So you’re a beginner when it comes to home studio recording, and you’re looking for an audio interface to help your recording vocals, guitar, bass, drums and any other instrument you so desire!
How To Choose The Right Audio Interface?
I remember when I was starting out, and now looking back, I can clearly see what the two most important factors were in choosing the best audio interface for a beginner;
One, choosing an audio interface that has quality hardware, which will, in turn, provide you with those high-quality recordings.
Secondly, (Counter-intuitively, I would argue the most important aspect), the audio interface must be simple enough to use; as overcomplicating the recording process, especially for a beginner, can not only dishearten, but can result in lapses of creative and intuitive thinking, killing the main goal of any recording, to create a wonderful sonic landscape that represents the artist/engineer and producer’s vision. Therefore, any audio interfaces listed in this article will be simple enough to use, with a little time and effort, but make no mistake, simplicity does not constitute to you having to sacrifice on sound quality, it will merely allow you to focus on the creative process more in detail, without worrying about the technicalities and complexities of sound engineering.
Different Types Of Audio Interfaces
There are many different types of audio interfaces, some are specifically for PC audio interfaces, audio interfaces for Mac and iPad audio interfaces, and then some have specific connectivity types including Thunderbolt, Firewire and the more commonly used USB, and we haven’t even talked about size and budget requirements.
However, rest assured that all of the information surrounding each interface’s compatibility will be clearly displayed in bullet points.
So let’s get to it, – what are the best audio interfaces for beginners in 2021?
If you’re looking for more inputs, let’s say 4, potentially to an instrument from multiple angles at one time, this interface is the perfect solution, offering high-quality hardware without breaking the bank.
Mac & PC
USB 2.0 Audio/MIDI Interface
4 or 8 channel inputs (depending on the model you choose)
Compatible with most recording software (Avid Pro Tools, Ableton Live, Steinberg Cubase, etc)
USB 2.0 Audio/MIDI Interface
Audiophile 24-Bit/96 kHz resolution for professional audio quality
Compatible with popular recording software including Avid Pro Tools*, Ableton Live*, Steinberg Cubase*, etc.
Ultra-low latency audio recording
4 or 8 states of the art MIDAS designed Microphone Preamps
48 V phantom power
In the video demonstration below, they are reviewing the 4 input version. The hardware is still the same, and therefore the sound quality will be just as good!
Includes DAW Software: Pro Tools | First M-Audio Edition, Ableton Live Lite, Eleven Lite, the Avid Effect Collection, AIR Creative FX Collection (20 world-class FX AU/VST plugins), 2 GB of sample content from Touch Loops, Strike, Xpand!2, Mini Grand, Vacuum, BOOM from Air MusicTech
High Quality ‘Crystal’ Preamps for professional audio recording
Low-Noise, Low Latency
+48v Phantom Power Switch for microphones which require it (condenser mics)
In a Complete Recording Bundle, for someone looking to have everything they need to record in one package; What exactly does this include:
Includes M-Track 2 x 2 USB Audio Interface: + Software Suite
2 inputs x 2 outputs USB audio interface with or without MIDI
24 bit /192 kHz resolution
Two XLR and 1/4 inch TRS combo inputs
Two 1/4 inch (Guitar/Bass) instrument inputs
Includes standard USB and USB-C connections
This Audio interface comes in two versions (all shown under the same Amazon listing), which are:
Without Midi functionality
With Midi Functionality
Although it was hard to find the perfect demo of someone using the M-Air 192, we were able to find this unboxing and demo video of the 192|8, which should give you some idea of the quality of the 192|4:
Before talking about the features or specifications, this Scarlett 4i4 is very similar to the Scarlett 212, except it has 2 additional line intputs, and 2 additional balanced outputs… Not only does this make it an ideal, high-quality device for recording, but also live performance.
Mac [Mac 10.12 and onwards] / Connectivity via USB
A very popular & best selling audio interface on Amazon, with over 21,000 reviews, averaging 4.8 stars
Solid metal chassis for high-quality protection
Incredibly simple to use, with a clear display user interface
4 inputs (2 microphone and 2 instrument inputs),
Has a switchable air setting, which can give your vocal recordings a richer, brighter, more open sound
Comes with the following software Pro Tools | First Focusrite Creative Pack
Ableton Live Lite
Softube Time and Tone Bundle
Focusrite’s Red Plugin Suite
3 Month Splice Subscription
One free XLN Addictive Keys Virtual Instrument
Lowest latency of any audio interface on the market
The Focusrite Scarlett 4i4 audio interface is also available in a full recording equipment bundle, which includes the following:
However, from the research I have done, where Apogee lack, is in their customer service, which isn’t necessarily something you want, considering you may have questions regarding the interface if things were not to work!
On a more positive note, Apogee has a great website, with plenty of information, and video tutorials on how to set up the device and even recording tips & tricks.
Make no mistake, this audio interface is fantastic, it was one of the best, highest sound quality audio interfaces I’ve ever used.