Audio interface under $200

1. PRESONUS STUDIO24C

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Review:

The PRESONUS STUDIO24C audio interface boasts a robust and durable construction, featuring a high-quality metal case and a compact size. Its stability on a desk is ensured by the presence of high-quality rubber at the bottom, providing a secure placement.

One of the standout features of this interface is its impressive dynamic range, which plays a vital role in capturing recordings of exceptional quality. With its superior preamps, the PRESONUS STUDIO24C easily accommodates the renowned SM7B microphone, delivering decent sound quality. However, it is worth noting that the gain level typically needs to be set around 70% for optimal performance with the SM7B. On the other hand, condenser microphones work flawlessly with slightly lower gain settings, as they generally require less amplification than the SM7B.

Overall, the PRESONUS STUDIO24C audio interface excels in its price range, offering a professional-grade solution for audio recording needs. Its sturdy metal construction, combined with a stable rubber base, ensures longevity and reliability. The remarkable dynamic range and commendable preamps further enhance the interface's capabilities, making it a top choice for discerning audio enthusiasts

Features:

  • Compact and versatile audio interface
  • Two XMAX-L solid-state microphone preamps for transparent and low-noise recording
  • Two inputs and two outputs with up to 24-bit/192kHz audio resolution
  • Dedicated headphone output with independent volume control
  • Perfect for musicians, podcasters, and content creators seeking professional-grade audio production in a portable package.
  • MIDI I/O connectivity for connecting MIDI controllers or instruments
  • Bundled with PreSonus Studio One Artist software for recording, editing, and mixing

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2. FOCUSRITE SCARLETT SOLO

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Review:

The FOCUSRITE SCARLETT SOLO audio interface exhibits exceptional build quality, utilizing a solid aluminum construction. The knobs on this interface operate smoothly and possess a robust feel, offering a high level of precision without any noticeable play or looseness.

With a generous sample rate of 192 kilohertz and a 24-bit analog converter, the SCARLETT SOLO is capable of capturing a wide dynamic range, ensuring that your recordings maintain their integrity and detail. The preamps on this interface are notably powerful, resulting in minimal noise even when the gain is set to its maximum level. Consequently, it can effortlessly drive microphones such as the SM7B without requiring an additional device like a cloud lifter.

The inclusion of an "Air" mode further enhances the SCARLETT SOLO's versatility. Engaging this mode increases the dynamic range and adds brightness to the sound, allowing you to tailor the recording to your preference and the specific requirements of your project.

Overall, the FOCUSRITE SCARLETT SOLO audio interface is an excellent choice, providing high-quality recordings suitable for a range of applications such as vocal recording, YouTube videos, podcasts, and more. Its solid construction, impressive preamp performance, and user-friendly features make it a reliable and accessible option for both beginners and experienced audio enthusiasts alike.

Features:

  • The best performing mic preamps the Scarlett range has ever seen, now with switchable Air mode to give your recordings a brighter and more open sound• One high-headroom instrument input to plug in your guitar or bass• High-performance converters enable you to record and mix at up to 24-bit/192kHz• Two hum-free balanced outputs provide clean audio playback• With our Easy Start tool, it's now easier than ever to get up and running

3. NATIVE INSTRUMENTS KOMPLETE AUDIO 1

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Review:

The Native Instruments Komplete Audio 1 audio interface is a lightweight and compact option compared to other interfaces, owing to its plastic construction. Despite this, it remains solid and durable, though it is advisable to handle it with care. The interface features sturdy knobs that operate smoothly without any issues.

One of the notable advantages of the Komplete Audio 1 is its user-friendly metering system, which simplifies the process of adjusting gain levels accurately. Additionally, the conveniently placed volume knob on the top of the interface allows for easy adjustment without the risk of accidentally interfering with other controls.

The preamps on the Komplete Audio 1 are commendable, delivering high-quality sound particularly suitable for singers. The overall performance and features of the interface make it an excellent choice, especially considering its affordable price point.

In summary, the Native Instruments Komplete Audio 1 audio interface offers a lightweight and solid design, with reliable and well-functioning knobs. The inclusion of an intuitive metering system and conveniently positioned volume knob enhances the user experience. With its commendable preamps, the Komplete Audio 1 provides singers and musicians with a reliable and cost-effective solution for achieving good quality recordings.

Features:

  • Inputs: 1x XLR mic, 1x jack input
  • Stereo RCA output
  • Dimensions 140 x 117.5 x 52 mm

4. NATIVE INSTRUMENTS KOMPLETE AUDIO 2

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Review:

both NATIVE INSTRUMENTS *KOMPLETE AUDIO 1 and 2 and mostly similar the only diffrence is the inputs and outputs

The Native Instruments Komplete Audio 2 audio interface is a lightweight and compact option compared to other interfaces, owing to its plastic construction. Despite this, it remains solid and durable, though it is advisable to handle it with care. The interface features sturdy knobs that operate smoothly without any issues.

One of the notable advantages of the Komplete Audio 2 is its user-friendly metering system, which simplifies the process of adjusting gain levels accurately. Additionally, the conveniently placed volume knob on the top of the interface allows for easy adjustment without the risk of accidentally interfering with other controls.

The preamps on the Komplete Audio 1 are commendable, delivering high-quality sound particularly suitable for singers. The overall performance and features of the interface make it an excellent choice, especially considering its affordable price point.

In summary, the Native Instruments Komplete Audio 2 audio interface offers a lightweight and solid design, with reliable and well-functioning knobs. The inclusion of an intuitive metering system and conveniently positioned volume knob enhances the user experience. With its commendable preamps, the Komplete Audio 1 provides singers and musicians with a reliable and cost-effective solution for achieving good quality recordings.

Features:

  • inputs: 2x combi-XLR/jack inputs
  • Stereo jack / TRS output
  • Dimensions 140 x 112 x 52 mm

5. AUDIENT EV04

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Review:

The Audient EVO4 audio interface offers a compact and travel-friendly design, making it convenient for on-the-go recording. While the body is constructed from plastic, it maintains a solid build quality, although the knobs could benefit from improved solidity.

One of the standout features of the EVO4 is its commendable dynamic range, ensuring optimal audio capture with enhanced clarity and detail. Additionally, the interface boasts a unique smart gain feature, which automatically adjusts the gain settings based on the surrounding environment and microphone used. This intelligent functionality streamlines the recording process and yields impressive results.

Notably, the EVO4 is capable of effectively powering and recording with the Shure SM7B microphone, delivering reduced noise levels. This compatibility further adds to the interface's versatility and makes it an appealing choice for a variety of recording applications.

Overall, the Audient EVO4 audio interface packs a powerful performance into a compact and affordable package. While the plastic construction and knob quality could be improved, the interface's impressive dynamic range and intelligent features, such as smart gain, contribute to its professional-grade capabilities. Whether you're a musician, podcaster, or content creator, the EVO4 offers a reliable and portable solution for achieving high-quality recordings.

Features:

  • Unbelievable audio performance
  • Astonishingly easy to use.
  • compact and easy to travel with
  • type C usb
  • inputs: 2x combi-XLR/jack inputs

6. Audient iD4 (MKII)

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Review:

The Audient iD4 audio interface offers a strong build quality with sturdy knobs, ensuring durability and reliability. Its separate knobs for each feature allow for precise control. The powerful preamps deliver exceptional recording quality. The iD4's compatibility and portability make it a versatile choice for various audio production needs. Overall, the Audient iD4 is a professional-grade interface that combines durability, precise control, and high-quality recordings.

Features:

  • 1 x Audient Console Mic Pre
  • Class Leading Converters
  • 1 x JFET Instrument Input
  • Dual Headphone Outputs
  • iOS Compatible
  • USB Bus Powered

7. M-Audio AIR 192

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Review:

The M Audio Air 192|4 interface boasts a larger size than the average interfaces, providing a convenient and user-friendly navigation experience. Its sturdy metal body and plastic knobs contribute to its robust build quality, ensuring durability over time.

While it may not possess the most exceptional dynamic range compared to other interfaces on the market, the Air 192|4 still manages to deliver satisfactory recording quality. However, where it truly shines is in its preamps. These preamps are exceptionally strong, resulting in significantly reduced noise levels during recordings. This impressive feature eliminates the need for additional devices such as a cloud lifter, making it compatible with microphones like the popular Shure SM7B.

What sets this interface apart is its affordability. Surprisingly, the Air 192|4 delivers an exceptional recording quality that surpasses expectations within its price range. This makes it an ideal choice for home studio producers, singers, podcasters, and YouTubers who are working with limited budgets.

Features:

  1. 24-bit/192kHz resolution for high-quality recording and monitoring.
  2. Hi-Speed USB circuitry for fast and reliable connection.
  3. Transparent Crystal™ preamps and ultra-pristine A/D converters for superior audio quality.
  4. Low latency of only 2.59ms* (dependent on buffer settings and computer hardware).
  5. Stereo ¼" outs and headphone out with independent level control.
  6. VU LED meters for precise level monitoring.
  7. XLR+¼" TRS combo input and dedicated instrument input for accurate sound capture.
  8. Rugged metal chassis and large central control for durability and easy volume adjustment.
  9. USB/Direct knob for balancing input and computer signals.
  • Note: Latency may vary based on specific settings and computer specifications.

8. MOTU M2 2x2

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Review:

The MOTU M2 2x2 interface offers a solid build quality with a metal body and well-placed metal knobs. This construction ensures durability and longevity, making it a reliable choice for users. Additionally, the interface boasts a flat frequency response across all ranges, providing a balanced and accurate representation of your audio.

One of the standout features of the MOTU M2 is its high dynamic range. This attribute allows for greater control over your recordings and ensures excellent audio quality. The interface's preamps are notably strong and have the capability to power various microphones, including popular options like the Shure SM7B. This means you won't require a separate device like a cloud lifter to achieve optimal performance.

Another noteworthy feature of the MOTU M2 is its loopback functionality. This convenient feature enables simultaneous recording of both the interface input and the audio from your computer. It proves particularly useful for streaming setups and allows for seamless integration of different audio sources.

The MOTU M2 also includes an LED screen that enhances the user experience. This screen assists in setting up the gain, ensuring optimal levels for your recordings. This user-friendly feature simplifies the interface's operation and enhances its overall usability.

In conclusion, the MOTU M2 2x2 interface excels in its strong build quality, flat frequency response, high dynamic range, and powerful preamps. Its additional features, such as loopback functionality and LED screen, further enhance its versatility and ease of use. Overall, this interface is a professional-grade, reliable choice that provides excellent performance.

Features:

  • MOTU M2 is a high-quality and affordable 2-in/2-out USB-C audio interface.
  • Features ESS Sabre32 Ultra DAC technology for exceptional sound quality.
  • Optimized drivers provide low-latency performance.
  • Includes two great-sounding mic preamps with individual gain adjustment and phantom power.
  • 1-touch hardware monitoring ensures smooth tracking.
  • Front-panel metering with a full-color LCD screen for convenient monitoring.
  • Built-in loopback functionality, beneficial for podcasters.
  • Bus-powered design allows for portability and convenience.
  • Compact size without compromising on performance.

9. Arturia MiniFuse 2

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Review:

The Arturia MiniFuse 2 interface stands out with its sleek and appealing design, making it one of the coolest-looking options available. The build quality is commendable, featuring a sturdy metal construction that ensures durability and longevity. This means the interface is built to last, providing a reliable recording solution for the long term.

In terms of audio performance, the MiniFuse 2 delivers a flat frequency response at lower gain settings, which ensures accurate and balanced sound reproduction. It's important to note that at full gain, there might be a slight decrease in frequency response, but this is typically not a concern as most users don't require maximum gain in their setups. Overall, the interface offers a satisfactory frequency response that meets the needs of most recording scenarios.

The MiniFuse 2 boasts a high dynamic range, allowing it to capture a wide range of frequencies with precision. This ensures that your recordings maintain clarity and detail across different audio sources, making it a versatile tool for various recording applications.

The preamps on the MiniFuse 2 are particularly impressive, delivering minimal noise even at higher gain settings. This is especially advantageous for users working with microphones that require higher gain levels, such as the popular Shure SM7B. With the MiniFuse 2, you can confidently achieve excellent audio quality without significant background noise.

Furthermore, the interface offers the convenient loopback feature. This functionality proves handy when recording both the input from the interface and the audio output from your computer simultaneously. It simplifies the process of capturing all audio sources within your recording setup, making it particularly beneficial for streaming, podcasting, and other multi-source recording scenarios.

Features:

  • MiniFuse 2 offers exceptional sound quality with a 110dB dynamic range and -129dB equivalent input noise.
  • Features dual XLR-1/4" combo inputs with 48V phantom power for recording two mics, instruments, or line-level sources.
  • Includes 5-pin DIN connections for syncing and recording MIDI devices.
  • USB Type-C compatibility allows easy connection to computers.
  • 1/4" outputs for headphones and speakers, and an additional USB Type-A hub for connecting USB devices like MIDI keyboards.
  • Loopback function enables simultaneous capture of voiceovers and in-app or in-game audio.
  • Comes with a comprehensive software bundle, including Ableton Live Lite, Analog Lab Intro, Arturia FX, Native Instruments GUITAR RIG 6 LE, Auto-Tune Unlimited 3-Month Subscription, and Splice Creator Plan 3-Month Subscription.
  • Backed by a 5-year warranty and built with robust and reliable materials, ensuring durability and value for the user.

10. MACKIE ONYX ARTIST

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Review:

The MACKIE ONYX ARTIST interface stands out as the most affordable option in our list. However, its low price does not equate to low quality. Despite being budget-friendly, this interface impresses with its solid build quality. The body is made of metal, even at this price range, providing durability and a premium feel. The knobs are sturdy and exhibit no wobble, adding to the overall reliability of the unit.

One of the standout features of the MACKIE ONYX ARTIST is its strong preamps. They offer a generous 55 dBs of gain, allowing for clean and robust amplification of your audio signals. These preamps also exhibit minimal noise, ensuring a clean recording experience with excellent signal integrity. Additionally, the interface provides zero-latency monitoring, which is particularly advantageous for podcasting or streaming applications. It allows for real-time monitoring without any distracting delays, ensuring a seamless and professional recording experience.

However, it's important to note that if you are a singer or an instrumentalist seeking an interface primarily for recording vocals or instruments, there are alternative options worth exploring. The MACKIE ONYX ARTIST does have slightly higher latency, which could potentially impact the timing and synchronization when recording instruments. In such cases, considering other interfaces with lower latency would be more suitable for achieving optimal performance.

In conclusion, the MACKIE ONYX ARTIST is a budget-friendly interface that offers impressive quality despite its affordability. With its metal construction, solid knobs, strong preamps providing ample gain with minimal noise, and zero-latency monitoring, it is a perfect choice for podcasters and streamers on a limited budget. However, if you require an interface for recording instruments or vocals, exploring alternative options with lower latency would be advisable to ensure the best results.

Features:

  • Boutique-quality Onyx mic preamp
  • Class-leading fidelity and dynamic range
  • 48v Phantom Power for studio condenser mics
  • ¼" TRS input with Hi-Z switch for guitar, bass, and more
  • High-resolution 2 in x 2 out 24-Bit/192kHz recording
  • Zero-latency direct monitoring of analog inputs
  • Dedicated outputs for studio monitors
  • Powerful headphone output
  • Bus-powered for easy mobile recording
  • No need for a separate power adapter
  • USB 2.0 connectivity for fast transfer speed and low latency
  • Built-Like-A-Tank design for durability
  • Includes Tracktion Music Production Software

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