There is no shortage of audio interfaces currently available. It seems that there is a new device being released every other week. With all these alternatives, it was hard to select. Fidlar compiled the following list according to overall audio quality, functionality, and value. Keep reading our Best Audio Interface Under 500 reviews to see our best list.
Table of Contents
- 1 What’s An Audio Interface?
- 2 Things To Consider When Purchasing Audio Interface Under $500
- 3 Best Audio Interfaces Under 500 Brands
- 3.1 1. Focusrite Clarett 2Pre
- 3.2 2. Behringer U-Phoria UMC1820
- 3.3 3. Audient ID4
- 3.4 4. Focusrite Scarlett 6i6
- 3.5 5. PreSonus Studio 1824 USB Audio Interface
- 3.6 6. Focusrite Scarlett 18i20 USB Audio Interface
- 3.7 7. Roland OctaCapture USB 2.0 Audio Interface
- 3.8 8. M-Audio AIR 192 USB Audio Interface
- 3.9 9. PreSonus Studio 1810c 18×8
- 3.10 10. Native Instruments Komplete Audio 6 Mk2
- 4 FAQs
- 5 Conclusion
What’s An Audio Interface?
An audio port is a hardware component that improves and expands the sonic capabilities of a pc. Some sound interfaces will provide you the capacity to connect devices, professional radios, and other sorts of signs to your computer, as well as various output signals.
Besides strengthening your inputs and outputs, audio ports also significantly improve your computer’s audio quality. Every time you capture a new sound or listen through speakers and headphones, the sound interface aids reproduce a more exact representation of their sounds.
Audio interfaces remain a significant component within computer-based sound production. It is possible to use them for record voice-overs, podcasts and audio, audio design, and other movie post-production.
Thus, if you will need a better audio performance level from the computer, more expert-level you want to track instruments and other sorts of signs into or from your computer, you will want an audio port for it.
Things To Consider When Purchasing Audio Interface Under $500
When you are all set to opt for the top-rated music port under $500, then there are several things that you need to count on. Here they are:
Audio interfaces have various inputs/outputs, and thus, you must understand what you’re searching for. You may help out yourself by choosing the number of knives, guitars, synths, drum machines, samplers, or even some other tools you are trying to list all at one time. To plug them into your port, you will also have to be aware of the kinds of inputs you would want to use at any moment.
Most audio ports include two inputs, which work for line-level signs, tools, or microphones. By way of instance, if you are seeking to use lots of pellets afterward, you have got to find lots of preamp-equipped inputs too.
If you want a couple of vocal mics and possess a synth rig, then you can take advantage of an audio port with a couple of channels built with preamps and seven line-level inputs or much more.
Outputs differ in their designs also, but it is possible that if you are a solo artist, then you may require another headphone output and some stereo drills for your studio tracks.
If you have a full band, you ought to locate an audio port with additional headphone outputs, which may work best for several actors, or you might choose to obtain an excess headphone amp instead.
Apart from the I/O choices, you will have to make sure your audio port is as versatile as it may be, as this can allow you to record on the move. You can check whether the sound interface you are considering has any of these features too:
- MIDI inputs for MIDI controls.
- A DI input to your guitar along with other live tools.
- Mic input to your mic.
- Line inputs to your guitars and additional line-level equipment.
One of the very best things to get on your music interface is the alternative of connectivity. Most budget-friendly ports run on regular USB 2.0, that’s still relatively okay. But some new vents set this USB 2.0 standard to the limitation.
Some ports claim quicker connections via USB-C, USB3, Ethernet as well as Thunderbolt. But, USB 2.0 remains ideal for your home studio along with some other recording demands you could have as a newcomer. All you will want to do will be to make sure your computer includes the ideal ports you may use to attach to your considering sound interface.
Microphone preamplifiers and A/D converters will be the centers of each sound port. Most manufacturers use their standard preamplifiers; an illustration is Roland’s Octa-Capture technology.
They took the apparatus directly out of their well-known mixers and incorporated them into the audio port. Suppose you’re very seriously interested in music recording, and you are seeking to acquire adequate precise records of the maximum quality possible. In that case, you will want to go to get a top-rated preamplifier.
At this price point, many ports are designed for use on a pc and, therefore, can be put alongside your laptop without consuming much space. But, audio interfaces have rack-mounted layouts and can fit perfectly into a stand and subsequently be easily screwed into the sides.
Therefore, while shopping in this budget, a stand will be a perfect method to place your music gear in order and possess everything that is not a mixer or amplifier placed inside. If you have a huge studio and are running racks, subsequently purchasing a rack-friendly audio port will be the very best thing to do for you.
Suppose you would like to acquire more professionalism with your audio recording. In that case, there are a few professional DAWsout there, including Ableton Live, Apple Logic, Avid Pro Tools, and so forth.
You can also consider virtual tools or plugins to create for more improved audio production. Most ports arrive packed with recording applications that are typically entry-level versions of plugins or DAWs. Let us choose the PreSonus audio port on the list, for instance.
It includes the new package of application plugins such as iZotope’s Neutron Components and DAW. Native Instruments’sound ports include lots of its audio design programs, effects, software synths, and an entrance edition of Ableton Live 10.
Best Audio Interfaces Under 500 Brands
1. Focusrite Clarett 2Pre
The Focusrite Clarett 2Pre is right about one of the very best audio interfaces on the market for singer-songwriters. It works with both Mac and PC systems and comes complete with two USB cables since it’s a bus-powered apparatus. For improved performance, you may use the USB cable to power the unit through a wall socket.
The surface of this Clarett 2Pre includes two mic preamp input signals, which can also be utilized with TRS signs. This is ideal for guitars or other tools that use line presses. Each one of these channels has a +48V phantom power switch for condenser microphones, in addition to a gain control knob for adjusting amounts.
The massive screen knob is intuitive, letting you adjust the overall output with ease. On the top right is a headset jack, which has its different output level.
The rear panel of this Clarett 2Pre features four balanced TRS outputs jacks, MIDI in and MIDI out ports, a USB-C interface, an optical ADAT input, a power on/off button, and a power adaptor input.
There’s an Air attribute on each of those dreams, which adds clarity to the general sound. Talking of clarity, the Clarett 2Pre comes with an A/D resolution of 24-bit/192kHz, providing you an unmistakable, clear sound.
If you’re interested in finding an entry-level sound port that seems impressive (why would not you’re ), then the Clarett 2Pre ought to be the first option in your listing. With many features and a sturdy build, it’s made to provide quality records wherever you’re!
2. Behringer U-Phoria UMC1820
Although the Behringer U-Phoria UMC1820 is the best 8 input audio interface, it also features considerably more than other ports.
It includes eight XLR/TRS inputs and high-quality Midas preamps, two on the front panel and six to the trunk. All of these inputs include a line/instrument button switch, signal and peak LED indicators, a PAD button change, and a gain control knob.
However, the front panel opens the power button, a SPDIF/ADAT switch, two headsets each with different flat knobs and routing buttons for Mute and Dim, a Stereo/Mono change, along with a Mix Tracking Control knob.
The rear of the device has primary track outputs, 3-8 inputs, eight line outputs, MIDI in/out interfaces, SPDIF in/out interfaces, a USB interface, and also the interface to the power adaptor. Having a 24-bit thickness along with a 96kHz sampling rate, this thing seems unbelievably great for the low cost. They have even thrown in Traktion DAW applications for people that are only getting started.
Even though it might not provide the crystal-clear sound of a few of another entry-level port on our listing, it provides a number of the same inputs and outputs. This is ideal for people who want to put down some group demos or even multi-mic some live recordings tools.
- One of the best performing mic preamps the Scarlett range has ever seen, now with switchable air Mode to give your recordings a brighter and more open sound. One high-headroom instrument input to plug in your guitar or bass. Two hum-free balanced outputs provide clean audio playback.
- High-performance converters enable you to record and mix at up to 24-bit/ 192kHz.
- Quick start tool to get up and running easier than ever.
- Includes Pro Tools | First Focusrite Creative Pack, Ableton Live Lite, Softube Time and Tone Bundle, Focusrite’s Red Plug-in Suite, 3-month Splice subscription, and your choice of one free XLN Addictive Keys virtual instrument, all available via download upon purchase and registration
- LIMITED TIME OFFER: FREE D16 Devastator 2 upon registration and download.
3. Audient ID4
Although the Audient ID4 came back in 2015, many still consider it to be among the very best entry-level audio interfaces on the market now. With a streamlined design that’s ideal for your desktop computer, it manages to provide superior audio performance in contrast to the assortment of additional entry-level devices on the market.
The Audient ID4 comes complete with two Class A mic preamps, all of which were made in-house. Much other top-notch technology onboard comprises a JFET direct input signal, Burr-Brown converter technologies, and console-style screen management, which come together to provide class-leading sound.
We love the Audient ID4 as your Scroll Control manner, which provides you intuitive use of the parameters in your DAW, letting you control virtually everything in the port.
If you’re on the market for a sound port that’s expandable and flexible with fantastic audio, the Audient ID4 ought to be on your list. Even though it might not be as adaptable as the Clarett, it comes with a few of these best-sounding preamps this selection of ports has to offer you.
4. Focusrite Scarlett 6i6
People using entry-level sound ports will inform you Focusrite is a go-to manufacturer. For sound ports under $500, the best option right after the Clarett is that the Scarlett 6i6. Having a budget-friendly layout that can fit in your backpack, it’s a no-brainer for producers and singer-songwriters on the move.
The same as the Clarett, the Scarlett 6i6 can be used with pretty much every significant DAW in addition to Mac and PC systems. It comes complete with all the Focusrite Control program mixer, an easy-to-use system that lets you track your installation configuration and track your output.
The 6i6 provides users with an A/D resolution of 24 bit-depths along with also a 192kHz sampling rate. Concerning specs, the Scarlett 6i6 includes four analog inputs, including two Scarlett mic preamps and many gains!
There’s also a redesigned instrument input, which lets you plug your guitar directly and document without having to mic up an amplifier. At the end of this sound, port lie two headphone outputs for silent monitoring, in addition to dedicated volume controls.
The Scarlett 6i6 is among the primary entry-level ports in the marketplace for an excellent reason. With excellent sound quality and also a flexible collection of features, it’s ideal for any singer-songwriter on a budget.
- Bus-powered USB 2.0 audio interface with MIDI I/O
- Compatible with almost all recording software for Mac and Windows
- 24-bit resolution; 44.1, 48, 88.2, and 96 kHz sampling rates
- 2 combo mic/instrument inputs with high-performance, low-noise, high-headroom mic preamplifiers
- LIMITED TIME OFFER: Get the Studio One Premium Add-On Bundle FREE with the purchase of this product! A $99 USD Value
5. PreSonus Studio 1824 USB Audio Interface
If it comes to audio ports, the PreSonus brand increases our respect because of their high-quality products and fantastic attention to detail. The Studio 1824 is not left out because it has several similar purposes using well-known mixing boards.
If you have a project studio, then this USB sound port is custom-made for record multichannel drums and complete rings. You will also enjoy additional monitoring flexibility and also have more space for processing outside outcomes.
To create virtual devices simpler, this sound interface has a MIDI I/O to your computer keyboard control. Thanks to this PreSonus control area integration that is not all. It included using the UC Surface applications and Studio One Artist and a DSP-based monitor mixer, so you will have to experience zero-latency tracking.
Are you just getting started with all the audio recordings? Afterward, the PreSonus Studio 1824c has everything you will have to hit the ground running. All you have to add is audio.
If you have also been recording for a little while but would like an update to your current port for better performance or more I/O, the Studio 1824c will not let you down too well.
Thus, are you a DJ, portable artist, or a digital musician, and do not wish to forfeit build and sound quality for portability? Afterward, the PreSonus Studio 1824c sound port will surpass your expectations.
6. Focusrite Scarlett 18i20 USB Audio Interface
Focusrite’s Scarlett audio ports consistently combine superb sonics and sound flexibility at a budget-friendly price point, as well as the 18i20, which can help to prove this further.
Together with the 3rdGen 18i20, you are going to find a rack-mountable interface that helps to function as the brains behind a commendable production studio.
You will discover a speaker switcher, dimmer, double headphone outputs, and a talkback button on the front desk. We enjoy the fact that Focusrite Managed to place the sound buttons and knobs onto the 18i20’s front desk without anything appearing out of place.
On the front is an easy-to-read LED metering, a beautiful touch that you test and place amounts fast. There is a total of eight pres in addition to 2 comebacks on the front for those input signals, which may also double as double tool level-in and six additional combi jacks on its back.
With this sound interface’s 18 inputs and 20 outputs, you’re going to find crystal-clear and distortion-free audio to the vocals, voiceover, acoustic guitars, electric guitars, guitars, and other string instruments.
The 18i20 was constructed to handle all you throw at it so; you may establish a group recording session, strong project studio, or complete production studio for a radio or TV commercial job for a low price. This is one of the very best budget audio interfaces.
- “Go live” desktop rig for online broadcasters gives you instant control over your audio
- Flexible and intuitive USB-based mixing for all of your audio - simple, easy-to-use controls get you up and running quickly
- Studio quality EQ, compression and gating help your voice sound its best
- Pc app lets you control and recall all of your favorite settings
- 3-Year warranty program - designed and engineered in Canada
7. Roland OctaCapture USB 2.0 Audio Interface
One of the many unique features of this Roland OctaCapture is its ten sound inputs,f that eight of these are well-balanced mic inputs. When used together with your PC, it may record all of your paths’ available inputs, allowing for additional flexibility in post-production.
As a consequence, you may re-adjust the amounts, mute a cough, or execute any equalization without needing to influence another recorded sound at precisely the same moment.
The OctaCapture also permits for gating and onboard compression, and you’re able to track its four virtual track combinations to some of its analog outputs. Benefit from its own in-built 40-bit DSP [digital signal processing] and then use it to custom track mixes for your speakers, speakers, or recording apparatus.
You will quickly appreciate the controller and rate you get together with the Octa-Capture to configure your stations and track combinations despite its mild learning curve. If you are somebody who recognizes the worth of templates on your DAW, then you will instantly see the advantages of programming the Octa-Capture correctly.
Have you ever wondered if you may have precisely the same sound interface on the street and for your home studio? Well, the fantastic sound quality and superb flexibility the Roland OctaCapture provides can make this a fact.
8. M-Audio AIR 192 USB Audio Interface
You have earned a crystal-clear sound production however large your recording studio is, and owing for the crystal creams, the M-Audio AIR 192 sound interface provides with this warranty.
The Crystal dream seave you ensured perfect performance catch and the best sound possible out of your mic. This sound interface utilizes exceptionally clean A/D converters to get a 24-bit resolution electronic sound and using its substantial dynamic selection; it picks up on each nuance of your recording. It isn’t essential if you plug in your guitar straight into it or plug into a mic, you may be sure of the fantastic sound quality.
Considering this slick audio port, you will see that it had been created with higher durability and quality. Apart from its unique recordings, you will also enjoy clean sound outputs with zero-latency tracking through your speakers or stereo outputs.
Additionally, it is user-friendly and has a pleasant and robust central knob and operational onboard advantage controllers. Using its fast USB link, you will not be held back together with pops or clicks when you are recording, and there’s a direct track mode that can help keep you in time.
This is an ideal audio interface alternative if you’re trying to find a professional-standard recording that permits synths, microphones, tools, and MIDI equipment without the problems of leasing a full-sized studio.
- Capture Every Detail: Premium component selection and 24-bit/192kHz resolution for professional recording and monitoring to your Mac to PC
- Low Latency: Hi-Speed USB / USB-C circuitry gives you the fastest connection, with a class-leading round trip latency of only 2.59ms; USB and USB-C connection cables included
- Pristine Studio Grade Capture: Transparent Crystal preamps and ultra-pristine A/D converters for unsurpassed audio recording quality
- Connectivity: XLR+¼inches TRS combo input, (1) ¼inches instrument input, stereo ¼inches outs and ¼inches headphone out with independent level control
- Feature Packed: Rugged metal chassis, large central volume control, VU LED meters and USB/Direct knob for zero latency monitoring
9. PreSonus Studio 1810c 18×8
PreSonus 1810c is the best 8 channel audio interface that’s made for Electronic Music Production or even tiny bands prepared to record sound concurrently from a vast selection of resources.
It features up to 18 simultaneous inputs; 4 mic inputs with XMAX mic preamps, four dedicated line inputs, eight channels of ADAT Optical input (4 channels at 96 kHz), and S/PDIF inputs. One feature you do not wish to combine is the two headphone outputs that encourage A/B switching for tracking different mix flows.
Also, it may operate up to 192 kHz for a clear recording; you need to be cautious when mixing and mastering with this sound port, ensure that your plugins encourage the sample speed before you raise them;
I have observed two or three men do this wrong, the greater the sample rate does not equate to a fantastic recording if what you’re using does not support it.
Among my favorite features of this 1810c interface are that the onboard screen is mixing and the cue blend headset tracking; this is actually handy.
10. Native Instruments Komplete Audio 6 Mk2
The final sound interface on the list is your NI Komplete Audio 6 MK2, which provides a 2x combo-XLR / TRS line inputs with 48V phantom power, 2x TRS line inputs, 1x MIDI in, and a 1x SPDIF digital stereo input signal. The MK2 was crafted to guarantee an excellent & obvious grasp, super-low latency, and effortless connectivity.
Whether you’re a solo musician, little group, mixing, and mastering engineer, the MK2 can help you to join better, produce and collaborate with other individuals. I like how it gives us a choice to generate send and return loops together with impacts and control synths and drum machines.
As an additional bonus, you’d find an in-class software package you want to record, mix, and construct a track in the bottom up.
You’ve got to use the Native programs Native Acess program to enable both your port and download the packaged software, as unusual if you encounter any matter, hit me and that I shall hopefully help out.
- 2x2 USB audio interface for recording microphones and instruments
- Audiophile 48 kHz resolution for professional audio quality.Maximum Sampling Rate: 48 kHz
- Compatible with popular recording software including Avid Pro Tools*, Ableton Live*, Steinberg Cubase*, etc.
- Streams 2 inputs / 2 outputs with ultra-low latency to your computer, supporting Mac OS X* and Windows XP* or higher
- State-of-the-art, +48 V-powered XENYX Mic Preamp comparable to stand-alone boutique preamps
Is an Audio Interface the Same as A Sound Card?
Well, a sound port and a sound card perform the identical essential jojoba, which to get audio in and out of your computer so you can process, edit and then turn the audio into an electronic signal and back.
It is safe for people to consult with a sound port as an external audio card since you can playback and record along with your computer like you would using a reliable card that the sound interface only takes you a step nearer to sounding are professional.
Can I Need an Audio Interface When I Have obtained a USB Mic?
It’s easy to become confused here should you typically think about an audio port for a box with various inputs for instruments, mics, and outputs for speakers and headphones.
But a USB mic may effectively serve as an audio port also. It is a mic that includes an audio port, and therefore, all you will have to do is plug in the USB lead of this mic into a different USB port for it to work.
That is all; you won’t require any other gear. It might feature a headset or be a recording microphone after which, you will have a complete input and output.
What’s the Finest Audio Interface Under $500?
If it comes to finding the best audio interface suitable for you, you will have to precisely understand what you wish to use it for and how much you can afford it.
Luckily, we have recorded the 12 best sound ports under $500 you can pick from in this informative article that you go through and create the perfect alternative for your music production needs.
What’s the Goal of an Audio Interface?
One of the principal benefits a sound port has overboard audio cards is its physical dimensions and effortless access. A wide variety of input types may be built for the device.
Additionally, sound ports generally have higher sound quality than standard onboard audio cards, and some feature MIDI if you seek to join a keyboard controller.
Just How Many Inputs and Outputs do I Want on My Audio Interface?
This will depend entirely on the type of work you will love to perform with your audio port. If you would like to record with several expert-level microphones, you ought to go for a port included with lots of XLR inputs to your mic. If you seek to document possibly, voiceovers for movie production, you ought to go for a port that features just 1 XLR input.
Furthermore, if it is DJ’ing using your computer, which you are after, it is excellent to go to an audio interface that features four line-level outputs. Just two will probably be used for sending the mixture from the stereo into the audio system, along with another two presses that will be used to signal tunes independently.
Audio interfaces possess an organic cost progression; the longer you invest, the more you purchase. In our list, the Best Audio Interfaces Under 500 for use for individual use in your home studio and even when you’re searching to utilize them on the move. All of the sound interfaces mentioned in our post are perfect illustrations of professional audio ports.
Last update on 2020-12-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API