USB devices are widely used all over the world, and they are very compatible with computers, tablets, TVs, etc. The USB audio interface is commonly used to record multiple tracks and also to connect microphones and other instruments such as the acoustic guitars. If you are setting up a home studio for recording your singing or music, consider having a reliable USB audio interface that will help you to create great music at the comfort of your home.
Table of Contents
- How Does USB Audio Interface Work?
- Things To Consider When Buying USB Audio Interface
- Recommended USB Audio Interfaces & Reviews
- Other Top Rated Audio Interfaces
How Does USB Audio Interface Work?
USB audio interface does not merely act as an external sound card for your computer or laptop. In fact, It is a central hub for all the audio signals for its connections.
A good USB audio interface is beyond the capability of converting the audio signals. It also can act as the mic preamps, general monitor/sub-mixing user, Equalizer (EQ), internal Digital Signal Processing (DSP), Multiple Input/Output (I/O) connections.
Example of Single Input and Output Set up.
Example & Chart For Multiple Inputs/Outputs (Multiple I/O) Set Up.
Things To Consider When Buying USB Audio Interface
When reviewing and shopping for the best USB audio interface, consider the following facts, and you will be able to choose the best option from all.
1) The User Experience
User experience is a crucial aspect of an audio interface. The way a user feels about an interface determine its suitability and effectiveness in recording great sounds. When choosing an audio interface, consider whether you want a comprehensive system that requires a skilled professional to operate or just a typical audio interface for studio recording.
Control is another significant aspect to consider. If you would like to amplify or adjust your sound with EQ before it reaches your computer, make sure you choose an audio interface that allows you to have full control over your sound. Systems that incorporate gain controls are very powerful, and we recommend high-end users to go for them.
There are three types of USB interfaces; USB 3.0, 2.0 and 1.0. Their main difference is the amount of data they can transfer at a given time. The USB 3.0 is the latest USB port and can transfer data at a rate of 4GB per second while 2.0 & 1.0 USB ports transferring data at the rate of 480 Mb per second and 12 Mb per second respectively. All audio interfaces are designed to draw their power from the PC or any other supported device.
4) Bit Depth
Bit depth refers to the total amount of information in a sample. The different audio interface comes with their Bit Depth, the higher the Bit Depth, the more powerful the interface is.
5) Sample Rate
Sample rate refers to the number of samples of sounds taken per second to represent audio in a digital form. If you have more samples per seconds, you will have a better quality of sound. A good audio interface should be able to generate more sample rates as possible.
6) Phantom Power
Phantom power is very important in any audio interface system. Its primary use in a system is to send +48v to a studio condenser mic via an XLR socket enabling the amplification of the Mic.
7) Input / Output
In an audio interface, the type of connection create on Input/Output are very important. Input mainly entails all connections for recording the voice including Mic while Output deals with the connection that plays sound on speakers and recording software.
8) Software / Audio Tool
Nowadays, most USB audio interfaces come with a free recording software that enables one to start recording sounds immediately without having to worry about software upgrades or purchase.
Recommended USB Audio Interfaces & Reviews
After the intensive reviews of different types and brands of USB audio interfaces available on the market. On our review list, we have shortlisted three powerful USB audio interfaces that we highly recommend. The systems we shortlisted below are all supply +48v phantom power and are USB enabled with USB bus-powered; that means they draw their power from a computer and not from an external power supply. These audio interfaces are quite easy to use and don’t necessarily require sophisticated skills to operate or use them.
1) PreSonus AudioBox USB 2x2 Audio Interface
If you are on a very tight budget and still want to get a quality audio interface, consider having the PreSonus AudioBox USB 2×2 Audio Interface. This interface runs smoothly on most computers and comes with its own unique recording interface that is quite remarkable when compared with other models in the market. The PreSonus AudioBox USB 2×2 Audio Interface easily connects to a computer using a USB 1.1 and can be used on both Windows & Mac PC platforms.
It’s a fantastic introductory tool that comes at an affordable price and gives full access to a Studio Artist 3 and Solid DAW system, while the microphone is quite sensitive to the environment. It also comes with software components that allow you to fix this issues through sub-mix, quantizing, delays and noise gates. If you want to get a powerful audio interface for your home studio or other application, consider having the PreSonus AudioBox USB 2×2 Audio Interface, and you will defiantly enjoy its amazing features.
2) Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 (2nd Gen) USB Audio Interface with Pro Tools
Focusrite is a digital product manufacturing company that is widely known for developing quality Microphones and powerful recording tools. The Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 (2nd Gen) USB Audio Interface features unique specs often found on high-end expensive audio interfaces. It is the only quality system that comes at an affordable price and can be applied across multiple fields such as recording studio, home studio, Music studio, etc.
3) Peavey USB Audio Interface
The Peavey USB Audio Interface has the very user-friendly interface that allows you to easily run stereo audio from a personal computer to a live sound system. It’s quite cheap and affordable. Users that want to get a high-end interface that incorporates the latest recording technologies should go for this product without any doubts. The Peavey USB Audio Interface is a great option for beginners who want to familiarize themselves with sound recording. It’s simple to install and use, just plug & record in a matter of minutes.