A friend of mine asked me the other day what’s the best audio interface under $300. He was afraid he won’t get quality on that budget. I had to disagree, because you’ll find lots of audio interface under $300 that will fit amazing into your home recording studio setup. Here is my top choice:
Saffire PRO 24 from Focusrite is one of the best Audio Interface under $300. What you probably don’t know about Focusrite products, is that they provide the best audio quality possible. This interface is perfect for musicians who record in their personal recording studios. The basis of this device are two award winning Focusrite mic preamps. Together with the newest mixing software for mixing and FireWire technology, this interface is a stable and versatile performance.
Features and price (via Amazon)
24 channels of I/O (16 In, 8 Out)
2 award winning Focusrite mic-pres, 8 ADAT in, 6 analog out, SPDIF/Stereo in/out, MIDI in/out
2 unique loop-back virtual channels for routing between software applications
Bundle: Xcite + Software Bundle, Ableton Live 7 Lite, and Focusrite Comp/Reverb/EQ/Gate VST/AU plugin
Dedicated headphone output, 5 LED front panel
If you hurry you might get the $135 discount for it. Remember that you need to have a Firewire port if you want to use this one. If not, you should consider buying the USB version.
I’m reading a lot about audio interfaces these days and I came to a conclusion. In the end, it boils down to your budget. Right now I’m focusing on quality rather than budget. So, here is The Best Audio Interface in 2012:
MOTU 896mk3 Hybrid FireWire / USB2 Audio Interface w/ 8 Mic Preamps, Effects, and Mixing
The MOTU interfaces provide great value and they have amazing driver support. With most processing and effects done by MOTU 896mk3, all you need to do is record your voices and you’re done. No more extensive mixing. This audio interface comes with its own multi-track recording software (free). The mic preamps are crystal clear, EQ, dynamics and reverb are great.
features (via Amazon)
- Hybrid FireWire/USB2 connectivity – FireWire or hi-speed USB2 port available.
- CueMix FXTM – flexible 28 input/16 bus mixer with on-board DSP effects, including reverb with sends/returns, plus EQ and compression on every input and output.
- 28 inputs / 32 outputs (at 44.1/48 kHz) – there’s no channel sharing in the 896mk3;
- Front-panel control – access any setting in your entire 896mk3 mix directly from the front panel
- Stand-alone operation – program your mixes at the studio and then bring the 896mk3 to your gig – no computer needed. Need to tweak the mix? Do it on site using the back-lit LCD and front-panel controls.
If you think the price is too high, you should check The Best Audio Interface under $300
I’ve tried few condenser microphones over the last years and I’ve advised anyone wanting to build a home recording studio or just buy a good mic for pod-casting or voice overs.
Yamaha Audiogram6 USB
The package contains the Yamaha Audiogram6 USB audio interface, cable, drivers and Cubase IE 5 recording software – that allows you to create songs and record voices.
The Audiogram6 is solidly build and provides plenty controls and connections. There are 6 recording inputs that allows you to connect 2 XLR mic cables, guitars, etc. In order to adjust the sensitivity just press the select button. Phantom Power is presented on the board.
In terms of condenser microphones or other inputs, this usb audio interface is very versatile and will cope with most of your requirements. Remember that you may have to play around with your sound settings in order to get the perfect sound, but when you’ll get there you’ll love the way this audio interface records. The best thing about Yamaha Audiogram6: no latency issues!
Read more details here (around $100)
This audio interface connects with your PC through the USB 2.0 port. The driver installation is pretty easy and fast. This audio interface powers directly from your PC. Practically, with M-Audio Fast Track USB you can transform your computer to a home recording studio whenever you want. It features 1/4″ instrument input perfect for guitar, bass and keyboards recordings and a phantom powered XLR mic input.
M-Audio Fast Track USB is compatible with every music software out there, so no worries about that.
M-Audio brings a nice surprise along this audio interface, Pro Tools M-Powered Essential, a music software that allows you to start making your music immediately.
Choosing an audio interface for your home recording studio could be a tricky job and you could end up spending tons of bucks and getting poor results. The first thing you need to understand is what your are going to do with your audio interface. If you are doing multitrack recording with a band you need one type of soundcard, and if you are DJ-ing or just mixing songs, you need a different type of soundcard.
DJVespers delivers an introduction to audio interfaces. These are the basics and the features. Understand what you should look for in order to find your own audio interface/sound card.
Before everything else, let’s not forget that I’m talking mainly from a home recording studio user perspective. If you have everything else except the audio interface then you face a real dilemma.
USB Audio Interface vs Firewire Audio Interface
What is the difference between USB and Firewire? We observe all these peripherals out there when we face a purchasing decision. In the end, it boils down to the device you own and what it supports. Most devices these days feature only USB 2.0 ports (that are compatible with USB 1.0). If you have a Mac, the Firewire port is there but if you own a PC the firewire could be missing. I own an i3 ACER and there is no Firewire port on it. Again, the choice depends on your device.
In terms of speed, USB 2.0 tops 480 mbps in theory, but it was proven that the speed is lower. Firewire features a sustained transfer rate of 400 mbps (FW800 is 800 mbs) and it’s always the same. But when it comes to Audio Interfaces, we talk about the latency. Almost every audio engineer agrees that for audio recording, a Firewire audio interface is better than an USB audio interface.
Check a $400 studio setup
info: Latency is the time it takes digital audio data to go through your audio interface’s software driver. There are two types of latency: playback/output latency and recording/input latency. Many argue that latency has way more to do with your audio recording system, your peripherals and hard disk access speed.
MOTU UltraLite-MK3 Hybrid is an Audio Interface that features FireWire and USB2 ports.
- flexible 10 input/14 bus mixer
- on-board DSP effects: reverb with sends/returns, EQ & compression on every input & output
- 10 inputs / 14 outputs – no channel sharing in UltraLite-mk3 Hybrid
- mic , S/PDIF I/O, headphone out & main outs
- two forms of compression
- samples rates up to 192 kHz
Check Yamaha Audiogram6 USB audio interface