6 Best Budget Audio Interfaces – (November 2022) – Buyers Guide 🥇

In this article we’re going to be discussing the best budget audio interfaces that exist in November 2022.

Beginnings are always hard, especially if you are into music production, where you have to invest a lot of money in various pieces of music gear. Besides instruments and microphones, you also need an audio interface, which is a quintessential thing for music production. Considering that you’re budget is probably limited, you probably want to save some money and get a unit that’s relatively affordable.

Fortunately, today’s market is full of budget audio interface products. Some of them are good, others are great. So, you don’t necessarily have to spend enormous amounts to get good sound quality. For a quite acceptable price, you can get a pretty good product that doesn’t just feature good conversion quality, but also comes with a decent number of controls, inputs and outputs, as well as all kinds of extra features.

best budget audio interfaces

What is a Budget Audio Interface?

This is one of the most important pieces of gear for recording. To put it in simple words, it is a unit that connects your microphone or instrument to a computer. So, what it actually does is that it catches a signal from your microphone or instrument and converts it into a format that can be recognized by your computer.

A budget audio interface is a product that’s affordable to a wide range of buyers, primarily designed for beginners. However, today’s products feature such great sound quality that they are also used by more experienced producers, or even professionals, who often use them as portable and backup units.

The most essential features of the audio interface are inputs and outputs, which allow you to connect instruments and computers. However, today’s products usually include all kinds of extra features. For example, there are built-in preamps and various controls that allow you to manipulate the sound. Moreover, they usually come with USB ports that allow fast data transfer and a bus-powered power supply.

Finally, many products include necessary software, such as DAW and plugins, so players get everything they need to start with music production. Most products work both on Windows and Mac computers.

Best Budget Audio Interface

Our Number One Choice
Focusrite Scarlett Solo 3rd Gen USB Audio Interface, for the Guitarist, Vocalist, Podcaster or Producer — High-Fidelity, Studio Quality Recording, and All the Software You Need to Record
Our Premium Choice
MOTU M4 4x4 USB-C Audio Interface
Best Value For Money
PreSonus Studio 24c 2x2, 192 kHz, USB Audio Interface with Studio One Artist and Ableton Live Lite DAW Recording Software
Summary
Simply, it has plenty of great things to offer, including the updated preamps that now sound even better
Offers great sound quality and an impressive dynamic range but also comes with tons of extra features
Great sound quality, with high-quality conversion, great dynamic range and well-designed preamps
Dimentions
9.6 x 14.4 x 4.3 centimetres
20.96 x 10.8 x 4.45 cm
7.09 x 6.3 x 1.77 inches
Power
‎USB
‎USB
‎USB
Prime
Our Number One Choice
Focusrite Scarlett Solo 3rd Gen USB Audio Interface, for the Guitarist, Vocalist, Podcaster or Producer — High-Fidelity, Studio Quality Recording, and All the Software You Need to Record
Summary
Simply, it has plenty of great things to offer, including the updated preamps that now sound even better
Dimentions
9.6 x 14.4 x 4.3 centimetres
Power
‎USB
Prime
Check Price
Our Premium Choice
MOTU M4 4x4 USB-C Audio Interface
Summary
Offers great sound quality and an impressive dynamic range but also comes with tons of extra features
Dimentions
20.96 x 10.8 x 4.45 cm
Power
‎USB
Prime
Check Price
Best Value For Money
PreSonus Studio 24c 2x2, 192 kHz, USB Audio Interface with Studio One Artist and Ableton Live Lite DAW Recording Software
Summary
Great sound quality, with high-quality conversion, great dynamic range and well-designed preamps
Dimentions
7.09 x 6.3 x 1.77 inches
Power
‎USB
Prime
Check Price

Focusrite Scarlett Solo 3rd Gen

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Focusrite Scarlett Solo

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For decades, Focusrite has been doing fantastic things when it comes to putting a lot of quality in a simple and affordable package. The latest version of the super-popular Scarlett Solo is no exception. Moreover, it adds a couple more qualities to the already amazing design. The preamp has been updated and now works even better, while it’s also great to know that the new generation supports iPad Pro, which makes it an even better companion when you are on the road.

Of course, you may count on Scarlett’s well-known qualities, such as studio-quality 24-bit/192kHz conversion, as well as the company’s famous “Air” mode, which allows you to record brighter, more open sound. Just like all other Focusrite models, this one also features super-low latency, so you can monitor in real-time and use plug-ins flawlessly.

Once again, there is a separate input for guitar, bass and other high-headroom instruments, as well as other useful extra connectivity features. You may count on a headphone output, balanced TRS L/R monitor output with level control etc. This interface also comes with a software bundle that includes pretty much you’ll ever need in terms of plug-ins, emulations etc.

Who Should Buy This Pedal?

The Focusrite Scarlett Solo is one of the most popular products of this type on the market. It is simple and easy to use, which makes it perfect for beginners and home studios in general. However, it can also be a fantastic traveling companion, especially with the latest addition of iPad Pro.

PreSonus Studio 24c 2×2

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PreSonus Studio 24c 2x2

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PreSonus is a renowned audio interface manufacturer with a broad range of products, whereas the Studio 24c 2×2 is pretty much an entry-level model. However, that doesn’t mean it lacks any qualities. It comes with a full load of features and, more importantly, it offers studio-grade quality, thanks to the 24-bit/192kHz processing.

Besides excellent digital resolution, the Studio 24c 2×2 also features an impressive 115dB of dynamic range, which means that you can record every sound detail of your source. The unit is equipped with two clear and dynamic XMAX-L solid-state microphone preamplifiers, while low latency is on par with much more expensive PreSonus products. The latter means that you may count on butter-smooth monitoring.

The 24c 2×2 is a fantastic portable unit, as it comes with two mobile-ready bus-powered USB-C ports. It is more functional and versatile than most of its competitors. One of the reasons is that you can connect it with MIDI controllers, thanks to MIDI In and Out ports. The interface also comes equipped with PreSonus Studio One Artist DAW software, which works both on Mac and Windows operative systems, while there is also a complete bundle of plugins that includes some amazing emulations of classic studio gear.

Who Should Buy This Pedal?

The PreSonus Studio 24c 2×2 is designed for a wide range of potential users. It is affordable, intuitive and equipped with DAW, plugins and other necessary software, which makes it perfect for establishing a small home studio. If you used PreSonus products, this unit can be a great tool if you need something portable, with great recording features.

MOTU M4 4×4 USB-C Audio Interface

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MOTU M4 4x4 USB-C

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There are many things to like about the MOTU M4 4×4 USB-C, even though it costs a little bit more than a typical beginner’s audio interface. For extra money, you get extra features, starting from 4 inputs and 4 outputs, a decent number of control knobs and nice-looking LCD indicators. All these features make this small unit quite flexible. Mac users will be glad to know that Thunderbolt is also supported.

The latter means that you may count on a super-fast connection and zero latency. Of course, Windows users may count on a strong connection as well, while 24-bit/96kHz digital resolution ensures great sound quality. Also, the ESS Sabre32 Ultra DAC technology ensures 120dB of dynamic range, which is something you don’t always get at this price range.

Among extra features, it’s important to mention the loopback that’s included, which is a fantastic tool for live streaming and podcasting. Of course, bus-powered USB ports are here for high portability, while there is also an impressive library of samples, free loops and similar things, with a total size of more than 6GB.

Who Should Buy This Pedal?

The MOTU M4 4×4 USB-C is more than a budget audio interface. It offers a couple of extra tools, which make it more flexible and more versatile than most beginner’s audio interfaces. This can be an excellent tool for someone who wants to dig a little bit deeper and learn a few more things about recording. As we already mentioned, it is also an excellent tool for podcasting and for anyone who wants to go live streaming.

Mackie Big Knob Studio Monitor Controller

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Mackie Big Knob Studio Monitor Controller

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Although it may look too complicated at the first glance, this unit is pretty easy to use. It’s just that the designers offered numerous physical controls to make this audio interface and monitor controller more flexible. Speaking of flexibility, this unit allows you to connect two monitor pairs, while trim controls allow you to balance the volume between different monitors.

Besides numerous controls, this unit also comes with lots of connectivity features. You may count on two analog inputs, four analog outputs, two headphone outputs etc. In total, there are two input channels and three output channels, as well as a built-in talkback.

When it comes to sound quality, the unit is pretty capable. It offers 24-bit/192kHz conversion and also comes with a couple of high-quality Onyx preamps. It comes with a single USB B-type port to connect with a computer and supports both Mac and Windows platforms. The 18V power supply is included in the package.

Who Should Buy This Pedal?

This unit is a perfect choice for anyone who needs extra flexibility but doesn’t want to spend too much money. The Mackie Big Knob offers plenty of controls and plenty of connectivity features, while the audio quality is also at a pretty impressive level.

Steinberg UR22MKII 2-Channel USB Interface

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Steinberg UR22MKII 2-Channel

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The first thing that you’ll probably notice about this compact unit is how everything seems put together very well. There is a decent number of controls but everything seems pretty simple at the same time. The well-designed control unit is followed by two combo inputs and two TRS outputs, as well as a headphone jack, which has an independent level control. Furthermore, there is a small USB port for iPad users. Finally, you may count on MIDI input and output.

The durable metal housing hides a pretty capable unit, which offers a studio-grade digital resolution of 24-bit/192kHz. Furthermore, there are two Class A microphone preamps that don’t just offer great sound quality but also support phantom power. The UR22MKII also features a loopback, which is great for live streaming and podcasting.

A great thing about this product is that it comes with all the necessary features for home recording, including AI DAW software that supports both Mac and PC platforms. Also, you get the Cubasis LE DAW app for iOS, so we could say you would be prepared for pretty much every situation with this audio interface.

Who Should Buy This Pedal?

A great thing about this product is that it covers pretty much every aspect of studio recording. It works on all platforms and comes with DAW software for each one of them. It’s hard to single out a specific group of users but we could say that its sturdy metal housing makes it a perfect workhorse that can serve well for a very long time.

M-Audio AIR 192×6 USB

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M-Audio AIR 192x6 USB

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The M-Audio AIR 192×6 is one of the smallest units on the market, which makes it a perfect traveling companion. The control board has been simplified as much as possible. So, if you are one of those users who like to keep things simple, this is the unit for you. There are just five knobs but that doesn’t mean that this unit lacks any functionality or flexibility. You may count on various connectivity features, including all three USB type ports, including the USB-C, which ensures minimal latency.

This is a 2-channel audio interface, which includes 2 hi-Z instrument inputs for direct guitar and bass tracking. Furthermore, you may count on MIDI In and Out, so you can pair this unit with MIDI keyboards and controllers with ease.

The recording quality is excellent. The M-Audio AIR 192×6 features 24-bit/192kHz digital resolution, as well as a couple of low-noise Crystal preamps/TRS inputs, as well as the latest A/D converters. The bus-powered USB provides great portability, while you may also count on Ableton Live Lite and 20 Effect Plug-ins.

Who Should Buy This Pedal?

Although most budget audio interface units are compact and simple, this one is particularly great for all those users who don’t want to go too deep into recording. It is a super intuitive unit, easy to control, with enough connectivity features. Despite the simplicity and easiness of use, the sound quality is amazing.

Our Number One Choice

Focusrite Scarlett Solo

Focusrite proved itself as a leader in the segment of affordable audio interfaces and this particular model is a perfect example. You can go wrong with this one, no matter your preferences. Simply, it has plenty of great things to offer, including the updated preamps that now sound even better. Also, the latest versions support iPad Pro, which makes Scarlett Solo more versatile than ever.

Buy On Amazon

Our Premium Choice

MOTU M4 4x4 USB-C

The MOTU M4 4×4 USB-C Audio Interface is our premium choice for many reasons. Not only that it offers great sound quality and an impressive dynamic range but also comes with tons of extra features, including a Thunderbolt port. This ensures impressive speed and zero latency, which are things that provide seamless operation. If you do podcasting, you’ll be glad to know that this unit also features loopback. Finally, there is an impressive library of samples and loops.

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Best Value For Money

PreSonus Studio 24c 2x2

Although all products on the list are great, we think that the PreSonus Studio 24c 2×2 is the best value for money. It offers many features and it is strong in almost every field. First of all, there is great sound quality, with high-quality conversion, great dynamic range and well-designed preamps. Also, you may count on lots of connectivity features, including two bus-powered USB ports. Finally, DAW and various plugins are also included, which is pretty amazing, considering the price tag.

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That concludes this full buyers guide on the best best budget audio interfaces. Feel free to leave a comment if you have any questions regarding the products you have seen in this article. Check out our other buyers guide on the best thunderbolt audio interfaces.

Here at Guitar Effects Pedalz we also provide full reviews of the best online guitar services so you can learn guitar online with our Guitar Tricks Review.

Last update on 2022-11-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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