Making your own music is not an easy task. There are several things included like technical knowledge, talent, creativity and the appropriate equipment. Being an independent artist or musician means that you have to be relatively good at all those fields, in order to create decent music and start your career.
To start producing your own music and begin recording your songs, you will have to invest significant amounts of money. Usually, artists tend to be on a budget in the beginning, so they focus in more affordable equipment solutions, and they upgrade them later.
As a beginner artist, you are going to need some of the most important sound equipment to set up your studio. For instance, you will have to acquire a personal computer or a laptop, an audio interface, a pair of studio monitors and a microphone.
The audio interface is one of the most important tool for music producers and sound engineers. They are the devices that help you capture and deliver the sounds you record or play, and the quality of your songs depends highly on the quality of your interface.
Nowadays, there are lots of amazing audio interfaces that come in very affordable prices. Most of them have USB connectivity, which is very helpful as you can use them with the vast majority of computers or laptops, as long as they have USB ports.
Being external devices, they are portable, which means that you can use them for your live performances, tours, or in case you want to make recordings in remote locations, such as multiple recording studios or random places.
Our list contains some of the most affordable audio interfaces in the world, which deliver excellent sound quality, and will make your music production and recording experience very comfortable and simple. You will need minimum to no technical knowledge in order to use them, and most of them come as bundles with extra features.
What to consider for an affordable audio interface
You need to make sure that the audio interface you are about to purchase has high functionality standards. Read the reviews and test the device yourself to make sure that it is the appropriate interface for your needs, and see if everything works properly.
Determine how many inputs and outputs you are going to need, according to them equipment you are going to use, and check the connectivity of the interface to ensure that you have the port needed on your computer or laptop, so that you can plug the device in without any issues.
Most audio interfaces come as bundle with many useful additional items, which will make the recording process easier for you. Such items are microphones, shockmounts, cables, isolation pads and more. If you are going to use the interface while travelling, make sure that it comes with a case that protects the unit, and makes the carrying of your interface more convenient.
The quality of the interface you are looking for has to be amazing. The solid structure and the nice design are things that make an audio interface stand out from the rest, and they ensure that the unit is strong enough to last over time, under tough occasions and overuse.
The audio interfaces listed below are very affordable products, which makes them accessible by almost everyone that has a decent budget to invest for the equipment of his studio. Keep in mind, that most interface are available as bundles too, with extremely nice prices, which will help you save big parts of your budget if you intent to purchase the features included separately.
Best affordable audio interfaces
1 – Focusrite Scarlett 6i6
The Focusrite Scarlett 6i6 is a very easy to set up and use audio interface. It has USB connectivity and it is listed among the best affordable audio interface available in the market today. It is very simple to learn how to use the software included, and the installation process is pretty basic and fast.
This audio interface is the perfect solution for podcasts, online radio shows, music production and professional recordings. The sound it delivers is excellent, as it manages to reduce the background noises and focus on the sounds that the microphone and the line inputs produce.
The workflow in the Windows is perfect. The Focusrite Scarlett 6i6 can be used with any Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) you prefer. To operate it properly, you have to open the music software, go to settings and choose the particular interface as your input and output sound source.
In order to avoid popping or clipping issues, you may need to test and experiment with your buffer settings, which can be found in the options or settings panel of your DAW. Depending on the software, you may have to increase the buffer in order to avoid such noises.
Furthermore, if you face any additional noise problems, they will more likely be caused by the power supply. You can acquire an isolating conditioning power strip and connect it to the Focusrite Scarlett 6i6. This way, you will eliminate all similar issues without much effort.
The preamplifiers of the audio interface have an amazing functionality and produce a neutral sound, with a subtle emphasis on the lower ends, which tend to make the sound warm. All the outputs deliver clean and clear sound, and the compatibility of the software with the interface is perfect.
Overall, the Focusrite Scarlett 6i6 is a great USB audio interface and one of the best options for music producers musicians and beatmakers. It deliver significantly clean sound during the recording and the playback, and it is offered in a very reasonable price considering its capabilities.
2 – Presonus STUDIO 26
The Presonus STUDIO 26 is an amazing audio interface, perfect for podcasts and musicians that work in remote locations. It can record up to 192kHz and has 2 front panel combo mic and line/instruments inputs, which are switchable.
In addition to this, it has XMAX-I microphone preamplifiers and MIDI I/O. On the interface, there are two balanced line outputs so that you can monitor mix or switch speaker. The interface also has the standard L/R main outputs and a cue mix function, which is very helpful as it allows you to toggle between two mixes, at the same time you monitor through your headphones.
The Presonus STUDIO 26 comes with the Studio One artist DAW, an award winning music software that works great both for Mac and for Windows operating systems. The interface is intended for a wide variety of users, such as artists, podcasters, music producers, DJs, beatmakers and film editors.
The audio interface has coveted microphone preamplifiers, audiophile-grade digital converters and ultra-low-jitter clocking, which helps it deliver a very characteristic sound. It focuses on the mid frequencies providing a very subtle presence to them, and making the low ends warm enough.
The Presonus STUDIO 26 has 48V phantom power, which makes it capable of receiving sound from condenser microphone in great detail. The audio interface is great for two or more artists that want to play their instruments and record them simultaneously, due to the cue mix A/B function.
Overall, this particular audio interface is a fascinating solution both for home and for professional studios. It delivers amazing high standard sound quality, and it is definitely worth the money investment, as it will satisfy even the most demanding customers.
3 – Avid Fast Track Duo
The Avid Fast Track Duo is a high quality audio interface with a very solid structure. It comes in a very decent price, considering the things it has to offer. A nice addition to the package, is the Pro Tools, which is a powerful music software, perfect for every music producer and beatmaker.
Along with its other applications, you can use the audio interface to record video through your iPhone or iPad, by capturing the sound from the stereo outputs of mixing consoles, in live performances or practice sessions.
The compatibility levels of the Avid Fast Track Duo are high, and you can connect it with almost any apple device easily. When you start recording, the audio interface automatically pans to stereo in order to capture the entire range of the audio that you record.
What is more, you can use an additional USB portable power supply to power the interface. This way, you can plug the supply into your phone instead of plugging the phone intro a wall outlet, making your recording more convenient and giving you the necessary room space.
The Avid Fast Track Duo comes with no software, so you will have to search online in order to make the proper installation. Although this Is a minor disadvantage, fortunately the unit comes with an iLok and you can obtain a license easily and very fast.
The interface work great with the majority of the well-known Digital Audio Workstations, such as Pro Tools, FL Studio and Ableton Live, so you can operate it successfully no matter the music software that you use.
The overall sound is awesome. The Avid Fast Track Duo delivers crystal clear high quality sound, making your recordings warmer and crispier than ever before. It has zero latency, and it gets very easy to use after you practice with it for a few days. A great audio interface solution in an extremely affordable price.
4 – Native Instruments Komplete Audio 6
The Komplete Audio 6 is the perfect audio interface solution for music producers and DJs. It has great portability and works great with laptops, ideal for live performances and recordings in external locations or multiple recording studios.
One of the key factors that make this audio interface stand out from the rest, is the six inputs and outputs. You do not need to use them with external power, which makes the process of record playback extremely convenient, without the limitations from a power supply.
The Komplete Audio 6 has four balanced outputs and four inputs. In order to select between line or instrument, there are buttons on the interface that you can press and switch to the function of your preference with no effort at all.
The interface has some very powerful gain knobs that can make your microphone’s input sound as loud as it gets, even if you have one of the quieter ones. There is a noticeable hiss when you press the gain a lot, so make sur that you use it cautiously.
Using the Komplete Audio 6, you can control the monitor mix of your main out separately. You can achieve this by using the monitor level knob, which can turn the signal of, or turn it to mono. Furthermore, the interface has a separate headphone level knob too, saving you time from making on-screen adjustments.
In order to install the audio interface into your computer, you can simply use the drivers included or download them from the official website of Native instruments. The installation is very basic, and the software guides you through the whole process. Install the drivers and you can start using the interface immediately.
Cubase and Traktor are also included in the package, which is a very nice and helpful addition. Furthermore, when you purchase the Komplete Audio 6, you get the Komplete Elements in addition to the music software mentioned above, which includes over 1.000 sound presets.
Overall, the sound quality the audio interface manages to deliver is excellent. There are no latency issues and no lagging or clipping as far as audio is concerned. An awesome audio interface in a very affordable price, that provides great value for money.
5 – Roland QuadCapture
The Roland QuadCapture comes has a very compact and solid structure, which gives the impression that it can last under rough circumstances over time. The USB cable, the manual, the drivers and the Sonar X1 are included in the package. You can also download the latest drivers from the Roland website, to ensure that you have all the latest updates.
The audio interface works great when you load multiple channels on your DAW, and using the MIDI inputs you will face no latency issues. Depending on the specifications of your personal computer or laptop, you can make multiple recording at the same time without any significant lagging problems.
The design of the Roland QuadCapture is amazing. It comes in black and silver colors, and it has a very solid and stable structure that makes the product tough. Its size is compact, which is very convenient when it comes to small places or home studios.
The audio interface has a function called Auto Sense. The device can identify the proper sensitivity level for every instrument you plug in, after you test it for a while. You can very easily adjust the sensitivity levels on the levels shown, to achieve maximum results.
The headphone outputs of the Roland QuadCapture work great and produce very loud sound. The preamplifiers have very clear signal, and they help you hear every single detail during the recording process.
Overall, the particular audio interface is worth the money, and will deliver high quality sound results. It is very easy to use after some practice, and it has functions that help you achieve the best results possible with minor adjustments. A great product in a very affordable price, one of the best options for music producers and sound engineers.