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Music Production

The Best Cheap Audio Interface

Photograph of the blog post author, Sebastian Wolf

Sebastian Wolf


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Best cheap audio interface

If you’re a musician or podcaster on a budget, finding the best cheap audio interface can be a daunting task. But fear not; there are plenty of affordable options out there that don’t sacrifice quality for price. A good audio interface is essential for creating high-quality audio projects, whether you’re recording music, voiceovers, or podcasts. 

In this article, we’ll explore some of the best cheap audio interfaces on the market. We’ll take a look at the features, sound quality, and overall value of each interface to help you make an informed decision. We’ll also discuss the different types of audio interfaces available and what to look for when choosing the right one for your needs. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned pro, there’s an audio interface out there that can help take your recordings to the next level without breaking the bank.

What Is an Audio Interface?

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An audio interface is a hardware device that allows you to connect professional-quality microphones, instruments, and other audio equipment to your computer or recording device. It serves as the bridge between analogue gear and digital audio workstations (DAW). In doing so, they allow you to record and play back high-quality audio signals.

Audio interfaces typically come with a variety of inputs and outputs, including XLR, TRS, and MIDI connections. These connections enable you to plug in a wide range of audio equipment. Some audio interfaces also include built-in preamps. These boost the level of weak audio signals from microphones or instruments. Additionally, some options include phantom power, which provides power to condenser microphones.

Audio interfaces also provide superior sound quality in comparison to the built-in audio inputs found on most computers. They use high-quality analogue-to-digital converters (ADCs) to convert analogue signals to digital signals and digital-to-analogue converters (DACs) to convert digital signals back to analogue. This results in a cleaner, more accurate sound that is free from noise and distortion.

An audio interface is an essential tool for anyone looking to record high-quality audio. Whether you’re a professional musician, podcaster, or voiceover artist, an audio interface can help you capture your sounds in the best possible way. They’re the perfect starting block for creating professional-level recordings.

The Best Cheap Audio Interface: Our Top 5

There’s never been a better time to pick up a super capable cheap audio interface. There’s a wide range of options available to suit different needs, ranging from devices with phantom power for condenser mics to direct monitor options for zero latency playback. So, without further ado, here’s our list of the top 5 cheap audio interfaces available right now:

Focusrite Scarlett Solo

Focusrite Scarlett Solo

The Focusrite Scarlett Solo is a compact and portable audio interface designed for solo musicians and podcasters. It features a single XLR input for connecting a microphone, along with a 1/4-inch instrument input for guitars or other line-level sources. The interface also includes a headphone output with volume control, as well as a direct monitor switch for zero-latency monitoring.

The Scarlett Solo is a USB-powered device and comes with a range of software. Ableton Live Lite and three-month subscriptions to Pro Tools Artist and Splice Sounds are included, along with Focusrite’s own Scarlett plug-in suite. The interface features a sleek and modern design, with a red anodised aluminium chassis that looks great on any desk.

One of the standout features of the Scarlett Solo is its high-quality microphone preamp. It delivers clean and transparent recordings with plenty of headroom. The interface also features a 24-bit/192kHz sample rate, ensuring that your recordings sound professional and polished.

Overall, the Focusrite Scarlett Solo is an excellent choice for anyone looking for a simple and affordable audio interface for home recording, podcasting, or streaming. Its compact size and ease of use make it an excellent choice for beginners. Moreover, the high-quality components and software bundle make the device great value for more experienced users.

Where to Buy: Amazon currently have the Focusrite Scarlett Solo 3rd Generation available for £95 ($118).

Behringer U-Phoria UM2

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Behringer U-Phoria UM2 is a compact and affordable audio interface designed for home recording enthusiasts and musicians on a budget. It features two inputs and outputs, allowing users to connect their microphones, guitars, keyboards, or other instruments to their computer or mobile device for recording or streaming. The UM2’s high-quality’s Xenyx Mic Preamp delivers clear and transparent sound, making it ideal for vocals and acoustic instruments. Additionally, it has a 48V phantom power switch, enabling users to connect condenser microphones.

The UM2 is compatible with most DAWs and operating systems, including Windows, Mac, and iOS. It comes with free audio recording and editing software, including around 150 instrument and effects plugins downloadable from As a result, the device provides users with a simple and intuitive interface for recording, mixing, and mastering their music. The UM2 also has a direct monitor switch, allowing users to hear their input signal with zero latency. Essential for monitoring performance while recording.

The Behringer U-Phoria UM2 is a great entry-level audio interface that offers excellent value for its price. It’s easy to use, versatile, and delivers high-quality sound that is suitable for most home recording and streaming applications. Whether you are a singer-songwriter, podcaster, or gamer, the UM2 is a reliable and affordable tool that can help you achieve professional-quality recordings.

Where to Buy: The Behringer U-Phoria UM2 is available for £39 ($49) from Andertons Music.

PreSonus AudioBox USB 96

PreSonus AudioBox USB 96

The PreSonus AudioBox USB 96 is a compact and portable audio interface that allows musicians and producers to record and mix on the go. With two combo mic/instrument inputs, 48V phantom power, and 24-bit/96kHz resolution, the AudioBox USB 96 is capable of capturing detailed and dynamic audio recordings. The interface also features MIDI I/O, allowing for seamless integration with MIDI controllers and instruments.

The AudioBox USB 96 comes bundled with PreSonus’ Studio One Artist DAW software, providing users with a powerful and intuitive platform for recording, editing, and mixing their audio projects. Additionally, the interface includes the Studio Magic Plugin-Suite, complete with, among other items, Ableton Live Lite and Arturia Analog Lab Lite 3, making it a versatile tool for music production.

In addition to its technical capabilities, the AudioBox USB 96 is designed with portability in mind. The metal chassis and compact size make it easily transportable and suitable for various locations, from studios to live performances. The interface is also USB-powered, eliminating the need for an external power source and further enhancing its portability.

Overall, the PreSonus AudioBox USB 96 is a versatile and reliable audio interface. It’s well-suited for musicians and producers who need a portable and high-quality recording solution.

Where to Buy: The Presonus AudioBox USB 96 25th Anniversary Edition is currently available for £77 ($95) from

M-Audio M-Track Solo

M-Audio M-Track Solo Audio Interface

The M-Audio M-Track Solo is a compact and affordable audio interface designed for home recording enthusiasts and musicians on the go. It features an XLR/TRS combo input for microphones, guitars, and other instruments, a dedicated instrument input for guitar and bass, and a headphone output for monitoring. The interface supports sample rates up to 48kHz and resolution up to 24-bit, providing high-quality audio recording and playback.

The M-Track Solo is compatible with both Mac and PC computers and can be used with a variety of DAWs, such as Pro Tools, Ableton Live, and Logic Pro X. It also comes bundled with a suite of software including MPC Beats, AIR Music Tech Electric, Bassline, TubeSynth, and Revalver guitar amp plugin, allowing users to start recording and producing music right out of the box.

The interface draws power from the computer’s USB port, eliminating the need for an external power supply. This makes it ideal for mobile recording setups or for musicians who want to record on the go. The M-Track Solo’s compact size and rugged metal construction also means it’s durable and easy to transport.

Overall, the M-Audio M-Track Solo is perfect for musicians and home recording enthusiasts looking for a simple and affordable audio interface that delivers high-quality sound.

Where to Buy: The M-Audio M-Track Solo is available from GAK for £38 ($47).

Mackie Onyx Artist 1-2

Mackie Onyx Artist 1-2 Audio Interface

The Mackie Onyx Artist 1-2 is an affordable audio interface designed for home recording enthusiasts and small studios. It features a high-quality Onyx mic preamp and a 24-bit/192kHz A/D converter, providing clear and detailed audio recordings. The interface has a sleek and rugged metal chassis that houses two combo inputs, each with a dedicated gain knob and switchable phantom power, allowing you to connect and record two microphones or line-level sources simultaneously. The front panel features a headphone output with a dedicated volume knob. Furthermore, the device has a direct monitor switch, allowing you to monitor your recordings in real time with zero latency. 

The Mackie Onyx Artist 1-2 comes bundled with a powerful software package. Pro Tools First and the Musician Collection of 23 plugins and instruments provide everything you need to start recording and producing professional-quality music right out of the box. The interface is compatible with Mac and PC computers and can be powered via USB, making it a portable and versatile solution for recording on the go. 

Overall, the Mackie Onyx Artist 1-2 is an excellent entry-level audio interface. It delivers high-quality recordings and versatile connectivity options at an affordable price.

Where to Buy: Amazon currently lists the MACKIE Onyx Artist 1.2 for £99 (125).

The Best Cheap Audio Interface: Final Thoughts

In conclusion, finding the best cheap audio interface can be a daunting task, but it is definitely worth the effort. A good audio interface is essential for any musician or producer who wants to record high-quality audio at home. Thankfully, with modern advancements in technology, a cheap audio interface doesn’t necessarily mean compromising on quality. The audio interfaces discussed in this article are some of the best options available on the market. They offer excellent sound quality, low latency, and a range of features, making them suitable for different recording applications.

When choosing an audio interface, it’s important to consider your specific needs and budget. Some of the factors to consider include how many inputs and outputs you need, the connectivity type, and preamp quality. It’s also important to read reviews and compare different models to ensure that you are getting the best value for your money.

Investing in an audio interface is a smart decision for anyone wanting to up their music production game. And as this article shows, you can now pick up an excellent product without having to break the bank.


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