Skip navigation

The 8 Best USB Audio Interfaces For Podcasters and Musicians 2022

Review and comparison of the best usb audio interfaces available online for musicians. I've included reviews, prices, and links to purchase each.



Are you looking for the best USB audio interface to use in your home studio? If so, you’ve come to the right place.

In this post, we will discuss the best USB audio interfaces on the market and how to choose the one that is best for your needs.

We will also take a look at the pros and cons of each interface.

So, whether you are a beginner or an experienced musician, read on to learn more about some popular USB audio interfaces available today.

USB Audio Interfaces: What Are They and What Do They Do?


A USB audio interface is a device that allows you to connect external microphones, instruments, and other audio gear to your computer.


This is important if you want to record high-quality music or vocals into your DAW (digital audio workstation).


Most USB interfaces also include built-in preamps, which allow you to control the level of input signals before they reach your computer.


This is important because it ensures that you get clean recordings without any unwanted noise or distortion.



The Best USB Audio Interfaces for Home Studios and Podcasters


So, what are some of the best USB audio interfaces on the market today?


Here are eight of our top picks:

  1. Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 3rd Gen USB Interface
  2. Universal Audio Volt 2
  3. RME Fireface 802 USB Audio Interface
  4. Native Instruments Komplete Audio 6 USB Audio Interface
  5. MOTU M6 6x4 USB-C Audio Interface
  6. Focusrite Vocaster Two
  7. Audient EVO 4
  8. M-Audio AIR 192x6 USB C Audio Interface


Whether you are looking for high-quality sound, connectivity options, or affordability, there are USB interfaces that are perfect for your home studio needs.


Let's dig in to the features and price of each model.



Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 3rd Gen USB Audio Interface

Focusrite-Scarlett-2i2


Features:

- 24-bit/192kHz audio resolution

- 2 x combo inputs with Scarlett mic preamps, line level and instrument inputs

- Class-leading conversion and sample rates up to 192kHz/24 bit

- Compact form factor for easy portability

- Includes Cubase LE DAW software for recording and editing audio


Price:

At around $150, the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 3rd Gen is one of the best options for home studio musicians who are on a tight budget. It offers professional quality audio at an affordable price, making it one of the best USB audio interfaces available today.


Get the Best Price for the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 3rd Gen at Amazon

Get the Best Price for the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 3rd Gen at Best Buy



Universal Audio Volt 2 USB Audio Interface

Universal-Audio-Volt


Features:

- 8 x combo inputs with UAD-2 QUAD Core processing

- Class-leading preamp technology and high-quality audio conversion

- Built-in DSP allows for transparent realtime tracking and easy mixing with zero latency


Price:

The Universal Audio Volt 2 is one of the most powerful and versatile USB audio interfaces on the market today. With 8 x combo inputs, built-in UAD quad core processing, and advanced preamps, it offers incredible quality audio and flexibility at a price starting around $169.


Get the Best Price for the Universal Audio Volt 2 at Amazon



RME Fireface 802 USB Audio Interface

RME-Fireface-802


Features:

- 24-bit/192kHz analog to digital and digital to analog conversion

- Class-leading low latency performance for recording, mixing, and monitoring

- Fully customizable headphone output that allows you to control the level and routing of multiple stereo signals

- Durable all-metal construction with optional protective carrying case available


Price:

The RME Fireface 802 USB audio interface is one of the best options for experienced musicians who need a high-quality audio experience. With 24-bit/192kHz AD conversion, low latency drivers, and advanced customization features, it offers professional audio quality and incredible flexibility at a price starting around $2000.


Get the Best Price for the RME Fireface 802 at Amazon



Native Instruments Komplete Audio 6 USB Audio Interface

Native-Instruments-Komplete-6


Features:

- 4 x analog inputs and outputs, 1 x headphone output

- Premium Class A mic preamps with phantom power for use with a wide range of studio mics and dynamic microphones

- Low latency performance, allowing you to monitor while recording without any distracting delays or dropouts

- Includes Steinberg Cubase LE DAW software for easy recording and editing of your audio projects


Price:

At around $200, the Native Instruments Komplete Audio 6 is one of the best options for musicians on a budget who are looking for high-quality home studio gear. With premium Class A mic preamps, low latency drivers, and Steinberg Cubase LE software included, it offers powerful audio quality and functionality at an affordable price.


Get the Best Price for the Native Instruments Komplete Audio 6 at Amazon



MOTU M6 6x4 USB-C Audio Interface

MOTU


Features:

- 6 x high-quality audio inputs and outputs with 24-bit/192kHz AD conversion for exceptional sound quality

- Low latency performance allows you to monitor your recordings in real time while still capturing audio accurately and without any dropouts or delays

- Rugged all-metal construction with optional protective carrying case for use on the go or at home in your studio


Price:

At around $400, the MOTU M6 is one of the best options for musicians who want powerful audio functionality at a great price. With its 6x4 audio interface, low latency drivers, and rugged all-metal design, it offers professional quality audio and portability at an affordable cost.


Get the Best Price for the MOTU M6 at Amazon



Focusrite Vocaster Two USB Audio Interface

Focusrite-Vocaster-Two


Features:

- 2 x high-quality microphone input channels with 48V phantom power, gain controls, and potentiometers for precise adjustment of audio levels

- Low latency performance allows you to monitor your recordings in real time while still capturing audio accurately and without any dropouts or delays

- Rugged metal construction for long-lasting durability in a variety of environments and conditions


Price:

At around $300, the Focusrite Vocaster Two is one of the best options for musicians who want powerful performance features at an affordable price. With its dual mic inputs, low latency drivers, and rugged all-metal design, it offers advanced sound quality and functionality that will meet the needs of even the most demanding users.


Get the Best Price for the Focusrite Vocaster at Amazon

Get the Best Price for the Focusrite Vocaster at Best Buy​



Audient EVO 4 USB Audio Interface

Audient-Evo


Features:

- 4 x high-quality audio inputs and outputs with 24-bit/192kHz AD conversion for exceptional sound quality

- Low latency performance allows you to monitor your recordings in real time while still capturing audio accurately and without any dropouts or delays

- Built-in compressor and limiter on the main output for increased control over your sound


Price:

At around $129, the Audient EVO 4 is one of the best options for musicians who want a professional audio interface that offers optimal flexibility and performance. With its advanced features like low latency drivers, built-in compression and limiting, and 24-bit/192kHz AD conversion, it is an excellent choice for musicians of all levels who want to take their music to the next level.


Get the Best Price for the Audient EVO 4 at Amazon



M-Audio AIR 192x6 USB C Audio Interface

M-Audio AIR


Features:

- 6 x high-quality audio inputs and outputs for exceptional sound quality and recording performance

- Low latency drivers allow you to monitor your recordings in real time, without any dropouts or delays

- Rugged metal construction for durability in a variety of environments and conditions


Price:

At around $169, the M Audio AIR is one of the best options for musicians who want a powerful and versatile audio interface that can keep up with even the most demanding recording needs. With its 6x4 audio inputs and outputs, low latency drivers, and rugged all-metal design, it offers advanced functionality and performance that make it the ideal choice for any musician looking to take their music to the next level.


Get the Best Price for the M-Audio AIR at Amazon



USB Audio Interfaces Frequently Asked Questions


How Many Headphone Outputs Do I Need?


When choosing a USB audio interface, one of the most important factors to consider is the number of headphone outputs you need. Typically, audio interfaces with more headphone outputs are best suited for professional musicians and music producers who work in larger studio environments, while audio interfaces with fewer or single headphone outputs may be better suited for solo musicians and hobbyists who do not need as many monitoring options. Other things to consider when choosing an audio interface include its overall sound quality, latency performance, and compatibility with different recording software and computer systems.


What Is Latency Performance?


Latency performance refers to the amount of time between when you play a note on your instrument or record a vocal take and when that sound actually reaches your headphones or speakers. In general, audio interfaces with lower latency performance are best suited for musicians who need to monitor their recordings in real time and respond quickly to changes in the recording. Factors that can affect latency performance include the type of computer system you use, your audio interface's driver software, and its overall design and construction.


How Do I Choose an Audio Interface That Is Compatible With My Computer System?


When choosing a USB audio interface, one of the most important factors to consider is whether or not it is compatible with your computer system. Different audio interfaces will work best with different types of computers and operating systems, so it is crucial to do your research ahead of time to ensure that the interface you choose will work flawlessly with the equipment you already have. Some other factors to consider include the interface's software requirements and whether or not it is compatible with your favorite recording software, such as Garageband or Pro Tools.


In choosing a USB audio interface, there are many different factors to consider in order to ensure that you get the best performance possible. Whether you need multiple headphone outputs for large studio recordings, low latency performance for real-time monitoring, or compatibility with your computer system and recording software of choice, there is an audio interface out there that will meet your needs and help take your music to the next level.


What is the Difference Between Mic Inputs and Line Inputs?


One of the key differences between mic inputs and line inputs on a USB audio interface is that mic inputs are typically designed to handle significantly higher input voltages than line inputs. This allows you to connect microphones with large diaphragms or other high-sensitivity devices, while also ensuring that there is no risk of distortion from excess voltage. In addition, many USB audio interfaces feature built-in preamps or instrument amps for added flexibility when recording vocals or instruments. Overall, whether you need mic inputs or line inputs will depend on your specific recording needs and preferences, so it is best to do some research ahead of time in order to find an audio interface that meets all of your requirements.


Do the Best USB Audio Interfaces Have An Instrument Input?


While not all USB audio interfaces have an instrument input, many of the best options on the market do include this feature. In general, having an integrated instrument input can be very useful for musicians and producers who want to record multiple instruments or vocals at once without needing to use additional hardware or software. If you are looking for a USB audio interface that has high-quality mic inputs and instrument inputs, as well as low latency performance and a wide range of other features, there are many great options out there to meet your needs. So be sure to do your research ahead of time and find the best USB audio interface for you!


What are Digital Inputs?


Digital inputs, also known as AES or S/PDIF inputs, are input ports that allow you to connect external audio sources to your USB audio interface via a digital signal. This can be useful for connecting digital devices such as synthesizers and electronic drums, or for recording from equipment like mixing consoles and sound cards. While not all USB audio interfaces will include digital inputs, those that do typically offer higher quality recording performance due to their direct connection with the source material.


Which USB Audio Interfaces Have a MIDI Interface?


A USB audio interface with a MIDI interface can be a valuable tool for musicians and producers who need to control external hardware or software instruments via digital messages. While not all USB audio interfaces have this feature, many of the best options on the market do include a MIDI input, which allows you to connect keyboards, drum machines, and other external devices using a standard 5-pin DIN connector.


What is a MIDI Interface?


A MIDI interface, or Musical Instrument Digital Interface, is a type of input port that allows you to connect keyboards, drum machines, and other digital devices to your USB audio interface. This can be useful for controlling external hardware or software instruments via digital messages, as well as for sending data back and forth between different devices via MIDI connectors. While not all USB audio interfaces have this feature, those that do typically offer higher recording performance due to their direct connection with the source material.


Which USB Audio Interfaces Have Two Headphone Outputs?


If you are looking for a USB audio interface that is suitable for recording multiple performers at once, then one with two headphone outputs may be the best option for you. Many of the best options on the market include this feature, as it allows you to easily set up a monitoring system that lets each performer hear their own mix. This can be especially useful if you work in a professional recording studio or need to record multiple musicians and singers simultaneously during recording sessions, as it ensures that everyone hears exactly what they need in order to perform at their best. So be sure to do your research ahead of time in order to find the best USB audio interface with two headphone outputs for your specific needs.


Can I Use Drum Machines With my USB Audio Interface?


If you are looking for a USB audio interface that can be used with drum machines during the recording process, then there are many different options out there to choose from. Many high-quality audio interfaces include digital inputs or MIDI interfaces that allow you to connect these devices directly to your computer, so you should be able to find one that meets your needs regardless of what type of equipment you typically use in your music production setup. So do some research ahead of time in order to find the best USB audio interface for connecting your drum machine or other devices with ease.


What is Zero Latency Monitoring?


Zero latency monitoring, also sometimes referred to as direct monitoring or zero downtime monitoring, is a feature that is commonly found in USB audio interfaces. This allows you to hear exactly what you are recording with no delay, so there is no need to worry about changes in the source material affecting your mix later on. This can be especially useful for musicians and producers who need to record their performances live, as well as for those who work in professional recording studios


What Are Dynamic Mics?


A dynamic mic, or dynamic microphone, is a type of audio recording device that is widely used in both professional and personal music production setups. This type of microphone uses a small diaphragm to capture sound from sources near the mic and convert it into electrical impulses that can be amplified by your USB audio interface. Many popular models are known for their high-quality sound reproduction, user-friendly design, and long-lasting durability.


What Are Condenser Mics?


A condenser mic, or condenser microphone, is another type of audio recording device that can be used with a USB audio interface. Unlike dynamic microphones, which use diaphragms to capture sound via magnetic induction, condenser mics use piezoelectric plates to convert vibrations into electrical impulses. This makes them ideal for capturing audio from sources that are further away or require more sensitivity, such as recording vocals and acoustic instruments. However, they typically require external power in order to operate, so it is important to make sure that your USB audio interface has this feature if you plan to use a condenser mic with it.


What is Phantom Power?


Phantom power, also sometimes referred to as plug-in power or phantom voltage, is a type of external electrical current that can be used to power certain types of audio recording devices. This includes both condenser microphones and certain models of dynamic mics, so it is important to make sure that your USB audio interface has this feature if you plan to use a condenser or dynamic mic with it. Typically, phantom power can be activated through your audio interface's settings or via a switch on the device itself, and most modern USB interfaces will support this feature.


What is a Mic Preamp?


A mic preamp, or microphone preamplifier, is a type of circuit that is commonly found in audio recording equipment and USB audio interfaces. This device amplifies the voltage of incoming signals so they can be more easily converted into electrical impulses by your computer. Depending on the specific design of your USB audio interface, you may also have access to additional controls and settings for your mic preamp, such as gain or impedance adjustment.


What is Direct Monitoring?


Direct monitoring, also sometimes referred to as no-latency monitoring, is a feature that is commonly found in USB audio interfaces. This allows you to hear exactly what you are recording with no delay, so there is no need to worry about changes in the source material affecting your mix later on. This can be especially useful for musicians and producers who need to record their performances live, as well as for those who work in professional recording studios.



***


Whether you are a musician looking to capture high-quality recordings of your live performances, or a music producer in need of a versatile piece of audio equipment, a USB audio interface is an essential tool that can help you achieve great results.


With a wide range of features, sizes, and price points to choose from, finding the best USB interface for your needs can seem daunting. In this guide, we will explore some of the best options available on the market today, as well as key considerations to keep in mind when shopping for one. Whether you are a beginner looking for an entry-level USB interface, or a professional looking to take your productions to the next level, we are confident that you will find the right fit with one of the models on our list.