The Best Audio Interfaces of 2018

As you’ll know, an audio interface is one of the most important elements of any audio production process.
The sole responsibility of this piece of equipment is to allow you to connect your device, whether that’s your guitar, your microphone or any other instrument that you care to name, into your computer and then converts these analog signals into a digital format that you can do whatever you want with.

So, if you’re working towards producing your next song or production and you’re using instruments, you’ll want to make sure that you’re recording and converting them to the highest possible quality, which in turn means you’ll need the best audio interface for the job.

The market’s a big place which is why we’ve done all the hard work for you and simplified your list into some of the best interfaces out there, allowing you to find the perfect model for you and your audio production needs!

Let’s dive straight in;

PreSonus AudioBox 96 Studio USB 2.0 Recording Bundle

To kickstart our list, we’ve chosen one of the most complete audio interface sets on the market, ensuring that you have everything you need in an all-in-one package. Whether you’re a beginner who is looking to get started, or a professional looking for a solid piece of kit that does the job, this bundle pack is ideal.
Regarding the interface itself, you’ll be able to enjoy all the benefits of the AudioBox USB 96, which means you can plug it straight into any of your computers or channels racks using a high-speed USB cable, while the front prides itself on that all-important MIDI input.
What really sets this bundle package apart is the fact that it also includes an m7 microphone (with built-in studio condensing facilities) and the cables you need to make it work. There’s also a pair of HD7 studio-quality monitoring headphones and the patented Studio Magic Plugin suite, ensuring everything works with your existing system and VST.
Don’t have a DAW program to work with? No worries. This bundle even comes with your own copy of Studio One Artist recording and production software, meaning this truly is everything you need to get set up and started on your audio production journey.
Pros:

  • A complete all-in-one suite with everything you need
  • Computer software (DAW) and Plugin suite
  • Can be used as an external sound card
  • Compatibility with iPhones and iPads

Cons:

  • Some installation problems with Windows 10 computers
  • Cables can break with excessive use

Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 (2nd Gen) USB Audio Interface

If you’re looking for an audio interface that really pushes the boat out when it comes to functionality, compatibility, and quality, there may not be any need to look any further than the Focusrite 2i2 USB audio interface.
While this vibrant Scarlett housing is unforgettable and guarantees to look great in your home or studio setup, don’t let its beauty put you off since inside this box is an audio powerhouse! Firstly, you’ll be able to enjoy all the benefits that come with four analog inputs, each one designed to handle any kind of instrument you find a need to record.
You’ll also find two Scarlett mic preamps, complete with seemingly infinite gain settings (too much fun to play with) and a standard ¼-inch jack for studio monitors. That’s in addition to the dedicated headphones output which also has its own gain control.
In terms of functionality, this audio interface doesn’t fail to exceed expectations. This box can convert and handle sample rates all the way up to a suitable 19,200hz (24-bit recording) and has a truly impressive frequency response of 20hz all the way through to 20,000hz, which is more than enough for you to capture that sound you’ve been looking for in the quality that you deserve.
However, the fun doesn’t stop there.
With every purchase, you’ll be able to enjoy the added benefits of Pro Tools, a software bundle pack that includes everything you need. This pack includes the Focusrite Creative Pack, Ableton Live Lite, Softube Time, Focusrite’s patented Plug-in Suit and 2GB of Loopmasters samples to download. Phew, that’s a lot of production opportunities right at your fingertips. However, while many reports claim the drivers cause problems on Windows computers, it runs flawlessly on Macs.
Pros:

  • Outstanding recording and converting capabilities
  • A wealth of outputs and inputs for all your instruments
  • All the software you could ever need
  • Compatibility with all leading DAW suites, including Logic Pro X

Cons:

  • Not ideal for Windows users
  • Can be a learning curve for new users with all the features available

Audient iD4 USB Audio Interface Open Box

Audient is a leading name in the audio interface markets and has been around for decades. With this latest model, the iD4 USB, these years of worth of experience become clear. Settling nicely in the mid-range price bracket, this audio interface is ideal for both beginners and professionals alike.
However, don’t let the affordable price tag throw you off; the quality you’ll receive out of this interface is outstanding. With this lightweight and high condensed desktop interface, you’ll be able to enjoy two dedicated inputs and outputs, as well as a console mic preamplifier and JTEF instrument input, all backed by high-performance converters.
This allows the interface to record in full 24-bit quality with a range up to 9,600hz. When it comes to playing back your audio, you’ll be able to reap the benefits of a Class-AB Headphone Amplifier with a very handy dual-output setting.
The hardy and incredibly durable metal case, that’s designed to last for years to come, you’ll also find the leading iD ScrollControl Mode for advanced control settings over your recording and converting sessions, as well as Zero Latency Monitoring thanks to the built-in Monitor Mix&Pan feature. There’s even a USB port with means you can plug in any of your USB-enabled devices, including your iPad, iPhone, or even your Android device.
With your purchase, you’ll receive everything you need to get off the ground, including all the drivers and software necessary for both your Windows and Mac computers. You can even operate your audio interface from your iOS device!
With every purchase, you’ll also receive a bundle of software and plugins which equals a value of over $600.
Pros:

  • Affordable for professionals and beginners
  • Two input/two output channels
  • All software and drivers included
  • Compatible with Mac and Windows systems

Cons:

  • May not have enough channels for bands or multi-instrument recording
  • Limited recording frequency compared with other interfaces

RME Fireface UFX USB 2.0 High-Performance Audio Interface

In need of a super-powerful, high-end audio interface which will be able to handle anything you throw at it? Turn your attention to the RME Fireface Audio Interface. This incredibly heavy-duty audio interface is what the professionals use, so if you’re a beginner, you might want to move to a simpler interface on this list.
With the Fireface, you’ll be able to bask in all the benefits that an outstanding 60 channels of audio provides. That breaks down into 30 input channels, and 30 outputs along with the added bonus of being able to use all 60 simultaneously.
This can be broken down again into 12 analog channels, 18 digital channels which can all come together at the same time to be recorded on up to 30 unique tracks. Although this is by far one of the most expensive audio interfaces on this list, you get what you pay for in terms of functionality and performance.
All the channels operate up to the market-leading 192kHz quality with an outstanding dynamic playback range of 118dBA, including the multiple headphone outputs that are available. You can even use any of the microphone channels as an analog or digital conversion channel, allowing you full control over your recording or performing sessions.
Despite the many features that this audio interface provides, it’s still one of the most lightweight solutions available, ensuring you can take it with wherever you go, or you can keep it tidily in your home or studio environment.
Of course, as you would expect from a state-of-the-art audio interface, this model is compatible with any type of advanced remote control that you might have and comes with all the drivers and software you’ll need to get it up and running effortlessly on your Mac or Windows computer.
Pros:

  • Extremely reliable build that will last years to come
  • 48 sample latencies
  • Absolutely minimal background noise and interface

Cons:

  • Expensive yet professional solution
  • Not ideal for beginners

Over to You!

As you can see, there are many audio interfaces out there that are suitable for all kinds of budget and experience level.
Whether you’re recording at home and looking for something to get you started, or a professional producer who needs a high-performance audio interface to keep up with your requirements, there’s an option for each of you.
Be sure to take the time to find out exactly what your requirements are and what you need from your interface before buying so you can make sure that you’re making the perfect purchasing decision for you!

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