The Best Audio Interface For A Home Studio

The audio interface is an important part of any home recording studio setup. If you are new to audio interfaces you may have questions about them and may be struggling to determine which audio interface will be best for your home studio. Today we’re going to take a look at the best audio interface for a home studio.

We will also learn all about the audio interface so you can be informed and make a good decision when you decide to purchase your own audio interface for your home studio.

The Best Audio Interface For A Home Studio

If you are in a hurry, here are the links to our favorite audio interfaces (Under $450) for home studios. We go into more detail why we like them later on in this article.

ImageNameInputs / OutputsCurrent Price
Presonus Studio 68C USB C Audio InterfacePreSonus Studio 68C USB C Audio Interface4 X 4 With MidiCheck Current Price
Focusrite Scarlett 4i4 3rd Gen USB Audio InterfaceFocusrite Scarlett 4i4 3rd Gen USB Audio Interface4 X 4 With MidiCheck Current Price
Motu M4 USB Audio InterfaceMotu M4 USB Audio Interface4 X 4 With MidiCheck Current Price
Tascam US 4X4 HR USB Audio InterfaceTascam US 4X4HR USB Audio Interface 4 X 4 With Midi Check Current Price
Steinberg UR242 USB InterfaceSteinberg UR242 4 Channel USB Interface4 X 2 With MidiCheck Current Price

Before I jump into my favorite audio interface reviews, I think it may be fitting to talk a little about the audio interface and answer some questions you may have. Some of you may be new to the audio interface world and this section may help you out.

What Is An Audio Interface?

An audio interface is a device that allows you to plug in your microphone, guitar, bass, drums, keyboard, etc. into the audio interface. The audio interface then sends the instruments or microphones signal to your computer so you can record the vocal and instrument parts inside your computer with your DAW software.

What Does An Audio Interface Do?

An audio interface takes the analog signal coming from your microphone, guitar, bass, drums, etc. and turns the analog signal into a digital signal that your computer and DAW software can understand.

When you play your mixes and recordings back from your DAW software the computer sends your audio interface the digital signal and the audio interface converts the digital signal back into an analog signal that comes out of your studio monitors or headphones.

Humans hear and understand analog signal. Computers and DAW software work with digital signal.

How Does An Audio Interface Work?

One of the key components of an audio interface are the converters. The converters are what convert the analog signal into digital signal for the computer and DAW software to work with. This is known as the A/D converter.

Likewise, the converters then convert the digital signal coming back from the computer into analog signal so we can hear and understand what our mixes and recordings sound like. This is known as the D/A converter.

The quality of the A/D converter is known as Resolution. A good A/D converter would be expressed as: 24bit/ 192kHz. This tells you as a consumer that you are dealing with a pretty good converter.

This is what you want to look for in this class of audio interfaces we are talking about today. Converters with a 24bit / 44.1kHz up to 192kHz resolution will give you studio quality recordings and are good for a home recording studio setup.

Do I Need An Audio Interface?

Yes, you will need an audio interface if you want to record instruments and vocals.

How To Hook Up An Audio Interface

Hooking up an Audio Interface is very simple. All you need to do is connect your audio interface to your computer via a USB cable. The USB cable will carry the signal from your audio interface to your computer and will also serve as the return route from your computer back to your audio interface.

How To Set Up A Audio Interface Diagram

In most cases the USB port will also provide the power to your audio interface as well. If your USB will not power your audio interface then, most audio interfaces will also come with an optional AC power cable.

Next, if you have studio monitors you will want to connect them to the audio outputs on the back of your audio interface via XLR, TRS, or RCA cables.

Finally it’s time to plug in your microphones and instruments. Once you have your instruments or microphone plugged in you are ready to start recording.

You will also need to go inside your DAW software and tell your DAW software that you have a new audio interface. This will vary on which DAW software you are using.

You can go into your main audio setup section and simply select the audio interface you have from a drop down menu. Please refer to your DAW instructions for exact audio interface setup. This should be a very simple procedure.

Please follow your new audio interface setup instructions. Your new audio interface will have a quick start guide or instructions to get you up and running quickly.

What Is The Best Audio Interface?

The best audio interface for your home recording studio will largely depend on what you need your audio interface to do.

For example, how many instruments do you need to record at the same time? You may be a singer-songwriter and need to record your acoustic guitar and vocal. You may be a drummer and have 5-10 microphones you need to record with. It could be you are recording full bands, or you may be a podcast artist.

The scenarios can vary quite a bit. Regardless, you will still need a quality audio interface to capture your tracks in studio quality.

By the way, if you are a drummer or are planning on recording a full band with a smaller audio interface you can use a mixer. Just come out of the mixer and plug into the audio interface.

Let’s get into the audio interface reviews on the above mentioned audio interfaces. I selected these audio interfaces based on the fact that they are all good quality, have good converters, at least 4 inputs, 2 or 4 outputs, and have midi in and outs.

The audio interfaces selected are not the smallest on the market and they are not large audio interfaces. The price is good on all of the audio interfaces.

So they are all budget friendly, pretty easy to set up, will give you plenty of inputs, midi in and out, and will give you good quality recordings.

Let’s take a look at my top picks for a good audio interface for your home recording studio setup.

The Best Audio Interface For A Home Studio Reviews

#1 PreSonus Studio 68c USB C Audio Interface

Presonus Studio 68C USB C Audio Interface

PreSonus Studio 68C USB C Audio Interface Specs

Studio One Artist and Studio Magic Plug-In Suite Included:Software Package Valued At $1,000 Dollars
4X4 Inputs and Outputs:192kHz
Midi In / Out Combined With SPDIF In / OutAdds Two More Inputs and Outputs
24 Bit Resolution:192 kHz
2 Mic / Instrument Inputs / Line Inputs:XMAX Class A Mic Preamps
2 Mic XLR / Instrument Inputs:XMAX Class A Mic Preamps
+48V Phantom Power:Global
2 DC Coupled, Balanced 1/4″ TRS Main Outputs:Front Panel Level Control
2 DC Coupled, Balanced 1/4″ TRS Line Outputs:Monitor Mixing
6 Ladder-Style LED Meters:4 Input & 2 Main Output
Stereo Headphone Output:With Cue and A/B Control
Direct Monitoring:Great For Punch-In
USB-C to USB-C Cable & USB-C to USB-A Cables:Both Cables Included
** Compatible With iOS and iPad OS Devices: iPad Pro, iPad, iPad Air, iPad Mini, iPad Touch, and iPhone

As you can see, this little jewel comes ready to get some serious recording done. There are plenty of inputs and outputs to connect all of your microphones and instruments.

PreSonus Studio 68c USB C Audio Interface Front And Back

The class A XMAX preamps will give you excellent sound quality and you can record with 24Bit / 192kHz resolution. Studio quality recordings with complete portability.

A couple things that I think are really nice about the PreSonus Studio 68C is the fact that it comes with everything you need to start making your own recordings. So if you do not have DAW software you can use Studio One 5 Artist. It comes with PreSonus Studio One 5 Artist DAW software and the Studio Magic Suite.

The 2021 Studio Magic Suite includes: Ableton Live Lite, tutorials from Melodics, sound libraries from Ghost Hack, 7 virtual instruments, and 9 effects plug-ins. I’ve attached a little video about Studio One 5 Artist and Studio Magic Suite below. Be sure and check it out.

The quality and value you get with the PreSonus Studio 68C audio interface is very good and this is why it is our favorite pick for the best audio interface for a home studio.


#2 Focusrite Scarlett 4i4 3rd Gen USB Audio Interface

Focusrite Scarlett 4i4 3rd Gen USB Audio Interface

Focusrite Scarlett 4i4 3rd Gen Audio Interface Specs

Whole Range Of Recording Software, Sounds, and Plug-Ins Avid Pro Tools First Focusrite Creative Pack, Ableton Live Lite, XLN Audio Addictive Keys, Softube Time & Tone Bundle, Focusrite Red Plug-In Suite + Much More
Connectivity: USB Type C
Simultaneous In / Out:4 X 4
A/D Resolution:24 Bit / 192 kHz
+48V Phantom Power:Yes
Instrument Inputs:2
Line Inputs:4
Analog Outputs:4
Headphone Outputs:1
Main / Alternate Speaker Switching:Yes
Talkback:Yes
Loopback:Yes
Midi In / Out:Yes
Bus Power:No
Power Supply Included: Yes
USB C Cable Included:No
IPad Supported: Yes, Through Focusrite Control

The Focusrite Scarlett 4i4 Audio Interface is a great piece of gear that will make a welcome edition to any home recording studio setup.

Focusrite Scarlett 4i4 Audio Interface Front And Rear View

The Scarlett 4i4 comes with studio grade A/D converters at 24Bit / 192kHz resolution. This will ensure you are capturing your tracks with studio quality sound.

If you need DAW software the Scarlett 4i4 comes with Avid Pro Tools | First Focusrite Creative Pack. You can try out Pro Tools First for free.

If you need inspiration try the included Audio Addictive Keys, Softube Time and Tone Bundle, or the Focusrite Plug-In Collective.

The Focusrite Scarlett 4i4 is a very well built audio interface, is completely portable, and will give you studio quality sound.


#3 Motu M4 USB Audio Interface

Motu M4 USB Audio Interface

Motu M4 USB Audio Interface Specs

Motu Performer Lite / Ableton Live Lite DAW Software – Over 100 Virtual Instruments, Hundreds of Loops, One-Shots, and Samples From Big Fish Audio, Lucid Samples, and Loopmasters:Software Package Included with Motu M4
4X4 Inputs and Outputs:192kHz
Midi In / Out:Yes
24 Bit Resolution:192 kHz
2 Mic / Instrument Inputs / Line Inputs:ESS Sabre 32 Ultra
2 Mic XLR / Instrument Inputs:ESS Sabre 32 Ultra
+48V Phantom Power:Yes
4 DC Coupled, Balanced 1/4″ TRS Main Outputs:Yes
4 DC Coupled, Balanced RCA Line Outputs:Yes
Full Color LCD Meters:4 Input & 4 Output
Stereo Headphone Output:Yes
Direct Monitoring:Great For Punch-In
USB-C Cable:Cable Included
** Compatible With iOS and iPad OS Devices: Yes

Motu has really done a great job with the Motu M4 USB Audio Interface. The ESS converters allow you to record in 24bit / 192kHz studio quality resolution. This is important if you want your tracks to sound professional.

Motu M4 USB Audio Interface Front And Rear View

Motu has put together a great software package that comes with the Motu M4 Audio Interface. The software package includes: Motu Performer Lite DAW Software, Ableton Live Lite, 100+ Virtual Instruments, and 6GB of samples and loops. This is plenty of free software to get your creative juices flowing.

For all you apple fans, you will be glad to know the Motu M4 audio interface is IOS compatible. Great portability with your IPAD and Motu interface. The Motu M4 USB audio interface is great quality and at a great price.


#4 Tascam US 4X4HR USB Audio Interface

Tascam US 4X4 HR USB Audio Interface

Tascam US 4X4HR USB Audio Interface Specs

US HR Models Include: Steinberg Cubase LE, Cubasis LE, Sample Tank SE W/ 30 GB Sound Library, Auto Tune Is Free For 3 Months Software Package Included
4X4 Inputs and Outputs:192kHz
Midi In / Out:Yes
24 Bit Resolution:192 kHz
4 Instrument Inputs: Ultra HDDA Mic Pre
4 Mic XLR Inputs:Ultra HDDA Mic Pre
+48V Phantom Power:Yes
4 Balanced 1/4″ TRS Main Outputs:Yes
Monitor Balance Switch:Yes
Signal & Peak Indicator LED:Yes
Stereo Headphone Output:Yes 2
Direct Monitoring:Great For Punch-In
USB-C Cable:Cable Included
** Compatible With iOS and iPad OS Devices: Yes

Tascam has put together a great recording package with the Tascam US 4X4HR USB Audio Interface. First off, this unit is powered by the USB C connection. This makes things so convenient in portable recording scenarios. This unit also includes a regular AC power supply.

Tascam US 4X4 HR USB Audio Interface Front And Rear View

The ultra HDDA mic preamps combined with 24bit / 192kHz resolution capabilities make the Tascam US 4X4 audio interface a serious contender if you want to produce studio quality tracks.

Create quality content with the bundled software package. You get Steinberg Cubase LE / Cubasis LE 3 DAW software, IK’s Multimedia Sample Tank SE with a 30GB sound library and over 2,000 instruments, Antares Auto Tune Unlimited pitch correction and vocal effects free for 3 months. This is a great software package to get you started with your recording projects.

The Tascam US 4X4HR USB Audio Interface is built solid as a tank so it’s road ready. One thing I really like about this unit is that it has an upward facing angle on the front so it’s easier to see the front panel.

This is a great unit for a home recording studio setup and will serve you well.


#5 Steinberg UR242 USB Audio Interface

Steinberg UR242 USB Audio Interface

Steinberg UR242 USB audio Interface Specs

Cubasis LE / Cubase AI DAW Software, DSP Mix FX, Guitar Amp Classics, Plus Tons Of Yamaha Effects :Software Package Included
4X4 Inputs and Outputs:192kHz
Midi In / Out:Yes
24 Bit Resolution:192 kHz
2 Mic / Instrument Inputs / Line Inputs:Yes / Balanced
2 Mic XLR / Line Inputs:D-Pre Mic Preamps
+48V Phantom Power:Yes
Balanced 1/4″ TRS Main Outputs:Yes / 2
Included Power Supply:Yes
Peak LED Indicators:2 On Main Channels
Stereo Headphone Output:Yes
Direct Monitoring:Yes
USB 2 Cable:No
** Compatible With iOS: Yes / Through Cubasis

Steinberg has some great audio interfaces and the Steinberg UR242 USB audio interface is no exception. The premium converters give you 24Bit / 192kHz resolution for studio quality tracks.

Steinberg UR242 USB Audio Interface Front And Rear View

The metal housing on the UR242 audio interface will protect it on the road. This is a good unit to do live gigs with.

Class A D-Pre mic preamps deliver transparent and warm sound. Capture the details in your high end and rich low frequency with exceptional dynamic response.

One thing I was not fond of is that there are only two peak indicators for the front two main channels. I think it would be nice to have peak indicators for the two rear channels as well.

Steinberg put together a nice software bundle that comes with the UR242 USB Audio Interface. You get: Cubasis LE / Cubase AI DAW software, DSP Mix FX, Guitar Amp Classics, Sweet Spot Morphing Channel, REV-X Reverb, Clean, Crunch, Drive, Lead, FX Basic Suite, and a bunch of other plug-ins. This is a great software package to get you up and running quick.

The Steinberg UR242 USB Audio Interface is a good unit that will give you studio quality tracks.


Final Thoughts

In conclusion, I do prefer the PreSonus Studio 68C USB C Audio Interface. I like it best because it is very well built, has class A preamps, 24Bit / 192kHz resolution, very functional, and comes with an awesome software bundle.

All of the audio interface units listed here will give you 24bit / 192kHz resolution, have midi In / out, 4 input channels, 2-4 outputs, and come with software bundles.

So I hope this helps narrow down some of the best audio interfaces for a home studio. I’ll continue to monitor any new units that come out and add to this post if I see any that look promising.

If you like writing, playing, recording, and producing music then you are in the right place. I like to offer helpful information and encouragement that makes your life a little easier.

If you are interested in setting up your own home recording studio then I encourage you to get started today. Nothing happens until we take action.

If you want to learn about good studio monitor speakers for your audio interface you may like my article: The Best Budget Studio Monitors For Home Studios. Be sure and check it out!

Let me know which audio interface you go for!

6 thoughts on “The Best Audio Interface For A Home Studio”

  1. Wow. Loved it. Loved the detail. Really loved the questions and answers section before the actual list. I managed to pick up a few things I didn’t know before as well. I didn’t actually know that Computers and DAW software work the digital signal; had no idea about the conversions that are happening. But that makes perfect sense.

    I guess I’m a simple guy, haha. I’m just going to go with the No. 1 on your list. And then, just figure it out from there. Plus, it’s well within the price range I was anticipating. So, yeah, just going to go with the best. I saw it has other variations like the Studio 26c, 24c, and others. But I will be sticking to that 68c. Fingers crossed that it will be great.

    Thank you. 🙂

    Reply
    • The PreSonus Studio 68C USB c Audio Interface is a great choice for a home recording studio setup.  I really like the quality and value you get.  It will be a great choice and I’m sure you will love it!  Thanks for taking the time to let me know what you think.

      You may be interested in a good set of studio monitors to go with your new audio interface.  Be sure and check out my article:  The Best Budget Studio Monitors For Home Studios.  A great set of studio monitors will change the way you mix.  Be sure and check it out!  

      Reply
  2. Hi, I’m interested in learning more about  Audio Interface for Home Studio. I am new to the area of audio interfaces and would like to learn more. Of course, I’m interested in setting up my own home recording studio because I love writing songs, but I’d also like to learn to play the acoustic guitar, record and create music on my own. I also think I’d go with the Presonus Studio 68C USB C Audio Interface because you mentioned that it’s well-made, has class-A preamps, 24Bit/192kHz resolution, is very functional and comes with a great software bundle.
    Excellent article.

    Reply
    • The PreSonus Studio 68C audio interface will serve you well.  Thanks for taking the time to leave me a comment Lionel.  

      I also have an article you may be interested in.  It’s about studio monitors to go with your audio interface.  It’s called: The Best Budget Studio Monitors For Home Studios.  Be sure and check it out.  Let me know if you have any questions or need help.

      Reply
  3. As a professional musician, I’ve often thought it would be great to do some recording but the jargon totally confused me. You have now cleared up my confusion and it really doesn’t sound that confusing, thanks for that. Now I just need to choose one of the great audio interface units. I’m leaning towards the PreSonus for what I am hoping to achieve.

    Thanks for this great review.

    Reply
    • I always try to write articles that give good information and help out my readers.  The PreSonus 68C is a great little audio interface and will serve you well.

      I have another article that may be helpful to you: Yamaha HS8 Studio Monitor Review.  You may need some good studio monitors for your setup.  Be sure and check it out!

      Reply

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