PreSonus gear has a very positive reputation around the equipment world and the AudioBox is a favorite interface among many. Lastly, a headphone jack on the back although I usually like these on the front, but oh well. It goes up to 63 dB which is pretty high for its size. You can merely mount it and use it as a mic while having an audio interface at hand at the same time. What most people do is use a converter cable which can be plugged in to an external microphone, MIDI keyboard or controller, etc.
- Choosing your audio interface.
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Check this one out as it gives us a bit of a different spin to audio interfaces. Sleek and stable. This interface by Lexicon Pro has a lot of positive reviews and for good reason. They were a top pick in our best VST plug-in guide for a reason.
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The sound quality is very clear and reliable in terms of latency reduction. The resolution goes up to 48 kHz so in terms of conversion it is solid for the price. The Behringer UCA is a great model for those who want only the essentials at a very affordable price. View Results. What is an audio interface? How to choose your audio interface When it comes to the best audio interface, it really depends on a few factors.
What is your budget? Most of these are relatively affordable, but you can always go higher for some powerful features. We tried to grab a few from each price-point to give you options in your search. What type of connectivity? How many inputs and outputs will you need? This is something to really take into consideration not only for now but the future as well.
A lot of musicians who record multiple instruments at once such as with a band need numerous inputs and outputs to handle all of the equipment. Do you need a few microphone inputs?
Additional USB ports? A USB audio interface gives you the flexibility to record multiple tracks at once using practically any microphone available. Yes, I have done this, and yes, it sounded terrible. USB audio interfaces are available in a variety of configurations, with some models capable of recording 16 or more inputs at once. For this guide, we focused on interfaces that allow you to record two separate inputs simultaneously, sometimes referred to as 2x2 interfaces. We also tested the Tascam 4 x 4 and the Focusrite 6i6 , but ultimately we decided that these comprise a separate category of interfaces that we will consider testing further at a later date.
All the interfaces we tested have a standard USB Type-B connection, and the package includes a cable with Type-B on one end and the common computer-style Type-A on the other. I enlisted Will Marshall , a Brooklyn-based multi-instrumentalist, to help me evaluate the design and sound quality of each interface in his personal studio.
We recorded two audio samples on each interface. The first was Will playing the viola, which we recorded using a Studio Projects B-1 condenser microphone, which requires phantom power. Unboxing, connecting, and adjusting each interface in succession made me hyper-aware of the small design differences between the models. After our session, I exported the recordings from each interface as WAV files and sent them to a group of Wirecutter AV staffers to evaluate their overall sound quality.
Why You Need An Audio Interface
With no knowledge of which recordings came from which interface, they ranked the recordings based on their overall quality. When examining the results, we found no consistently identifiable differences in the quality of each recording. To verify our subjective impressions, Brent and I ran a quick spectrum analysis with pink noise on every model. Each measured flat, corroborating our assertion that there were no obvious sonic differences between the different interfaces.
I also made sure that each interface would function with an older iPad, provided you purchase the correct adapters. The Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 is our favorite USB audio interface for musicians who are starting to get serious about recording their work. With its logically arranged inputs and adjustment knobs and its intuitive clip lighting, the 2i2 is easy to set up and use to record vocals, acoustic instruments, or electric instruments, no matter which digital audio workstation you choose to use with it.
The built-in microphone preamps provide power for condenser mics, and the software interface is compatible with macOS, Windows, and iOS. The arrangement of inputs and knobs on the Scarlett 2i2 is simple and intuitive. The small slider at the front switches between recording with a microphone or with an instrument input.
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This was one of the best implementations of the vital clip light of all the interfaces we tested, where in other devices the light was small or hard to see. The package also includes a few instrument and effect plug-ins, which are pretty fun to mess around with while working on a project. The back of the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2. Photo: Sarah Kobos.
In our blind listening tests, sound quality did not prove to be a distinguishing characteristic of any of the USB audio interfaces. There was no consistent agreement among our panelists as to which interface recording sounded the best, and our pink-noise tests corroborated the lack of difference between interfaces. The Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 is an excellent audio interface, but there is one slightly annoying omission.
It has the same iOS, macOS, and Windows functionality and portability as the 2i2, and its preamps have enough power to support condenser mics. Overall, the AudioBox iTwo is pretty easy to use. The inputs and adjustment knobs are clearly labeled; you can easily tell which gain knob adjusts input 1 versus input 2. To switch between recording a line instrument and a microphone on each input, you just push the button labeled with an electric guitar.
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None of these things should get in the way of a successful recording session, though. And we appreciated how, like the Focusrite 2i2, the AudioBox iTwo places its phantom power button prominently on the front of the interface.
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Portability is not an issue with the AudioBox iTwo; it weighs just under a pound and a half, about the same weight as the 2i2. PreSonus has designed its two mobile digital audio workstation apps for the iPad. CaptureDuo is free, but it limits you to recording up to two tracks in each project. This offers you a lot of flexibility in how you want to use the interface with an iPad, as long as you have the right adapters. The front of the AudioBox iTwo. The Native Instruments Komplete Audio 6 has all the features we like on the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2, including clear clipping lights, macOS, Windows, iOS support, and powerful microphone preamps, but it adds a built-in MIDI interface and two extra balanced line inputs and outputs.
It also has a unique design that places all of its monitor lights on top, making it a little easier to see all the information you need to adjust the interface than it is with other interfaces. Unlike every other interface we tested, the Komplete Audio 6 separates the lights from all their related knobs.
This may sound unintuitive, but we found that it made the interface easier to set up and adjust on the fly.