vocals, and even color your sound with the right preamps. Basically, it’s the cornerstone of all at-home producing as a musician!
Because it’s such an important piece of equipment, you want to choose the right one to fit your needs, style, and (of course) budget. Whether you’re a music producer, DJ, or singer/songwriter, here are the top five audio interfaces for the home studio.
Solid State Logic SSL 2+ (Top Choice)
Everyone loves the Solid State Logic (SSL) interface, and for good reason. They’ve been the go-to for cost-effective, high-quality recordings for years. Their latest offering is the SSL 2+, and it’s easily one of the best audio interfaces for home studios on the market today.
What sets the SSL 2+ apart from the competition (and the standard SSL 2) is its connectivity abilities. The SSL 2+ has four outputs — up from the two outputs in the standard SSL 2. The “+” means it has two extra outputs. You can use either the two 1/4″ or two RCA outputs to get your sound from the interface to your speakers.
In addition to the extra outputs, you’ll get a full MIDI I/O to create a great all-in-one studio hub for anything you might need to do. Just plug the USB into your computer, fire up your favorite digital audio workstation (DAW), and you’re ready to record!
As with all SSL interfaces, you’ll also get the ever-loved 4K button to add a little extra sheen to your microphone and acoustic sound. All these lovely features come with a price tag of around $300. It might be the most costly audio interface on the list, but it also provides the highest quality and most features that home musicians love.
PreSonus AudioBox GO (Best Budget Option)
When you just want something small and cheap that’ll still get the job done, the PreSonus AudioBox GO is hard to beat. It’s basically a small box with two ins (1/4” and mic/line XLR combo), two outs (dual 1/4″), and five knobs that control all the major functions:
- Main out volume
- Headphone volume
- Channel mix (x2)
You’ll also get a phantom power button to push a little extra juice to your condenser mic. It might not have all the features of some of the more expensive interfaces, but what more do you really need!?
With the low, low price of just $70, this little audio interface is great for beginners or recording artists who don’t need many inputs or fancy preamps. Even better, this budget-friendly interface also comes with PreSonus’ excellent DAW, but it also works with any other DAW you like best.
Looking for a powerful yet easy-to-use audio interface you can just set and forget? Then the Audient iD4 MkII might be for you.
The Audient iD4 MkII is a top-tier audio interface at an affordable price. It features a simple, sleek two-in two-out design with four control knobs to control gain on both inputs, monitor mix, and master volume.
For inputs, the iD4 MkII keeps it simple with one 1/4″ and one mic/line XLR combo input — perfect for singer/songwriters who need a mic and a guitar. It also features 48v phantom power to add a condenser mic. You can connect the interface to your computer with a USB-C cable that runs both the connection and the power for even more simplicity.
What puts this interface above the budget option is that the iD4 MkII is equipped with Audient’s powerful ASP8024-HE preamp to really add some magic to your sound.
The Audient iD4 MkII is a great audio interface if you’re looking for something with enough oomph to add that professional touch to your sound, but you also don’t want to mess with levels and effects every time you plug in. It keeps everything simple without sacrificing quality. You can pick up this device on Amazon for about $200.
The Steinburg UR12 USB Audio Interface might not be the most high-tech or beautiful audio interface in the world, but its quality construction and simple operation make it a go-to for singer/songwriters on the go.
The 159 x 144 x 46mm metal frame is compact enough to carry around with you and sturdy enough to take all the beats and bumps the road throws its way. Under all that armor sits one XLR mic input with optional phantom power and one 1/4″ input — just enough for a mic and a guitar.
Both inputs feed into a Yamaha D-PRE preamp to give you plenty of control over your tone right through the interface.
You can control the interface with three knobs on the front: one for the master gain and two to control the gain on each channel individually.
Where this little interface really stands out is its connectivity. It’ll work with just about any device, including both Mac and PC (even your laptop for musicians on the go). You can even connect to an iPad and get USB power with a separate micro-USB input.
If you need a simple, portable audio interface to handle the roughness of the road, you can grab the Steinburg UR12 for just $115 on Amazon.
Focusrite Scarlett 4i4 3rd Gen
If you need just a little more technical background, the Focusrite Scarlett 4i4 3rd Generation is a great option for any singer/songwriter. Instead of just one preamp, the Scarlett 4i4 features preamps on each of the two channels with up to 56dB gain for plenty of sound-shaping power.
To control the preamps, you’ll have the incredible Focusrite ISA transformer preamp emulation option (Air) to make the most of your sound before it even hits the DAW.
This audio interface has two mic/line/instrument XLR/quarter-inch combo inputs with gain controls and four TRS outputs to send the great sound all around your home studio. It also comes with a decent software bundle included in the purchase price, but it also works with any other DAW you choose.
You can find the Focusrite 4i4 3rd Gen on Amazon for around $200.
Find the Right Audio Interface for Your Home Studio
A great audio interface is the cornerstone of any home studio setup. It’s what connects your physical instruments to the digital audio workstation. Whether you choose an interface with preamps, effects, and tons of features or prefer something a bit more basic and sturdy, there are plenty of great audio interfaces available to fit any need or budget.
Are there any other audio interfaces you wish to add to the list? Please send us your comments below..
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