The Best USB Audio Interfaces On The Market - 2021
The best usb audio interfaces offer fantastic opportunities to record high quality audio from several sources with minimal latency. USB connections offer substantially higher bandwidth than USB and therefore offer low latency.
USB audio interfaces can support many inputs both analog inputs and digital inputs. They come in many different shapes and sizes ranging from small form factor through to mountable rack models.
USB audio interfaces 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 usb audio interface options on the market.
What Is A USB Audio Interface?
USB audio interfaces are not a new thing. There have been many iterations of the different types of usb ports used ranging from the original usb type-a through to the current most modern usb type-c ports. Each iteration has improved on the last. Offering fast speeds and higher bandwidth transfer rates.
If you don't have a computer with usb type-c ports don't worry, there are several adapters (many audio interfaces come with one as standard) to convert usb type-a to usb type-c connectors. This allows you to use a usb type-c audio interface on a computer that doesn't have a usb-type c port.
USB is probably still the most popular audio interface connection type however this doesn't mean they're the best. Choosing a modern usb format is a much better idea than cutting corners and choosing an outdated usb 1.0 model and suffering the consequences of low data transfer rates. This can lead to latency and an overall poor experience.
Rest assured a modern usb audio interface is beyond capable of handling high quality, large data streams. They can easily convert audio signals and act as the mic preamps & equalisers for improved sound quality if necessary.
USB 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 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 usb audio interfaces for your situation. If space is an issue you'll look for a small to medium sized interface. One 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.
USB Audio Interface Inputs & Outputs
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 usb audio interface which features (such as phantom power) the inputs and outputs you need at an affordable price range.
Some of the best usb 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. This is 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.
Audio interfaces have a variety of different ports, inputs and outputs. Headphone outputs are popular with interfaces allowing you to listen to the sounds without the need for an amp other outputs. Many inputs can exist on a single interface. They can include mic, line, analog and digital inputs.
Overall we think usb is a great choice if you're looking for an audio interface for personal or small scale use. We've collected a list of the best usb audio interfaces on the market to help you find the right one for you.