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M.A.X & Lloyd - Hubble ft. IMAN

M.A.X & Lloyd & IMAN

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3 of the Best Audio Interfaces for Producers on a Budget

Audio interfaces are a studio essential, but why are they so expensive? Get more bang for buck through this quick guide.

After shopping for studio equipment, the last thing a producer needs is a pricey piece of equipment that mainly only has one job; playing music through our speakers. Granted, depending on the audio interface there are extra benefits and necessities that weigh into our decisions. We have narrowed down the top three interfaces that do their job without the expensive bells and whistles and still work.


Focusrite Scarlett 2i2



The Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 is a perfect example of a simple interface that has two inputs to record and two outputs for studio monitors. For prices starting around $110, this is a great price for any Focusrite product. In addition to the simple functionality, Focusrite boasts their award-winning preamps, exceptional plugin suites, and DAW packages grouped with their hardware. Through personal experience with many different audio interfaces, the Scarlett 2i4 works with lower latency than other competitors and with two extra outputs for DJing capabilities.


Specs:


2 line/XLR inputs
2 line outputs
Line/instrument channel switches
Super Low latency
Phantom Power
LED haloes for each channel
USB/Analog Direct Balance control
Headphone out with independent level control
USB-powered connectivity
Red 2 and 3 Plugin Bundle
Softube’s Time and Tone bundle
Pro Tool’s First Creative Pack
Novation’s Bass Station
Ableton Live Lite
2 GB of Loopmasters Content


Presonus Audiobox USB

Another one that I have personal experience comes in very close to the Scarlett at $100. This interface has the impressive Studio One Artist packaged and over 6GB of third-party resources. This comes with MIDI capabilities, two inputs and outputs and phantom power and impressive preamps that can take any recording to the next level. Zero latency is a big factor that takes this product up to the top of the line.



Specs:


2 line/XLR inputs
2 line outputs
MIDI in/out ports
Phantom Power
LED clip indicator for each channel
USB/Analog Direct Balance control
Headphone out with independent level control
USB-powered connectivity
Studio One 3 Artist
Studio Magic Plugin Suite


M-Audio M-Track Plus MK 2


As a close third coming in at $150, is an M-Audio interface that is far more straightforward. M-Audio doesn’t boast amazing preamps or amazingly low latency like Scarlett products but similarly shares a nice set of software bundled inside. Cubase LE and a Waves plugin bundle make this hardware look up to par with high-end products. Phantom power and two line inputs through the back set the standard for a truly basic, yet, solid piece of gear.

Specs:


2 line/XLR inputs
2 line outputs
Channel-specific LED VU meters
USB/Analog Direct Balance control
Headphone out with independent level control
Phantom Power
USB-powered connectivity
Ableton Live Lite
Cubase LE
Waves plugin bundle (AudioTrack, Eddie Kramer Effect Channel, and TrueVerb)

Tags Producer's Corner
Kalebh Schroder Contributing Writer

Kalebh has been producing music for side and solo projects since childhood. He graduated from Full Sail University with a Bachelors in Music Production.

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