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As an audio engineer or someone who has a passion for music, you know very well that you need good equipments and hardware.
The quality of equipment that you have to work with will determine the quality of the music that you make.
While trying to figure out which equipment to get first, one of the most important ones you have to consider is your audio interface.
This is because, your audio interface acts like the middle man between your DAW and whatever you are recording.
A good quality audio interface will make your work so much easier and reduce the stress involved in mixing.
But the problem most people are facing is getting good products and also not so expensive.
In this article we will be looking at the top 5 best audio interface under 1000 bucks, things to consider before you make a purchase and some tips to help you get the best out of your new purchase.
Related: Here is a massive guide showing you everything you need to know about the best audio interface
What is an audio interface?
Before we begin, there is something really important we need to address here and that is the what an audio interface is and what it does.
Simply put, it is an external piece of hardware that produces sounds in a much more easier and sophisticated way than your ordinary onboard sound card thereby allowing you to hear the full spectrum of your mixes.
What this means is that an audio interface is more like a middleman and allows your sounds to pass through it and makes it sound so much cleaner and better.
Here are some advantages of using an audio interface over your onboard sound card
They improve the quality of your sounds making it sound cleaner and better
They can be easily plugged in and operated because of the USB or Firewire cables
They help to reduce the strain on your DAW
Things to consider before you make a purchase
1. How much does it cost?
Obviously we are looking for the best audio interface under 1000. So we do not expect something that is very expensive.
The truth is that most interfaces cost a few hundred bucks and are very good.
You can find a lot of models that are very expensive but the downside is that they are also very complicated.
The good thing is that all the choices listed in this article cost a few hundred bucks and are some of the best.
2. What is the type of connectivity?
Also you need to determine the way the audio interface can be connected to your DAW.
The two major types of connectivity are USB and Firewire.
While it all depends on personal preference, you need to know that when you move away from the normal USB connection, you will definitely need to spend some more cash.
3. How many inputs and outputs will you need?
When it comes to mixing and audio engineering, having a lot of inputs and output ports is actually a good thing.
This is because you want to have a lot of options on how you you record audio and also how you send it out.
If you find yourself recording multiple instruments with vocals, then you definitely need to make sure that your audio interface comes with a lot of input and output ports.
4. Does it come with a software bundle?
While this might not be of interest to some people, it helps a lot if your purchase comes as part of a software bundle.
Most of them are usually come packaged with softwares and additional effects and sounds that will make your job fun and easier.
Our Top 5 Best Audio Interface Under 1000
1. Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 USB Audio Interface
This is probably the most popular and widely used audio interface in the industry today.
It has four analog inputs that comes with preamps and gain to help you easily record your vocals and instruments.
With it’s 2 In and 2 Out jacks, you can easily record two mics easily
It has very low latency which allows you to work with as many plugins as you want without stress your DAW’s memory.
This is really useful as it does not slow up your computer or causes it to overheat.
It has a ¼ output jacks that allows your studio monitors and headphones for better mixing
It comes packaged as a bundle that includes Pro Tools, Ableton Live Lite and Focusrite Control
2.M-Audio M-Track Portable USB Audio and MIDI Interface
This is a simple plug and play audio interface that transforms your computer into a sophisticated audio recording machine.
It has a single USB cable powers up the device and also connects it to your workstation.
It is a 2 channel audio interface which makes it very easy to connect and record two mics at the same time.
It has input ports that can accommodate a wide range of audio devices. It also has phantom power capability which helps with increased volume when using a condenser microphones.
It offers low latency monitoring of the your input signal which makes it much easier to monitor your audio when recording.
It comes packaged with it’s own Ignite software that makes it very easy to begin recording your vocals.
3. PreSonus Audiobox USB 2.0 Audio Interface
This is one simple and very easy to use audio interface that delivers excellent quality when used.
It is a 4 by 4 audio interface that also has a MIDI feature.
It has 2 mic/instruments input and 2 mic/line inputs with enough headroom and preamps that gives you clear vocals and audio files.
It has a balanced main left and right outputs which helps in ensuring that you hear your audio sounds clearly.
It comes packaged with free downloads of Studio One DAW and over 6 gig of extra third party sounds and effects.
4. Native Instruments Komplete Audio 6
This is one very best professional audio interface in the market today.
It has low latency monitoring and performance which makes it ideal for use with virtual instruments and plugins.
It comes with high quality and standard preamps with individual gain controls that helps in adjusting and regulating your audio as you record.
With this interface, you can easily monitor your recording live without any latency issues making it very easy to detect and make adjustments as you go.
It has a mono input switch for easily recording vocals, guitar and other mono sources.
It has a 48V phantom power feature for use with condenser mics and other active DI boxes.
5. TASCAM US-1200 USB Audio Interface
The TASCAM audio interface is a quality interface that works well with both PCs and Macs.
It has four XLR inputs that has a 48V phantom power for powering condenser mics and other devices.
It has two TRS ¼ inches balanced inputs that helps you connect as many media devices or input devices as you want.
It has low latency monitoring which occurs via the DSP mixer which allows you work with virtual plugins and instruments
It comes with onboard digital effects for use in various operating modes.
Advantages of an audio interface
- It is perfect for use with tablets and smaller PCs due to the fact that is is external and portable
- Ease of use and high quality recordings
- A wider range of inputs and ports can be built and used when recording
- Most of them have MIDI which makes it easy to connect your MIDI keyboard.
How to connect your audio interface to your computer
- Most audio interfaces that you can get in the market today come with USB connectivity.
- This means that as long as you have a USB port in your system, it is simply a matter of plugging and using it.
- For those that use the thunderbolt audio interfaces, then all you need to do is to get a compatible firewire cables and you can easily set it up.