Top 7 Best Audio Interfaces Under $200 (April 2021)

The Best Audio Interfaces Under $200 - 2021

The best audio interfaces under $200 offer fantastic opportunities to record high quality audio from several sources with minimal latency.

Audio interfaces under $200 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 $200 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 $200 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 $200 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 $200 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 $200 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 $200.

PreSonus Studio 24c 2x2 Image

PreSonus Studio 24c 2x2

  • ✔ Easy-to-use Mixer knob for low-latency direct input monitoring
  • ✔ High-powered headphone output
  • ✔ USB-C compatible powered 2x2 audio interface
  • ✔ Compatible With Windows 10 and Mac

The PreSonus Studio 24c 2×2 is their flagship 2-in/2-out low-latency audio interface.

PreSonus Studio 24c 2x2 - Read Review See The Latest Price On Amazon Now

From a physical standpoint, the interface is designed to look very sleek, with its black center chassis, surrounded by deep blue side compartments.

As for the functionality, it features 2 combination (XLR/TRS) inputs at the front of the unit, and five control knobs for general volume/mixer parameter changes.

As for the back of the interface, it has a MIDI input/output, which other cheaper interfaces do not have. Additionally, it has 2 main TRS outputs, alongside a phones TRS output. The unit is bus-powered and connects to both a Mac and PC via a USB-C cable.

Now, when it comes to latency, the company have said that the unit has a roundtrip latency of around 3ms, which is extremely low.

Overall, we think that readers who are looking for a 2-in/2-out interface, with the versatility to be able to plug in XLR or TRS into each port, as well as MIDI input and output capability and a phones output, will most certainly want to take a look at the PreSonus Studio 24c 2×2 interface. Not only does it provide a lot of functionality for an affordable price, but the latency levels are very low.

The Duet is a 2-channel FireWire audio interface that features the amazing sound quality that made Apogee Electronics famous. With control functions built directly into Apple’s Logic Pro, Soundtrack Pro and GarageBand software, Duet empowers you to create professional recordings effortlessly on your Mac.

With Duet, you can plug in guitars, keyboards, and microphones to record your music, or simply experience how much better your favorite tracks in iTunes sound. Duet is compact and powered by FireWire, so you can pack up your studio and go anywhere your music takes you.

Its dual, 1/4″ high impedance inputs allow you to combine and record your two favorite instruments, whether it be two guitars, one bass, one guitar, etc., simultaneously using your favorite Core Audio-compatible application. You can also capture vocals with two microphone inputs that have phantom power and 75dB of gain. Whether you’re noodling out new ideas, completing a personal tune, documenting a podcast, or recording a live performance, your new little buddy can handle it. The flexible breakout cables come with icons to make it easy to know what goes where, keeping everything in order, out of the way, and properly connected for maximum input and output, with minimal mess.

Duet’s bus-powered FireWire interface frees you from the traditional four-wall studio setting. So grab your laptop, find a spot where inspiration takes you, whether it’s in the solace of a park or in the echoey confines of a subway tunnel, turn it on, and start doing your thing.

If you don’t have Logic Pro, Soundtrack Pro, Garageband, don’t panic. Apogee’s includes it’s own Maestro software, so you’ll still be able to work with any Core Audio-compatible application. Maestro allows you to turn the Duet’s multifunction control knob into a one-click manager. Maestro will help you manage all of Duet’s capabilities and settings, including I/O level, source selection, muting, mic/instrument gain mode, assign MIDI function controls to the controller knob, assign meter display, and more. Speaking of meter display, Duet comes with LED I/O meters to help you monitor your levels for maximum effectiveness.

Duet is not only great for it’s input and interface functions, but it delivers amazing sound quality as well. Whether you’re listening to your iTunes collection or latest composition through powered speakers connected to the 1/4″ outputs or via the headphone jack, you’ll not be disappointed by the crystal clear, playback performance.

Mackie Onyx Producer 2.2 Audio Interface Image

Mackie Onyx Producer 2.2 Audio Interface

  • ✔ High-resolution 2 in x 2 Out 24-bit/192kHz recording
  • ✔ Bus-powered for easy mobile recording with no power adapter needed
  • ✔ Built-Like-A-Tank design to survive day-to-day abuse
  • ✔ Compatible with Windows and Mac

A hard-wearing 2-channel interface with high audio and build quality.

Mackie Onyx Producer 2.2 Audio Interface - Read Review See The Latest Price On Amazon Now

With high-quality Onyx mic press, balanced analogue connectivity and operation up to 24-bit/192kHz, the bus-powered Onyx Producer is more than capable of getting clean signals in and out of your DAW. There are two identical mic/line inputs with combination XLR/jack connectors. Each has a manual green backlit switch to select a Hi Z instrument, and there’s a global backlit switch for 48V phantom power.

Input signals can be monitored with zero latency using the Input/DAW Mix knob, and rounding off the front panel are a large Monitor level knob and headphone output with level knob. Round the back you’ll find a pair of 1⁄4-inch jacks for the monitor output, and also a pair of MIDI connectors (In and Out), which is very handy. Throw in the robust metal case and you’ve got a compact, workhorse device that should last for years. You get a DAW – Tracktion T7 – in the box as well.

The multitude of compact 2-in/2-out USB interfaces can be bewildering, not least because, for such a simple concept, there are a lot of variants and price points. 

Mackie’s latest units, the Artist 1.2 and Producer 2.2 (which we have on review), are at the simpler and more affordable end. Even so, with high quality Onyx mic pres, balanced analogue connectivity and operation up to 24bit 192kHz, they’re perfectly capable of getting clean signals in and out of your DAW. Throw in the robust metal case and you’ve got a compact workhorse device that should last for years.

The Onyx Producer 2.2 features two identical mic/line inputs with combination XLR/jack connectors. Each has a manual green backlit switch to select a Hi Z instrument, and there’s a global backlit switch for 48V phantom power. The unit itself is USB bus powered, and there’s no option to use an external PSU, which keeps things simple. Input signals can be monitored with zero latency using the Input/DAW Mix knob and rounding off the front panel are a large Monitor level knob and headphone output with level knob. Round the back you’ll find a pair of 1⁄4” jacks for the monitor output, and also a pair of MIDI connectors (In and Out), so the Producer 2.2 also doubles as a MIDI interface, which is handy.

The Onyx Producer 2.2 uses the built-in OSX Core Audio drivers and there’s a downloadable USB driver for Windows 7 or later. Once up and running you’ve got a bunch of green and green/red LED indicators (signal level, MIDI input activity and USB connection), so you can see at a glance what’s going on.

The unit is pretty compact and the layout self-explanatory. We particularly like the rubberized gain knobs as they’re easy to grab even though the knobs are quite small. The headphone output is also nice and loud. The unit has rubber pads on the bottom and this combined with its weight makes it nice and stable when you’re plugging up leads or adjusting settings. If you’re new to recording there’s also a bundled copy of Tracktion T7 with the DAW essentials plugin pack so you won’t need an additional DAW to get started.

So, any annoyances? First up, the Input/DAW Mix control influences both the headphones and Monitor output. Not a biggie, but the balances we need for headphones and monitors are often quite different, so if you’re recording someone else and want your own blend in the monitors, that’s not an option. Furthermore, staying on the subject of the Mix control there was also a bit of bleed through from the DAW output even when the knob was turned totally to Input. Again, not unusual in this sort of device, but worth mentioning.

Nevertheless, we think Mackie have done a pretty good job here, delivering a no-nonsense, robust interface, capable of excellent fidelity that you can still slip into your satchel. Bravo.

Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 Image

Focusrite Scarlett 2i2

  • ✔ Two high-headroom instrument inputs to plug in your guitar or bass
  • ✔ Record and mix at up to 24-bit/ 192kHz
  • ✔ Two balanced line inputs, suitable for connecting line-level sources
  • ✔ Air mode to give your recordings a brighter and more open sound

The Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 is, what Focusrite consider, “The world’s best-selling audio interface”

Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 - Read Review See The Latest Price On Amazon Now

Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 is an audio interface that is perfect for any musician or audio engineer. It is easy to use and easy to set up. It features two natural Scarlett preamp mics and the a class-leading sound quality that can be found with any of the whole Scarlett range. It also features a brand new instrument input for connecting a guitar or bass and also a MIDI input and output for connecting synths and controllers. This interface is an ideal choice for singer songwriters, podcasters, musicians, and anyone else who is looking for a simple way to record and produce music.

It is an audio interface that is designed to record instruments and vocals. It is a very affordable piece of equipment that will give you quality sound that will make you sound like you are in the recording studio. The Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 has two award-winning Focusrite pre-amps that have been designed to give you the highest quality sound. It also has a large LED display that will give you all the information you need to know about your recording without looking at the computer screen. The Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 will also give you high quality effects that will give your recording that professional touch.

Overall the Scarlett 2i2 is perfect for the beginner musician. It offers everything you need to record your instruments and vocals, and to get great sounding audio into your computer. It is a powerful tool that has everything you need to start recording your music.

Native Instruments Komplete Audio 2 Image

Native Instruments Komplete Audio 2

  • ✔ Flexible input options
  • ✔ Premium audio quality at 192 kHz and 24 bit
  • ✔ VU Meter for accurately adjusting levels
  • ✔ Compatible with mac and windows 10

The performance of the Komplete Audio 2 is as slick as its looks. Instead of 1 XLR and 1 jack input, the Komplete Audio 2 has 2 combi-XLR/jack inputs for more flexibility.

Native Instruments Komplete Audio 2 - Read Review See The Latest Price On Amazon Now

Komplete Audio 2 is a two-input, two-output design with two identical mic/line/instrument inputs. Connections are on space-saving combi XLRs with individual selector switches to select between line and instrument. 48V phantom power, meanwhile, is engaged globally via a single switch. As well as the inputs, the front panel includes a hardware monitoring balance knob (Input/Host) and headphone output with independent control.

The main output level is controlled from a large output level knob on the top panel. Here you’ll also find the input meters, alongside phantom and USB indicators. Round the back you’ve got the USB B connector, a pair of balanced outputs on TRS 1⁄4-inch jacks and a Kensington Security slot. The performance of the Komplete Audio 2 is as slick as its looks, and though the features are basic, it does its job admirably. And when you consider the excellent software bundle, it’s great value.

M-Audio AIR 2X2 Image

M-Audio AIR 2X2

  • ✔ Hi-Speed USB-C connection
  • ✔ Studio grade capture
  • ✔ XLR+1/4" TRS combo input
  • ✔ 5-pin MIDI in/out

M-Audio AIR 2X2 is one of the most affordable 2-in/2-out audio interface we've listed.

M-Audio AIR 2X2 - Read Review See The Latest Price On Amazon Now

If you are looking for a high quality audio interface, you should consider the M-Audio AIR 2X2. This device is a USB powered high quality device that can record up to 24 bit/96 kHz. It has two microphone preamps that are able to provide a clean, transparent sound that is free of any noise or hiss. It is compact and easy to use with a simple control panel for you to easily adjust your levels and settings. It can be used for recording, mixing, and even as a MIDI interface for your computer.

Our ears are incredible at picking up the smallest details in the sounds we hear. This makes it hard to get a good sounding recording from a computer with just internal computer speakers. The M-Audio AIR 2X2 is a USB audio interface that features a high-quality, 24-bit/96-kHz audio interface that connects your instrument, mixer, or microphone preamp to your computer. With the M-Audio AIR 2X2 you get the lowest possible latency for recording audio. You can also use the M-Audio AIR 2X2 to record a stereo signal from the computer to your mixer or audio interface.

M-Audio has been making high-quality audio recording devices and interfaces for many years. They are a trusted name in the industry and have been providing musicians and recording artist with high-quality products for years. However, their devices have always been expensive and out of reach of many musicians. The M-Audio AIR 2X2 is a 2 channel audio interface that sells for significantly less than the competition. It is a high-quality interface that is easy to setup and use. The AIR 2X2 will allow you to record audio into your computer from any external device.

Overall, the AIR 2X2 is a good product for the price and the price is good for the product. Two high quality preamps, 24 bit conversion, phantom power, and MIDI I/O are all features of this audio interface, which is a great value for the cost.

Focusrite Scarlett Solo Image

Focusrite Scarlett Solo

  • ✔ High-performance converters
  • ✔ Includes Pro Tools
  • ✔ One of the best performing mic preamps in the Scarlett range
  • ✔ Quick start tool to get up and running

This interface is emblazoned in an eye catching red body paint that is sure to add a nice touch to any studio setup.

Focusrite Scarlett Solo - Read Review See The Latest Price On Amazon Now

The Focusrite Scarlett Solo is a 2nd generation USB interface that offers a compact and highly flexible audio interface. One with a large number of input and output options for home recording or professional studio applications. The Solo can be seen as a smaller and sleeker version of the Scarlett 2i2, which is another Focusrite interface. It offers two mono input channels and one stereo input channel with a maximum input level of +22dBu. The device also features a 24-bit/192kHz resolution and a sample rate of 44.1 kHz.

It is a compact, easy to use USB audio interface that delivers the quality and performance you'd expect from Focusrite. Focusrite Scarlett Solo delivers the quality and performance you'd expect from Focusrite. It has an excellent-quality, 24-bit/192kHz AD/DA conversion, as well as the same natural sound quality and low latency as the rest of the latest Scarlett range. It is a USB audio interface that delivers professional quality sound. Take it with you wherever you record, because it works with all major DAWs on Mac and PC.

Scarlett Solo is the perfect entry-level interface for home studio recording. It gives you the same class-leading sound quality and digital conversion as the rest of the latest Scarlett range, with a host of additional features designed to help you get the best from your microphone, instrument or line-level signal. Overall the Scarlett Solo is Focusrite's most affordable interface, designed for musicians who want to record studio quality audio on a budget. An amazon best seller well worth considering.

BEHRINGER UMC 404HD Audiophile Image

BEHRINGER UMC 404HD Audiophile

  • ✔ Audiophile 24 - bit/192 kHz resolution
  • ✔ Midas designed mic preamplifiers
  • ✔ Compatible with popular recording software
  • ✔ 4x4 USB 2.0 Audio/MIDI interface

Easily one of the most versatile audio interfaces you can find on a tight budget.

BEHRINGER UMC 404HD Audiophile - Read Review See The Latest Price On Amazon Now

The Behringer UMC404HD is a great audio interface when you want to record high quality audio. This interface allows you to record up to four tracks simultaneously. You can plug in your microphone into the XLR input or you can plug in your guitar or bass directly into this device. This audio interface has a built-in mixer and you can set the volume of each channel individually.

The BEHRINGER UMC404HD is the perfect interface for your computer-based home studio. The UMC404HD is a low-noise, high-headroom, true analog-to-digital/digital-to-analog converter. It delivers pristine 24-bit/96kHz audio quality and plenty of connectivity. Two combo mic/instrument inputs with XLR/TRS connectors and a hi-Z input on the front panel are complemented by two balanced TRS outputs. The UMC404HD has both digital (S/PDIF) and analog (RCA) outputs and comes with a copy of Tracktion 2 Music Production Software for video-free recording and editing.

It provides four studio-quality microphone preamps with phantom power and excellent RFI rejection, plus four balanced analog outputs with Level control for the ultimate in recording flexibility. The UMC404HD offers a complete professional recording studio at a budget price. A powerful DSP (digital signal processor) engine works with new digital converters for superior audio quality. With its ultra-low latency, you can capture audio with no delay, allowing you to record and monitor with software effects in real time.

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