One of the factors that may make or break your live streaming of contents is the quality of your live streaming. Quality includes video and audio quality. For example, if you only plug everything into your computer or laptop, you may not get the optimal audio quality you desire. Thus, if you want to raise your streaming’s audio quality, you need to use an audio interface.
High-end equipment like audio interfaces can enhance your live streaming and podcasting quality by delivering quality audio. Moreover, audio interfaces allow you to plug instruments, pro mics, and other signals into your computer. In a way, the audio interface functions as a PC’s sound card and the intermediary between your mic and instrument and your computer.
If you’re looking for the ideal audio interface, you might get confused, given the myriads of options at hand. Moreover, it is crucial that you determine the ports on your computer wherein you would connect the interface to ensure that the audio interface you will buy is compatible with the computer. Here are the best audio interfaces for live streaming in the market today:
1) GoXLR Mini - Best Mixer & USB Audio Interface for Streaming
The GoXLR Mini gives you instant control of your audio. Moreover, the company that produces this audio interface has been rolling out high-quality audio equipment for a long time. With the rolling out of the GoXLR, the company has made its presence felt in the live streaming and gaming market.
The Go XLR, of course, continuously garners great reviews, making it the go-to audio interface for live streamers and podcasters. It is intuitive and flexible. Moreover, it allows for USB-based mixing for all your audio signals. It is also simple and is user-friendly. Plus, it comes with studio-quality EQ, gating, and compression that make your audio sound best. Its PC app lets you gain control and recall all your favorite settings.
2) Universal Audio Apollo Twin MKII DUO
Another top-rated audio interface is the Universal Audio Apollo Twin MKII DUO. It comes with high-end converters, and it delivers the quality sound of the classic analog device. You will not require any fancy plugins with this interface, nor will you need guitar pedals or a microphone. This audio interface, of course, provides everything on board.
The Apollo Twin MKII already comes with updates to let you enjoy a wide dynamic range while letting you have expanded monitoring controls. It features the best music production’s sound card. It can also be considered a complete mixing console, wrapped in a miniature interface.
It features two XLR and instrument inputs and four outputs. It also comes with an optical in and makes use of Thunderbolt connections. Thus, it is best suited for Thunderbolt audio interface. Moreover, it is compatible with PC and Mac and comes with built-in UAD processing, allowing you to enjoy a warm and rich analog sound (UAD’s plugins) while you mix the tracka.
The Apollo Twin MkII also comes with a unique technology that works well with the Unison preamp. The Unison technology lets you produce the classic mic preamps’ sound without necessitating software. You will also notice that it sounds better than those using software modeling.
3) BEHRINGER audio interface (UMC22)
If you want to take your tracks and recordings seriously, you can always opt for the Behringer audio interface UMC22. It provides a 48 kHz resolution. It also offers pristine recording and amazingly detailed sound quality that you would love to have.
The UMC22 features a 2×2 USB audio interface for instruments and vocal recordings. It is compatible with the common recording software that includes Avid Pro Tools, Ableton Live, and Steinberg Cubase. It features two inputs and two outputs and exhibits ultra-low latency.
Since it is compatible with the most popular OS as well as recording programs, it is one of the most flexible and versatile audio interfaces you can find in the market today.
4) Universal Audio Arrow Thunderbolt 3 Audio Interface
The Universal Audio Arrow is a favorite of streamers who want a high-quality audio interface. It comes with incredible preamps and AD/DA converters. It also offers stable drivers. However, it doesn’t allow for the hosting of UAD-powered emulation plugins, which is crucial for audio engineers. Yet, for streamers, the hosting of UAD-powered emulation plugins may not be that critical.
Universal Audio Arrow allows for real-time UAD processing that produces near-zero latency while exhibiting the classic UAD plugin effects. It also comes with a real-time analog classics plugin bundle that features the UA610-B, UA LA-2A, Marshall Plexi, 1176LN, Pultec EQ’s, 1176SE, Channel Strip, Precision Delays, Distortion, Raw, and many more.
5) Focusrite Scarlett Solo (3rd Gen)
The Focusrite Scarlett Solo is the most popular player when it comes to the audio interface. As a company, it has a long history of producing iconic studio gear. The flagship products of Focusrite are the Scarlett series, while the Solo is the budget entry. The Scarlett Solo features an instrument input and XLR input, with the XLR input not of combo variety. So, when using it, you will get a line-level input at hand.
It comes with high-performance converters that let you record and mix audio up to 24-bit/192kHz. It also features a quick start tool to get it up and running, so you can fire up your audio instantly without needing to wait for it to boot up like an old PC. Moreover, it includes Pro Tools, Ableton Live Lite, First Focusrite Creative Pack, Softube Time, Focusrite’s Red Plug-in Suite, and Softube Time and Tone Bundle, plus a three-month Splice subscription.
With many artists and folks shifting to live streaming to connect with their fans or potential fans, the live streaming platforms has increasingly become more congested with many live streamers who want to make themselves relevant in this time of the pandemic. So, you need to up your tempo and come up with quality live streaming to pique the attention of your targeted audience.
To raise your live streaming quality a notch higher, you need to improve your live streaming audio as well as your video. You can enhance your live streaming audio with the use of the best audio interface. Yet, to zero in on the best audio interface, you only need to know the succinct features you need to look for and the most recommended audio interfaces in the market today.
Why Would You Need an Audio Interface for Streaming?
To ensure that you get quality audio when hooking up your mic and instrument to your computer, you need to have an audio interface. The audio interface serves as the go-between for your audio and the computer’s interpretation. Moreover, the laptop or PC should accept the input methods whatever forms they have and turn signals into digital audio formats.
Audio interfaces come in different brands and designs. Thus, you might get confused when choosing, given the myriads of options at hand. So, when choosing, it will help if you are appropriately guided by the succinct factors to consider when selecting an audio interface:
What Features to Look for In an Interface?
In the past, users needed to insert the audio interface into the PCI slot or use the Firewire connection. Inserting the audio interface into the PCI slot, of course, didn’t require much technical know-how and was less expensive. The use of Firewire connection, on the other hand, was expensive. So, many people before chose the insertion into the PCI slot.
Nowadays, it is no longer an option between the PCI slot and Firewire connection. Moreover, you will find the best audio interfaces reasonably priced while allowing you better sound quality.
Furthermore, the new audio interfaces come with all the needed features, excellent connectivity, a USB port, and low latency. Given these facts, you only need to look for quality converters, low latency, and input and output numbers.
Moreover, it will help to consider what you will be recording. If you will record the drums, then you would need more inputs. If you are only recording the vocals and an instrument, you can get by with a two-input audio interface.
1) Types of Inputs
The audio interface may come with XLR input or/and 1/4″ jack. Many audio interfaces also come with inputs combined in a port for smart design. This design is space-saving; yet, it is also possible to utilize just one of these inputs at a time.
You would need a 1/4″ jack to connect your instruments, although you can also use it for podcasting and streaming devices. You will need the XLR input, on the other hand, to connect the mics, and the XLR inputs come in the standard size. Thus, you won’t be worrying about compatibility with the XLR port.
2) Types of Outputs
When choosing an audio interface, you need to consider the type of outputs it carries. You will find the line out in most audio interfaces. The line out allows for connection to the interface. You can connect the device to the right and left speakers via the use of 1/4″ jacks. The interface also comes with a volume knob found that lets you control the output.
Another type of output is the Thunderbolt port. It allows for a fast-speed transfer and low latency. Plus, the latest version of the Thunderbolt, the Thunderbolt 3, is twice faster than the Thunderbolt 2. It is also eight times speedier than the USB3. Moreover, you will find most modern Macs with Thunderbolt 3, allowing for a high-end audio interface.
Another type of output is Firewire. It delivers more consistent data compared to the USB. It is also well-known for its high level of reliability. Yet, it is more expensive and not so much accessible to many users.
The USB is another type of output that is widely used. The USB comes with three versions of connection that differ depending on the bandwidth. Moreover, it makes use of USB bus power that provides phantom power.