Best Audio Interface Of 2020
Posted: Apr 05, 2020
Multiple outputs are often useful if you would like to line up separate headphone mixes or send audio elsewhere for further processing.
You’ll typically find both XLR and 1/4-inch inputs on an audio interface, often combined into combo connectors. Many interfaces have a phantom power option, too, which is required to use certain microphones.
Some audio interfaces have MIDI I/O on them, which could prevent from having to shop for a separate interface for external gear. If you simply shall use a MIDI keyboard, though, remember that this might plug into one among your computer’s other USB ports.
- Kit out your studio with the simplest studio monitors
- Or inspect the simplest MIDI keyboard controllers
- Find your voice with the simplest vocal mics
Audio interfaces typically run over USB or ThunderBolt, and you initially got to confirm that the one you select will plug into your computer. We’re now beginning to see interfaces with USB-C connectors, but these can still plug into older USB ports with the proper cable or adapter.
Many are class-compliant, which suggests you'll just plug in and begin using them, and bus-powering may be a feature to seem out for, too. It’s also worth checking to ascertain if your interface has iOS compatibility if that’s important to you.
Most contemporary audio interfaces offer a low-latency recording option, which suggests you'll stay in time together with your project when you’re adding more tracks. Some interfaces also promise latency levels that are low enough to use effect plugins in ‘realtime’ on the input as you record, while others have had their DSP processing built into them.
In the end, the simplest audio interface for you'll a minimum of partly come right down to price, so you’ll be pleased to understand that our list of recommendations below covers a broad range. Read on to seek out out what we concede to be the highest audio interfaces on the market immediately.
The best audio interface if you would like a transportable powerhouse
Launch price: $199/£149/€199 | Connectivity: USB 2, Lightning, USB OTG | Audio resolution: 24-bit/48kHz | Analogue inputs: 2 | Analogue outputs: 2 | Digital connectivity: None | MIDI I/O: Yes
Works with mobile devices
Record two channels simultaneously
Usage issues when batteries are low
The iRig Pro Duo is the best mobile audio interface yet. It's got everything you would like from a two-channel audio interface (including MIDI, phantom power, direct monitoring, signal metering, combi XLR/Hi-Z inputs) and may be either battery- or mains-powered. the professional Duo also feels more robust than a number of its predecessors.
The system comes complete with plenty of cabling for connecting to your devices of choice, including MIDI breakout cables. One thing we did notice was that, because the batteries spent, the unit became less stable. This is, of course, only a minor gripe, but if you're out and about, remember to bring spares.
A powerful audio interface with the best connectivity options
Launch price: $599/£519/€599 | Connectivity: USB 2 | Audio resolution: 24-bit/192kHz | Analogue inputs: 4 | Analogue outputs: 4 | Digital connectivity: ADAT I/O and S/PDIF I/O | MIDI I/O: Yes
Loads of connectivity
Pricey compared to similar models
AudioFuse is a beautiful and portable Mac, PC and iOS-compatible interface with a raft of features. Despite its compact frame, there are many connectivities on offer. On the front end, you’ll find combi inputs and two fully independent headphone feeds. In turn, those can benefit both mini-jack and 1/4-inch plugs.
At the rear, there are speaker outputs for 2 pairs of monitors, line-level connectors, MIDI In/Out ports (which, thanks to size restrictions, are replaced by mini-jack connectors, which you’ll find within the box) and - for digital interfacing - both S/PDIF and ADAT In/Out. There also are inserts for inputs 1 and a couple of, allowing you to trace through hardware compressors or channel strips.
AudioFuse connects via USB 2, but USB connectivity goes further; Arturia has built a USB hub into it, providing three extra USB ports. AudioFuse provides a gorgeous and contemporary approach to USB audio interfacing with an excellent design, compatibility with an enormous range of possible audio sources, an excellent sound, and a highly tactile control set.
3. Universal Audio UAD Apollo Twin MkII
High-quality audio and DSP-powered plugins
Launch price: From $699/£600/€699 | Connectivity: Thunderbolt | Audio resolution: 24-bit/192kHz | Analogue inputs: 2 | Analogue outputs: 6 | Digital connectivity: Optical Toslink | MIDI I/O: No
Incredible audio quality
Superb UAD-2 plugins
Thunderbolt only at the instant
However a desktop-format 2-in/-6-out interface with 24-bit/192kHz capacities, the Apollo Twin MkII would be relatively invisible from the first were it not now black instead of silver. It connects to your Mac or PC via Thunderbolt (there’s no cable within the box), but it's to be powered from the wall. the rear panel and front edge house the inputs and outputs, while the highest panel centers on a satisfyingly oversized knob.
Also a DSP box for powering UAD plugin effects (you can choose between Solo, Duo, and Quad options), the Apollo Twin MkII features an equivalent game-changing Unison preamps as its predecessor, fed by the Mic/Line and Hi-Z ins. These enable a gradually expanding subset of UA’s classic hardware emulation plugins to be inserted directly into each input path.
This is a musically empowering tools/software hybrid that's fitted of elevating even the humblest of home and project studios to genuinely professional-quality heights, and positively one among the simplest audio interfaces you'll buy.
4. Antelope Audio Zen Tour
A high-end compact audio interface that guitarists always admire
Launch price: $1495/£1415/€1495 | Connectivity: USB 2 and Thunderbolt | Audio resolution: 24-bit/192kHz | Analogue inputs: 8 | Analogue outputs: 8 | Digital connectivity: S/PDIF, ADAT | MIDI I/O: No
Great, latency-free DSP FX
Only one compressor
Antelope don't tend to scrimp on the standard of its products and therefore the Zen Tour is not any exception. It’s very compact given what proportion functionality it offers and feels solid. it's a little but useful touchscreen that permits you access to all or any the essential functions of the unit, with the likes of input gains, headphone levels and talkback directly accessible using buttons on the front panel and therefore the large 'soft' knob.
At the front are two headphone outs, two re-amping outs and 4 lines/Hi Z inputs, all on 1/4-inch jacks. To the rear are four dual XLR/1/4-inch inputs, two pairs of monitor outs on 1/4-inch jacks, eight analog outs on a DB25, two RCA sockets for S/PDIF in and out, and influence connector and USB and Thunderbolt sockets. On the left-hand side are two pairs of ADAT ins and outs.
Once you've got the software installed on your computer and connected you're able to go. There are six amplifier emulations covering vintage to modern and clean to downright filthy. They sound great and, unlike some software emulations, have an excellent dynamic response. you furthermore may get an excellent range of EQs and one compressor.
If you would like a high-quality audio interface for the studio, rehearsals, and gigs you've got to seem at this. It sounds great and is supremely flexible. Certainly, one among the simplest audio interfaces for guitarists you'll buy.
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