Are you looking to achieve the best results when computer recording?
You probably want the highest quality of playback, won't you?
You are thinking that you will have to spend a significant amount of money on an audio interface, aren't you?
However, that’s not always the case:
You can now get excellent results from an audio interface that is $200 or under.
This will become evident by simply reading the following list that contains the best audio interface under $200
All you have to do is make sure that it has at least a couple of inputs and outputs as well as all the functionality you require of it.
So whether you are looking for the best audio interface for voice over, or a cheap interface with phantom power, you can be assured that in selecting one from this list, you’d have made an exceptional choice.
5 Best Audio Interface under $200
#5: Tascam US-2x2
This is an audio interface that gives you ergonomic design, as well as fantastic audio quality. The Tuscan US-2x2 is a powerful machine.
There are two mic/line preamps which can give you up to 57 dB of sound, whilst keeping background noise and distortion to a barely audible minimum, making this probably the best mic preamp available under $200.
Class compliant drivers are included, which makes this device a simple ‘plug and play’ when it comes to use it with Macs or iOS devices such as the iPad. To use it with Windows is a simple process of downloading a driver.
For ease of connecting controllers, drum machines and synths, MIDI in and out ports are also included.
There are separate volume controls for headphone usage and for line output. Even when both are connected at the same time, you can set your optimum level for each one. When you are working with your headphones, there is no need to reach over in order to turn off your monitors.
• The front of the interface is sloped at a natural angle, to make it easy to see the settings whilst it sits on a desk.
• Hardwearing yet delicate in the controls.
• Separate volume and line output controls.
• Each mic channel is restricted to left and right, with no option to make either channel go to both channels.
"This is a stunning interface to look at, with honeycomb structure on the side panels and the overall look being that of industrial and hard working, whilst still being light and delicate to the touch."
The main selling point of this audio interface is the ease in which you can capture high quality signal, time after time.
A transparent, low noise solution is provided using new ‘Crystal’ Preamps, this lets you capture your performance, the way it was performed by ensuring you get the best our of your mic or instrument.
This model also uses A/D converters which are tailor made for an exquisite dynamic range of 192 kHz / 24 bit.
This interface lets you enjoy zero latency monitoring with its high-speed USB connection and an easy to use direct balance knob.
This is hardware that is compatible with both Mac and PC and included in the box are a standard USB cable as well as a USB-C cable to ensure you can get started straight away and without being out of pocket, having to spend out on connector cables you haven’t got.
The 2X2M has two dedicated XLR+1/4” balanced combo inputs which gives you the opportunity to record two channels at once.
• Both hardware and software have been designed for ease of use.
• No power supply needed, all power is directly supplied by the USB connection to your computer.
• Two channels at once can be recorded.
• Requires drivers to be installed for use on Windows software. Nothing extra needed for Mac compatibility.
"The audio performance is professional, the extras are easy to use and the software bundle gives you everything to ensure that this audio interface is a great buy."
This very compact audio interface guarantees you a high-end sound, which can easily be taken out on the road, tucked away in a guitar case.
If you’re looking for a cheap audio interface USB then this could very well be the model you’re looking for.
Presonus Audiobox 22VSL comes with a 2 x 2 USB 2.0 recording interface backed up by sample rates of 96 kHz / 24 bit.
There are two input channels on the front of the interface and these are dual purpose. There is also a mixer control here, which enables you to achieve zero-latency monitoring, by blending the input signal and the computer playback system.
There is also a main output level control, a headphone jack level control and an LED clip indicator for each and every channel. All of this comes packaged in a small but neat interface model, finished in a stylish blue color.
This device includes Studio Magic plug in suite. This will enable you to add special things to your songs that you never thought possible before.
• All of the controls handily located on the front of the interface, which has been designed in a stylish blue color.
• Studio Magic software brings an entire suite of plug-ins to enhance and improve your music.
• Small enough to carry around in a rucksack or guitar case.
• Continuing problems integrating with various Windows operating systems. No issues with Mac compatibility.
"If you want to make the next top ten hit but haven’t got access to a recording studio, then this device will give you the opportunity to do that, despite being small enough to carry around in your rucksack."
This is an audio interface that will ensure your recordings sound exactly the same as you intend them to.
Setting accurate levels is easy and this second generation model has been designed with heavy guitar feeds in mind.
This model includes four analog inputs, two mic preamps for a natural sound and two instrument inputs which have been newly designed for the guitarist who likes to play loud without the threat of distortion.
Your plug-ins benefit from a super-low latency and the conversion is one of the best available in this price range, offering sample rates of 192 kHz / 24 bit.
There is a single headphones output, which has gain control as well as 1/4 inch balanced jack outputs which enable you to connect the device to professional studio monitors.
You have the added advantage of being able to record with this audio interface straight out of the box, as it comes equipped with Pro Tools and a whole range of other software and samples.
• Comes with a whole catalogue of software and samples, enabling you to make use of the audio interface straight away.
• Designed for guitar players. Can handle very hot pick-ups without worrying about unwanted distortion.
• One of the best selling audio interfaces in the world, not everyone can be wrong!
• Drivers prone to stability issues when using with Windows software.
"This is not only one of the best USB audio interface under $200 available, it is also one of the bestselling in the world."
#1: Yamaha AG06
If you’re looking for the best 2-channel audio interface then the AG06, with its high resolution multi-purpose 6-channel mixer may be one to consider.
It is compatible with either Mac or PC, so will appeal to users of both technologies and it is also compatible with an iPad.
This device has a comprehensive design which combines 192 kHz / 24 bit sound proficiency with high-end D-PRE mic preamps.
It is a streamlined set up; which gives musicians and enthusiasts the opportunity to record and mix without compromising on the quality of sound.
It comes with a LOOPBACK function, which allows live music on all instruments and the vocals, along with any background sounds or music.
This audio interface comes complete with Cubase AI, a download that is compatible with both PC and Mac computers.
This program, based on industry standard techniques, helps to record, mix and edit and get your music produced to a professional standard, easily and quickly.
• A totally mobile solution. Compatible with any laptop as well as your iPad, it can also fully function on USB power, allowing you to take your music with you wherever you go.
• Equipped with phantom power which means you can connect a huge number of different microphones, including professional condenser mics.
• High quality.
• Device itself is well made but the software can sometimes be buggy.
"This is a truly mobile audio interface, not only can it be simply connected to something as portable as an iPad, it can also be connected to a USB mobile battery, so you can really make music on the go."
Things to Consider while buying Best Audio Interface under $200
• Portability - The mobility of your recording set up should always be a consideration. Are you going to be taking the audio interface on the road with you or will it stay in one place, primarily concerned with music production. If you are looking for portability then you can already disregard large and stationary models. The ideal portable model should fit snugly into a kit bag and be hidden whilst on stage, but must be robust enough to be suitable to travel with. You’re very well buying a good cheap audio interface, but if it is poorly constructed then it will cost you more in a replacement in the long run.
• Number of outputs and inputs - It’s not just the amount of connections that you should be concerned with, it’s the type and configuration of them too. As your music becomes more sophisticated, don’t forget the wants and needs you have of your audio interface will change. It may be worth considering just how many inputs and outputs you are going to need in the future, rather than right now. It is also worth considering their flexibility too. Think about the equipment you have now, and the equipment you intend to purchase in the future.
• Connecting the audio interface to your computer - Have a look at your computer’s peripheral ports. Which ones does it have? The chances are that it will have one or some of the following: a USB port; a firewire port; a Thunderbolt connection; or perhaps a PCIe slot? The bandwidth provided by all of these options will give you a great performance and each are able to handle a significant amount of data, but does your choice of audio interface have the same options. If you’ve bought a cheap USB interface, does your computer have the same connection?
• Are you considering the bit depth and sample rate you require? - A decent quality audio interface is separated from one of lower quality by its ability to capture sound accurately. To be precise, it’s separated by its ability to capture the four characteristics of sound, dynamic range, phase, frequency and amplitude. An average person would not be able to tell the difference between the best recording interface under $200 and one that costs over $2000, especially if they aren’t in a sterile studio environment. So you’ll need to consider that if you do decide to spend extra, do you have the ability to notice it?
• Other accessories - You’ll need to think about the cables that you need with your audio interface. It will most likely come with a cable to connect it to your computer but you’ll also need to consider MIDI and mic cables, amongst others. This can represent a significant expense so be sure to include these in your overall budget.
Choosing the right and reasonably priced audio interface may seem like a daunting task. There is a huge amount to choose from and each one has its own set of configurations, formats, connections, software, and so much else besides.
Even after figuring out exactly what you are going to use your interface for, there is still a dizzying array of quality models to choose from. But there’s no need to worry, that’s where this buying guide can come to the rescue!
This buying guide will help you find the interface that best suits your needs, and make the whole process a little less difficult.