Best Portable Audio Interfaces Around

Top 10 Best Portable Audio Interfaces Around (January 2022)

The Best Portable Audio Interfaces Around (January 2022)

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.

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.

The Best Portable Audio Interfaces Around Buyers Guide (January 2022)

  • 1. Antelope Audio Antelope Zen Tour
  • 2. RME Audio Interface (BABYFACEPRO)
  • 3. M-Audio M-Track 8X4M Audio Interface
  • 4. IK Multimedia AXE I/O
  • 5. Apogee One
  • 6. iZotope Spire Studio
  • 7. Audient iD4
  • 8. Native Instruments Komplete Audio 6
  • 9. Zoom UAC-2
  • 10. Steinberg UR242
Antelope Audio Antelope Zen Tour Image

Antelope Audio Antelope Zen Tour

  • ✔ 24-bit, 192 kHz audio and Antelope’s signature flawless conversion
  • ✔ Guitar amp modeling and effects processing with virtually 0 latency
  • ✔ Touchscreen control panel
  • ✔ 32 channels via Thunderbolt and 24 channels on USB

If you want a high-quality audio interface for studio, rehearsals and gigs you have to look at this.

Antelope Audio Antelope Zen Tour - Read Review See The Latest Price On Amazon Now

The Antelope Audio Zen Tour is a portable USB Audio Interface that contains Antelope's award-winning 24-bit / 192 kHz Analog-to-Digital converters and Digital-to-Analog converters, as well as Zero Latency Monitoring technology, making it the go-to interface for traveling musicians, DJs or anyone who is on the road. The Zen Tour is an interface with performance, versatility and ease of use unsurpassed in the industry. Antelope's innovative design eliminates the need to make complex choices and trade-offs. With the Zen Tour, you get it all. Streamlined control and simple operation is further enhanced with exclusive Plug-And-Play presets, which are optimized for the most popular audio recording and live performance applications.

As a compact USB audio interface that includes microphone preamplifiers with adjustable gain, headphone amplifiers. As well as an advanced DSP mixer. The Zen Tour is a complete solution for recording a band, singer/songwriter, or solo musical performance. The Zen Tour's input channels are loaded with premium-grade components that are hand-picked from the Antelope Audio sound bard for their sonic purity and transparency.

The Zen Tour has an extremely powerful yet highly intuitive design that makes recording and mixing extremely easy. It is the perfect choice for recording musicians, vocalists, and sound engineers. It is designed with the professional musician in mind, who needs to capture audio in the most straightforward way possible.


RME Audio Interface (BABYFACEPRO) Image

RME Audio Interface (BABYFACEPRO)

  • ✔ Extremely portable
  • ✔ Bus-powered or mains powered
  • ✔ Premium quality product
  • ✔ Pricey when considering input/output capacity

Ultra portable and a customer favourite

RME Audio Interface (BABYFACEPRO) - Read Review See The Latest Price On Amazon Now

The Babyface Pro by RME is one of the most portable audio interfaces that we’ve featured on the list, besides from the Apogee Duet of course.

Despite the unit’s size, it has a range of connectivity ports, including XLR inputs/outputs, Line, MIDI & ADAT inputs/outputs, making it very versatile for those who require several input/output types.

Additionally, the unit is housed within an aluminum chassis, and runs on either bus-power or an external power supply… All of which is totally up to yourself.

Not only have RME created a well-built audio interface, but they’ve especially prioritized their efforts on the internal circuitry, with it featuring the latest generation of low latency AD/DA converters, in combination with RME’s ‘Steadyclock’ technology, which helps further reduce noise, helping create a noise-free, clear output sound.

Overall, with all that being said, the RME Babyface Pro is ideal for those who want a portable audio interface, with a wider selection of inputs/outputs than the similarly sized Apogee Duet.

Compatibility
  • Mac & PC & iOS devices
  • Supports all major DAWs
Features
  • Highly reputable brand
  • 24-channel mobile solution
  • A very portable audio interface
  • Aluminum chassis for effective protection
  • High-quality internal circuitry for low-latency
  • Includes software
    • RME’s TotalMix FX
  • Warranty: 2-Year Manufacturers Warranty
Technical Specs
  • USB 2.0/3.0 connectivity
  • 2 XLR inputs
  • 2 XLR outputs
  • MIDI input/output
  • ADAT input/output
  • 2 headphone line outputs
  • 24-bit/192 kHz resolution
  • 20 Hz – 35 kHz Frequency Response
  • Power adapter or bus-powered
  • 48v Phantom Power
Pros
  • Premium quality product
  • Extremely portable
  • Bus-powered or mains powered
  • Very portable
  • 2-year manufacturers warranty

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

IK Multimedia AXE I/O Image

IK Multimedia AXE I/O

  • ✔ 3 different preamp circuits to choose from
  • ✔ Amp output for easy re-amping
  • ✔ Seamless amplitude integration
  • ✔ A professional 2 in/5 out audio interface and controller

IK Multimedia has one of the most well-regarded software guitar amp systems attainable in AmpliTube.

IK Multimedia AXE I/O - Read Review See The Latest Price On Amazon Now

IK Multimedia has one of the most well-regarded software guitar amp systems attainable in AmpliTube. They have decided to combine that software technology with a new premium audio interface packed full of features perfect for any guitarist. It’s called the AXE I/O — well, of course, it is!

  • 2 in / 5 out 24-bit, 192 kHz audio interface with 2 mic preamps, 2 instrument inputs
  • ACTIVE / PASSIVE pick-up selector matches your guitar’s pickups for ideal gain levels
  • Z-Tone adjustable impedance control coaxes a wider range of tones from your instrument
  • PURE and JFET instrument input channels keeps your sound totally clean or adds subtle saturation
  • Low noise AMP OUT for easy re-amping without the need for additional direct boxes or splitters
  • Register to receive a massive software bundle with AmpliTube 4 Deluxe, Ableton Live 10 Lite and 10 T-RackS mixing plug-ins

AXE I/O is a 2 input, 5 output audio interface in a ruggedized rack style box. On the input, there’s a “Z-Tone” impedance adapting circuit that matches up to your pickups. It is however, switchable between passive and active. The fully discrete input circuit has a choice of Pure or Class A JFET. These take you from transparent to tube-like at the throw of a switch. The unexpected 5th output is an “Amp Out” designed to go straight to a guitar amplifier. You can process your recordings through external gear rather than committing them to your project.

All the guitar amp and cabinet modeling are done in the included AmpliTube 4 Deluxe. With over 140 ultra-accurate models of guitar and bass amps, cabs, pedals, mics and more. You can dial in what you require via the front preset knob. On the back are two pedal inputs for expressive control that can be mapped directly to the software. They’ve even integrated a guitar tuner directly on the front panel.

And, like the Sono, it will do all the monitoring as well as the audio recordings. The AXE I/O also has a handy MIDI In and Out port for connecting keyboards or floorboard controllers.


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.


iZotope Spire Studio Image

iZotope Spire Studio

  • ✔ Very unique design
  • ✔ Record, edit, mix and share tracks from your phone
  • ✔ Professional microphone with award winning sound processing technology
  • ✔ Compatible with Android, iOS and iPad

The iZotope Spire Studio is an audio interface designed with the traveling musician in mind.

iZotope Spire Studio - Read Review See The Latest Price On Amazon Now

The Spire Studio is a top-of-the-line, premium desktop interface designed for creating amazing sounding recordings with the utmost fidelity. You can record, edit, and share your music with low-latency performance, thanks to the latest USB technology in iZotope's compact interface. The iZotope Spire Studio is a mobile recording setup that combines the functionality of a portable audio interface with the processing power of a full-featured DAW. Spire Studio's transformer-based audio path offers you a broad range of analog and digital recording and monitoring options.

This is a smaller interface that fits in a backpack, but it offers the same sound quality as many larger, more expensive interfaces. It also offers the ability to create up to eight channels of audio. The Spire Studio is a great entry-level interface that provides you with all the necessary tools for recording great-sounding tracks. It has two XLR or balanced TRS inputs for your microphones, as well as two XLR/TRS combo inputs that support both mic and line level signals. You can also add your own headphones for monitoring with dedicated input controls.

The iZotope Spire Studio is the most complete audio recording solution available for audio enthusiasts, podcasters, musicians, and composers. It is a USB-powered audio interface with two condenser microphones that create natural-sounding, studio-quality recordings. It is an uncomplicated powerhouse designed to get the best quality from your microphones, instruments, and other gear.

The Spire Studio from iZotope is a new breed of audio interface, designed for musicians who want high-quality audio, intuitive operation, portability and a stunning, eye-catching design. It can be used with a wide variety of recording and DAW (digital audio workstation) platforms, including Pro Tools, Logic Pro, Studio One, Reason and Ableton Live. The Spire Studio is compatible with most Mac and PC software. A fantastic looking device with all the performance needed for most home and portable recording studios.


Audient iD4 Image

Audient iD4

  • ✔ Zero-latency monitoring with monitor mix and pan
  • ✔ iD4’s Monitor Pan - create a balanced headphone mix
  • ✔ Monitor Mix feature lets you monitor a blend of both inputs and playbacks
  • ✔ Clean, punchy and musical character

The iD4 is a serious upgrade for any personal project studio or mobile setup.

Audient iD4 - Read Review See The Latest Price On Amazon Now

The Audient iD4 is a compact and powerful 2-in/ 4-out USB audio interface that is perfect for producers and musicians looking to create high quality recordings with their Mac or PC. With a combination of world-class analogue pre-amp circuitry and superb conversion. It provides a professional and reliable audio interface. The interface is designed to provide professional audio studios with the connectivity they need in a single unit. The iD4 is a brand new product to the Audient range, it is a simple 2 channel interface that uses an extremely reliable and proven audio engine.

At the heart of the iD4 is an advanced FPGA processor called the Hammer, which is capable of processing audio at sample rates of up to 192kHz. The Hammer allows this interface to operate at very low levels of latency, and is also used to process the device's digital outputs and its built-in headphone amplifier. Weighing in at less than 2kg the iD4 features a single mic preamp and 4 analogue channels of I/O on standard TRS jacks. By using a USB connection to your computer, the iD4 can have up to 7 analogue channels of I/O. It also has MIDI I/O and a hardware monitoring path to your DAW. The iD4 records from an unlimited number of digital sources via ADAT optical or SPDIF. The optical and SPDIF inputs can be routed to any of the analogue channels for monitoring.

The iD4 is the most affordable interface in Audient's range, and yet the company has squeezed some incredibly impressive technology into its compact body. It is a 2-channel high-end audio interface featuring Audient's award-winning preamps and AD/DA conversion. Suitable for home recording and project studios, the iD4 features portability.


Native Instruments Komplete Audio 6 Image

Native Instruments Komplete Audio 6

  • ✔ High-quality pre-amps
  • ✔ Low-latency performance
  • ✔ Mono input switch for recording vocals or guitars
  • ✔ Direct monitoring for live

This is a great audio interface from industry favorite Native Instruments.

Native Instruments Komplete Audio 6 - Read Review See The Latest Price On Amazon Now

Audio interfaces have been getting smaller and smaller in the last few years, with the introduction of the mini-jack. However, a low quality sound is still being produced through these mini-jack devices. The Native Instruments KA6 is a high quality interface that has been designed and manufactured to be used with a professional studio.

Native Instruments KA6 is designed to deliver a studio quality audio experience to your computer. It is designed by Native Instruments, a company that has been providing musicians with the best in music production equipment for years.

The Komplete Audio 6 is Native Instruments' most affordable interface ever. The new interface features the same high-quality preamps as the older models. As well as a host of upgrades that make it a bit easier to use.

The Native Instruments KA6 is the perfect solution for your home studio. It is easy to use, sounds great, and works with virtually any piece of recording software, such as Pro Tools. The audio interface is equipped with two microphone inputs with analog compression, phantom power, and high-quality 24-bit converters. It is also features stereo inputs for your instruments, a pair of balanced line outputs, and a single headphone output.

When it comes to recording, the quality of your recording equipment is important, especially if you want to record high quality audio. Native Instruments KA6 is used by professionals to record their tracks. It has a wide range of uses in any home recording studio. It is a perfect way to set up a home recording studio for those on a budget.


Zoom UAC-2 Image

Zoom UAC-2

  • ✔ Recording and playback up to 24-bit/192 kHz
  • ✔ 2 combo balanced XLR/TRS input connectors
  • ✔ Midi interface
  • ✔ Compatible with USB 3.0 Windows or Mac devices

The Zoom UAC-2 is a state-of-the-art audio interface complete with USB 3.0.

Zoom UAC-2 - Read Review See The Latest Price On Amazon Now

Zoom's UAC-2 (Universal Audio Converter) is an easy-to-use USB audio interface that connects to your computer and instantly transforms it into a full-fledged recording studio. Built on a rock solid foundation of quality, flexibility and ease-of-use, the UAC-2 offers exceptional audio performance for both analog and digital audio. The Zoom UAC-2 is a digital recording interface designed for home-studio use. This two-input, two-output interface features two combo mic/instrument inputs with both XLR and 1/4" connectors. It also provides two TRS main outs, a headphone jack, and MIDI in/out jacks to connect to synths and other gear.

The Zoom UAC-2 is a 2-input, 2-output high-resolution audio interface that features built-in MIDI I/O. It connects to your Mac or PC via USB 2.0, providing two sets of high-impedance inputs, eight balanced outputs over XLR jacks, and a single MIDI In and Out. The UAC-2 is compatible with all major DAWs and provides ultra-high-quality 24-bit, 96 kHz audio that's ideal for recording, sound design, and other audio applications.

The Zoom UAC-2 lets you connect your instruments, microphones, and audio sources to your iPad or Mac computer and record studio-quality sound. It features two combo inputs with XLR/TRS combo jacks, one microphone preamp, and two Hi-Z instrument inputs. The UAC-2 record direct to iPad, iPhone, and Mac computers and is compatible with popular recording software such as GarageBand, Logic Pro, Pro Tools, and more.

If you are serious about making the highest quality recordings, the Zoom UAC-2 is the best tool for the job. This interface features superb quality preamps and is on offer at a great price. The interface is great for recording vocal and instrument tracks alike.


Steinberg UR242 Image

Steinberg UR242

  • ✔ Compatible with mac and windows
  • ✔ MIDI input/output & iPad connectivity
  • ✔ USB2.0
  • ✖ Some complaints regarding the latest mac software compatibility

Steinberg is a well-known brand that caters to professional musicians around the world.

Steinberg UR242 - Read Review See The Latest Price On Amazon Now

Steinberg is a well-known brand that caters to professional musicians around the world. The UR242 takes the tops spot on our list as it proves itself to be a great value audio interface and an all-round workhorse.

This audio interface is an ideal piece of kit if you are planning on doing some home recording on a budget of $300 or less. It features a dedicated TRS headphone output, combined microphone/TRS instrument inputs, monitor inputs and MIDI inputs. You also get a copy of Cubase which is one of the most popular DAW’s on the market today.

Steinberg UR242 is an external sound card for both audiophiles and recording enthusiasts. This interface is compatible with both PC and Mac. The UR242 makes it easy to record guitar, vocals, percussion and other instruments from the comfort of your home studio.

This is a relatively inexpensive USB audio interface from a world-famous brand and would be a solid purchase for any home studio.

The UR242 offers musicians and producers far more than just a portable I/O device, or even an audio interface; the UR242 is a mobile production solution. That’s because it combines fantastic-sounding I/O and durability with advanced DSP-based FX that can be used with your DAW software, and that at a price point that is still easily affordable.


More Information Regarding Portable Audio Interfaces (2022)

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.

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.

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.

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.

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