Your music setup is incomplete without a high-quality and best USB audio interface. A microphone signal is fed directly into the computer through this device. A podcasting setup is incomplete without a preamp and AD/DA converter.
There are so many audio recording models on the market that finding the right one can be confusing, as with so many other aspects of podcasting and audio recording. In this article, I’ve gathered the best podcasting services available by the end of 2021.
Get ready for an adventure, all you artists out there.
Maybe I overstated the point a bit. I want to set out a few caveats before diving into the meat of this article which is on best USB audio interface. Have a read in detail.
It is important to note that only some of these interfaces might work with your computer. There are USB-2 devices, and USB-C is becoming more popular, so some devices are currently USB-C and require your computer to support USB-3. While FireWire is considered outdated today, some use Thunderbolt, and some use FireWire.
Despite looking similar to USB-C, Thunderbolt is not the same. Check to see if your computer is equipped with a Thunderbolt port before purchasing a Thunderbolt Interface. In either case, you do not want to have to return something just because you thought it was Thunderbolt, but it wasn’t, or your laptop doesn’t support USB-3. Do your homework before making any decisions.
A good audio interface helps to convert microphone and instrument signals into a recognisable format that your computer reads. It is an important piece of gear for any musician he/she must possess. To cater the question around what the best USB audio interface among all the best portable USB audio interfaces is, let’s review some of Front Row’s top 10 USB audio interfaces for musicians that are useful for them.
Top USB audio interfaces for musicians that are useful :
1. SCARLETT 2I21
The Scarlett 2i2 is a UK-based music product manufacturer. Focusrite is one of the best-reviewed USB audio interfaces that a musicin must consider.
SCARLETT 2I2 audio interface has two of the best performing mic preamps that the Scarlett range has ever seen in the audio interfaces PC. With switchable “Air mode” give your recordings a brighter and more open sound. There are two high headroom instrument inputs, that are helpful in plugging a guitar or bass straight in when you are a musician.
This interface comes with subscriptions to software from Focusrite, Avid, Ableton, Splice and Softube.
2. BEHRINGER UMC404HD
The Behringer U-Phoria UMC404HD is a 4×4 USB 2.0 Audio/MIDI Interface for recording microphones and instruments. Compatible with most popular recording software, including Avid Pro Tools, Ableton Live, Steinberg Cubase, etc. this interface has four world-class MIDAS-designed mic preamps, which include +48 Volt phantom power for condenser microphones, all going through studio-grade 24-Bit/192 kHz converters for the best possible sound quality. This audio interfaces for PC comes with Tracktion software, a digital audio workstation (DAW) for composing, recording, editing, mixing and sharing your music with the world.
3. LEXICON ALPHA
Lexicon AlphaThe Lexicon Alpha is a complete hardware and software solution that turns your computer into a portable, professional 24-bit/48 kHz digital recording studio which offers a 2x2x2 USB I/O mixer. It is powered directly from the USB bus and includes Cubase recording software. Alpha has stereo line inputs for keyboards, drum machines or analog output of a CD/MP3 player.
4. KOMPLETE MK2
The Komplete MK2The Komplete MK2 from German manufacturer Native Instruments has four analog and two digital inputs, including two balanced mic/line/instrument inputs (XLR/1/4″ TRS, phantom powered) with individual gain controls and two balanced line inputs (1/4″ TRS). This usb-c audio interface has two headphone outputs with separate level controls and source switching, including zero latency with direct monitoring.
5. APOGEE ONE
The Apogee One is an all-in-one portable and best audio interface for pc, USB audio interface that gives you everything you need to make professional recordings on the go. Connect a microphone, guitar or use the interface’s built-in omnidirectional microphone to capture music. Designed in CA. The Apogee One has two in and two out connectors, as well as low latency and seamless compatibility with the latest macOS and Windows operating systems, making it the best sounding USB audio interface among the available ones in the market USB-C audio interface.
6. ALESIS IO2 EXPRESS
ALESIS IO2 EXPRESS is from American music product manufacturer Alesis is a compact audio recording interface for home studios and portable recording setups. This two-channel USB interface for Mac and PC-based systems allows recording at up to 24-bit resolution. It is compact recording interface which has best preamp USB audio interface which is small enough to fit into a mobile recording rig, sling bag, or backpack, yet contains high-quality components and circuitry suitable for the studio and fits the budget for the best USB audio interface for ipad.
7. PRESONUS AUDIO INTERFACE
PRESONUS AUDIO INTERFACE is an American audio interface USB by an American audio equipment manufacturer PreSonus. Making it a right fit and choice for mobile musicians and podcasters and one of the audio interfaces for PC.
8. AUDIENT AUDIO INTERFACE
AUDIENT AUDIO INTERFACE or EVO is an UK-based audio product manufacturer. Audient is a sleek-looking USB audio interface with two mic preamplifiers. EVO 4 also has class leading converters, smart gain, smart touchpoints, speaker and headphone outputs and +48v phantom power.
9. STEINBERG AUDIO INTERFACE
STEINBERG AUDIO INTERFACE is the UR12 Audio Interface is by a German audio product manufacturer Steinberg captures 24-bit/192 kHz audio and has a mic preamp supporting +48v phantom power.
The interface has an XLR mic input, an instrument input and two RCA outputs. An additional USB mini socket is provided for power source connection when used with an iPad.
10. UNIVERSAL AUDIO APOLLO
UNIVERSAL AUDIO APOLLO Solo is a Heritage Edition from California-based audio product manufacturer Universal Audio is a bit pricier than most other USB audio interfaces but is packed with features, including class-leading audio conversion, two mic preamps makes it best inexpensive USB audio interface and real-time plug-in processing.
Apart from the above USPs Universal Audio Apollo Twin MKII Solo is one of the best professional USB audio interfaces which is economical and easy to use, and it is considered among one of the top audio interfaces so far.
It is important to note here that there is a lot of marketing jargon and input/output formats we simply aren’t going to need, so don’t get thrown by an interface that advertises 16 inputs or whatever – they probably won’t all be used for podcasting as many of these ports will be phono, or instrument inputs, or MIDI, ADAT etc.… For all but the most specialized of podcasting (or by most home studios, to be honest), these are features that aren’t needed or wanted.
Secondly, most people use best USB audio interface to make music and most of them if not all, uses the features that are offered in the music industry and that are focused on music production. Several of these interfaces have been designed and made for music, so I have avoided using them where ever possible. To create music, many instruments such as guitars and MIDI are required with their capabilities and utilities. They are helpful less helpful while making podcasts too. Having input about guitars is probably beneficial if your podcast is about guitars. Take a detailed guide on acoustic guitar strings and learn the usage of best USB audio interface while you learn to produce music.
In addition to being guided and suggestions on how to learn the best USB audio interface usage, you get access to so many of the best audio interfaces given in recommendations that are useful to become a Seasoned Podcaster. Regardless of which category you fall into, there is a beautiful variety of interfaces available. I tried to point you in the direction of various models rather than one specific model. I am therefore paying attention to details of quality in different fields and how people do podcasts in that field.
Must-have Audio Interface Features for Podcasting –
In terms of individual setups, what you’ll require is as unique as the podcast you produce. However, we do need a microphone input with gain control, ‘phantom power’ (usually 48V), outputs for headphones and speakers, and a digital connection to the computer. If you need more than one microphone input or headphone output, then a headphone amplifier will be required separately, as most interfaces only have one headphone out, some having two.
Nice-to-have Features for a Podcast Audio Interface
Generally speaking, audio interfaces are designed for use in music studios and home recording studios. Therefore, they tend to feature features that are designed for musicians rather than for podcasters. In some cases, though, DSP (Digital Signal Processing – various effects you could record with rather than add in after the fact in the DAW) may be an additional benefit to you. If your podcast sounds different on different speakers, or you have more than one room setup, other speaker output might be helpful.
The possibility to record with a higher bit depth and sample rate is a perfect feature, which I have thought long and hard about whether it is a necessity or a nice part. 48 kHz would be a must; 96 and 192 would be nice, obviously at 24 bits. It can be helpful to experiment with recording at a higher sample rate — you’ll get more headroom and less noise, so your documents will be a little quieter, and the DAW will allow you to make more adjustments.
So enough of all that. Let’s get on with the picks of best USB audio interfaces for podcasting.
In a nutshell, you can find one that will connect to your computer in the format you need it the most. These are available in a few different designs; some are exclusive to Macs, others to Windows, some Thunderbolt, and others.
The pick of the range is the Twin Duo MkII. They are Thunderbolt as well as USB compatible and are compatible with Mac and Windows. I chose this preamp for its attractiveness, clean design, and functional quality. There’s plenty of room in them for you to get emotional and animated as you speak. The interface allows you to do that and will enable you to convey that emotion in your podcast.
We often ask questions like is an audio interface the same as a sound card?
To answer this, it is essentially yes. An audio interface is a sound card interface that does the same job. It helps you to get in and out sound of your laptop, pc, mac, and tablet to process and edit the files and documents of your choice which you need in something that turns the sound into a digital signal. So on and so forth again. That’s what the soundcard or interface does.
An audio interface is an external sound card that perfectly fits laptops and tablets. Now it is widely used by people with desktop computers too. Gone are the days when the only way to improve your music recordings was to fit a new sound card inside your machine.
You need to record and playback with your laptop, pc, mac or tablet. But, buying an audio interface will take you one step ahead in sounding more professional. A best USB audio interface is the equipment that sits at the heart of any home recording studio.