When the name “audio interface” springs up, your mind tells you it is the gateway between a recording and a computer, which sits between your computer and instruments, recording every sound your guitar, microphone, and any other devices make.
The purpose of recording the sound made by an instrument is to convert these sounds into digital information and save them on your computer’s hard drive. Converting these digital audio files into analog files when playing back audio is another audio interface job.
The purpose of converting digital audio files into analogues sounds is for them to be sent to headphones or studio monitor speakers. A good audio interface should be at the top of your shopping list if you desire to record high-quality audio. Welcome to our best audio interface for mixing and mastering review.
When audio interfaces that made use of hard disks were first introduced into the market, they were costly, big, and accessed by professional studios alone. The cost of owning an audio interface then was similar to owning an average car, and it also required the use of hardware cards sometimes.
These hardware cards were slotted into the car for them to run, which explains why there are sound cards today. Since computers started becoming more powerful and reliable in handling certain tasks, making use of additional expensive hardware became unnecessary. This made way for portable USB interfaces, which created a solution for home recording and project studios.
These USB interfaces come with designs that permit hooking up with microphones and any other instrument like hardware synths, basses, and guitars. If you are shopping for an audio interface today, there are some factors that you carefully need to consider so you don’t end up with a bad audio interface. Come with us and check out these factors right away.
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5 Best Mixing And Mastering Audio Interface
1. PreSonus AudioBox iOne Audio Interface
This audio interface from the Presonus brand boasts exceptional value, and it is the ideal product to introduce our readers to a computer-based recording system. For songwriters, singers, and guitarists on the move, this portable audio interface will be their best friend on every ride, and it comes with a DI input connecting bass or guitar.
Its one mic input offers high headroom, low noise, class-A microphone preamp, and the most important of all, a 48V phantom power supply. Its 48V phantom power supply makes it compatible with condenser microphones, and it comes with other amazing features that make it record on iPad.
Furthermore, this audio interface boasts having a Presonus Audio One DAW software, accompanied by 6GB third-party resources. Based on all the features we have listed in this audio interface, you can tell that settling for this will be a wise investment. You can trust this audio interface to record loud and clear sounds, and we will not forget to tell you about its in-built studio magic suite that offers users the best effects and fresh sounds anytime they call on the Presonus iOne Audio Interface.
- Brand – Presonus
- Item Weight – 1.4 Pounds
- Color – Blue
- 6GB sample content and beats
- USB powered audio interface
- Mac, Windows, and iPad compatible
What We Like
- Fast delivery service
- It is perfect for use on the go
- Its design offers high-quality recordings
What We Don’t Like
- It is too noisy
- It has an internal sound problem
2. Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 (2nd Gen) USB Audio Interface
Focusrite is one of the many top-quality brands you can rely on to make high-quality products, and the Focusrite Scarlett USB audio interface offers great value for whatever you spend on it. This well-rounded audio interface comes with every necessary feature that makes it ideal for use in a studio or home setup. It also has a small footprint that ensures it perfectly fits into any desktop space.
When looking up the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 USB audio interface, the icing on the cake lies in its Ableton Live Lite, Novation Bass Station, Soft-Tube Tone Pack And Time, and Focusrite Red Plug-in Suite. You can bank on all of these features to offer you the best sounding experience you desire.
This audio interface from the Focusrite Scarlett brand offers buyers a less expensive and excellent way of obtaining the best sounds they desire. You can also count on this audio interface to record high-quality sound and perform thanks to its flexible 4-out, 2-in USB design amazingly. This audio interface comes with all you need, including a condenser microphone, USB cable, HP60 closed-back headphones so that you can get to the recording immediately it arrives.
- Brand – Focusrite
- Item Weight – 1.32 Pounds
- Color – Red
- Windows 7 compatible device
- Headphone output
- 2GB Loopmasters samples
What We Like
- This is a well made audio interface
- It delivers an impressive sound quality
- It comes with a manual for setup
- Its latency is low
What We Don’t Like
- It lacks analogue inputs
3. Audient iD4 USB High-Performance Audio Interface
The Audient iD4 USB audio interface is famous for its great-sounding experience, combined with a large-format analogue mixing console. This is a perfect example of a budget audio interface, but you know that you are getting a high-quality audio interface for a lower price.
Audient’s iD4 audio interface has a design that will deliver outstanding performance, and its portability makes it the perfect choice for demographic songwriter and singer. Its Audient Class-A console mic preamp ensures that it sounds loud, clear, and detailed, and this high-end preamp is similar to the type used in recording consoles.
However, this audio interface comes with a JFET DI input that replicates a classic valve amplifier’s input stage. Other mouthwatering features that will get your attention is its innovative converter technology, console-style monitor control, dual headphone outputs, and a Scroll Control wheel technology. The Scroll Control wheel technology enables users to use the volume control feature in adjusting selected DAW parameters.
- Brand – Audient
- Item Weight – 1.63 Pounds
- Color – Silver
- High-quality preamp
- USB 2.0 interface
- Dual headphone output
What We Like
- You will find this audio interface easy to use
- It is designed to sound good and impressive.
- It offers room for upgrade.
- This is a budget-friendly and reliable audio interface.
- The perfect audio interface for voiceovers
What We Don’t Like
- Drivers failed to work after installation
4. BEHRINGER Audio Interface, UMC404HD (UMC404HD)
Sitting in the fourth spot of this review is an audio interface from the Behringer brand. If you are familiar with musical instruments and devices, you will attest that the Behringer brand specializes in making high-quality products for users.
This high-quality interface serves as the gap between your creativity and your fans, and you can trust this audio interface to start recording in few minutes after arrival. Getting to record immediately is possible because it comes with every necessary connectivity required for keyboards, guitars, microphones, and MIDI devices.
We love this audio interface with zero-latency direct monitoring control, meaning musicians will clearly hear their performance without experiencing any delay. Using this audio interface means you will not experience returning signal, resulting in an outstanding recording performance.
It also features a 4-output and 4-input USB connection that ensures everything from this audio interface sounds amazing. Its USB port also allows easy connection with other compatible devices. This is one of the best audio interfaces any guitarist, musician, or keyboardist will hope for.
- Brand – Behringer
- Item Weight – 2.64 Pounds
- Color – Black
- 4X4 USB interface
- Zero-latency direct monitoring
- Input playback mix control
What We Like
- It features a pad for every preamp
- It has a small footprint
- Its USB bus helps in powering this device
What We Don’t Like
- It has no internal effects
5. Tascam US-16×08 Rackmount USB Audio MIDI Interface
The last audio interface we want to show you is from the TASCAM company, and the Tascam US-16X08 USB audio interface features 16 line and mic inputs that offer ultra-clear sounds. It boasts of having advanced features that ensure it fits into big sessions. What we find interesting about this audio interface is its ultra-HDDA preamp that guarantees quiet and clean operation.
You will be pleased to find out that eight additional inputs come with this audio interface, and two out of these eight outputs are best used for bass or guitar recording. Finally, the Tascam US-16X08 USB audio interface can function as a standalone mic preamp. This tells you how versatile this audio interface is.
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Factors To Consider When Shopping For A Reliable Audio Interface
It would help if you considered key considerations before making a payment for an audio interface, but whatever you settle for depends on your recording requirements. These factors are;
- Number of outputs
- Number of inputs
- Phantom power
- Bit depth and sample rate
Number Of Outputs
The number of outputs an audio interface should have will depend on what instruments you will be hooking up with this interface and where you desire to use the audio interface. An audio interface with multiple outputs will be perfect for mixing console with several channels. Still, if you use a laptop without additional equipment, you do not need an audio interface with several outputs. Hooking up a simple stereo output with headphones and studio monitor speakers delivers great performance when recording.
Number Of Inputs
The number of inputs an audio interface possesses decides how many instruments you can hook up with it. For use in pro-studios, an audio interface with multiple inputs will accommodate other devices like guitar amps and vocals, a bass amp, and a drum kit.
In other cases, pro and home recording studios do not necessarily need too many physical inputs. Not having too many physical inputs makes it easy for a solo artist to access an instrument or microphone at a time. It will be great if you have in mind the scenarios you will want to use an audio interface before making up your mind.
Purchasing huge racks or bulky instruments isn’t in vogue anymore. In the case of a small USB interface, you can connect an audio interface to a computer using its USB cable. The portability of an interface makes it compatible with a laptop in any working environment. This means you can work in a studio, at home, or even set up in a park.
Latency issues have been a real problem for so many audio interface manufacturers. Audio interfaces today comes with speedy connections and onboard processors, which reduces latency issues to a point where it isn’t noticeable anymore. When considering which audio interface to go for, an audio interface with a superb latency performance is a good investment.
You will need a condenser microphone to engage in an acoustic recording or a serious vocal performance. You can count on a condenser microphone to clearly pick up details, but only when the audio interface has a 48-Volt phantom power supply. An audio interface with a 48-Volt phantom power guarantees capturing intricate performances when you use a condenser microphone.
If you record analog signals from an electric guitar or microphone, a preamp helps enhance levels to a noise ratio and decent signal point. It would help if you had an audio face with a powerful preamp that will offer you loud noise greater than unwanted noise in simpler words. Depending on circuit design, some preamps have designs that make them sound better than others, so the preamps in your audio interface must be worth it.
Converters are another important feature you need to take a look at when shopping for an audio interface because they are responsible for handling analog signals’ translation to digital signals. A converter handles this conversion before storing the converted files on a computer’s hard drive, and it re-converts the digital files into analog when they are played back. A rule of thumb common to everyone is, if your audio interface has an expensive converter, it will produce an impressive audio quality, meaning you get what you pay for.
The truth is, most audio interfaces can be used for mixing, mastering, and recording, but you shouldn’t neglect these factors when shopping for an audio interface. There are so many audio interfaces on the market, making purchasing one confusing for you. Still, you do not have to worry anymore as this review has broken down every piece of information you need to know.
The result you get from what you have mixed and mastered depends on these factors that we have discussed in this review, and the best audio interfaces we have discussed in this review will offer you the best sounds you desire.