Not all audio interfaces are created the same. You will need to look at a number of factors including the connection (such as USB or FireWire), amount of input and output connections you require, compatibility with your DAW software, and the size of the audio interface.
Native Instruments Komplete Audio 2
If you’re a solo producer or home recording enthusiast, the Native Instruments Komplete Audio 2 can be connected by USB cable and beautiful sleek black exterior.
While the the features are a bit limited, this unit provides the a budget-friendly option with decent latency. The rubber knobs feel absolutely great as well – which is a nice addition. If you want a great entry-level 2×2 audio interface, the Komplete Audio 2 should be your choice.
Audient iD4 – Best Budget Audio Interface
Audient’s lineup of audio interfaces provide some of the best value on the market. The Audient iD4 can be powered by USB cable only, making it a simple setup process for beginners.
The iD4 provides a two-input/two-output interface with a brilliant mic preamp. If you’re looking for a hassle free unit, definitely pick this one up.
Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 (3nd Gen)
The Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 is a great is a 2-in/2-out audio interface for artists or producers on a budget. It can easily be connected with a USB cable and provides impressive audio quality for the price, however some users have reported certain issues.
Focusrite Scarlett 4i4 (3rd Gen)
The Focurite Scarlette 4i4 supports Focusrite’s signature red colour and this audio interface can be powered by a (newer) USB-C cable.
The Scarlette 4i4 offers great value for money with many connectivity options including two mic/line/instrument inputs with gain, two line-level TRS inputs and four TRS outputs. This is a great choice for any budding producer or musician. The bundle includes Pro Tools, a top-shelf DAW.
Universal Audio Apollo Twin MKII Duo
If you’re looking for something in the higher-end league, the Apollo Twin MKII DUO provides the kind of quality that you require. The Apollo Twin MKII DUO can be connected to your PC or Mac via Thunderbird cable, keeping latency as low as possible.
What’s great about Universal Audio products is the DSP for their plugins – which works seamlessly and allow you to run plugins through the interface’s processor instead of your CPU.
While this might be an older unit, the Steinberg UR824 still provides the reliability you need in a professional environment. The UR824 has 8 microphone inputs and outputs, which is great for recording a full band or various instruments.
Do you really need an audio interface for music production?
Even for a home studio, it is recommended you purchase an audio interface. Recording directly into your computer or mobile device is possible, however it won’t provide the quality that you need. An audio interface will provide the clean, profesional sound that you require for music production.
Does an audio interface improve sound quality?
Yes! An audio interface will improve the sound quality of your computer. It’s also important to make sure the latency is as low as possible. When recording, make sure the environment has been tweaked for best conditions too.