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The Essential Audio Interfaces Under $500


What’s the best audio recording device for you?

How do you find the best audio interface for your needs? If you’re like most budget studios chances are your audio needs revolve around a computer. Whether you are using a small MacBook or a powerful PC desktop you’re going to need an audio recording device for your microphones and instruments.

The following interfaces are some ideas for a budget conscious home recording studio. Chances are, if you’re just starting out you won’t be needing a large interface with lots of inputs but rather a small compact one that sounds good.

Here are some good cost conscious but great sounding audio interfaces under $500. Keep in mind that the following links are affiliate links which give me a small percentage from any purchase without any additional cost to you.

M-Audio Fast Track Ultra

The M-Audio Fast Track Ultra is a compact and simple usb audio interface for those who do not need a lot of inputs. Two XLR and two line inputs, the Fast Track is compact and perfect for on the road recording.

Focusrite Saffire Pro 14

With 8 channels in and 6 out, two dedicated XLR microphone inputs and 24 bit/96kHz recording this latest in the Saffire family of firewire interfaces is a great contender for the home studio.

Apogee Duet

If you need something simple and easy with great A/D converters then the Duet is for you. It’s very small and portable and has two XLR inputs/pre-amps. They’ve come up with the Duet 2 so chances are you can start finding this one for cheaper.

Alesis iO 2

I own the Alesis iO|26 Firewire interface and I highly recommend Alesis products. They have been around for a long time and they churn out great products, regardless of budget. If you just need a small usb audio interface with two microphone inputs I wouldn’t hesitate to get this one.

TASCAM US-1641

Like Alesis, Tascam has been industry. This interface is more geared towards those that need to record more than only a couple things at the same time. It has 8 dedicated mic inputs but an extra 8 line inputs for DI’d instruments such as keyboards and bass guitars.

TC Electronic Impact Twin

This is a great audio interface from TC Electronic. It has all sorts of goodies, fourteen inputs, two microphone pre-amps, Midi I/O and onboard effects, compression and EQ. Pretty good for something under $500.

Lexicon I-ONIX

This sleek and elegant audio interface is new from the Lexicon barracks.

Lexicon has a reputation for making great recording equipment and as a user of their Lambda interface I can vouch for the quality of their budget interfaces.

Have fun!

Whichever audio interface you choose I hope you have a great time playing with it. You are hopefully going to be recording a lot of stuff with it so make sure you get the one that’s right for you.

Image by: Cataract_Eye


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About me

About Björgvin Benediktsson

I’m Björgvin Benediktsson. I’m a musician, audio engineer and best-selling author. I help musicians and producers make a greater impact with their music by teaching them how to produce and engineer themselves. I’ve taught thousands of up and coming home studio producers such as yourself how to make an impact with their music through Audio Issues since 2011.

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