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best audio interface

The Best Audio Interfaces for Home & Studio Recording

Bottom Line
Pros
Cons
Best of the Best
Apogee
Ensemble
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Bottom
Line
From converters, clocks, & preamps, you'll find nothing but the best components in this visually attractive 30 input interface.
Pros
Nearly zero latency. Built-in talkback function. Can daisy-chain multiple units. Eight preamps. Thunderbolt connectivity. Onboard DSP mixing. The list goes on!
Cons
The one easily replaceable feature that's missing is a MIDI input. Some may not like the stepped gain pots the preamps, but they stay cleaner for longer.
Best Bang for the Buck
Focusrite
Saffire Pro 40
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Bottom
Line
An affordable interface with all of the fixin's that edges out similarly priced competition. Great for those who prefer to add outboard components over time.
Pros
Features 20 inputs & can expand with a second interface or Octopre strip for more preamps. The MixControl DSP router is great for headphone mixes.
Cons
While every other feature surpasses those of its competitors, the converters are average. They will meet your expectations, though.
Best Budget Pick
Focusrite
Scarlett 2i2
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Bottom
Line
The cheapest way to get a couple of good preamps, a monitor controller, & a headphone amplifier on your desk.
Pros
It uses the same components as the more expensive models. You just get fewer inputs. Perfect for the bedroom producer & at-home musician.
Cons
There are no outputs except for monitors, meaning you're expected to do all mixing and signal processing inside the computer with plugins.

The best audio interface can be your best friend. The worst can be an absolute nightmare. How do we know what we need or which to choose if we don't have any prior experience? We'll start by walking you through the selection thought process with a summary of the various features and benefits you'll encounter. Then we'll show you our hand-picked recommendations from the cheapest to the highest quality so you can choose the best option in your budget range based on your quality and input/output needs.

TL;DR - Budget Pick: Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 - Bang for the Buck: Focusrite Saffire Pro 40