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Best Portable Audio Interfaces Around

Top 3 Best Portable Audio Interfaces Around (September 2021)

The Best Portable Audio Interfaces Around - 2021

The best portable audio interfaces offer fantastic opportunities to record high quality audio from several sources with minimal latency. Portable audio interfaces don't have to be low quality. Today some of the best portable interfaces are very high quality. However as with most technology, combining high quality with portability usually leads to the device being quite costly.

Portable audio interfaces range from table top devices that can be carried in a backpack, 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.

Portable Audio Interface Connection Types

Portable audio interfaces 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 Type-A, 2.0, & Micro USB through to the latest 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.

Portable 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 portable audio interfaces 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 one.

Depending on what you want to achieve, you'll priorities different features when finding the best portable audio interfaces for your situation. If space is an issue you'll look for a portable 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 portable battery powered usb audio interface.

Portable Audio Interface Inputs & Outputs

Portable audio interfaces 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 portable audio interfaces 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 portable audio interface.

M-Audio M-Track 8X4M Audio Interface Image

M-Audio M-Track 8X4M Audio Interface

  • ✔ Very well known audio interface manufacturer
  • ✔ Compact audio interface
  • ✔ Sleek black interface with metal chassis
  • ✔ Portable

An 8-channel audio interface built into an elegant, sleek metal chassis with black and silver trim.

M-Audio M-Track 8X4M Audio Interface - Read Review See The Latest Price On Amazon Now

The M-Audio M-Track 8x4M is an 8-channel audio interface, built into an elegant, sleek metal chassis, with black and silver trim. It looks the part, but how does it sound?

Well, it boasts low-noise crystal preamps and high-quality A/D converters, which give it that premium-quality sound.

M-Audio have been sure to only use the best internal circuitry, with the unit having a roundtrip latency of around 2.59ms, which is extremely low.

The unit records at 24-bit/192kHz, and come with a large software suite, which includes a lite edition of Pro Tools, Ableton Live Lite and much more (all shown above in the features section).

As far as the unit’s connectivity is concerned, it has all of the basics which include XLR, TRS, and MIDI input/output (all shown in detail within the technical specs section).

Overall, the M-Audio M-Track 8x4M is definitely a great unit for those who want premium-quality sound. However, we don’t see how it tops the formerly spoken about Focusrite Scarlett 18i8 (3rd Gen).  None-the-less, the decision is of course, entirely up to you!

Compatibility
  • Mac & PC
  • Supports all major DAWs
Features
  • Very well known audio interface manufacturer
  • Compact audio interface
  • Sleek black interface with metal chassis
  • Portable
  • Low-noise crystal preamps
  • Near to zero latency (2.59ms roundtrip)
  • Software included:
    • Pro Tools, Ableton Live Lite, Eleven Lite, AIR’s Creative FX Collection and an AIR Instrument plugin suite.
  • Warranty: 1 Year Manufacturers Warranty
Technical Specs
  • USB Type C connectivity
  • MIDI input/output
  • 4 XLR/TRS combination inputs (on the back)
  • 2 TRS inputs (on the front)
  • 2 TRS inputs (on the back)
  • 2 TRS headphones outputs (on the front)
  • 4 TRS outputs (on the back)
  • Supports all major DAWs
  • 24-bit/192 kHz resolution
  • 48v Phantom Power
Pros
  • Well known brand
  • Low latency times (2.59ms)
  • Impressive technical specifications
  • Portable
Cons
  • No ADAT/SPDIF Connectivity

Apogee One Image

Apogee One

  • ✔ Built-in microphone
  • ✔ Usb 2.0 connection for Mac
  • ✔ Die Cast aluminum chassis
  • ✔ Direct monitoring

Make no mistake, this audio interface is fantastic.

Apogee One - Read Review See The Latest Price On Amazon Now

Apogee has been making the world's finest audio interfaces for nearly 20 years. From the original Duet to the new One, the Apogee family has expanded to include a product for every budget and application. The Apogee One is a USB 2.0 Hi-Speed audio interface with the same sound quality you're used to, at a price that won't break the bank. Studio-quality microphone preamplifiers, ultra-low noise preamps, crisp AD/DA conversion and a total lack of coloration make One ideal for recording vocals, acoustic instruments, electric guitar, drums, and more. The Apogee One is ideal for musicians, songwriters and producers who want to record in their home, project studio or professional studio.

Being a simple, elegant interface, the Apogee One can be used with a variety of Mac and Windows computers. It has a single microphone/instrument input, a single headphone output, and a generous mixing knob that allows you to adjust the amount of your instruments and vocals in the final mix. It's everything you need to record professional-quality tracks at home or on the go.

The Apogee One features two high-quality, Class A XMAX microphone preamplifiers. These have been considered the industry standard for sound quality in recording for over 30 years, and they're found in some of the best studios in the world. This device offers a simple way to record professional-quality music on a computer.


Roland Rubix24 Image

Roland Rubix24

  • ✔ MIDI In/Out ports
  • ✔ Extensively shielded, low-noise design
  • ✔ 2 low-noise mic preamps with XLR combo jacks
  • ✔ Compatible with mac, pc and iPad

The Roland Rubix24 is an audio interface which is really designed for recording and mixing purposes.

Roland Rubix24 - Read Review See The Latest Price On Amazon Now

The Roland Rubix24 is an audio interface which is really designed for recording and mixing purposes. It has 2 inputs and 4 outputs. This is more than enough for most home studio recording setups.

Other features include direct monitoring and phantom power, which can be used to power condenser microphones. There are also handy indicators which allow you to monitor your input levels and avoid peaking.

In early 2017, Roland debuted the Rubix line. The Rubix 22, 24, and 44 may not be very exciting to look at, but they are smart choices for up-to-date, mid-range audio interfaces. The Rubix 24, in particular, hits the sweet spot while offering just the right amount of functionality. This is a typical 2-in, 4-out USB interface that’s also class compliant with Apple gear and features MIDI In/Out ports. It handles 24-bit, 192kHz audio and has on-board compressor and limiter effects.

The selectable headphone channel assignments lets you create a separate monitor mix, while the loopback recording feature lets you capture the interface’s main stereo audio output without extra cables or routing. This way, you can easily record live streaming audio from your computer. The Rubix 24 comes with Ableton Live Lite, which is enough of the famous DAW to get you started, but not enough to really appreciate its capabilities.


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