6 Starter Audio Interfaces
Todd Simpson
Apr 28 2020, 10:48 PM
GMC:er
Posts: 20.380
Joined: 23-December 09
From: Atlanta, Georgia, USA
If you have yet to buy an audio interface/sound card for your home studio other than the sound card built in to your computer. Now is a good time. It’s a buyers market for everything just now. People are selling gear to raise money. Some of these are only available on the used market as they are not in production anymore, but they are solid units that can be had for a very reasonable price. As with any hardware, your mileage may vary.



All of these work on Macintosh Computers with any Drivers. On PC, some need the windows ASIO FOR ALL DRIVERS as they don’t have windows native drivers available. Most of these are units that have been around a while and as such can be picked up on the used market for a very reasonable price.

1 BEHRINGER 202HD
https://www.behringer.com/Categories/Behrin...oogtrans(en|en)
8 Samples of Latency in reaper using native windows drivers per video demo, so it’s great for doing real time guitar sims and vst’s etc. That’s a crazy low sample/latency setting. At that level you wouldn’t hear even a hint of lag. It would sound about as real time as it gets. Huge props to Behringer as they take a LOT of crap for making bad products. In recent years they have bought many great companies and just integrated the technology from these companies in to their products and the results have been impressive.


2 MACKIE ONYX BLACKJACK
https://mackie.com/products/onyx-blackjack
At 72 Samples of latency in the video, it’s free of recording artifacts. 72 samples is a bit high to be honest. You may not be able to hear it, but you might. Other units in this round up have much better performance at a similar price point so I’d say just skip this unit if you can. The preamps are not great as well.

3 FOCUSRITE 2i2 (Second Gen, First Gen was a bit crap for guitar players)
https://focusrite.com/en/usb-audio-interfac...tt/scarlett-2i2
Native Drivers and only 16 Samples of Latency in to Reaper. This is also quite an impressively low level of latency. This would make a great unit for anyone using guitar plugins/sims. Really anything that required low latency. I’ve been a big fan of this unit for a long time. It’s solid as a rock, is not over priced, has nice multi jack inputs that sound like very nice preamps built in and is flush with high end specs. Any unit from these guys built in this gen or after is worth having. You just can’t go wrong with these imho.

4 AUDIENT ID4
https://audient.com/products/audio-interfaces/id4/overview/
Native drivers on PC at 16 samples of latency in to reaper works great and has no audio latency and no recording artifacts. Another fine choice for the home recordist on a budget who wants to use real time plugins without getting a lot of lag/latency or sound artifacts. The BIG volume knob is handy and it’s laid out well. It’s a really well designed unit but it only has one Mic Pre amp, which is something to keep in mind. However, the preamp that is in it is the same one in their big consoles!

5 ART DUAL PRE USB
https://artproaudio.com/product/usb-dual-pr...reamp-with-usb/
At 64 Samples of latency it’s very usable. Direct input doesn’t work that well on guitar as it’s mainly built for a vocal mic.

6 M AUDIO MTRACK 2X2
https://m-audio.com/m-tracks/2x2
The M Audio MTRACK is cheap to buy. That’s about all there good about it. Here in the vid, its set to 1024 samples on a windows machine which makes it have an audible lag. As a result it is NOT a good idea for using Guitar Amp Sims. You need to get the samples setting as low as possible in something like reaper in order to not hear audible latency. Latency is DEATH for real time recording using plugins. This is good to know. Avoid this unit and avoid most MAUDIO products these days as they have really lost their way in recent years. There are other units in this list that will serve you far better. Don’t get sucked in just because of the price.

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