TOP 9 Best Audio Interfaces under $200 Review 2018 | Sound-Beat.Com

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In the era of digitally-processed music, audio interfaces became a must for any studio. The basic and main function of an audio interface is to digitalize the analog signals that come from a microphone; this way your PC can read the signal, record it and work with it.

There’s only one criterion that truly defines a good audio interface, and it’s the output sound fidelity. A microphone converts air vibrations to analog signals. A good audio interface is the one that digitizes that analog signal with a minimum amount of distortion and noise levels.

Nevertheless, as end users, we also love perks and additional features. Many interfaces come with inbuilt phantom power generators, so you can plug in your condenser mic and start using it right away, without any further manipulations. Another useful feature some interfaces offer is the presence of multiple inputs and the capability to perform multi-track recordings. Some of them also come with a mixer and other inbuilt effect generators.

That said, “more” is not always “better”. Some users get amazed by the loudness and the ‘high quality’ of the digitalized recordings of their microphones. They write positive reviews, describing how amazed they are with the output sound quality of their newly acquired audio interface. What they do ignore is the fact that some interfaces have inbuilt compressors and EQ. These interfaces basically apply these filters to your input signal without you being able to control that. That might be not convenient for you, so be careful when choosing your device.

Here’s a list of the best audio interfaces under $200 you might want to check. Also, we arranged a list of best audio interfaces under $500!

Focusrite Saffire Pro 14

Pro: Well-rounded audio interface that comes in a solid metal box

Con: Can be tricky to install and configure on PC

The Focusrite Saffire Pro 14 is a well-rounded audio interface that’ll fulfill the needs of a home studio producer. This audio interface has all of the features you’d expect for the price and even more: 48V phantom power with crystal clear 60dB gain, 4 instrumental inputs and the required gain and volume control knobs. Its low noise levels are another great feature to keep in mind. For instance, if you connect a SM57, turn the input gain knob to 90% and whisper, you’ll still get noise-free sound.

This audio interface is almost plug-and-play. All you need to do is install a program called “Mix Control” to link the audio interface to your DAW. Nevertheless, the process might be tricky and it’s easy to configure it the wrong way. The interface comes with a manual, though there were many complaints that the manual is hard to read.

That being said, once properly installed, the Saffire Pro 14 is a reliable tool.

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Pro: Great sound and specs for the price

Con: The installation process might be complicated in some PC’s

The Tascam US-366 is a well-made audio interface, compatible both with Mac and PC. It includes 6 input and 4 output ports. However, its unique design allows you to switch the port functions; this way you’ll get 6-input and 4-out ports. The US-366’s design is also surprisingly elegant and comfortable to use. For example, it has a handy button that instantly pops open the Mixer App, which allows you to control the mixer and effects.

If you are looking for an interface that has inbuilt effects (like compressors, de-essers and noise suppressors), then the US-366 fits the bill. It includes a bundle of useful, well-made effects to be added to your input microphone signal. Although these effects cannot be undone (because they modify the input signal), they are greatly appreciated by live streamers and radio broadcasters.

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Novation Audiohub 2×4 Combined Audio Interface and USB 2.0 Hub

Pro: Great output volume amplification; 3 USB input ports

Con: There were complaints about compatibility issues with AMD-based laptops

Besides providing a clear sound processing, the Novation Audiohub is famous for having one of the best and loudest output preamps. For example, if you’re using headphones, you should avoid turning the monitoring gain to max, unless you want to damage your ears. This audio interface comes in a sturdy aluminum box, which makes it a greatly portable device.

Widely used by DJ’s and other live performers, the Novation Audiohub can power up to 3 USB ports at once. That will allow you to connect up to 3 keyboards, USB turntables, synths or any other devices to the audio interface without the need to use USB splitters. That’s great, because we all know that too many cables, adaptors and splitters always cause problems.

There’s only downside about this audio interface worth mentioning. There were several reports of compatibility issues. Some users reported that their Audiohub was throwing crackles and popping sounds when using with AMD-based laptops.

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M-Audio M-Track Plus MKII Two-Channel USB 2.0 Audio Interface with Waves Plugins

Pro: Compact and solid box

Con: Doesn’t works properly with USB 3.0 ports, only usable with USB 2.0

Compact, fancy and easy to use, the M-Track Plus MKII is a great budget audio interface. Its solid box has a minimalistic and easy-to understand design. The knobs are well-made and move smoothly. The MKII output has almost no latency (about 5ms delay). It also has minimum output static noise, which is great for a budget audio interface.

Now, the main downside is that it doesn’t works with Windows 8.1. It also won’t work properly when plugged to USB 3.0, so be careful if you’ve got a top-notch PC. Another issue is that it has a below average output volume. That’s okay if you’re sitting in a quiet room and wearing headphones, but it definitely won’t satisfy you if you’re performing live.

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Focusrite iTrack Solo USB Audio Interface

Pro: High-quality preamps and phantom power

Con: Could use more input/output ports Gestacion y Maternidad subrogada en California (EEUU) para parejas heterosexuales y homosexuales Gestación subrogada en Estados Unidos

This extremely portable small audio interface works great both with Mac and PC. Not only that, the iTrack Solo is also designed to work with iPads. Along with an aluminum unibody case, all these features make the iTrack Solo one of the best budget gig audio interfaces, available on the market. Don’t expect too many additional features, though. This interface comes with only one mic and one guitar inputs ports and one output port.

Nevertheless, it proved to have no noticeable playback delay. As any iTrack products, it features a great preamp and surprisingly high-quality 48V phantom power.

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Mackie Onyx Blackjack 2×2 USB Recording Interface

Pro: Great price/quality ratio, powerful and clean preamp

Con: Only supports ASIO4ALL drivers

The high-quality and hiss-free audio delivered by the Onyx Blackjack is ridiculously good for its price range. This audio interface offers a high-end 48 kHz, 24-bit resolution output. It has two Onyx mic inputs with surprisingly good 48V phantom power. No latency issues were reported, although as with any audio interface, latency is often caused by slow/poorly optimized PCs.

Mackie is constantly releasing software updates, so the interface now works with Windows 10 as well. Another pro is that the preamp is both clean and powerful, especially for the price you’re paying for it. Besides being a budget device, this interface has become more than just a starter for many musicians.

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Behringer UMC202HD U-Phoria USB Audio Interface with MIDAS Microphone Preamplifiers

Pro: True plug-and-play, Behringer quality

Con: Could use more input/output slots

Behringer proved to manufacture high-quality audio equipment no matter the price range. Many excited users praise the UMC202HD U-Phoria as the best audio interface you can get for $100. Their excitement can be easily understood. First of all, this interface is 100% plug and play. As you could notice from the interfaces listed above, most of them have software/driver issues. If you’re not a fan of navigating through forums and websites looking for the appropriate audio drivers, then the UMC202HD U-Phoria is definitively for you.

The UMC202HD U-Phoria also feels very solid and durable thanks to its metal box. Last but not least, this audio interface features a 24-Bit/192 kHz resolution, which is really rare for such a low budget device.

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Pyle 5-Channel Professional Compact Audio DJ Mixer Controller with USB Interface

Pro: Great amount of features for such a low price

Con: Some break after only a year of use

People ask “what could you expect from a device worth only 50 bucks?” A lot, actually; There are no miracles, but this Pyle audio interface proved to have many high-end features. That said, there were more than one complaint about the component quality and some users received the audio interface with loose knobs. Buying the Pyle PAD20MXU could be a bit risky, but it might be worth the risk, and here’s why.

First of all, its compact design makes it portable, especially because it can be powered by a rechargeable battery. Its 5 inputs allow you to use this interface as a mixer and preamp for virtually any kind of instrument, including microphones, DJ turntables, you name it. Maybe you wouldn’t like to use it as a professional studio device, but if you want to have a mini-mixer and AD converter for home parties and karaoke, then the Pyle PAD20MXU fits the bill.

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Behringer Xenyx 302USB Mixer

Pro: True plug-and play, compact design

Con: Above-average white noise

Let’s be honest there’s no studio-quality mixer that would cost only 50 dollars. So don’t expect too much from the Behringer Xenyx 302USB. First thing first, you’ll experience above-average white noise. It can be suppressed by using a specialized VST, still as with any noise reduction software, the sound quality will be affected as well. Another detail to keep in mind is that the 302USB comes with a 17V phantom power (rather that with the classic 48V one). Simply put, this interface won’t work with some specific condenser mic models.

Despite these two downsides, the Behringer Xenyx 302USB is still a nice audio interface that can be really useful, if used properly. First of all, it’s reliable, that’s why many musicians use it in live performances. Its mini-mixer feature makes it even more versatile when live. Secondly, this audio interface is easy to install and is compatible with Windows 8 and below. Its user-friendly design makes it easy to use. It doesn’t require an external power supply (it’s powered through USB) and it also offers a variety of inputs.

Bottom line is, the Behringer Xenyx 302USB is a great starter and can easily become your companion in live performances for many years to come.

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TOP 9 Best Audio Interfaces under $200 Review 2018

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