Trying to figure out which the best audio interface for your needs to get can be one of the most confusing and overwhelming pieces of equipment to purchase for your recording rig depending on your background with computers. We will do our best to help you in making your decision as to what audio interface is best for your needs.
What Is An Audio Interface
An audio interface is hardware that allows you to connect microphones to it and converts signals to something that your computer can read. This is an essential part of your recording rig, and I like to think of the audio interface as the brain of your recording rig. everything plugs into it, and it registers what is happening.
Tips For Getting The Best Audio Interface For You
When looking through the audio interfaces below, think of what you are wanting to record. How many mic inputs will you need at a time? If you are recording a drum set, you will need several. If you are recording a podcast, you may only need one or 2, depending if you will be speaking with someone else. Other things to consider, is what your computer can do. All of these audio interfaces will require a specific operating system that they will work with, and I do suggest to use a computer with at least 8 GB of RAM. With that being said, let's take a look at some of the best audio interface options! (the following products contain affiliate links. This means at no additional cost to you, I get paid if you click through and make a purchase)
The Best Audio Interface Suggestions
The Focusrite Scarlett series features a USB connection to your computer and has sample rates of up to 24-bit/192kHz. This interface series is compatible with Mac OS X 10.10 or later and PC Windows 7 or later.
The Focusrite Clarett series has a USB connection to your computer and has sample rates to 24-bit/192kHz. These include several Focusrite plug-ins for your recording software. It is compatible with Mac OS X 10.11 or later and PC Windows 7 SP1 or later.
Universal Audio Apollo Twin
The Universal Audio Apollo Twin series has a thunderbolt connection to the computer and has sample rates up to 24-bit/192kHz. It includes some of Universal Audio's state of the art plug-ins. The Apollo Twin series is compatible with Mac OS X 10.10 or later and PC Windows 10 64 bit(will need a thunderbolt adapter if using on PC).
Universal Audio Apollo 8 Quad
The Apollo 8 Quad has a Thunderbolt connection to the computer and has sample rates up to 24-bit/192kHz. It includes some of Universal Audio's state of the art plug-ins. The Apollo 8 is compatible with Mac OS X 10.10 or later and PC Windows 10 64 bit or later (Must have thunderbolt adapter for PC).
- 4 mic preamps
- 2 instrument preamps
- 4 XLR inputs
- 8 1/4" inputs
- 2 1/4" Hi-Z
Last Checked Price: $1999.00
The Presonus Studio series has a USB connection to the computer and has sample rates up to 24-bit/192kHz. The Studio Magic plug-in bundle is included. The Studio series is compatible with Mac OS X 10.8.5 and up and Windows 7 Sp1 and up (Intel 2GHz multi-core processor or better).
The Apogee Element series has a thunderbolt connection to the computer and has sample rates up to 24-bit/192kHz. It is compatible with Mac OS X 10.10 or later and iOS, NOT compatible with PC.
Antelope Audio Discrete
The Antelope Audio Discrete series uses a thunderbolt or a USB connection to the computer and has sample rates up to 24-bit/192kHz. These include the Basic FX pack from Antelope Audio. The Discrete series is compatible with Mac OS X 10.11 and up and Windows 10 and up (8 GB of RAM minimum).
Sample Rate Explained
Understanding Bit Rate
It is best to think of bit rate like a stair case along the waves from the sound source. the higher the bit rate, the more "stairs" there are. Therefore, we can think of a bell curve of a sound wave when considering this rate. The higher the bit rate the more captures a sound will have. I had a professor that had us compare to the evolution of video games. If you listen to how "blocky" the Mario song is, this is a great example of a low bit rate.
RAM Recommendations For The Best Audio Interface
After discussing sample rate and bit rate, you will notice that the amount of RAM your recording computer has is incredibly important. To get the best audio interface for you, we will need to focus on what your capabilities are. I will suggest that your computer should have no less than 8 GB of RAM. This day and age, that will be easier and cheaper to achieve, but if you are operating on an older computer, you will want to be aware that you may need to make some upgrades, or you will need to lower your sample rate and bit rate.
Additional Considerations For The Best Audio Interface
Final Thoughts On The Best Audio Interface
If you have any questions about which is the best audio interface for you, or need any help with selecting recording equipment for your studio, please feel free to contact us through our contact us page found here. Don't forget to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for the latest Blackskye Media updates!