Detailed Buying Guide – Top 8 USB Audio Interfaces Trending In 2020!

For smooth transfer of sounds from inside a computer or laptop, to outside – for example, to use in a synthesizer – an audio interface is the best device to use in today’s age of fast connection and enhanced technology. Furthermore, you can also produce audios on your computer with the audio interface.

This product is a music artist’s favorite because of its multiple and variety of features. Producing and recording music becomes tenfold easier with the help of an audio interface. Choosing the best audio interface, which comes as an external sound card, will help you in several ways – whether you are exploring music, or producing your sounds.

Editor’s Choice!

It’s difficult to catch-up with multi-tasking in this fast-pacing world, especially when it comes to shopping the best item for yourself. Reviewing a product can take up your precious time; however, if you need to buck-up on the entire task, we have summed up this entire article in a nutshell – the top 2 picks, according to our choice. We are sure you will like it and shall be satisfied with our pick. One is a budget-friendly option, while the other one is a pick that is full of features. If you are in a hurry, simply go by the two suggested here, and your job shall be done. Let’s read further:

1. A Feature-Rich Pick – Zoom (Model: R8) Multi-Track Table-top USB Audio Interface!

 Zoom R8 Multi-Track Tabletop Recorder, Interface

This compact product is the most feature-rich audio interface, along with being a fully-featured eight-track that also has physical faders. Moreover, it is a pad sampler, a loop-based sequencer, a pad sampler, as well as a DAW control surface. There are stereo condenser microphones built within this R8 Model with dual inputs for instrument, line, microphones. There are over 140 DSP effects on-board, along with a built-in metronome, playback speed which is variable and that facilitates in the presence or absence of pitch change, and chromatic tuner. It can be operated even with the removal of AA batteries or power adapters. Output jacks are also dual and provide volume control.

2. A Budget-Friendly Pick – Behringer Xenyx Premium 8-Input 2-Bus Mixer with USB/Audio Interface!

Behringer Xenyx Q802USB Premium 8-Input 2-Bus Mixer with USB/Audio Interface,Black

The Behringer Audio Interface is budget-friendly and also packed with a variety of ingenious features. It avails premium ultra-low noise along with high headroom analog mixer. There is a control LED for instruments and professional vocal sounds. The studio-grade compressors have easy functionality with the one-knob feature. It comes with a built-in stereo that you can connect to your computer. Furthermore, this audio interface provides Neo-classical 3 brand British EQs which create warm and musical sounds that will help you with the production of music. This product possesses all the necessary sound editing functionalities that you may need to create new sounds or record over pre-existing ones.

Comparison Table 8 USB Audio Interfaces – A Quick Overview!

# Product Name Major Features Image
#1 Focusrite Scarlett Solo (3rd Gen) USB Audio Interface
  • Switchable Air Mode
  • Two hum-free outputs
  • Record up to 24-bit
  • Consists of pro-tools
Focusrite Scarlett Solo (3rd Gen) USB Audio Interface with Pro Tools | First
#2 Behringer Xenyx Premium 8-Input 2-Bus Mixer with USB/Audio Interface
  • Neo-classical British 3 brand EQs
  • Built-in Stereo
  • Control LED
  • High headroom analog mixer
Behringer Xenyx Q802USB Premium 8-Input 2-Bus Mixer with USB/Audio Interface,Black
#3 Tascam Four-Track USB Audio Interface
  • Unidirectional stereo condenser microphones
  • 4 channel mode
  • XLR/TRS inputs
Tascam DR-40X Four-Track Digital Audio Recorder and USB Audio Interface
#4 BEHRINGER U-PHORIA, 8-Channel USB Audio Interface
  • ADAT I/O for recording
  • +48 V phantom power
  • Streams 18 inputs and 20 outputs
BEHRINGER U-PHORIA UMC1820, Black, 8-Channel
#5 PreSonus AudioBox USB/iPad Audio Interface
  • Contains 30 Native Effects
  • Over 6 GB of beats
  • 4 virtual instruments
  • Studio-quality 24-bit resolution
PreSonus AudioBox iOne 2x2 USB/iPad Audio Interface
#6 Native Instruments (Model: Komplete) Audio-2 Two-Channel Audio Interface
  • Comes with VU Meter
  • Zero-latency high-power output
  • 48V phantom power
Native Instruments Komplete Audio 2 Two-Channel Audio Interface
#7 Zoom (Model: R8) Multi-Track Tabletop USB Audio Interface
  • Over 140 DSP effects
  • Chromatic Tuner
  • Pad Sampler
  • 8-track recorder with physical fades
  • Full control surface
 Zoom R8 Multi-Track Tabletop Recorder, Interface
#8 Apogee Duet 2-2 Channel USB Audio Interface
  • 24-bit resolution
  • Low latency monitoring
  • AD/DA conversion
  • Direct Digital connection
 Apogee Duet 2 - 2 Channel USB Audio Interface for Recording Mics, Guitars, Keyboards on MAC and iOS Devices

Detailed Product Reviews – Top 8 USB Audio Interfaces in 2020!

1. Focusrite Scarlett Solo (3rd Gen) USB Audio Interface, Red

Focusrite Scarlett Solo (3rd Gen) USB Audio Interface with Pro Tools | First
Focusrite Scarlett Solo (3rd Gen) USB Audio Interface with Pro Tools | First

If you are looking for the simplest and effective USB audio interface, then this can be the right choice.  This3rd Generation Scarlett Solo can offer you an easy way to start creating studio-quality recording with your guitar.  This is the top-rated mic preamp and known for its best performance. It is available with switchable air mode to offer your recordings more open and a brighter sound. You can plug in your bass or guitar in one high-headroom instrument input. It ensures clear audio playback.

It is easy to record and mix at up to 24-bit/ 192kHz with the help of high-performance converters. This is easy to use and set up, and this quick start tool can make recording quick. This is the best USB interface for recording a single instrument or the human voice.

Major Features

  • Maximum Output Level: 7dBu
  • free versions of the software
  • One high headroom instrument input
  • Easy Start tool
  • switchable air mode
  • Dynamic Range: 104dB
Pros
  • It can offer singer-songwriters with a simple recording process
  • Upgraded 3rd-Gen Scarlett mic preamp
  • The high-headroom instrument input makes it easy for you to record without any unwanted distortion or clipping.
  • It is easy to set the input level
  • It comes with the required software tools
Cons
  • You may face some sound monitoring issues
  • Poor built quality
  • Pretty expensive

2. Behringer Xenyx Premium 8-Input 2-Bus Mixer with USB/Audio Interface,(Model: Q802USB)Black

Behringer Xenyx Q802USB Premium 8-Input 2-Bus Mixer with USB/Audio Interface,Black
Behringer Xenyx Q802USB Premium 8-Input 2-Bus Mixer with USB/Audio Interface,Black

You can achieve effortless premium quality sound with this USB interface with this mixer’s 8 inputs. ‘one-knob’ compressors make it easy to use by offering complete dynamic control for the ultimate clarity and punch in every note. It has incredible features that make it an incredibly versatile mixer when it comes to your live performances. It can be easier to handle your live gigs with this product.

It offers state-of-the-art tools required to make high quality and stunning recordings. It comes with recording and editing software required to turn your PC into the home recording studio. This is small in size (2.4 pounds) and portable. You can take it anywhere, like in meeting rooms, schools, restaurants and more. This is the best option that can offer the features and performance needed to take your talent to the next level.

Major Features

  • Downloadable 150 instrument/effect plug-ins
  • Studio-grade compressors with ‘one-knob’ functionality
  • Control LED for professional instrument/vocal sound
  • Onboard studio-grade XENYX Mic Preamp
  • Ultra-musical ‘British’ channel EQ
  • Built-in USB/audio interface
  • Transparent, crystal- clear performance
Pros
  • You can connect it directly with your PC with the help of its built-in stereo USB/Audio Interface
  • Free audio recording, editing and podcasting software
  • Amazing price with reliability
  • Small size and portable
  • Professional sound quality
  • Runs on Phantom power
  • Perfect for recording and live gigs
Cons
  • Some may find it difficult to use
  • Poor quality control
  • Not durable
  • Customer support service is not too good

3. Tascam Four-Track USB Audio Interface, (Model: DR-40X)Black

Tascam DR-40X Four-Track Digital Audio Recorder and USB Audio Interface
Tascam DR-40X Four-Track Digital Audio Recorder and USB Audio Interface

This is a versatile and suitable recorder for podcasting, music, cinema, and many applications. This is easy to use that has a compact design. It ensures a high-performance feature set. Featuring built-in phantom power (+48V), XLR/TRS combo inputs, Dual unidirectional stereo condenser mics, four-channel recording mode, RC-10 wired remote control, Optional RC-3F footswitch, and MS Decoding functionality, It allows you to turn your room into a recording studio within a minute with the help of it.

Connecting it with PC is comfortable with USB Audio interface mode. Jacks can support both +4dBu line-level and mic-level. Inputs can accept line levels from the balanced microphone. You can record the audience’s ambient sound, too, while recording from an external console directly. This is suitable for capturing every detail of live performances. Its stereo built-in condenser microphones ensure high-quality recording

Major Features

  • Recording media involves SDXC card, SDHC card, and SD card
  • 4 channels
  • Versatile audio I/O
  • Built-in microphones
  • Suitable to produce professional content
  • Easy to use
  • Compact design
  • Volume adjustment wheels
  • Sturdier
Pros
  • USB Audio interface mode makes it easy for you to connect to a PC
  • DR-40X is a tool for live streaming, voiceover work, and songwriting with the best quality audio.
  • High-quality unidirectional stereo condenser microphone
  • XLR/TRS inputs
  • Easy to record in A-B and X-Y positions
  • 4-channel mode useful for non-destructive overdub recording and dual recording
  • Suitable for Mac, PC or iOS recording
Cons
  • No protective/carry pouch
  • Internal mics have silver plastic bodies

4. BEHRINGER U-PHORIA, 8-Channel USB Audio Interface (Model: UMC1820,) Black

BEHRINGER U-PHORIA UMC1820, Black, 8-Channel

This is something that can fill the gap between your fans and your creativity. You can record in minutes with all connectivity needed for keyboards, guitars, microphones, and MDI devices. This includes phantom power (+48 Volt) for condenser microphones. Its compatibility with some software like Ableton Live*, Avid Pro Tools*, Steinberg Cubase*, and more is another great thing.

It has incredible features that prove helpful to you and allow you to shine in the digital domain.  You can record on your Windows computer and Mac by just plug inline-level sources, instruments or microphones to UMC404HD’s 4 combinations XLR/TRS inputs. USB 2.0 port is included on the rear panel that ensures a smooth and straightforward connection to a computer.

It features four analog inserts for using EQs, gates, compressors and such external effects.  It offers up to 192 kHz resolution for widespread applications in video post-production and music. You can work with accuracy and confidence and get professional results in your recording software.

Major Features

  • Audiophile 24-Bit/96 kHz resolution
  • ensures the professional audio quality
  • phantom power (+48 V)
  • Suitable for recording microphones and instruments
  • MIDI Interface with ADAT I/O
  • USB 2.0 port
Pros
  • This powerful music production software ensures professional and fantastic recording.
  • A readily available and vast library of resources
  • exceptional 24-Bit/192 kHz high-resolution converters
  • Amazing features help your recordings/mixes sound their best.
  • Remarkably affordable
  • This is ultimate in studio flexibility
  • Zero-latency direct monitoring allows users to experience their performance without any delay.
  • Built-in MIDI I/O makes it easy to connect all your outboard MIDI hardware and keyboards.
Cons
  • Sometimes it creates a hissing sound
  • Quality degrades after a few months

5. PreSonus AudioBox USB/iPad Audio Interface (Model: iOne 2×2), Blue

PreSonus AudioBox iOne 2x2 USB/iPad Audio Interface
PreSonus AudioBox iOne 2×2 USB/iPad Audio Interface

Outstanding preamps and digital converters are needed to record great-sounding music. AudioBox iTwo audio interface can capture voice at its best. This is small and fits in a laptop bag or pocket of a backpack. It is portable so that you can bring it with you easily, and it can work with standard iOS power accessories. You can record your masterpiece anytime and anywhere. This interface is suitable for songwriters and guitarists.

It allows you to capture your instrument or voice on the iPad, Windows PC, and Mac. You just need to plug in your microphone and guitar simple to create your masterpiece recording. It comes with Studio Magic Plug-in Suite that can help add fresh sounds only and effects to Studio One.  This interface and its software library make track and compositions simpler by offering all the necessary tools to record in the studio or on the road.

Major Features

  • Countless mixes
  • Studio Magic Plug-in Suite
  • Weight 1.35 pounds
  • the AudioBox iOne to create a quality recording
  • 24-bit, 96 kHz digital converters
  • an ultra-loud, crystal-clear headphone output
  • balanced TRS monitor outputs
Pros
  • This can be the most comfortable entry recording and production software.
  • This is easy to use and learn.
  • It can create the best or studio-quality output.
  • It provides unlimited tracks and plug-ins
  • USB bus bundled and powered with easy and powerful recording S/W.
  • Bright headphone output ensures you hear every detail.
  • This is best for podcasters and mobile musicians. Compatible with Apple iPad and works with Mac, Windows, and iPad recording software virtually.
Cons
  • Volume output too low for iPhone
  • Do not connect to apple laptop and it is not for iOS capture

6. Native Instruments (Model: Komplete) Audio-2 Two-Channel Audio Interface, Black

Native Instruments Komplete Audio 2 Two-Channel Audio Interface
Native Instruments Komplete Audio 2 Two-Channel Audio Interface

This is designed for simple stereo recording and ideal options for beatmakers, musicians, and performers. They can capture ideas, create, and play with excellent quality audio. You can quickly turn your ideas into reality as it comes with required software including MONARK, Ableton Live Lite, MASCHINE Essentials, and top NI effects to polish recordings.

You can capture and record audio in your PC easily with it with the help of its two combi-XLR/jack inputs. You can easily plug in a pair of mics together using these two inputs. Stereo jack out for using on stage, the studio, and home. It comes with a significant volume knob that makes it easy for users to adjust the output level.  This is an excellent product with a remarkable gain range. You can easily record guitar, vocal or any instrument into your DAW in superb quality. You can get each and everything like effects, synths, and Ableton Live 10 Lite to create songs.

Major Features

  • 2x combi-XLR/jack inputs
  • 48V phantom power
  • Flexible stereo recording
  • VU meter
  • Zero-latency
  • High power output
  • Direct monitoring
  • Premium audio quality at 192 kHz and 24 bit
  • LED signal indicators on the top
Pros
  • Ideal for live performances
  • This is a small-sized product that you can carry anywhere.
  • You will also get free access to millions of loops and samples from leading sound creators for two months.
  • You can record high-quality speech with the included Plug-ins.
Cons
  • The headphone output is not so good.

7. Zoom (Model: R8) Multi-Track Tabletop USB Audio Interface, Black

 Zoom R8 Multi-Track Tabletop Recorder, Interface
Zoom R8 Multi-Track Tabletop Recorder, Interface

It is a four in one device that can be used as a recorder, sampler, interface, and controller. It is portable and compact that makes it best suited for home recordings and those who love to record outdoors. One can do a lot with the Zoom R8 multi-track recorder. It is a feature-packed 8 track recorder. It comes with a physical fader, a rhythm machine, a pad sampler, and a loop-based sequencer, and not only that, but it can also be used as an audio interface and DAW control surface.

The list doesn’t end here. It also includes in-built stereo condenser microphones, dual inputs for line/mic/instrument, and 140 onboard DSP effects.

Major Features

  • 2-track recording simultaneously to SD cards (supports up to 32 GB)
  • 8-track Playback
  • dual line/mic/instrument inputs
  • In-built stereo condenser microphones
  • Headphone output having dedicated volume control.
  • DAW control surface
  • Operates with AA batteries or power adapter
Pros
  • It offers complete control and is a feature-packed control surface when it comes to recording and mixing.
  • It is compatible with DAWs like Logic, Garage band, Cubase, etc.
  • It makes multi-track recording a much easier task. It offers 8 tracks for recording and playback.
  • It is portable and operates on battery due to which you can carry it outdoors as well.
  • It has 8 velocity-sensitive pads that help you trigger drum sounds, samples or loops.
Cons
  • Input audio quality is not that good
  • The software is not up to date.
  • The Manual is a bit complex.

8. Apogee Duet 2-2 Channel USB Audio Interface, Silver

 Apogee Duet 2 - 2 Channel USB Audio Interface for Recording Mics, Guitars, Keyboards on MAC and iOS Devices
Apogee Duet 2 – 2 Channel USB Audio Interface for Recording Mics, Guitars, Keyboards on MAC and iOS Devices

It is one of the most preferred portable audio recorders. It is used by various professionals in the music industry, such as sound engineers, musicians, etc. Its simplicity and fantastic sound quality make it quite popular among musicians and sound professionals.

It comes with 2 combo inputs. So you can connect guitars, mics, keyboards, or other line-level devices such as a mixing board or mic preamps (external). In addition to it, Apogee Duet also comes with 4 analog outputs. Out of these two balanced outputs are for connection to outboard equipment or speakers and a dedicated output for stereo headphones. This is a beautiful product that offers you the best quality sound and available within the best price.

Major Features

  • High-speed connection (USB 2.0) to Windows PC or Mac.
  • Direct digital connection to iOS devices and iPad
  • Software to control input selection and low latency monitoring.
  • 2 microphone preamps
  • AD/DA conversion
  • ESS Sabre32 DAC technology
Pros
  • It is highly compatible with Mac book pro all Mac devices. Apogee also offers Lightning cable for batter connection to various iOS devices.
  • It uses superior technology and is a portable unit.
  • It can be used with LOGIC, ProTools, etc.
  • Great sound quality.
  • Easy to use
Cons
  • Software support is not up to the mark.
  • The user interface is not user friendly.
  • Connection issues with iMac
  • Not compatible with all the computer systems. It causes them to restart frequently.

Things to Consider Before Buying the Best USB Audio Interface for Yourself!

Making the right purchase is vital, especially when you are planning to spend your hard-earned month. Moreover, the USB audio interface should be useful in all means that you require. This task can be confusing, with many trending products being available in the marketplace these days. We can help here. You must consider the following factors to make a perfect, within-your-budget purchase. Let’s have a look:

1. Required Inputs & Outputs (I/O)

For beginners, the best audio interface would be the simple two-channel desktop interface which records single stereo signals, or mono signals. If you are a songwriter or producer, then you may require more prominent interfaces with over dozens of channels – it depends on what you wish to do with the interface system.

2. Connectivity of Device/Computer

The most straightforward connection an audio interface can avail of is the USB system. But there are other types of connectivity to this device – Thunderbolt, Firewall, PCI Express. This is to enhance performance and take control of the interface more convenient for you.

3. Sound Quality Levels

Sound quality is paramount when it comes to recording and producing sounds – because a bad quality will ruin the tune of the music. Factors to consider under this are; Bit-depth, Sample Rate, and Converter Quality – along with also comes the question of your budget.

4. On-Board Mixing Functions

Whether you wish to record musical instruments, professional vocals, or synthesized sounds, the mixing functions are immensely crucial for the merging of these sounds and the production of a final product. For instance, DSP effects, Pad Samplers, Chromatic tuners, etc.

5. Budget

It is necessary to assess your budget; this factor sets a limit to your search so that you don’t end up liking a product only to realize that it is too expensive.
We are sure that you have understood the factors that we have listed above. With this understanding, you must be clear enough to ensure what you require, including the features and budget. Now, you will be able to select the most suitable USB enabled audio interface without wasting more time. This is the new way to wise shopping!

Conclusion!

After going through this thorough guide, you can choose decisively from the above-given option as Audio Interfaces. According to us, Zoom Multi-track Audio Interface with USB is the clear winner. It is power-packed with features and is all worth the price that you will if you buy this product. It is our favorite pick among the 8 USB audio interfaces that are trending and mentioned here. Happy Shopping!