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Finding The Best Audio Interface Under 500 Bucks
A person who is looking to do recording at his or her home, whether that means creating a podcast, recording themselves singing and playing an instrument, or uploading videos and wanting to do voice-overs, will need to make sure that he or she has quality equipment that will allow him or her to record clear sound.
An audio interface is the best way to not only record your voice or instrument but also to be able to hear what you have recorded so that you can change and mix the sound. While some people think that they can get away with using the built-in sound card of their computers or tablets, this will not result in a high-quality recording that will be easy or fun to listen to.
To ensure that you get the best audio interface under 500, you want to consider the pros and cons of the audio interface that you are considering buying. While there are many different audio interfaces in this price range, the best one for your money is the Focusrite SCARLETT 18I20 USB 2.0 Audio Interface. No matter what kind of recording you are going to do, this audio interface is powerful enough to meet your needs and exceed your expectations without causing you to go over budget.
Our Overall Top Audio Interface Choices
What Are the Important Considerations When Buying This Audio Interface?
- One thing to consider when buying of audio interface is the latency, which is a delay between the sound you are making and hearing it in your speakers or your headphones. This can be incredibly distracting when you are trying to record, which is why you want to make sure that you buy an audio interface with very little latency. Audio interfaces that have a switch so you can hear your sound as it is recording are a great option as they will allow you to listen without any latency.
- You will also want to take into consideration the driver, which is the software that allows the actual equipment and your computer to communicate with each other. Quality drivers will ensure that your software runs quickly and reduce any latency.
- Headphone options are also important as you will want to be able to monitor your recording and playback your audio without having to use your speakers. This can make it difficult to hear minute differences in the quality that you’re recording, especially if you are in a Some audio interfaces have more than one headphone output so that you and another person can listen at the same time.
- Eight natural-sounding Scarlett mic preamps with plenty of even gain, exceptional headroom, low noise, and minimal distortion; two newly-designed instrument inputs, with increased headroom
- Class-leading conversion and sample rates up to 192kHz / 24 bit; Super-low roundtrip latency for using your plug-ins in real time without the need for DSP; Focusrite iOS Control - download the free Focusrite iOS Control app and adjust cue mixes remotely from an iPad, iPhone or iPod touch
- LIMITED TIME OFFER: Two FREE AAS sound packs and a discount off AAS Libraries Sound Pack Series Bundle by download with purchase and registration by January 3, 2019.
- 10 1/4-inch balanced jack outputs including a dedicated stereo pair with anti-thump circuitry; two discrete headphones output with dedicated gain controls; MIDI I/O; S/PDIF in and out; ADAT I/O (expand up to eight additional inputs and outputs)
- Includes Pro Tools | First Focusrite Creative Pack and Ableton Live Lite, Softube Time and Tone Bundle, Focusrite's Red Plug-in Suite, 2GB of Loopmasters samples, Choice of one free XLN Addictive Keys virtual instrument, all available via download upon purchase and registration
- Supported Sample Rates: 44.1 kHz, 48 kHz, 88.2 kHz, 96 kHz, 176.4 kHz, 192 kHz. Frequency response - 20 Hz - 20 kHz ± 0.1dB. Compatible with Windows 7 and higher, and Mac OS X 10.10 and higher. 2-year limited warranty on manufacturing defects
Why We Chose This Audio Interface Over Others
This powerful audio interface offers more than just incredibly low latency to help you monitor and improve your recordings. It also features very powerful volume controls that offer you instant ability to address your volume issues, has a tough and durable red metal chassis that can withstand being taken with you to various locations to record, and is powerful enough to handle recording the whole band. Because of all of these features, this audio interface from Focusrite is not only ideal for the single user recording at home but can also help improve the recordings of more than one musician at the same time. You can use it to easily put together tracks from your band or work on a podcast.
There is a ton of headroom on this audio interface, which ensures that you can efficiently use it with multiple people. You’ll love the minimal distortion and the fact that there are eight mic preamps for your use. Also, the two-year manufacturer’s warranty is more than enough to cover any problems that you may run into with this audio interface. With 18 total inputs and 20 total outputs, you won’t lack for space when using this audio interface.
What We Like and Dislike About This Audio Interface
The additional inputs on this audio interface mean that you can leave things plugged in without having to switch items around when wanting to use new mics and instruments, which will speed up the recording process.
Users enjoy a clear sound when using this audio interface, which means that they don’t have to worry about recording any of their music or vocals to improve the sound quality.
Both of the two headphone outlets come with dedicated volume controls so the two people listening can control what they hear without bothering the other person.
This audio interface offers very low latency, so you don’t have to worry about delays in what you are hearing.
Downloading and installing the drivers can be a little bit of a hassle and takes a fair amount of time, which means that you cannot just remove this audio interface from the packaging, plug it in, and begin using it. If you have problems with electronics, then you may find this part of setup particularly tricky.
Some users have difficulty getting the programs to run while other applications are running on their computers, which can make it incredibly difficult to monitor your sound quality.
Why We Feel That You Should Buy This Audio Interface
This is hands down, the best audio interface for under the 500 dollar price range and is strong enough to create quality recordings of any kind. No matter if you are a beginning musician who is interested in being heard by the world, have a successful podcast, or have been playing in a band for years and need new recording material, this audio interface will give you all of the power and control that you need to ensure quality sound and incredible recordings. While it does take a little effort to get it set up, once you are up and running, you cannot beat this product regarding flexibility and use.
While this audio interface works perfectly for one person, it is ideal for a situation where more than one user will be plugging in due to the ample amounts of inputs and outputs. This ensures that you don’t waste time trying to switch out what is plugged in and can get the right to the business of recording. When you are ready to improve your recordings and take your performance to the next level, the Focusrite SCARLETT 18I20 USB 2.0 Audio Interface is your best option. All users will be amazed at the incredible sound that they can capture using this piece of equipment.