Best Audio Interfaces Under $100 (July 2020)
The best audio interfaces under $100 offer fantastic opportunities to record high quality audio from several sources with minimal latency.
Audio interfaces under $100 range from large ‘rack’ styled devices through to pocket sized incredibly compact and durable audio interfaces. Some come with full colour LED/LCD displays for input and output levels, others offer portability by being powered by batteries.
Whether you’re looking to record a keyboard, guitar or vocals, the best way to setup your recording station is to plug into your computer and make tracks via an audio interface. Low and zero latency models are considered to be the best audio interface options on the market.
Audio Interface Connection Types
Audio interfaces under $100 come with all sorts of connection types allowing you to connect to your computer via USB, thunderbolt & firewire to name a few. USB is the most popular and widely used mainly because it comes in many different forms ranging from USB Type-A, USB 2, & Micro USB through to the latest USB Type-C connections. Thunderbolt connections are the fastest. You’ll find these are used on some of the more modern and high end audio interfaces available on the market.
Audio Interface Price Range
The price of top quality audio interfaces has fallen dramatically in recent years. This is great news if you’re looking to get hold of a device that will give you a fantastic sound without costing the earth. This is because many brands have taken their previous generation audio interface models and repackaged them. Usually with some modern nuances to create a budget model of their current range. Don’t be put off by this, these audio interfaces under $100 are still great value. They might not have all the latest bells and whistles but they get the job done. Which means you don’t need to pay substantial amounts of money for them.
Depending on what you want to achieve, you’ll priorities different features when finding the best audio interfaces under $100 for your situation. If space is an issue you’ll look for a small to medium sized interface that provides you a great experience and end result while not taking up a large portion of your limited space. If you’re in need of a portable audio interface then you’ll probably rule out any rack mountable models. Instead you’ll be looking for small battery powered options.
Audio Interface Inputs & Outputs
Audio interfaces under $100 come with a range of inputs and outputs. Some will have line inputs, mic preamps, headphone outputs, mic inputs & many other inputs and outputs. Make sure the model you consider has what you need. If you’re kitting out a home studio then you’ll be looking for the best audio interface which features (such as phantom power) the inputs and outputs you need at an affordable price range.
Some of the best audio interfaces under $100 come with software as part of the package. Pro tools is a popular editing software that we’ve seen offered as part of audio interface packages in the past. Purchasing an audio interface that comes with a reputable editing software is a great way to justify paying more for your audio interface because you’re saving money elsewhere.
What is an Audio Interface
In essence an audio interface allows you to take audio signals and pump them in and out of your computer. The decision on which one is right for you simply comes down to a combination of your budget and how you like to work. Simplistic models exist that simply convert analog audio signals to digital audio signals on the way to your computer. This is because your computer will have software such as pro tools that is able to understand digital audio signals. Allowing you to layer, manipulate and refine the sound and then pump out to a speaker or amplifier. The audio interface will convert your digital audio signals back to analog signals on the way out of your computer. This way the speaker is able to play the sound for you to hear. These types of audio interfaces are known as AD/DA (Analog to Digital/Digital to Analog) converters
Whatever type of audio interface you’re looking for we’ve tried to find the audio interfaces with the best features. While still being considered a great audio interface under $100.
Behringer U-Control UCA222
- ✔ Ultra-flexible audio interface
- ✔ Stereo Headphone output with dedicated Level control
- ✔ High-resolution 48 kHz converters for high-end audio quality
- ✔ Compatible with Windows 10 and mac, no setup or drivers required
The Behringer UCA222 is a budget audio interface which is great for both recording and listening to music. Although this interface appears to be fairly cheap and simple, do not be fooled. This budget interface is known for exceptionally low noise level when recording.
In fact the sound quality even goes on to match more expensive models. The output is strong and fidelity is high too, even at high volume.
The UCA222 supports ASIO 2.0, which is a nice bonus too as this is not always common with audio interfaces in this price range. The interface works smoothly even without the installation of drivers.
This interface is on our list for a reason. Not only is it extremely good value, it’s also very portable which makes it a convenient choice for rehearsal recordings, on-the-fly recording and casual listening too.
Some other types of interfaces can be hundreds of dollars, but the USB ones are much more affordable. A great USB interface will be high in quality but you won’t have to break the bank to buy one.
One of the reasons people love the USB option is because they can easily be swapped between systems. A great interface will also be small and light so that it can be carried in your bag without weighing you down.
Between trips to and from the studio, interfaces can get knocked around a bit. It is important for them to be able to withstand some knocks and bumps without being damaged. The exterior should be made of a strong material.
Designed to work with your PC or Mac computer, the Behringer U-Control UCA222 is bus powered so it requires no external power supply or batteries. It doesn’t require any drivers. All you have to do is plug it in a free USB port and start recording.
The U-Control UCA222 allows you to connect pretty much any piece of audio gear to your computer. This allows for versatility in your recording.
Featuring two analog inputs, you can connect any line-level device, such as a tape deck or mixer. The two analog mono outputs allow you to connect studio monitors or active speakers. There is an additional S/PDIF optical output for direct analog to digital conversion. The headphone output has a dedicated level control which allows you to listen to the input and output.
Included in the purchase is a ton of free software so that you can get the most out of your recording. You will also get more than 50 effects plug-ins, and over 100 virtual instruments to allow you to turn your computer into a complete recording studio.
The high resolution 48 kHz converters provide excellent sound quality.
The rugged construction makes it durable enough to handle the conditions of life on the road. It is small and compact, making it easy to take along with you anywhere you want to record.
To top things off, the UCA222 is a fraction of the price of other popular interfaces.